Monday, September 29, 2014


Chamorros have been marrying Filipinos for 300 years and have Filipino blood running through their veins.

In the 1800s, though, the Spaniards started to send to the Marianas Filipino convicts, or presidiarios. Obviously, at least some of these men would have had rough backgrounds, perhaps even a criminal mindset. From time to time, some of these presidiarios caused problems, giving Chamorros the idea that Filipinos could be pekno (murderous).

Chamorros, on the other hand, were more inclined to commit suicide than homicide. When the rare murder perpetrated by a Chamorro happened, it was usually a crime of passion; jealousy over a woman and things like that. But Chamorros thought the Filipinos were more calculating and daring; less hesitant to kill a complete stranger for sometimes the smallest of reasons.

In January of 1874, five Filipino convicts escaped from their work detail. The presidiarios weren't holed up in a prison cell all day long. In fact, many times they were given the freedom to move about, although with some restrictions, like a curfew. During the day, they were often put to work on public projects, such as road laying.

To show the mixed feelings held by Chamorros towards Filipinos, two Chamorro women accompanied the convicts as they made their way south to Humatåk! One was a single woman, Juana Mendiola, and a married woman, Maria Aguero, the wife of Pedro Gogo. Were these two women girlfriends/mistresses of some of these Filipino convicts?

The escaping party met up with a village official, who made the mistake of not arresting the convicts and taking them to Hagåtña, which is what he should have done, according to government policy. This error cost someone his life, for at some point the convicts came upon Alejandro Quinene of Malesso'. Quinene had a gun and a machete, and he was killed in order to obtain them.

Why the convicts didn't simply ask Quinene for those items is unknown. Perhaps, knowing that Quinene had the upper hand with that gun, the Filipinos decided not to negotiate but rather kill Quinene right off. It was a bloody murder. Quinene had a gash across his face, and gashes on the head, stomach, intestines and back. Poor guy.

The men then stole a boat owned by Lino Roberto, port official in Humåtak. The five were never heard of again, and it was suspected that they didn't make it, because the boat they stole was leaking badly.

The record says nothing further about the two Chamorro ladies.

The murder of Alejandro Quinene happened in the vicinity of Humåtak.

Chamorros even married some of the Filipino convicts down through the years. But incidents like the murder of Alejandro Quinene were the things that created in many Chamorro minds a negative stereotype of Filipinos in the 1800s.

Source : Crónica of Padre Ibáñez

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