Monday, February 29, 2016


BACHIGO' = slanted eyes

So I did an experiment the other day. With the permission of the man who is pictured above, I showed the pic to different people, asking them to guess this man's nationality.

No one said Chamorro as a first guess. The first guess was usually Chinese or Japanese. Vietnamese and Malaysian also came up. Some did say Chamoro, but as a third or fourth guess.

When I told them that this gentleman (at the time a Capuchin friar) was a Chamorro, the usual reply was, "Wow. He's bachigo'."


There is a Chamorro word which is very close in sound and in meaning to bachigo'.

The word is achigo' and it means "to close the eyes."

A poetic way some older people say, "before I die" is "åntes de u achigo' i matå-ho." Literally, "before my eyes close."

Påle' Roman, in his 1932 Chamorro dictionary, seems to suggest that bachigo' comes from ma a'achigo' or something similar.


Chamorros appeared to be bachigo', at least to some early Europeans, that some of them wondered if our ancestors were of Japanese origin. The slanted eyes and the lighter shade of brown skin they claimed Chamorros had lead them to suspect this.

This idea was discarded by Europeans and Americans the more they were exposed to the different races in Asia and the Pacific and learned to make better distinctions.

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