Wednesday, April 6, 2016


I learned this way back in the 1980s from an older Chamorro woman, now deceased.

We were talking about someone having just had a baby and she asked if the baby was baptized yet.

I said, "Åhe'. No."

And she said, "Moro trabia." "She's still a moro."

It's a term we learned from the Spanish and it means an unbaptized child. To this day, in certain parts of Spain, unbaptized babies are still called moros.

Footnote #2 below from a Spanish book says : moro : child not yet baptized

"Moro" is Spanish for "Moor," the Muslim people of North Africa who invaded Spain in the year 711 and stayed all the way till 1492.

Although "Moro" can also refer to the Muslims of the southern Philippines, the Moors of Africa are what is meant when an unbaptized baby is called moro. It means that the unbaptized baby is of the same spiritual status as an unbaptized, Muslim Moor. In the old days, the Moors (and Jews) living in Spain would have been the only unbaptized people the Spaniards would have known, and of course unbaptized babies of Christian parents. Thus the parallel.

Very few Chamorros today would be aware that our great grandparents sometimes used this term, and most people, I think, would be glad it has been forgotten. But, history is history and I record it here for that purpose.

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