(Fr Daniel de Arbácegui, OFM Cap)
It's interesting how a little-known bit of personal history can become a song sixty or more years later, sung in a different place by people unconnected to the event.
The song deals with a Spanish Capuchin missionary in Yap in the late 1890s and early 1900s. His name was Father Daniel de Arbácegui. In Chamorro, Daniel is pronounced Daniet.
There was a small community of Chamorros living in Yap since Spanish times and they were close to the Spanish missionaries.
A young boy of around 6 years of age lost both parents and was then raised by Påle' Daniet. But then the Germans took over Yap and the Spanish missionaries had to go. At some point, the little boy moved to Saipan, but nothing more for certain is known about him.
The story was kept by Juan Sanchez, a writer, poet and storyteller in Saipan who was very close to the clergy. Alex Sablan, the composer and singer of the song, learned the story from Sanchez.
JUST IN CASE
There was one other boy in Micronesia raised by the Spanish Capuchins. His name was Miguel de la Concepcion. Was this the boy raised by Påle' Daniet? I have my doubts.
First of all, the boy in the song was from Yap whereas Miguel de la Concepcion was from Ponape. Påle' Daniet, too, was a missionary in Yap and never stayed in Ponape, where Miguel was from. Finally, the boy in the song moved to Saipan, but Miguel moved to Manila where he continued to be raised by the Spanish friars there. But...I think we should leave some room for the possibility that the orphaned boy in question is Miguel de la Concepcion and that, as often happens, the oral information passed from person to person, got some details mixed up.
Sais åños ha' trabia i idåt-ho annai kinenne' as Yu'us i dos saina-ho.
(My age was only still 6 years when God took my two parents.)
Ya si Påle' Daniet pumoksai yo'; dumångkulo yo' gi gima' misionario.
(And Father Daniel raised me; I grew up in the house of a missionary.)
Hu nånå'e gråsia si Yu'us pot i yino'åse' Påle' Daniet.
(I give thanks to God for the kindness of Father Daniel.)
Guiya kulan tahguen i dos saina-ho. Si Påle' Daniet pumoksai yo'.
(He was like the replacement of my two parents. Father Daniel raised me.)
Idåt. Age. From the Spanish edad. Some people spell it and pronounce it edåt.
Yino'åse'. The more usual rendering is yine'ase'.