Tuesday, January 24, 2017


Chamorros and Carolinians in Saipan, early 1900s

The photo above, showing Chamorro and Carolinian men of Saipan, reveals the big differences between the two races. The Chamorros had been under European rule for 230 years by the time this photo was taken. The Carolinians, on the other hand, had been under European rule in Saipan for 80 years, and, for much of those years, the European influence over them was negligible. The Spanish Government headquartered in Guam basically left the Carolinian community in Saipan to themselves in the early years. By the 1850s, Guam sent more Chamorros to Saipan as teachers and eventually a resident Spanish priest was also stationed there. Chamorro Padre Palomo also spent some time in Saipan.

By and by, the two races, Carolinian and Chamorro, learned to live together. In fact, a few began marrying someone from the other race. Today, we call people of both Chamorro and Carolinian heritage Chamolinians. The term did not appear until the 1970s in Saipan.


One thing that helped popularize the term Chamolinian were a few music albums put out by Saipan artists, like Candy Taman and Frank "Bokonggo" Pangelinan. Candy, I know for a fact, is himself part Carolinian (Taman) and Chamorro (Babauta).

Elias Parong Sablan

Another well-known Chamorro-Carolinian mestizo was the former Mayor of Saipan, Elias Parong Sablan. His mother was Carolinian and his father Chamorro.

Which race did these mixed-heritage people identify with? Which language did they speak?

In the old days, the most common answer was both. Most, if not all, spoke both languages and identified with both, though the story changes somewhat case by case.

It is said that if the mother was Carolinian, the child identified more with the Carolinian side and spoke better Carolinian. This is because, in both cultures, it is the mother who is the strongest influence over the child. In Carolinian culture, one's clan identity and even land ownership is carried through the mother. The Carolinian mother will make sure her child grows up with a lot of contact with her (Carolinian) side of the family.The child will still grow up identifying with his Chamorro father, but the "pull" will be strongest with the mother.


But who were the first children of Carolinian-Chamorro marriages?

Putting aside the possibility that there were the occasional Carolinian-Chamorro mixes long before records were kept, and putting aside also the mixed Chamorro-Carolinian babies born out of wedlock, we find in the Saipan records the following early Chamorro-Carolinian unions :


Although we don't hear the name often, there is a Fausto family of the Marianas. Two, it seems.

In the 1897 Guam Census there is a Fausto family of recent origin from the Philippines (recent, meaning arriving from around 1880 onwards) and an older one, already mixed with Chamorro blood by the 1830s. It is this older Fausto family which is involved with our topic.

One Manuel Fausto, born in Hagåtña of an unknown father and a mother named Rosalía Fausto, eventually moved to Saipan by the 1850s. There he married a Carolinian woman who was given the Christian name Maria Aurora. Apparently, she was not given a Spanish surname (as was sometimes done) nor did she carry her original Carolinian name as a surname (as was mostly done). In all the records, she is simply named Maria Aurora. The records say that her family was from Lamotrek.

This Manuel Fausto, though Chamorro, seems to have been an "honorary" Carolinian, almost an integral part of the Carolinian community. He often acted as godfather to many Carolinians being baptized. He taught them, as did his son Mariano Borja Fausto (son of a prior marriage) who taught the Carolinians living in Tamuning. It is almost certain that Manuel Fausto spoke Carolinian or at least had a very good grasp of it. Speaking Chamorro and almost assuredly some Spanish, he would have made an excellent go-between for the Spaniards and Chamorros in their dealings with the Carolinians, who, in the main, could not speak Spanish nor Chamorro. People relied on those who could speak all the main languages to do the interpreting.

It should be noted that sometimes the records spell the name Fajusto, and I have heard older Chamorros in Saipan pronounce the name Fajusto. That is, FA - HUS - TO. But 90% of the time, the records spell it Fausto and most people say FAUS - TO.

Here's the important thing.

Manuel Fausto and his Carolinian wife Maria Aurora had many daughters who married Chamorro men. They married into the Camacho, Arriola, Palacios and Salas families (among others), which are big clans in Saipan. Being that these unions go back to the 1870s, there are a lot of Chamorros in Saipan today who have Carolinian blood in them, thanks to Maria Aurora.


Here is a very interesting story with a twist.

There are many Reyeses in Saipan whose "Reyes" ancestor was not born a Reyes. He was a Carolinian.

A Carolinian man on Saipan named TAROLIMANG, sometimes also called Igifer, was baptized and given the Christian name Juan (John). From then on, he should have been called Juan Tarolimang, and he was. But then the records changed and start calling him Juan de los Reyes. It couldn't be because it was later admitted that his biological father was someone named Reyes, because the records do tell us the names of his Carolinian and non-Christian parents. So, why did he soon get the last name Reyes?

It's because, in those days, people were very casual about names. And not just in the Marianas.

People easily dropped old names and adopted new ones all the time. My Irish grandfather, for example, in the 1910s, dropped his first name Patrick when he moved to the U.S. That name, he felt, marked him as an Irishman and the Irish were unwelcome by many people in the U.S. in those days, depending on what part of the country you were in. The point is that, in those days, people often changed names quite easily, without a lot of legal procedures. And so it was for Juan Tarolimang. Perhaps in an effort to assimilate more with the Spanish-Chamorro establishment, he took Reyes as a last name. It could be that he had a Chamorro godfather named Reyes, or perhaps a man named Reyes was his benefactor or employer.

So the Carolinian Juan de los Reyes married a Chamorro from Luta (Rota). Her name was Anacleta Matantaotao Orpus. Sometimes spelled Orpos and Oppos. Anacleta was born in Luta and so were her parents. Matantaotao is definitely a Chamorro name, but the jury is still out on Orpus. It could be an old Chamorro name, or it could be from somewhere else. Until we find records to say one way or another, we'll have to leave it at that.

Juan and Anacleta married a long time ago, in 1865 or so. They had many children, all carrying the name Reyes. Some of them married Chamorros and some of them married Carolinians. So, in Saipan, there are many Reyeses who are descendants of a Carolinian named Tarolimang who married the Chamorro Anacleta Matantaotao Orpus.


We just elected an Esteves to the Guam Legislature, and his roots go back to the Esteves from Saipan, which then spread out over the other islands of the Marianas.

Antonio Esteves was a Carolinian from Satawal, living in Saipan.

Because he is named Antonio, we know that he was eventually baptized Catholic. That's probably when he also acquired the last name Esteves, which is Spanish/Portuguese. Why did a Carolinian get a Spanish/Portuguese name? As mentioned above, people dropped and picked up names very casually in those days. Sometimes, a Carolinian would take on the full name or sometimes just the first or last name of their godfather. Whatever the reason, what we do know is that Antonio Esteves was a Carolinian.

He married a Chamorro lady from Hagåtña, Josefa Campos. Everyone in the Marianas named Esteves (barring recent arrivals who come from a different origin) is a descendant of the Carolinian-Chamorro union of Antonio and Josefa.


Another last name we don't hear about.

But, a Carolinian named Quitipung (spelled various ways at times), from the island of Sooc who then lived in Saipan, was baptized Catholic and married a Chamorro from Luta (Rota) named Maria Hocog Inos. After his baptism and marriage to Maria, he was known as Bernardo de Santa Maria.

The records sometimes say he was from Chuuk, and Sooc could be a shortcut of Pulusuk, an island in Chuuk.


In 1895, a Chamorro man named Jose Dueñas de la Cruz, from Hagåtña, now living in Saipan, married a Carolinian woman from Saipan named Ana Faibar. Her family was from Satawal.


Many people think Matagolay (Matagolai) is a Chamorro name, but coincidences do exist and it is a coincidence that måta (face/eyes) and gollai (vegetables) are also Chamorro words.

But a Carolinian man from Unoun (today's Ulul?) named Matagolay was baptized and became known as José Matagolay. He married a Chamorro woman, Carmen Cruz from Sumay, living in Saipan. From them, the Matagolay clan was born, being of both Carolinian and Chamorro blood.


One of the last Chamorro-Carolinian marriages in Saipan in the 1800s involved two people apparently from Guam who had moved to Saipan.

Even the Carolinian wife, Concepción Altariba, was apparently a Guam Carolinian (Tamuning). She married the Chamorro José San Nicolás from Hagåtña and moved to Saipan. Their daughter Rosa, a Chamolinian, married into the Chamorro Manahane family.

Altariba is not a Carolinian or Chamorro name. It is Spanish (spelled also Altarriba) and the name of a few places in Spain. For all we know, she got this name from a Spanish godparent or benefactor.


One of the last Chamorro-Carolinian unions in the 1800s was the marriage between the Chamorro Felix Reyes Sablan and Luisa Malug Parong (sometimes spelled Parung). They got married around the year 1895.

Felix was born in Luta (Rota), but both his parents, Mariano and Maria, were Chamorros from Hagåtña. Mariano was often a government clerk and moved where he was needed, such as Luta and then Saipan.

Luisa's father was from Unani and her mother was from Ilato (Elato) in the Carolines.

From this union came Elias, the future Mayor of Saipan, and his siblings.

Elias was such a prominent figure in civil affairs in Saipan, especially right after World War II when the Americans tried to get Saipan back on its feet after the war. Elias could wield influence over the two Saipan communities, the Chamorro and Carolinian. Who better to unite the two races as mayor than someone whose blood included both races! It could be said that Elias enjoyed even more influence over the Carolinian community because he had also married a Carolinian, Carmen, from the Mangarero family.


Many other Chamorros married Carolinians after 1900, but I have mentioned only the ones I know who married before 1900. Many of these Chamolians from after 1900 are prominent to this day in business, politics and the professions.


Although neither of these two spouses were Chamorro, their children eventually did marry Chamorros and also became part of the Chamolinian mix.

A Filipino named Agatón Celis moved from Guam to Saipan and married a Carolinian lady named Enriqueta Antonia. Records give two places for her origin. Some say she was from Aurupec (probably today's Eauripik) and some say Lamotrek. Either way, both islands are from the same region of the Carolines.

Enriqueta Antonia is her Christian name, the female forms of the names Enrique (Henry) and Antonio (Anthony). She had a prior Carolinian name that was soon dropped, at least in official records.

So, their children were not Chamolinian but rather Fililinian (Filipino-Carolinian). But some of their children eventually married Chamorros and the grandchildren became Chamolinian (with Filipino, too).


Harry Boyer, from the United States, made it out to Saipan in the 1880s and met a Carolinian lady by the name of María Taman. Her father was from Oleai and her mother was from Satawal, in the Carolines. They had a son Juan, who was therefore an American-Carolinian mix. Juan married Nieves Fausto Palacios in 1913. Now Nieves herself had Carolinian blood, being the granddaughter of the Carolinian María Aurora, who had married the Chamorro Manuel Fausto. Nieves' mother Tomasa, a Chamolinian, married a Chamorro, Vicente Cruz Palacios, born in Hagåtña, Guam. So, with the Boyers, there are two Carolinian lines : one from María Taman and the other from María Aurora. This was then added to a Chamorro line, the Palacios.

This is a committee formed some time ago to organize an event concerning the renowned Carolinian chief Aghurubw.

But, among these people are some named Deleon Guerrero, Taitano and Barcinas. A clear example of Chamolinian.


  1. Awesome! If this were in book form, I'd buy several books for my children and siblings to remember where their grand- and great-grandparents came from. I would now like to read an article about the Carolinians who were once on Tinian then transferred to Tanapag, Saipan.

  2. Wow. I'm really curious about this. None of the Esteves here on Guam can trace further back than my great grandfather.

    1. Contact me at Friary and I'll see if I can help with your specific branch.

  3. Wow, I've never been able to trace beyond my great grandfather. Where'd you come up with this?

  4. Chamorro-Carolinian interfacing occurred well before the European colonial periods in Micronesia of which the Marianas were the first. Additionally, the German-Period photograph that is used to introduce the blog was German Administrator Georg Fritz's ethnographic documentation of the two ethnic groups in the Northern Marianas. By the way, Chamorro and Carolinians belong to the same race, which is Mongloid in origin. They are not two distinct races. Of equal import is the fact that the European/Spanish surnames were also forced upon the indigenous islanders and not necessarily freely chosen. Good article.

  5. Very interesting post. My family is Celes (from Guam) and Celis (on Saipan), I'd love to know your resources. I'll be in Saipan this February, and would be interesting in knowing more about your findings and seeing historical records your post is based on.

  6. Awesome thanks for sharing this, very educational..

  7. Well it's about time some trees have been explained. I know there are some more information here not included but none the less, it's out. Clarification is great. I am so glad to know this. My father in law had explained to me where my Carolinian bloodline came from because his father had passed on the knowledge to him. It is quite interesting to know. My father's mother was from the Olopumwar Clan. Outer islands of Chuuk, hence Carolinians. Wow! I just love all this information. Thanks for sharing. I am going to now save and pass this on to my children.

  8. This is amazing information. Thanks for sharing. My Carolinian roots or family name is Olopumwar. My grandmother's real maiden name was that. I can't wait to share this information with my children.

  9. Very informative. I too am a Palacios.

  10. Thank you for this information, I am a Deleon Guerrero.My fathers name, john Ramos he was born on Rota and raised on Saipan.

  11. Very interesting. My mother's paternal side of the family are Carolinians from Tamuning who were later "shipped" over to Saipan. The females of the family were known locally as "schabutul Tamuning" (Tamuning females).

  12. Thank you Pale for this awesome article. 😊

  13. Hi Pali Eric, thanks so much for this. My grandfather was Joaquin Santa Maria Santos although I don't know much about his Santa Maria side of the family. Do you have more information?

    1. Joaquin is son of Juan Santos and Ana Magofña Santa Maria. Ana is daughter of Bernardo Santa Maria (mentioned above in the post) and another wife named Maria Magofña.

    2. Hafa adai Pale Eric, I am interested to know more about the Faibar family. My great grandfather Vicente Quitano Taitano is the son of Maria Faibar. Would you happen to know if Anna Faibar is a sister to Maria Faibar?

    3. Sorry to say Velma I have no info on the Faibars or other Carolinian families beyond the early early ones. As I did all this by hand (no scanning or photocopying) I started to limit myself to just the Chamorro families and would do the Carolinian families next, but then I got transferred out of Saipan before I could do that.

    4. Bernardo de Santa Maria was from the Maascharigh & Lisascheeyong Clan. The family had a reunion back in July 1995 at Garapan Central Park, Saipan. I think Maria (Malua) Angailen Taisakan-Peter would be a good source.

    5. Maascharigh & Lisascheeyong had a daughter named Laiye & a son named Appitiuur (Bernardo-Ghitipung Santa Maria dad). Laiye married the younger brother of Aghurubw (Ghiellaat), there descandants included the KILELEMAN,OGARTO,TAGABUEL,ELAMETO, SEMAN, LAIROPI, ITIBUS, SONGELUUGHAL,TOGEAR, & KILAR.

    6. My cousin Julian Muna Camacho was married to Maria Faibar Rubuenog. Her mother was Carmen Faibar. Maria has a son, Julian Joseph Rubuenog Camacho. He works at DYS here in Saipan. Perhaps he would have more info on the Faibar.

    7. Alejo Faibor had the following children:
      1. Dolores Faibor Rogolifoi
      2. Mathias Faibor (Maria R. Camacho great grandpa)
      3. Antonia Faibor Rogolifoi
      4. Maria Faibor Cruz (Bernardo Cruz & Antonio Angui great grandma .....
      Olomwaay for now

  14. I'm wondering what DNA testing would show as far as how much Hispanic or any European ancestry we have in the Mariana Islands.

    1. Yes indeed, DNA analysis can reveal a lot.

  15. Interesting, the surname “Oppus” was once prevalent in Bohol and Leyte. The walls and floor of the church of Baclayon are lined with epitaphs with the surname "Oppus." A town in Southern Leyte is named “Tomás Oppus” after an American-era representative who filed a bill for the separation of Leyte into two provinces.

  16. Hafa Adai, Pale Eric! I was wondering if you have any information on Chamolinians that married other races around the early 1900s or so. I recently completed DNA analysis and it revealed Scandinavian/European heritage. I don't know much about my biological father's side but have heard that my Chamolinian great grandfather (I think his name was Joaquin Igitol) married an Irish woman (I think her name was Nellie McGinnis) and they lived in Saipan. I also heard that she was shot during WWII while hiding in a cave with other villagers. I THINK they lived near the village of DanDan. Do you have any recommendations of how I could possibly find more information and trace this bloodline? I've tried for years but have not been successful with online searches - and I'm nowhere near the island to physically check out any genealogy documents. Any feedback you have would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance!

    1. Unfortunately I don't, but next time I go up to Saipan I can ask around the older people.

    2. Vicente Parong Seman married Jacoba Nelly Igibor McGinnis, daughter of Jack McGuiness (I can’t answer the difference in the spelling of the surname) and Ramona Igibor. Their children that I know of were Felipe (married Maria Yoshide Takeda), Joaquin (married Maria Camacho Cabrera), Odorico, Juan (married Esperanza Somorang Taman), Lucia (married Lorenzo Leon Guerrero Iriarte), Ramona (married Dr. Jose Lujan Chong), and Jose (married Margarita Manahane Benevente). Remedio (Bedu) Mafnas Seman-Buniag is a granddaughter of Felipe that works at the Governor’s Office and former Congressman Stanly McGinnis Torres is still residing in Saipan.

    3. *Correction. Its Jacoba Nelly Igibor McGuiness. However, for some reason, her descendants are spelling it McGinnis now.

    4. Buenas! I am one of the descendants of Joaquin McGuinnis Seman, daughter of Fermina Seman Cruz (Jesus Terlaje Aldan) I also have been curios of my ancestors...I tried the NMC archives but their machine broke but told me that I could request info from evols Honolulu university...still searching

  17. Wow! I learned so much from this one article. My mother is related to both Ayuyu-Esteves (her father's Luta side) and the Palacios-Fausto (her mother's side, sister of Nan Sisted Remedio Castro and cousin of auntie Chailang Palacios) who I'm sure you know very well, Fr. Eric.

  18. Very interesting. Now if Ancestry.com can include us in their database. Lol

  19. Manuel Fausto and Maria Aurora's daughter Tomasa Aurora Fausto married my great grandmother's brother, Vicente Dela Cruz Palacios. Their daughter Maria Fausto Palcios (married Vicente Diaz Castro), was the mother of Sister Remedio b.1915 whom a school in Saipan was was named after her.

  20. Maria Hocog Inos, who married Bernanrdo Santa Maria, was my great great grandmother Rita Hocog Inos' sister. They had three children, all daughters that I know of. Anna, Rosa, and Pilar. Anna married Jose Santos (great grandparents of Congresswoman Alice Santos Igitol). Rosa married Francisco Camacho Manibusan (grand parents of CNMI Attorney General Edward Manibusan). And Pilar married Jesus Lisua Delos Reyes (great granparents or granparents of defunta Lumi Bermudes).

    1. *Correction. Anna Inos Santa Maria married Juan Santos. Jose Santa Maria Santos was Congresswoman Alicia (Alice) Camacho Santos-Igitol's grandfather.