Thursday, May 11, 2017


Astumbo is a pretty recognizable place name on Guam. Astumbo is a neighborhood within the municipality of Dededo, situated in between Ukkudu to the south and Gugågon to the north.


But how did this area get to be called Astumbo?


One clue is immediately seen in the beginning of the name. The syllable AS is a Chamorro word more or less meaning "at" when used in place names.

There are many places on Guam whose names begin with AS. It often means "at so-and-so's place."

As Lukas, a place in Talofofo, was probably an area where a man named Lucas (Luke) lived.

In Saipan, there is a place called As Palomo, probably where someone named Palomo lived.

In Luta, there is the famous latte stone quarry called As Nieves, probably where a woman named Nieves once lived.

So there is a good possibility that Astumbo means As Tumbo. "At Tumbo's place."


According to older people who lived in this area before the war, or who at least had ranches in this area and spent some time during the week here before the war, there was a man named Tun Ramón living in this area. His full name was Ramón Camacho.

As is often the case, he was more often called by his nickname, which was Tun Bo.

Chamorros usually take the last syllable of someone's name and create the nickname from that. The nickname CHU comes from the last syllable of the name Jesús. SUS become CHU.

In this case, the MON in Ramón was changed to BO.

Here is a possible way how that came about :

One elderly lady told me that in her father's ranch area, the neighbors were a Cruz family (better known as the Achigo' family), the Arteros and Ramón Camacho, better known as Tun Bo.

Her father would sometimes send her on an errand to Tun Ramón's ranch telling her, "Hånao para as Tun Bo." "Go to Tun Bo's place."


If Tun Bo was living before the war, then it seems that the area could not have been called Astumbo back in Spanish times or in the early American period. Perhaps the name Astumbo came about just prior to the war and certainly after it.

One indication of this is the absence of the name Astumbo in pre-war maps.

In this 1944 map, based on pre-war information, there is no place called Astumbo in the area now called Astumbo. In the top right corner of the map is a place called Gugågon. Just below that area should be Astumbo, but it is not indicated. Instead, there is a place called Taguac (Tåguak), perhaps the older or original name of what is now called Astumbo.

In the Navy's list of place names of Guam, compiled right after the war, there is no listing for Astumbo.

In the coming months, when possible, I will continue searching for this Ramón Camacho who supposedly lived in the area and is the Tun Bo in the name Astumbo. If any readers can provide any clues or information, please do leave a message in the comments section at the bottom of this post.


  1. Our combined Families Camacho(Aragon) and Rosario(Bruno) had a large arriendu from across the Navy Finegåyan housing to the Ysengsong Road (NCS Market). We grew up knowing the story of Tun Bo and where there was an ifit marker where he was buried. It was located some distance from the Entrance to Astumbo Gardens, to the right side of the Air Force pipeline as you faced north. It would be nearly impossible to find, but we should try...perhaps erect a marker and signage.