Thursday, August 16, 2018


used as mortar in construction projects

Before modern commercial goods were shipped into the Marianas, our people lived mainly off the resources of the land and sea.

In building homes of the modest classes, this meant using bamboo, wood and sturdy palms like åkgak (pandanus) for interior partitions and nipa for roofing.

But for those with the money, houses could be made of stone and mortar. The mortar was a mixture of åfok (powdered limestone rock), sand, water and often some oil, used to bind the stones together once the mortar dried. This type of construction, using stone and mortar, is called mampostería.

In 1902, Manuel Camacho Aflague, the Justice of the Peace in the Guam court, contracted with Félix Palomo de León, better known as Félix Mundo, to provide Aflague with the lime necessary for the building of a new house in Hagåtña. Being a court official, Aflague had the means to build a house of mampostería. Also because he was a court official, it is no surprise that Aflague took Mundo to court when things didn't turn out well.

According to Aflague, the lime that Mundo supplied ran out and the house wasn't finished yet. Aflague asked Mundo to get more lime, but Mundo refused, saying that he had given Aflague enough lime for the house. Aflague had paid for the lime by giving Mundo two karabao, one valued at 70 pesos and the other at 80 pesos. Aflague asked the court to compel Mundo to complete the supply of åfok or pay him in cash the value of the undelivered åfok.

Appearing before a substitute judge, since Aflague would normally hear such cases, Mundo pointed out that he had given Aflague sufficient lime for the house, but that Aflague had diverted some of the lime to the building of an outside toilet at the same site. Mundo pleaded with Aflague to release him from the obligation to supply more lime, since Mundo was a poor man. Aflague agreed and released him from the obligation, provided Mundo pay the cost of the hearing. Mundo complied and the case was closed.

Lesson learned. When building a house (in 1900), make sure to include plans for an outdoor toilet from the beginning of calculations!

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