Thursday, November 15, 2018


A common theme in many old Chamorro stories is extraordinary strength in exceptional people and even in children.

Sesso ha hungok i metgot kåttan na guaha metgot gi san lichan.
(A strong man from the north* often heard that there was a strong man in the southern* side.)

Humånao gi galaide-ña ya annai måtto Inalåhan ha sodda' gi halom liyang
(He went in his canoe and when he came to Inalåhan gi found inside a cave)

fotsudo na låhe.
(a muscular man.)

Mamaisen, "Kao gaige guine i ma sångan na guiya mås metgot gi san lichan?"
(He asked, "Is the one they say is strongest in the south here?"

Manoppe i taotao, "Hunggan lao mamaigo' esta."
(The man answered, "Yes, but he is already sleeping."

"Lao maila' ya bai na' lågo i na' amotsan talo'åne para hita na dos."
"But come and I'll make lunch for the two of us.")

Ya konfotme i metgot kåttan.
(The strong man from the north agreed.)

I taotao liyang ha goppe i mås lokka' na trongkon niyok ya måmfe' månha.
(The man in the cave jumped the tallest coconut tree and picked young coconuts.)

Gigon tumunok ha fugue gi kanai-ña ha' nu i chigo' månha ya ha na' gimen i metgot kåttan.
(As soon as he came down he squeezed in his own hands the juice of the young coconut and made the strong man from the north drink.)

Entre guiya ha' ilek-ña i metgot kåttan, "Seguro na guiya este i lahen i metgot luchan.
(The strong man from the north said to himself, "Surely this is the son of the strong man from the south.)

Yanggen taiguine minetgot-ña i lahe, kuånto mås i minetgot-ña i tata?
(If this is the son's strength, how much more the father's strength?)

Gigon makmåta si tatå-ña, siempre ha ñukot i agagå'-ho."
(As soon as his father wakes up, he will surely choke my neck.")

Pues chaddek ha dingo Inalåhan ya ha bira gue' tåtte para i tano'-ña.
(So he quickly left Inalåhan and returned to his own place.)

Ti ha tungo' na i taotao ni ha sodda' gi halom liyang era et mismo metgot luchan.
(He didn't know that the person he found in the cave was the very strong man of the south.)

Mandagi i metgot luchan ya ha fa' si lahi-ña gue'.
(The strong man of the south lied and made himself out to be his son.)

* Kåttan/Luchan. In Chamorro, there really is no north, south, east and west in the Western sense; what we call "cardinal points" or "cardinal directions." There is, in Chamorro, "towards the sea" (lågo), "away from the sea" (haya), to the left of the sea (luchan) and to the right of the sea (kåttan).

Tuesday, November 13, 2018


Because of over a century of American influence, many Chamorros think of the English letter I when they hear the Chamorro sound AI. As in "island, ice, iron."

So they spell GUAIYA, the Chamorro word for "to love," as GUIYA.

This creates confusion because there already is a Chamorro word GUIYA, and it means "he, she or it."

Watch the video.

So, to spell "I love you" in Chamorro, it is : HU GUAIYA HAO.


GUIYA means "he, she or it."

Wednesday, November 7, 2018


A song recorded by Genaro Saralu many years ago.

Milalak påpa' i lago'-ho
(My tears flowed down)
esta* påpa' gi fasu-ho
(even down on my face)
lao hu kesungon pot mungnga yo' tumånges
(but I tried to endure it so I wouldn't cry)
lao duro milalak påpa' i lago'-ho.
(but my tears kept on flowing.)

Ilek-mo na pa'** un hånao hao agupa'
(You said you were going to leave tomorrow)
ya på'go uttimo umali'e'-ta.
(and today is our last time to see each other.)
Entre triste yan mahålang bai padese
(I will suffer between sadness and longing)
nene yanggen un dingo yo' esta.
(baby if you will leave me already.)

Humånao yo' tåtte para i gima'
(I went back to the house)
despues de esta hao humånao.
(after you had already gone.)
Humålom yo' gi halom guma'
(I went inside the house)
ai ya duro yo' kumasao.
(oh and I cried a lot.)

* Esta. The older word is asta and it is borrowed from the Spanish word hasta, meaning "until, till, up to, down to, as far up or as far down as" and other similar meanings. When modern speakers change asta to esta, we encounter the question whether asta is meant or the already-existing word esta, which means "already." Usually context will answer that question but many older people retain the original word asta and keep asta and esta separate words.

** Pa' is a shortening of para, meaning "to, for."

Thursday, November 1, 2018


As All Souls Day approaches, this is a good traditional song to learn, to pray for the souls in Purgatory.

The only reason why we pray for the dead is because many of them are still going through a painful but wholesome purification in Purgatory. The souls in heaven do not need prayers (instead, they pray for us), and the souls in hell cannot benefit from prayers. They are eternally condemned there, without hope of release nor of relief.

This song traditionally was always sung or said towards the end of the rosary prayed for the dead. If only one deceased person was prayed for, it was sung using the singular.

But since All Souls Day remembers all the dead, this version is sung using the plural.

The substance of the prayer is that it is through the innocent and unjust suffering and death of Jesus that atones for our sins and wins mercy for the repentant sinner. And so the suffering of Jesus is spelled out in the prayer in a more specific way. Our Lord suffered all these things in order to save our souls. This salvation is extended to us time and time again in the Mass ("Do this in memory of Me......For the forgiveness of sins.") and so the prayer reminds us to remember the dead at Mass. Our Lady of Mount Carmel is a special intercessor for the dead and so she is also mentioned.

1. Ma asi'e', ma asi'e', ma asi'e' siha, Yu'os-ho.
(Forgive, forgive, forgive them, my God.)

Refrain : Kristo Jesus-ho, ma asi'e' i anten-ñiha.
(Christ my Jesus, forgive their souls.)

2. Manaitai hao yan tumånges gi fangualuan Olibas.
(You prayed and wept in the Garden of Olives.)

3. Ma godde hao kalan sakke Såntos na Yu'us Lahi-ña.
(They bound you like a thief, O Holy Son of God.)

4. Ma saolak hao yan man annok todo i te'lang siha.
(They scourged you and all the bones were visible.)

5. Ma korona yan ma anña' i todo ha' ha na' siña.
(They crowned and assaulted the Almighty.)

6. Maså'pet hao yan ma la'la' gi me'nan Santa Maria.
(You suffered and were flayed in front of the Virgin Mary.)

7. Rai i taotao ni i ma puno' pot i tinailayen-ñiha.
(King of the people who was killed on account of their evil.)

8. Tumunok hao Putgatorio homhom na fansinapitan.
(You descended into Purgatory, a dark place of suffering.)

9. Mañe'lu-ho tayuyute, tayuyute siha gi Misa.
(My brethren pray, pray for them at Mass.)

10. Bithen del Karmen ma åsi'e', gai mina'åse' nu siha.
(Virgin of Carmel forgive, have mercy on them.)

Very often the techa (prayer leader) or the singers will begin again at Verse 1 and end with the refrain.


When sung or recited for one deceased person, siha (them) is changed to gue' or guiya (him or her).

The possessive suffix -ñiha (their) is changed to -ña (his or her).

1. Ma asi'e', ma asi'e', ma asi'e' gue' Yu'os-ho.
(Forgive, forgive, forgive him/her, my God.)

Refrain : Kristo Jesus-ho, ma asi'e' i anti-ña.
(Christ my Jesus, forgive his/her soul.)

9. Mañe'lu-ho tayuyute, tayuyute gue' gi Misa.
(My brethren pray, pray for him/her at Mass.)

10. Bithen del Karmen ma åsi'e', gai mina'åse' nu guiya.
(Virgin of Carmel forgive, have mercy on him/her.)

The following video shows the change made in the first verse and refrain only. The change to the singular has to be made also in verses 9 and 10.


The song is based on a Spanish original called the Mozarabic Miserere. "Mozarabic" refers to the Christian Spaniards living under the Muslim government of the Moors (the years 711 till 1492). The Christians in Spain used the Latin language in the liturgy, as all Christians did in the western side of Europe in those days.

"Miserere" is Latin for "have mercy." This song was also a prayer for the dead.

*** Thanks to Lawrence Borja for the accompaniment and for finding the Spanish original.