Friday, December 6, 2019



There are three main clans of Lizamas in Saipan, known by their nicknames :

Pilåkku'. Batittang. Pina'lek.


These are the earliest Lizamas to move from Guam to Saipan. Around 1893 or 1894, Vicente Cruz Lizama, from Hagåtña, Guam, and his wife Rosa Taisague Cabrera, also from Hagåtña, moved to Saipan. A son Antonio had already been born on Guam but Vicente and Rosa had many other children born on Saipan. These children in turn had many offspring and the Pilåkku' clan was well-established.

Vicente had a brother Antonio who also moved to Saipan but it seems he and his wife did not have children. Another brother of theirs, José, died in Saipan in 1895, apparently a bachelor.

Vicente was the son of Juan Mendiola Lizama, born around 1838 in Hagåtña (his father was Mariano and his mother was Margarita) and his wife Margarita Demapan Cruz, born around 1846 in Hagåtña, the daughter of Casimiro and Josefa.


This clan of Lizamas in Saipan was founded by Joaquín San Nicolás Lizama, pictured above. Joaquín was born in Guam, the son of José Lizama and María San Nicolás. At some point he moved to Saipan, where he got married in 1903 to Carmen Mendiola Mendiola, of the Damoa clan, which had both Guam and Luta (Rota) origins.

Joaquín and Carmen had almost a dozen children, so the Batittang clan spread.

I knew one of Joaquín's daughters who told me how her father was a kapitan in the sendålon Alemán (a captain among the German soldiers). What she meant was her father was one of the local men recruited by the Germans to be police officers in Saipan.

Joaquín also had two boats which he used for trade and fishing. His daughter said, "Ti in tingo' tenda," "We didn't know anything about stores, because my father always bought or traded things with the other boats."


The Pina'lek Lizama were the last of the three main clans to move to Saipan from Guam, making the move around 1915 or so.

Two brothers, Luís de León Lizama and Juan de León Lizama, moved to Saipan. They were the sons of Mariano Lizama and Rosa Palomo de León. They were already called the Pina'lek clan in Guam, and not all of them moved to Saipan. Luís and Juan had siblings who remained on Guam.

Luís married a Naputi and Juan married a Crisóstomo, and their descendants continued the clan in Saipan.

Luís was an artillery man in the local insular force under the Americans in Guam in the early 1900s before he moved to Saipan.

The clan's nickname, Pina'lek, means "heartburn" in Chamorro. Why the clan is named that is something I have found no conclusive reasons for.

Juan de León Lizama @ Pina'lek
Signature in 1911


There was one other Lizama who moved from Guam and to Saipan, and she was actually there before the others.

Lucía Fausto Lizama, probably born in Guam and the daughter of Javier (also called Gabriel) and María was already in Saipan in the 1870s bearing children although she was not married. In time, she married the biological father of these children, José Acosta Arriola, and the children all became Arriolas.


  1. Si Yu'us ma'ase Pale' Eric for all the research you share with us. I was wondering, and this is a long shot, but would you happen to know which Lizama family our great-great grandfather came from?
    Our elders have said that his mother died when he was an infant and so he was raised by the neighboring family, the Balajadias.
    He appears in census records as either Juan Lizama Balajadia or Juan Balajadia Lizama. He was born on Guam around 1875, and he married Rosa Leon Guerrero Evangelista (sometimes written as Rosa Guerrero Evangelista or Rosa Evangelista Guerrero or Rosa Evangelista LG).
    Thank you again.

    1. Juan Balajadia was the son of an undeclared father and Josefa Balajadia. His wife Rosa was the daughter of an undeclared father and Dolores Guerrero.

  2. According to our family story, that undeclared father of Juan Balajadia was a Lizama.
    Tata Juan is listed in the Agana 1920 census as Juan B. Lizama (B is for Balajadia). And his wife is listed as Rosa G. Lizama (G is for Guerrero). She is also known as Rosa Evangelista Guerrero. They were living on Cristobol Colon Street at the time.
    Also listed are their children: Juan, Jose, Jesus, Oliva, Joaquin, Felicita, and Soledad. At the time of the 1920 census, Soledad is the only child of Juan B. and Rosa G. Lizama listed as married. Her husband is Juan Mesa Manibusan.
    Also, note that all of the people listed on this 1920 census sheet have their parents' birthplaces listed as either Guam or the Philippine Islands EXCEPT for Nana Rosa. Hers is the only one which lists her father's birthplace as "Unknown".