Friday, August 31, 2012


BENTÅNA : window

Borrowed from the Spanish ventana, which comes from the Latin word ventus or "wind."  Windows in Rome were for ventilation, not illumination.

Baba i bentåna.  Open the window.

Huchom i bentåna.  Close the window.

I remember as a child in the 60s that many houses on Guam, made of wood and with tin roofing, often had windows with no screens.  Some of them were held open with sticks bracing them up, or by hook and wire.  When it rained, you closed the window entirely.

Thursday, August 30, 2012


After the war, Luta (Rota) was under the care of the American Capuchin friars.  One of the longest-serving priests there was Father Cornelius Murphy, known to the Chamorros as Påle' Cornelio.

He is pictured in a white habit, standing with a visiting Trust Territory official.  In the background is the old konbento, under repair.

One of the things that made reconstruction of the island difficult was, besides the lack of imported material, the US military did not build up a military presence in Luta, as it did in Tinian.  When the military operations closed down in the late 40s, the people and the church in Tinian benefited from a huge amount of military equipment and supplies that the US didn't need anymore.  With those, they could build homes and a church.

Not so in Luta.  But Påle' Cornelio got the people going and they eventually built the present church of San Francisco de Borja in Songsong.

The Church of San Francisco de Borja, Songsong, Luta
Built under the leadership of Capuchin Father Cornelius Murphy

At times, in the late 40s and 1950s, the Capuchin priest on Luta (Fathers Marcian, Cornelius) was the only caucasian living on the island.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


During his term as Governor of Guam between 1918 and 1920,  William Gilmer issued the following law on Guam :

Executive Special Order No. 52

The practice of whistling is an entirely unnecessary and irritating noise which must be discontinued.

It is therefore ordered and decreed that no person shall whistle within the limits of the city of Agana.

The penalty for a violation of this order shall an executive fine not to exceed five dollars.

Apparently, one could whistle all day long in Yigo, or Talofofo or Sumay.  But not in Hagåtña.

The Order was soon rescinded; Gilmer was relieved of his duty.  Gilmer left the Navy completely.  Even the New York Times called him "the Governor...who barred whistling."

By the way....

How do you say "whistle" in Chamorro?


"Whistle while you work!"
"Chefla mientras machocho'cho' hao!"

(except in Hagåtña in 1920)

YOU KNOW YOU'RE CHAMORRO WHEN... have three almost identical statues of the Blessed Virgin Mary all in a row on your home altar.

For us, more is better.  Food, prayers, statues.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


Jesus Curses the Fig Tree
(Mark 11:20)

Since my youth I have heard stories about priests in the Marianas many years ago who cursed a thing or things as a kind of corrective punishment for wayward people.  How much of that is just folklore, I cannot say.

It seems odd that a priest should wish "evil" on something, but there is a precedent.  In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus cursed a fig tree that bore no figs.  The curse had symbolic meaning, and the motive was to teach people a lesson.

In the same way, the several stories I have heard have at their basis a desire to teach people a lesson from which they will profit.

For example, here's one story an elderly man from Inalåhan told me :

Påle' Inalåhan este chumo'gue.  Si Påle' ha ågang todo i lalåhen Inalåhan.  Guåha cho'cho' gi seputtura para u fan na' gåsgås.  Ya en lugåt di man na' gåsgås manhånao para u fanmangonne' atulai. Ni un atulai ma konne'.  Pues apmåmån Inalåhan ti ma lågua' i atulai.  Si Påle' nai ha matdise i tase.

(A priest in Inarajan did this.  He called all the men of Inarajan to clean the cemetery.  But instead of cleaning the cemetery, the men went to catch atulai or mackerel.  But they didn't catch even one fish.  So, for the longest time, no one could catch mackerel in Inarajan.  The priest had cursed the sea.)

Another story : A priest went to ask a villager for some lemons, which were growing in abundance on the man's tree.  There were so many lemons, that the branches of the tree were nearly touching the ground from the weight of the lemons.  Yet the man refused to spare the priest any.  So the priest cursed the tree.  From then on, not only that one tree, but all the trees of that specific kind of lemon bear no fruit.

I cannot find any evidence for a species of lemon tree on Guam that bears no fruit.  Maybe the story was invented to foster, through fear, respect for a priest's status.

Finally, there is this story, which doesn't quite fit since it has no verbal curse by a priest.  As the niño (little statue of the child Jesus) was going around a village in Saipan for people to venerate, a man refused to do so, saying that the statue was just made of plaster.  Within the year, his house burnt down, all was lost, except the concrete pillars, calling to mind the plaster of the statue.  Again, while I was in Saipan, I could never trace this story back to a known family or house. But the story serves the same purpose; to instill a fearful respect for religious people and things.

Notice that a person was never cursed; things were cursed in order to correct people.  So the intention was to save people - a blessing.  But there it is.  Many of our mañaina did believe it was wise to be careful with the matdision Påle', a priest's curse.  Whether they truly happened or not, perhaps we'll never know.

Monday, August 27, 2012


The same spot.....three months apart
Dry Season

May 2012

Rainy Season

August 2012
It was so flooded I couldn't walk past those yellow drums to get to the exact spot I took the earlier photo showing the clearing in the woods.


Cattle were brought to the Marianas by the Spaniards, probably from Mexico.

In traditional Guam of the 1800s, cattle were often raised with minimal attention.  A family might have several heads, with a few families raising decent-sized herds.  On Tinian, larger numbers were raisedby 20 or so men from Guam to support the government's hospitals on Guam and for the local market.  The men on Tinian would serve a few years and return to their families on Guam, while a new batch of men took their place.

The quality of cattle was lower than in other places of the world because there was no opportunity to cross-breed with better types of cattle.  At the same time, there was a lot of in-breeding among the local cattle, resulting in a decrease in their quality.

The stronger cattle were prized as beasts of burden, but in order to make them more docile, they were castrated.  That meant that the higher quality bulls could not breed and produce the next generation of stronger cattle.

Chamorros didn't obtain a lot of milk from their cows; usually no more than three quarts a day.  Besides being used for transportation and farming, cattle was a source of beef.

The one good thing about cattle in the Marianas is that they were generally free from the diseases found among cattle in other parts of the world.

(1913 Agricultural Report)

Sunday, August 26, 2012


The Åtkos and the Karosa underneath
Fiestan Santa Rosa, Hågat

The patron of Hågat, Santa Rosa de Lima, is celebrated annually on her feast day which used to fall on August 30 in the old church calendar.  In 1899, August 30 fell on a Wednesday.  The first American Navy Governor of Guam, Captain Richard P. Leary, prepared Executive Order No. 4 on the Friday before, on August 25, prohibiting the public observance of patronal feasts in the villages.

Executive Order No. 4 stated :

"Public Celebrations of feast days of the patron saints of villages, etc. will not be permitted. The church and its members may celebrate their religious feast days within the walls of the church, chapel or private residence, in accordance with regulations for the maintenance of the public peace, and unless, otherwise ordered, the only public holidays recognized will be Sundays, and the holidays authorized by the United States Statute Laws, and by the proclamations of His Excellency, the President of the United States."

Just in time for the Hågat Fiesta!  The letter of the law thus forbade processions and the erecting of arches (åtkos) in the streets of the village.  Do your thing, he said, but inside the walls of your church.

The story goes that the Executive Order was hand-delivered to the people of Hågat the day of the fiesta.

After Leary left, this Executive Order was no longer observed, and we all went back to processing (lukao) in the village streets.

"No more lukao!  No more åtkos!"


Patroness of Hågat

The parish of Santa Rosa in Hågat has been around for almost 340 years, since 1680. That's a long time. How old is this Chamorro hymn to this saint? Certainly over 100 years old, but it may go back even further. The Chamorro in this hymn is certainly very old, with some words that are hardly used anymore.

Santa Rosa, bithen Yu'us, todos ham in kantåye hao;
(Saint Rose, virgin of God, all of us sing to you;)

Refrain : Santa Rosa tayuyute hame ni fumalåggue hao.
(Saint Rose pray for us who run to you.)

1. Sumen magof i Saina-ta annai ha na' ha'åne hao,
(Our Lord was very happy when He gave life to you,)
lao maokte minagof-ña an monhan ma takpånge hao.
(but firmer still was His joy after you were baptized.)
Ayo annai i grasiå-ña misen ha na' hinatme hao.
(When His grace entered you abundantly.)

2. Annai tres pulan maloffan håhånon ginefli'e' hao,
(When three months passed you were burning with love,)
mama' rosa i matå-mo gi fanåsson nai gaige hao. (1)
(your face changed into a rose in your repose where you were.)
Ya ma yå'ho hao as Rosa sa' sen rosa na flores hao.
(And they called you Rose because you a truly a rose flower.)

3. Annai kakaiha' lamoddong si Jesus umagånge hao,
(When you had barely grown Jesus called to you,)
ya ilek-ña, "Uho, Rosa, un aniyo hu nå'e hao. (2)
(and He said, "Take, Rose, a ring I give you.)
Na finattan i guinaiya, nai guåho hu gofli'e' hao."
(A show of love, that I love you.")

4. An mahatot chini'ot-mo si Jesus finatoigue hao,
(When your suffering worsened, Jesus came to you,)
man sen mames na finiho ekkahat sinangåne hao.
(and spoke gently to you very sweet words.)
Finakpo'-ña gi kanai-ña ha na' åsson yan ha konne' hao.
(In the end He took you to lie in His arms.)

5. Hågo agaga' na rosas yan sen tomtom bithen taotao.
(You are red roses and a very wise virgin person.)
I sensen-mo sensen tåno' lao magåhet na ånghet hao.
(Your flesh is the flesh of the world but you are truly an angel.)
I tutuhon-ña nai monhan si Yu'us ha na' sahnge hao. (3)
(The beginning now finished, God set you apart.)

6. Tåtan långet un ma tuna sa' Yu'us mina'åse' hao.
(Heavenly Father, you are praised because you are the God of mercy.)
Jesukristo un ma tuna sa' mama' che'lon-måme hao.
(Jesus Christ, you are praised, because you were made our brother.)
O Espiritun minaolek siempre un ma tuna hao.
(Oh Spirit of goodness, you will always be praised.)


(1) The story is that her face transformed into a rose when she was newly born, so she was called Rose on account of that. She was a very beautiful woman.

(2) Rosa refused to marry any man, out of her devotion to love and serve Christ alone. He, in turn, appeared to her and offered her a ring in spiritual union.

(3) Rosa did many severe penances. Jesus came to her and gave her comfort.

Another recording of this same hymn :

The Peruvian Connection

Santa Rosa was a native of Lima, Peru, which was then part of the vast Spanish Empire.

Many of us think that when Spain ruled the Marianas, all the Spaniards were from Spain.  Not true.  Sometimes you could count on the fingers of one hand those in the Marianas who were born in Spain.  Even many of the priests were natives of Belgium or Italy or Austria.

One of the earliest governors of Guam, Damian de Esplaña, was a native of Peru.  So was Governor Juan Antonio Pimentel (1709-1720). 

Saturday, August 25, 2012


The slogan for one of Guam's social service agencies is trying to say, in Chamorro, HELP FOR THE COMMUNITY.

They use the Chamorro word AYUDA.  This is the verb form.  The noun form is AYUDO.

Ayuda yo'!  Help me! (Verb)

Hu nesesita i ayudu-mo.  I need your help. (Noun)

So AYUDO PARA I KOMUNIDAT would be correct.

***For those of us who pronounce it ayudo (and not ayudu), we do change the pronunciation to ayudu when attached to the suffix (-mo).

Friday, August 24, 2012


From September 6-8, a conference will be held on Guam on Chamorro herbal medicine.

Sponsored by the Haya Foundation, along with the Inetnot Amot Natibu (Native Medicine Association), the Department of Public Health and Social Services and the Non Communicable Disease Consortium.

Some of the activities planned are talks on the art of Chamorro medicine, demonstrations of medicinal preparations and visits to places where these medicinal herbs grow.

For more information, email Zita Pangelinan at
Note on the Pic Above

That's Mr. Margarito Tenorio, familian Supiano, whose father was a suruhano that I once visited.  He carries on his father's knowledge.


This is not the short film.  It's Dave Lotz's clip showing some of the latte stones found at Pågat.

This is from Joe Quinata of the Guam Preservation Trust :

We're proud to announce that "We Are Pågat," a short educational film about the community efforts to save Pagat Village, has been accepted by the Guam International Film Festival and will be making its big screen debut there. The short educational film will also be broadcast TOMORROW on PBS Guam, KGTF Channel 12 (Friday, August 24) at 8pm as part of "I Know Guam", a new local history program. If you miss the first broadcast, there will be repeat broadcasts at 8:30pm and again on August 27 (Monday) at 10:30pm.


From the very beginning, the Spaniards recruited Chamorro men for military and paramilitary service.  Even in the fighting between the Spaniards/South Americans/Filipinos and the Chamorros, some Chamorros fought on the Spanish side.

Over the years, local men were formed into militia units.  Names and structures changed every so often, but basically the local militia did guard duty and police work.  The men usually had to pay for their own uniforms and supplies.
Chamorro Militia Members in 1837

The Chamorro militia was headed by a Sergeant Major, but that position was vacant in 1837.  The next in rank was the 1st Adjutant, who was none other than Silvestre Inocencio Palomo, the father of the future priest Pale' Jose Palomo.  The 2nd Adjutant was Cecilio Camacho, one of the patriarchs of the Camacho clan that gave us two governors (Carlos and son Felix) and other island politicians, professionals and businessmen.

Other high-ranking militia members were : Jose Joaquin Cruz, Jose Martinez, Jose Flores, Bernardino Lizama, Felipe Lizama, Jose Aguilar, Francisco Salas, Juan Salas, Jose Aguon, Ramon Borja, Alejandro de Leon Guerrero, Rosauro Cruz, Jose de Torres, Vicente Martinez, Joaquin de Torres.  The drummer was Zacarias Quitugua.

As can be seen, the overwhelming majority of these men were Hagåtña mestizos; people of mixed Chamorro and outside blood.  Only Jose Aguon, and the drummer Zacarias Quitugua, had Chamorro surnames and they were probably mestizos as well.  Even among the ordinary soldiers in 1837, only two had Chamorro last names : Jose Taisague and Tomas Muña.

These Hagåtñ militia men were fanned out to the outlying villages as well as Fort Santa Cruz in Apra Harbor for short terms; then they would return to Hagåtña .  But some did stay in the outlying villages and that's how these Hagåtña names took root outside the capital city.

(Note : The pic above is not of Guam, but of the Philippines.  It is just to give an idea what the Chamorro militia may have looked like in a general way. I have yet to come across a photo of Chamorro militia men during Spanish times.)

Thursday, August 23, 2012


Acfalle is a native Chamorro name.  But what does it mean?

AC (or ak) is a form of a'a.  For example, åsson means "to lie down."  Someone who lies down a lot can be called a'asson.  But one can change that and say akson.  Same thing for anña, which is "to mistreat."  Someone who frequently mistreats others is a'anña, or akña.

The falle part is the Spanish way of spelling the Chamorro word fåye'.  It means "to be good in some skill."

But this is just a guess as to the meaning of Acfalle.  It may have nothing at all to do with the word fåye'.
So, if Acfalle is derived from a'afåye' (and that's a big if), what does a'afåye', or akfåye', mean?  It would mean "to be mutually good in some skill."


The heartland of the Acfalle name is Malesso'.

The biggest Acfalle family there was that of Jose Tedpahago* Acfalle, a Malesso' native, married to Tomasa de Leon Guerrero Cruz, daughter of a Hagåtña father who moved down to Malesso'.

They had many children; perhaps half of the Acfalles named in the 1897 Census are his descendants.

There were just a few Acfalles in Hågat and Tepungan (Piti) in 1897.  Now, of course, there are Acfalles everywhere.
***Tedpahago was sometimes spelled Tedpahogo.  In the church records, the same individual was sometimes Tedpahago, Tedpahogo, Tedpaogo.  It was not a literary world back then.  Reading and writing were not things most people did a lot.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Yes, this is Angry Mountain, and it's right here on Guam.  When you drive down to Naval Station, Agat or Santa Rita, you're bound to see it.  It's the high peak to the north of Apra Heights.

On your maps, however, it will appear as Mount Tenjo.  And since many of you read Chamorro with American eyes, you'll say Mount TEN - JOE.

The Chamorro word is actually TENHOS.  And it means "angry, irritated, impatient" and nice things like that.  Nobody uses that word anymore; it is obsolete.

Tenhos was also the name of one of the months of the ancient Chamorro lunar calendar; more or less August.

The reason why it is spelled Tenjo is because the Americans, when they first got here, looked at Spanish maps of Guam, and, for the Spaniards, J sounds like an H.  You know - Jose and Juan?

Looking at Mount Tenhos (dead center) from Sumay

Around World War I, the Americans established a military installation there - Camp Barnett.  The German officers of the HMS Cormoran which was scuttled in 1917 were detained there.  The German sailors were sent to Asan Point instead.  The camp was later abandoned but there are still some physical remnants there of the camp.

We really ought to go back to spelling it Tenhos.  Why?  First of all, to get people to stop calling it Mount Ten Joe.

Secondly, there is another Mount Tenjo, in Japan, where it should be pronounced Mount Ten Joe.
Many people climb up Mount Tenjo in Japan to get a good look at the bigger Mount Fuji in the background here.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


"So much for our sunny picnic, Myrtle."


Man proposes, but only God disposes.


Memorial Marker to the German Dead
Navy Cemetery, Hagåtña

This German visitor, after seeing what is left of the buildings and structures built by the Spanish (Malesso' konbento), pre-war Americans (Merlyn G. Cook School) and even Japanese (some pillbox gun placements), asked me if there were any German remains on Guam.

I said, "Yes, come with me."

I think he was expecting a building, but instead I took him to the Navy cemetery in Hagåtña where the skeletal remains of German sailors are buried - sailors who died in the scuttling of the HMS Cormoran ship in Apra Harbor when America declared war on Germany in 1917.

I don't think he was aware that Guam was never part of the German colonies.  Saipan and Rota were, but not Guam.

Monday, August 20, 2012


GOLLAI : vegetables

I have my suspicions about this word.  It is very close to some Filipino dialects (Tagalog gulay, Kapampangan gule and Cebuano gulayon) but nothing like Indonesian (sayur) or Ilocano (nateng).

Is it truly pre-contact?  Or did Chamorros pick it up from the Filipino soldiers who moved to Guam under the Spanish?  Remember that most of the vegetables we now have on Guam were brought in from the outside : eggplants, green beans, tomatoes, okra, onions, pumpkin.

Ya-ho gollai.  I like vegetables.

Ti ya-ña gollai.  S/he doesn't like vegetables.

Golåye.  Add vegetables; make vegetables.

Golåye i malångo'.  Prepare vegetables for the sick person.

Golåye i katne.  Add vegetables to the meat.

I gellai ha' debi di un kånno'.  You should eat only vegetables.

Gollai Monggos

For some reason, we don't just say monggos.  We have to say gollai monggos


How do you say "vegetarian" in Chamorro?

Try "minuscule minority?"

Sorry, that's still English.

Well, kakno' is "eater."  From kakanno' (eater).

So how about kakno' gollai?  Vegetable-eater?

Sunday, August 19, 2012


Community Fishing in Inalåhan
Late 1940s

Most of us are familiar with the small fishing net called talåya; small enough to be thrown by one man.  But, to catch more fish, a bigger net, called the chenchulo, needs to be handled by a large group of people, usually men.  The outer ring of the net would be lifted, trapping the fish that had collected towards the center of the net.  The fish would then be distributed (fåkkai); a third to the net owner, a third to the people who helped and a third to the community (the sick, the elderly, the poor).

Although this technique is ancient, the word chenchulo is suspiciously close to the Spanish word chinchorro which means, surprise, surprise, "dragnet."  Remember that we usually change the R to an L.

More than fishing techniques and instruments, one feels when looking at this old photo the tight sense of community in the outlying villages of Guam at the time.  One can feel a bit of it even now in the southern villages.  Everyone knows everyone's family.  They interact with each other and have stories about each other. 

Saturday, August 18, 2012


The Death of an Unrepentant Sinner

Despite the presence of the priest, the unrepentant man refuses to make his peace with God.  The good angel flees; the demon comes closer.  The wife kneels and weeps bitterly.  By his bed, a chest of goods and perhaps a bag of coins, with a serpent slithering by.  One demon holds up the portrait of a woman.  A mistress?

Excerpts from a Chamorro sermon about the death of the unrepentant sinner, written in 1873.

Ta li'e fan på'go håf ha susesede ni i ante na humuhuyong gine på'go na bida yan i ma'gas na isao.  I desgrasiao na ånte u hungok este siha na fino' i Jesukristo : "Nå'e yo' kuenta ni i todo na bidå-mo;" ya ayo nai u po'lo gi me'nan i ante i sen såntos na tinago'-ña siha.  I sånto na ånghet-ña u ålok : "Asaina Jesukristo, guåho hu pångpång gi anti-ña ya hu agånge meggai na beses para u gefkonfesat gue'; ya hu aprobecha håf na okasion, annai ha huhungok håf na setmon, pat annai måtai håye ya gumefmaå'ñao gue'; lao guiya ti ha osge i inagång-ho nu guiya, ha despresia ni i nina'i-mo na gråsia nu guiya, ya ha pokka' ni i tinago'-mo; ti gumefkonfesat ya måtai gi isao-ña; ennao mina' i petdision-ña muna' guiya ha'."  I anite u ålok : ini na ånte iyo-ko ha'; sa' hågo, Yu'us, ma fa'taotao hao, sen maså'pet hao, un chuda' todo i hagå'-mo, sen matai hao para un na'libre gue', ya un po'lo gi iyo-mo na iglesia i sakramenton i kumonfesat para u ma na' funas i isao siha todo; lao ini na ånte ti ha atituye ni i todo na piniti-mo nu guiya; ha despetdisia ni i nina'i-mo na gråsia nu guiya; sumåga mahgong ha' gi ma'gas na isao ya ti kumonfesat, annai un nå'e gue' tiempo; ya måtai på'go yan må'gas na isao; muna' ennao, ini na ånte, i iyo-ko ha'.  I mismo na isao-ña ni i ma'gas u ågang kontra i desgrasiao na ånte ya u ålok : Hågo muna' huyong yo', sa' guåho i nina'huyong-mo ha'; ennao mina' sen ti hu dingo hao nungka.  Ayo nai, si Jesukristo u nå'e i sentensia-ña, sa' sen magåhet i ma faila'-ña, taiguine : "Apåtta giya guåho, matdito, ya hånao ni i siempre dura na guåfe."  Ayo nai i desgrasiao na ånte u kinenne' ni i anite giya sasalåguan.


  • Gine.  Todays ginen.
  • Bida.  Life.  From the Spanish vida.  Today it means mainly "action."
  • Beses.  Times.  Today we stick to biåhe, which is from the Spanish viajeBeses is also borrowed from the Spanish word vez, or "time," as in "one time, two times."
  • Ini : Old word for "this."
  • Atituye.  To consider.
  • Nungka.  Never.  From the Spanish nunca.

Friday, August 17, 2012


No, not in a restaurant.

The history of the Marianas since 1668 is tightly bound with the history of the Catholic missionaries.  These missionaries came from different Orders which were in charge of the Marianas mission at different times.  They all wore different apparel, and this is where the confusion happens.  I have seen floats, for example, that has Sanvitores, a Jesuit, dressed as a Capuchin.

So, what were these religious Orders?

JESUITS (Society of Jesus)

The Jesuits were the first permanent Catholic missionaries in the Marianas and, indeed, we are called the Marianas because of a Jesuit, Blessed Diego Luis de Sanvitores, founder of the mission.

The Jesuits wore a black cassock, in Spanish a sotana (which we also use in Chamorro).  A black sash would often be worn around the waist.  They wore no hoods and the sash was made of cloth.

RECOLLECTS (Augustinian Recollects)

The longest-serving Order in the Marianas were followers of Saint Augustine, and wore a black habit (religious robe) with a hood and leather belt, with one strap dropping down towards the floor called the correa.

CAPUCHINS (Franciscans)

The Capuchins wear a form of the very familiar Franciscan habit (robe) : brown, with a white cord, and a large hood.  Traditionally, they also wear beards and wear sandals, not shoes.

Jesuit Seal

Recollect Seal

Capuchin Franciscan Seal


I recently found out the background of this Chamorro decal that is seen on a few cars on Guam.

The word må'gas means "superior, great."

Notice that the A's are designed to resemble latte stones.

The crowned lion is carrying the flag of the Northern Marianas.

The lion is the mascot here because the designer, so I am told, is a de Leon Guerrero from Saipan.

"Leon Guerrero" is Spanish for "lion warrior."

Thursday, August 16, 2012


Growing up, we heard the expression, "Bai galuti hao!"

All I knew was that it meant physical harm would be done.

But the word galuti comes from a form of physical harm that is cruel and harsh indeed.

It comes from the Spanish word garrote, and a garrote was what you see in the picture above.

It was a strangulation device, so that the victim died without the ability to scream.  It was thus called a weapon of silent assassination.

The Spanish used the garrote extensively till modern times.  In 1959, the garrote was last used for civilian executions.  In 1974, two civilians convicted in military courts in Spain were killed by the garrote.  In 1978, Spain abolished capital punishment.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


The Adolescent Girl
La Solterita

I sotterita debi di u såga ha' gi halom guma'.  Ti guailaye na u ma eduka gue'.  Siempre ma na' påra umeskuela i palao'an yanggen esta monhåyan ha kumple tresse (13) pat katotse (14) åños.  Yanggen i hobensita esta ha taka' taiguennao na edåt, esta siña gue' gumai patgon.  Pues menestet na u ma na' påra umeskuela ya u såga ha' gi halom guma' annai mås siña gue' ma pulan ya ti u fåtto gi håfa na desonra para guiya yan para i familia.

As soon as a girl reaches adolescence, she must leave school and stay at home.  She is able at age 13 or 14 to bear children, so it is best to monitor her directly in the home and avoid any scandal to her or to the family.

Cuando una jovencita cumple trece o catorce años, tendrá que dejar la escuela y quedarse en casa.  Al tener trece o catorce años, la chica ya puede tener hijos, y por eso sería mejor vigilarla en casa y evitar los escándalos para ella y para la familia.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


Calvo-Palomo Write-In Rubber Stamp

The 1974 Republican primary was a hotly contested race.  The sitting Governor, Republican Carlos Garcia Camacho, Guam's first elected governor, was being challenged in his own party by Paul McDonald Calvo, prominent businessman and senator.  Calvo's running mate was another GOP senator, Antonio Manibusan Palomo.  In the primary election, Camacho won by only 261 votes.

Spurred on by his supporters and the close results, Calvo launched a Write-In campaign for the General Election.  Voters could write in Calvo's name by hand, or use rubber stamps, like the one pictured above, on the ballot.  Due to the Republican split, Democrat Ricardo Jerome Bordallo went on to win the governor's seat in 1974.

I remember this split well.  It affected my family, but not too badly.  Family members did debate the topic, but at least they were talking to each other.  I was just 12 years old at the time, but very keen on listening to all that was being said.
Paul M. Calvo
when he was Governor of Guam
(notice that Reagan was U.S. president at the time)

Antonio M. Palomo
in a more recent photo with Palomo as a member of the Guam Museum board
(Palomo moved from active politics to becoming a Guam historian)