Sunday, September 30, 2012


Jose : "Håfa na gof hihot si Pedro yan i mås påtgon na che'lu-ña as Maria?

Juan : "Sa' gi as Maria nai gaige i pupulu."

Jose : "Why is Pedro so close with his youngest sister Maria?"

Juan " "Because Maria's got the pupulu."  Money.  Green, like a dollar bill.


I desperately needed to meet with the bride and groom.  Their wedding was the very next day, and, due to travels, I wasn't able to meet them earlier.

I called the bride's cell phone late that night.  "Where are you?"

She : "At the hotel banquet hall, arranging the tables and chairs for the reception."

Me : "Where's the groom?"

She : "In Umatac killing the pig."

How many stateside brides can say that?

Saturday, September 29, 2012


Above the noise of the people paying respects to the deceased (reminder : when the church is used for the viewing of the deceased, it remains a church.  Silensio!), these kantores and kantoras at San Miguel Church sang one of the Chamorro hymns to that great Archangel.

Ma tutuhon i tininan / i matåtnga na Atkånghet :
(The praise begins / of that courageous Archangel :)

San Miguel, hulong i langet / sågue' i Iglesian-måme.
(Saint Michael, chief in heaven /  defend our Church.)

1. I tutuhon i tano'-ta / man bonito i man ånghet
(In the beginning of our world / the angels were beautiful)
man maokte dinichoso / man manungo', man malåte'
(firm in happiness / knowing, intelligent)
lao si Losifet i saguat / si Yu'us ha' ha saguåte.
(but Lucifer the insolent / God alone he offended.)

2. Ti malago' i anite / na si Yu'us u ma'gåse
(The demon did not want / that God should rule)
i man ånghet ni man huyong / man malåte' ya man faye
(the angels who departed / were smart and crafty)
 Ya gef meggai giya siha / man lalålo' ya mañahnge.
(and many of them / became angry and separated themselves.)

3. Si Miguel tumohge guihe / yan i palo ni man maulek
(Saint Michael stood there / with the others who were good)
ya ha momye i sobetbio / yan i palo ni mangamten
(and he fought the pretentious one / and the others who were wicked)
ya man afulo' sen fehman / giya hululo' gi langet.
(and they wrestled intensely / in the highest heavens.)

4. Sen ma hulat i takmomyon / ya ma dulak gi langet
(The rebellious one was completely defeated / and thrown out of heaven)
Si Miguel ma na' tagåhlo / na Kapitan i man maulek
(Michael was made the high / Captain of the good angels)
ya ma nå'e espadå-ña / kalan hulong i man ånghet.
(and he was given a sword / as the head of the angels).

Chamorro Catholic hymns were (are) catechetical.  They teach doctrine; they don't just appeal to the emotions.


Hulong (also hulon).  Some modern Chamorro dictionaries (e.g. Topping) don't include this word.  It can mean "judge, head, chief" and so on.  My own opinion is that the name Taijeron is actually tai + hulon which would become taihilon.

Momye.  From mumu + e.  To add an -e to a verb means to do that action for or to someone.  Sångan is "to say"; sangåne is "to say to someone."  Sometimes you have to add a Y or some other letter to make the new word sound better to our ears.  Like kånta becomes kantåyeMumu+e becomes momye.

Mangamten.  The root word is kamten, which can mean several things, from "in motion, wicked, perverse."  Some Chamorros only know the immoral meaning of the word, and chuckle when they hear that the baby Jesus was not kamten, meaning still, not moving about as babies do when awake.  Kamten kanai-ña means "his hand is always moving" which means he's a thief (quick hands).

Takmomyon.  From the word momyeTak means "very," or someone or something that frequently does the act or has the quality.  Taklalo' means someone who is always lalålo' (angry).