Friday, June 28, 2013

Rodriguez is a very common last name in Spain and Latin America.  But there are only a hand-full of Chamorro Rodriguezes on Guam.

Only one male has it as a last name in the Guam census of 1897.  Mariano Lujan Rodriguez of Hagåtña, married to Fermina de los Santos (but according to other records, Fermina's last name was Salas).  Sometimes there was inconsistency using the father's last name and the mother's last name, since Chamorros used both, as they learned from the Spanish,

Then there are three Hagåtña women, all single, with the last name Rodriguez.

That's it.

But my great-grandfather was Pedro Rodriguez Torres.  How he is related to Mariano, if at all, is not known, but I was always told that we were related to all Rodriguezes and I knew one lady who was a Rodriguez and we paid her respect as an older relative.

There were both Spanish and Filipino Rodriguezes among the soldiers on Guam in 1727.  But it's difficult to connect Mariano, or my great-grandfather with these.  I also remember hearing some talk about us possibly being Portuguese Rodriguezes.  A number of Portuguese came to Guam on the whaling ships and settled (for example, Pereira).  The Portuguese spell it Rodrigues, but if a Portuguese Rodrigues settled on Spanish Guam, it would have been spelled according to Spanish usage.

The Meaning of the Name

Almost all Spanish names ending in -ez (Perez, Sanchez, Gonzalez) mean "son of."  Perez is son of Pedro; Sanchez is son of Sancho; Gonzalo is son of Gonzalo.

So Rodriguez is son of Rodrigo.  Rodrigo is the Spanish version of Roderick, which comes from the Germans.  German tribes invaded Spain a long time ago.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


Annai man dikkike' ham, hame yan i mañe'lu-ho, kada man malago' ham para in tingo' håfa ilek-ñiñiha i mañainan-måme, siempre manohge ham gi fi'on i petta.
(When we were small, me and my siblings, every time we wanted to know what our elders were saying, we would stand by the door.)

Todo i tiempo, yanggen guaha håfa para u ma sångan, ya ti man malago' i mañainan-måme na i famagu'on u tungo' håfa ma såsångan, siempre manguentos siha gi halom apusento, ya man ma tågo' ham i famagu'on para in fañåga ha' gi såla pat gi sanhiyong.
(All the time, if there was something to be said, and our elders didn't want the children to know what was being said, they would speak in the private rooms, and they would send us to remain in the living room or outside.)

Lao guaha na biåhe na ha siente si nanan-måme pat si bihan-måme na mangagaige hame gi fi'on i petta, ya siempre kumakkak .  Gigon in hingok na ha cho'gue ennao, esta in tingo' na guaha siempre para u ma saolak an monhåyan siha manguentos.
(But there were times that our mother or grandmother sensed that we were by the door, and she would make the noise of clearing her throat.  The moment we heard that she did that, we already know that someone would certainly get spanked when they were done talking.)

Pues un biåhe, ilek-ña i mås åmko' na che'lu-ho, "Nihi!  Ta fan malak i saddok!"
(So one time, my oldest brother said, "Let's go!  We'll go to the river!")

"Para håfa hit gi saddok?" hu faisen gue'.
("For what purpose are we going to the river?" I asked him.)

"Påkkaka'!  Nihi!" ilek-ña.
("Quiet!  Let's go!" he said.)

An monhåyan ham man o'mak gi saddok, in bira ham tåtte gi gima', ya ha sodda' ham si nåna na man fotgot ham.
(When we finished bathing in the river, we returned back home, and mom found us all wet.)

"Ginen mano hamyo?" ilek-ña.
(She said, "Where have you been?")

Manoppe i mås åmko' na che'lu-ho, "Man o'mak ham gi saddok."
(My oldest brother answered, "We bathed in the river.")

Pues ennao mina' ha po'lo si nanan-måme na åhe' ti eståba hame gi fi'on i petta ume'ekungok siha yan i palo na mañainan-måme.
(And that's why our mother believed that no, we weren't by the door listening to her and the rest of our elders.)

Lao ha sangåne ham, "Otro biåhe, masea måno para en hanaogue, fanmangågao lisensia fine'na!"
(But she told us, "Next time, no matter where you're going, ask permission first!")

En fin, mamåra ham man ekkungok håfa kuentos-ñiñiha i mañainan-måme sa' ti in tingo' meggai na palåbras.  Ti in tingo' håfa adotterio, håfa abale, håfa guma'chong.
(In the end, we stopped listening to what our elders were talking about because we didn't know a lot of words.  We didn't know what was adultery, immorality or cohabitation.)

Pues ilek-måme, "Para håfa hit ta ekkungok siha, sa' tåya' probecho-ta!"
(We said, "Why should we listen to them, we don't get anything out of it!")


In 1876, Sumay was still considered a sub-division of Agat.  The two officials in Sumay reported to the major civil authority in Agat.

These Chamorro officials were appointed by the Spanish Governor, after a consultative vote by the village elite was taken.  The parish priest also sent in his comments about the candidates.

Gobernadorcillo, or village head

Teniente (second-in-command)

Juan de la CRUZ
Juez de Sementeras y Ganados (an agricultural officer)

Alguacil (warden or peace officer)

In Sumay, there was

Teniente (second-in-command for Sumay)

Mariano MUÑA
Alguacil (of Sumay)

What I notice in this list is the absence of the indigenous Hågat names like Babauta, Aquiningoc, Nededog.  The Hispanic names reflect families originally from Hagåtña who moved down to Hågat in later years.

In Sumay, the whole village was made up of former Hagåtña residents, and a handful of former Hågat villagers.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


Jose had a bit too much to drink at the family BBQ and decided to call up Kim Jong-un, the supreme leader of North Korea.

"Mr. Kim," he says, "we on Guam have decided we're not going to wait to see if your threats are real or not.  We've just declared war on you."

Kim asks Jose, "How many troops do you have?"

Jose looks around and says, "Well, there's me, and my cousin Ankie, and my neighbor si Big Ben, three dudes from GPA and the whole fire station crew from down the street.  That makes 11 of us."

Kim says, "Well, I gotta tell you.  I have 100,000 troops lined up for Guam alone."

Jose says, "Sus Maria!  I gotta get back to you then."

The next day Jose calls up Kim and says, "The war is still on.  We lucked out and got ourselves some armored vehicles."

"And what would that be?" asks Kim.

Jose says, "My brother's tractor, the village mayor's Ram pickup truck and a bulldozer we found at an abandoned construction site."

Kim says, "Well, I have 6,000 tanks and 5,000 armored personnel carriers.  And I increased my troops to 150,000."

Jose says, "Ai lokkue'!  OK, I get back to you tomorrow." 

The next day, Jose calls and says, "The war's still on, we got ourselves a navy!"

"And what does this navy have?" asks Kim.

"Two fishing boats from the boat basin, five jet ski boats from my cousin's business and a tug boat they're no longer using at Commercial Port."

Kim says, "Well, I have 4 submarines, 3 destroyers and 30 landing craft.  Plus, I now have put aside 200,000 troops for the invasion of Guam."

"Dios nos libre!" says Jose, "I'll call again tomorrow."

The following day, Jose calls and says, "Mr. Kim, sorry but the war is off."

Kim says, "Sorry to hear that.  But why the sudden change of plans?"

Jose says, "Well, we had another BBQ and discussed this seriously over flank steak kelaguen and beer, and there's just no way we on Guam can house and feed 200,000 North Korean prisoners!"


She lived till just about two months shy of her 103rd birthday.

Maria Naputi Mantanoña, better known as Ama, was the mother of 12 children, and outlived 8 of them.  She lived in the village of Inalåhan.

She had so many children that her younger sister helped raise some of them.

Her husband Pedro was remarkable in that he did the cooking when he came home from work, and also the laundry, in order to spare his wife those chores.  She had more than enough work tending to a dozen children.

She was a good seamstress and would never throw any fabric or clothing away. "Mungnga ma yute' i matitek na magagu-mo!" she would say. "Don't throw away you torn clothes!"  She would mend them over and over again, no matter how old they were.

Her husband was somewhat glad she had much work to do indoors.  He preferred that she not leave the house much, as she was a beautiful woman!

She was fond of novenas and held several of them throughout the year.  She taught her daughters and nieces to pray to Santa Maria for themselves; to San Jose for their husbands, especially to find work; and to the Niño Jesus (Infant Jesus) for their children.

December 8 (the Immaculate Conception) was her biggest devotion and she would call all the family to the nobena at her house nine days prior, and to arrive between 5 and 6pm.

She lead that devotion all the way into her 90s.  But eventually she made her younger sister lead the nobena and then, after her, she taught her even younger niece how to lead it.  How else would the devotion stay alive in the family after she had died?

Monday, June 24, 2013


Catholics today will be celebrating the feast of the Birth of Saint John the Baptist.

Ordot parish on Guam celebrated it this past weekend, as he is their village patron.

But few remember that Sanvitores gave Guam, or Guahan, a patron saint as well, and it was Saint John the Baptist. 

The map above was printed in France, and so it says "Isle de Guahan" (Island of Guam) ou (or) "Isle St. Jean" (Saint John Island).

Chief Quipuha (Kepuha) was also baptized by Sanvitores and given the name Juan, because San Juan Bautista was the patron of the whole island.

It's not surprising that the name "San Juan" did not stick.  Even the Spaniards rarely used it when naming the island in their records.

Sunday, June 23, 2013


Years ago, an older gentleman told me that long before the war, maybe in the 1920s, not everybody had indoor plumbing in Hagåtña.

As a matter of fact, in the 1920s, the majority didn't.

There were even public latrines and outhouses along the reef in Hagåtña, which you could access by walking on long slender bridges from the beach out to the reef.

According to this gentleman, some families could be seen sending their sons each morning with buckets of their bodily wastes from the night before out to these reef-side outhouses to dump the buckets.

Locals gave these a pretty-sounding name in English : honeydew buckets.

Saturday, June 22, 2013


More than once, the idea of shipping everyone from Luta (Rota) to Guam came up during Spanish times.  The population would hover around 300 people and some officials felt that these small numbers could easily move to Guam and no effort need be spent on running civil and church affairs on the island.
It never happened under Spain, but it was even considered by the Germans. 
A very bad typhoon in November of 1913 which ruined some crops and damaged many homes was the impetus for this consideration.  Since Guam was under the Americans, the idea was to bring the 480 Rotanese to Saipan and settle in the Laulau area.
Luta, bereft of people, could then be leased to a private company to make money through agriculture.
But the idea did not push through, and the Japanese took over the Northern Marianas in 1914.  The Japanese idea was to do the work themselves (with Okinawans and Koreans) turning the island into a source of income through agriculture but also by mining phosphate.

Friday, June 21, 2013


POTPOT : thick in appearance

Potpot labios-ña!  His/her lips are thick!

Mungnga sa' mampos potpot este na magågo.  No because this fabric is too thick.

Chule' i petpot na lepblo.  Take the thick book.

Pinetpot.  Thickness.

Maolek pinetpot-ña.  It has good thickness.

Thursday, June 20, 2013


It is well known that Apolinario Mabini was exiled to Guam in early 1901.  With him were other familiar names of the Philippine nationalist movement against the United States occupation : Ricarte, who later supported the Japanese; del Pilar, Trias and others.  All told, 33 of them and 13 servants.  They were housed in a camp at Asan Point.

But less known was a second batch of Filipino political exiles.  This smaller group of 11 men arrived just a few weeks after the first, aboard the USS Solace, on February 1, 1901.  This group of men were from the Ilocos region.

They were :

Roberto Salvante
Marcelo Quintos
Jaime Morales
Gabino Domingo
Florencio Castro
Inocente Cayetano
Pedro Hernando
Pancracio Adiarte
Faustino Adiarte

and two Filipinos who decided to remain on Guam, even though they eventually could have returned to the Philippines had they wanted to :

Pancracio Palting
Leon Flores

Palting became a judge in the local court.  His son Paul served in the Guam Legislature after the war.

Flores was a teacher and lawyer.  He was the father of the first Chamorro bishop, Felixberto Camacho Flores.

Camp site of the Filipino exiles 1901-1903

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


Si Adan yan si Eva meggai lalåhen-ñiha yan hågan-ñiha.  I finene'na siha si Cain yan si Abel.  Si Cain gumuåguålo', yan si Abel mamomoksai kinilo.  Guaha lokkue' este na diferensia entre i dos chume'lo : si Abel ha ma'añañaogue si Yu'us, si Cain åhe'.

Un dia, manofrese i dos chume'lo sakrifisio gi as Yu'us, kuentan agradesimiento pot i meggai na bendision ni ha resibe ginen i kannai Yu'us. 

Si Abel ha sakrifika i finene'na i patgon i ga'-ña gå'ga' siha, lao si Cain manofrese i tinekcha i atbot siha yan i produkton i tano'.

Magof si Yu'us nu i sakrifision Abel, lao ti magof as Cain.

Sumen layo' si Cain gi as Abel ya, gi fehman na binibu-ña, ha huchom i korason-ña kontra i che'lu-ña.

Sinangåne si Cain as Yu'us, "Pot håfa na un na' fehman i binibu-mo kontra i che'lu-mo?  Gin maulek mohon i fina'tinås-mo, hu sen guaiya hao pareho yan i che'lu-mo.  Lao tailaye i fina'tinås-mo, ya taiguennao gusise' u fåtto i kastigu-mo."  Lao si Cain ti ha atiende si Yu'us.

Otro dia, umasodda' i dos chume'lo ya kinembida si Abel gi as Cain para u siha i dos gi halom tåno', ya si Abel inosente må'pos ha'; ha dalalak i che'lu-ña, sin u hallum håf na tailaye, ya annai eståba esta i dos gi halom tåno', si Cain ha puno' i che'lu-ña as Abel.

Entonses ilek-ña si Yu'us gi as Cain, "Mångge i che'lu-mo as Abel?"

Manoppe si Cain, "Hekkua', ti hu tungo'.  Adda' guåho i pipulan i che'lu-ho?"

Si Yu'us ilek-ña nu guiya, "Håf fina'tinås-mo? I haga' i che'lu-mo kumåkåte a'gang ginen i edda' guine mågi giya Guåho.  Sa' pot hågo un na' gimen i tano' nu i haga' i che'lu-mo, ni ma chuda' pot i kanai-mo, hu matdise i tano' på'go kontra hågo.  Yanggen un tånme, ti un nina'e tinekcha, ya ti un tungo' para måno hao guato gi hilo' tåno' mientras låla'la' hao."

Ilek-ña si Cain, "Mampos dångkulo i isao-ho.  Bai hu hånao, ya bai hu atok gi me'nå-mo.  Ya kuatkiera ha' ni sumodda' yo', u puno' yo'."

Si Yu'us ineppe gue',"Ti u taiguennao!  Kuatkiera ha' ni pumuno' si Cain, bai hu apåse siette beses."  Ya ha po'lo si Yu'us un señåt gi as Cain, para tåya' ni uno na u sinedda' ya u pinino'.  Despues, humånao si Cain gi me'nan Yu'us, taisaga ya ti ha tungo' para måno gue' guato gi hilo' tåno'.


As in all proper names, I keep the original Spanish spelling, like Jose, Francisco and Maria.

So in this story of Cain and Abel, Cain is pronounced Ka - EEN, with the stress on the last syllable.  And Abel is pronounced Ah - BET, again with the stress on the last syllable.

I had to point that out since these two names are spelled the same in English and Spanish.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


Chamorro family after the war

From the viewpoint of an American missionary written in 1946, describing the typical Chamorro family :

"How unusual in this modern generation to see children respectful to their elders; young girls being chaperoned - no matter where or with whom they go; boys listening to the wishes of their fathers and obeying to the very letter of the law; young girls learning all the arts of home life before contemplating marriage; young boys being able to support a family by the use of his own hands before this sacred step is taken.

Parents are truly the rulers of their homes, but they rule with love.  The attachments of fathers and mothers for their children is very evident, and accompanied by more outward manifestations than we find in the States.  All children and young people are taught to greet their parents and old people upon entering the room by kissing them or bowing to them or raising their hands to their lips - or more correctly their noses - the Chamorro phrase for this is 'smelling the hand.'  The mark of respect is also extended to the priests, or pales.

At social gatherings, one never sees the children; they are outside playing, quietly, and never need to be reprimanded when guests are present.  (Like all other children they are full of mischief.)  If one eats at the table with a family you will be quite impressed to find the servers none other than the boys of the family, and sometimes the girls.  This they do with complete poise and courtesy.  The attitude of the young boys for their parents is extremely edifying.  Parents still have a great deal to say about the conduct of their children, whom they shall marry, what they shall do in life, etc."

Saturday, June 1, 2013




Sometime ago I was speaking with an elderly man and he brought up the subject of how many members of his family, during his father’s time in the 1910’s, died of the sarampión.
I had never heard that word before, sarampión.
So I asked him, “Håfa sarampión?”  “What is sarampión?”
And he replied, “German missiles.”
Now, keep in mind he pronounced “missiles” like “missals.”  To rhyme with “whistles,” not “hair styles.”
So, I said, “Ta’lo fan?”  “Say it again, please?”
And he repeated, “German missiles.”
So I just kept wondering, “Why would the German ships come here and fire missiles and kill a whole bunch of people in the 1910s?  The Germans never fired a single shot here in the 1910s.”  But I dropped the subject.
A few days later I bumped into an older lady and asked her, “Håfa sarampión?”
And she said, “German measles.”