Wednesday, July 31, 2013


Japanese Catholic priest Father Petero Komatsu
dressed in civilian clothes after his detention by the Americans

Father Komatsu was the only Japanese priest who lived on Guam during the Japanese occupation.  He was ordered to live on Guam by the Japanese government.

From all accounts of people who knew him who are still alive to tell me the story, he was a harmless man.  He kept a low profile and befriended a number of Chamorros, including Pale' Oscar Calvo.

He spoke decent English, too, and was close to one Chamorro family to the extent that he called the matriarch of the family "Mother."  "Go and call mother," he would say.

Komatsu would accompany Pale' Oskåt (Oscar) to a certain ranch owned by relatives.  This ranch was a perfect place, because the owner had prepared it well for the occupation.  Bishop Olano had told the man some time before the war, "Na' listo i lancho-mo, sa' ti apmam siempre man gine'ta hit." 

"Prepare your ranch, because before long we'll all be wearing ge'ta," or Japanese clogs.

One day, Father Komatsu got injured by a piece of wood that slammed into his side.  He had to stay in the hospital, and started to cough up blood.  He was given Chamorro medicine and recovered, but slowly.

Saved some Chamorro Girls

On another day, some Chamorro girls were being told by the Japanese to go join a forced labor crew.  Komatsu knew these girls.  He told the messenger, "Tell the taicho that these girls cannot go work today, because I am sick, and these girls are assisting me."

The girls didn't have to go.

We know that some Chamorros died or were seriously wounded because they had been on these work crews, so God only knows what may have happened had Komatsu not found those girls a convenient excuse.

Komatsu had a local Chamorro servant boy. 


At some point, Komatsu was captured by the Americans, but was found in decent physical condition.  He was taken in a jeep to visit some of his Chamorro friends, and had to break the bad news that some of the family members had been killed.

Komatsu was never found guilty of any wrongdoing and was sent back to Japan.  He did return to Guam in the 60s and maybe even the 70s for a visit.

Father Dueñas strongly contested the presence of Monsignor Fukahori, sent by Japan to inspect church conditions on Guam.  Dueñas contended that Fukahori had no mandate from the Vatican, the only authority that mattered, and that he was an agent of the Japanese government.

Fukahori stayed on Guam only a few months and returned to Japan, filing a report stating how well the Catholics on Guam were faring under Japan.  He was later made a bishop.

Komatsu, on the other hand, stayed on Guam for the whole stint; making friends, keeping quiet and staying out of politics and controversy.  Back in Japan, he remained a simple priest in the Tokyo area and has since died.  RIP

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


At the Mañenggon Freedom Run yesterday, I got a chance to ride the bus with the survivors; people who, though just children and teens at the time, remember life under the Japanese.

Naturally I tried to get as much information as I could from them.

Not everyone was ordered to go to Mañenggon; there were other camps.

But the order to march to Mañenggon was put into effect on July 10.  The people started trickling in after a day or two, depending on their point of origin.  They brought with them what they could, but some were hampered by having to carry their elderly and sickly.

Once in the valley, they cut down what they could to build ramshackle huts.  The earth was the floor for most.  People would sleep on top of each other in many cases, or sit side by side and lean against their flimsy walls.  People answered the call of nature wherever they could do so with some privacy.

People weren't starving, but they made do with what they had brought and what they could find.  They were forbidden from making fires, to prevent being detected by the Americans from the smoke during the day or the glow of fire by night.

It wasn't always one family per hut; some people too packed in their own huts wandered off to see if they could spend the night in a hut less crowded.

The camp wasn't guarded by hundreds of Japanese.  Those men were needed at the scene of battle; not guarding harmless civilians.  A "skeleton crew," as one man said, was all there was; enough to man three machine guns which were meant to shoot down all the Chamorros in the camp.  A trench was dug (by the Chamorros themselves under Japanese supervision) to easily dump in the bodies and cover them with dirt.

Some people were physically injured, many were slapped, punched or kicked; but most of the suffering was emotional and psychological.  Women, in particular, were a vulnerable target.  Some were raped, but others were forced to strip naked while some Japanese inspected their privates to mock the woman, to the laughter of other Japanese looking on.

The taicho, or Japanese commander at Mañenggon, was of the worst sort.  A man who enjoyed playing on the fears of the women, especially, and dishonoring their modesty.

Guards would take out their daggers or swords and pretend to thrust or swing them, and then have a laugh at the frightened Chamorros.  Guns weren't used.  As one man said, "The Japanese never wasted a bullet on us.  It was always the sword."

One never knew if this was the day they'd die or not.  Those machine guns were a constant reminder of that possibility in the three weeks they stayed there.

Then one day, according to one woman, the Japanese started to demand that people turn in to them all their knives, machetes and other such objects.  "Ramenta," the lady said, "metal tools."  They said they needed them for their upcoming battle against the Americans.  Then, one morning, the Chamorros woke up and the Japanese skeleton crew was gone.  They assumed they went north to fight in the battle.

"Man må'pos ha'."  "They just up and left."  And that was that.

Then, on July 28, according to one lady, they heard the drums of the Americans.  Others say they saw American soldiers ("Greek gods," according to another lady) coming over the hill.  Chamorro soldiers, who had joined the military before the war and were out of Guam when the Japanese invaded in 1941, were part of the landing force in 1944 and were needed to help identify who were Chamorros and get information from them.  Two names I heard were George "Boy" Cristobal and Manuel "Nai" Perez. 

Otro Kuentos-måme

The man åmko' had many other stories to tell me, as we killed time waiting for the formal event to commence.

Not all Japanese were bad

One man said he was sent to Japanese school in Mangilao.  But, then, after about six or seven months of that, he was told to stop and to start work being a servant of the military in the area.  He would be the one to serve the soldiers food and drink.  This was how he met one Captain Homma.

This Chamorro boy (at the time, around 12 years old), served Homma a drink and Homma said, in perfectly clear English, "Thank you very much,"  That struck up a conversation between the two - in English!  Homma had been born in the U.S. and actually had a sister still in the U.S during the war.  Being of pure Japanese blood, he went back to Japan to live or study for a while and the war broke out.  He was drafted.  Privately, he told this Chamorro boy that he was against the war himself and that the Americans would win.  He told the boy, "The Americans will invade Guam on August 14, 1944."

The boy wondered, "Why is he telling me all this!"  Later, he reflected that if the Americans had truly waited till August to invade Guam, the Chamorros may have all been killed by then.

Homma was a smoker and gave the boy Japanese cigarettes to smoke.  The Chamorro man's been a lifelong smoker ever since, and he's now in his 80s.
Mrs. Sawada

She was one bad Japanese, according to the Chamorros.  She had a business on Guam before the war and just as soon as the Japanese entered Guam in 1941, she was flexing her muscles.  She seemed to enjoy getting Chamorros in trouble with the Japanese.

She had a saying that, if the Americans did succeed in coming back to Guam, the Japanese would destroy everything and everyone, so that the Americans wouldn't even find any råro'.  What she meant was lålo', or "fly" in Chamorro.  But she couldn't pronounce the L so she said råro'.

The curious thing, some have said, is that she was never found after the war.  They assume she followed the Japanese up north to the last battle sites, and either committed suicide or was a war casualty.  Her body has never been identified.  But some Chamorros say that maybe her dead body rotted in the hot sun, covered with råro'.

Not a nice story, but one must keep in mind how many Chamorros felt about her, given her behavior during the Japanese occupation.
"I will not accept money from the U.S."

One of the older Chamorro men made his opinion quite clear to me about war reparations.

He won't say this publicly, "Or else they'll skin me alive," he says.

But he says, "The Americans liberated us.  Many of them died to free us.  That's good enough for me.  We lost everything, but the U.S. came back and liberated us.  If they send me a check for war reparations, I will put it in an envelope and send it back."

Well, that's his opinion and we're free to have them.

Monday, July 29, 2013


A Freedom Run was held yesterday to mark the 69th anniversary of the liberation of the Mañenggon civilian concentration camp on July 28, 1944.

It was that day that the Americans entered the Mañenggon Valley to find that the Chamorros had been quietly abandoned by the skeleton crew of Japanese soldiers who had been guarding them since around July 10.

To mark the event, a number of groups, especially those involved in public safety and defense, were invited to run from various starting points around the island and converge on Mañenggon by at a targeted time.  Once assembled in Mañenggon, the runners, young and vibrant, would join the survivors of the actual forced march to Mañenggon.  The survivors, carrying a banner, walked several hundreds yards from the drop-off point to the old camp, in symbolic re-enactment of their more arduous trek 69 years ago.

The survivors, in their 70s and 80s, take the lead in the walk, assisted by some younger folk.  Three young drummers preceded them in their honor.

Behind them, in emulation of what the survivors went through, the young and strong from three generations after the war.  It was a chance for our young people to experience something of what their parents and grandparents went through.  Not just knowing history, but in a sense living it.

The runners started at five points earlier that day :

1. CHAGUI'AN (Yigo) - site of a massacre of civilian Chamorros by the Japanese.  These men were part of a forced labor crew working on Japanese defense works just before the invasion.  Then the Japanese turned on them, chopping off their heads.  The Japanese feared the men would meet Americans and inform them about Japanese locations.  Some of the dead are not positively identified to this day.  It took years for people to even now about this massacre.

2. TIYAN (Barrigada)

3. ADILOK/PIGO' (Hagåtña) - Pigo' Cemetery was used as a civilian refugee camp shortly after the Liberation.

4. HÅGAT - this starting point also commemorates the massacre at Fena'.


Friday, July 26, 2013


HÅLE' : root, to root

Meggai hale'-ña i trongkon nunu.  The banyan tree has many roots.

Håfa hale'-ña ayo na finiho?  What is the root of that word?

Giya Malesso' nai gaige i hale'.  The roots (of a family) are in Malesso'.

Tingo' i hale'-miyo!  Know your roots!

Agupa' bai fanhåle' dågo.  Tomorrow I will root up yams.

Båba yanggen måtto mågi i babue sa' siempre ha håle' i tinanom-ho.  It's bad if the pig comes here because he will surely uproot my plant.

Halion.  Able to be uprooted.

Kao halion ayo na trongko?  Can that tree be uprooted?

Mehlele.  Having abundant roots.  A contraction of mi (abundant) and håle'.

Mi + håle' = mehlele.

There is a series of publications on the biographies of prominent people in our local history called "I Hale'-ta Series."

Some Austronesian languages have similar-sounding words for "root" like:




Thursday, July 25, 2013


Dos na tanores eståba gi gima'yu'us mañeñetbe gi Sånta Misa.
(Two altar boys were in church serving Mass.)

Chume'lo i dos, ya eståba si nanan-ñiha lokkue' gi gima'yu'us na humohosme gue' Misa.
(The two were brothers, and their mother was also at church hearing Mass.)

Mampos frihon i uno, ya sige de ha na' chålek i otro gi durånten i Misa.
(One was a real comedian and kept making the other one laugh during Mass.)

Kada råto ha a'atan buñuelos i uno guato gi otro na tanores ni che'lu-ña..
(Every other moment the one would make faces at the other altar boy, his brother.)

Si Påle' ha gof pasiensiåye i dos, lao måtto gi lalålo' i Sånto Bendito annai esta kalan a'gang diddide' i burukan-ñiha i dos na tanores.
(The priest was very patient with the two, but the priest finally got angry when the noise of the two altar boys was getting a little loud.)

Pumåra si Påle' ha sångan i Misa; tumalak guato gi dos na tanores.
(The priest stopped saying Mass; he turned towards the two altar boys.)

Ya gi me'nan todo i taotao, si Påle' ha sangåne i dos na tanores,
(And in front of all the people, the priest told the two altar boys,)

"Håfa guaha, na ti siña hamyo na dos mamatkilo?"
(What's up, that the two of you can't keep quiet?")

Ai, despues de Misa, sen lalalo' i nanan i dos na tanores.
(Oh, after Mass, the mother of those two altar boys was very mad.)

"Håfa, låssas anite!  En na' mamåhlao yo' gi me'nan Påle'!  Ii mohon ya siña hu na' ma preso hamyo!"
("What, devil's skin!  You embarrassed me in front of Father! If only I could you put in jail!")

Ha konne' i dos chume'lo ya ha kastiga siha.
(She took the two brothers and punished them.)

Ha na' fanånom i dos chume'lo trongkon chotda gi tatten i gima'-ñiha.
(She made them plant banana trees behind their house.)

Ya asta på'go na ha'åne, siña ha' un li'e i trongkon chotda siha gi tatten i gima'-ñiha.
(And to this day, you can still see the banana trees behind their house.)

Guiya este na påle' i fiho ha sångan gi tinayuyot-ña gi annai tiempon atulai,
(This priest is the one who often said in his prayers when it is mackerel season,)

"Asaina!  Na' fan bula na atulai på'go na tiempo!"
("Lord!  Make an abundance of mackerel this season!")

"Na' fan mangonne' i peskadot siha meggagai na atulai!"
("Make the fishermen catch plenty mackerel!")

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


This decal on this person's car reminded me of a dance that was once well-known in the Marianas during Spanish times called the Chotis.   Other Chamorros pronounced it Sotis.

Chamorros adopted a wide number of European dances which they learned from Spaniards, Latin Americans, Filipinos and the British/American whalers.

One of them was the Chotis.  It was originally popular in Vienna (Austria) and thought to be of Scottish ("Schottisch" in German) origin.  When it got to Spain, Schottisch became Chotis.

From Spain it ended up in the Philippines where it underwent a Filipino transformation.  I suspect that the Filipino version of the Chotis is what our great-grandparents ended up dancing here.  I also wouldn't be surprised if the dance morphed a little into something different, however slightly, when our people danced it.

This doesn't mean the chotis danced in the Marianas was exactly the same as this particular performance in the video, but influences in the 1800s came mainly through the Philippines, so it's worth a look.

For the sake of comparison, here's how it's danced in Spain.  Note the differences.

Too bad we have no footage of Chamorros dancing the Chotis/Sotis back in the day.

(traducida por Manuel Rodríguez)


Hubo un baile, alguna vez muy conocido en las Islas Marianas, llamado Chotis. Otros chamorros lo pronunciaban Sotis. Los chamorros adoptaron una gran cantidad de bailes europeos que aprendieron de los españoles, hispanoamericanos, filipinos y de los balleneros británicos y estadounidenses. Uno de ellos fue el Chotis. Originalmente era popular en Viena (Austria) y se pensaba que era de origen escocés ("Schottisch" en alemán). Cuando llegó a España, Schottisch se convirtió en Chotis. De España recaló en Filipinas donde sufrió una transformación local. Sospecho que la versión filipina del Chotis es lo que terminaron bailando nuestros bisabuelos aquí en Guam. Tampoco me sorprendería si el baile se transformara un poco en algo diferente, aunque sea un poco, cuando nuestra gente lo bailaba. Esto no significa que el Chotis bailado en las Marianas fuera exactamente el mismo que el de esta actuación en el vídeo, pero las influencias del siglo XIX llegaron principalmente a través de Filipinas, por lo que vale la pena echarle un vistazo. Lástima que no tenemos imágenes de chamorros bailando el Chotis/Sotis durante el pasado.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


Sports was big on Guam, especially after the war when there was not much else to do in leisure time.  Here are the words of Monsignor Oscar Calvo to his parishioners in Inalåhan in 1947 about a volleyball match between his people and another parish.

På'go gi talo'åne para u fan bola i taotao Holy Name Inalåhan kontra i taotao Holy Name Santa Rita volleyball giya Santa Rita.
(Today at noon the members of the Inalåhan Holy Name will play volleyball against the members of the Santa Rita Holy Name at Santa Rita.)

Para u fan hånao i taotao-ta para ayo na lugåt.
(Our people will go to that place.)

Ta desesea na u maolek todo i che'cho'-ñiha ya u fan måtto mågi siha i manmangånna.
(We wish that all they do will be well and they will come here the winners.)

Fatta na man maolek hit na man "Good Sports."
(Show that we are good at being "Good Sports.")

Nihi todos ta nå'e ånimo ya ta gånna este na huego ya u ta fan måtto mågi man "Champion."
(Let's all give it our best and win this game and come here the "Champion.")


Holy Name.  Was a Catholic men's association, found in every parish at the time.

Fatta.  Means "to show forth, display, exhibit" which then took on the connotation of "bragging, showing off."  But Monsignor Calvo means here the original sense of "showing forth."

Monday, July 22, 2013


Pigo' Cemetery was in existence since Spanish times and, as you can see from the photo, was badly damaged in the American bombing of July 1944.

When the Chamorros started crossing into American lines and into American hands in the closing days of July and the beginning of August, they were directed to a number of civilian refugee camps.

One of them was in Aniguak, which then spilled into the neighboring cemetery.

Chamorros camped out there, some even sleeping in vacant niches.  Medical teams treated the people and basic food was served.  The people found life in the midst of the tombs.

Later, the area reverted to a cemetery, but the old graves and niches are gone.

It's a shame because, had those gravestones survived, we'd have a lot more data to help us with our family trees.

Friday, July 19, 2013


One of the most famous Chamorro songs, recorded by the late, one and only Mike Laguaña.

It's a humorous song, a kassi na kånta (teasing song), making fun of a guy who is overly solicitous concerning his pig.  But many people don't know what he's singing, not making out some of the Chamorro words and others not understanding what the Chamorro words mean.

So, here goes...


Tengnga ilek-mo ga’-mo i babue
(You often say the pig belongs to you)

Sige hao tengnga chinatge
(You keep getting laughed at)

Yanggen måtto hao an pupuenge
(Whenever you come at night)

Para guiya un asiste
(It's the pig you attend to)

Annai un hålla i tappe’-ña
(When you pull his trough)

Ya un fa’gåsi i fache’-ña
(and wash away the mud)

Ya despues de un nå’e na’-ña
(and after you feed it)

Chinatge hao sa’ låmlåm nifen-ña 
(they laugh at you because its teeth shine.)

I wonder where the yellow went
When you brush your teeth with Pepsodent.

Yanggen måtto hao an pupuenge che’lu-ho
(Whenever, brother, you come at night)

Tunanas hao asta i lancho
(you go straight to the ranch)

Ni sikiera un sugo’ nai nåya
(not even to stop by a while)

Ya un ago’ i magågo
(and change your clothes)

Annai humånao hao u mamåsto
(When you go to pasture)

Binatångga hao asta i bañadero
(You're dragged through the muddy puddle)

Annai applacha’ i magågo  
(When your clothes get dirty)

Ilek-mo “Ai lokkue’ che’lo!” 
(You say, "Oh brother!")


~~~This is not a literal translation, because some things are just understood and not spelled out.

~~~Some things are best translated giving the English colloquial equivalent, not necessarily the literal equivalent.
~~~The banter before and after the song is also part of the context.  The first guy is saying how noisy these pigs are.  Mike then says the pigs are his; he has many pigs and he'll sing the story now.
~~~The particular pig he's talking about in the song has a name : Nena', which some people might take exception to because Nena' is a nickname for Ana.  But some Chamorros call out "nena', nena'" to their pigs.  It's our equivalent to "Oink, oink!"
~~~The main jibe is that the man pays so much attention taking care of his pig that even the pig's teeth are shiny white.  The implication is that the guy brushes the pig's teeth with Pepsodent.  You can see that in the closing banter when Mike says, "Na' gueguesgues, na' åpaka'!"  (Brush!  Make it white!)
~~~The refrain is based on an actual Pepsodent commercial :




Thursday, July 18, 2013


Rota's Catholic Church during German times

Georg Fritz, the German district administrator for the Northern Marianas, visited Luta (Rota) from time to time as part of his official duties.

He describes how the Chamorros in Rota quickly learned German songs and European dances.  Some dances, perhaps, were known since Spanish times and others through German contact.

The Chamorros knew how to dance the waltz, polka, the Rheinländer and the Française.

Besides that, German patriotic songs were also being sung in the Catholic church!

Here's one of the German patriotic hymns Fritz said were sung at church in Luta (Rota) :

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


The Ice Plant in Hagåtña

The island of Guam did not see ice, at least locally-produced ice, until the year 1900.  That was less than a year after the American Navy moved in for good.  The Americans were in a hurry to get their ice.

It was on October 6th of that year that the government Ice Plant was opened, amidst great fanfare.

Since it was the Americans who introduced ice on Guam for the first time, our people just called it what the Americans called it. 

Some older Chamorros, especially those with Spanish blood and breeding, may have called it by the Spanish name, hielo. The 1918 von Preissig Chamorro dictionary says that "ice" in Chamorro is called either "ais" or "ielo." But "ais" must have been the more usual word because even von Preissig says that the Chamorros called the "ice plant" the fåbrikan ais, or "ice factory."

Later, in 1921, Pedro Martinez opened his own ice plant as a private business.

When I was growing up, Pedro's Ice Plant was still in business and did a very good business especially after typhoons when the power would be out for weeks and months and there would be no refrigeration.

Monday, July 15, 2013


A few months before the Japanese invaded Guam in December of 1941, two Chamorros in Hagåtña were talking.

One was a Chamorro gentleman who had been born in Saipan but who moved to Guam as a young adult.  He knew both the German and Japanese times in Saipan.  Besides his own insight into Japanese plans for the future, communication with relatives still in Saipan may have added to his premonitions.

He told a Chamorro woman, born and raised on Guam, "Fanhongge, siempre man zinozori hit."

"Believe it, we will surely be wearing zori."

Zori, or Japanese-style slippers, were not used on Guam much before the war.

Perhaps being careful lest he be considered a Japanese sympathizer, he used code words to tell the lady that sooner or later Guam would be overrun by the Japanese.


FALINGO : to lose , to disappear, to be missing.

Dies libras ha na' falingo!  S/he lost ten pounds!

Håfa malingu-mo?  What did you lose?

Dångkulo i malingu-ho.  I lost a lot.

Malingo i salåppe'.  The money disappeared.


Malingo means "lost" as in "not found," or "not visible to the one seeking."

Abak means to lose one's way; to not know where one is or how to proceed or return.

Example :

"Malingo i patgon" means that a child is lost and, up to now, has not been found.

"Abak i patgon" means that a child doesn't know where s/he is and how to get home.

In the Chamorro hymn about the Child Jesus lost in the Temple, part of it goes :

Tayuyute ham, Maria, gi patgon-mo ni malingo.
(Pray for us, Mary, to your child who went missing.)

Our Lord was not abak; He knew exactly where He was.  But He was missing, lost to Mary who didn't know for three days where He was.


As a side note, petdido is a Spanish word meaning "lost" and is used in the title for Jesus when He was lost in the Temple.  Niño Perdido means "Lost Child" and is the patron of Asan's Church.

But, among older Chamorros, petdido is also used to mean "lost" but in a very negative way.  It implies a hopeless, irredeemable loss.

Examples :

"Mångge i salape'-mo?"  (Where is your money?)
"Petdido."  (Lost, as in a bet, and can never return.)

When speaking about someone who is seen as a hopeless alcoholic, drug addict or always in trouble with the law, older people will sometimes say that person is petdido

This sense, of course, is not applied to the Lost Child Jesus.

Friday, July 12, 2013


Father Jesus Baza Dueñas did not like the Japanese.  Not even the Japanese Catholic priests sent to Guam by order of the Japanese Government.  One of the two Japanese priests stayed for a short while; the other till the American return.

Dueñas was not liked by the Japanese either.  They considered him a problem.  He put up resistance to Japanese rules as much as he could before he crossed the line.  He tested those lines often.

He wasn't afraid to show his displeasure at Chamorros, too, who cooperated with or who were friendly with the Japanese.

Dueñas had some information on Tweed, the American radio man who was in hiding, but Dueñas did not know as much as the Japanese thought he knew.  But that was what the Japanese could pin on him, and that they did.

On July 8, 1944, as the Americans were raining down bombs on Guam and the Japanese had a sense that all was lost; knowing that their bastion up north, Saipan, had already fallen into American hands; in their desperation and anger, the Japanese military police, the Kempeitai, arrested Dueñas in Inalåhan.

In a private residence in Inalåhan used by the Japanese, they beat and tortured the priest.  Witnesses told me they saw him hanging by his hands, tied with rope, from the ceiling. 

Then, he was taken to Tutuhan (Agaña Heights) to the Butler ranch used by the Kempeitai and beaten some more.

In the dark, early morning hours of July12, he was taken to Tå'i where the Japanese agricultural section of the government, the Kaikontai, had a station.  There he was beheaded, along with three others, including his nephew Edward Dueñas, the Island Attorney.

Prior to being taken to Tå'i, while he was in Tutuhan, he could have escaped with some other Chamorro detainees, when the guard had nodded off.  But Dueñas refused, saying, "God will save me."

Father Dueñas' grave marker in the floor of the sanctuary of Inalåhan's Church of Saint Joseph.  After the war, with the aid of a Saipanese interpreter who was present at the beheading of Father Dueñas, Monsignor Calvo and others had his body dug up, identified and then buried once again in his parish church.


This time, we have three, not just two, different uses for the same site in Agaña.

Santa Cruz Church
This was the 2nd Catholic Church in Hagåtña before the war.  It was built on land donated to the church by the original owner, Antonia Cruz Untalan.

As you can see, the church was much too damaged during the American bombardment of 1944.  Besides that, Hagåtña lost almost all of its prior residents and there was no need for a second church anymore.

Catholic Medical Center

In time, the Catholic Church, still owners of that land, decided to build a clinic - the first church-owned clinic on Guam.  It was opened in July of 1955.

The clinic closed sometime at the end of the 60s or early 70s and sat abandoned for some years.  Later, a commercial building was built on the same site and now houses a law firm.

Thursday, July 11, 2013


From a church announcement in 1947 by Monsignor Oscar Calvo in Inalåhan :

Hokkok sen bonito todo i selebrasion-ta gi 19 de Måtso. 
(All of our celebrations on the 19th of March were very beautiful to the fullest.)

Si Yu'us Ma'åse' ta nå'e i Señot Obispo yan si Påle' Superiot yan i pumalon mamåle' ni man måtto mågi para u ha misåye hit un sen bonito na Misa.
(We give thanks to the Bishop and Father Superior and the other priests who came here to say for us a very beautiful Mass.)

Si Yu'us Ma'åse' nu i kantoran Hagåtña pot i boniton na kåntan-ñiha
(Thanks to the Hagåtña choir for their beautiful songs.)

Si Yu'us Ma'åse' as Alejandro Aquiningoc pot i sen bonito siha na pinentån-ña
(Thanks to Alejandro Aquiningoc for his very beautiful paintings.)

Katolikon Inalåhan, annok na yagin man malago' hit, todo ta na' siña.
(Inarajan Catholics, it shows that if we want, we can do all.)

I che'cho'-ta gi gima'yu'os-ta ma sen aprueba nu i linahyan.
(Our work in our church is very approved by the crowd.)

Hokkok otguyoso yo' nu hamyo.
(My pride in you is complete.)

Hu desesea mohon na u ta na' annok i mås boniton che'cho'-ta gi mamamaila' na mes gi "Gipot Patrosinio."
(I wish that we will show our best work in the coming month in the "Feast of the Patrosinio.")

Para u sisige ha' maulek i che'cho'-ta, ta fan a'ayuda todos hit ya ta na' guaguaha i espiritun kooperasion giya hita.
(Our work will continue to work well, let us all help each other and let us create the spirit of cooperation among us.)

Hokkok.  We normally think of it meaning "finished, depleted."  But the essential meaning is "to the fullest extent."  When something is completely gone, it is gone to the fullest extent.  This is a nice term in Chamorro to express perfection, completion.  I have heard older people say, "Hokkok minagof-ho!"  "My joy is complete!"  "I couldn't be more happy!"  But younger speakers of Chamorro may need to be taught this original meaning of hokkok because today it is only understood to mean "depleted."  Which means when they hear someone say, "Hokkok minagof-ho," they may be tempted to think it means "I have no more joy," when in reality the person means the exact opposite.

Påle' Superiot.  In 1947, the Catholic Church on Guam was still a mission entrusted to the Capuchin Friars, so their Father Superior had greater status then than he does now.  In fact, in 1947, Father (later Monsignor) Calvo was the only Chamorro priest.  Everyone else was a Capuchin from the U.S. mainland.

Kantora.  Means "singer," and female at that.  Kantot would be a male singer.  Koro means choir.  But here Monsignor is thanking the singers in the choir, who happen to all be women.

Yagin.  Another term that has given way to the predominant use of yanggen.  Both can mean "if" but also "when."  "Yagin malago' hao," "When you want" or "If you want."

LinahyanLåhyan means "abundant" or "numerous."  Linahyan means a large group of people, a crowd.  Here, Monsignor Calvo means the work of the church people is appreciated by the people, but literally he means "the masses of people, the crowd of people."