Tuesday, September 30, 2014


The first legislative body in Guam with real legislative power. It was elected in 1950. They were all members of the Popular Party, the only party, really, to speak of at the time.

Speaker Antonio B. Won Pat
Vice Speaker Frank D. Perez

Vicente B. Bamba
Baltazar J. Bordallo
Eduardo T. Calvo
Antonio C. Cruz
Antonio SN Dueñas
Leon D. Flores
Manuel F. Leon Guerrero
Jose D. Leon Guerrero
Francisco B. Leon Guerrero
Pedro B. Leon Guerrero
Manuel U. Lujan
Jesus C. Okiyama
Joaquin A. Perez
Joaquin C. Perez
Jesus R. Quinene
Ignacio P. Quitugua
Florencio T. Ramirez
James T. Sablan
Joaquin S. Santos

Four Leon Guerreros!

Some Names

Won Pat - half Chinese. His father Ignacio was a cook for the U.S. Navy. His mother had Sumay (Borja) and Merizo (Soriano) roots. Won Pat was a teacher before the war. The Won Pat political legacy continues in his daughter, Judi Won Pat. Both father and daughter were Speaker of the Guam Legislature for multiple terms. Was Speaker of every Legislature except the 3rd and the 8th, and he thereafter ran for and was elected Guam's first delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives.

Frank D. Perez - founder of Perez Brothers.

Baltazar J. Bordallo - half Spanish. Father of the future Governor Ricky J. Bordallo, and father-in-law of current Guam Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo in Washington, DC. Bordallo, together with F.B. Leon Guerrero (see below) went to the U.S. before the war to advocate U.S. citizenship for Guam Chamorros.

Leon D. Flores - half Filipino. His father (also Leon) was a Filipino revolutionary who was exiled to Guam for refusing to recognize American authority in the Philippines. He decided to stay on Guam and married here. His son Leon, the senator here listed, was Island Attorney for a while. Leon, the senator, was a Dungca on his mother's side; also a family with Filipino roots. Leon, the senator, was half-brother with Father (later Archbishop) Felixberto Camacho Flores, who also happened to be the Chaplain of the First Guam Legislature, and he can be seen on the left side of this photo. Leon was married to Josefina Torres Ramirez, sister of Florencio T. Ramirez, senator. Two brothers-in-law in the same legislature.

Francisco B. Leon Guerrero - would later oust Won Pat from the speakership in the 3rd Guam Legislature.

Manuel F. Leon Guerrero - a future governor.

Florencio T. Ramirez - future Speaker of the Legislature.

James T. Sablan - a Baptist and, I believe, the only non-Catholic in the Legislature. Shows that Guam's overwhelmingly Catholic voters at the time did not penalize him for being Baptist! Became an outspoken advocate for the reunification of the Marianas.

Monday, September 29, 2014


Chamorros have been marrying Filipinos for 300 years and have Filipino blood running through their veins.

In the 1800s, though, the Spaniards started to send to the Marianas Filipino convicts, or presidiarios. Obviously, at least some of these men would have had rough backgrounds, perhaps even a criminal mindset. From time to time, some of these presidiarios caused problems, giving Chamorros the idea that Filipinos could be pekno (murderous).

Chamorros, on the other hand, were more inclined to commit suicide than homicide. When the rare murder perpetrated by a Chamorro happened, it was usually a crime of passion; jealousy over a woman and things like that. But Chamorros thought the Filipinos were more calculating and daring; less hesitant to kill a complete stranger for sometimes the smallest of reasons.

In January of 1874, five Filipino convicts escaped from their work detail. The presidiarios weren't holed up in a prison cell all day long. In fact, many times they were given the freedom to move about, although with some restrictions, like a curfew. During the day, they were often put to work on public projects, such as road laying.

To show the mixed feelings held by Chamorros towards Filipinos, two Chamorro women accompanied the convicts as they made their way south to Humatåk! One was a single woman, Juana Mendiola, and a married woman, Maria Aguero, the wife of Pedro Gogo. Were these two women girlfriends/mistresses of some of these Filipino convicts?

The escaping party met up with a village official, who made the mistake of not arresting the convicts and taking them to Hagåtña, which is what he should have done, according to government policy. This error cost someone his life, for at some point the convicts came upon Alejandro Quinene of Malesso'. Quinene had a gun and a machete, and he was killed in order to obtain them.

Why the convicts didn't simply ask Quinene for those items is unknown. Perhaps, knowing that Quinene had the upper hand with that gun, the Filipinos decided not to negotiate but rather kill Quinene right off. It was a bloody murder. Quinene had a gash across his face, and gashes on the head, stomach, intestines and back. Poor guy.

The men then stole a boat owned by Lino Roberto, port official in Humåtak. The five were never heard of again, and it was suspected that they didn't make it, because the boat they stole was leaking badly.

The record says nothing further about the two Chamorro ladies.

The murder of Alejandro Quinene happened in the vicinity of Humåtak.

Chamorros even married some of the Filipino convicts down through the years. But incidents like the murder of Alejandro Quinene were the things that created in many Chamorro minds a negative stereotype of Filipinos in the 1800s.

Source : Crónica of Padre Ibáñez

Friday, September 26, 2014


Guam's Lepblon Kånta
"Katoliko" is not found in the Guam hymnal

"Katoliko" is one of the better-known Chamorro Catholic hymns in all the Marianas. But, oddly enough, it is not found in the Guam Chamorro Catholic hymnal, the Lepblon Kånta, which was printed before World War II.

The reason is because "Katoliko" was first sung in Saipan. We do not know who wrote the Chamorro lyrics. It does not appear among the hymns composed by the German Capuchins, so it was more than likely written during the Japanese period. Oral tradition says Gregorio Sablan (Kilili') may have had something to do with its composition. That means he probably assisted a Jesuit priest stationed in Saipan with the Chamorro text. Or, he could have composed the Chamorro lyrics entirely. Ton Kilili', as he was known, was the strongest lay leader in the Church in Saipan at the time.

After the war, Guam and Saipan became united under the one Catholic mission, or Apostolic Vicariate, based in Guam. Bishop Baumgartner was responsible for the Northern Marianas, as well as Guam (and Wake!).

Påle' Jose Tardio, a Spanish Jesuit, stayed on in Saipan till 1947 to ease the transition from him to the American Capuchins. Father Ferdinand Stippich, an American Capuchin who came to Guam in 1939 and who spoke basic Chamorro, was the first American friar assigned to Saipan. The Chamorros called him "Påle' Fernando."

It was he who thought it might be a good idea to send Saipanese choir members to Guam to teach the Chamorros of Guam the hymn "Katoliko." Maybe it was thought a good idea to create some contact between the Chamorros of both islands, since they were now, for that time, one Vicariate. The war was just over, and there were still bitter feelings among many Guam Chamorros about some Saipanese interpreters (and this lasted for well over 40 years). Perhaps they could find some common ground in their common Catholic faith.

As Tan Esco narrates, she was one of those sent to Guam to do this. As she says, a good number of Saipan Chamorros, as herself, had close relatives on Guam with whom she could stay. She implies that two families had a friendly competition who would house her.

Some notes on our dialogue :

1. Notice the way she disciplines the children to be quiet. 

2. She uses the expression "Manana si Yu'us" in the traditional way, meaning "When daylight broke," not as a greeting, which only came about in the last ten years or so.

3. She uses the word chatgon, meaning "cheerful, smiling."

4. Her word for "not yet" is the Saipan form tarabia, whereas on Guam it is trabia. Both forms are derived from the Spanish todavía.

Thursday, September 25, 2014


Tamuning Sodality in the 1950s

Sermon preached in the 1950s

På'go na ha'åne para u fan ma profesa man nuebo na miembon i Hijas de Maria.
(Today new members of the Sodality will be professed.)

Magof yo' pot este siha na mañotterita ya hu gågagao si Yu'us yan si Santa Maria na u fan ma nå'e meggai na gråsia para gian-ñiha.
(I am happy for these young women and I ask God and the Blessed Mother to give them many graces to be their guide.)

Este siha na mañotterita man gaige gi gai minappot na edåt.
(These young women are at a difficult age.)

Mangokokolo' para u fan echa sottera.
(They are growing to become single women.)

Guaha siha meggai na tentasion.
(There is a lot of temptation.)

I anite siempre u fan tinientasiune para u ma komete isao, espesiåtmente kontra i santos na ginasgas.
(The devil will surely tempt them to commit sin, especially against holy purity.)

Yanggen este siha na famalao'an u na' fan fiet siha na man miembron i Hijas,
(If these women become faithful members of the Sodality,)

ya u fañåga chetton as Jesus yan Maria, siha siempre u fan siña bumense todo i tentasion i anite.
(if they remain close to Jesus and Mary, they will be able to overcome all the devil's temptations.)

Este siha na mañotterita manmanpromete as Jesukristo yan Santa Maria na u ha na' fan lamaolek siha na famalao'an gi manmamamaila' na tiempo.
(These young women promise Jesus Christ and the Blessed Mother to become better women in the coming days.)

Hu felisisita hamyo mañotteritas på'go na ha'åne, ya hu gågagao na nungka nai en che'gue håfa na kosas ni para u fan dinesonra i Hijas siha.
(I congratulate you young women today, and I ask that you will never do anything to dishonor the Sodality.)

Wednesday, September 24, 2014


Francisco M. Portusach
in a newspaper depiction

When the Americans captured Guam and arrested the Spanish government officials, taking them away from the island on June 22, 1898, Francisco Martínez Portusach, a Spanish-Chamorro mestizo and only American citizen on Guam at the time, claimed he was given verbal authorization by Captain Henry Glass, in charge of the American capture of Guam, to assume responsibility for the island's government. This was also what newspapers said, shortly after the event.

For half a year, Portusach's rule over Guam was contested by José Sisto, the last official of the Spanish government of the Marianas. Others, such as Venancio Roberto, Joaquin Cruz Pérez and William Coe, put forward by local committees or by U.S. officials passing through, also held title.

Finally, in August of 1899, over a year after the U.S. took possession of Guam but without establishing a firm government, Captain Richard P. Leary of the U.S. Navy arrived as duly appointed Governor of Guam.

Leary was not a popular governor. He was considered an authoritarian, military man with no ability to win the hearts of his subjects, nor having any desire to do so. He issued executive orders and expected compliance, or punishment.

Capt. Richard P. Leary
First American Naval Governor of Guam

He issued orders against the sale of local liquor (tuba, åguayente) to American servicemen. Many Chamorros lived with partners without benefit of marriage, raising illegitimate children. It was said that people did this because they had no money to pay the church fees for weddings. Other couples lived together without marriage because one was, and sometimes both persons were, already married but that relationship went sour. Since divorce and re-marriage were not possible under Spanish and Catholic laws, many resorted to simply living together. There is also the human factor, widely seen today in domestic partnerships, that the easy route is often the one chosen. Leary wanted to put a stop to concubinage, and issued an executive order to that effect. Later, Leary was to allow the first divorces on Guam. But many Chamorros found themselves in a complicated situation with the Church because of it.

Leary also expelled the Spanish missionaries, removed crucifixes from the schools, drastically reduced the number of public holidays (which were mostly religious), prohibited the ringing of the church bell before certain hours and halted religious processions in the streets. Many Chamorros found all this too much! Leary actually had to issue another order to enforce the prior order ending all religious instruction in the schools, since the Chamorro teachers had ignored the earlier order.

With the force of the pen, Leary thought he could compel every adult Chamorro to learn to write his or her name, solve the stray dog issue by mandating dog licenses for a fee, get more people to work the land, stop gambling, including cock fighting.

Even his fellow Americans, at least the lower ranks of the Marines, resented Leary's forceful manner. The men once tried to go on strike, and Leary threatened to shoot them himself if they didn't continue their work detail.

Hawaii headline announcing Portusach's arrival
On his way to Washington to lodge complaints against Leary

Francisco Portusach also had his run-ins with Leary. Portusach shared the same complaints the others had about Leary's heavy handedness. According to a newspaper interview, Portusach said Leary fined him $100 and put him in jail for a week, for reasons Portusach doesn't tell. The stress was too much for Portusach's wife, who took sick with typhoid and died.

Portusach said that Leary claimed he was supreme on Guam; he was the law. When Chamorros saw Leary from a distance, Portusach said, they'd say to each other, "There goes God." Portusach himself said that the U.S. Congress might have a thing or two to say about Leary's claim to be a law unto himself, and, when Leary retired as Governor in June of 1900, Portusach traveled to the U.S. making known to the American press the discontent many felt with the ex-Governor. One report says he went as far as Washington, DC.

One of many news articles in the U.S. about Leary's negative reputation

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


Some records of the 1800s state that some American and British whalers were not too technical about observing freedom of choice when it came to employment.

Whaling ships often had deserters. Other crew men died on the voyage. Whatever the reason, whaling ships were often in need of new, able hands, and any young man hanging around the docks was fair game for some captains.

In 1899, one John Sablan (he would have been named Juan, but renamed John when he became a crew member on an American ship), from Guam, claims that he was simply working on a whaling ship while it was anchored off Guam.  He was probably doing light maintenance work or repairs, or perhaps even just loading things on or off.

Well, according to Sablan, before you know it, the ship had lifted anchor and set sail; the island of Guam, with all his family, growing smaller and smaller on the horizon. Sablan protested to the ship's captain, all to no avail.

In time, he was "dumped" at San Francisco, California. Perhaps the captain regretted selecting this one individual to kidnap.

Sablan was not a man easily abused. He got himself a lawyer in San Francisco and filed suit in U.S. District Court against W.T. Storey, master of the whaling ship, the Andrew Hicks.  Sablan was hoping to get $5,000 in damages. Quite a sum.

Did Sablan win his $5,000? Did he stay and die in California?

Still trying to find out.

Monday, September 22, 2014


So at some point, we don't know exactly when, someone introduced a new farming tool, or ramienta, in the Marianas.

The fusiños, along with the machete, became every Chamorro male's best friend.

It was used to dig holes or to uproot grass and weeds. The long handle, often made of paipai wood, made it work well as a thrust hoe. You lifted the fusiños diagonally and thrust in the opposite direction, and not much muscle was needed.

The fusiños blade, as seen above, had a tooth-like protrusion on one side, to be used when you needed to tug at something to pull away, like a difficult root.


The wood of choice for the fusiños was the paipai (scientific name, Guamia Mariannae). First, this wood grew straight, so it could easily be made into a pole. Secondly, the wood was not very heavy, so it could be handled without being tiresome.


Many sources say, without much documentation, if any, that the word fusiños is Portuguese. Whether that means the tool itself came from some Portuguese settler or visitor to Guam, is not known.

One wonders if this is probable. There were a few Portuguese men who settled on Guam, marrying Chamorros and raising families. For all we know, they introduced this gardening tool. But these numbered just 3 or 4, maybe slightly more, and most, if not all, came to Guam in the 1800s. It seems rather late in the game for the introduction of a farming tool that became so widespread in Chamorro farming.

It seems more likely that it was introduced earlier in colonial times by someone of greater social influence, like a government official or school teacher. Remember that the priests in Hagåtña taught many things, like agriculture, and not just reading and writing. The church school ran its own ranches, too, partly for the needs of the school. From there, new influences could spread all over the islands as the students left school to return to their families.

From the word itself, the name of this implement, we might gather some more clues. The common belief is that the word is Portuguese. Indeed, it is not Spanish.

But the Portuguese word focinho means "muzzle" or "snout," like a pig's snout. There is no other Portuguese word that comes close to the sound of the word fusiño that means anything like a farm implement.

But there is a language spoken in Spain that is closely related to Portuguese - Galician. Many people don't know that there are several languages spoken in Spain, not just Castilian, and that there are numerous local dialects with many words not used anywhere else except in that location.

And lo and behold there is a Galician word fouciño. The puzzle is that the current meaning of fouciño is a "scythe" or "sickle." While a scythe is used to cut grass, it is nowhere near a hoe.

The Fouciño de Ouro, or Golden Scythe
from a children's book in the Galician language

But then one must always remember that words in a language often change in meaning over time. Two or three hundred years ago, when the fusiños was probably introduced on Guam, there could have been an older meaning to a word now used in a different way.

It seems this is the case with fouciño in the Galician language. An older use of the word fouciño defines it as a hoe, with a long handle and a curved blade, used in pasturing or to cut branches and bushes with hard stems or stalks. The word is a synonym of the Galician word fouce, related to the Castilian hoz, which means "scythe." *

I think it is a better bet to say that our word fusiños comes from a Spaniard from Galicia (a priest? government official?) who either brought one to Guam where it was replicated, or perhaps even had the first one made right here, based on the tool he knew from back home in Galicia, Spain.

But, it's just a thought. People didn't document a lot of things back then. They thought it wasn't important enough to put to paper.


Friday, September 19, 2014


There is a Camacho family better-known-as the familian Títires.

There is a street named Títires in Maite and some of the family live in that area.

The word títeres is Spanish, the plural of the singular títere and it means "puppet" or "marionette."

But Chamorros added another layer of meaning to it, but one can see where they got it.

Påle' Román's older Chamorro dictionary says that titires can still mean "puppet."

But it can also mean a "buffoon, a joker, a clownish person, a jester."

Modern Chamorro dictionaries add the meaning "unruly" or "ill-mannered."

Since puppets are often used to act out comical antics, it's not surprising that Chamorros expanded the meaning of titires to include the kind of behavior puppets perform.

Thursday, September 18, 2014


I like the musical style of the Saralu singers.

Sa' pot hågo nene muna' ti maigo' yo' gi painge.
(Because of you, baby, I couldn't sleep last night.)

Mamomokkat yo' gi hilo' satge, chumuchupa yo' pues hu gimen kafe.
(I walked on the floor, I smoked and drank coffee.)

Sa' pot hågo nene muna' ti maigo' yo' gi painge.
(Because of you, baby, I couldn't sleep last night.)

Humånao yo' mamokkat ya hu a'atan hulo' i pilan;
(I went walking and looked up at the stars)
matå'chong yo' yan i gitalå-ho ya kumånta yo' ni man na' mahalang. (1)
(I sat with my guitar and sang sad songs.)

Sa' pot hågo nene muna' ti maigo' yo' gi painge.
(Because of you, baby, I couldn't sleep last night.)

Maolek-ña mohon yan ti hu sotta hao ya ta hita maigo'
(It would have been better had I not let you go and still sleep together)
lao yanggen lache yo' cha'-mo mamassa' fåfåtto ya un ga'chunge yo'.
(But if I was wrong don't hesitate to come and be with me.)

Umå'åsson yo' guine an puenge, bira bira yo' gi asson-ho, (2)
(I lie here at night, and toss and turn on my bed.)

Sa' pot hågo nene muna' ti maigo' yo' gi painge.
(Because of you, baby, I couldn't sleep last night.)

Humånao yo' mamokkat ya hu a'atan hulo' i pilan;
(I went walking and looked up at the stars)
matå'chong yo' yan i gitalå-ho ya kumånta yo' ni man na' mahalang.
(I sat with my guitar and sang sad songs.)

Sa' pot hågo nene muna' ti maigo' yo' gi painge.
(Because of you, baby, I couldn't sleep last night.)

Maolek-ña mohon yan ti hu sotta hao ya ta hita maigo'
(It would have been better had I not let you go and still sleep together)
lao yanggen lache yo' cha'-mo mamassa' fåfåtto ya un ga'chunge yo'.
(But if I was wrong don't hesitate to come and be with me.)

Umå'åsson yo' guine an puenge, bira bira yo' gi asson-ho,
(I lie here at night, and toss and turn on my bed.)

Sa' pot hågo nene muna' ti maigo' yo' gi painge.
(Because of you, baby, I couldn't sleep last night.)

Ai, sa' pot hågo.....
(Oh, because of you...)
na ti maigo' yo' gi painge.
(I couldn't sleep last night.)


(1) Mahålang is not exactly "sad." Triste is "sad." To be mahålang is to be deflated, low in spirits, missing someone or something.

(2) Åsson is "to lie down." Literally the song says he was turning and turning (bira) in his "lying down."


Wednesday, September 17, 2014


Two guys, possibly brothers, had $1,116 in an account on Guam in 1864.  They were suspected to be living in Hawaii, though, at the time, and I suspect the Spanish government on Guam asked Mr. Wyllie, the Hawaiian Foreign Affairs Minister, to get in contact with the two.

We have no idea who they were and why they had that amount of money stashed at the government treasury on Guam.

They had Spanish first names, Jose and Doroteo (misspelled Dorateo in the notice).

But their last name, Baranas, is a mystery.

Baranas is not a known Spanish surname.  Perhaps it was also misspelled?

The name doesn't appear, as far as we know, in any Guam document.

Is it Filipino? There is a place called Barana in the Philippines. There may be some people with that last name.

Baranas doesn't sound Chamorro.


It's just a hunch, but try, if you will, to have the ears of a 19th century American or British clerk (they were often the clerks in Hawaii at the time), trying to spell the unfamiliar name Barcinas.  Remember, these guys are not well-acquainted with Spanish, or Chamorro, sounds. Chances are some Chamorros couldn't even spell their own names, and clerks often didn't even ask you to spell it. The clerk decided how to spell it.

We know, for example, that, in the Hawaiian records, there was a man identified as a native of Guam living in Hawaii since the 1860s. In the Hawaiian records, he is named Jose Bassinus. BAH - SEEN - US. And, one of the 2 Baranas guys in the notice is Jose.

Sounds very suspiciously close to Barcinas. Look at the way our younger, Americanized Chamorros try to spell Chamorro....using their Americanized ears. Månnge' become mungy to some of them.

Here's another reason why I suspect Baranas could really be Barcinas. Remember that initial documents were done by hand, not printed, as in a newspaper. In the penmanship they had in those days, Barcinas would have been written something like the above. You can see how someone unfamiliar with the name Barcinas, depending on just how clear or unclear the writer was, with the C and I close together, could think it was an A. Did the typesetter or newspaper clerk look at something handwritten and misread it? It looks very suspicious to me.

So I wouldn't be surprised is Baranas was some guy's spelling of Barcinas. But all I am willing to say is it's one possibility among many.

One clue : there were, in fact, two brothers named Jose and Doroteo Barcinas. And they seem to have been away from Guam in the 1860s, the time of this notice.

In the end, we have to just admit it's a mystery who they were.

I wonder if they ever did get a hold of their money.  In today's values, their stash was worth around $15,000.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


We have no photos of the Agat Konbento in 1855. But houses in those days tended to look something like this.

Between 1849 and 1855, the village of Hågat (Agat) was getting a new priest house, or konbento. This was certainly needed, since the konbento of Agat was specifically mentioned in Father Ibáñez's chronicle as having suffered damage in the earthquake of January, 1849.

In those days, under the Spanish, the men of the community had to put in a certain amount of hours working on public projects such as the building of roads, bridges and buildings. This was to substitute for taxes, which were not collected in the Marianas, since the people didn't have much money to speak of and whose harvests were not big enough to be treated as a government resource.

Since Catholicism was the state religion under the Spanish in those days, the building of a priest house was a public works project. Sometimes, the konbento was the only stone house in the village. The best they could do in those days was make houses using a mixture of coral rock and mortar, called mampostería.

We have the list of men who worked on the konbento project in Hågat. We don't know exactly what each one did, except for the more skilled ones with titles. The others, we can assume, did the more basic work of carrying, lifting and so forth. It is not certain all these men worked at the same time, or were rather spread out over the six year time period of this project.


José Mendiola

José Santos

Francisco Taitano

Gregorio Alejo (1)
Gregorio Mendiola

Basilio Crisóstomo
José Tanoña (2)

Marcelino Demapán (3)

Ramón Cruz

I could be wrong, but these skilled laborers were, perhaps, not all from Hågat.  At least, some of their surnames are not found in documents concerning that village, and other surnames in this list are so common that they could be from Hågat but just as possibly from other places. Since they were skilled workers, perhaps they were hired from Hagåtña or other villages, while the laborers below were Hågat people. 




BABAUÑA, José (4)
BABAUÑA, Mariano
BABAUÑA, Silvestre


CRUZ, Aniceto

EÑAO, Alvino (5)

HOCOG, José (6)

LAGUAÑA, Francisco

LASCANO, Manuel (7)


PINAULA, Fulgencio
PINAULA, Paulino


QUITAUJE, Mariano (8)


ROSA, Francisco de la

SAN NICOLÁS, Francisco

TAEÑAO, Alejandro

TAISIGO, Ciriaco (9)
TAISIGO, Clemente

TAITIGUAN, Domingo (10)


Of the 20 surnames listed among the laborers, 14 are Chamorro names.

(1) I have not come across Alejo as a family name before. Unsure who he is. Chamorro? Filipino?

(2) The Tanoña family died out eventually, but there were people with this last name not too long ago.

(3) Some of the Demapans moved to Saipan, where they became more numerous. The branch that remained on Guam was not so numerous.

(4) There was, at one time, a family in Hågat named Babauña. That family name disappeared, though Babauta survived. They are two different families. In old Chamorro, babao meant something like a flag, or banner, or symbol.

(5) Another family that disappeared.

(6) When we hear this name, we think of Luta (Rota) but Hågat also had its own Hocog family, but it died out.

(7) More Lascanos are found in Humåtak. Maybe this one was from Humåtak but moved to Hågat. Or did the Lascano originate in Hågat and some moved to Humåtak? Even the Lascanos in Humåtak died out.

(8) Another old Chamorro family that died out.

(9) A family that died out. Could come from the word sugo' (to stop by, to pass the while, to enter).

(10) Another family whose name faded away. Meaning unsure. 

Many names were spelled differently in those days, and there was inconsistency many times, as well. Terlaje was sometimes spelled Tarlaje; Dimapan for Demapan; Jocog for Hocog; Nededoc for Nededog; Tayañao for Taeñao.

Lastly....the project seems to have been completed by 1855. The next year, in 1856, a smallpox epidemic devastated the island, killing off half the population. Many of the men listed here would have been among the dead.

Friday, September 12, 2014


Chamorro hymn to the Holy Name of Mary. The patroness of the Hagåtña Cathedral is the Dulce Nombre de Maria, the Sweet Name of Mary, a different version of the same title. The feast is today, September 12.

O JESUS BAI IN KANTÅYE, si Maria i Nanå-mo :
(Oh Jesus, we will sing to Mary your Mother :)

Nånan Yu'us as Maria, u ma tuna i na'ån-mo.
(Mary, Mother of God, blessed be your name.)

Singko letras ma tuge'-ña, i bonito na na'ån-mo;
(Your beautiful name is spelled with five letters;)
ti hinentan nu i taotao, pat pine'lo mañaina-mo;
(it was not discovered by man nor given you by your parents;)
lao tinago' i Saina-ta ni tumungo' i bidå-mo. (1)
(but commanded by Our Lord who knew your life.)

Mames na Nå'an Maria, mames nai i masangån-mo,
(Sweet Name of Mary, it is sweet to pronounce it,)
långet, tåno' yan i tase, estague' gi matunå-mo.
(in heaven, on earth and sea, there is your praise.)
Tåya' nai gi hilo' tåno' ni umige' i Na'ån-mo.
(There is nothing on earth that surpasses your Name.)

Hågo pulan i hinemhom ya mani'ina gi tano'
(You are the moon in the darkness which shines on earth)
kalan åtdao talo'åne på'go ennao ininå-mo,
(your light is as bright as the noonday sun.)
Nina'inan Yu'us Åtdao as Jesus ni fina'nå-mo. (2)
(illuminated by God the Sun, Jesus, whom you behold.)

Gin in atan i tasi-ta in hasuye i Na'ån-mo; (3)
(When we look at the sea, we remember your Name;)
yagin taichi i tase, taihinekkok i grasiå-mo.
(If the sea i limitless, your grace is without end.)
Yagin sahguan hånom guiya, hågo Sahguan i Saina-mo.
(If the sea contains water, you are the vessel of your Lord.)

U fan magof i tumamtam i minames i Na'ån-mo.
(Those who taste the sweetness of your Name will rejoice.)
Gi inetnon i man ånghet taiminaktos matunå-mo.
(Your praise is eternal among the choirs of angels.)
Asta ke man måtto guennao gi mina'lak echongñå-mo. (4)
(Until we arrive there by your brilliant side.)


(1) This line is based on the tradition that SS Joachim and Anne were inspired by God to give their daughter the name Mary.

(2) This verse (quite beautiful) speaks of Mary as the moon. Like the moon, she does not shine her own light, but rather that of the sun, who is Christ, whom she faces, as she is His mother.

(3) This verse is based on one interpretation of the meaning of the name Mary, or Mariam in the Greek New Testament. That theory says the name is based on the word "sea."  Christian theologians who agree with this see in this explanation a connection with Mary as being full of grace, as full as the oceans of the world are full of water. Mary is also called Star of the Sea, the light that guides our lives amidst the stormy waters of the sea.

(4) Here's that word again that modern Chamorros don't understand. The meaning has been lost. They confuse it with the word echong, which means "crooked." But there is a separate word echongña, which means "side."

From von Preissig's dictionary

Thursday, September 11, 2014


In the early 1900s, several sisters, descendants of a Chamorro settler, enjoyed great success entertaining Hawaiians with song and dance.

Ignacio Aflague left Guam in the 1870s and eventually set up home in Hawaii, on the Big Island. In 1885, he married a Portuguese settler, Maria (or Mary) de Rego Souza. The couple had eight children together.

One son Joseph, had Enos for a middle name. Pronounced by an American, Enos would sound like ee-nos, which is close to the pronunciation of the Chamorro nickname for Ignacio, which is Inas. Is there a connection between Enos and Ignacio in Joseph's case? Joseph worked for the Oahu Railway and Land Company and eventually opened a business of his own, Aflague's Machine Works in Honolulu.

But far more prominent in Hawaii's social scene in the early 1900s were Ignacio's youngest daughter, who formed a singing group called the Aflague Sisters, sometimes called the Little Aflague Sisters.

And they certainly were little when they performed before the audience. Lucille, who played the ukulele, was but 11 years old when she and her younger sister Adeline began entertaining as a duo in 1910. Adeline was only 9 years old. They continued to perform frequently throughout the 1910s, right through the First World War until 1919. The sisters were now young adults with an eye towards marriage and family life and future careers. But while they performed, they were very popular with the crowds. They did it all; Spanish dances, Hawaiian songs and current hits.

They sang and danced not only at concert halls and theaters, but also for benefits, once for the Sacred Heart Church at Punahou.

An older daughter was Constance, who was a teacher (at one time in Waipahu) and who eventually married Louis Vivien in 1911 at Saint Augustine Catholic Church in Waikiki.

Another daughter was Gloria Aflague, who was a pianist and who married as early as 1902, to one J.E. Lewis.

Caroline, just a bit older than the two performing little sisters, married Henry Hanberg, Sr, and moved to California.

I don't know much about the oldest daughter Maria. Another son, Manuel, was a mechanic, and later an engineer, who lived on the Big Island for a time. He married Mae (May) Hurst and moved to the US mainland, passing away in Philadelphia, PA in 1969.

Though being Aflagues, the performing, little sisters were called by Hawaii newspapers "well-known members" of Hawaii's Portuguese community. This is understandable. Hawaii had a large Portuguese community while the Chamorros were just a handful. It was easier for the Aflague sisters to mix with their mother's Portuguese side, as her mother's family were in Hawaii while Ignacio did not have his siblings in Hawaii. Hawaii's Portuguese formed clubs and associations, while Hawaii's small Chamorro population were too scattered and few in number to do so at the time.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


At least a week after the person is buried, rearrange the bedroom and all its furniture.

If there's anything worse for old-time Chamorros than someone dying, it's the return of that someone who died!

When we send them off to the afterlife, we want them to stay there!

We love and miss them, but that doesn't mean we want them showing up at the foot of our bed in the middle of the night. Or pinching us in our sleep. Or making noises and moving framed pictures.

We'll pray for their eternal repose and hopefully meet them again in heaven. But, for now, we want them to wait till that glorious day and save their visits for later, not now.

Now, what has this to do with the custom, observed by some, of rearranging the bedroom furniture after the burial?

According to one elder,

"Åmbres gi halom homhom un tungo' ha' måno i chalan." (Even in the dark, you know where the path is.)

One knows the lay of the land of one's bedroom so well from being in it so often that, even in the darkness, one can find his way. How much more a spirit that returns from the dead can find its way through the darkness of the bedroom when it wants to visit the survivors.

But if you rearrange the furniture,

"Yanggen måtto ta'lo i espiritu ti u tungo'." (If the spirit comes again, he won't know the way.)

Poor grandma! "Håye pumo'lo i kaohao guine mågi? Eståba guennao guato!" (Who put the storage chest over here? It used to be over there!)

So, forgive us, grandma if you stub your toe on your way into the bedroom. It's just our way of saying, "Let's just meet again on Judgment Day. For now, we need to sleep!"

Tuesday, September 9, 2014


In 1866, a German ship, the Libelle, left San Francisco, California intending to journey to Hong Kong. Guam was not even remotely part of their travel plans. After stopping at Honolulu, the ship proceeded towards Hong Kong.

But the ship encountered a storm on the high seas and hit a coral reef at Wake Island in the dark hours of March 4. The ship was unable to proceed. Three weeks were spent on Wake, salvaging what they could from the Libelle.  Fresh water was not to be found on Wake, and, while sea birds were a good supply of protein, their salvaged food stock was bound to run out. That's when Guam flashed in the mind of German captain Tobias. On two row boats, they would be able to transport the 30 crew members and passengers to safety on Spanish-held Guam. On Guam, there'd be no risk of being killed (and eaten) by islanders, as did in fact happen on rare occurrences in the Pacific.

And what passengers they were! An English opera troupe on a world tour, with their star, Anna Bishop, plus her husband and New York diamond merchant named Martin Schultz. Charles Lascelles, a pianist, as well. A diplomat for the Hawaiian Government, Eugene Van Reed, and a Japanese diplomat (one Kisaburo) were also hitching a ride on the Libelle, hoping to get to Japan.

Anna Bishop
British Opera Star stranded on Guam in 1866

Before leaving Wake, it was said that Tobias had left behind a considerable fortune worth around $150,000, consisting of coins, precious stones and mercury (called quicksilver in old reports) in individual flasks. These were goods picked up in San Francisco and entrusted to him for transport to the Far East.

The boat taking Bishop and the others in her party made it safely to Guam in about 2 weeks, arriving on April 8. But the second boat containing Captain Tobias and much of his crew capsized and those men were presumed dead.

Marianas Governor Francisco Moscoso y Lara received the survivors with hospitality, even sending out search parties for Captain Tobias, finding no trace. The search party was lead by the boat owner, the British George H. Johnston. The motive was not entirely altruistic. According to the laws of the day, Johnston could keep a third of the remnants of the Libelle, including the treasure, if found, and the Spanish Government in the Marianas the remaining two-thirds.

While the Spanish were looking into the fate of Captain Tobias and his lost treasure, the survivors could not leave Guam, except for the two diplomats who left Guam for Hong Kong after a few weeks. When Johnston returned with no news of Tobias but, with some of the valuable goods he managed to recover, the survivors were allowed to sail on to Manila on June 25th on Johnston's ship.
According to Father Ibáñez's chronicle, Johnston came back with more than 100,000 pesos in coin and silver bars

One can only imagine what Anna Bishop and the others did on Guam for those almost three months. To undergo a shipwreck and lose much of your possessions, to spend three weeks on a somewhat desolate atoll and then almost two weeks on the ocean sailing for Guam, one wonders what kind of emotional state they were in. Perhaps they were glad to be on a larger island with some comforts, with the small goings on of Spanish colonial life. Bishop, and Charles Lascelles, a pianist, did put on a few concerts while on Guam.  Lascelles was the first to play the organ on Guam (at the church?) and taught others to play it well, according to Ibáñez. Though Protestant, imagine renowned world opera star Anna Bishop, who had sung for kings and princes in Europe, singing a motet in the Hagåtña Church!  We do know that Bishop wrote from Guam to a friend in San Francisco telling him of their misfortune but also miraculous survival.

The anchor of the Libelle, found on Wake long after the storm


Johnston had not grabbed all what remained of the lost treasures of the Libelle, and news traveled fast. Soon, interested parties from both directions (Hawaii and China) were setting out for Wake to hunt for Captain Tobias' hidden treasure.

According to one report by a Hawaii paper, the First Mate of the Libelle, who made it successfully to Guam on the one boat, returned to Wake in search of the treasure.* He was well-equipped with weapons and brought with him a group of "expert divers from Guam." At Wake, he met Thomas Foster of Hawaii with his own crew of Hawaiian divers. Both of them unwilling to cede to the other, they agreed to split what they found fifty fifty. Foster returned to Hawaii, and the First Mate of the Libelle went to Hong Kong. To this day, not all of the alleged treasure on Wake has been found.

Now the question is, assuming the news report is true : who were these "expert divers from Guam?" Well, who lived on Guam at the time, who would have had a background in diving? I doubt the few Spaniards on Guam would fit that description, but who knows? Were they Chamorros? Perhaps a few Filipinos resident on Guam? Carolinians, also residing on Guam?

When the search was over, the First Mate went from Wake to Hong Kong, according to the newspaper. That means the "expert divers" from Guam also went to Hong Kong. From there, they may have found their way back to Guam. Or maybe not.

* The Hawaiian Gazette, January 21, 1890

Friday, September 5, 2014


Sen tungu'on yanggen gaige
sa' lumo'lo' gi besino.
Ya manlolo'lo' pumalo,
lao lilo'-ña konosido.

It's very easy to know when he's around
because he coughed at the neighbor's.
And while others are coughing,
his cough is recognizable.

Those were the days when houses were so close to each other, you could hear someone cough in the next house.

Tungu'on = the suffix -on means "able to." Tungo' (to know) becomes tungu'on, "knowable."

Konosido = borrowed from the Spanish conocer, which means to be acquainted with, to know in an experiential or personal way.

Thursday, September 4, 2014


Chamorros have been moving to Hawaii since the whaling days of the early 1800s. Unfortunately, many of them did not go by the usual names they had but had their names modified so that Americans in Hawaii could more easily pronounce them. Some were even called by their nicknames.

Many Chamorros have Spanish names, so at times it is impossible to tell from a list in Hawaii if the Cruz or the Santos is a Chamorro or someone else, a Puerto Rican or Portuguese, for example.

But Pangelinan is a good bet. It's a Pampanga (Filipino) name but with a branch that had been planted on Guam since the 1700s, intermarried with Chamorros and became Chamorros. Filipinos also spell it Pangilinan while Chamorros spell it Pangelinan.

In an 1871 list of people in Honolulu who still hadn't picked up their mail, we find the name of one Vicente Pangelinan.  There is, in fact, documentation that a Ben Pangelinan from Guam moved to Hawaii around the year 1860.  Ben lived in the Big Island some years. Maybe that's why he hadn't picked up his mail at the Honolulu Post Office for a while.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


I nana gi familia, masea chatpago pat bonita;
ta hongge gi todos i tiempo, sa' kalan ånghet para hita.
(The mother of the family, whether plain or beautiful;
we believe her all the time, because she is like an angel to us.)

Ti bonita si nanå-ho, ti u ma ayek para raraina;
lao bonitå-ña si nanå-ho ke un blåndin Amerikåna.
(My mother wasn't beautiful, she wouldn't be chosen to be a queen;
but my mother was more beautiful than a blonde American.)

Ti ha chagi si nanå-ho, i "latest style" siha gi tienda;
lao todo i tiempo listo i modan-måme, masea pinat man ma limenda.
(My mother didn't try the latest styles in the store;
but our clothes were always ready, even when most of them were repaired.)

Ti umeskuela si nanå-ho, ti settifiko ni sikiera un diploma;
lao guiya ha' ham fumanå'gue, na si Yu'us na bai adora.
(My mother didn't go to school, she didn't have a certificate or even a diploma;
but it was she who taught us that it is God we are to adore.)

Todos hamyo ni man nåna, gof takkilo' i sagan-miyo;
si Yu'us en fan binendise pot todos i bidan-miyo.
(All you mothers, you have a very high place;
God bless you for all you have done.)

Esta taigue på'go si nåna, lao magof yo' humongge todos;
sa' esta hu tungo' na si nåna, gaige på'go gi fi'on as Yu'us.
(My mother is now gone, but I am happy to believe all she taught;
because I already know that mom is now at God's side.)