Tuesday, May 25, 2021




Soft Hearted

The fåha is the soft, juicy kernel of a brown, fallen coconut that is considered to be a treat by many people. It can be eaten as it is, but many people like to freeze it and eat it like tropical ice cream.

Because the fåha is so soft, some elders use the word symbolically to describe a soft hearted person.

One lady talked about how her ten-year-old son would cry whenever he would see her kill a chicken for their lunch or dinner before the war when people raised or caught their own food.

"Pareho ha' nåna yan mamuno' hao taoato!" "It's the same as you killing a person, mother!"

She said, "Korason fåha ayo." "He has a heart of fåha."

Tuesday, May 18, 2021



It used to be a very common practice. But, today, even many devout Catholics in the Marianas don't do it.

And that is to make the sign of the cross whenever you pass


Like the lady in this video, who makes the sign of the cross inside a car, passing something, but something we cannot tell from the video.


The reason we were told to make the sign of the cross, or bless ourselves, when passing a Catholic Church is because "Jesus is there." What was specifically meant was that the True Body and Blood of Jesus, under the appearance of bread and wine, are in a Catholic Church, housed in the Tabernacle.

Ordinary bread and wine are consecrated by a priest, who has been empowered by a bishop, whose bishop's powers go all the way back 2000 years to the Last Supper where Jesus told His 12 Apostles, "Do this in memory of me." Once the priest consecrates the bread and wine at Mass, they are no longer bread and wine but rather the True Body and Blood of Jesus. "This is my Body, this is the cup of my Blood," Jesus said at the Last Supper.

When Mass is over and there are leftover Hosts, they are put in the Tabernacle. So, on account of this, we bless ourselves when passing a Catholic Church. As other Christian churches don't have this, we don't bless ourselves when passing those churches.


We bless ourselves when passing a cemetery on account of the people buried there. We pray for their souls, and we cross ourselves when we begin and end prayers.


When a hearse passes by, we bless ourselves as we pray for the deceased in that hearse. In the old days, if one were walking on the road when a funeral procession passed by, you stopped what you were doing till the procession finished passing by. If you were a man wearing a hat, you took off your hat.


In olden times, there were many large crosses planted all over the islands. One would make the sign of the cross when passing these or other noticeable religious images outdoors.


Many people blessed themselves when feeling a tremor, or when making a promise, or when talking about the sick or someone in need of something, or when an ambulance passes by (to pray for the patient), before entering the jungle, to ward off evil and when afraid.


To "make the sign of the cross" in Chamorro is gumina'an i Tata, from the first words of the prayer "Gi na'an i Tata," "In the name of the Father."

It ends with the thumb up to the nose because the full sign of the cross was accompanied by a cross made by crossing the thumb with the index finger. One wasn't kissing one's thumb; one was kissing the cross made by the crossing of the thumb and index finger, which made a cross.

Originally, this was the proper way to form the fingers of the right hand when signing yourself with the Cross. But, over time, people got lazy and lost the original way. I'll post on the traditional Sign of the Cross in a future blog post.

(traducida por Manuel Rodríguez)


Era una práctica muy común. Pero hoy, incluso muchos católicos devotos de las Islas Marianas ya no lo hacen.

Consiste en santiguarse cada vez que se pasa por delante de una iglesia, un cementerio, un cortejo fúnebre o una imagen religiosa.


La razón por la que se hace la Señal de la Cruz, o nos bendecimos, al pasar por una iglesia, es porque "Jesús está allí". Lo que se quiere decir específicamente es que el Verdadero Cuerpo y Sangre de Jesús, bajo la apariencia de pan y vino, están en una iglesia, ubicados en el Sagrario.

El pan y el vino ordinarios son consagrados por un sacerdote, que ha recibido el poder de un obispo, cuyos poderes a su vez se remontan 2000 años hasta la Última Cena, donde Jesús les dijo a sus Doce Apóstoles: "Hagan esto en conmemoración mía". Una vez que el sacerdote consagra el pan y el vino en la Misa, ya no son pan y vino, sino el Verdadero Cuerpo y Sangre de Jesús. "Éste es mi Cuerpo, ésta es la Copa de mi Sangre", dijo Jesús en la Última Cena.

Cuando termina la Misa y quedan Hostias sobrantes, se colocan en el Sagrario. Entonces, por eso, nos bendecimos al pasar por una iglesia. Como otras iglesias cristianas no tienen esto, no nos bendecimos al pasar por esas iglesias.


Nos bendecimos al pasar por un cementerio por las personas enterradas allí. Oramos por sus almas y nos santiguamos cuando comenzamos y terminamos las oraciones.


Cuando pasa un coche fúnebre, nos bendecimos mientras oramos por los difuntos de ese coche. Antes, si uno caminaba por la carretera cuando pasaba una procesión fúnebre, dejaba lo que estaba haciendo hasta que la procesión terminaba de pasar. Si uno era un hombre que llevaba sombrero, se quitaba el sombrero.


En la antigüedad, se plantaron un montón de grandes cruces por todas las Islas Marianas. Uno haría la Señal de la Cruz al pasar por éstas u otras imágenes religiosas notables.


Mucha gente se bendecía al sentir un temblor, o al hacer una promesa, o al hablar de un enfermo o de alguien que necesitaba algo, o cuando pasaba una ambulancia (para rezar por el paciente), antes de entrar en la selva, para ahuyentar a alguien malvado o cuando se tenía miedo.


"Hacer la Señal de la Cruz" en el idioma chamorro se dice Gumina'an i Tata, de las primeras palabras de la oración "Gi na'an i Tata", "En el nombre del Padre".

Terminaba con el pulgar hacia la nariz porque la Señal de la Cruz completa iba acompañada de una cruz que se hacía cruzando el pulgar con el dedo índice. No se estaba besando el pulgar; uno besaba la cruz hecha por el cruce del pulgar y el índice, que formaban una cruz.

Originariamente, ésta era la forma correcta de poner los dedos de la mano derecha al hacer la Señal de la Cruz. Pero, con el tiempo, la gente se volvió perezosa y perdió la manera original. Publicaré sobre la Señal de la Cruz tradicional en una futura publicación.

Sunday, May 9, 2021



A song for all our mothers, living and deceased, sung by the late Frank "Bokonggo" Pangelinan.



Nånan-måme deskånsa.
(Rest, mother.)
Båsta fan para på’go.
(Please stop for now.)
Sa’ på’go na ha’åne
(Because this day)
Ha’ånen i man nåna.
(Is Mother's Day.)

Sen espesiåt hao na nåna
(You are a very special mother)
Guine nai na familia.
(In this family)
Kada måtto este na dia
(Each time this day comes)
Hågo i mås takkilo’.
(You are the highest.)

Un hoggue ya un totktok ham gi pecho-mo.
(You carried and hugged us at your breast.)
Maså’pet hao pot hame.
(You suffered for us.)
Un poksai ham todos gi dos kanai-mo.
(You raised all of us with your two hands.)
Un guaiya ham gi korason-mo.
(You loved us from the heart.)

Nånan-måme hago ha’ solo
(Mother you're the only one)
Yan mames kulan hao raina.
(And sweet, you are like a queen.)
Hågo ha’ na flores gi halom hatdin
(You are the only flower in the garden)
Sen paopao yan bonita.
(Most fragrant and beautiful.)

Ya si Yu’us un nina’e
(And may God give you)
Bulan gråsia gi lina’lå’-mo
(Abundant graces in your life.)
Ya i regalu-mo ginen hame
(And your gift from us)
Man gaige ham gi uriyå-mo.
(Is we are at your side.)

Tuesday, May 4, 2021



One hundred years ago, this is what the road going down San Ramón Hill into Hagåtña looked like, in the photo to the left. Just kaskåho (gravel), no dividing line and no posted speed limit, neither for automobile nor karetan guaka (cattle-driven carriage).

Gravel roads are not as common today as in the past, and one of the problems with gravel roads is you basically deal with only two conditions. DUST when it's dry season, and MUD when it's rainy season.

The rain also often washes away part of the road, sometimes leaving deep barångka (potholes) that can send your car to ICU.

But the paved road after the war didn't guarantee total safety. Just in the ten years of the 1950s, there were a dozen or more news reports about cars losing their brakes and rushing down the hill; cars stalling on their way up the hill and falling back down the hill in reverse; the gas pedal getting stuck to the floor, sending the car into race mode!



Some people mistakenly say that Government House is on San Ramón Hill. But what is commonly understood as San Ramón Hill is the hill right above what used to be the barrio (district) of San Ramón, which is where today's court buildings are, as well as the Guam Law Library, some offices and private residences.


The bottom of San Ramón Hill was the scene of a murder in old Guam, something that was rare back then. In 1900, a man was shot in the back three times by someone known to him. The story can be read at :