Tuesday, May 24, 2022

FIRST PINOY ELECTED

 

PROSPERO "POPOY" ZAMORA
Dededo Commissioner 1976

Popoy Zamora was a novelty on Guam in the 1970s. For those of us already around back then and active in politics, as I was even though I was still a teenager, Popoy stood out. He was a Filipino occupying a very "Chamorro" position - village Commissioner; what we call Mayor nowadays.

I say "Chamorro" position not because the law said Commissioners had to be Chamorro, but because the reality at the time was that village Commissioners were all Chamorros, leading villages that were Chamorro in the majority. But here we had a Filipino Commissioner! The first! He stood out.


CAREFUL CAREFUL!



But we have to be careful to be accurate in our claims about Popoy's public record.

One website claimed he was Guam's first Filipino elected to public office. This is not accurate. "Public office" means any government elected or appointed position, such as Senator, Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Mayor/Commissioner and Judge. There were Filipino Senators elected long before Popoy was elected Assistant Commissioner of Dededo. Most people alive today just don't know about them.



A Guam newspaper also got it wrong, claiming that Popoy was the first Filipino on Guam elected Commissioner; but he was never elected Commissioner. He was elected Assistant Commissioner, and then served as Commissioner to complete the vacancy left by the Commissioner who stepped down from office.

One of our island TV news outlets stated that Popoy was elected Dededo Commissioner in 1973. He was elected Assistant Commissioner, not Commissioner.

So I am writing this blog article to correct the media inaccuracies concerning the record of a man who we remember fondly and who stood out in the public arena many years ago.


FILIPINO

And I want to be clear what I mean by "Filipino." 

For the purpose of identifying the first Filipino Commissioner on Guam, I mean a person exclusively of Filipino heritage, and born in the Philippines. 

Chamorros with one Filipino parent

Someone like Adrian Cristóbal, elected Senator in 1952, long before Popoy's public service, had a Filipino father. Some might consider him to be Filipino. But he himself considered himself to be Chamorro because he had a Chamorro mother, and Chamorros also considered him to be Chamorro for that reason. For the Chamorro, as soon as you have one Chamorro ancestor, you're considered Chamorro.


Filipino by blood, but born on Guam

Then we have people who are Filipino by blood and who do not have any Chamorro ancestors, but they were born on Guam before the war, and grew up speaking Chamorro. Chamorros considered them "one of our own," perhaps we can say "adopted" Chamorros because Guam was all they knew and they took on Chamorro ways and language.

We can think of Simon Ángeles Sánchez, born on Guam and whose parents were both Filipino. A long-time educator, he served as Commissioner of Tamuning from 1946 to 1948.

León Dungca Flores was elected to the First Guam Legislature in 1950, long before Popoy served as Assistant Commissioner. Flores also didn't have a drop of Chamorro blood, as both his parents were of Filipino blood only, but he was born here, grew up speaking Chamorro and married a Chamorro, so he was considered one of our own.

Paul Dungca Palting was elected five times to the Guam Legislature, the first time in 1952, again long before Popoy served as Assistant Commissioner, and he, too, was Filipino by blood but born on Guam.

Sánchez, Flores and Palting did not have any Chamorro ancestors, but Chamorros considered them "one of our own," locals, adopted Chamorros....whichever description fits best.

So who was the first Filipino, whose parents were Filipino, and who was born in the Philippines, to be elected to public office on Guam after the war?



THAT TITLE BELONGS TO....


ALBERTO TOMINEZ LAMORENA
First Filipino Elected to a Guam Political Office

Alberto Tominez Lamorena was a Filipino, born in the Philippines, who married a Chamorro, Fe Untalan Cristóbal (whose father was Filipino and whose mother was Chamorro) in the Philippines. Fe was sent to school in Manila before World War II. After the war, she and her husband moved to Guam where he practiced law. He was elected to the Eighth Guam Legislature in 1964, eight years before Popoy was elected Assistant Commissioner of Dededo in 1972.




OSCAR LIBOON DELFIN
Senator in the 9th, 10th and 11th Legislatures

Lamorena was followed in the very next Legislature, the Ninth, by another Filipino born in the Philippines, Oscar Liboon Delfin, who was re-elected two more times to serve also in the Tenth and Eleventh Legislatures. His elected service pre-dates Popoy's.


POPOY WAS ELECTED ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER


1973 Campaign Ad


In 1973, there was a special election for Assistant Commissioner of Dededo. Popoy was the lone Republican candidate for that office and he won the election, beating his Democratic opponents. That special election was held on December 15, 1973.

In 1976, the Commissioner of Dededo, Vicente SA Benavente, decided to retire even before his term was due to expire later that year. Popoy, as Assistant, automatically became Commissioner of Dededo. But he was not elected Commissioner; he filled the vacancy created by Benavente's retirement.

This press release from the Mayors Council of Guam on the passing of Popoy explains it correctly. Popoy was elected Assistant Commissioner and became Commissioner by filling a vacancy. Only the election year was inaccurate in this press release.




Interestingly, the local newspaper that incorrectly stated that Popoy was elected Mayor/Commissioner included this memo in its news article. If only the newspaper had learned from the memo it included in the story!

Popoy decided to run for Senator at the end of 1976, but lost. Having run for a different office in 1976, his term as Commissioner of Dededo expired that year (actually, early January of 1977).

Popoy did win a seat as a delegate in Guam's Constitutional Convention in 1977.


SO WHO WAS FIRST?



First Filipino ELECTED Commissioner or Mayor? NOBODY

Popoy was elected Assistant Commissioner and then became Commissioner by filling the vacancy created by the sitting Commissioner's retirement.

We now have a second Filipino elected Vice Mayor, Loreto Leones of Yigo.

But, so far, no Filipino has ever been ELECTED Mayor of any village. It truly is a "Chamorro" position FOR NOW. 

As the record shows, Filipinos have been elected to even higher office (Senator) and some of these Filipinos were elected Senator in the 1960s when Filipino voters were a much smaller voting bloc.

So, from a numerical standpoint, there is no reason why a Filipino couldn't be elected Mayor of, let's say, villages with a sizeable Filipino population, such as Dededo, Yigo and Tamuning, if not due to his or her personal merits, then at least due in part to big help from a large Filipino voting base.

But there haven't been enough strong Filipino candidates so far, or they have been matched by equally strong (or stronger) Chamorro candidates.

The future will show us if that situation changes.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

BEAUTIFUL PENMANSHIP

 





"Ai i på'go na tiempo!" ilek-ña si nanå-ho. "Ti ma tungo' i famagu'on man månge'! Puro ha' "computer" yan "cell phone" nai man måmånge'!"
("Oh the times nowadays!" my mother said. "Children don't know how to write! It's all computers and cell phones when they write!")

"Hunggan, nåna. Chaddek yumayas kanai-ñiha yanggen man mango'te pluma," hu sangåne gue'.
("Yes, mom. Their hands get tired quickly when they hold pens," I told her.)

"Ti un tungo' i estorian tatå-ho bihu," ilek-ña si nanå-ho.
("You don't know my grandfather's story," my mom said.)

"Sångan," hu faisen gue'.
("Tell it," I asked her.)

"Guaha che'lu-ña låhe si bihu-ho ni må'pos para Amerika annai hohoben ha'. Lao kada dos pat tres meses ha kattåttåye si bihu-ho ya ha sångan todo håfa nuebo ma susede gi lina'lå'-ña."
("My grandpa had a brother who went off to America when he was still young. But every two or three months he would write to my grandpa and say everything new in his life.")

"Si tiu-ho maolek na estudiånte giya Hagåtña åntes de ha dingu Guam. Ya guiya mås bonito tinige'-ña gi eskuela. Todo i tiempo guiya gumånna i premio para månge'."
("My uncle was a good student in Hagåtña before he left Guam. And he had the best penmanship in school. He always won the prize for writing."

"Un dia humame yan si bihu-ho annai måtto i kåttan che'lu-ña. Ha baba ya ha taitai, ya kada nuebo ha taitai, chumålek halom si bihu-ho."
"One day I was with my grandpa when his brother's letter came. He opened and read it, and every time he read something new, my grandpa smiled.")

"Annai monhåyan ha taitai, hu faisen si bihu-ho, 'Håfa sinangån-ña si tiu-ho gi kåtta?'"
(When he was done reading it, I asked my grandpa, 'What did my uncle say in the letter?'")

Manoppe si bihu-ho, "Ilek-ña na måtai i asaguå-ña, kemason i gimå'-ña yan ma aresta i lahi-ña."
(My grandpa replied, 'He said his wife died, his house burned down and his son got arrested.'")

"Sus Maria!" ilek-ho. "Lao håfa na chumålek hahalom hao yanggen puro ha' båba na notisia?"
("Sus Maria!" I said. "But why did you smile when it's all bad news?")

Manoppe si bihu-ho, "Lao pot i sen bonito i tinige'-ña, na'magof ma taitai!"
(My grandpa replied, "But because his penmanship is so nice, it's a joy to read!")

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

CHARLES BRONSON ON GUAM



He looked mean, and he was mean (jn some movies).

Charles Bronson, whose movie roles centered on crime dramas, thrillers, Westerns and war movies, enlisted in the Army Air Forces in 1943. Prior to that, he dug coal in the Pennsylvania mines as his father and brothers did.

In early 1945, he was stationed on Guam, flying 25 missions on a B-29 bomber as a nose gunner (though some say a tail gunner). His job was to sit at the nose of the plane and fire at enemy aircraft. Being cooped up in a tiny gun turret was like being in a coal mine again, and he said he always felt claustrophobic in tight spaces.




B-29 BOMBER


Bronson's bombardment group bombed Maug, the northernmost island in the Marianas, which, as tiny as it is, had a Japanese weather station.

The group began bombing Japan itself in April of 1945. It took 14 to 16 hours to fly from Guam to Japan and back.




The bombers were based at Guam's new North Field, opened in early 1945. It later became Andersen Air Force Base. The area's Chamorro name is UPI.



B-29 LANDS AT NORTH FIELD GUAM


From Guam, the B-29s would bomb city after city in Japan, targeting places of military value to the Japanese - airfields, plane factories, weapons factories and arsenals, industrial areas. When Japan surrendered to the US, the B-29s stopped dropping bombs and dropped food and supplies, instead, to allied prisoners of war in their camps.

Bronson was awarded a Purple Heart for wounds suffered in one of the B-29 missions, apparently taking a bullet in the shoulder (or arms, as some sources say).

Unlike actor Lee Marvin who served in Saipan and loved to tell his story of getting wounded there, Bronson did not share his wartime stories and was known for disliking interviews. This explains why we can't say more about Bronson's story on Guam, but he did live on Andersen Air Force Base when it was first known as North Field.



NORTH FIELD
The Future Andersen Air Force Base

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

PERCY'S FIRST NIGHT ON GUAM

 


Percy Howell, a lad of just 15, had sailed into Apra Harbor that Thursday morning on March 4, 1841 aboard the British whaling barque, the Lady Beckwith.

Percy's captain, the Welshman Evan Jenkins, was mercilessly harsh, and Percy was willing to do anything to escape his cruel authority. As the Lady Beckwith had anchored at 2 in the morning, Percy took advantage of the night's darkness to hide himself in a boat sent from shore to collect articles of exchange with the ship. Percy threw himself into the small group of crew members transferring crates and boxes, and slipped a silver dollar into the boatman's palm.

When he got to Punta Piti, it was now nearly 3 o'clock, and there was no carriage man, as no passengers were anticipated. So he walked the road to Hagåtña, following the index finger of the boatman pointing in that direction.

When it almost five o'clock, he was in the middle of the city, having passed rows and rows of houses where little lamps flickered through the window cracks. The farther he walked, the more he noticed people, mostly women but a fair amount of men, coming out of their homes and walking silently in the same direction. He followed them, trying to remain inconspicuous. His measured steps were halted only by the unexpected pealing of bells. The ringing seemed to be in the direction this flow of people was heading.

The more Percy walked, the larger the number of people processing in the same direction became, one or two people at a time emerging from their homes to enter the stream of people. Most houses had thatched roofs; almost all were built on stilts except for the few stone houses. The men, even down to the smallest boys, universally wore white long-sleeved shirts and white trousers. Most wore sandals and all had hats on. The women wore two-piece outfits, with a long skirt and a short top. It was hard to discern more details as all the women wore shawls or kerchiefs snuggly held or pinned under their chins. He looked in vain to make eye contact with the people, but they all looked solemnly at the ground they were walking, not even whispering among themselves. Just a few small boys looked at Percy, who smiled at them, with the boys staring blankly back at him with no expression. "What a peculiar people!" Percy thought to himself. Only the crow of a rooster now and then broke the pre-dawn silence.

The narrow streets opened wide into a grassy square, bordered by official-looking, white-plastered Spanish buildings with red tiled roofs. But at the far end was an imposing, stone church; plain on the outside.  It would have been hard not to go into that church, as the current of people around him more or less pushed him in that direction. The men uncovered their heads, and so did Percy.

A bit nervous, Percy walked into the church, not knowing what to expect. He had heard on the voyage that Guam was a Spanish island, ruled by "Castillians" and the Catholic Church. Percy had never been inside a Catholic church before. There was none in his part of Protestant England, as far as he knew.




As Percy entered, he saw how dimly lit the entire church was. A few stands stood here and there with burning candles, but he could barely make out the figures of the people kneeling on the floor. At the far end of the church there were more lit candles around an altar with a wooden backdrop decorated with images and paintings. But those were just a few bright spots in a dark sea of partially-unseen worshippers.

There was no where to sit so Percy, eyeing the people, knelt on the hard floor. He saw some women near him kneel on their slippers, but Percy had no slippers, just hard shoes not ideal to kneel on.

A bell was rung, but the people did not rise. A priest and a boy in gowns came out. Percy strained his ear to hear what might be said, but he heard nothing. As his ears became attuned to the silence, he could make out some mumbling, which seemed to come from the boy and the priest.

Percy was confused. There was no singing, no organ, no movement by the congregation. Just a faint murmur, but the people knelt stoically, some fingering their beads. Percy's eyes grew heavy, and were it not for fear of losing his balance, he would have fallen forward as he lost consciousness. As he struggled to stay awake, he crept closer to the wall, and rested his drowsy head on it and everything disappeared.




Suddenly, he was jolted out of his slumber by the ringing of bells. Percy managed to squelch a screech from the shock. He looked around; no one moved. Why was a bell rung? Then it rung again. He looked. The priest was lifting something, he could not tell what. No more bells. Percy leaned on the wall again, and fell asleep

He was only awakened again by the heavy hand of a Spanish soldier shaking his right shoulder. "¡Ponte de pie! (Stand up!)" the Spaniard said strongly, but not loudly, as they were in church. Percy didn't speak a word of Spanish, but he intuited the meaning.

Percy stood up and then a gentleman came forward and muttered something in Spanish to the guard, then addressed himself to Percy. "English?" "Yes!" Percy said, relieved.

"I am Mr Lynch, at your service. I think you had better come with me." Lynch and Percy went across the Plaza, it was now daybreak, to the two-story building that looked official. Inside, Lynch spoke Spanish to everyone he met, and finally told Percy, "Stay here, and wait for me till I return."

Percy stood on the ground floor, studying quietly the architecture and decorations of the building. In no time, Lynch came back and said, "Listen, my young man. Your ship has been looking for you all morning. That Spanish soldier knew you had disembarked without permission. But I have just spoken to the Governor. You could get punished for this, but we will tell your captain that religious enthusiasm got the better of you, and you left your ship merely to worship Almighty God."

Percy looked puzzled, but understood the import of what had just transpired. Mr Lynch had saved his neck.

"But, sir," Percy said, "my captain is a scoundrel of a man."

"How many more years are you in his service?" Lynch asked.

"Two more years," replied Percy.

Lynch said, "I will buy you out from those two years. But, in return, you must be in my service for those two years." "Gladly!" Percy answered right away, sensing in Lynch an honorable man.

And so it passed. Lynch gave Jenkins money to pay for Percy's unfulfilled two years of service, and Lynch sailed off, with Percy in tow, for Manila, where Lynch did some trading. The two were never heard from again on Guam.

But, years later, when Percy returned to England, among the many stories he told of his adventures on a whaling ship, he amused his listeners with the tale how the first house he slept in on Guam was the House of God.

How fortunate Percy was to have followed the Chamorro crowd unsuspectingly to church, where he met Mr Lynch who saved him.


VERSIÓN ESPAÑOLA
(traducida por Manuel Rodríguez)

LA PRIMERA NOCHE DE PERCY HOWELL EN GUAM

Percy Howell, un muchacho de solo 15 años, había llegado al puerto de Apra aquel jueves por la mañana, el 4 de marzo de 1841, a bordo del barco ballenero británico, Lady Beckwith.

El capitán de Percy, el galés Evan Jenkins, era despiadadamente duro y Percy estaba dispuesto a hacer cualquier cosa para escapar de su cruel autoridad. Como el Lady Beckwith había fondeado a las 2 de la mañana, Percy aprovechó la oscuridad de la noche para esconderse en un bote enviado desde la costa para recoger artículos de intercambio con el barco. Percy se arrojó al pequeño grupo de miembros de la tripulación que trasladaban cajones y cajas, y deslizó un dólar de plata en la palma del barquero.

Cuando llegó a Punta Piti, ya eran casi las 3 y no había transporte, pues no se esperaban pasajeros. Así que se dirigió por el camino hacia Agaña, siguiendo el dedo índice del barquero que le había señalado en esa dirección.

Cuando eran casi las cinco, ya se encontraba en el centro de la ciudad, habiendo pasado hileras e hileras de casas donde pequeñas lámparas parpadeaban a través de las rendijas de las ventanas. Cuanto más caminaba, más notaba a la gente, en su mayoría mujeres pero una buena cantidad de hombres, saliendo de sus casas y caminando en silencio en el mismo sentido. Los siguió, tratando de pasar desapercibido. Sus pasos medidos sólo fueron detenidos por el repique inesperado de las campanas. El sonido parecía estar en la dirección a la que se dirigía este flujo de personas.

Cuanto más caminaba Percy, mayor era la muchedumbre que avanzaba en la misma dirección, una o dos personas a la vez salían de sus casas para unirse a toda aquella gente.

La mayoría de las casas tenían techos de paja; casi todas habían sido construidas sobre pilotes a excepción de las pocas casas de piedra. Los hombres, incluso los niños más pequeños, vestían generalmente camisas blancas de manga larga y pantalones blancos. La mayoría usaba sandalias y todos tenían sombreros. Las mujeres vestían conjuntos de dos piezas, con falda larga y camisa corta. Era difícil discernir más detalles ya que todas las mujeres usaban chales o pañuelos ceñidos o sujetos debajo de la barbilla. Observó para hacer contacto visual con la gente, pero fue en vano pues todos miraban solemnemente al suelo por el que caminaban, sin siquiera susurrar entre ellos. Solo unos cuantos niños pequeños miraron a Percy, quien les sonrió, los niños lo miraban fijamente sin expresión. "¡Qué gente tan peculiar!" Percy pensó para sí mismo. Sólo el canto de un gallo de vez en cuando rompía el silencio de la madrugada.

Las estrechas calles se abrían de par en par en una plaza cubierta de hierba, bordeada por edificios españoles de aspecto oficial, enlucidos de blanco y techos de teja roja. Pero al fondo había una imponente iglesia de piedra; llano por fuera. Habría sido difícil no entrar en esa iglesia, ya que la corriente de gente a su alrededor lo empujaba más o menos en esa dirección. Los hombres se descubrieron la cabeza, al igual que Percy.

Un poco nervioso, Percy entró en la iglesia, sin saber qué hacer. Había oído en el viaje que Guam era una isla española, gobernada por "castellanos" y la Iglesia Católica. Percy nunca antes había estado dentro de una iglesia católica. No había ninguna en su parte de la Inglaterra protestante, al menos que él supiera.

Cuando Percy entró, vio lo tenuemente iluminada que estaba toda la iglesia. Había aquí y allá velas encendidas, pero apenas podía distinguir las figuras de las personas arrodilladas en el suelo. En el otro extremo de la iglesia había más velas alrededor de un altar con un fondo de madera decorado con imágenes y pinturas. Pero ésos eran solo algunos puntos brillantes en un mar oscuro de adoradores parcialmente invisibles.

No había dónde sentarse, así que Percy, mirando a la gente, se arrodilló en el suelo duro. Vio a algunas mujeres cerca de él arrodillarse en sus pantuflas, pero Percy no tenía pantuflas, solo zapatos duros que no eran muy adecuados para arrodillarse.

Sonó una campana, pero la gente no se levantó. Salieron un sacerdote y un niño vestidos con túnicas. Percy aguzó el oído para escuchar lo que podría decirse, pero no oyó nada. Cuando sus oídos se sintonizaron con el silencio, pudo distinguir algunos murmullos, que parecían provenir del niño y el sacerdote.

Percy estaba confundido. No hubo canto, ni órgano, ni movimiento por parte de la congregación. Solo un leve murmullo, pero la gente se arrodilló estoicamente. Los ojos de Percy se volvieron pesados, y si no fuera por miedo a perder el equilibrio, se habría inclinado hacia adelante. Mientras luchaba por mantenerse despierto, se acercó a la pared, apoyó su cabeza soñolienta en ella y todo desapareció.

De repente, fue sacado de su sueño por el sonido de las campanas. Percy logró silenciar un chillido por la sorpresa. Miró a su alrededor; nadie se movió. ¿Por qué sonó una campana? Luego volvió a sonar. Él miró. El sacerdote estaba levantando algo, no sabría decir qué. No se oyeron más campanas. Percy volvió a apoyarse en la pared y se durmió.

Sólo lo volvió a despertar la mano pesada de un guardia español que sacudía su hombro derecho. "¡Ponte de pie! ¡Levántate!", dijo el español con fuerza, pero no en voz alta, ya que estaban en la iglesia. Percy no hablaba una palabra de español, pero intuyó el significado.

Percy se puso de pie y luego un caballero se adelantó y murmuró algo en español al guardia, luego se dirigió a Percy. "¿Inglés?" "¡Sí!" Percy respondió, aliviado.

"Soy el señor Lynch, a su servicio. Creo que será mejor que me acompañe." Lynch y Percy cruzaron la Plaza, ya era de día, hacia el edificio de dos pisos que parecía oficial. En el interior, Lynch habló en español con todos los que conoció y finalmente le dijo a Percy: "Quédate aquí y espérame hasta que regrese".

Percy se quedó en la planta baja, estudiando en silencio la arquitectura y la decoración del edificio. Al poco tiempo, Lynch regresó y dijo: "Escucha, muchacho. Los de tu barco te han estado buscando toda la mañana. Ese guardia español sabía que habías desembarcado sin permiso. Pero acabo de hablar con el gobernador. Podrías ser castigado por esto, pero le diremos al capitán que el entusiasmo religioso se apoderó de ti, y abandonaste su barco simplemente para adorar a Dios Todopoderoso".

Percy parecía desconcertado, pero entendió la importancia de lo que acababa de ocurrir. Lynch le había salvado el cuello.

"Pero, señor", dijo Percy, "mi capitán es un sinvergüenza".

"¿Cuántos años más estarás a su servicio?" preguntó Lynch.

"Dos años más", respondió Percy.

Lynch dijo: "Te compraré esos dos años. Pero, a cambio, debes estar a mi servicio durante esos dos años". "¡Con alegría!" Percy respondió de inmediato, sintiendo que Lynch era un hombre honorable.

Y así pasó. Lynch le dio dinero a Jenkins para pagar los dos años de servicio incumplidos de Percy, y Lynch zarpó, con Percy hacia Manila, donde Lynch hizo algunos negocios. Nunca más se supo de ellos en Guam.

Pero, años más tarde, cuando Percy regresó a Inglaterra, entre las muchas historias que contó sobre sus aventuras en un barco ballenero, entretenía a sus oyentes con el relato de que la primera casa en la que durmió en Guam fue la Casa de Dios.

Qué afortunado fue Percy por haber seguido a la multitud de chamorros a la iglesia, donde conoció al Sr. Lynch, quien lo libró de un severo castigo.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

KÅNTAN GUMA'YU'US : I TINAITAI I SÅNTOS LISÅYO

 

Here is a much less well-known Chamorro hymn promoting the devotion of the Holy Rosary. October is the Month of the Rosary, but the prewar missionaries promoted the Rosary as a daily devotion, and not just for the dead. All parishes had techa (prayer leaders) who lead the praying of the Rosary by the people inside the church.

At Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Santa Rita, this hymn is still sung by all the people before Mass.






LYRICS

I tinaitai i Såntos Lisåyo nina’ paopao i Guma’yu’us
(The prayer of the Holy Rosary brings fragrance to the Church)
Sa’ i Såntos Lisåyon Maria fanflorisan i Nanan Jesus.
(because the Holy Rosary of Mary is the flower garden of the Mother of Jesus.)

I asut mi puti’on na långet guiya kalan Lisåyon Maria
(The blue, many-starred heaven is like the Rosary of Mary)
Yan tinayuyut i anghet siha ni umålof na hu saonao yo’.
(and the prayer of the angel who beckons me to join in.)
I singkuenta na Åbe Maria lamlam ke i puti’on i langet
(The fifty Hail Marys are brighter than the stars of the sky)
Sa’ sumaonao i Rai i man ånghet yagin magof lumisåyo yo’.
(because the King of Angels joins in when I am happy to pray the Rosary.)

An ha huto’ si Yu’us gi langet i iså-ña taiguihe i kåpa
(When God unfolded his rainbow in the heavens like a cape)
Ha fanu’e i taotao san papa’ na Rai-ñiha yan na’siña gue’.
(He revealed to the people below that He was their King and was Almighty.)
An ha huto’ gi Sånta Iglesia i masåmai na isan Lisåyo
(When He unfolded in the Holy Church the beautiful rainbow of the Rosary)
Ha na’ tungo’ hit magin ayo na Saina-ta yan sen Tåta gue’.
(Through it He made us know that He is our Lord and true Father.)

(This next verse is sung on Mondays and Thurdays)

Singko siha i Rosan Minagof i Atkånghet yan i sinangån-ña
(Five are the Joyful Roses of the Archangel and his words)
Si San Juan yan i såntos Nanå-ña si Yu’us taotao giya Belen.
(Saint John and the holy Mother of God-made-man in Bethlehem.)
I ma inan i Bithen na Nåna ya i sen didok na piniti-ña
(The purification of the Virgin Mother and her deep sorrow)
Sa’ malingo si Yu’us lahi-ña as Jesus giya Jerusalen.
(because God her son was lost in Jerusalem.)

(This next verse is sung on Tuesdays and Fridays)

Singko siha i Rosan Pinite i tres oras gi uetton manaitai
(Five are the Sorrowful Roses of the three hours prayed in the garden)
I ma saolak na katna ha’ måtai i koronan ma ingen Yu’us.
(Scourged till near death, the hateful crowning of God.)
I tinaggam i Bithen Maria as Jesus i lahi-ña gi chalan
(The meeting of the Virgin Mary and her son Jesus on the road)
Yan i tai ase’ yan na’mahalang na finatai-ña gi kilu’us.
(And his cruel and sorrowful death on the cross.)

(This next verse is sung on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays)

Singko siha i Rosan Mina’lak lå’la’ ta’lo si Yu’us Lahi-ña
(Five are the Glorious Roses when God the Son rose again)
Humanao hulo’ minina’siña ya ha fatta na sen Yu’us gue’.
(He ascended full of power and revealed that He was truly God.)
I Espiritu Sånto tumunok måtai pao Yu’us i Nanå-ta
(The Holy Spirit descended and our Mother died a holy death)
Ya pine’lo gi langet Rainå-ta as Yu’us sa’ Nånan Yu’us gue’.
(and was places by God in heaven as our Queen because she is God’s Mother.)

(This is always the final verse)

Gai Lisåyo na Bithen Maria inangokko yan Rainan i tano’
(Our Lady of the Rosary, hope and Queen of the world)
Gi me’nå-mo i mangilisyåno man lisåyo yan in tina hao.
(Christians pray the Rosary before you and praise you.)
Nånan-måme, lina’la’, minames såggue’ ham hulo’ ni Lisayu-mo
(Our Mother, our life and sweetness, pull us up through your Rosary)
Gi echongñan i tronu-mo, in na’ hulo’ yan in guaiya hao.
(to the side of your throne, we exalt you and love you.)


NOTES

1. As with many translations, I don't give an exact version from one language to the next, because the translation will be awkward. But I retain the essential meaning of the original in the translation.

2. There are fifteen mysteries of the traditional Rosary, broken into three groups of five. The Joyful Mysteries are said on Mondays and Thursdays; the Sorrowful Mysteries on Tuesdays and Fridays; the Glorious Mysteries on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. 

3. NOTICE THE RHYMING scheme of the hymn. Not only does the song rhyme the ends of the 2nd and 4th line of each verse, the song also rhymes the end of one line with the middle of the next line. Take a look at this verse :




Monday, April 25, 2022

NOBENAN SANTA CRUZ

 

In Spanish times, there were MANY shrines to the Holy Cross (Santa Cruz) built all over Guam. A handful of them still exist, often in hidden corners most people don't see. Many are made of wood.

But one of the more prominent ones, and one that has lasted for over 200 years, is the Santa Cruz shrine at Atantåno'. Because the wooden cross is planted in a solid base of limestone and concrete, this shrine has survived typhoons and escaped American bombing at the end of the war.

The Atantåno' area is swampy, which is ideal for rice cultivation. As a saying goes, rice is "born" in water, and "dies" in water (when you boil it to eat).

But the other side of the coin is that, being swampy, thick vegetation grows abundantly in this area, making it very hard to clear the land for rice paddies and level the ground for a road.

That is why the oldest part of this shrine, built around 1785, says that Governor Felipe Ceráin, "made to be built this DIFFICULT road" and planted coconut groves. Later, around 1834, the monument says that Governor Francisco Villalobos had rice paddies planted here. Lastly, the base commemorates the rebuilding of the Piti-Agat road in 1909 under the US Navy.

One of the reasons why so many Holy Cross shrines were built was to give security to many people who felt afraid in the rural areas where the taotaomo'na (ancestral spirits) lived.

Even before the Spaniards developed the area, Atantåno' was the location of a pre-contact Chamorro community, and there are archaeological artifacts all over the area going back to their times.

Over the years, a nobena (nine days/nights of prayer) to the Santa Cruz has been prayed at this shrine in Atantåno'. Today Mayor Jesse Alig has taken the lead in reciting the nobena in Chamorro himself. His Municipal Council, the Guam Preservation Trust and the Piti community are all assisting in celebrating the feast which comes every year on May 3rd.

Here is a short video of the first night of the nobena this year (2022) :




The public is invited to the celebration on May 3rd at 6PM. There will be Mass, followed by dinner, entertainment and pictorial exhibit.





VERSIÓN ESPAÑOLA
(traducida por Manuel Rodríguez)


En tiempos de los españoles, había muchos santuarios dedicados a la Santa Cruz construidos por todo Guam. Todavía existen un puñado de ellos, a menudo en rincones ocultos que la mayoría de la gente no ve. Muchos están hechos de madera.

Pero uno de los más destacados, y que ha durado más de 200 años, es el santuario de la Santa Cruz de Atantåno'. Debido a que la cruz de madera está plantada en una base sólida de piedra caliza y hormigón, este santuario sobrevivió a los tifones y escapó de los bombardeos estadounidenses al final de la guerra.

El área de Atantåno' es pantanosa, lo cual es ideal para el cultivo de arroz. Como dice un refrán, el arroz "nace" en el agua y "muere" en el agua (cuando lo hierves para comer).

Pero la otra cara de la moneda es que en esta zona, al ser pantanosa, crece una espesa vegetación en abundancia, lo que dificulta mucho la limpieza del terreno para los arrozales y la nivelación del suelo para la carretera.

Por eso, la parte más antigua de este santuario, construido alrededor de 1785, dice que el gobernador Felipe Ceráin, "hizo construir este camino difícil" y plantó cocoteros. Posteriormente, hacia 1834, el monumento dice que el gobernador Francisco Villalobos mandó sembrar aquí arrozales. Por último, la base conmemora la reconstrucción de la carretera Piti-Agat en 1909 bajo la Marina de los EE. UU.

Una de las razones por las que se construyeron tantos santuarios dedicados a la Santa Cruz fue para dar seguridad a muchas personas que sentían miedo en las zonas rurales donde vivían los taotaomo'na (espíritus ancestrales).

Incluso antes de que los españoles desarrollaran el área, Atantåno' era la ubicación de una comunidad chamorra pre-hispánica, y hay artefactos arqueológicos en toda el área que se remontan a sus tiempos.

A lo largo de los años, se ha rezado una nobena (nueve días/noches de oración) a la Santa Cruz en este santuario de Atantåno'. Hoy el alcalde Jesse Alig ha tomado la iniciativa al recitar la nobena en idioma chamorro. Su Consejo Municipal, el Guam Preservation Trust y la comunidad de Piti están ayudando a organizar la fiesta que se celebra todos los años el 3 de mayo.

Aquí hay un vídeo corto de la primera noche de la nobena este año (2022):

El público está invitado a la celebración el 3 de mayo a las 6PM. Habrá misa, seguida de cena, entretenimiento y exhibición pictórica.

Saturday, April 16, 2022

"MA LORIA"

 

SURFING ON GOOD FRIDAY 1PM




If this were 1922 instead of 2022, the picture above would never have happened in the Marianas. Teenagers surfing on Good Friday.

And even if teenagers were playing in the ocean on Good Friday in 1922, they would have been punished by their parents and/or grandparents. But not immediately. They would be punished this morning; today, on Holy Saturday.

The whole reason why people wouldn't surf, swim, play, barbeque, play the guitar, sing, chop wood - basically make noise of any sort - on Good Friday was because Good Friday is the day Jesus suffered and died for us sinners. Treating Good Friday like any ordinary day when one can make noise and have fun was unthinkable back in the day when people's faith was much stronger and better informed.

This rule of keeping silence and refraining from fun extended to ALL of Holy Week (Semåna Sånta). The rule about not partying extended to ALL of Lent (Kuåresma). 

So even if you did surf on Good Friday, you wouldn't be punished on Good Friday. Why? Because to punish kids on Good Friday would result in MAKING NOISE. Making noise on Good Friday or Holy Week would break the rule, even if the noise came from punishing those who broke the rule.

So parents waited till today to punish. All rules that were broken during Lent were punished today, and in the morning. Why today?

Tonight when the sun goes down our Catholic churches will celebrate Easter. Jesus rose from the dead early Sunday morning before the sun rose. Traditionally, Mass was celebrated at midnight going into Sunday. The Church then allowed Mass to be celebrated before midnight, but definitely not before the sun went down.

But in the old days Mass always had to be in the early morning because one could not receive communion, not even the priest, unless one fasted from everything (even water) from midnight on. So they scheduled Mass at 4AM, 5AM or 6AM because can you imagine having Mass at 6PM and having to fast from everything since midnight?

So, in the old days, Saturday morning was already an Easter Mass. Because it was Easter, we were able to sing the GLORIA again, something we gave up since Lent began. So people called Holy Saturday SÅBALON GLORIA or LORIA (some people had a hard time pronouncing the GL in gloria). "Glory Saturday," in English.

Because Såbalon Loria was the day you got punished for breaking the Lenten rules, the punishment itself was called MA LORIA, "to be gloria'd." Usually the parent told you to go pick off the tångantångan tree branch yourself which the parent would use to whip your dågan (rear end). Many parents knew exactly how many times you broke the rules, and would strike once for each infraction.

If this were 1922, the teenagers surfing yesterday would have been MA LORIA pretty much as soon as they woke up today.

And so would the adults picnicking on the beach yesterday, the twenty-somethings dancing at the club last night or the man ordering a Chicken burger yesterday because "chicken is not meat."

There'd be so much MA LORIA this morning this whole island would be screaming and crying.




VERSIÓN ESPAÑOLA
(traducida por Manuel Rodríguez)

MA LORIA

Si estuviéramos en el año 1922 en vez de en 2022, la imagen de arriba nunca hubiera sido posible en las Islas Marianas. Jóvenes surfeando durante el Viernes Santo.

E incluso aunque los jóvenes se estuvieran divirtiendo en el mar el Viernes Santo de 1922, habrían sido castigados por sus padres y/o abuelos. Pero no inmediatamente. Serían castigados esta mañana; hoy, Sábado Santo.

La razón principal por la que la gente en Viernes Santo no surfeaba, nadaba, jugaba, hacía picnic, tocaba la guitarra, cantaba, cortaba leña, o básicamente hacía cualquier tipo de ruido, se explica porque el Viernes Santo es el día en que Jesús sufrió y murió por nosotros, los pecadores. Tratar el Viernes Santo como un día cualquiera en el que uno puede hacer ruido y divertirse era impensable en aquellos tiempos en que la fe de la gente era mucho más fuerte y mejor informada.

Esta regla de guardar silencio y abstenerse de divertirse se extendía a TODA la Semana Santa. La regla de no ir de fiesta se extendía a TODA la Cuaresma.

Entonces, incluso si un joven surfeaba en Viernes Santo, no sería castigado ese mismo día. ¿Por qué? Porque castigar a los jóvenes en Viernes Santo resultaría en HACER RUIDO. Hacer ruido el Viernes Santo o la Semana Santa infringiría la regla, aunque el ruido viniera de castigar a los que la infringían.

Así que los padres esperaban hasta hoy Sábado Santo para castigar. Todas las reglas que se rompían durante la Cuaresma eran castigadas hoy y en la mañana. ¿Por qué hoy?

Esta noche de Sábado Santo, cuando se ponga el sol, nuestros templos católicos celebrarán la Pascua. Jesús resucitó de entre los muertos el Domingo por la mañana antes de que saliera el sol. Tradicionalmente, la misa se viene celebrando a medianoche antes del Domingo. La Iglesia entonces permite que la misa se celebre antes de la medianoche, pero definitivamente no antes de que se ponga el sol.

Pero en aquellos tiempos, la misa siempre tenía que ser temprano en la madrugada del Sábado porque uno no podía recibir la comunión, ni siquiera el sacerdote, a menos que uno ayunara de todo (incluso el agua) desde la medianoche en adelante. Así que programaron misa a las 4, 5 o 6 de la mañana porque ¿te imaginas tener misa a las 6 de la tarde y tener que ayunar de todo desde la medianoche?

Entonces, antiguamente, el Sábado por la madrugada ya se celebraba la Misa de Pascua. Por ser Pascua, se podía cantar nuevamente el GLORIA, algo que dejamos de hacer desde que comenzó la Cuaresma. Entonces la gente llamaba al Sábado Santo SÅBALON GLORIA o LORIA (algunas personas tenían dificultad para pronunciar el GL en gloria).

Debido a que Såbalon Loria era el día en que se castigaba por romper las reglas de Cuaresma, el castigo en sí se llamó MA LORIA, "para ser glorificado". Por lo general, el padre le decía a su hijo que fuera a cortar él mismo la ramita del árbol tångantångan que el padre usaría para azotar su dågan (parte trasera). Muchos padres sabían exactamente cuántas veces se rompían las reglas y azotaban una vez por cada infracción.

Si ahora estuviéramos en 1922, los jóvenes que surfeaban ayer habrían sido MA LORIA casi tan pronto como se despertaran hoy Sábado Santo.

Y también los adultos que ayer hicieron un picnic en la playa, los veinteañeros que bailaron en el club anoche o el hombre que pidió una hamburguesa de pollo ayer porque según cree "el pollo no es carne".

Habría tanta MA LORIA esta mañana que toda la isla estaría gritando y llorando.

Thursday, April 14, 2022

"HAPPY EASTER" IN CHAMORRO

 

SHORT ANSWER


FELIS PÅSGUA

or

FELIS PÅSGUAN RESUREKSION




Felis is borrowed from Spanish feliz which means "happy." You can replace felis with magof which is the indigenous, Chamorro word for "happy." Our grandparents who lived closer to Spanish times would have stuck with felis.


LONG ANSWER


This will take PATIENCE to learn and understand. Read slowly.

We moderns and we Americanized are used to greetings.

Happy Birthday. Happy Mothers Day. Happy National Chocolate Chip Day (May 15).

But greetings, at least to the extent we do so in modern times, wasn't as widespread in the old days.

Besides greeting people and saying goodbye, people didn't do a whole lot of "Happy This" or "Happy That" in the old days.

Many of the occasions Chamorros in the last three hundred years would celebrate came from their Catholic religion, which came from Spanish missionaries and which had Spanish names. Tres Reyes (Three Kings, January 6). Pentecostés (Pentecost, fifty days after Easter). La Purísima (Immaculate Conception, December 8).

One of these feasts was Easter. It celebrates the Resurrection of Jesus. It is an entirely Christian feast, first brought to the Marianas by Spanish Jesuit missionaries. So don't be surprised if the Chamorro words used for Easter are based on Spanish.

EASTER in Chamorro is called PÅSGUA. But here we run into a little trouble, which no longer remains trouble once we understand something.

Chamorro PÅSGUA comes from Spanish PASCUA which comes from Latin PASCHA. If you have a lot of exposure to the Catholic liturgy, you will see the Latin PASCHA in churchy English words like PASCHAL. We light the PASCHAL CANDLE at Easter. The season after Easter is called PASCHAL TIME (or Paschaltide). Latin PASCHA is a form of the Jewish word for the PASSOVER which is Pesach. So, due to Catholicism once being the universal religion of Europe, even English has Latin-derived words like PASCHAL.

The "problem" is that, in Spanish, PASCUA was applied to THREE major Catholic feasts : Christmas, Easter and Pentecost.

In order to be clear which Pascua was being celebrated, the Spaniards called Christmas PASCUA DE NAVIDAD.  Easter was called PASCUA DE RESURRECCIÓN (or Pascua Florida). Pentecost was called PASCUA DE PENTECOSTÉS.

Roughly translated, they mean PASCUA OF BIRTH (nativity, navidad); PASCUA OF RESURRECTION (flowery or florida, due to springtime Easter flowers); PASCUA OF PENTECOST.

Once you keep in mind that PASCUA can mean three feasts, it's no longer a "problem." If someone wishes you happy PASCUA in April, you know he or she doesn't mean Christmas, which is always in December. It's not a problem.

Look how these Christmas, Easter and Pentecost greetings in Spanish all use the word PASCUA but then specify WHICH PASCUA is being celebrated.











So the Chamorro version of Spanish PASCUA DE RESURRECCIÓN is 

PÅSGUAN RESUREKSION.


Of course, if you wanted to, you can make up your own Chamorro Easter greeting. We live in a DIY Chamorro era; Do It Yourself; make up your own version.

Magof Luma'lå'-ña Ta'lo si Jesukristo! Happy Jesus Christ's Resurrection!

But in this post I share what our grandparents and their parents knew, understood and said, and I like speaking what my grandmother spoke. And it's shorter.

FELIS PÅSGUA! (no need for Resureksion. It's April!)


VERSIÓN ESPAÑOLA
(traducida por Manuel Rodríguez)

¿CÓMO SE DICE “FELIZ PASCUA” EN CHAMORRO?

Respuesta corta: FELIS PÅSGUA o FELIS PÅSGUAN RESUREKSION

“Felis” es un préstamo del español que significa "feliz". Se puede reemplazar por “magof”, que es la palabra indígena chamorra. Nuestros abuelos, que vivieron más próximos a la época española, se habrían quedado con “feliz”.

 

Respuesta larga: Lo a continuación expuesto requerirá paciencia para aprender y comprender. Leamos despacio.

Los modernos y americanizados estamos acostumbrados a las felicitaciones.

Feliz Cumpleaños. Feliz Día de la Madre. Feliz Día Nacional de las Chispas de Chocolate (15 de mayo).

Pero este tipo de felicitaciones, al menos en la medida en que lo hacemos en los tiempos modernos, no estaba tan extendido antiguamente.

Además de saludar a la gente y despedirse, antes no se decía "Feliz por esto" o "Feliz por aquello".

Muchas de las celebraciones de los chamorros en los últimos trescientos años provienen de la religión católica, recibida de los misioneros españoles y que tenían denominaciones hispanas. Tres Reyes (6 de enero). Pentecostés (cincuenta días después de Pascua). La Purísima o Inmaculada Concepción (8 de diciembre).

Una de estas fiestas era la PASCUA. Cuando se celebra la Resurrección de Jesús de Nazaret. Es una fiesta enteramente cristiana, traída por primera vez a las Islas Marianas por misioneros jesuitas españoles. Así que no nos sorprendamos si las palabras chamorras que se usan para la Pascua se basan en el español.

La PASCUA en chamorro se denomina PÅSGUA. Pero aquí nos encontramos con un pequeño “problema”, que ya no lo es si entendemos algo. 

La palabra chamorra PÅSGUA proviene del español PASCUA que a su vez procede del latín PASCHA.

El "problema" es que, en español, PASCUA se aplica a TRES grandes fiestas católicas: Navidad, Resurrección y Pentecostés. 

Para tener claro cuál era la Pascua que se celebraba, los españoles llamaron a la Navidad PASCUA DE NAVIDAD. La Resurrección se llamaba PASCUA DE RESURRECCIÓN (o Pascua Florida). Pentecostés se llamó PASCUA DE PENTECOSTÉS.

Aproximadamente traducidos, significan PASCUA DEL NACIMIENTO (natividad, navidad); PASCUA DE LA RESURRECCIÓN (florida, por las flores primaverales de Pascua); PASCUA DE PENTECOSTÉS (descenso del Espíritu Santo).

Una vez que tengamos en cuenta que PASCUA puede significar tres celebraciones distintas, ya no es un "problema". Si alguien nos desea feliz PASCUA en abril, sabemos que no se refiere a Navidad, que siempre es en diciembre. No es un problema.

Esas felicitaciones de Navidad, Resurrección y Pentecostés en español usan la palabra PASCUA pero luego especifican QUÉ PASCUA se está festejando.

Así que la versión chamorra de PASCUA DE RESURRECCIÓN es

PÅSGUAN RESUREKSION.

Por supuesto, si quisiéramos, podríamos inventar nuestra propia felicitación de Pascua en chamorro más indígena. Vivimos en la era “Hazlo tú mismo”, “Inventa tu propia versión”.

Magof Luma'lå'-ña Ta'lo si Jesukristo!

¡Feliz Resurrección de Jesucristo!

Pero en esta entrada les comparto lo que sabían, entendían y decían nuestros abuelos y sus padres, y me gusta hablar lo que hablaba mi abuela. Y además es más corto.

FELIS PÅSGUA! (no hay necesidad de decir  Resureksion. ¡Es abril!)

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

"MA ENGLIS"

 

AMERICAN MARINES ON GUAM
1899


A marriage case in court gives us insight into a few things about Chamorro life in the 1920s, one of them being a new word coined by some Chamorros involving prostitution and the US Marines.

José and Dolores were not getting along in 1924, to put it mildly. For some reason, José despised Dolores, his wife of just four years.

Besides striking and kicking her at times, he would also verbally abuse her, calling her a puta (whore) and telling her, "Hånao ya un ma Englis!" "Go and get Englished!"

It could have just been José's personal slang, but perhaps other Chamorros used the phrase. For a Chamorro woman to seek the companionship of American men is to MA ENGLIS.

José always mentioned the Marines specifically when telling Dolores to go look for Americans. Dolores testified that José asked the local teacher to take Dolores to the Marine Barracks and sell her to the Marines. The local teacher testified that José did, in fact, say that, but only after Dolores herself had said she'd rather live with the lowest-ranking Marine than with her husband.

It seems the chance to air their grievances in court brought them some relief, because José and Dolores ended up asking the judge to dismiss the case as the two had decided to reconcile. It turned out that José and Dolores lived as husband and wife for many more years, and raised almost a dozen children.

There was no need for Dolores to MA ENGLIS.


VERSIÓN ESPAÑOLA
(traducida por Manuel Rodríguez)

“MA ENGLIS”

El caso de un matrimonio que acudió a los tribunales nos da algunas ideas de cómo era la vida de los chamorros en la década de 1920. Una de ellas es una nueva palabra acuñada por algunos chamorros que involucra a la prostitución con los marines estadounidenses.

José y Dolores no se llevaban bien en 1924, por decirlo suavemente. Por alguna razón, José despreciaba a Dolores, su esposa, desde hacía  unos cuatro años.

Además de golpearla y a veces patearla, también abusaba verbalmente de ella, llamándola “prostituta” y diciéndole: "Hånao ya un ma Englis!" "¡Ve y entrégate a los americanos!"

Podría haber sido simplemente la jerga personal de José, pero tal vez otros chamorros usaron la frase. Para una mujer chamorra buscar la compañía de hombres americanos era MA ENGLIS.

José siempre mencionaba específicamente a los marines cuando le decía a Dolores que fuera a buscar americanos.

Dolores testificó que José le pidió al maestro local que se la llevara al Cuartel y la vendiera a los marines.

El maestro local testificó que José, había dicho eso, pero solo después de que la misma Dolores comentara que prefería vivir con el infante de marina de menor rango antes que con su esposo.

Parece que la oportunidad de presentar sus quejas en el tribunal les trajo cierto alivio, porque José y Dolores terminaron pidiéndole al juez que desestimara el caso. Los dos habían decidido reconciliarse. Resultó que José y Dolores vivieron como marido y mujer durante muchos años más y criaron a casi una docena de hijos.

 


Tuesday, March 29, 2022

LOST SURNAMES : HOLL

 


There used to be a HOLL family on Guam since Spanish times, but they were descendants of a German named John Holl. In German he would have been Johann or Johannes (nickname Hans) and in Spanish Juan.

But the name HOLL would have been hard for Chamorros to pronounce the German way. Chamorro doesn't like words to end in L. Spanish hospital becomes Chamorro ospitåt. Spanish ángel becomes Chamorro ånghet.

Final L in another language becomes final T in Chamorro. HOLL has to become HOT.

But the H in Spanish spelling is silent. In order to produce the H sound, Spanish has to make it a J. Like Jose and Juan. So HOT became JOT or JAT.

Father Aniceto Ibáñez in his diary (really chronicles) tells us that a JUAN HOLL, a native of Prussia (a part of Germany) but married on Guam (the assumption here is to a Chamorro wife) presumably drowned in the sea outside of Hagåtña in 1867. He and some others were in a boat taking kamute (sweet potatoes) to a whaling ship when it capsized. His body was never found.



PRUSSIA IN THE 1800s
Before Germany was one nation


The German Juan married a Chamorro named PAULA DE CASTRO.

Apparently Juan and Paula had nothing but daughters!

MARÍA CASTRO HOLL had a son outside of marriage named Guillermo Holl. Guillermo married Caridad Quitugua but there is no trace I have found of them from the 1920 Census on. Neither do I find any trace of Guillermo's mother María.

ANA CASTRO HOLL married Juan Reyes Sablan. Born on Guam, they moved to Saipan in Spanish times. Their daughter María married Antonio de la Cruz de los Reyes.

They had a son whose name changed depending on what country was governing Saipan. He was born WILHELM during German times. He would have been called GUILLERMO by Chamorros and the Spanish priests in Saipan. When the Americans took over in 1944, he switched to WILLIAM. But everyone called him by his nickname - BITLIN. He was a famous educator in Saipan after the war and they named an elementary school in Chalan Kanoa after him.




WILLIAM "BITLIN" SABLAN REYES
Great Grandson of the German Juan Holl


MAGDALENA CASTRO HOLL married Vicente Cruz Mendiola. Their daughter Consolación Holl Mendiola married Manuel Concepción. Their daughter Antonina, married to Blas Sholing Pérez, recently passed away.

This family spells Holl JAHT. It's how Holl would have been pronounced by Chamorros in the old days, with a Spanish J like Jose and Juan.



ANTONINA CONCEPCIÓN PÉREZ
Great Granddaughter of the German Juan Holl


If Juan Holl had never drowned taking kamute to a whaling ship, presumably he would have lived many more years and possibly have had sons, and we might today know all kinds of HOLLS in Guam, Saipan and who knows where else.