Tuesday, August 29, 2023




Atkins Kroll, most known as a car dealership, used to be in Aniguåk up until October 1969 when the company moved to its present building in Tamuning which it built that year.

The company found its Aniguåk location, which it took up after the war, to be too confined and the building too outdated for the growing business it was enjoying in the late 1960s. Rather than improve the Aniguåk location, the company decided to start from scratch at a new location in Tamuning.

While AK has been Guam's Toyota dealer for many decades now, it was selling General Motors cars in the 1950s and 60s on Guam.

Tuesday, August 22, 2023




The first recorded Indian in the Marianas was a Christian named Lorenzo, who was shipwrecked off the southern coast of Saipan in 1638 aboard the Spanish galleon Concepción. He stayed in the Marianas after surviving the shipwreck. When Sanvitores and his missionaries came in 1668, Lorenzo was there to render assistance, being an interpreter for the missionaries (having lived thirty years already with the Chamorros).

Sanvitores sent Lorenzo to help with the Christianization of Anatahan, where he was killed by Chamorro opponents to the mission in 1669, the FIRST of the Christian martyrs of the Marianas.

A very early missionary account of Sanvitores (written by Jesuit Francisco García in 1683, just eleven years after Sanvitores' death) clearly states that Lorenzo was a Malabar; it wasn't his "last name," which many people all over the world still did not use, yet. Other early books (e.g. Morales) are also clear that Lorenzo was from the Malabar Coast, which is in India.

The Malabars were from the southwest coast of India (now Kerala) who had become Christians through the preaching of Saint Thomas the Apostle, who is said to have reached India in the year 52AD. They are thus also called "Saint Thomas Christians." From those ancient times till now, the Malabar or Saint Thomas Christians have remained Christians. The blood of one of them wetted the soil of Anatahan in 1669.


Three hundred and thirty-three years later, yet another Malabar Christian came to the Marianas; specifically Guam.

His name was Father Thomas Vengayil, from the Syro-Malabar Diocese of Palai (a city in Kerala, India).

Father Vengayil heard about Guam through a classmate in London, where he was studying economics, who had lived on Guam, by the name of John Gillam. Father wrote to Bishop Flores offering his services, and Flores accepted, bringing Father to Guam in 1971. He served in various places such as Niño Perdido parish in Asan, Santa Teresita parish in Mangilao and Santa Barbara parish in Dededo where he was pastor in both places for a time.


Due to his interest in economics and social issues, Father Vengayil also headed the Campaign for Human Development on Guam, a social advocacy agency of the Catholic Church.

He left Guam to serve in other dioceses sometime in the 1980s.


Since Fr Vengayil left Guam, there have been a few Indian Capuchin priests who have helped on Guam for very brief periods, usually one to three months.

But in 2021, two Indian Capuchins came to Guam to assist for a longer time.

Fathers Claud Mascarenhas and Silvano Fernandes come from Karnataka in India, a different state from that of Kerala, where Father Vengayil and Lorenzo Malabar came from.

Nonetheless, Fathers Claud and Silvano are the latest Catholic Indian priests to come to Guam, specifically to minister at Saint Fidelis Friary.



But the story gets better.

Not only have Indian Catholics ministered on Guam; in the 1950s and 60s, a Chamorro Sister ministered in India!

Maria LG Camacho (familian Zoilo) wanted to be a Catholic Sister when she was a young woman. But there were no Sisters on Guam before the war. So she went to Manila to join the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary. She was given the religious name of Sister Eanswida.

She was sent to college and then to Stella Maris College in Chennai, India (Madras in the old days). There she founded the Social Welfare Center and did so much to develop the Social Welfare program of the school that, to this day, there is an Endowment Fund named in her honor.

Feeling her work as a missionary was over, and wanting to return to Guam to be with her aging parents, Sister Eanswida changed Orders and became a Mercy Sister upon returning to Guam. She also got a new religious name, Sister Thecla.

She died on Guam in January of 2017 at the age of 99 years. Had she lived till September, she would have reached her 100th birthday.

Monday, August 14, 2023



There is only one Diego clan on Guam and its håle' (roots) are in Inalåhan.

But they are almost certainly descended from a Filipino soldier of the Pampanga Company whose name was AGUSTÍN DIEGO. He is the only adult person with the surname Diego on Guam in the 1758 Census. He does not appear in the earlier 1727 Census. Pampanga is a province in the Philippines with its own language, different from Tagalog.

DIEGO is the Spanish form of the Latin name DIDACUS. The name can also come from a variation of the name James, which in Latin is Jacobus, which turns into Santiago (Sant + Iago).

Spanish personal, or first, names sometimes became family names or surnames. Think of Pablo (Paul), Blas (Blaise) or the famous Ferdinand Marcos (Mark).

Agustín married Juana Cabangis. Two Cabangis soldiers, also of the Pampanga Company, are in the 1727 Census so Juana could be the daughter of one of them. One of those soldiers married a Chamorro woman, so Juana could already be the beginning of the Chamorro link in the family. Agustín and family lived in the capital city, Hagåtña, but some Spanish, Mexican and Filipino soldiers were sent to the villages to serve as officials. This is probably how one of the Diegos went to Inalåhan.

By 1758, Agustín Diego had two sons but more could have come later. At any rate the Diegos start appearing in Inalåhan by the 1800s. 

As far back as 1847, there was an Eduardo Diego who was the warden or alguacil of Inalåhan.

By 1878, or 31 years later, a new figure by the name of José Meyao Diego appears in the records in various civic capacities in Inalåhan, sometimes as warden and other times as Justice of the Peace.

It is this José Meyao Diego, married to Francisca Chargualaf, who is the founder of the clan that continues to this day.


José's middle name, which was his mother's maiden name, has been spelled in various ways : Miyao and Mellao are just some examples. It doesn't seem to be a Spanish name. It is probably an indigenous Chamorro name, as there are records of Inalåhan people with the name during Spanish times. If it is Chamorro, it could come from the prefix MI, which means "abundant," with the root word YAO or IYAO unknown. It could also be that MEYAO has nothing at all to do with MI (abundant). It remains a mystery.

José was born around 1837. Without an actual baptismal certificate, it's hard to be exact about his date of birth. People were always guessing their ages in those days, and would have different answers every so often.

José and Francisca had numerous children. They had four sons, but only one of the four produced enough male heirs to keep the Diego name going. One son never married. Another son had no children, though married, and another married son had one daughter.

ROMUALDO CHARGUALAF DIEGO married Dolores León Guerrero San Nicolás, the daughter of Gerónimo San Nicolás and Antonia León Guerrero. It is Romualdo who produced enough male heirs to keep the Diego name going. His sons were Joaquín, Enemesio, Juan, Vicente, Jesús and José.

JOAQUIN CHARGUALAF DIEGO married Victorina Meno Mantanoña. Apparently they had no children.

JUAN JOSÉ CHARGUALAF DIEGO married Ignacia León Guerrero, the daughter of Vicenta León Guerrero and an unknown father. They had a daughter Catalina, who later married.


Then there were José and Francisca's daughters, who were :

MARÍA CHARGUALAF DIEGO who married Francisco Castro.

CLARA CHARGUALAF DIEGO married Joaquín Crisóstomo, the son of Ana Crisóstomo and an unknown father.

VICENTA CHARGUALAF DIEGO married Lucas Taitague Naputi, the son of Mariano Naputi and Antonia Taitague.

Former Commissioner (Mayor) of Inalåhan

Former Commissioner of Inalåhan before the war

signature in 1904


ROMUALDO CHARGUALAF DIEGO, born 1863, father of

VICENTE SAN NICOLÁS DIEGO, born 1908, father of

FRANK PAULINO DIEGO, born 1938, father of

FRANK TAITAGUE DIEGO, born 1969, father of

GAVIN DIEGO, born 1987, father of


Tuesday, August 8, 2023



Humålom si Ana gi konfesionårio.
(Ana went into the confessional.)

Mampos takpapa' i bos-ña si Ana ya chatta hohongga i håfa ha konfesatñañaihon.
(She was speaking too low and one could barely hear what she was confessing.)

Ilek-ña si Påle' annai monhåyan si Ana kumonfesat, "Iha, hånao pot fabot para i otro bånda ya bai hungok hao gi maolek na talanga-ho."
(When Ana finished confessing, the priest said, "My daughter, please go to the other side and let me hear you with my good ear.")

Wednesday, August 2, 2023



It's interesting how, even in the days when formal, higher schooling was not possible in our islands, ambitious young people found a way to work themselves into a skilled profession.

Take the case of José Díaz Torres, who was born on Saipan on June 1, 1895 during Spanish times.

He was the son of Félix Atoigue Torres and Vicenta de León Guerrero Díaz. He married Asunción Martínez Ada, one of the familian Bodik clan which spans both Saipan and Guam. She is sometimes called Ascensión.


During German times, he came to the notice of the German officials as being a bright young man, and he went with one of the German governors for a short time to Yap and Ponape. He also visited Nauru and New Guinea during the German period. In 1914, just before the Japanese took over the Northern Marianas from the Germans, he became a medical assistant.

Then the Japanese gave him formal medical classes for just a year. What he lacked in longer years of book study he made up for by assisting Japanese doctors in their practice, even during surgeries. The people of Saipan considered José a doctor and called him so.

When the Americans attacked Saipan in 1944, Dr. Torres offered his services to the Americans as soon as he was able to, to tend to the wounded and anyone else needing attention, even when mortar fire was whizzing by him. The US military later gave Dr Torres a commendation for his contribution. Many nights Dr Torres got no sleep as many people awakened him with medical emergencies. He never turned anyone away.

In 1962, the Trust Territory Government built a new hospital in Saipan, costing (in 1962 values) $700,000. They named it in honor of Dr. Torres.

In construction 1962

He retired in 1972 at the age of 77, but in the first weeks of his retirement, he still woke up and got dressed in his white medical uniform. His wife had to ask government officials to remind her husband that he was retired. She wanted him to avoid overdoing it in his older years.

But Dr Torres lived a healthy lifestyle. He didn't smoke, barely drank any alcohol and was partial to local, home grown foods like taro and yams. He learned to speak German with the Germans, Japanese with the Japanese and English with the Americans.

Dr Torres died in 1976 in his "own" hospital, meaning the hospital named after him. He lived till he was 80, just two and half months shy of his 81st birthday.

In November of 1986, the Northern Marianas Commonwealth Government completed the construction of a new hospital for Saipan, calling it the Commonwealth Health Center. It did not carry over Dr Torres' name for the new hospital. So I hope this blog post helps to keep the memory of Dr Torres alive.

Many of the buildings that make up the present Northern Marianas College at its main campus in As Terlaje, Saipan were once the buildings of Dr Torres Hospital. Some believe that there are haunted areas of the College buildings because they used to house the dead who passed away at the old hospital.

Youtube : ChatRoger Cadua

the former Dr Torres Hospital