Tuesday, October 31, 2023



If you ever go into the jungle and see a spirit, here's a guide what to say, provided to us by Pedro, who was taught by his grandmother :

Sesso de humånao si Pedro gi halom tåno' manaliligao åmot pat håyo pat masea håfa, ya ti ma'å'ñao si Pedro achok ha' guiya ha' na maisa humånao.
(Pedro often went into the jungle looking for medicine or wood or whatever may be, and Pedro wasn't afraid even when he went by himself.)

Finaisen gue' as Kiko', i amigu-ña, "Kao tåya' na ma'å'ñao hao na siña hao manli'e' espiritu gi halom tåno'?"
(His friend Kiko' asked him, "Aren't you ever afraid that you might see a spirit in the jungle?")

Manoppe si Pedro, "Tåya', sa' ha fanå'gue yo' si nanå-ho biha håfa para bai ålok an siakåso na guaha håfa hu li'e'."
(Pedro answered, "Never, because my grandmother taught me what to say if I ever see something.")

Mamaisen si Kiko', "Håfa?"
("What?" Kiko' asked.)

Manoppe si Pedro, "Siempre bai ålok, 'Yanggen anite hao, pues hånao tåtte para sasalåguan!'
(Pedro replied, "I'll say, 'If you're a demon, then go back to hell!')

'Yanggen ånimas hao, bai tayuyute hao lao hånao tåtte para Putgatorio!'
('If you're a Poor Soul, I will pray for you, but go back to Purgatory!')

'Yanggen taotao hao, pues hånao tåtte para i gimå'-mo!'"
('If you're human, then go back to your house!')

Pues mamaisen si Kiko', "Lao håfa para un ålok yanggen ginen i langet na espiritu?"
(Then Kiko' asked, "But what will you say if it's a spirit from heaven?")

Ha hasso nåya si Pedro sa' tåya' håfa ilek-ña si nanå-ña biha pot ennao. Pues manoppe si Pedro, "Yanggen ginen i langet na espiritu, siempre bai ålok, 'Ayuda yo' sumodda' håfa hu aliligao!"
(Pedro thought a while because his grandmother said nothing about that. Then Pedro answered, "If it's a heavenly spirit, I'll say, 'Help me find what I'm looking for!'")

Tuesday, October 24, 2023


Socially elite Chamorro ladies with Americans in the 1910s

An American lady, the sister of the island's Governor at the time, Olga Dorn, wrote an article describing life as she saw it when she visited the island in 1909.

She described three classes of Chamorro women, all based on footwear!

The three classes, in her words, were the Shoestring Set, the Slipper Society and the Barefoot Brigade.

SHOESTRING SET. These were women of the socially elite class. Many of them had Spanish or other European blood. Their fathers occupied positions in the American government or in commerce. These ladies were very eager to adopt American fashions. They always wore shoes and stockings. These were the women often invited to American social events.

Some with shoes, some without

SLIPPER SOCIETY. These were a much larger group of Chamorro women who clung to the fashion of their mothers and grandmothers. Many of them also had Spanish or some European blood in them, but their preference was for the fashions of old. They mainly wore the mestiza dress and heelless, flat slippers with no stockings. These women were almost never invited to American social events. Among the Chamorros themselves, many of these women were considered elite and prestigious, but they occupied a different world than the Americans.

BAREFOOT BRIGADE. These women were of the poorer class who generally went around without any footwear at all. 

Today, everybody wears something on their feet. Usually.

Tuesday, October 17, 2023



Monsignor Zoilo LG Camacho was known for a few things.

Building round churches, for one. Like San Vicente in Barrigada and Santa Barbara in Dededo.

Farming. A good portion of almost every day was spent growing fruits and vegetables. Even I received a nice watermelon from him one time.

But what not a whole lot of people knew about him was his loathing of air travel. Monsignor avoided flying on a plane if he could. If it meant not attending some event off-island, so be it. He would not board the plane.

On July 14, 1960, Father (he was not Monsignor, yet) Zoilo was flying from Okinawa to Manila on a Northwest Orient plane. His intention was to proceed from Manila to India to visit his sister, a missionary nun, whom he had not seen in 22 years.

At 320AM in the dead of night, the pilot reported that one of his engines had "run away." This means the engine was getting extra fuel from an unintended source (often a fuel or oil leak), making the engine run faster. The lack of lubrication for a faster-running engine means the engine could catch fire, and if it doesn't catch fire it will most likely break anyway.

The pilot said he could do nothing about the runaway engine, so only time would tell. An hour after reporting the runaway engine, the engine caught on fire. Dawn had not come yet and it was still dark, but the pilot decided the best thing to do was land in the sea. He was near Polillo Island, around 85 miles from Manila.

The plane landed in the sea just as safely as it could. Everyone got wet, lost their footwear and luggage, but there were no serious injuries or loss of life except for one passenger. American amphibious planes based in the Philippines rescued the crew and passengers. The survivors had calmly gotten into four or five life rafts after deplaning. There was only one other passenger from Guam, a businessman named Alfred Minot.

(photo from the Macaraeg family)

Father Zoilo was taken to the San Juan de Dios Hospital in Manila for 24-hour observation, even though he had sustained no injuries. There he met a Guam resident, Mrs Bridget Macaraeg, wife of physician Dr Godofredo Macaraeg, who was in the Philippines for a visit. She reported that, besides losing his shoes, Father Zoilo had lost his eye glasses (as well as everything else he had on board).

Father Zoilo told Mrs Macaraeg that the pilot made all the necessary announcements and the passengers put on their life vests. Some people on the descending plane asked Fr Zoilo to hear their confessions, and he did. I wonder where?

The plane hit the water with just a strong jolt. Then it was a matter of life or death to exit the plane, now filling with smoke from the burning engine slowly going out from the ocean water. One female passenger, in a panic, clung to the plane but Father Zoilo managed to get her into a life raft.

The one passenger who died, an elderly woman, reportedly died of a heart attack. Her body was recovered.

The plane sank in less than ten minutes. The rescue operations took four hours to complete. Fortunately, the sun was up by then.

Despite the crash landing, Father Zoilo did proceed, by plane, to Hong Kong then India to meet his sister. Then back to Guam, all by plane.

But, after that, Monsignor Zoilo avoided flying on a plane as much as possible.

Thursday, October 12, 2023



Most Chamorro Catholics will start praying a rosary as a family, with friends and others joining, the day someone in the family passes away. It lasts for nine days or nights.

Why nine?

The devotion is Catholic and so the answer is to be found in the Catholic religion, and not in the Chamorro culture itself.


on the 10th day

When Jesus returned to Heaven, body and soul, on Ascension Thursday, He told the Apostles to return to the Upper Room and pray for the coming of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit would come and remain with the Church, with the Apostles and with every believer until Jesus comes back again at the end of the world. The Holy Spirit would be the friend, the advocate, the consoler, the enlightener, the guide of the Church till the end of the world.

So the Holy Spirit would be a great grace, and Jesus told the Apostles to pray for the coming of that great grace, that great favor, the Holy Spirit.

So from Thursday, when they started praying, till the following day Friday, is one day. Count nine days of prayer and that takes you to Saturday. And the great grace, the great favor, came the following day, Pentecost Sunday. The Holy Spirit came down upon all the Apostles, the Blessed Mother and others on the 10th day. So, the favor asked for 9 days came on the 10th.

A period of NINE DAYS is called a NOVENA. It comes from the Latin word for NINE, which is NOVEM. The month of NOVEMBER used to be the NINTH month on the Roman calendar.

We pray novenas to some saints. In these novenas, we ask that saint to pray to God for us to grant us a favor, a grace, which we hope to receive at the end of the novena, just as the Apostles prayed for nine days and after that received the great grace of the Holy Spirit.

The 1st night not there because it started before this could be put in the newspaper

When we pray for the dead, we are asking God to have mercy on them, shorten their time in Purgatory and to take them to heaven as soon as possible. That is the request, the great favor or grace wanted.

And, like the Apostles and Mary, we pray for NINE DAYS (or nights) asking for this great favor and grace. It is a NOVENA (series of nine) of ROSARIES for the deceased. Jesus told us that God hears our prayers, so we believe and so we do!

Tuesday, October 3, 2023



YT : Cris Paul Adventures

It's one of Guam's more famous seaside scenes. Locals love it just as much as tourists.

Everyone knows it as Inarajan Pool, but the area's Chamorro name is SALAKLULA'. There's a glota at the end, so be sure to voice it.

I'm sure people have been swimming in it for centuries, but it didn't get the island-wide attention it now has until the 1960s. Keep in mind that Guam didn't have a "beach" mentality in the old days as we do now. Certainly people went to the beach and swam, but not with as much importance as we do now. The sea was mainly a source of food, there wasn't a culture of "recreation" back then and "sports" meant cockfighting in the old days.

People say that Inarajan Pool is NATURAL, but that is not totally true. Man has left his fingerprints on it for a while now.


The first mention of Inarajan Pool in Guam's newspaper after the war was in 1966 when the Inarajan Social Improvement Club took it upon themselves to turn Salaklula' into a public swimming pool.

By 1966, the naturally-formed pool was BLASTED to open up more spaces and deepen the pool. Next, Ken Jones and the J&G people sent a crane down to DREDGE the blasted pool and remove the debris left over from the blasting. They would also cement the edges around the pool to smooth them out.

And, after that, the pool has had a life of its own; some highs and some lows. Besides the thousands who have had loads of fun swimming there, over the years it has taken a beating from typhoons, became a dumping ground for people's trash, polluted and almost ignored because of it (with government warnings to avoid it). As recent as 2015 a man had a heart attack while in the pool and drowned as he went under the water.

But, problems get solved; the government funds improvements and the pool remains a popular place. People swim, jump into the pool and BBQ in the picnic pavilions. The government has built ample parking, toilets and showers.


A few elderly people in Inalåhan tell me that SALAK was a children's mispronunciation of SÅDDOK which means "river." When kids told their parents they were going to swim in the pool, they'd say SALAK instead of SÅDDOK (even though a pool is not a river).

This differs from Påle' Román who says in his 1932 Chamorro dictionary that SALAK is connected with a word that means to line up two-by-two. What that has to do with the pool is beyond me. Maybe nothing.

They also say that LULA' means "to harvest suni (taro)." So their interpretation is that SALAKLULA' means "river for harvesting suni." Påle' Román does say that lula' means "to harvest suni." I'm not just 100% sure about the salak part.


Just to confuse us even more, SALAKLULA' has also been called SALUKLULA by others, and it makes a tempting alternative because there is a word SALUK (or SALOK).

SALUK means a "gorge, pass, gully, ravine, channel or canal."

One can see how the pool can be considered almost any one of those in a broad sense; basically a drop in the terrain surrounded by walls of earth.

As enticing as this alternative might be for others, I have a few reasons for hesitating.

1. As far as I know, no name for the Inarajan Pool area shows up on any map at all that I have seen (starting in the 1800s) until the 1968 Geological Survey map, where the name is SALAGLULA, as in earlier in this blog post.

2. SALUGLULA starts to appear in the Guam Daily News in the late 1960s. But so does SALAGLULA. So BOTH names run concurrently all through the media from the 1960s until the 2010s. Since the 2010s, the media uses SALAKLULA' a bit more. So it's hard to argue which name is correct when both names appear more or less in equal numbers in print.

The Year 2000

3. OLDER VILLAGERS, unrelated and not with me at the same time, told me quite clearly that the name is SALAKLULA'.


Parks & Rec is trying to promote the Chamorro name for Inarajan Pool, but they need to correct the sign.

SAULAGLULA means "to whip Lula." Saolak (to whip).

The name is SALAKLULA', not Saulaglula.