Sunday, December 31, 2023



This is a Chamorro hymn to the Holy Family (Sagråda Familia), who are Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

This particular tune for it is sung in Inalåhan, and probably also Malojloj, but the words are the same as the version sung by the rest of the island.

In the past, when all transportation was either by animal-driven cart, boat or feet, villages were more isolated and local customs more easily developed, different from the next village. Often it was a new priest, musically-inclined, who might introduce a new melody for an old hymn. But others, musicians or organists or singers who learned it from elsewhere, could also have taught a new melody to their local choir. 

As far as the origin of this Inalåhan melody for this hymn sung to another melody in Hagåtña and elsewhere, I am not sure. Perhaps I can find out in the future.


Jesús, José an María; Jesús, José an María;
estague' i korason-ho yan i anti-ho.
(Jesus, Joseph and Mary; Jesus, Joseph and Mary;
here are my heart and my soul.)

Jesús, José an María; Jesús, José an María;
fa' maolek yo' an hokkok i ha'ani-ho.
(Jesus, Joseph and Mary; Jesus, Joseph and Mary;
assist me when my life is done.)

Jesús, José an María; Jesús, José an María;
na' måtai yo' pao såntos gi kannai-miyo; gi kannai-miyo.
(Jesus, Joseph and Mary; Jesus, Joseph and Mary;
make me die in the fragrance of holiness within your hands.)


The last two verses speak about a good death, a holy death, because the Holy Family includes Saint Joseph, who died before Jesus began His public ministry and was still unknown to people. So, Saint Joseph died surrounded by Jesus and the Blessed Mother - a nice way to pass from this earthly life!

That is why Saint Joseph is the Patron of a Holy and Happy Death, and why the hymn speaks of this. On our death bed, we want the Holy Family surrounding us.

*** Thanks to Lawrence Borja for the audio clip

Friday, December 1, 2023



Many of you know that Chamorro does not like ending words with the letters R or L. Final R or L become a T when said in Chamorro.



















This advertisement in the Guam Daily News in 1959 shows how our elders pronounced SINGER as in SINGER SEWING MACHINE.

They said SINGHET or SINGET.

Notice that "sewing machine" is MÅKINAN MAN LAKSE." Man låkse' means "to sew" and måkina is machine.

"Limited quantity" is rendered "ti meggai tetehnan" or "not many left."

"Monthly payments" is "Siña un apåse pot mes," or "You can pay by month."

Our elders had no trouble paraphrasing the English in Chamorro, rather than invent new words that are stranger than the paraphrase.


Apparently, there were Singer sewing machines on Guam even in the late Spanish period.

A book published in Manila in 1895 claimed that there was a Singer Sewing Company outlet in the Marianas, probably meaning Guam.

The above citation reads, in English,

The Singer Company has more than 2000 houses established in the principle population centers of the world and the Philippines agency, besides the outlets in Manila, Iloilo, Cebu and Tacloban, has agents in the principle population centers in the Archipelago and also in both the Carolines and Marianas.