Tuesday, July 9, 2024



In 1980, a Saipan band called Tropicsette released their album Palasyon Rico. One of the biggest hits from that album was a song that even made Guam go crazy, even my own classmates aged 18 years old who could hardly speak, or even understand, Chamorro.

That song was Påtgon Neni

Everyone on Guam was singing it, even if they pronounced the words badly and didn't understand what they were singing. The song was important on Guam in the way it introduced many Guam people to the "Micronesian" sound in music. Chamorro music on Guam didn't have that sound, but the music scene in Saipan did, since the Carolinians of Saipan had their influence on that island. Since my classmates and I barely understood the words, we loved the song Påtgon Neni because of the sound.

That sound came from Pohnpei.

In a 2008 newspaper article written by one-time Tropicsette member Herbert Del Rosario, to honor Frank Bokonggo Pangelinan, another Tropicsette member who had just died, Del Rosario says the following, 

"I must admit the song Patgon Neni was our most popular song, which brought the whole island (Saipan) to Oleai Room (a bar) every weekend to listen to this song which originated from the island of Pohnpei."

With the help of Pohnpeian friends, I was able to find the original Pohnpeian song on which Patgon Neni is based. The song is titled Pwurodo Kameiehla. I believe it was composed by Daniel Isaac.

According to a Pohnpeian friend, the first line more or less says "Come and take my life, because I have none, anyway, without you..."

Somehow, someone in Tropicsette got to know this song. Candy Taman often borrowed songs from Chuuk and other islands and added Chamorro lyrics to them, but I'm not sure who penned the Chamorro version of this Pohnpeian song.

The Chamorro version is also about a broken relationship, seen from the man's perspective. He tells the woman that if she remarries, then bring their child to him, since it would be bad for the child to be raised by another man who is not his father.


Pues adios ya bai hu hånao.
(So goodbye and I will go.)

Ya an siakåso na umassagua hao
(And if you should marry)

Pot fabot konne' mågi i patgon nene.
(Please bring the child here.)

Na'ma'ase' i patgon yanggen otro tåta para u atiende gue'.
(Pity the child if another father will care for him/her.)

Hånao mågi ya un nangga yo'
(Come here and wait for me)

ya un sångan ha' ya bai hu hånao.
(and just say so and I will go.)

The Tropicsette recording then goes on to sing a verse in Carolinian and finally a verse from the Pohnpeian original.

Here is a recording of the original Pohnpeian song :

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