Thursday, May 28, 2015

FINO' I MAN ÅMKO'



"Totoktok gi un kånnai; sasaolak gi otro kånnai."

("Hugging with one hand; spanking with the other hand.")


An older lady, in her 80s, was talking to me about someone we both knew, now long since passed.

She remarked how this person was both strict and loving at the same time; not averse to punishing you, yet always following up punishment with some act of kindness.

A person is born with two hands. It's the same person, but using two hands for opposite things. So it is with the way some people treat you. Hugging with one hand, spanking with the other.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

THIS IS A PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT



In the days before the internet, TV or even radio, how was important news from the government immediately disseminated to the general public?

As far as the capital city was concerned, by way of a town crier.

This was a common practice in Spain, and it was repeated here in the Marianas.

When something had to be announced to the whole population in Hagåtña, the crier would go out at night with a lantern bearer and a bugler (kotneta). The bugler's tune would call the people in that particular area out from the homes to gather around the crier. When everyone was present, he would read out the news. Many times these were instructions from the governor, perhaps concerning health (there were often epidemics in those days) or some public works project, or a new law. After announcing in one barrio, the crier and company would move to the next.

Why at night? Well, probably because a lot of city dwellers, especially the men, were at their ranches since even before dawn. The government had to wait till they returned home before sunset to have most of the men present to hear the news.

We're not sure what the Chamorros would have called the town crier. Påle' Roman's Chamorro dictionary has the word pregón, which means "announcement" and the verb pregona ("to announce"), but he doesn't include the word pregonero (announcer).  These terms were all borrowed from Spanish. Even if pregonero was used, all these terms died out in time.

One thing's for sure, these announcements were read out in Chamorro. It's quite possible they were announced in both Spanish (for formality's sake) and Chamorro (for effectiveness), but almost certainly at least in Chamorro, as most Chamorros did not understand Spanish very well, at least those in the late 1800s.  In fact, some Americans who came to Guam in the early 1900s, thinking their Spanish would be enough to ensure successful work with Chamorros, soon realized that their Spanish was useless with most Chamorros. They had to learn Chamorro in order to communicate with all Chamorros, "high and low."

Friday, May 22, 2015

HOW TO SAY "CHUUK" IN CHAMORRO




When I was growing up, it was Truk.

Then, in the 1980s, we first heard about Chuuk.

But how did Chamorros call this island, or group of islands, back in the day before they also spoke English?

They used the Spanish version of the name Chuuk.

We always have to forgive people in the past for spelling unfamiliar things in foreign lands the way they did. After all, if someone spoke to you in a language you didn't understand, and asked you to write down what you heard, it would be a mess!

So when the Spaniards (and other Europeans) heard the word Chuuk, the best they could spell it as their minds tried to grasp the sound they heard, was Ruk. Sometimes the Spaniards spelled it Ruc, as K is not found in the Spanish language (except sometimes when spelling foreign words or names).




Here is a close-up of a Spanish map of the Carolines, showing the island of Ruk. In the map at the top of this post, you can also see Ruk spelled out, and it's an American map, not Spanish! You can see the name Ruk in the heading and also in the part encircled.




A Spanish magazine talking about the "island of Ruk."


But, for the Spanish, the U in Ruk is pronounced like the OO in hook. Ruk rhymes with hook or crook. Not with luck or duck.

It was the Chamorros of Saipan, Rota, Yap and Palau who maintained this version of the name for Chuuk even up to our days. Why?

In 1898, the Chamorros of Guam were separated from all the other Chamorros. The U.S. had no connection with Chuuk until after World War II.

But the Germans, and then the Japanese, controlled everywhere else in Micronesia : the Northern Marianas, Palau, Yap and yes - Ruk.

Chamorros from the other Japanese mandate islands, in small numbers, went to work in Ruk now and then under the Japanese.

So the Chamorros outside of Guam kept up a connection with Ruk. They were all under the same flag - the Japanese. They would hear news about Ruk. They had relatives living and working in Ruk. Their Jesuit priests in Saipan and Rota sometimes went back and forth, serving in Ruk.

"Ginen mano si påle' mågi?" ("From where did Father come here?")
"Ginen Ruk mågi." ("He came here from Ruk.")

Even as late as 1992, I heard older Chamorro women in Saipan talk about a place called Ruk.

I would say, "Where?" "Ruk!" they answered. And that's how I learned how the older Chamorros called what we call Chuuk, and, at one time, Truk.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

CHAMORRO SOLDIERS 1795



From a list of soldiers on Guam in 1795.

These soldiers, for the most part, are examples of the new race of mixed-blood Chamorros, having pre-contact Chamorro blood, as well as Spanish, Latin American (and thus Aztec and other indigenous American blood) and Filipino blood.

ACOSTA, Patricio de

AGUIRRE, José Antonio

AGUON, Victor

ARCEO, Desiderio
ARCEO, Félix
ARCEO, Francisco
ARCEO, Leopoldo

BAZA, Remigio
BAZA, Victorino

BERMEJO, José

BORJA, Enrique

CALDERÓN, Pedro

CAMACHO, Francisco

CAPISTRANO, Francisco Pascual

CASTRO, Ignacio de
CASTRO, Nicolás de

CEPEDA, Nicolás

COTINO, Pedro

CRUZ, Felipe de la
CRUZ, Félix
CRUZ, Francisco
CRUZ, José de la
CRUZ, Justo de la
CRUZ, Salvador de la

DUEÑAS, José Romano

ESPINOSA, Ignacio

GARRIDO, Manuel Tiburcio

GUERRERO, Juan de Dios

GUEVARA, José Andrés

LIZAMA, Nicolás

MANIBUSAN, Gregorio
MANIBUSAN, Juan

MENDIOLA, Paulino

OJEDA, Manuel de

PABLO, Juan Regis

PALOMO, Antonio

QUINTANILLA, Nicolás

RIVERA, Diego de
RIVERA, Marcos de

RODRÍGUEZ, José

ROSA, Domingo de la

SABLÁN, Agustin Roque

SÁNCHEZ, Andrés

TELLO JIMÉNEZ, Andrés

TORRES, Juan Francisco Regis de

ULLOA, José de


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

THE FORGOTTEN STRAGGLERS


Masashi Ito (left) and Bunzo Minagawa (right) after their capture in 1960


Mention Yokoi on Guam and practically everyone knows who we're talking about.

But Ito and Minagawa?

Yet, almost 12 years prior to the capture of Yokoi in early 1972, two Japanese stragglers were found on Guam in 1960.

Manibusan and Santos

Like Yokoi, the first of the two to be found in 1960, Minagawa, was found by Chamorro men from Talofofo who were hunting. Vicente Manibusan and Clemente Santos were hunting coconut crab by Togcha when they saw a man in the distance. Just from the look of the man, they suspected he was a Japanese straggler.

They circled the area and found Minagawa up inside a breadfruit tree. When they called out to him, he jumped down and tried to run away. After about a quarter of a mile in pursuit, Manibusan and Santos caught up with Minagawa and struggled with him till he finally gave in. Passing cars were hailed, but it was only the third car which cooperated and promised to call the police to send a patrol car to that area.

A fourth car agreed to take the trio to the Yoña police precinct. There they waited for a police car to fetch them and take them to the main Agaña police headquarters. Then the Navy stepped in and took over.


Ito

During his questioning by authorities, Minagawa informed his captors that there was another Japanese soldier still hiding in the jungle by the name of Masashi Ito. Minagawa was willing to accompany the military police to Ito's hidden camp site and encourage him to surrender.

When the time arrived, the search party went by helicopter to the site and Minagawa called out to his compatriot. Ito emerged from hiding and turned himself in. The two were eventually repatriated to Japan, in good condition.

Asked if they thought there were more Japanese holdouts hiding in Guam's jungles, they replied no. Boy were they wrong!





The discovery of the stragglers naturally made news all over the world

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

MALINGO NA FINO' CHAMORRO



We're very used to the word, and phrase, "Esta!"

It means, "already," and can also mean, "OK," "alright," and so forth.

The word is borrowed from Spanish, but "ésta" in Spanish means "this." So it's curious how "this" became "already" in Chamorro.

One explanation, going back a hundred years or more, is that "esta" is really a shortened version of yesta.

Yesta appears in the Chamorro prayer book above, which was written over a hundred years ago by a Chamorro, well-educated in the Spanish system.

Påle' Román says that yesta is itself a shortened form of the Spanish "ya está." "Ya está" means "it's already there," or simply, "already."

"Did you fold the clothes?"
"Ya está." (They're already there. I already did it.)

From there, Chamorros shortened "ya está" to "yesta." And, as the years rolled on, shortened it further to "esta."

In time, yesta disappeared and is now no longer heard.

I think that's about all I can say about it. Pues, esta!




Monday, May 18, 2015

THE BUS TO SUMAY


A typical bus of the 1930s


Sumay was Guam's second largest town well before the 1930s. It was also an important town, with its port, Marine barracks, cable station, Pan Am Clipper landing, hotel and many businesses.

Because of all this importance, it isn't surprising that there was a lot of traffic between Hagåtña and Sumay and the need for public transportation going between them.

One such line was the City Motorbus Line, which ran a bus in the 1930s from the capital to Sumay and back, passing through Piti and Hågat.



Thursday, May 14, 2015

TAMING FISH IN LUTA



Several sources from the early 1900s talk about a unique way the people of Luta (Rota) caught fish.

They tamed them. Right in the ocean.

When the fish were very small, the fishermen would go out in their canoes. They would let down into the water a half a coconut shell, with a stone in it for weight. There was also a string tied to the stone so that the fisherman could jiggle it, making a sound which would attract the fish. Inside the shell would be grated coconut meat. The little fish would eat to their heart's content. And day by day, for as long as needed, the fishermen would do this.

As the fish got bigger, and more attractive to catch, the fish got very used to finding coconut meat in what they thought was a safe environment. Then - swoosh! The fishermen would easily grab the fish.

I wish I knew what type of fish was the object of this method of catching them.

Most of Luta lacks a reef. So I can only imagine where this type of fishing took place, as most of the waters around Luta seem rather rough and deep for this method.

This method is also time-consuming. But, as one writer said, especially in those days, the people had a lot of time on their hands.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

FISHING WITH A TAOTAOMO'NA

http://www.kawikaspiritartstudio.com

Two kompådres agreed to go fishing one night at To'guan Bay in Humåtak. Since they would go out at night, they brought torches (hachon), along with their spears (sulo'). All things being prepared, one decided to nap since it was dark but the tide was still high.

"Wake me when it's time to go out," he said to his påre.

Some time later, he was awakened by the voice of his påre, saying it was time to go. "Find me there," he said to his awakening companion.

It took the awakening man to set out and he found his partner already in the water, fishing. He tried to approach him so they could fish together, but he noticed his påre was always a certain distance away, no matter how close he tried to approach. He also realized that his påre never looked in his direction.

For a long while, he never caught a single fish. He wanted to see how his påre was going, and noticed that he kept putting things from the ocean into his basket, boasting, "Bula yo'! Bula yo'" ("I have plenty!") But when he looked closer, his påre was only catching sea slugs.

He was not convinced that the man who awakened him and who was now fishing with him, was not his påre. Fear overtook him and he didn't know what to do. He decided to move closer to the mouth of the To'guan River, but his partner moved in that direction, too, keeping the same distance as before.

At some point, the man thrust his torch into the hole of a rock to kill it and surround himself in complete darkness. Then, following the river inside, he ran into the interior of the jungle, trying to escape this mysterious partner.

In the jungle, he came upon a group of young men, playing a game called guaoho, forming a circle in a clearing in the dark jungle. They were not men, but taotaomo'na!

Seeing his frightful fishing partner running into the jungle chasing him, the fisherman ran into the circle of taotaomo'na playing their game.

The spirit fishing partner saw this, and yelled out, as he pursued him, "Guaoho, guaoho, guaoho! Hasayon i tiguang-ho! Pao limut! Pao le'o! Pao acho'! Pao ma'ti!" ("Guaoho, guaoho, guaoho! My partner has an awful smell! He smells of moss, of seaweed, of rock and of low tide!")

This spirit tried to get into the circle of his fellow taotaomo'na to catch the man, but the other taotaomo'na defended the fisherman. They subdued the one taotaomo'na and allowed the fisherman to escape and return home, just as the sun was rising.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

AN ATTACHMENT TO SPANISH



The Spanish paragraph above was written by a Chamorro in 1950. And it is impeccable Spanish, except for a single spelling mistake and the lack of accents - all rather minor.  Further, it was written by a Chamorro woman!* Keep in mind that, in the era she grew up, in the early 1900s, women were usually not given much of an education.

Yes, the use of Spanish among many Chamorros in those days was that good.

The note above was written on the inside cover of a novena book.  It says :

Aviso Importante
(Important Notice)

Si esta novena se perdiere,
(If this novena gets lost,)

como suele suceder
(as often happens)

suplico al que me la hallare,
(I plead with whoever might find it for me,)

y que la sepa devolver.
(that he should know to return it.)

Si no sabe mi nombre
(If he doesn't know my name)

aquí lo he de poner
(here I shall put it)

Pangelinan Cruz por apellido
(Pangelinan Cruz is the surname)

Asunción para servir a usted.
(Asunción to be at your service.)

Agaña Heights a 22 de
(Agaña Heights on the 22nd of)

Mayo de 1950. Lot #19
(May of 1950.) Lot #19

(Signature)

Un Padre Nuestro y Ave María
(One Our Father and Hail Mary)

para el bienechor (should be spelled bienhechor)
(for the benefactor)


You can see here the attachment that many older Chamorros had for Spanish. Even though the novena itself was written in Chamorro, the owner decided to write a note about "Lost and Found" in Spanish, to a possible finder who would have little chance of knowing what the note in Spanish meant! Still, she was that attached to the Spanish language.

You can also see that there is a touch of old-world elegance in the phraseology of the note. It somewhat approaches poetry.

In our super Americanized environment today, which leaves its own deep mark on our Chamorro language and culture today, we forget just how Hispanicized many of our mañaina were 100 years ago, and how attached they were to that language and culture.

* According to several family members, the handwriting is unmistakably their grandfather's, the husband of Asunción. In that case, his was the hand and Asunción was the voice of this Spanish message.

Monday, May 11, 2015

FINO' I MAN ÅMKO'




MÅFFAK I LALA'ET-ÑA

(His/her gallbladder ruptured)


For modern ears, an unusual expression, perhaps.

The gallbladder (lala'et) is the organ where bile, a very bitter (mala'et)  fluid, is stored. Bile is produced by the liver, but stored in the gallbladder. It is an important substance which helps in our digestion, especially in breaking down fats.

Bile, however, because of its bitterness, has taken on, for centuries and across many cultures, the symbolic meaning of sorrow, pain or....bitterness.

For our mañaina, when the gallbladder is ruptured, an abundant amount of bile is released. The symbolism is clear : a ruptured gallbladder means an abundance of sorrow or pain.

~ Ai si Maria. Duro de tumånges sa' pot måtai si nanå-ña.
~ Måffak i lala'et-ña.

~ Poor Maria. She keeps crying because her mother died.
~ She has an abundance of bitter sorrow. (Literally : Her gallbladder ruptured.)

Another nuance to this expression is when someone is saddened because they feel left out.

For example, a mother notices that her child will not share his or her treat with a friend standing nearby, with an obvious expression of disappointment.

She says, "Nå'e i amigu-mo masea diddide', sa' siña ha' måffak lala'et-ña."

"Give even a little to your friends, because he may feel sad and deprived."

Friday, May 8, 2015

I BIBIK : HARMONICA IN TRADITIONAL CHAMORRO MUSIC



Even in the 1970s when I was growing up, older Chamorro musical groups and singers often used an instrument that has recently all but disappeared - the harmonica, or bibik in Chamorro.

Bibik can also mean a hand-held whistle, like the one coaches use in sports.

The modern harmonica came about in the early 1800s and was very popular among sailors and whalers. It wasn't costly. It was durable and easy to carry around.

The whalers, and their tunes, made an impact on Chamorros in the 1800s as they visited Guam and sometimes the other islands of the Marianas.




John Perez (familian Bonño) is one of the few Chamorro harmonica players who play the old, traditional tunes besides other melodies in his large repertoire.

Here he shares about the older Chamorro musicians he knew such as his uncle Josafat Perez and also Jesus Franquez.


Thursday, May 7, 2015

LATIYA? OR NATIYA?



A popular dessert dish among Chamorros is latiya.

Or is it natiya?

The short answer is : both.

To make you more confused, some also say latiyas or natiyas. And in Saipan, they call it lantiyas.

What's the deal here?

The name is borrowed from the Spanish, who call it natillas or natilla, again depending on the country. It's simply the difference between saying, in English, "custard" or "custards."

The root word is nata, which means milk cream. The condensed milk forms the custard, along with the other ingredients : sugar, eggs, water, vanilla extract, cinnamon and corn starch for thickening.




From Spain, the custard dish recipe went all over the Spanish-speaking world, becoming modified here and there depending on the country and the resources they had.

Words in a language also change, here and there, depending on the sounds preferred by the speakers.

First of all, no Chamorro would ever pronounce Spanish LL as English Y. It becomes Chamorro Y, which sounds like English J. Quintanilla. Acfalle. So natilla became natiya.

But then, many Chamorros in the past liked to changed initial N in a Spanish word to L. This is what happened to natilla. For some Chamorros, natiya became latiya.

Up in Saipan, time away from Guam as Guam Chamorros moved up there since the 1850s, allowed changes in pronunciation to develop on their own. Latiya became lantiyas.


CHAMORRO VERSION


One thing that stands out about the Chamorro version, whether it's from Guam, Saipan or the other islands in the Marianas, is that the custard is only one-half of the dish. It isn't latiya (or natiya, or lantiyas) unless the custard goes on top of sponge cake, broas or even pound cake, as the recipe undergoes more recent tweaking.




In my own version, I add canned peaches. People love it. I also add a secret syrupy ingredient to soak a bit of the bottom of the cake. Secret.

When I first lived on Saipan, back when I did not have a strict diet, they found out I loved lantiyas. Although they called it by a slightly different name, it was the same dish and it went into the same stomach where latiya used to go!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

CHAMORRO....THE ENGLISH WAY



In recent years, there has been a greater interest among many people to revert to or continue to use Chamorro words, even though they are used in an English context.

But we are often unaware just how much we are a product of our times, and the overwhelming English-language environment many of us grew up in. We are so immersed in that linguistic sea that we hardly realize how wet we are!

Take, for example, the word saina. It's Chamorro for anyone who is senior or higher in status than you. It could be a parent, older relative, older people in general and people of civic and religious standing. It can even be applied to God. Yet, a twenty-year-old is still saina to his or her five-year-old nephew or niece. It is a very elastic word in our language, but the essential meaning is clear. The saina is above, I am below.

As we engage more with our elders, we hear people speaking publicly about their - sainas. "We welcome all our sainas to today's event."

It sounds very supportive of the Chamorro language revival, but the word sainas is subjecting a Chamorro word to English grammatical rules.

In Chamorro, we do not denote something in the plural by adding an -S at the end of the word.

The exception to this rule is with some Spanish loan words.  I senadot. The senator. I senadores. The senators. Señot. Sir. Señores. Sirs.


HOW WE MAKE THINGS PLURAL IN CHAMORRO


1. Add the prefix MAN before the word

ETMÅNA (religious sister)
MAN ETMÅNA (religious sisters)

MÅ'GAS (the great, the superior, the powerful, etc)
MAN MÅ'GAS (the great ones, superior ones, powerful ones, etc)

2. Keep in mind that MAN can undergo a change if the following word begins with K, P, S, T or CH

MAN + K = MANG

Kilisyåno = Mangilisyåno (Christians)
Katoliko = Mangatoliko (Catholics)

MAN + P = MAM

Påle' = Mamåle' (priests)
Popble = Mamopble (the poor people)

MAN + S = MAÑ

Sottera = Mañottera (single women, teenage girls)

MAN + T = MAN

Tomtom = Manomtom (the wise people)
Tunas = Manunas (the righteous people)

MAN + CH = MAÑ

Che'lu = Mañe'lu (the siblings)

3. Be careful, though; there are often exceptions

Man + parientes remains manparientes (the relatives).

Man + sendålo remains mansendålo (the soldiers).

Man + chunge' remains manchunge' (the gray/white haired ones).

Sometimes, there is a change and sometimes there isn't.

Some people say Mañamorro and others say Manchamorro.

4. Adding the prefix MAN is not the only way to make something plural. Often, one simply adds the word SIHA after the word. SIHA denotes plural.

I Tagålo siha. The Filipinos. No one says "I man Tagålo," although that is still grammatically correct.

I chetda siha. The bananas. No one says, "I man chotda."

I gima' siha. The houses. No one says, "I man guma'."

Sometimes, one can use MAN and still use SIHA. That makes it very clear the subject is plural.

I man sendålo siha. The soldiers.

I man gefsaga siha. The wealthy people.

So...

INSTEAD OF….


TRY…

SAINAS


MAÑAINA

MAN ÅMKOS


MAN ÅMKO’

PÅLES

MAMÅLE’


GUMAS (often heard nowadays for houses of dance groups)


GUMA’ SIHA

FAFANA’GUES (often heard now for “teacher” in lieu of maestro/maestra)


MAN FAFANA’GUE or
FAFANA'GUE SIHA



It would be wonderful to hear an MC say from now on.....

"We would like to welcome our MAÑAINA today," instead of

"We would like to welcome our SAINAS today."

If we're going to speak English sprinkled with a little bit of Chamorro, let's keep the Chamorro word as intact as possible in its Chamorro form.

Otherwise, we will be promoting but an Anglicized version of the Chamorro term.








Wednesday, March 25, 2015

STRANDED IN MANILA



Fe Untalán Cristóbal was the daughter of Adriano María Cristóbal, Ilocano, and Carmen Untalán, Chamorro. She was born in 1915 in Hagåtña, Guam.

As her father was himself an educated man who valued higher learning, he sent his daughter Fe to be educated in Manila at the Philippine Women's University.




All was well, as she graduated in 1941.




TWIST OF HISTORY

As she prepared to return to her native Guam, Fe packed the following items to be shipped to Guam ahead of her : pianos, sewing machines, beauty parlor equipment and musical instruments for her brother Adriano (Nito). Her plan was to open a private school to teach music and sewing to her fellow Chamorros.

Her own voyage to Guam was to be by air, flying on the Pan American clipper, due to land on Guam on December 10, 1941.

But two days prior, on December 8, the Japanese attacked Guam. War was declared. Fe was stuck in the Philippines.

Later she found out that the ship's captain ordered all non-essential cargo to be dumped in the sea as soon as it was learned that the Japanese had attacked Guam. Fe's response was, "Man proposes, but God disposes."




And God certainly disposed that, while she waited the war out in Manila, she would meet her future husband, Alberto Tominez Lamorena, an attorney and an Ilocano like her father.

When war was over, she brought back to Guam, not sewing machines and pianos, but a husband, a daughter and a son. In time, she would have four sons in all (besides her one daughter), whom she all named Alberto, with a different middle name to distinguish them.

She never did open a school but raised her family. She was active in church and civic affairs, however, and was a founding member of the Filipino Ladies Association of Guam. She honored both her Chamorro and Filipino lineages.

ROSARY FOR HER "DEATH"

As the war dragged on and there was no communication between civilians in Manila and in Guam, Fe's family assumed she must have died. So they began praying her novena of rosaries for her soul.

This was when the Americans were about to return and the family was huddled in a shelter for protection from American bombs. As they were praying the rosary, a white butterfly flew in. The family took this as a sign that Fe was alive and not dead.