estoria / fino' chamoru

Pedro, Ignacio and Matias

One project I was working on a few years ago, but never ultimately put into motion, was to create a number of 60-second spots for KPRG (public radio on Guam) about Chamorro culture, language and history in the Chamorro language. I began working on it after UOG President Robert Underwood asked me to do something with Chamorro language and media. He made several suggestions, such as creating a Chamorro TV talk show or have Chamorro language radio interviews. All of these were wonderful ideas, but after I investigated them, they would require quite a bit of effort and planning, far too much for me alone. I look forward to trying to create something along these lines in the future.

KPRG is right next door to UOG and I already been working there for several years for the radio show Beyond the Fence and so for someone whose plate is already overflowing with work this seemed like the most logical and most efficient choice. I met with Chris Hartig the General Manager for KPRG and he said that the best way to start off, and something that he was already looking for was short segments of content, maybe about 30 – 60 seconds long that would be in the Chamorro language or related to Guam history. I told him that this wouldn’t be any problem.

I wrote up in just a few weeks 20 half-page vignettes that gave short, but interesting insights into important aspects of the past and present of Chamorros. I wrote up short descriptions of the lives of noted figures in Guam History such as Pale’ Jesus Baza Duenas and George R. Tweed. I also tried to answer some burning questions people might have, such as what the origin of “Si Yu’us Ma’ase” is or who really was the first ever Chamorro Governor of Guam in the modern era. I also tried to elaborate upon certain aspects of Guam’s history that people may not be familiar with, but hopefully would find cool upon hearing about it. For example, I wrote a short description of how Protestantism came to Guam, one theory as to why Chamorros welcomed San Vitores when he first arrived instead of rebuffing him, and even the story of Guam’s first and long-forgotten September 11th anniversary.

I worked with my grandmother to translate the vignettes over a few months, but ultimately she started to get ill and later passed away prior to us finishing our translations. I recently came across a number of our handwritten translations while cleaning up around my office. I am contemplating trying to finish what we began, but as you might expect, I’m feeling a great deal of sadness, as just looking at grandma’s cursive handwriting on the yellow legal pad papers makes me miss her so much.

While I contemplate this possibility, I thought I’d share one of the historical vignettes I wrote up. This one is titled “Off-Island Education” or “Edukasion gi Otro Tano’.” It tells the story of the Pedro, Matias and Ignacio, the first three Chamorros that we have record of, who left island to get their education elsewhere. These three Chamorri who were the sons of prominent families in Hagatna that were loyal to the newly established Catholic Church, were sent to be educated in the Philippines and in Mexico in 1671. Read below to learn more about them:


Edukasion gi Otro Lugat

Si Pedro Guiran, Si Ignacio Osi yan Si Matias Yay, tres na’ån ni’ debi di u magof tungo’ gi estorian Guahan. Siha i fine’nina na Chamorro siha ni’ mana’fanhanao ginnen i isla pat osino huyong i Islas Marianas para i edukasion-ñiha.

Este ma cho’cho’gue desde i tinituhon i 20th century, para i taotao siha u espiha oppotunidat edukasion giya Asia osino i Estados Unidos. Lao este i tres Chamorro ha dingu i isla mas di dos sientos anos tatte.

Gi mit sais sientos setentai uno (1671), Si Pale’ San Vitores ha ayek tres na manhoben na lalåhi guini ginnen i familian Chamorro giya Hagatña ni’ mamfiet gi hinenggen Katoliko. Para u fanhanao para i Filipinas yan u risibi i edukasion-ñiha ginnen i mamale’ siha, yan u bira tatte siha tatte Guahan ya u ayuda dumirihi i tano’.

Ayu na tiempo, esta didide’ na gurupun Chamorro siha mangegera kontra i Espanot. Si San Vitores ha tanga na este na tres taotao siña ma na’fandaña’ i Espanot yan i Chamorro. Si Pedro, Si Matias yan Si Ignacio ma dingu i isla yan manhanao para i Filipinas yan Meksiku. I mamamale’ gof ya-ñiha este na tres lalahi, sa’ ya-ñiha manaitai yan maneyak. Despues di noskuantos anos, ma bira siha tatte Guahan, esta taigue Si Pedro. Matai gui’ gi hinanaon-ñiha gi tasi.

Lao annai manmatto Guahan manlinemlem siha ni’ Guahan. Kalang matulaika todu. Si San Vitores pinino’ esta as Mata’pang. Esta Si Maga’lahi Hurao ha giha dos mit na guerrero yan ma hatme Hagatña.

Giya Guahan mas manachago’ i taotao siha pa’go. Enlugat di u fanmasalulda komo nuebu na ma’gas siha, manmaleffañaihon i hinanaon-ñiha yan tiningo’-ñiha.

Off Island Education

Pedro Guiran, Ignacio Osi and Matias Yay are three names that should be well known in Guam History. They were the first ever Chamorros who were sent off island, or outside the Marianas for their education. This is something that has become common since the start of the 20th century, for people to seek educational opportunities in Asia or the United States. But these three young Chamorros left island for school more than 300 years ago. In 1671, Pale’ San Vitores choose three young men from families in Hagatna who were most faithful to the Catholic Church. They were to travel to the Philippines and receive education there from the priests and then return to help lead the island. In 1671 Chamorros were already starting to fight against the Spanish in small numbers. San Vitores hoped that these three young men would help to unite the two communities. Pedro, Ignacio and Matias left island and travelled to the Philippines and Mexico. They were very popular with the priests they studied with. They returned several years later without Pedro who had died at sea. When they returned however, San Vitores had already been killed by Mata’pang and Hurao had led 2,000 warriors and attacked Hagatna. Guam was even more divided than before and so instead of being welcomed back as the new leaders of the island, their journey had been forgotten.


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