Friday, March 7, 2014


Chamorro Culture
The Chamorro people are the indigenous inhabitants of Mariana Islands. They live in the southernmost island of the Mariana islands, called Guam. Known as the first inhabitants in Guam Chamorro people populated the island 4,000 years ago.

In this blog there will be posts about the Chamorro's:


History of the Chamorro People

of Latte houses by David Sablan> </img>
Pietrusewsky, Univ of Hawaii, estimated that prehistoric Mariana 
Islander women heights range from 5'2.5

The origins of the Guam's indigenous people has been a topic of different speculations. Based upon evidence of linguistic studies and archaeological findings and of course biological perspective (DNA), scholars have been able to draw conclusions  and develop a few theories about the origin of the Chamorro people.
  • The original inhabitants of Guam are believed to have been of Indo-Malaya descent originating from Southeast Asia as early as 2,000 B.C., and having linguistic and cultural similarities to Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines. (
  • In the first major, open-sea migration in the history of mankind, the earlierst Chamorros sailed from the northern Philippines to the Marianas and distinguished themselves as accomplished mariners and fishermen.
  • The first Westerner to land in Guam and encounter the Chamorro people was Ferdinand Magellan in 1521, during his sea voyage. Hungry and weakened from their long voyage, the crew hastily prepared to go ashore and restore provisions. However, the excited native Chamorro's, who did not share the Spaniards concept of ownership, canoed out first and began helping themselves to everything that was not nailed down. The weakened sailors had trouble fending off the tall and robust natives until a few shots from the Trinidad's big guns frightened them off the ship and they retreated into the surrounding jungle. Magellan was eventually able to obtain rations and offered iron, a commodity highly prized by Neolithic peoples, in exchange for fresh fruits, vegetables and water.
  • After that Guam with its harbor and resources, became an important stopping place on the long voyage from America to Philippines. However, the Chamorros or the natives as they were called, for 150 years remained free of influences from the outside world  as Guam was visited by most of the early world voyagers and became regular port of call for the Manila galleon as early as 1565. (Guam and its People)
  • The clash with Western civilization began in 1668 when a band of Spanish Jesuits and soldiers founded the first effective Christian mission on the island. At first the missionaries were welcomed, but when they tried to suppress native customs they saw stiff resistance on the native side. After nearly 30 years of bloodshed, during which the population of the Marianas was almost annihilated, the Chamorros surrender to Catholicism and Spanish domination. (Laura, Guam and its People)
  • The year 1898 marked the beginning of a new period of change on the island. As a result of the Spanish-American War, Guam became a dependency of the United States. For the next fifty years, the United States Navy ruled in a nondemocratic and authoritarian fashion. 
  • Until, in 1941 when Japanese military forces invaded the island. For two and a half years, the Chamorros were forced to provide the Japenese military with food and labor.( 
  • In 1944, the Island was recaptured by the United States. Many people lost their lives before Guam was reclaimed and under American administration. 
  • Today Guam remains a colony of the United States, classified as an unincorporated territory with limited self-governing authority. 


Homeland of the Chamorros
Guam from satellite
From Wikipedia-
Guam is the southernmost island in the Mariana island chain and is the largest island in Micronesia. The island of Guam is 30 miles long and 4 to 12 miles wide. The island experiences occasional earthquakes due to its location on the western edge of the Pacific Plate.
The capital and major cultural center of Guam is Agana, called by the Chamorros Hagatna.
Guam has an area of 212 sq miles making it the largest island of the Northern Mariana Islands.
The highest point in Guam is Mount Lamlam at an elevation of 1,332 feet.

Two Lovers Point
Guam is a volcanic island of origin, and there are many beautiful coral reefs surrounding it. The diverse landscape of Guam consists of coastal cliffs, coastal plains, mountains and hills. The hidden treasures of the island, including jungles and waterfalls, are best explored by hiking. The cliffside at Two Lovers Point is one of the major attractions on Guam. Located in Northern Guam, the Two Lovers Point has two lookout points with breathtaking views over the Philippine Sea and the Tumon Bay. In Ritidian Point National Park you can admire the unique wildlife of Guam.

Guam's Tumon Bay
The climate of Guam is characterized as tropical marine moderated by seasonal northeast trade wind. Average temperature range from high 86 F to low 76 F with an average annual rainfall of 96 inches.The dry season runs from December to June and the rainy season is constitute from  July to November. The months January and February are considered the coolest months of the year with overnight low temperatures 70-75 F.

Mount Lamlam

coastal cliffs

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Chamorro's World

The world of the Chamorros
Today the majority of Chamorros live in small villages and their main occupation is vegetable gardening. There are also many Chamorros who live in urban areas in Guam as well as in Saipan.
In the rural districts of Guam there are Chamorros who still practice the basics of the ancient economy with certain modifications. Today the majority of Chamorros are still peasant horticulturalists and native families either own or lease sufficient area of land to grow their own food.
The production of coconuts for copra(dried meat of the coconut, used to make coconut oil) is the main agricultural pursuit. Otherwise most of the farmers consist of a few acres planted in bananas and papaya. There are occasional trees of avocados, mangoes, oranges, lemons, limes, and tangerines; one or two acres of corn and miscellaneous vegetables. Every farm has a few chickens, pigs and a cow or carabao. 
Some men and women are trained as school teachers,a few men are expert fishermen, net makers and menders, carpenters, canoe builders and storekeepers. A few women are specialists at pandanus plaiting, midwifery and herb healing, but most of these engage in their specialty only part of the time. In addition, the men cultivate gardens and the women run households and raise families.
Fishing is also very popular occupation, but it is not used as the main way of living. Fishing is essentially a men's occupation in modern Guam. As a result of the conditions presented by the Marianas lagoons and the habits of the fish inhabiting them, the indigenous people have developed a fishing technology, including some unique fishing methods.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Chamorro's Cosmos

                             Chamorro's Cosmos

According to ancient Chamorro legend, the world was created by a twin brother and sister, Puntan and Fu'uña.  The man Punta, decided to die so a universe could be created for the people. Before that he instructed his sister, Fu'uña, to take the parts of his body to make the universe. One eye became the sun; one eye became the moon, and most of the rest of his parts for various features of the Earth. After she was done, she turned herself into a rock on the island of Guahan/Guam, and from this rock emerged human beings. After the universe was created there were ante or spirits inhabiting the world. There was a devil named Chaife,who controlled the winds, waves, and fire.

Ancient Chamorros believed that the dead have a continued existence and may possess the ability to influence the fortune of the living. 

Although the ancient Chamorros did not have any temples and priesthood it is known that they worshiped idols. From the available evidence, it appears that they had images of human beings carved in wood that they used ritually as well as decoratively.  

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Chamorro's Birds


The last wild Guam Flycatcher was seen in 1985;
The bird is extinct due to the brown tree snake.
  • Fruit bats and local birds have become scarce in modern times primarily due to the World War II-era introduction of the brown tree snake, which is responsible for devastating the majority of native bird population in Guam. Therefore now hunting of birds is illegal in Guam.

    Guam Rail
  • Guam was home to two endemic and several native bird species before the introduction of the brown tree snake. One of them was ko'ko' in Chamorro or Guam Rail, which is unique to Guam because it is not found naturally on the other Mariana islands. And the other one was Guam Flycatcher,

Beliefs about the Utak (Phaethon lepturus)
 or white-tailed tropic bird
From Wikipedia:
  • "It is one of the most beautiful birds in the word. It has a set of two black markings on each wing. Its distinctive characterstic is the long, streaming feathers in its tail, which are longer than its body. Utaks feed on flying fish, other small fish, and squid. It can fly hundreds of miles in seach of food and can spend months at a time at sea. It is frequently seen at Two Lovers Point. It is very noise and sometimes it will circle a ship at sea and scream." Lawrence Cunningham description of the bird Utak
  • The Chamorros believed that at night the utak would perch on a house, emit a long shrill cry and disappear into the night. The utak’s appearance and its cry signify that a young unwed woman is pregnant or someone in the household is about to die.
  • An unwed mother was not considered shameful in ancient times. In ancient times me preferred to marry a pregnant woman, because the pregnancy was proof that she was fertile.
  • In ancient times, the Chamorros had a fear of the bird because it was said to appear only when storms would blow it northward, so they connected the bird to a sign of bad things to come.
 It is little known if the Chamorros actually ate birds. Evidence suggests that a bird known as totot or Marianas fruit dove was found in Guam and it was domesticated and taught to speak by the Chamorros. However other sources claim that it was also eaten by the Chamorros. Even though the totot was eaten it was also kept as a pet. The totot is the official bird of Guam. Other famous birds found among the ancient Chamorros include Sasengat or Micronesian Megapode (Megapodius Iaperouse) and Nganga' Mariana Mallard (Anas oustaleti). 


Monday, March 3, 2014

Chamorro's Neighbors

Chamorro's Neighbors

The largest ethnic group of the island Guam is the native Chamorros accounting for 47% of the total population. Other significant ethnic groups include those of Filipino (25%), Amricans or White (10%), and Chinese, Japanese, and Koreans (18%). 

The contact between the Chamorros and Filipinos started as a result of Western colonization. When the Spanish took over the island of Guam and the Philippines they decided to bring Filipino as a result of the overpopulation in the Philippines. They brought skillful men, who could help them build their colony in Guam. There was a point in history where the Chamorro people could no longer distinguish themselves from the Filipino. Although during the Spanish era many Chamorros intermarried with Filipino, today their relationship is a little bit weak, because Filipinos are starting to outnumber the Chamorros in every field. Chamorros today feel like the only way to find a job is to move to the States because the Filipinos have taken over every job out there in Guam.