What Every Chamoru Should Carry in Their Car


While learning about ancient life here on Guåhan, I’m also learning about modern-day island life. From personal experience and examples set by friends/family, I have made a list of things that you absolutely need in your kareta (car) no matter what you drive and why it’s necessary for the Guåhan lifestyle:

  • Hånom (water) – Hånom is life and Guåhan is hot. Try not to use single-use plastic bottles, plastic is harmful for the environment!
  • Umbrella – Para i ichan (for the rain (uchan-rain)
  • Flashlight
  • Machete – Whether your uncle calls you up last-minute to pick sakåti (sword grass) for his binådu (deer), there’s a brown tree snake at your grandma’s house, or anything in between, you’re ready (if this is illegal, please disregard)
  • Lighter
  • Trash Bag – Keep our island green and clean no matter where you go
  • Reusable Shopping Bags – STOP THE USE OF PLASTIC BAGS! This is for every time you go to the store just to get coconut water and påstit (turnover) (-:
  • Cooler Bag – Always ready to keep your drinks cold or food hot because a lot of get-togethers on Guåhan are last minute
  • Sunglasses – It’s really important to protect your eyes. In addition, being stylish is part of being Chamoru (;
  • Extra Yori (Slippers) – You can go from work to a barbecue and only have to change one thing. Gotta have yori
  • Sunblock & Lañan Niyok (coconut oil) – This is the ultimate skin care package for the Guåhan heat. Lañan Niyok is an all-natural moisturizer and mosquito repellant that will leave you smelling like paradise. I know most of us are brown and we don’t get sunburn as easily, but even though there is no visible evidence, overexposure to the UVA and UVB rays from the sun can cause long-term damage and even cause skin cancer. Protect your bonitu island brown skin!
  • Swimwear – It’s good to have at all times. The weather here is perfect for a swim almost all the time, and plus, you never know when your friends and family are gonna have a spontaneous beach day!

Not sure if it’s just my family and I, but having these things in your car is extremely useful! It may seem like this stuff will take up a lot of space, but it really won’t. It’s always best to be prepared for anything.

Si Yu’us Ma’åse for reading! Esta ki.



Håfa Adai!

Inafa’maolek (making things better) is one of the core values of our Chamoru culture. It means living harmoniously with each other, i tano (the land), i tasi (the ocean), and i gåga siha (the animals), and working together to make things right.

There is a balance in nature: the sun sets and the moon rises, the mango trees only bear fruit in the dry season, not all the new-born turtles make it to the ocean. This is nature’s way of keeping things in check. We humans are a part of this natural balance, and have the responsibility to keep it. Practicing inafa’maolek with nature is simple: take only what you need.

Some people (including myself at one point) could mistake inafa’maolek as a tit-for-tat, an eye-for-an-eye kind of thing, when it really isn’t. I’m still learning! When you do something to help someone, it should be out of the goodness of your heart, and not for anything in return, not even a thank you. Karma does its thing, and soon enough, when you are in need, someone will help you out of the goodness of his/her heart. We give, and someone will give back. I think it’s so beautiful because it is literally the human expression of nature’s love and the circle of life.

Inafa’maolek can be shown/done in so many ways, and sometimes you do it without even realizing it. Inafa’maolek is most commonly practiced by giving chenchule’ (a support system of exchange in which families express their care and concern for each other, as well as a sense of obligation to each other while working together to help each family meet its needs by means of money, labor, gifts, or food – def. from http://www.guampedia.com/chenchule/). Inafa’maolek and chenchule’ go hand-in-hand.

I encourage you all to continue (or start) to make inafa’maolek a part of your daily lives. Help your neighbor move the tree that fell down in their yard after the typhoon. Give your niece and extra dollar in her confirmation card. Don’t kick sand into the crab holes on the beach. Bring your chicken keleguen to your friend’s mom’s rosary because yours is the bomb. When you’re fishing, take only enough to feed your family for dinner. Let’s restore and keep the balance of life and love here on i islå-ta (our island). Do things out of the goodness of your heart.

Si Yu’us Ma’ase for reading!

Hagan vs. Haggan

Håfa Adai!

First off, I just want to say dångkulu na si Yu’us ma’åse from the bottom of my heart for all your love and support for my blog.

For those of you who can speak and write Chamoru fluently, you have probably noticed what seems like a grammatical error in my blog address and name. Haggan actually means sea turtle and hagan means daughter of. When I first started working on this site, the name was actually Hagan Guåhan. However, there were technical issues with the site, so I resorted to deleting it in hopes of starting over again… Wrong move. It turns out that I couldn’t get the name back, and I was so devastated because Hagan Guåhan is the only name that really portrays what my blog is about. I added a second G, knowing that it was grammatically incorrect, but I like to think of it as a play-on-words kind of thing. I love sea turtles and think they’re majestic creatures.

Dispensa yu’ (pardon me/I’m sorry) for any sort of confusion, and I’m working on a way to make the address correct.

Si Yu’us Ma’åse for reading

How To Be Hagan Guåhan

What does Hagan Guåhan even mean? Literally, it is Daughter of Guam. But how do you be a daughter of Guam?

Firstly, you must learn about and from i Nånan-måmi (our mother) Guåhan. Guåhan may be small, but it has a rich, unique history dating back 4000 years. I have barely scratched the surface in learning Guam and Chamoru history! Learning about our culture, island, and history is easier than you think and could be a phone call, a click, or a short stroll away. If you are still blessed with your grandparents, ask them to tell you stories about what life was like back then or ask them to teach you how to make chalakiles. If your uncle is a talayeru (fisherman), ask him to teach you. Open a Chamoru dictionary. Visit guampedia.com for anything Chamoru. We must learn all that we can before it fades away…

Secondly, you must love and respect our Mother. Our Chamoru people have always believed in ina’famaolek or making things better for everyone, kind of like living in harmony with each other, the land, the sea, and animals. Treat everything and everyone with respetu  (respect). The land has eyes. Prutehi yan difende i hinengge, i kottura, i lenguåhi, i aire, i hanom, yan i tano Chamoru or protect and defend the beliefs, the culture the language, the air, the water, and the land of the Chamorus. Know in your heart and in your mind that this island is your home, and we must continue to take care of her like she has taken care of us for the past 4000 years.

And the final step in being Hagan Guåhan or a Låhen Guåhan (son of Guam) is to make our culture, traditions, practices, language, and ina’famåolek a part of your every day life.

If we could all see the importance of our cultural identity and the land that has been our home for the last 4000 years, maybe the language wouldn’t be fading… maybe the military wouldn’t own one third of OUR lands… maybe we would still know how to build galaides (canoes) and guma latte (latte houses) and navigate the oceans according to the stars… maybe who we are wouldn’t be such a mystery to us.

Si Yu’us Ma’åse

Lina’la Cultural Park

For the final activity of Staff Appreciation Week at my office, we had lunch at The Beach Bar at Gun Beach then took a tour of the Lina’la Cultural Park which is an actual ancient village where they portray life in ancient times. The Beach Bar was just a tourist thing. Have you ever had a haole fiesta plate? It’s alright but how could they call that a fiesta plate?

So walking into this tour, I was expecting it to look like what it looked like when I first saw it years ago: a trip into the past. Chamoru men wore their såtdes and gathered around the chinåhan (oven in the ground) cooking the meal for everyone present. Chamoru women walked around with their alåhas (jewelry) whose style is indigenous to the Marianas Islands. I loved feeling like I was in ancient times and for a few moments, I felt reconnected to our past and our ancestors…

My initial thoughts walking in were underfunded and not respected. There was trash on the ground, the land and plants weren’t taken care of, there were hardly any animals in the animal section, some speakers for the audio tour wouldn’t work, and there were only four guys working the entire park. Tåya famalao’an!!! How could this be a village if there was no life in it?

Other than that, the hosts were funny and although 3 out of 4 of them weren’t Chamoru, they didn’t mind being there and they could climb coconut trees like professionals. Although the huts were worn down due to weather, they were very beautiful and well made. I love the concept behind the entire park, and with a little more tender love, care, and funds, that village will be back to life in no time.

It was a great experience overall. I appreciated all the effort that was put into it and its purpose. However, I left feeling very… disheartened. Here I was, a young Chamoru woman with all my coworkers who are also Chamoru women, taking a tour of one of OUR own ancient villages, being taught about OUR old ways of life. I was so ashamed when the only Chamoru host looked at me asking if I spoke Chamoru, and I couldn’t… I looked around and didn’t know a lot of these things about my culture and didn’t practice a lot of things that were daily tasks to sustain life in tiempon ansiånu. I look at myself and our people and think what have we become…? We used to be so strong, self-sufficient, intelligent, technologically advanced… We used to be warriors, astronomers, sailors, and fishers… Who are we?

I still believe that our people are strong, but we are losing our ways. We are losing who we are by trying to be something that we aren’t.

We need to look to the past, reconnect, and find out who we are so we can stay who we are: i Man Chamoru.

Si Yu’us Ma’åse