When Hiking

Håfa Adai!

Hiking, in my opinion is one of Guåhan’s best pastimes. There are so many beautiful places to hike to, each of them holding an adventure waiting to happen. I love going with friends and family, but I like to keep the group under 10 people just so nobody gets left behind.

I could tell you all the things you need on a hike, how to prepare for it, etc., but it’s pretty easy and different depending on where you go. However, there are a few things that you should know and practice when hiking here on Guåhan.

Primet (firstly), before beginning your trek, ask permission. Our ancestors still dwell on our lands and we must respect that. Asking in English is okay because they can feel your vibes. What I always say is “Saina-hu, kao siña hu mammokat i chalan-miyu?” which means, “my elders, may I walk on your path?” It was part of a chant I learned in Chamoru class in elementary school and I thought it fit. We ask permission to be acknowledged by our ancestors in hopes of not disturbing them. These are our lands, este i tano-ta.

Secondly, leave nothing but footprints and bubbles. On almost every hike I’ve done, I’ve collected at least one kitchen-sized bag of trash. It really disgusts me and breaks my heart to see how people have no regard or love for our island. It’s so ironic! They hike to see Guåhan’s natural beauty yet soil it with their trash. After being frustrated and upset for a little bit, I just do my part. Every time I spend time in the outdoors whether it be at the beach or on a hike, I take a bag with me and pick up trash. I really encourage this practice, however, it can get pretty difficult carrying that up a steep hill or be a hindrance when you need your second hand. I do my best because I care.

Lastly, appreciate. Appreciate the world of life around you; the trees that have taken decades to grow, the animals, big and small that live together and give life to each other, and how all of them make a beautiful song. When I feel all of nature’s energy surging through my body, I feel so empowered, yet I feel so small. Being in nature reminds me that I am small but I am a part of this big world and its circle of life. Always take pictures, but don’t be rapt in your phone/camera.

Wherever you go, do your part as a loving, appreciative, responsible resident of Guåhan and keep our island clean! Enjoy her beauty and keep her beautiful. Go outdoors, explore your island, have an adventure! And while doing all that, have respect.

Si Yu’us Ma’åse for reading, pås yan guinaiya! (peace and love)


“I Will Be a Hummingbird”

Buenas todos hamyu!

My somewhat presence on social media such as facebook and instagram has given me insight on other people’s journeys through our culture by studying or travelling, etc. It’s so empowering knowing that people are not necessarily along side me, but going in the same direction as I am in loving, understanding, practicing, and living our culture and language. All around me, I see apprentices of Chamoru crafts and skills, young Chamoru dancers, activists, historians, linguists, teachers, farmers and fishers, and people who just want to be involved. It’s amazing! Seeing such interest and passion ensures me that we Chamorus are still here and not going anywhere.

Seeing what everyone is doing makes me so happy, but also makes me question what I’m doing… Then I kind of feel inadequate. What am I doing to preserve my culture? What am I doing to protect our people from complete Westernization and colonization? If anyone ever feels the same way, please watch this video right here. It was showed to me by the most inspirational teacher I’ve ever known, Linda Tatreau.

If you’re ever feeling overwhelmed and feel like you’re not doing enough, whether it be saving our culture or saving the world from ourselves, remember: be a hummingbird and do the best that you can. I may be small and insignificant, but I am doing what I can.

Si Yu’us Ma’åse for reading.

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