Biba Santa Marian Kamalen

Håfañelus! (Hafa adai Mañelu)

Håfa manatatmanu-hamyo? Long time, no?

As many of you may or may not know, today is the feast of the Immaculate Conception in which Catholics on Guam honor and venerate the patron saint of Guam Santa Marian Kamalen. The tradition is to have mass at the Cathedral followed by a procession around Hagatña, then pray to and venerate the historical statue of our Blessed Lady.

Santa Marian Kamalen has historical significance here on Guam. According to the stories of mañaina-ta, a group of fishermen were fishing down in Malesso when one of them saw crabs carrying the statue underwater, swam to her, and brought her in. The statue allegedly came from a sunken Spanish galleon off the coast of Malesso. For the full history of Santa Marian Kamalen here on Guam, visit guampedia.com or ask your grandparents to tell you the legend.

Although today is a day of celebration, it’s also a sad day. On this day 74 years ago, the Japanese bombed Guam and began World War II. The entire island was preparing for the nobena, lukao (procession), and misa (mass) in their own villages when the bombs dropped and war was declared around 9:oo AM. My grandma Engracia Diaz Pangelinan whom was present that day said that many parishioners cheered because they had never seen planes before and believed that it was a blessing from God, only to end up screaming in terror.

Growing up, procession was kind of fun, kind of not. I got to see a lot of people, but it would get hot and I would be sweating in my Saint Francis uniform or my confirmation shirt. Today, it means so much more. This is the one day dedicated to the Patron Saint of Guam Santa Marian Kamalen, the person that our people, the Chamorus have prayed to, and through her intercession, overcame many difficult things, including World War II. Today, I am celebrating our people’s patronage, spirituality, and faith that has kept us alive and together, remembering the history of our once broken people, and keeping the tradition of lukao para Santa Marian Kamalen alive… What is this day to you?

Biba Santa Marian Kamalen! Si Yu’us Ma’åse for reading.

P.S. Procession is at 4 at the Cathedral followed by mass, and if you’re unable to attend mass, watch the Voices of Our Elders – Santa Marian Kamalen Retold section on Guampedia (:

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What Every Chamoru Should Carry in Their Car

Buenas!

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.