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Guam Legends


Taotaomo'na, literally the people of before, refers to ancestral spirits that inhabited the earth along with the living. Ancient Chamorros believed the world around them was full of spirits who provided both daily protection and assistance in their tasks, but also created dangers and problems.

The connection between Chamorros and these spirits has changed over time, primarily due to cultural changes that came about from Spanish colonization and Christianization. Slowly over time, these spirits have changed from the ante of ancestors to the wily ghosts, devils and demons that play tricks or cause harm today. Taotaomo'na can be defined in different ways, depending on their relationships with the living.

Taotaomo'na is therefore a term which could refer in general to all the spirits of Chamorro ancestors, to all of those who have come before.

These spirits played a huge role in the daily life of Chamorros offering assistance and protection with all sorts of daily tasks. These spirits were treated as members of the family and were referred to be name or through terms of endearment.

Santa Marian Kamalen:

Santa Marian Kamalen, also known as Our Lady of Camarin, is the patron saint of Guam. The 300-year-old Santa Marian Kamalen statue is a revered icon, and its unknown origins are explained through legend.

The actual statue of Santa Marian Kamalen is 28 3/4 inches tall and weighs 48 1/2 pounds. It is made of wood, except for the ivory face and folded hands. She is painted with a pink and blue gown and sits high at the Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral-Basilica in Hagåtña in a niche behind the altar.

Guamanians celebrate Feast of the Immaculate Conception each Dec. 8, Catholics turn out by the thousands in Hagåtna to honor her in a procession around the island's capital.

She is one of the most important icons in Guam's history, religious or otherwise.

There are multiple versions of the legends that explain her origin:

According to one version of the legend, a fisherman from Merizo went fishing, and spotted a statue of the Virgin Mary on the ocean floor. He swam underwater to try to approach the statue, but to his surprise it moved away. No matter what he did, he could not close the distance between the statue and himself.

He returned to shore and sought advice from the village priest. The priest told the fisherman to dress in his Sunday clothes and try again. He did so, and this time had no trouble in getting the statue.

Another version of the legend has it that the fisherman saw the statue floating in the water, escorted by two gold-spotted crabs, each bearing a lighted candle between its claws. She thus also became known as the Lady of the Crabs.

When the fisherman returned, he took the statue to the Presidio, or main barracks which was still under construction. There the statue was relegated to a tool shed, in Spanish camarin and in Chamorro kamalen. Thus, she became known as Santa Maria del Camarin in Spanish, or Santa Marian Kamalen in Chamorro. She was also known as the Lady of the Barracks.

Puntan Dos Amantes:

The story tells of two Chamorros who loved each other but their love was unacceptable because he was a high caste man (matao) and she a lower caste woman (manachang). Mataos were strictly forbidden from allying themselves with those from the lower caste.

A certain matao of the village of Gnaton fell in love with a young and pretty manachang girl and fled with her. He found no asylum among another native group, however, as he refused to part with her.

Pursued by his relatives, the young lovers wandered for some time in the most inaccessible wood and rocky areas; but so precarious and wretched an existence reduced them to despair. Determined to put an end to it, they built a tomb of stones and place in it the infant that was the sad fruit of their love.

Then, lost and distracted, they climbed to the very summit of a high, steep-sided peak beside the sea. Binding themselves together by the hair, and clasping one another, they cast themselves from that peak into the waves below.

The cape was named by the Spanish, Cabo de los Amantes (Lovers' Cape), now known as Puntan Dos Amantes (Two Lover's Point).

But since the story changed to include a Spanish figure. It goes as follows:

Once, long ago, during a time when Spain claimed the Mariana Islands, there was a family who lived in Hagåtña, the capital city of Guahan. The father was a wealthy Spanish businessman and the mother, a daughter of a great maga'låhi or Chamorro chief.

Their oldest daughter was a beautiful young woman, admired by all for her honesty, modesty, and natural charm. One day, against her will, the girl's father arranged for her to take a powerful Spanish captain as her husband.

But the girl met and fell in love with a common Chamorro man, and they promised each other their love.

When the girl's father learned of the couple, he grew angry and demanded that she marry the Spanish captain at once - but she found her lover and escaped.

Her father, the captain and all the Spanish soldiers pursued the lovers up to the high cliff above (Tumon) Bay. The lovers found themselves trapped between the edge of the cliff and the approaching soldiers.

The lovers tied their long black hair together and kissed for the last time before leaping to their deaths. They were never seen again.

Today the place where they jumped is known as Puntan dos Amåntes or Two Lover's Point. The site has been restored and modernized, and visitors still visit there to learn about the two lovers, and enjoy one of the most breathtaking aerial sites of Guam's coastline.