Mt. Sasalaguam Guam Home Marianas Islands Pacific Worlds Home



The Sea

The Land





Come Ashore |  The Ancients |  Legendary Setting |  Neighbors |  Language |  Sources & Links


Umatac Bay

Umatac, as seen from Fort Soledad.


Umatac and Merizo (Malesso') are Inarajan's partners comprising the three Southern villages. These two stand out as Inarajan's prominent neighbors. Joe explains, "Inarajan stretches all the way up to Mount Sasalåguan. From there it goes down to the ocean on the South coast. Right around that is Malesso', and on from there is Umatac. I grew up in Umatac."



Umatac is important in Guam's colonial history. It is said to be the place where Magellan first came ashore, and there is a monument near the beach that commemorates that event. Umatac became important for the Spanish colonial government, second only to Hagatña. They built three forts there, and remains of Fort Soledad on the bluff above the bay have recently been preserved.

"There are no legends I can tell you about Umatac," Joe relays, "but there is an ancient site there, where there were said to have been a lot of fruit bats. That place is called Akalayen Fanihi, meaning, 'That’s where the bats hang around.' It’s on one of our properties in Umatac, right at the foot of the mountain."


Magellan Memorial

The Magellan memorial and park by the beach at Umatac.


Fanihi is the Chamorro term for either of two species of fruit bat.


"The fruit bats are one of our food sources. There used to be different types of techniques for netting the bats, but mostly you get them because they normally would hang on the trees. Then you just go up and hit them! Most recently, we would shoot them, with pellet bullets.

"Then you boil it, and after you boil it you spill the water and you take the bat and put it in a pot of coconut milk. You put some bananas in, some taro, and it’s like a stew. It has a pungent taste to it, and it does not taste like chicken. It tastes more like quail, but it has a really gamy, pungent taste. It is a delicacy here, but it is prohibited here. However, it’s not prohibited in Palau, and that’s where we eat our bats. As well as our turtles."



Cocos Island

Dåno', or Cocos Island, off the coast of Merizo, as seen from Mt. Lamlam. In 1690, the Spanish galleon Neustra Senora del Pilar de Zaragosa y Santiago was en route from Acapulco, Mexico, laden with shipments of silver swords and artifacts. It hit the southern reef of Cocos Island, and one chest of silver was recovered.


"The village of Merizo, in Chamorro is called Malesso'," Joe continues, "and lesso’ means a small fish, the shiny juvenile rabbit fish, which is a seasonal fish that comes around here. That’s what this area is known for, their juvenile rabbit fish. The significant part in Merizo is Our Lady of Camarin. That is the patron saint for the whole island of Guam. It is believed that the Lady of Camarin actually came in from Merizo shore."



"According to the story, the Lady of Camarin came in to the shores of Merizo with two golden crabs, each crab holding a candle, and she was seen by a fisherman who was not dressed properly. As the fisherman was going out to bring in the statue, the statue started to drift farther and farther out.

"And so, it is said that he had to come back and put some clothing on, in order for him to receive that statue. This he did, and he went back out and he received the statue, and that statue was placed here.

"Camarin means sort of like a storage house, and for a while that statue got stored in a storage house. That’s how it became the Lady of Camarin. You can see the Spanish putting in their values into this story, where this fisherman was not clothed properly, because of course way back then they only wore thus."



Lady of Camalin

A statue of Santa Maria Kåmalin stands by the bay at Malesso'.


Our Lady


"Now the other significant part in here, historically, in the structure of Malesso' is the kombento house that was just recently restored. The kombento house is the home of the village priest, the parish priest, and also the bell tower, the Spanish bell tower that sites right across the street in front of the Malesso' kombento."


The original statue of Our Lady resides in the Cathedral in Hagåtña.



To better understand the characteristics of these Southern villages, we turn our attention to considering Inarajan as a Native Place.



Come Ashore |  The Ancients |  Legendary Setting |  Neighbors |  Language |  Sources & Links
Arrival |  A Native Place |  The Sea |  The Land |  Footprints |  Visitors |  Memories |  Onwards
Inarajan Home  |  Map Library |  Site Map |  Pacific Worlds Home