Can you tell me about the villages of Guam?

  • Published
  • By Joyce I. Martratt
  • 36th Wing
On Guam today, there's 24 officially recognized villages and one within a municipality. The head leader of these villages is a mayor elected by the people of each respective village. 

The villages are:

· Agana Heights (Mayor Paul M. McDonald);
· Asan-Maina (Mayor Vicente L. San Nicolas);
· Chalan Pago-Ordot (Mayor Pedro "Pete" I. Borja);
· Hagåtña or Agana (Mayor John A. Cruz);
· Agat (Mayor Carol S. Tayama/Vice Mayor Jesus B. Chaco);
· Barrigada (Mayor Jessie B. Palican/Vice Mayor June U. Blas);
· Dededo (Mayor Melissa B. Savares/Vice Mayor Andrew A. Benavente);
· Inarajan (Mayor Franklin M. Taitague);
· Mangilao (Mayor Nonito C. Blas);
· Mongmong-Toto-Maite (Mayor Andrew C. Villagomez);
· Santa Rita (Mayor Joseph C. Wesley);
· Talofofo (Mayor Pedro "Pete" D. Paulino);
· Umatac (Mayor Daniel Q. Sanchez);
· Merizo (Mayor Sherry L. Chargualaf);
· Piti (Mayor Vicente "Ben" D. Gumataotao);
· Sinajana (Mayor Roke B. Blas/Vice Mayor Robert RC Hofmann);
· Tamuning-Tumon (Mayor Francisco "Frank" C. Blas/Vice Mayor Louise C. Rivera);
· Yigo (Mayor Robert "Bob" Lizama);
· Yona (Mayor Jose "Pedo" Terlaje); and
· Malojloj, a prospering village today.

Although still considered part of the municipality of Inarajan, Malojloj has grown in population and is recognized as a village.

As history shows, the mayors were known as commissioners and deputies. The Guam Congress restored this particular body in 1948. Originally, they were appointed as municipal leaders during the Navy administration and became inactive between 1931 and 1933. However, they held quite powerful grassroots roles within the villages from peace officers to ensuring laws regarding building, health and sanitation within villages were followed. 

As in ancient Chamorro culture, the Chamorris held this prestigious position under the maga'lahe (first son; most important) and the maga'haga (first daughter). History relates that Padre San Vitores, in the 1500s, estimated 180 villages within the island and about 150 huts. 

To distinguish villages by its boundaries, natural landmarks were used like tronkun lemai (breadfruit tree), tronkun nunu (Banyan tree) and saddok (river), to name a few. 

Funny enough, times haven't changed much since then as you'll quickly realize that when you ask for directions to a village today, chances are, you'll be given directions based on landmarks since there's a lack of street signs in Guam. 

While this could be frustrating to some, I urge you to consider your travel an adventure, enjoy and do not allow frustrations to take hold of you. The village mayors and vice mayors mentioned above are helpful and a hardworking lot. If you're interested in really knowing the Chamorro people and its culture, they are a good source ... give the mayor of the particular village a call or visit his or her office. 

I will continue answering the remaining village question with my next article. 

si Joyce I. Martratt