Saturday, May 29, 2010

Pagat Means to Speak Out

Today, the word Pagat, is primarily associated with the area known as Pagat in Northeastern Guam, where you can find cliffs for jumping off of, a freshwater cave to swim in, and plenty of ancient artifacts.

But Pagat is a Chamorro word, which has plenty of meanings, although it is not a commonly known or used word in Chamorro today. For some younger generations of Chamorros, who may not speak the language, but have been around it enough to understand, Pagat might be a negative term. It is a word meant to criticize or attack someone verbally. For the Guam Preservation Trust, in their recently started Save Pagat Village campaign, they define it as "to give advice." Pagat is a word sometimes associated with counseling someone, even lecturing them.

For me however, I know of the word Pagat from its use as pinagat, which means a lecture, speech or sermon. One way in which you could consider the meaning of Pagat, would be the same as to "testify" in a gospel-style church. To not only speak and say something, but to do it with conviction, force and with the truth behind you. So for me, when I use the word Pagat, the most important aspect is the public element of it, the idea that what you are saying is mana'oppan, humuhuyong gi entre i publiko siha, that it is being made in the public square, for the public.

So one way in which you can translate Pagat, is "to speak out" or "to make a statement." Originally this is something which would have only be considered in a religious context, but as Guam as changed, I feel that you can now use it outside of that.

It is with this in mind, that for the past six months I worked on writing a show for the dance group Inetnon Gefpago, which culminates in two performances this weekend at the Sheraton Resort in Tamuning. I will be writing more about this soon, but the first performance was last night, and it was inspiring to say the least. In the meantime, I wanted to post an article from Thursday's Marianas Variety, which can give you some background on the production.

or those of you who'll be in the Hagatna area today, be sure to check out the "Celebrate Pagat" fiesta at Skinner's Plaza, starting at 6 pm.

Also, don't forget to sign the online petition for protecting Pagat.

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Dance group show centers on Pagat
Thursday, 27 May 2010 00:31
by Zita Y. Taitano
Marianas Variety News Staff

IN CELEBRATION of its 10th anniversary, the Inetnon Gef Pago Chamorro dance group will stage a theatrical production called “Guahan: Fanhasso, Fanhita, Fanacho,” which focuses on the future of Pagat after the military buildup.

“Guahan: Fanhasso, Fanhita, Fanacho” is loosely translated as “Remember to stand together.”

The shows are set for tomorrow night and Saturday in the ballroom of the Sheraton Laguna Resort and Spa in Tamuning.

Vince Reyes, program director of Inetnon Gef Pago, said the group wanted to do something different instead of a regular recital to commemorate the anniversary.

“What we decided was to take as many of the dances as we can, put them together, and try to think of a beautiful storyline that would be able to hopefully inspire our people,” Reyes said.

He worked with culture advocates Victoria-Lola Leon Guerrero and Michael Lujan Bevacqua to put a script together for the show.

“I said I got a crazy idea, here are all these songs and chants. Can we figure out a way to just make some sort of inspirational story,” Reyes said. “We were blessed and hammered it out.”

Bevacqua said he and Leon Guerrero were approached by Reyes about the production right around the time of the comment period on the draft environmental impact statement. Bevacqua mentioned the military’s plans to lease 2,300 more acres of land and from there the script started to develop.

“When we were looking for a story, that’s something we could do. We could take (the) dances and tell in a compelling, funny, refreshing way the history of the Chamorro people,” Bevacqua said. “It’s really like an incredible journey.”

The production centers on a group of former Inetnon Gef Pago students who dream that they are called into the jungle area of Pagat one night.

“This is set in the future after the military has already leased and closed off the Pagat area and so the public no longer has regular access and so they are called there, they don’t know why, they’re really confused and out of nowhere they find the voice that called to them and it’s Fuuna,” said Bevacqua, referring to the legend of the Chamorro goddess who formed the Chamorros and Guam with the help of her brother, the Chamorro god Puntan.

“She tells them I’m here to give you strength. There’s something I’m going to ask of you guys. There’s something that you have to do and that’s why I called you tonight to give you strength so you could do what you can do for your future,” he said adding that Fuuna is asked questions by the students and her answers are in the form of dances by members of Inetnon Gef Pago.

Clifford Guzman of Galaide Group was elated when he was asked to be the director for the production as he enjoyed working with the organization.

“There are seven or eight actors and actresses that we’re working with. We’re all nervous and it’s a challenge to them but like anything else with Inetnon Gef Pago and the kids, they’ve always risen to the challenge,” Guzman said.

Tonight’s show is for family and friends. Ticket costs $25 for regular seating and $35 for VIP seating.

Tomorrow night, the show is designated as corporate gala night with ticket prices at $50 for regular seating and $75 for VIP seating. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the production will begin at 7 p.m.

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