Villages

Villages in Guam: Umatac

One sunny Sunday afternoon we decided to take a drive around the island and ended up in Umatac. Before arriving, we stopped at a couple viewpoints. One in particular was near Sella Bay and Mount Lam Lam. We took pictures of the bay and continued on. Umatac is my favorite village in Guam. Immediately upon entering the southern village I knew I would like it. It felt much different than any other place on Guam. It was quiet, clean, had a small-town feel and just reminded me that I am in a different country with a very rich culture and history.

We first stopped across the street from the village church that was built when the old church crumbled. There is a large white cross now where the old church used to be. The view was absolutely amazing. The water looked like a thousand diamonds were sitting on top. The houses along the shore were brightly colored, just like most homes on Guam. I really like the architecture of the homes here. They make me want to buy a house! My favorite houses are the ones that have staircases that lead up to the rooftop! After looking out over the bay, we hopped back on the scooter and headed around the corner. Umatac is known for being the place where the Spanish first landed. There are bright red bridges over the Umatac Bay that lead up the hill to the Spanish Fort.

As we entered the Spanish Fort park, I spotted a carabao and had to take a picture with him! The fort is extremely old and most of it has withered away. There were a few canons, which I’m not sure are original but I’m thinking they were just replicas. There was also an interesting stone structure which I never figured out what it was used for. The fort is on the top of the hill, so of course the view from up there was incredible. Looking down upon Umatac you can see the cemetery in one of the photos.

If I had to settle down in Guam forever, even though it’s so far from jobs and stores, I’d choose Umatac. Definitely a great village. On our way home we stopped at a park in the village of Merizo where I found a group of chickens wandering around. Next village post: Merizo!

Villages in Guam: Agana/Hagåtña

I’ve passed by this park many times but never really thought about stopping to walk through it…until recently. Located in the center of Agana, the San Antonio Bridge is directly across the street from the beach. Unlike most of Guam’s parks and historical sites, this park has minimal litter and is in relatively good condition. I thought it was really cool to be able to see such an old landmark from when the Spanish landed in Guam. According to the plaque describing the bridge’s history, it was constructed by the Spanish in 1800 to cross the Hagatna River. The bridge survived WWII and was moved when the river was diverted.

In addition to the bridge there’s a mermaid statue next to it that represents one of Guam’s many legends. The story of the Sirena (Mermaid) is that she was once a young girl who loved to be near or in the water. One day her mother was looking for her but couldn’t find her. The mother knew that the daughter was down by the river and in a usual motherly way, she cursed her daughter and said she might as well be a fish. Not knowing that her curse had come true, the mother never saw her daughter again because the daughter turned into a half girl half fish creature. Some people have said that they have seen her in the river.

After visiting the San Antonio Bridge and seeing all the pretty tropical flowers and learning a little more about Guam’s history, I walked to the park next to the large cathedral. The Plaza de España has many histories to it. First the Spanish built structures and after WWII, when the Americans took over, much of it was destroyed. Only a few structures are left. As you can see in the pictures there is a small white structure with the typical Spanish red roof. This was known as the Chocolate House, which is where the Spanish would have their afternoon cup of hot chocolate. Within this structure were two Spanish plaques that I couldn’t believe were just left out in the open! I was both in awe and disappointed with the park. It always makes me sad when historical things are forgotten and left to rot. I can see so much potential in this park if only it was better taken care of. I just hope that someone steps up and tries to salvage what’s left of this magnificent park before it’s too late!

This is a nice place to visit in the late afternoon-evening because it can be very hot outside and you might get to catch the sun setting across the ocean. Both parks are within walking distance of each other and provide a lot of good information regarding Guam’s history. A Must See!