bordallo mansion

Abandoned in Guam

There are many abandoned homes and buildings in Guam. At first sight they are an eyesore but now that I’ve become used to seeing them, I have so many questions. I want to know why and how it happened. Why would someone abandon this house in the heart of Tumon or who owns the Oka Point land and where did they go? I tell you, Guam is FULL of mysteries and absolutely no answers! Peter and I often ride on trails through the jungle and end up finding an abandoned structure of some kind. I know that a lot of land was taken by the military and when they were done using it, they returned it to the people. The problem arose when the land was given back and there were no records kept that stated the owners. Now, much of this land is in dispute. In Spain, land is held by the parents and when the parents die it’s passed on to their children. This goes on for generations. The same happens in Guam, yet there are so many disputes about who really owned the land, who it should belong to, what should be done with it. While family members are disputing who the land really belongs to, it’s neglected and deteriorates.

I often like to give myself photography projects to work on, one day I asked Peter to drive me to a couple abandoned properties so I could start my new project. He took me to two, the first an old Navy building in Dededo an old Navy and the other the Bordallo mansion.

It was a really hot day when Peter and I stopped in front of the abandoned Navy building in the middle of red dirt trails. A few cars passed by as I wearily got off our dirt bike and moved forward toward the dilapidated structure. The shrubs surrounding it were overgrown and it was covered in spray paint. It looked spooky and I was thinking, “I’ll just take a few shots from the outside and be on my way.” Thankfully, I have a very adventurous fiancé who ran up the steps and said, “Take a picture!” Then he ran the rest of the way up to the second floor and called for me. The steps up to the top looked like they might just give way and crumble as I fall to the ground. Adding to that, there wasn’t a rail. So I scrunched myself as close to the wall as I could and tried to not be clumsy for once. When I reached the second floor, there were many rooms with large windows. I wondered what this building was used for. We walked through each room, looked at the graffiti while making up stories about what each room was. The huge picturesque windows on all sides of the top floor showed a gorgeous view of the surrounding landscape. We walked to the end of the hall and down the stairs on the other side of the building. Peter pulled me through the darkness of the bottom level where there were mattresses and wooden blocks placed strategically for Airsoft with pellets all over the ground.

After this I felt inspired and wanted more photos, so we headed down to the Bordallo mansion. The first time I went, Peter told me that it was supposed to be haunted. So of course, I refused to go inside. I didn’t want any angry spirits attacking me (haha)! I stood there looking up at the eerily daunting mansion and it looked like it had some secrets.  This time, as we approached the hill in Yona where the mansion sits looking down on the bay, someone had cleared the trees around the house so it was somewhat friendlier from the outside. Again, a gorgeous view gone to waste! This might have be the one and only time that I thought about being a squatter, in a place like this, with views of the bay and a breeze might not be so bad! The first floor of the mansion looked like it was a kitchen. Upstairs there were about eight identical rooms sharing a bathroom and a living room at the end of the hall. Once the entrance to the mansion, now covered by trees and leaves, the living room opened out to stairs that led down to the driveway. There were a few moments of creepiness, like that small, window-less room in the main living area where someone spray painted, “Listening Room” on the wall. We climbed the stairs to the top floor where there were a couple of rooms. Here is where the best room was. It had so many windows and what looked like a balcony. Around the back there was another balcony that looked out over the ocean. Behind the house there was another structure, but it was covered with branched and trees, so it was too hard to reach. When I came home I tried to research what had happened. All I could find was that it was supposed to be a hotel and that Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo had lived there. I wish I could take this house and renovate it, I’m sure I’m not the only one. If someone knows why it’s abandoned, please tell me!