The Mariana Trench and the Creation of the Mariana Archipelago

New Guam Satellite Map Illustration

New Guam Illustration from Cloudless Satellite NASA Photo of Guam from Space

The earth is a beautiful living planet with major plate tectonic movements that sometimes bring about violent earthquakes. Over a longer period of time, this subduction action (of one plate going below another and the resulting recycling of the crust back into the mantle) also results in the creation of island chains over time. In the case of the Mariana Islands in the Western Pacific, scientists have surmised that they were created with the movement of the Pacific tectonic plate going deep underneath the Philippine plate over earth’s long history.

These 15 islands in the archipelago are an ancient terrestrial storyboard. The movement of these plates, have resulted in wondrous and spectacular underwater as well as above water landforms, many of which are volcanoes. Interestingly scientists have determined that Guam, the southernmost island in the archipelago, is the oldest island among them (about 30 million years old, as compared to its northern-most island cousin which is theorized to be only 5 million years old).

The Marianas Trench is in close proximity to Guam, with the deepest point of the earth (Challenger Deep) a few hundreds miles southwest of the southern tip of the island. This makes for an even more interesting study, especially for those that call Guam home. What does the existence of the trench, and the movement of the plates mean for this regions fate? Well, scientists have studied this region for many years, and have discovered that while there are earthquakes in this region of the world as a result of these plates colliding, it has been discovered that these plates (at their meeting point) are being lubricated by a mud-like substance that percolates from the sea-floor. They theorize that this in turn reduces the chance for such violent tremors like that being experienced in Japan or the Indonesian region.

With that being said, the most memorable Guam earthquake recently on record was in Aug 8, 1993, measuring 8.0 on the Richter scale and lasting about 60 seconds. (I was in this earthquake and I must say this was a whopper. I’ll probably write a blog soon of my experience since this is so fresh in my memory.) While there were no deaths that resulted from it directly, there was significant damage including a major hotel that was recently built and opened for business within the same time period. If scientists are right that the existence of this mud-like lubricant deep within the chasm of the Marianas trench reduces violent earthquakes, this means good news for those that call the islands in the Marianas their home.

Over the years, the scientific community has studied many aspects of this part of the world, from the landforms of the Marianas, to the depths of the Marianas Trench and the surrounding areas. My interest to understand my island home and its neighboring island chain, has stirred a desire in me to create an illustration of Guam in context with the world and its place among the other 14 islands within the archipelago. This never-before seen and newly created illustration includes narratives and close-up insets of areas within Guam that are significant to its economy. As part of this illustration, I’ve also included a few economic facts that provide for a more interesting and though-provoking study of the island of Guam.

To order this illustration in one of many art mediums, click here to be taken to the product page and pay online with a credit card or with a PayPal account.

Affordable Embrodiery and Guam Patches Now Available for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Gis, and Other Apparel Including Jackets

Affordable Embroidery

Looking for affordable custom embroidery? We custom design and service your embroidery needs on hundreds of apparel items. All our embroidery work is high-quality products, with most of our embroidery made in the United States. Email us at sales@gerardaflaguecollection.com for inquiries and send us your designs if you’ve got them in hand. Send us any quotes you might have from another embroidery provider and we will make an effort to beat their prices.

Modern Guam Seal Patches

Through the Gerard Aflague Collection, we have recently released several large-sized embroidered patches with our exclusive Modern Guam Seal design appropriate for many different types of apparel, but most popularly for Brazilain Jiu Jitsu Gis. These high-quality patches come in 5, 7, and 9 inch sizes, and are multicolored with the word “Guam” in bright red, bright yellow, and bright blue.

These patches are absolutely the best designed Modern Guam Seal patches that exist online for purchase. Each nine inch patch has over 120,000 stitches. This is one of the highest counts for such a patch of its kind. Unlike many of the patches made in China, our patches are proudly made in the United States.

Our nine inch version will provide the best look on Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) Gis, Karate Gis, Sports Jackets, Leather Jackets, and other sports gear, as it shows the island logo best from many feet away. Our five and seven inch versions also make a great impression but would be most appropriate on pant leg, arm, and bag applications. All our Modern Guam Seal patches come with both a heat applied backing as well as a small perimeter edge of material to allow a seamstress to affix a patch to a piece of apparel.

Many islanders who practice the art of Gracie Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Guam and across the mainland, and who are avid Fokai followers, have been inquiring about high-quality Guam Seal patches that are embroidered and appropriate for martial arts gis. Some of our male and female Chamorro (Chamoru) or Guamanian Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners, fighters, and competitors on Guam, Japan, Hawaii, and California seek high-quality embroidered Guam Seal patches to represent our island of Guam and the Pacific. One such competitor from California recently requested for patches in anticipation for his international competition.  It’s because of customer inquiries that we have been able to provide these awesome patches to our customers.

Guam patch

While we have these patches available, we also have other more affordable patches including what you see on your left, which is a large seven inch patch of the word Guam together with a petroglyph drawing which is found in one of Guam’s caves, as well as a Chamorro – Hafa Adai 2×4 inch patch shown below.

Chamorro - Hafa Adai patch

Chamorro – Hafa Adai patch

We also offer direct embroidery of our designs on various apparel. If you are interested in any of our patches, please visit our online store at GerardAflagueCollection.Com. To inquire about getting your gear embroidered directly with our exclusive Modern Guam Seal design, please leave us a message on our website.

On this post,  you will find a few photographs of Jiu Jitsu gis with the Modern Guam Seal patch affixed.

Giving Back to Our Island Home in Our Small Way by Helping Guam’s Homeless

The last four months of doing business as Gerard Aflague Collection has been positive – overall. We’ve attended three large island-themed public events in California and Colorado, are working with Faith Bookstore in Guam to retail our products, and have served customers online from Guam, Saipan, throughout the mainland, as well as Germany and Japan.

We look forward to networking with more folks…with a wider audience. We are doing just that. We’ve begun working with the Facebook group 671 Recipes to connect with over 20,000 subscribers to spread the word about our work, and we are working with smaller stateside contacts who retail their goods at local events all across the mainland. We see our efforts to connect being nothing but a positive experience.

We’ve seen what the power of social media can do in terms of connecting us. We’ve been very encouraged by many folks who have mentioned that we are doing a good thing by creating beautiful things that personify our pacific island lifestyle, culture, and heritage. But we wanted to do more. We began to offer inspirational products. But this still wasn’t enough in our minds.

As we thought about what we were doing, we asked ourselves how hard would it be to give back a small percentage of our sales or in-kind donations to help the homeless situation in Guam. So we entered into conversations with the Salvation Army in Guam and came to understand the connection between drug addiction and homelessness. While they receive grant funding for their efforts, they could always use the extra help from other sources.

So starting in mid-August, we will be donating a portion of our sales to the Salvation Army in Guam to assist the homeless. We are happy that they were receptive to our call. We hope that giving back to our island home in our small way will bring about some value to their great efforts to support our island home and its people.

Si Yu’os Ma’ase.

 

 

 

Pacific Islanders Cherish Connections through Clan and Family Names

In the Pacific Islands of the Marianas, family names are not only valued, they are cherished. So many folks are not only known by their surname, but they go further to define a particular branch that they belong to, in order to be easily recognized by others. Ask any Chamorro you meet what family they belong to. Not only will they say their official surname, but they will likely follow it with “familian [you add the name]”. Most will be able to quickly reconcile what branch of the tree they belong to, among the many trees and branches that make up Guam’s rich genealogical records.

This is a custom illustration that can be purchased and customized with your family name. This design depicts a stained glass spiritual theme. Click the image to order.

Take for example my family. I’m from the Aflague clan. Not much is known as to the origins of my surname, however, to differentiate my branch from another branch within my clan, they’ve identified my father’s branch to be from the Katson group, also known in Chamorro as “I familian Katson”.  I was told that my branch name actually came from the Flores clan. I’m not sure how accurate that is. But it makes sense. My grandfather’s middle name is Flores. For those who may not know, my grandfather was the first goldsmith on Guam, back in the early years, who made hundreds if not thousands of pieces of jewelry for many old time Guam families. In fact, many knew the jewelry made by my grandfather as “I alahas Katson”, which means “Katson’s Jewelry”. I run into a few folks from time to time who have said that they still have a wedding ring, or bracelets made by my grandfather. I was not born when my grandfather was in the business of jewelry making, however, he took his passion as a goldsmith very seriously and made it a venture that allowed my family to prosper and enjoy the fruits of their labor. His daughter, Mariquita, eventually took the reigns of the business and furthered their efforts into the 70s in Guam. If any of you are reading this and still have any of his pieces, please let me know. I’d be interested in seeing some of his designs in picture. I know this is a long shot, but you never know what you are going to get, unless you ask.

This is an illustration depicting a tropical setting with the island of Guam inset. We customize this illustration with your family names. Click this image to order now.

If the name Katson rings a bell in another way, its because my family are the long time entrepreneurs of Chorizos Chamorro. Going back to the 60s and 70s, my father’s brother, Vincente or “Ben”, went into the sausage making business with his sons. From there, his sons and others formed a sausage factory in front of the old Marks Department Store on the beach side of Anigua in the 70s. I distinctly remember their big delivery truck with the logo that had the “Katson’s Chorizos Chamorro”, with a cute picture of a cartoon pig face as their mascot. This business has now gone national after many decades, and is based out of California through a partnership with the Calvos in Guam. My first cousins and their nephews are now taking part in this venture.

So as can be seen, family names in Guam hold more value  than most western cultures, as folks seem to dig deep to uncover the underlying connections that become less and less apparent as new generations of families develop. This unique aspect of our familial connections make for enjoyable conversations at parties and get-togethers with other families. If you don’t believe me, just observe at an upcoming Chamorro gathering and hear the initial conversations of strangers meeting up for the first time. I’ll bet that they will share these two pieces of information to form the basis of where they both came from.You’ll see them introducing themselves, telling each other what their last names are, followed by their family names.  It’s intriguing to say the least. If anything, its an ice-breaker of sorts. Afterward the real conversations begin.

This is an illustration depicting a tropical setting with the Saipan island. We customize this illustration with your family names. Click this image to order now.

So as was mentioned,  in the Pacific Islands, clan names, and family names hold a very special significance in the lives of our people. We use it to connect, to categorize, and to be identified more easily. Because of the value that I know Pacific Islanders put on their geneology, I’ve produced a few illustrations that can be customized with family and clan names.

This is an opportunity for folks to display  not only  a representation of where they come from in a colorful tropical theme, but also to be able to proudly showcase who they are as pacific islanders. These two elements come together to provide something unique, it is nothing short of a conversation piece. I envisioned these illustrations as a one-of-a-kind gifts to other families who would find this more than just beautiful. Set in an 18″x24″ frame, and hung in your home’s foyer or living room, it is a testament to who you are and where you come from.These pieces are  Giclee illustrations that depicts the look of stained glass, however, they are printed on museum quality illustrated stock.

If you want to be one of the first ones to have your name customized on one of these one-of-a-kind unique stained glass design illustrations, or if you want to order one as a unique gift to someone special, click one of the images above for more ordering information. If anything, please leave a comment below. I’d be interested in what your perspectives are of the significance and value of family names in the Pacific Islands. Adios for now!

Legend of Guam’s Two Lovers

Probably the most notable landmark on the Island of Guam is Two Lover’s Point, or Puntan Dos Amantes as they call it in Guam’s native tongue “Chamoru.” It is a beautiful cliff on the westward side of the island  jetting hundreds of feet up out of the Philippine Sea among the dolphins and thousands of other marine life found along this shore.

The name Two Lover’s Point was coined after a popular local legend. Long ago, during a time in Guam’s history when Spain ruled the island, there lived a family of aristocracy in the capital village of Hagatna. The father of this family was a rich Spanish man, while the mother came from a family of a great Chamoru chief. They owned much land in the island and were well respected.

Their daughter was full of beauty, and admired by many in the local villages. Her hair flowed with grace and had a healthy glow to it. She brought her parents much pride and joy because of what she had become. Her father was greatly wanting to have her daughter joined with a Spanish Captain in marriage. Upon knowing of his plans, she was upset and fled from Hagatna. She went in a northern direction meandering the tropical shores, until she found a peacefully quiet place.

While pondering her situation, the day quickly became night, and the moonlight shone upon the ocean, showing a glimmering sight. At that time, while sitting on the sandy shore, she met a handsome and rugged young Chamoru warrior from a local family. He had a gentle demeanor, with bright eyes, long flowing hair, and a healthy physique. They instantly fell in love.

When her father later learned of their meeting, he called for her to marry the Spanish Captain immediately. In hearing of this, she scurried away to the high-point above the shore where she met her native lover. At this point, her father summoned Spanish soldiers to pursue the lovers. In this pursuit, they found themselves trapped at the edge of the cliff, with no where to go.

The young native warrior told them to stay back, while the father told them to remain. The lovers immediately took their long hair, and tied it into a large knot. They searched momentarily into each other’s eyes, and kissed one last time. Afterward, they leaped effortlessly off the high and steep cliff into the roaring blue waters below. Hundreds of feet in the air, they embraced with a love that never could be separated. Her father rushed after them to the edge and stared in disbelief as his daughter was no longer to be found.

Two Lover’s Point above Tumon Bay, remains in its place, weathered by the sun, wind, and water, coined from this legend that continues to be the symbol of true love, between the souls of a two beings that found a love ever so pure, that no one could take it away.

This legend and the Guam landmark is embodied in the latest colorful illustration designed as part of the Gerard Aflague Collection. Click here to order your very own illustration of this well-known Guam landmark today.