Island of Rota

Masala's Powerful Son Leaps to the Island of Rota

Click here for Chamoru Translation of Legend

Coconut Crab Pet There was a time when strength and power were the measure of a person on Guahan. There lived at Apurguan beach, a giant, strong, and powerful named Masala . When his spouse bore him a son, Masala was so full of joy and pride that he showed the baby to everyone he knew.

As the boy grew older, he became more and more like his father, strong, powerful and able to overwhelm any boy in the village. The worst of it all, he was getting more attention than his father. Masala noted this and became envious of his son. Coconut Crab on coconut tree

(Editor's note: From Dr. Cunningham's book referenced below, Masala knew that when his son came of age at 14 years old, his son would go to the village of his mother's clan. Sons in those days did not remain in the villages to which they were born. The children belonged to the clan of their mother. The father feared his son would some day fight for another village and he might have to face his son in battle).

One day, at the tender age of three, Masalaís son caught a crab (informants identified the crustacean as a land crab (panglao) rather than the coconut crabs pictured on this page) and spent many hours playing with it. He thoroughly enjoyed playing with the crab, but he became so engrossed in an activity that he did not notice the crab disappearing into a hole near a coconut tree. When the child noticed the crab had run away, he noticed a hole near the coconut tree and tried reaching down into it to retrieve his pet. With the strength he had inherited, he uprooted the coconut tree completely out of the ground to retrieve his pet crab.

Masala witnessed what his son accomplished and his envy came to a boil. The father ran and yelled with all his hatred and fury. The father chased his son to annihilate the boy. The boy was surprised at the change in his fatherís behavior. The youngster had been so used to being the proud son of his father, that he had not anticipated that his proud father was going to become his worst enemy.

The son sprang up and ran as fast in a northeasterly direction as his little legs could carry him east of the northern tip of the island. He took one great leap off the cliff and landed on the island of Rota, which is forty miles north of the island of Guahan. Footprint imbedded into stone

To this day, the footprint of the child, called, "The Child Point - Puntan Patgon" could still be seen on the northern most end of Hinapsan Beach in northern Guahan or Guam. It is about two-thirds of the way between Tarague Beach and Ritidian Point. The identity of the boy is generally believed to be 'Taga', the Chief who ruled over the Northern Marianas Islands (The islands in the Chamorro Archipelago North of Guahan or Guam).

Editor's note: To incorporate the geographic details and ethnographic explanation, this oral mythology is a composite of the following legends:
Puntan Patgon, 1992 pg 116 Ancient Chamorro Society by Lawrence J. Cunningham.
The Legend of Patgon Point (Guam Recorder, January 1928) Retold by Earl Hornbostel
The Legend of the Boy who leaped to Rota 1986 pg 23-25 by Olympia Q. Camacho / Dept of Education / Chamorro Studies and Special Projects Division.
Editor: Rudolph Villaverde.

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