Chamorro Folktales: Alu and Pang
Chamorro Folktales: Alu and Pang
In ancient times the people of the Mariana Islands lived in villages ruled by a maga’låhi or maga’håga (chief or high-ranking son or daughter), who made all the rules and decisions for his or her people. In the area of Guahan now known as Tamuning, there lived a great maga’låhi whose name was Alu. People say he had supernatural strength. If he wanted a drink, he could shake a niyok (coconut) tree and the juice-filled, young, green coconuts would fall to the ground.
In the Marianas, at this time, many of the events of different villages were told by traveling storytellers. One day a storyteller from northern Guahan was visiting in southern Guahan, telling about the remarkable strength of Alu.
Pang, who was a maga’låhi in one of the villages in the south, heard the storyteller and became ekgo’ (jealous) because he, Pang, was also known for his great strength. He could even squeeze the juice from a niyok whenever he wanted a drink.
Pang said, “Bring the storyteller to me so that I might hear the story of this great Alu and ask questions about his strength.”
The storyteller was brought forth and Pang listened to his tale. Pang then told him, “Go back to Alu and tell him that Pang challenges him to a duel of strength.”
Alu immediately accepted the challenge and a date was set for the great match. When the day finally came the people from the south journeyed with their maga’låhi to the north. Great preparations were underway when they arrived. Taro, yams, fish, ayuyu (coconut crab), fanihi (fruit bat) and other dishes were being prepared to serve at the great duel that was about to take place.
The women needed niyok juice for the fanihi. Alu, seeing this, went and asked, “Should I shake some niyok down for you?”
The women said yes, so he shook some loose for them. Pang, not to be outdone, said, “I will get the juice out for you,” and took each niyok and squeezed out the juice with his bare hands.
After the great feast the people gathered together near the beach where the match was to take place. Alu and Pang stood glaring at each other in the center of the group of people, waiting for the signal for the fight to begin.
The signal sounded and the two great manmaga’låhi charged at each other. The thud of their bodies knocking against each other shook the earth so hard that all of the trees fell down. The ground around them was soon torn up. The fight continued on toward evening with both manmaga’låhi pounding on each other. Both were hurt and bloody, but Pang was beginning to tire. He could see he was no match for Alu. He ran out to the beach and began swimming away.
Alu grabbed a large rock and hurled it after Pang who was quickly swimming away. The rock found its mark, burying Pang on the spot.
When you are in Tamuning, looking out to the ocean, you can see a rock near the reef. This rock is called Alupang after the great battle of Alu and Pang.
Excerpted from “Legends of Guam,” produced by the class members of an education class at the College of Guam in 1962.
Subscribe to our Stripes Pacific newsletter and receive amazing travel stories, great event info, cultural information, interesting lifestyle articles and more directly in your inbox!
Follow us on social media!