Tumon exhibit preserves Chamorro culture - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Tumon exhibit preserves Chamorro culture

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by Sabrina Salas Matanane

Guam - With close to fifty international journalists present, the Guam Visitors Bureau is hoping they'll spread the word about what the island is doing to promote and preserve the island's culture. In Tumon, the Linala Chamorro Cultural Park is taking life.

It's a project spearheaded by local developer Mark Baldyga, where on 25 acres of beach front property you'll find an eco-adventure park and one of the main attractions the replica of an ancient Chamorro village. Today a tie-off ceremony was held, signifying the last lashings of the nipa leaf shingles being placed on the gumas (homes).

Ron Acfalle and TASA have been building the gumas to replicate a Chamorro village as it might have been based on historic and archeological accounts in the area formerly known as Gogna. He said, "Traditionally the nepas are picked and they are taken out to be treated and sliced they are all cut at the same length and they are weaved through the bamboo around the bamboo with pandama leaves then put them up together."

Today's ceremony took careful detail in terms of celebrating the last lashing as they would have in the past. "We want to recreate that spirit that years ago this could have happened and we are witnessing it now," Acfalle explained.

Also present today were members of several local preservation groups such as Mataknga, I Man Adadahi I Lenguahi, Kotura Yan I Irensian I Taotao Tano' ("The Guardians of the Language, Culture and Heritage of the Chamorro People").  Mataknga is an informal group of non-profit organizations and Government of Guam entities all working on projects to do with Chamorro language, culture and heritage including Pa'a, Guampedia, Hurao, the Department of Chamorro Affairs, the Guam Preservation Trust, GCC's Chamorro Language Program and the Guam Council on the Arts and Humanities Agency.

Aside from the Chamorro village, plans for the eco-park include a zipline thrill ride and a beach bar restaurant.  Phase I of the park is set to begin next month. Baldyga plans to continue giving back after the doors open the profits of all local ticket sales - $10 for adults and $5 for children - to go toward a special foundation established to foster guam's unique heritage.

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