THE FIRST LIBERATION FESTIVITIES

 

So here we are in the El Cortez Hotel ballroom in San Diego! It looks like an evening of fun and excitement, the time is 5:30 in the afternoon. The date is July 18, 1953.  "Maestro music please.." Here come the Marine color guards to post the flags. The band plays the National Anthem. The Pledge of Allegiance is recited by all. Father Sheeply, of St. Rita's Church, says the invocation: Our president, Joe Flores welcomes the guests, makes his speech and introduces the guest speaker for the evening. Now comes a delicious dinner of filet mignon with all the trimmings prepared by one of our own Guamanians, head chef of the El Cortez, Carlos Cruz. The bugle sounds attention ..."Ladies and gentlemen, the Sons and Daughters of Guam Club proudly presents to you Nora Herrero Peterson crowned as our first queen for the reigning year July, 1953 to July,1954." The queen parades around the room with her court, you are there. Applause ...The Second Year ... 1954 ...the original officers remain as advisers the membership in the club continued to grow.  The Sons and Daughters of Guam Club held its second annual Liberation celebration at the U.S. Grant Hotel in July, 1954. The event sponsored a dinner dance with the crowning of the new queen, Florentina Cruz Crisostomo. Among the guest speakers was Ramon Sablan, M.D. whose name ranked high on the notorious Japanese "black list", ADM. George A Alexander, retired governor of Guam and Vice ADM. Charles Pownell, last military governor of Guam. The Sons and Daughters of Guam Club was founded in San Diego by Guamericans due to the rising need for social and economic responsibility. The sole purpose of the club was "to promote better citizenship in our democracy" as stated by Gil Taitano. In commenting about the organization, Taitano stated, "With God's help, we'll all prosper in better living through the main objective of our club."

ORIGINS

THE MAKING OF THE SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF GUAM CLUB

By: Guilllermo Taitano (Gil)

 

Somewhere back in time, the spring of 1953, the formation of a Sons and Daughters of Guam Club began in San Diego, California. The initiators of the club were Jose Flores (Cabesa), also known as Joe Flores, and Guillermo Taitano (Calextro) also known as Gil Taitano.

 

Joe Flores came to California when he was sent by the bishop of Guam to continue his studies for the priesthood. Family problems and the draft board changed all that for him. Joe then joined the Marine Corps stationed in Camp Pendleton. He left the service after the Second World War.

 Jose Flores (Cabesa) First President, and Wife Remedio

Joe lived in San Diego with his cousin Jose Aquiningoc (Cabesa). It was during this time that he started the idea of a Guam Club. Years later, Joe joined the Merchant Marines on Guam. It was soon after this that he caught pneumonia and passed away.

 

Gil Taitano joined the Navy in 1937 and was stationed in San Diego. In 1950, he decided to move his wife Rosa Reyes Finona and their children to San Diego while still in service with the Navy. It was during this time that Gil met Joe and helped him with the idea of starting a Guam club. At present, Gil Taitano still resides in his first home in San Diego.

 

The club was formulated to serve common interests such as learning English, so that our members and their children could compete in the American mainstream and still keep the customs of their Chamorro heritage. It also served as a recreational outlet in the form of a softball team that played on the weekends. Through the group efforts of its founding members and weekly meetings, the idea of a Guamerican club became a reality.

 

Jose Flores (Cabesa) and Guillermo (Gil) (Calextro) Taitano

The Essence of the Sons and Daughters of Guam Club

We the members of the Sons and Daughters of Guam Club do agree to bond together with the purpose of aiding, assisting, and promoting all matters beneficial to our members and their families. It is our hope that we would realize the full potential of our God given rights, the search for the "good-life", the blessings of liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These are the goals which direct our lives. It is this bond that will bring about peace and security during troubled times.

 

The Beginning

Early on, the prime movers and shakers were Joe Flores and Gil Taitano. One evening, Joe was talking about his desire to get the Chamorro people together who were living in San Diego. This conversation was held at the home of his cousin, Jose Aquiningoc.  Jose's wife, Sixta, and her sister, Gloria Taitano overheard Joe's conversation and joined in the discussion. The suggestion was made to talk to Gil Taitano, brother of Sixta and Gloria.  Joe Flores was invited to Gil's home at 317 San Albetto Way, San Diego, California for coffee and "dunkin' doughnuts." At first the conversation centered around the family and Gil's new baby.  Joe offered to be the Godfather and Gil consented.  Afterwards, the conversation turned toward Joe's initial idea.  Joe asked Gil to join him in the endeavor of forming the Guamerican club. Joe and Gil worked closely with some other lead members. Several informal meetings were held and it was decided to hold a general meeting in the backyard  of Gil Taitano's house on May 1, 1953, just two months before the first Liberation  celebration. Between 40 and 50 people were present at the meeting.  The following roster shows the first temporary officers:

 

President - Joe Flores

Vice President - Gil Taitano

Secretary - Maria Mendiola

Treasurer - Juan Duenas

Hospitality Chairperson - Carmen Garrido

Master at Arms - Jesus Garrido

 

In The Fullness of Time, We Have Arrived

The meeting began with the posting of the flag of Guam and the American flag. The Vice-President led the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag. The meeting was called to order with the drop of the gavel. The president opened the meeting with a prayer, invoking the Holy Spirit, "Enkindle in us the fire of God's love. Grant that in the same spirit, we may be truly wise and ever rejoice in His consolation." The constitution and by­laws of the club were discussed at later meetings. The first order of business was to plan the first Guam Liberation celebration in San Diego. The assignment of chairpersons for the various Liberation committees were made, such as fundraising, entertainment, Queen selection, guest speakers, music, hotel accommodations, master of ceremonies, invitations, dinner menu, and no-host cocktails. At the conclusion of the first meeting, a motion was made to make all of the temporary officers permanent. The meeting ended with a social gathering.

 

All of the details for the first annual Guam Liberation celebration were worked out and put in place at subsequent meetings of the Sons and Daughters of Guam Club. The meetings rotated from house-to-house of the current members until Joe Flores rented an apartment around 20th and Market Street.  The club also used the Navy facility on Main Street for its annual celebration. As the membership grew this space became too small to hold the meetings. The club members rented a building on 11th Avenue. It was at this time that Adrian Sanchez formed the Master Chef Catering Service in the Guam club building. Several years later, the members of the club negotiated the purchase of the present Guam club on Ozark Street, now known as Willie James Jones Street in San Diego.

 

The property consisted of a five acre lot with a large house that was used as a home for handicapped children.  The house was formerly owned by the Tokels. One of the greatest triumphs of the Sons and Daughters of Guam Club was the enthronement of the Statue of Our Lady of Camarin in the St. Joseph's Cathedral; the ceremonies were performed by Bishop Maher, Bishop Flores and Bishop Chavez.

 

The full cooperation of all of the members was rewarding for those involved with the club's beginning. What made the club successful was the dedication of the members. To this day, Joe Flores (in his memory) and Gil Taitano remain grateful.

 

I said to the man who stood at the gate of the Year, “Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.., And he replied, " Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way!"

 

I want to dedicate this story of the early years of the Sons & Daughters of Guam Club to Chairperson Lee Ann C. Cruz, and her staff, because they have worked so hard to create the Chamorro Directory.

 

 

 

Sons and Daughters of Guam Club

Dedicated to the preservation of the Chamorro Culture

SOMEWHERE BACK IN TIME MEMBERS

Mrs. Josephine Ada

Mr. Juan R. Aflague

Mr. Frank Aguon

Mr. Pete P. Aguon

Mr. Jose A Aquiningoc

Mr. Tito Baza

Mrs. Hortensia Baza

Mr. Manuel C. Blas

Mrs. Isabel C. Blas

Mr. Joe Borha

Mrs. Masako Borha

Mr. Juan R. Borha

Mrs. Ana P. Borha

Mr. Joaquin M. Camacho

Mr. Jose Camacho

Mrs. Carmen Camacho

Mr. Jose Q. Cepeda

Mrs. Isabel D. Cepeda

Mrs. Bobbie Cepeda

Mr. Bino Concepcion

Mrs. Matia Concepcion

Mr. Ernique Concepcion

Mrs. Florence Concepcion

Mr. Henry Cruz

Mr. Jose T. Cruz

Mr. Juan B. Cruz

Mr. Juan L. Duenas

Mr. Ignacio LG. Flores

Mrs. Helen Flores

Mr. Jessie B. Ganido

Mrs. Carmen F. Garrido

 

Mr. Tomas Garrido

Mrs. Sylvia Garrido

Mr. Teddy Garrido

Mrs. Antonia B. Garrido

Mrs. Ana D. Guerreo

Mr. Pedro C. Guerrero

Mrs. Jose Gumataotao

Mrs. Emiliana Gumataotao

Mrs. Anna Herbers

Mr. Ed Herbers

Mrs. Carmen O. Herrero

Mr. Barcardi Iglesias

Mr. Tommy Ignacio

Mrs. Felesita O. Ignacio

Mr. Pedro T. Limtiaco

Mrs. Martha C. Limtiaco

Mr. Jose A. Manalisay

Mrs. Lordes Mantane

Mr. Wayne Martin

Mrs. Millie Martin

Mr. Carlos Matanane

Mr. Jose A. Mendiola

Mrs. Ramona Mendiola

Mr. Frank S. Nauta

Mrs. Dominica D. Nauta

Mrs. Antonia Okins

Mr. P. Olino

Mr. Vicente Pablo

Mrs. Dolores Pablo

Mr. Pat Padula

Mrs. Chane Padula

Mr. George C. Perez

Mrs. Mariquita M. Perez

Mr. Jesus D. Perez

Mr. John A Perez

Mr. (LCDR) Frank Pittington

Mrs. Faye Pittington

Mrs. Catalina P. Terrado

Mr. Juan Q. Rapolla

Mr. Juan Reyes

Mr. Ramon Sablan

Mrs. Rosa B. Sablan

Mr. Juan G. Sablan

Mr. Manuel Sablan

Mr. Vicente Sablan

Mrs. Jennette Sablan

Mr. Edward Sablan

Mr. Juan Salas

Mrs. Beatrice Salas

Mr. William Salas

Mr. Anthony M. San Agustin

Mr. Adtian C. Sanchez

Mrs. Beatrice M. Schroeder

Mr. Guillermo T. Taitano

Mrs. Rosa F. Taitano

Mr. Joel Taitano

Mr. Phil Ten-ado

Mr. Augusto S. Terlaje

Mr. Jose S. Valenzuela

Mrs. Helen H. Valenzuela

Mr. Luke Villagomez

Mr. John N. Williams

The creation of the Sons & Daughters of Guam Club led to the formation of the village clubs in San Diego, and inspired the establishment of similar clubs in the following areas: Los Angeles, Long Beach, Washington D.C., Florida and Bremerton.

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