GUAM CELEBRATES DISCOVERY DAY

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Hundreds line Umatac shoreline to watch Magellan re-enactment

By Jose Cepeda III

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (March 6, 2001 – Pacific Daily News)---Strong winds and a hot sun provided perfect weather for Ferdinand Magellan's landing.

Hundreds of onlookers gathered yesterday to watch a re-enactment of the Portuguese sailor's legendary landing in Umatac during the Discovery Day celebration.

For some, the re-enactment had undergone changes but was still the main attraction.

"I think it's changed a lot," said Tommy Morrison, 25, of Umatac.

"Before, it was over fast. Now it's a little longer. They performed a nice show."

The celebration honors Magellan, who, legend has it, landed on Guam's shores on March 6, 1521, while on an exploratory mission to find the Spice Islands. After villagers boarded Magellan's ship, a misunderstanding resulted in atrocities by the explorer's crew against the villagers.

Santa Rita resident Ray Perez, with his 3-year-old son Daniel sitting on his shoulders, watched the re-enactment with his children.

Perez, who has attended Discovery Day events for several years, said this year's re-enactment was different than previous offerings.

"There was more narration and more participation from younger people," Perez said.

A narrator told the story as the Irensia Cultural Dance Troupe performed the 20-minute program.

Nearly 20 children and adults, dressed in traditional Chamorro clothing, greeted a handful of men on a boat who were portraying Spanish explorers.

After mock fighting ensued between the Chamorro and Spanish men, three huts made of coconut leaves and wood were set on fire.

Magellan's landing wasn't the only event during the final day of Umatac's Discovery Day celebrations, which were spread over two weekends. Carabao rides, a merry-go-round and food stands selling shish kabobs and fiesta plates were scattered around the village center.

For additional reports from the Pacific Daily News, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/Pacific Daily News (Guam).

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