Chief Aghurubw commemoration this weekend


The 48th Annual Chief Aghurubw Commemoration ceremony that was postponed last Saturday due to hazardous surf has been rescheduled to this Saturday, Oct. 6.

According to the Carolinian Affairs Office executive director John Tagabuel, the Chief Aghurubw Foundation is now just securing ferry rides to and from Managaha Island to accommodate all those who will be attending the commemoration.

The public is invited to join this memorial celebration.

Chief Aghurubw, the legendary Carolinian chief and a traditional navigator, set sail from Satawal in the western Caroline Islands over 200 years ago, to seek refuge for his people when a major typhoon devastated their islands. Oral and written history passed through generations spoke of how, in 1815, Chief Aghurubw braved uncertainties to relocate his people, many of whom faced starvation through losses suffered from the typhoon. He navigated the voyage to the Marianas and paid a visit to then-Spanish governor Medinilla in Guam and asked permission for the resettlement. Medinilla granted approval and gave Chief Aghurubw a legal certificate, a cane, and a black top hat, symbols of authority. The chief was often seen wearing the hat proudly, which earned him the nickname “Parung” (hat).

The official approval from Medinilla distinguished him as a paramount chief. Upon his death, members of his clan, the Ghatoliyόόl Clan, carried out his wish that he be buried on Managaha Island.

And as the burial ground of Chief Aghurubw, Managaha Island has become sacred ground among Carolinians, which leads to the island’s historical significance.

In memory of Chief Aghurubw, a monument was erected on Sept. 18, 1970, on Managaha Island, heralding the “first official annual commemoration of Chief Aghurubw.” His statue, which stands today on Managaha, commemorates his achievements and leadership to ensure his people’s safety and welfare.

The annual tribute to Chief Aghurubw will include boat trips to and from Managaha, a commemoration Mass, official remarks, lunch, and traditional performances.

Kimberly Bautista | Reporter
Kimberly Albiso Bautista has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at

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