Catholic Church: Santa Teresita
Fiesta: Late September
The village of Mangilao is located in central Guam. It lies between the villages of Barrigada and Chalan Pago. The village also branches off into subdivisions bordering Dededo and Yigo. These subdivisions include Latte Heights, Latte Plantation, Sunrise Villa, Banyan Heights, and lower and upper Pagat. The village has been called “Guam’s capital of education” because both the University of Guam and the Guam Community College are located there.
The village of Mangilao today is fairly new, but the area has ancient sites that date back more than a thousand years. The district of Pagat, located on Route 15 (also commonly referred to as the back road to Andersen), was once an ancient Chamorro village. Pagat is one of the most scenic areas on the island, with breathtaking cliff lines that overlook the Pacific Ocean, and jungle trails that lead to freshwater caves and ancient latte.
Originally, Pagat was thought to have been occupied during the later part of the Ancient Guam Period or early in the Spanish Period in the late seventeenth century. Because of the areas limited accessibility, it was theorized that the first inhabitants had fled from Spanish rule, but the discovery of a certain type of pottery found there in the 1980s has proven to be typical of an earlier settlement, perhaps just more than a thousand years ago.
Mangilao lacks a natural water source, therefore, it was not until the late 1920s that the area would be repopulated after water wells, a school, and a road were built. People who owned ranches in Mangilao farmed there during the day and, at night, would return to their homes in Hagåtña. In the 1920s, naval Governor Henry B. Price launched a vigorous “back-to-the-soil movement” to convince Chamorros to develop their agriculture and become self-sufficient. Part of his program was the concentration of farms in a given section.
The Mangilao-Barrigada area was chosen because of its rolling plateaus and proximity to the island’s capital, Hagåtña. To encourage people to live on their farms and produce more, Price built a road into the area and then the Mangilao School in 1926. He ordered families to send their children to the school, so they would have to live in Mangilao during the week and in their Hagåtña homes only during the weekend. Price ordered that an agriculture department and a dairy factory be built in the village.
After World War II, Mangilao continued to be Guam’s main farming area. Some of the village’s major crops included tapioca, cassava, corn, mongo beans, tomatoes, peppers and other beans. Many people paid for their homes by selling these crops to a new population of people that moved to Mangilao – construction workers. The village housed thousands of construction workers employed by the military who lived there during the post-war rebuilding boom. Roads and houses were built to accommodate the workers, and grocery stores began to line the village’s main road.