Guam – John Aguon and his Carabao held a peaceful demonstration in front of the Chamorro village Wednesday in protest of what he calls a lack of respect towards his culturally themed business.
Agoun says he has been offering Carabao rides at the Chamorro village for 18 years.
He says he first started giving the rides when the Ada administration offered to pay him to provide his services at the Chamorro village as a way to showcase Guam’s culture to visitors. Years later when budgets got tighter the government stopped paying him but asked him to remain at the Chamorro village and instead allowed him to charge customers for rides.
The Chamorro village is now requiring him to pay a five dollar fee but Aguon says the money isn’t the issue but rather it’s the principle of the matter. “The Carabao is a icon to the Chamorro culture.
“It’s been here since the 1600’s that’s 413 years ago that’s why my sign behind me says munga ma chanda un potten i kotturran i Chamorro i carabao. Bank of Guam has it as an icon there’s plastic carabao’s going around showing off to the tourists welcome to our island but I’ve got a real carabao that you can experience riding. A real live carabao for your lifetime, take your pictures as I just did earlier with your tourists but I didn’t charge them but I know when they go back to Japan like a friend of mine from Florida she showed off the picture of her riding my carabao and telling the people when they come to Guam go look for the carabao and ride the carabao because you’ll have your chance of a lifetime experiencing riding a carabao,” said Aguon.
Department of Chamorro affairs Director Joseph Cameron tells PNC that he will stick with the rules and regulations that state that every vendor must pay a fee. As far as Aguon’s assertion that he was payed by the Ada administration to be at the Chamorro village, Cameron says he can’t answer for prior administrations and can only answer for the current administration.