If you have been on Guam for any amount of time, you’ve probably heard of or seen the symbol of this chalice shaped pillars of important significance. The latte (pronounced: lah-tee) stones were used by the ancient Chamorros throughout the Marianas as the foundation for their homes. Made out of coral rock shaped by hand, the pillars consisted of two pieces: the support column called the haligi or column topped with a capstone in the shape of a cup or small bowl called the tasa. The haligi was formed from coral limestone and usually carried several miles from the quarry site to ancient villages for installation. The tasa was formed from hemispherically shaped coral heads collected from reef formation along island shores. The Latte Stone is symbolic of the strength of the Chamorro people and their families, and today, represents a firm connection of today’s families, with their ancestors and their aspirations for the future.
Latte stones are abundant on Guam and are seen in company logos, decorations and subliminally placed in modern architecture.
So what is this talk about the “World’s Largest Latte Stone?” In commemoration of the 200th birthday of the United States of America in 1976, Governor Ricardo J. Bordallo launched a bicentennial project to celebrate the American freedoms and the proud heritage of the Guamanian people. The latte, the handiwork of the ancient Chamorros, gave rise to Governor Bordallo’s vision for the Latte of Freedom.
As the Statue of Liberty welcomes visitors to America’s eastern shores, Governor Bordallo envisioned the Latte of Freedom rising above Guam as a welcoming symbol of American freedom in the Western Pacific. And just as the children of America donated their pennies to erect the Statue of Liberty, Guam’s school children raised thousands of dollars to make the first donation to build the Latte of Freedom.
The Latte of Freedom is a gift from the people of Guam to freedom lovers everywhere.
The Latte of Freedom is located on the Ricardo J. Bordallo Governor’s Complex where The Hall of Governors is also located. Several artifacts and The Hall of Governors commemorates the twelve Guam governors who held office since the signing of the 1950 Organic Act of Guam until the present day. It contains exhibits from the Office of Governor of Guam, the Guam Museum and the Department of Chamorro Affairs.
Also on the grounds is the Raider 21 Crew Memorial in remembrance of a B-52 crash on July 21, 2008. The aircraft, operating out of Andersen Air Force Base, crashed into the Pacific Ocean during a training flight. All six crew members aboard the aircraft were killed and the aircraft was destroyed.
The Governor’s Complex is very scenic and has some great historical information. Go check it out!
Latte of Freedom:
Admission: $2 for locals and military $3 for foreigners $1 for children under 12
Stroller accessible: YES
Changing Table: NO