Mañagaha/Ghalaghal Islet

“Burial place of Chief Aghurubw”

N15 ̊14’27.09” E145 ̊42’41.973”

Mañagaha is a small reef islet approximately five square kilometers in size situated three kilometers west of the commercial port just inside the barrier reef. Mañagaha is visible from the beach throughout Garapan, but it may best be viewed from the Puntan Muchot area. Mañagaha is an important cultural site associated with the Carolinian Chief Aghurubw, who, according to oral traditions, established the village of Arabwal which later came to be called Garapan. After his death, Aghurubw was buried on Mañagaha or Ghalaghal in Carolinian. During World War II, the Japanese military constructed a concrete and stone pier and several defensive positions on Mañagaha which they called Battleship Island. These included two coastal defensive guns in concrete casemates, a barracks and equipment storage building, and anti-aircraft gun positions. The islet was captured on 13 July 1944 by the 3rd Battalion of the 6th Marines. This was the last Marine operation conducted on Saipan. Mañagaha is now a popular recreational destination and its surrounding waters are a part of a marine sanctuary. In 1971, the Carolinian community established a monument to honor the gravesite of Chief Aghurubw. Ceremonies are held on Mañagaha each year during which the exploits of this legendary chief are recounted. The islet also is used as a collection area for plants used in traditional Carolinian medicines. As a traditional sacred place, please treat Mañagaha with respect.”