:: House Of Chamorros :: Our Mission! – HOUSE OF CHAMORROS
December Nights is back for 2022!

Our Mission!

Our Mission!


Established 2016


Executive Summary

The Chamorro Optimist Club San Diego is an affiliate of Optimist International, a national service organization. Founded in 2015, the Chamorro Optimist Club San Diego seeks to promote cultural awareness of Chamorros, the indigenous people of Guam, Saipan, Rota, Tinian and eleven smaller islands in the Northern Mariana Islands chain.

By establishing the House of Chamorros as a member of the House of Pacific Relations (HPR) at Balboa Park, we seek to provide a home, both structurally and metaphorically, for the diaspora of Chamorros living outside of the Marianas. The House, as a part of the International Cottages, will be centrally located and easily accessible to all visitors to Balboa Park.

As many of our islander brothers and sisters are relocating from the Marianas and raising families, we are asking ourselves, how will we continue to promote and educate our cultural heritage with our children?

Whereas the people of the Mariana Islands are American citizens, our existence is invisible in U.S. educational institutions, causing our youth to question the importance of being Chamorro to their fellow Americans. This denigration of Chamorro identity affects a growing population of over 140,000 Chamorros across the country and 44,000 in California alone!

The House of Chamorros will expose our culture to more than 14 million visitors to Balboa Park each year. Those who are interested in learning more about the Chamorro culture and about the Chamorro people will have a visible, high-profile venue where cultural education can be offered on a regular basis. We envision the following opportunities:

• a curriculum aligned and accredited with the University of Guam, where classes in Chamorro Studies can offer presentations by guest professors and cultural practitioners from the Marianas;
• a promotional venue that can promote the Mariana Islands as a visitor destination to expand our North American marketing,
• a venue where Chamorro organizations can raise funds and share our cultural celebrations on a regular basis, to provide scholarships and other educational opportunities for the Chamorro community.

Moreover, The House of Chamorros recognizes the need for supporting the work of existing community-based organizations and entities by building partnerships and encouraging collaborative efforts.

Our vision is to have a venue to welcome any and all visitors interested in the beautiful people, traditions, and culture of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. We also recognize the richness and multi-cultural diversity that characterizes modern day Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), and our mission will be to maintain a place for the many non-Chamorros, who have called the islands home, to re-connect with the island spirit and culture of the Marianas.

Our goal is to raise $300,000 to acquire a cottage space that will become available after the construction of five new buildings in where there will be space for nine Houses to fill. These buildings are to be completed in the next several months.  The funds will go towards the initial costs of programming and the purchase of a cottage space along with interior renovations, which will feature permanent and loaned museum displays of the Marianas, curated from museums and galleries from Guam and the CNMI.  Every Sunday, the House will be open to the public and will regularly host arts and crafts, musical entertainment and culinary programs for all visitors to Balboa Park.

Balboa Park and The House of Pacific Relations (HPR) International Cottages

Balboa Park is the premier cultural center in San Diego, California. The entire park is established on an urban area that spans 1,200 acres. In addition, to the many open space areas, gardens and walking paths, it contains museums, several theaters, and the world-famous San Diego Zoo.
The park itself hosts approximately 14 million visitors annually. Most notably, the December Nights festival boasts 335,000 visitors in the two days and two nights during this annual event.

And in the middle of all this beauty, resides one of the Park’s major attractions, The House of Pacific Relations (HPR) and the International Cottages. The HPR is a consortium of “Houses” with physical cottages representing 33 different countries. The cottages were originally constructed for the 1935 World Exposition. Here you will find The House of Philippines, The House of Spain, The House of China, The House of Hungary, The House of Puerto Rico and The House of Italy, just to mention a few.

Each cottage or House offers a window to each country’s history, culture, traditions and its people. Along with showcasing each country’s unique cultural heritage, the International Cottages serve as a resource for cultural diversity that exists in our communities here in San Diego.
The HPR promotes multicultural goodwill and understanding through educational and cultural programs. According to its bylaws, “The purpose of the House of Pacific Relations, International Cottages and its members is to create a spirit of understanding, tolerance and goodwill among the various national and ethnic groups represented in the community.”

The House of Chamorros as a member of the House of Pacific Relations in Balboa Park

As of May 1st 2016, The House of Chamorros was established and recognized as an “Affiliate Member House” with the House of Pacific Relations (HPR) International Cottages at Balboa Park.

And as a currently approved affiliate member house of the International Cottages at Balboa Park, The House of Chamorros will echo the mission of HPR.

Eugenie King, President of HPR, writes:

“Our esteemed organization was conceived during the darkest days leading up to World War II as a way to foster pacific (as in “peaceful”) relations among the many splintered ethnic groups during the 1930s.  These groups included members of cultures from the Axis and Allies who were bitter enemies.  Despite the hostility between the nations before, during and after the war, these cottages were able to peacefully coexist as non-political and non-sectarian cultural organizations.  Coexisting in this manner in a small corner of the park, volunteering side by side, they shared their cultures — music, dance, art, and food — with each other and the community at large thereby increasing tolerance mutual trust and respect within and without the organization.

The message is the same today as it was in 1935.  The HPR has grown over the years increasing from about 15 to the 33 different cultures that are represented today.  Over the years, various Houses have formed and disbanded. Nonetheless, each has been able to share and learn with each other, leaving behind the political differences of their cultural heritages.  With this mission of creating cultural understanding, we welcome cultural groups that spring from war-torn and strife-ridden corners of the globe as well as those from more peaceful areas.
Recently, there has been some criticism in the community of the fact that some “Houses” are not actual countries.  This is understandable as many people equate a culture with a political entity, but it unfortunately misses the point.  The “Houses” have no affiliation with the countries or regions for which they are named.  They represent not the political entities, but their cultures.  All are welcome in the HPR so long as they abide by our bylaws.”

A Window of Opportunity

As written in San Diego Union Tribune articles, “The cottages are a cross between community centers and second homes, where members of each nationality meet and welcome each other and the public.”
Furthermore, “There’s something tangible about walking into a cottage.  The House of Ireland, you walk in, you know you are back in Ireland, same with Poland, same with Norway, same with Sweden.
The cottage is designed like it is a home, not a museum.  They are like living entities where you walk in and you feel the flavor of the personality and the experiences of that country.”

Currently, due to the demand and pressure for the past 10 years, the city of San Diego has approved for the construction of five new cottage buildings to be added to the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages area.  Recent plans are for The House of the Philippines to occupy one stand-alone cottage building and the other four cottage buildings to be constructed as duplexes in which two country Houses will share the building.
“The crowning achievement for the House of Pacific Relations in 2015, however, would be the addition of five more International Cottages, which have been in the planning stages for nearly a decade.”

Now imagine that we have a House that represents the Chamorro culture in this world-renowned Park.



Activities of the Guma’ Chamorro will add Value to your Donation!

Cottage Hosting

• Cottage for on-site educational displays and University of Guam credited classes
• Scheduled daily operating hours for marketing exposure
• Dedicated space for programs, exhibits, presentations and workshops
• Encourages increased Community Support from members and volunteers
• Promotes solidarity within the Chamorro Community in San Diego

All international cottages in Balboa Park are required to open on Sunday afternoons from 12pm to 4pm.
Recently, some Houses have opted to host on Saturday afternoons as well.

We promote cultural
awareness; specifically, The Chamorro Culture.

Our Hosts will be able to answer questions, educate and interact with visitors.
We can showcase our culture through Arts, Music, Dance and Cuisine.
Chamorro artists and crafts persons can be scheduled as resident artists, to provide classes, demonstrations and sales of art on commission.

Lawn Programs
March to October – Every Sunday 12pm – 4pm

Expose Chamorro performing arts on an international stage.

These programs are held on The House of Public Relations (HPR) Lawn stage and features performances from various cultural organizations.
Our Musicians and Dance groups will showcase performances that express Chamorro Culture through song and dance.

Educational Programs

Exhibits, Presentations and Workshops are held throughout the year at the cottage and other larger facilities in Balboa Park.
These events are provided by the Guma’ Chamorro members, volunteers, supporters, guest speakers and other related organizations.
1) Guam & Northern Mariana Islands Geography Overview
2) Guam & Northern Mariana Islands History
3) Chamorro Language
4) Chamorro Culture & Traditions
5) Chamorro Legends & Storytelling
6) Craftsman & Artesian Workshops
7) Cultural Dance Classes
8) Musical Instrumentation Classes
9) Film and Visual Arts

House of Pacific Relations Ethnic Food Fair & December Nights

These two major annual events at Balboa Park features cuisine from around the world.
Chamorro Cuisine, a unique blend of tastes from the Pacific Rim, among the most delicious in the world, offered for donations to generate annual operating funds.
Ethnic Food Fair held annually during Memorial Day weekend on the last week of May.
December Nights held annually during the first weekend of the Christmas month.

House of Pacific Relations Queens Organization

The HPR Queens Organization is an educational and cultural service organization for young women to represent their respective various cottages.
Our young Chamorritas participate in community events and programs throughout the year.
Offer Scholarship opportunities for involvement from our youth acting as ambassadors of the Chamorro Culture.

Proposal of Cultural Studies Exchange Program

The exchange programs will allow for a Master of a traditional art to travel to San Diego and instruct workshops on their particular skill sets. The workshops will be held at The House of Chamorros cottage building in Balboa Park.
In turn, a youth diaspora living in the continental United States will travel to the Marianas so they can experience the culture, traditions and people of the islands first hand. Our youth will be given a chance to immerse themselves into the Chamorro Culture and the lands from which their ancestors came.

Proposal of Future Major Events

The Guam Liberation Day Parade at the Park
The Commonwealth Covenant Day Celebration
The Coconut Olympics and Hut Building Competition Visual Arts and Music Showcase.

Our Goals and the Funding Campaign

Our goal is to raise $300,000 total for the initial start up costs of programming, building acquisition of a cottage, building interior renovations and other initial costs.

CAMPAIGN PHASE 1: Initial Start Up Costs of House Acquisition and Build-out

This phase will focus on securing $350,000 for the cottage construction, with continued fundraising to cover House build out and expenses related to fundraising

CAMPAIGN PHASE 2: Building Acquisition

Funds in the amount or $61,500 will go towards the initial start up of programming which includes arts, music, dance and cuisine. The House of Chamorros will hire a part-time administrator to organize programs, promote events, raise funds and manage volunteer recruitment and scheduling. Programming will be augmented by donations and grants.


Individual Member – $25 annually

(Under 18yrs. old with guardian consent – Free Membership)
• Exclusive Guma’ Chamorro Lapel Pin
• Events & Calendar Alerts/Newsletter
• Networking Opportunities
• Annual Scholarship Program Eligibility

Founding Member – $50 annually (limited memberships)

All of the above under Individual Membership plus:
• Lifetime Title
• Exclusive Guma’ Chamorro Founding Member T-shirt
• Exclusive Guma’ Chamorro Lapel Pin
• Commemorative Keepsake Certificate
• Dedicated 1000 Founding Members engraved table display

Honorary Member – $100 Annually

All the above, plus:
• Name on Engraved Custom Annual Group Plaque
(Minus the Founding Members engraved table display)

LIFETIME LEGACY “Latte Wall” – $1K and above

All the above, plus:
• Engraved Name Plate on Wall
• Recognition of Contribution in Annual Brochure
• VIP Invitation to Special Events
• VIP Invite to Guma’ Chamorro “Hafa Adai” Annual Appreciation Ball
(Minus the Founding Members engraved table display)

LIFETIME LEGACY “Maga’lahi Wall” – $5K and above

All the above, plus:
• Lifetime Video Message on website
• VIP Invite to be Guest Speaker for Chamorro Week and Guma’ Chamorro “Hafa Adai” Ball
(Minus the Founding Members engraved table display)

LIFETIME LEGACY “Guma Chamorro Wall” – $20K and above

All the above, plus:
• Choice of “activity” named after you, a business or an organization
(Minus the Founding Members engraved table display)

3-year Fundraising & Financial Budget Proposal

Year 1 – 2 will focus on securing $253,000 for the cottage construction, with continued fundraising to cover House build out and expenses related to fundraising.
Year 3 – will hire a part-time administrator to organize programs, promote events, raise funds and manage volunteer recruitment and scheduling. Programming will be augmented by donations and grants.

Chamorro Optimist Club San Diego
The House of Chamorros
P.O. Box 371218
San Diego, CA 92137

The House of Chamorros is a Program Supported by
The Chamorro Optimist Club San Diego and is Founded

by its Officers, Directors and Members

Greg Camacho – President
David Dlg. Atalig – 1st Vice president
Sandy Uslander – 2nd Vice President
Shin Taira – Treasurer
Brienda Diaz – Secretary
Loling Cepeda – CHAMOCSD Board of Directors
Susan Cabrera-Castro – CHAMOCSD Board of Directors
Brienda Diaz – CHAMOCSD Board of Directors
Chad Knapp – CHAMOCSD Board of Directors
JR So – House of Chamorros Board of Directors / House of Chamorros Executive Director
Felix Sablan – House of Chamorros Board of Directors / Chief Public Relations Officer
Joey Cepeda – House of Chamorros Board of Directors / Senior Advisor to the Director
John Fejeran – House of Chamorros Board of Directors / Chairman Education & Arts
Mike Perine – House of Chamorros Board of Directors / Bylaws Committee

New International Cottages (NIC) Adoption Agreement of the House of Chamorros


(this “Agreement”) is entered into as of December 4, 2016 by and between the House of Chamorro, Inc., (a California Corporation) and the Members of New International Cottages, Inc., (a California Corporation) identified below:
1. House of Mexico, Inc. (a non-profit corporation);
2. House of India, Inc. (a non- profit corporation);
3. House of Turkey, Inc. (a non- profit corporation);
4. House of Palestine, Inc. (a non-profit corporation);
5. House of Peru, Inc. (a non- profit corporation);
6. House of Panama, Inc. (a non-profit corporation);
7. House Philippines, Inc. (a non-profit corporation); and
8. House of Korea, Inc. (a non- profit corporation).



, on April 8, 2015 Articles of Organization for New International Cottages, Inc., (hereafter referred to as “NIC”) were filed with the California Secretary of State pursuant to the California Corporations Code;
WHEREAS, The NIC’s purpose is to oversee the design and construction of nine Cottages (the “Cottages”) with funds raised by its Members on property that is owned by the City of San Diego in Balboa Park;
WHEREAS, the Members who are parties to this Agreement desire to have the House of Chamorro admitted to membership in the NIC;


, the House of Chamorro has met all the requirements for and has filed the requisite applications for admission to membership in NIC; and


, on November 22, 2016 the House of Chamorro formally accepted an invitation to join NIC on certain terms and conditions;


, in consideration of the premises, the provisions and the respective agreements hereinafter set forth and for other good and valuable consideration, the parties hereto do hereby agree to the following terms and conditions of this Agreement:

1. The Parties to this Agreement acknowledge the foregoing Recitals are true and correct and agree that they are incorporated herein and become a part of this Agreement.

2. The Members of NIC hereby consent to the admission of the House of Chamorro as a Member of NIC subject to its fulfilling the following conditions:

A) The House of Chamorro shall sign and agree to adhere to NIC’s Bylaws.

B) The House of Chamorro agrees to meet the following construction funding schedule:
i. $34,000 paid by November 18, 2016 – receipt of which is hereby acknowledged;
ii. $21,000 paid by December 5, 2016;
iii. $70,000 paid by December 31, 2016;
iv. $50,000 paid by January 31, 2016; and
v. $78,000 paid by March 31, 2016.

C) The House of Chamorro shall accept a cottage location that will be assigned by the NICC’s voting members, in their sole discretion;

D) The House of Chamorro affirms and agrees that its membership in the NIC/NICC shall be an “Affiliate Member” (non-voting) until it has fully met its funding obligations that are set forth above;

E) The House of Chamorro shall be accorded Founding Member/Voting status once it meets the funding obligations set forth above;

F) The House of Chamorro shall use every effort to meet its NICC construction-funding obligations as soon as possible and ahead of schedule;

G) The House of Chamorro acknowledges that its total financial obligation is $253,000 ($219,000 per the schedule above plus $34,000 for design and building plan expenses incurred by the NIC) and that it will use best efforts to repay NIC the $34,000 prior to its occupancy of a Cottage;

H) The House of Chamorro agrees that Cottage build-outs, made to its own specifications, beyond basic finishes are to be designed and completed at its own cost and expense;

I) The House of Chamorro shall execute and agree to be bound by NIC’s Bylaws; and

J) By executing this Agreement, the House of Chamorro agrees to be bound by the terms and conditions of that certain Memorandum of Agreement dated June 5, 2016, that is executed by NIC’s other Members. In particular, should House of Chamorro fail to meet its funding obligations as set forth herein, it will be deemed in default pursuant to paragraph 15 of the Memorandum of Agreement, and subject to actions that the NIC may take consistent therewith.

3. The Parties represent, warrant and guarantee that they are legally capable of entering into this agreement and that their entry into this agreement will not create a breach of contract, duty or trust.

4. This Agreement shall be construed and enforced in accordance with the laws of the State of California.

5. Except as expressly stated herein, this Agreement shall not be interpreted as modifying that certain Memorandum of Agreement dated June 5, 2016 or the Bylaws of NIC.

6. No right, privilege, or benefit will be deemed to have been conferred upon or inure to any party not signatory to this Agreement.

7. This Agreement may be executed in one or more counterparts, each of which shall be deemed an original but all of which together shall constitute one and the same instrument. A signature of any signatory hereto transmitted by e-mail or facsimile shall have binding effect as though such signature were delivered as an original.