Seafaring Genre Lead, Mario Borja


Mario Reyes Borja is Mario Reyes Borjaa Chamorro from the Mariana Islands.  He was born in Chalan Kanoa, Saipan, but grew up in Guam, the son of a carpenter and a fisherman.  After graduating from Father Duenas Memorial School in 1967, Mario earned his Bachelors in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin.  He completed his Masters in Astrodynamics from the Air Force Institute of Technology with postgraduate work at San Diego State. He served 22.75 years in the military as an avionics systems technician and as a space systems surveillance engineer. He now lives in San Diego with his wife, JoJo.

Mario is an active member of the San Diego Chamorro community as both a culturalist and linguist. As a linguist he provides interpretation and translation services for both the federal and civil court systems.

As a culturalist he recently led the construction and completion of a 47-ft single outrigger canoe, a replica of our ancient Chamorro “flying proa” which was last sailed in 1742, nearly 270 years ago. This canoe was built from a single 125-foot redwood tree. Mario and his crew are currently learning how to sail this vessel of old, with the goal of sailing it back to where its history began — the Islas Marianas, a distance of nearly 6200 nautical miles — in early 2016.

Mario is here to share with us the story of this flying proa, the Sakman Chamorro.

He can be contacted at, or by phone at 619.888.4407.


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