Hawaii Filipino Chronicle - February 18, 2023

Page 1

Tax Plan
CreDiT, BuT
For iTs CreDiTs FEATURE YounG loCal JournalisTs DisCuss The FuTure oF The FiliPino narraTive HAWAII-FILIPINO NEWS house CommiTTee Pass Bill To ProviDe Tax relieF To hawaii resiDenTs
ConneCTs in ConFiDenT, oPTimisTiC sTaTe oF The union aDDress

Hawaii Needs Food Sustainability – First in Order is We Must Support our Farmers

Hawaii farmers deserve far more recognition for the work they do. Farming is one of the oldest and most important professions, but it’s an occupation that is unheralded. This needs to change because even before we begin to talk about supporting our farmers to help our state move closer to food security and food sustainability, we need to change our mindset to think that farming is critical to society. And farmers are just as heroic as others who provide “needs-based” work for our survival.

How so? It’s just as easy to import our food as we’ve been doing it for decades now, you might say.

The fact is Hawaii is food insecure and we’ve been fortunate not to have a full-blown crisis. The pandemic was a near food crisis that scared many isle residents. It wasn’t catastrophic. But it got many thinking that as an isolated set of islands, our dependence on imported food is grossly unbalanced.

Just think about these two facts: 1) 85-92% of Hawaii’s food is shipped into the state, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture; 2) at any given time, our state has about two weeks supply of fresh food. Clearly there is vulnerability.

During the pandemic and up until now, there is supply chain issues on the mainland impacting available inventory and spiking prices for practically all of Hawaii’s essentials. We have little control over our own food channels.

Our current food system of importing food has hurt us financially as well. Based on the Economic Policy Institute, Hawaii is paying the highest for food in the nation by a substantial amount.

A second food system: Locally grown food industry

It’s time that Hawaii prioritizes building a second food system to compliment the current imported system. That second food system is a strong industry of locally grown food. We’ve heard calls for building a local agricultural industry for decades. But it’s time that we be serious and act on it as if that food crisis could be happening in the next future pandemic or national emergency. We just don’t know when or what it could be. But we must be prepared.

Support our farmers

The basic building block to a healthy, vibrant and prosperous local food system is ensuring that we have enough farmers to produce the food we need.

The University of Hawaiʻi’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources conducted an interesting mental health survey. The survey found that 48% of farmers under the age of 45 years old experienced depression, and 14% struggled with suicidal thoughts. That’s nearly two times higher than the general population of Hawaiʻi, and 17% higher than the Centers for Disease Control’s 2021 report on public health workers.

In addition to the mental health aspect, what’s interesting about the study is it cites some of the causes leading to farmers depression. Here we can extract some of the support that farmers are actually needing.

Uncertainty, lack of control, financial stress, economic challenges, lack of support systems, lack of land access, problems with invasive species, and long hours and time management were some of the causes of depression for Hawaii farmers.

*SUPPORT EXTENSION AGENT PROGRAM. Specific to farmers lacking support, uncertainty and invasive spe-


From our farming communities in the Philippines to the sakadas of Hawaii, Filipinos have had a long tradition and connection to agriculture. Even today amid our state’s push towards food security and food sustainability, we find that many in our community are at the forefront doing the hard and important work as farmers.

For our cover story this issue, associate editor Edwin Quinabo looks into the progress of farmers and the burgeoning new era of establishing a strong and vibrant local food system to complement our imported food system. Institutions like our schools, restaurants, hotels are all buying from local farmers and expanding their inventory to include more and consistent orders. We see new business enterprises growing as the local Ag industry grows, “food hubs” – which are both locations like farmers and open markets, but also enterprises aiding farmers with distribution and sales to get local goods to traditional commercial vendors. The encouraging news is that stats show small farming businesses are increasing. While there are positive trends, farming is still very challenging. The article also covers some areas that farmers can get help to endeavor some of these challenges. Government grants and private sector initiatives are some sources. Finally, members in our community express their support for farmers and the urgency to bolster a local food system. They also share their own personal connection, family connection to our pioneering farming-plantation history.

In this issue Lizette Nolasco contributes an article on young Filipino journalists Emily Cristobal, Alberto Respicio and Aubree Campbell who talk about the importance of Filipinos amplifying their voices and being a part of media.

In mainland news, read about Filipino American actor Van Ferro who won the 2022 Chicago BroadwayWorld Award for Best Supporting Performer in a Play for his critically-acclaimed performance as John N. Fail in Chicago-based Oil Lamp Theater’s “Failure: A Love Story.” Congratulations Van. We wish you continued success.

HFC columnist Emil Guillermo’s contributes “Biden Connects in Confident, Optimistic State of the Union Address.” HFC contributor Rose Churma does a book review on “Blessed Beyond Measure: The Untold Story of Rosa Farms.” We have a special historical piece written by Federico V. Magdalena, PhD, on Enrique De Mallaca who traveled with the famous explorer Ferdinand Magellan. Our Iloko writer Amado Yoro’s entry this time is “Melody Yadao Santiago: Mega Star of Ilocandia; Pride of Sinait.” We hope you enjoy these and our other columns and news.

Lastly, we’d like to remind our readers that for your convenience our newspaper is also online if you can’t get a hard copy. We also are on various social media. Filipino and civic organizations, be sure to send us your upcoming events for our calendar. Thank you for supporting the Hawaii Filipino Chronicle. Until next issue, Aloha and Mabuhay!

cies and financial stress, the University of Hawaii does support farmers and provides guidance to them in dealing with invasive species, new crops, new farming technology, ways to deal with climate change and teaching business skills, to name a few.

Farmers say they need more extension agents to help guide them. One extension agent at the University of Hawaii is the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (that conducted the mental health study). The College has undergone budgetary cutbacks and as a result lost 60 positions. That means less extension agents out in the field assisting farmers. We need to ensure that funding for extension programs and agents are secured.

Publisher & Executive Editor

Charlie Y. Sonido, M.D.

Publisher & Managing Editor

Chona A. Montesines-Sonido

Associate Editors

Edwin QuinaboDennis Galolo

Contributing Editor

Belinda Aquino, Ph.D.


Junggoi Peralta


Tim Llena

Administrative Assistant

Lilia Capalad

Editorial & Production Assistant

Jim Bea Sampaga


Carlota Hufana Ader

Elpidio R. Estioko

Perry Diaz

Emil Guillermo

Melissa Martin, Ph.D.

Seneca Moraleda-Puguan

J.P. Orias

Pacita Saludes

Reuben S. Seguritan, Esq.

Charlie Sonido, M.D.

Emmanuel S. Tipon, Esq.

Contributing Writers

Clement Bautista

Edna Bautista, Ed.D.

Teresita Bernales, Ed.D.

Sheryll Bonilla, Esq.

Rose Churma

Serafin Colmenares Jr., Ph.D.

Linda Dela Cruz

Carolyn Weygan-Hildebrand

Amelia Jacang, M.D.

Caroline Julian

Raymond Ll. Liongson, Ph.D.

Federico Magdalena, Ph.D.

Matthew Mettias

Maita Milallos

Paul Melvin Palalay, M.D.

Renelaine Bontol-Pfister

Seneca Moraleda-Puguan

Mark Lester Ranchez

Jay Valdez, Psy.D.

Glenn Wakai

Amado Yoro

Philippine Correspondent:

Greg Garcia

Neighbor Island Correspondents:

Big Island (Hilo and Kona)

Grace LarsonDitas Udani


Millicent Wellington


Christine Sabado

Big Island Distributors

Grace LarsonDitas Udani

Kauai Distributors

Amylou Aguinaldo

Nestor Aguinaldo

Maui Distributors

Cecille PirosRey Piros

Molokai Distributor

Maria Watanabe

Oahu Distributors

Yoshimasa Kaneko

Pamela Gonsalves

Shalimar / Jonathan Pagulayan

Advertising / Marketing Director

Chona A. Montesines-Sonido

Account Executives

Carlota Hufana Ader

JP Orias

(continue on page 3)

Conversion of Commercial-to-Residential Projects Could Alleviate Some of Hawaii’s Housing Crunch

The message was clear in the last election that Hawaii voters want action on affordable housing. In addition to placing more resources and energy into conventional means of building affordable housing to meet the increasing demand of the housing-rental crunch, there should be new creative government-private partnerships. We need out-of-the-box ideas.

Commercial-to-housing conversion projects

One possible area is supporting projects that convert commercial spaces (offices, retail, motels, etc.) to residential properties. This is a trend that is being explored on the mainland and cities around the world.

As remote virtual work becomes a permanent alternative for many forms of businesses, coupled with current and projected high-office vacancy rates in downtown Honolulu and elsewhere (and possibly in the not-too-distant future with retail as well), perhaps it’s the right time for commercial-to-housing conversions projects to be seriously considered.

Such projects would not only provide much needed additional real estate inventory in

(Hawaii Needs....from page 2)


It’s clear cut, buying Hawaii’s farmers’ products will help with some of their economic challenges, at least in boosting revenues that will help with their overhead costs. There are open markets, neighborhood farm markets, your favorite grocers that sell local food (you just have to look for them or ask employees). Some farms sell directly to customers. Spread the word to family and friends where you bought a local food product you really like.

Buying local food should also apply to establishments. It’s encouraging that hotels and restaurants are promoting and buying local food and ingredients. Schools are

Hawaii, but it will also bolster the local construction industry and stimulate the state’s overall economy.

The best part is such projects will not require new land (for example converting valuable agriculture land) to designate for more housing. We would be making better use of space that already exists.

Streamline bureaucracy for such projects

One major drawback that we’ve learned on the mainland that deters some developers from commercial-to-residential projects is delays in the permits process that could take years to green light.

This is where our state and counties governments can step in to streamline and expedite backlogs for such special projects.

Downtown Honolulu

In the immediate outskirts of downtown Honolulu along Nuuanu, parts of Bishop Street and into parts of Chinatown, there already exists a sizeable residential population. That community, along with the business community in downtown, have been welcoming of the idea for more residential projects in the area.

Conversion of office-to-residential in downtown Honolulu would help to

also buying more local food. Local farms are not able to meet fully the demands of institutional markets just yet, but just knowing how much demand there is will give farmers an idea of scale of growth needed to meet those demands.

*CONTINUE OFFERING GRANTS. The federal government is the largest supporter of grants to farmers. Local farmers must be resourceful to get these grants that are mostly administered by the state. It’s now easier for farmers because many grants moved away from writing a grant proposal to now simply filing out an application.


HUBS. Food hubs are not

build a sense of community, a neighborhood, and not just a place where everything shuts down after business hours.

More conversion of office-to-residential projects could complement the already saturated Kakaako developments nearby. Such downtown conversions could also be more affordable than the Kakaako developments that have many locals priced out of that market.

Ideally, the downtown district should be zoned for mixed use of commercial, retail and various ranges of residential space from market-value to affordable. It’s important to have that price-range mix to draw in a diverse community to downtown like the Makiki neighborhood.

There already is a redeveloped commercial-to-residential building on Bishop Street that was done by a California-based developer. Recently, a local developer acquired the Davies Pacific Center office building also on Bishop Street makai of that first redevelopment project. The new owners plan to convert the building for mixed-use to include office, retail and market-rate residential units.

Empty buildings trend

Between 2019 and 2023,

just physical places where you can buy locally grown food like a farmers’ market. But many food hubs help farmers get their products to traditional commercial vendors like grocers, restaurants or to families by special order. Food hubs will play a critical role in building a locally grown food system because they take on the role of distribution and sales for farmers that rely on them. Remember another one of the causes for farmers depression above, time management. Food hubs enable farmers to spend more time farming.

Mabuhay to our farmers. We thank you for your invaluable work and hope you all have continued success.

Colliers Hawaii projects that Oahu’s office inventory could potentially be reduced by about 1-million-square-feet or a whopping 7.5% of the total office market.

Hawaii tends to echo behind mainland trends. If you look to the mainland, office vacancy is a lot higher. According to Avison Young, a commercial real estate firm, in 2021, the commercial vacancy rate across San Francisco reached 15.4%, up from the previous year of 12% and more than double from what it was just two years ago.

Other cities office vacancy rates: Phoenix 16.2%, Miami, 16.9%, Los Angeles 17.8%, New York City 19.2%, Houston 22.9%

It’s still too early to tell how much of those unused workspaces will rebound from the pandemic. But experts project it’s unlikely for office buildings to recapture the lease occupancy they had prior to the pandemic given the changed work culture. For certain businesses, they’ve found it’s more economical and practical for distance virtual work and made it a permanent practice.

Such businesses are also finding to rent out meeting rooms (another trend to accommodate companies pri-

marily distance virtual-based) for a day or short term for in-person company meetings is cheaper than paying for a monthly office rental.

The technology is already available for virtual work culture, and technology will only improve to make virtual work easier.

A political win

Hawaii lawmakers, including our new Governor Josh Green, are facing pressure to deliver on their campaign promises to increase inventory of affordable housing. A myriad of options should be pursued, and conversion of commercial-to-residential projects should be among them.

With very limited land available and the vast square footage that commercial buildings can provide for residential use, it could very well be one of the solutions to alleviate the affordable housing crisis.

Zoning and permitting through Hawaii’s counties, incentives for developers, and countless details would need to be worked out.

Conversion of commercial-to-residential is visionary. Implementation to ensure it’s done right will take a lot of work, but could be worth it, and ultimately be a political win and community win.


Filipino Farmers Are Major Part of Hawaii’s Drive Towards Building Food Sustainability

There are many myths surrounding agriculture and farming in Hawaii.

Myth: There isn’t enough agriculture land in the state for an Ag industry to thrive.

Fact: The latest Federal agricultural census shows only 8% of Hawaii’s agricultural lands are being used for growing crops. But nearly half of Hawaii’s lands are designated for agriculture. There are 4.1 million acres that potentially can be used for farming in some capacity.

Myth: Locally grown food is more expensive than imported food?

Fact: Some local food items are already cheaper than their imported counterparts (depending on the season), but experts say with economies of scale (local farmers producing more food) in a thriving local Ag industry, this could reduce the price of more local food items even further.

The way it is now with 85-92% of Hawaii’s food shipped into the state (according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture), a family of four - two adults and two children - paid an estimated $9,835 on food in 2022. That total is the highest in the nation by a substantial amount, based on the Economic Policy Institute, a nonprofit think tank.

Growing need for Food Sustainability

Since the vulnerabilities exposed during the pandemic that had bottleneck supply chains raising prices of imported food and causing a shortage for many items, support for building a local food system, local food sustainability and local farmers have never been higher.

Caroline Julian-Freitas, Honolulu, said “We’re experiencing in the post-pandemic world supply chain issues-disruption, high cost of transportation and inflation, along with disease that could impact inventory and cost, such as bird flu that’s causing egg pric-

es to skyrocket. All of these make it very important for Hawaii to grow most of its food so we can feed our own people. Along with those issues, we should also all be aware of the impacts of climate change - drought, change in temperature, etc – that make it challenging for farmers in our state and across the globe to grow food.”

She said, “Food insecurity has become an important issue that I think about often, especially since the pandemic. During the pandemic, a lot of our citizens were out of jobs, and many relied on food drives. If it were not for the help of a generous community, many would have gone hungry. Because of the supply chain issue, supplies being delivered to stores have been slow to arrive and store shelves go empty, a sign that we are still recovering and have taken food being readily available for granted.”

Hawaii State Senator Henry Aquino told the Filipino Chronicle, “It’s been a long-standing goal for Hawaii to become self-sufficient due to our remote location, shipping costs and other unique issues our state faces. These challenges have presented both opportunities and obstacles for Hawaii to truly become self-sufficient.

“Food security is one of the key components to becoming self-sustaining and while our state as a whole has made some strides, we are not close to being independent. We continue to rely on imports and due to our shipping system, lack of storage facilities and limited manufacturing in the islands, we have about a two-week supply of food and goods at any given time.”

Food Hubs

Besides local farmers, critical to growing a local food system has been the proliferation of food hubs which are enterprises that help local farmers and gardeners get their products to grocers, schools, restaurants, retailers, hotels and food banks.

Saleh Azizi of the Kahumana Farm Hub in Waianae, said food hubs are distribution networks that buy, market and sell local ingredients to businesses. Collectively, the 14-member Food Hub Hui supports approximately 1,100 Hawaii farmers across the island chain. The food hub is really there for farmers to have a one-stop shop to offload all of their harvest and to not have to go to multiple buyers and negotiate prices.”

Farm operations in Hawaii: number of small farms on the rise

According to the 2021 (as of Jan. 2022) Hawaii State Agriculture Overview there are 7,300 farm (non-livestock) operations in Hawaii. The livestock inventory in the state includes cattle, cows used for beef 79,200, cattle cows used for milk 800, hogs 9,000.

The latest available U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Census shows the greatest increase in the number of farms came from small farms between one to nine acres. Another bright spot is the number of farms with sales of $25,000 to $500,000 or more increased.

Highlighting a few of the Census sales for 2017: Vegetables, melons, potatoes and sweet potatoes $85 million; Organic food $15 million; Fruits, tree nuts and berries $144 million; Aquaculture $74 million; Poultry and egg $8 million; and Nursery and greenhouse product $100 million; Direct sales to consumers $28 million. Most of these category’s sales have risen from the previous census. (continue on page 5)


(Filipinos Farmers....from page 4) Consumer support and raising consciousness on buying local food

Cecilia Ramiscal, Ewa Beach, says she goes to open markets to help local farmers. “I like the freshness of vegeta[1] bles and fruits there. Some Filipino vegetables are also available at farmers markets that are not sold by grocers. I think we as consumers should do all we can to buy local food products. I would like to see grocers place signs in the vicinity of where their local products are stocked. If given the chance and being aware of where the source of my food is coming from, I will always choose locally grown food. Grocers should be making that distinction and I bet those products will sell better.”

Ramiscal said it’s time that Hawaii has better control of its food security. “Like many residents here during the pandemic’s worst time, I was afraid that we would not be able to get some items. What we saw was a lot of panic buying. We’re lucky that empty shelves did not last longer. I don’t understand why food security is not being prioritized in our state. It makes no sense that we have all this fertile land in Hawaii and a history of growing crops, and here we are today, not having a strong local food source.”

Senator Aquino has friends and relatives who grow food for both personal consumption and commercially. He grew in Waipahu when the Oahu Sugar Co. plantation was still around and provided work for many in Waipahu and neighboring areas. He said we can support our farming industry by buying their crops and products, share with others where these sources are and encourage others to do the same. He mentions people’s open markets, farmers markets sponsored by the Hawaii Farm Bureau and most of our grocery outlets have local foods, grown by local sources. “There are times where certain local crops can be pricey but the goal to support local sources should be the aim for all -- provided that there’s a market for the products.”

Julian-Freitas said, “There’s definitely a mind-shift that needs to happen in the area of Hawaii’s food sustainability and agriculture due to reliance on imports. Hawaii needs to

make supporting local agriculture a priority and recognizing its needs to survive as an industry and providing solutions to the challenges they face. It’s definitely not a simple fix. But I think recognizing the importance of the agriculture industry’s role in our state is a first step.”

She said, “Hawaii residents should be doing their part to support locally grown food and vendors should be marketing it as local. We can all support our Hawaii farmers by buying more locally grown food and attending open markets. Restaurants should buy local, when they can, and government institutions that serve food should also buy local to increase demand.”

Hawaii hotels, restaurants and schools using locally grown food

Besides consumers, there is a push for large institutions like hotels, restaurants and public schools to buy local food.

This month more than 20 Oahu hotels and restaurants committed to buying more food from local farmers, signing onto the Oahu Good Food Program, a partnership between the Hawaii Tourism Authority and Oahu county.

Hawaii Tourism Authority Director of Planning Caroline Anderson says the partnership with the county aims to benefit farmers and ranchers and address tourist expectations for local food.

One of the hotels that signed onto the Oahu Good Food Program is the Kahala Hotel and Restaurant. Kahala Vice President and General Manager Joe Ibarra (Editor’s Note: visit thefilipinochronicle.com for Ibarra cover story, Oct. 15, 2022, edition) said menu offerings at the Kahala hotel are 54% local and come from 68 local suppliers. That ratio is up 22% from 2019.

Hawaii’s Department of Education has a goal of increasing its spending on local food to

“There’s definitely a mind-shift that needs to happen in the area of Hawaii’s food sustainability and agriculture due to reliance on imports. Hawaii needs to make supporting local agriculture a priority and recognizing its needs to survive as an industry and providing solutions to the challenges they face. It’s definitely not a simple fix. But I think recognizing the importance of the agriculture industry’s role in our state is a first step. Hawaii residents should be doing their part to support locally grown food and vendors should be marketing it as local. We can all support our Hawaii farmers by buying more locally grown food and attending open markets. Restaurants should buy local, when they can, and government institutions that serve food should also buy local to increase demand.”

30% by 2030. At the moment, it is only purchasing 6.2%.

Needing more government help

Local farmers say if the state is serious about building farming and agriculture locally, there needs to be more investment in critical infrastructure like water systems and support in extension programs that assist farmers with things like the latest technology, how to best deal with pests and climate changes, and teaching farmers business skills.

The University of Hawaii’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources is one of the extension sources farmers have been relying on, but it has un-

dergone cuts to staff.

Denise Yamaguchi, executive director of the Hawaiʻi Agricultural Foundation, said “Less than half a percent of the state’s budget goes to agriculture, so if we can get them to fund more agricultural infrastructure, more agriculture opportunities, or just things to help the farmers, I think that’s really needed.”

Senator Aquino said there have been legislative efforts to strengthen assistance for farmers by providing invasive species support, exempt general excise taxes for food products that are shipped between the neighbor islands. “There’s certainly more that can be done to help the agricultural industry,” he said.

(continue on page 6)

The Orchard Plantation, Savio Realty’s new agricultural project offering fee simple affordable farming land.

My father was one of the first Filipinos to arrive in America in the 1920s. If Willie Guillermo were alive, he’d be 118 this month. More on dad at the end of this piece. I just know that as a union restaurant worker all his life, he would have loved President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address.

If you thought you were invisible, left out, and unseen in America, Joe Biden saw you on Feb. 7.

Need cheap insulin? Tired of high late payment fees on credit cards? Feeling that the billionaires and the corporates get too much special treatment and don’t pay their fair share of taxes?

Biden Connects in Confident, Optimistic State Of The Union Address

Joe Biden was talking to you on Feb. 7. He’s got the back of the American middle class.

The Asian American parts were also clear in the State of the Union address.

You’ll recall Brandon Tsay, the brave 26-year-old who singlehandedly disarmed the Monterey Park mass shooter at the second dance hall location in California. When Tsay stood up and was recognized by President Biden, it was our moment.

Biden saw us and knows our pain. He called for a ban on assault weapons once and for all, saying that in the 10 years, the ban was law, mass shootings went down. After Republicans let it expire, mass shootings tripled.

“Let’s finish the job and ban assault weapons again,” Biden said.

Finishing the job was one theme in a SOTU address that

left no doubt. President Biden intends on running again in 2024, the ageists be damned.

That struck me as the one thing hounding Biden leading up to speech night. I detected a touch of ageism out there, which is no less hideous an “ism” than racism or sexism.

And it’s not just among Republicans. There’s a feeling that Biden isn’t vigorous enough for the job. Or that he’s lost a step and is just not up to being the president. It’s probably why 62% of the American people don’t believe Biden has accomplished much during his time in office, according to a Washington Post/ABC opinion poll. A

different NBC News poll said 48% felt very uncomfortable about a Biden run.

But if you saw his State of the Union address, you don’t have to worry about Biden.

His accomplishments?

You just haven’t been paying attention. Between the Chips Act ramping up the semiconductor industry in America and the infrastructure plan, Biden has actually done more than you’d expect righting the country immediately after four years of Trump.

The number of things Biden mentioned in his speech was rather astonishing, but they were still only first steps, as he continued to urge Congress, “Let’s finish the job.”

One thing that was apparent from the beginning was a more united feel in general in the House chambers. You could tell by watching Vice President Kamala Harris and Speaker Kevin McCarthy. They were like partisanship meters. Harris would jump up and cheer; McCarthy would sit still. On occasion, they both stood and applauded, like on Biden’s “Buy America” plan.

Or when Tyre Nichols’ family was introduced and the call was for police reform. During that section, Harris and McCarthy both stood and ap-

Federal grants available for Hawaii farmers

Aquino mentions there are existing grant programs through Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA), various federal agencies and private grantors to support farmers with safety regulations, start-up expenses, and necessary equipment.

Much of the financial support for farmers comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and administered by HDOA.

Sharon Hurd, the director of the HDOA, said a third round of grants from the Micro-Grants for Food Security Program -- designed to help small farmers and home gardeners so they can grow more of what we eat -- will likely begin receiving applications in spring 2023.

The grants can be used to buy tools, equipment, seeds, and canning equipment, as well as to purchase livestock.

plauded at the same time.

It was an adult government in action.

Of course, there was one moment in particular when the immaturity of divided government reared its ugly head and the juvenile bickering returned. Decorum? What’s that?

When Biden called out Republicans for wanting to put Medicare and Social Security on the line in exchange for a debt ceiling raise, Republicans jeered loudly. Georgia’s Marjorie Taylor Greene could be heard yelling out, “Liar.”

But Biden was in charge and responding with a cool but feisty demeanor.

The president has long said Medicare and Social Security are not endangered under his watch.

“We’re not going to be moved into being threatened to default on the debt if we don’t respond,” said Biden, confidently off script and in control as he addressed the Republicans.

It really was Biden at his best. If you had doubts about him, watch the State of the Union address again on CSPAN. He both stood up to his detractors and related to America.

On abortion, he said, “If Congress passes a national abortion ban, I will veto it.“

He also urged the passing

(continue on page 6)

Some $3 million dollars in federal grants have been allocated for the Micro-Grants for Food Security Program. In the first year, a total of 177 grants were awarded statewide. The deadline passed for the second round.

Hurd told the Conversation (Hawaii Public Radio) “One of the major projects was fencing. In the food insecure communities, it seems evident that they need protection from pigs, mostly, but in other communities, it’s axis deer, and the fence has to be tall because axis deer are very skilled at jumping fences. No sense to grow crops if the pigs come in and have, you know, their way with it.”

Another HDOA grant supported by the USDA is the Specialty Group Block Grant Program. Applications for that grant’s Fiscal Year 2023 is now being accepted. The HDOA will be awarding a total of approximately $450,000 to Hawaii proposals that enhance the competitiveness of Hawaii spe-

(continue on page 10)

U.S. President Joe Biden
(COVER STORY: Filipinos Farmers.....from page 5)

Young Local Journalists Discuss the Future of the Filipino Narrative

The Filipino community makes up a large portion of the melting pot of Hawaii— more than 23% of the state’s population, according to statistics from the latest U.S. Census Bureau. Yet their stories often go untold. In an effort to amplify their voices, some young local Filipinos have turned to journalism.

Journalism is a field that is rarely encouraged to Filipino students as an option for a career path and is frequently overshadowed by other and often higher-paying careers. However, this pathway allows stories from the Filipino community to be told by members of their own.

Emily Cristobal, currently a digital content producer at Hawaii News Now, reflect-

ed on her decision to pursue a career in journalism.

Cristobal, 23, originally from Waipahu but now residing in Mililani, recalled a conversation with her peers about their plans after graduating from Punahou in 2017.

Her classmates questioned her desire to major in journalism since it was seen as an unfamiliar profession in their community. However, despite their reaction, she graduated with honors from Emerson College in 2020 with

a bachelor’s degree in journalism and worked in Boston and local Hawaii media, including at KHON2 News.

Based on her various media experience in print and broadcast, she highlighted the importance of having a Filipino-centered newspaper and educating future Filipino journalists.

“When you have Filipino journalists or Filipinos talking about Filipino topics that affect our own ethnicity, our own community, I think it

does make people care more about it,” Cristobal said.

“It makes you feel like, wow, they know what they’re talking about. They’ve lived through it too, and they can really be a voice for me… This is someone who can re[1]ally make a change and make our voices be heard.”

A newspaper meant for Filipino audiences can bring a sense of community by reporting on matters that impact its specific group of readers. These topics have the capac-

ity to educate, validate and celebrate the accomplishments of the community.

Albert Respicio, also 23, explained that representation is essential within the Filipino population, especially having a newspaper highlighting the achievements of their culture.

The recent communication graduate of Chaminade University from Ewa Beach gave an example of the recent winner of the Miss Universe pageant who is a Filipina-American. He explained that R’Bonney Gabriel’s win on Jan. 15 was the highlight of conversation in his household and community.

“My sister was talking about it; my mom was talking about it,” Respicio said. “And that’s something that, as a Filipino, I should be proud of. But it’s hard to recognize your own culture when you don’t see it, when you don’t feel represented in many ways that a lot of oth-

(continue on page 15)

Emily Cristobal Alberto Respicio Aubree Campbell

BLESSED BEYOND MEASURE: The Untold Story of Rosa Farms

In 2009, a group of trade mission delegates from Hawai’i stopped by a relatively unknown mango orchard located between the towns of San Marcelino and San Antonio in the province of Zambales.

It was a much needed respite from their grueling schedule of business meetings, where they could eat the local cuisine, enjoy the outdoors under the wide leafy canopies of the mango trees—and watch a boxing match via TV (Pacquaio won!). That was 14 years ago.

Since then, the orchard has evolved into one of the Philippines’ top agri-tourism destinations, and its on-site dining Rosa Cafe, was included in 2017 as one of the Top 6 Organic Restaurants in the Phil-

ippines by the Tourism Promotions Board—in the same league as Sonya’s Garden and the Bohol Bee Farm—two iconic food places that are well-loved in the Philippines.

It has been the subject of travel and cooking programs on TV. It has hosted various student groups of all ages from the Philippines and around the world and conducted workshops for good agriculture practices for farmers as far away as Mindanao and the Cordilleras, and entertained enumerable local celebrities in its memorable farm fiestas.

This is the story of the farm’s evolution—from its devastation as a rice producing farmland soon after the Pinatubo eruption in 1991 to the after-effects of the worldwide shut-down due to COVID 19.

Using the two major catastrophes as bookends, the author weaves a compelling story of how she and her husband converted a 12.5 hectare

farmland that was inundated with lahar after the eruption, into an operating mango farm, and its transformation into an agri-tourism destination and nature-retreat.

Originally owned by Rosa Magsaysay and David Jocson, the couple acquired the property on the eve of WWII—from their savings and winnings from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes.

Since they farmed the

property, the farmland was not subject to the Land Reform program implemented by the Philippine government in 1973, unlike the other properties they owned which was “land-reformed,” or another euphemism for “gone for good”. The grandchildren eventually decided to preserve their legacy of grit, hard work and perseverance by creating this oasis of nature.

The author, Nelda Cruz Zulueta, calls herself a “corporate warrior” having honed her skills as an organizational development expert with various corporations and public institutions in the country— helping companies improve their bottom line.

Trained as a chemical engineer, she initially tackled the challenge of creating a mango orchard with a systematic and scientific approach using excel sheets and specialized apps. It didn’t work.

Well, maybe somewhat,

but not in the way she expected. Instead, it deepened her respect for Mother Nature and a stronger awareness of the threat of climate change. It also gave her a deep appreciation for the farmers who toil the soil to provide us food.

One of the agricultural scientists whose findings were used in the farm was that of Dr. Ramon Barba.

During his tenure at the University of Hawai’i’s College of Agriculture, he developed a system of inducing the mango trees to flower. By staggering the flowering process, the mango harvest can also be spread-out to a more amenable schedule.

If you are a retiree and plan to purchase land and get into “corporate farming” or developing a mango orchard, read this book first.

Farming is not for the faint of heart, nor for those who still doubt the impact of (continue on page 12)


Fraternal organizations (Greek-lettered fraternities), during our college days from the 50s to the 80s, were the training grounds for college students as campus and community leaders. At that time, it was a prestige belonging to a fraternity and was a status symbol for the students to belong.

Most of the alumni, after graduation from college, became our national leaders in the executive, legislative, judicial and even in the local government. They were trained in college to be responsible leaders and team players due to their involvement in fraternal affairs and activities.

Their relevance to the campus and the community, however, has dwindled in the turn of the 20th to 21st century. Their important and positive role in the community slowly went down, disappeared and eventually lost in the wilderness. In fact, their existence went to oblivion.

There is, however, one

Are Greek-Lettered Fraternities Outdated in the 21st Century?

fraternal group I know that thinks they can still be of use at present in helping others and giving back to the community. All they need to do is re-evaluate their existence and re-align their goals and objectives to the 21st century.

Yes, they just did it and came out with self-evaluation to be able to be relevant in present times.

That was what the Beta Rho Omega Fraternity exactly did. The alumni of the 15-chapter colleges and universities in the country (with the University of the Philippines-Diliman as the mother chapter), whose members are now living all over the world, met via Zoom and discussed how they will be relevant and useful in the 21st century.

Former President of the University of the Philippines

Alumni Association of Hawaii

(UPAA-Hawaii) Ireneo “Jun”

Gappe is an active member of the fraternity. He is an alumnus from the mother chapter UP-Diliman. He is a resident of Oahu, Hawaii.

During the initial reorganizational meetings, founding president (and Most Noble Fellow) Oscar David, now a resident/citizen of Canada, spoke on how the fraternity can be

relevant and how the members can be instrumental in making the organization connect with the present society.

Ed Gonzales, former president of the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP) based in the Philippines, another founding member, spoke on ways in which the fraternity can bring back benefits to the community such as scholarship programs and other community-based activities.

The reorganization meetings resulted in the election of the members of the Board of Trustees (BOT) which eventually led to the registration of the group by Atty. Nicanor Jimeno, also a member based in the Philippines, as a non-profit organization (Beta Rho Omega Fraternity Alumni Association, Inc. registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) with membership from alumni all over the globe) with Edgar “Egay” Sevilla, UP, as president. The board is composed of 10 Philippine-based members and five members abroad.

Meeting regularly every other week, the group final-

cialty crops. Project awards may range up to $50,000. Specialty crops are defined by the USDA as fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops (including floriculture). Much of Hawaii’s diversified agriculture falls under this specialty crop designation. The application deadline is noon on March 3, 2023.

To make it easier for farmers, grants have changed from submitting a proposal to an application. For information on

of communication, among members and the officers.”

ly decided last week to put up a scholarship program for poor but deserving students in college in three disciplines that are relevant to the present modern society – engineering, business, and mathematics.

This was actually a revival of the Mapua Chapter’s scholarship program, but now under the umbrella of BROFAA, Inc. to cover more scholars as a collective endeavor.

The Board of Directors chose the Technological University of the Philippines (TUP) as the partner university where, starting this coming 2023-2024 semester, the group will sponsor three scholars with courses in engineering, business, and mathematics with entry level of first semester, third year for two years.

After two years, when the first set of graduates complete college, there will be another set of three scholars… and the cycle will go on.

The scholarship program, according to Sevilla, “…is also an opportunity to build a closer and tighter relationship between the members and the leaders…thereby establishing clear and more direct channels

grants, visit hdoa.hawaii.go.

History and connection to farming

For many Hawaii Filipinos, there is a strong family history connected to farming and plantation. Like many locals who have ties to the sakada generation of plantation workers in Hawaii, Julian-Freitas is proud of her family’s link to Hawaii’s history in the agriculture industry.

“My paternal grandfather, Cerilio Julian, arrived in Ha-

Bob Bantolo, a member based in Southern California, said “Meaningful relationships create meaningful results. Providing rapport and access between the leadership and the membership is a concerted and constructive effort. This collective worth will be a lasting legacy for the fraternity and the community we serve.”

Canada-based Oscar David said the BOT-approved option will be used as a benchmark to set up the fraternity goals. “It will relive and bring out those fraternal and convivial moments that typically strike a chord among us – sort of awakening those kindred spirits,” he said.

The Memorandum of Agreement will be signed by Dr. Aquino, TUP Student Affairs and Edgar “Egay” Sevilla, President, BROFAAI). Months before the start of the School Year 2023-2024.

At present, a committee headed by Oscar David was formed to market the scholarship program and find out how to raise funds, in addition to the traditional sources such as membership dues and contributions from affluent members, to maintain and sustain the project.

Are fraternities still relevant today? As I See It, they are!

ELPIDIO R. ESTIOKO was a veteran journalist in the Philippines and a multi-awarded journalist here in the US. For feedbacks, comments… please email the author at estiokoelpidio@gmail.com.

waii 100 years ago and was contracted to work for Maui Ag Co for seven years. He sent his hard-earned money to support the family he left behind - my grandmother, father and his five siblings. When his contract ended, he went back to Laoag and purchased acres of land, with rice being its main crop and money maker. The acres of farm land is called San Julian, the namesake of our family. It still exists today. My extended

(continue on page 12)

(COVER STORY: Filipinos Farmers.....from page 6)

Governor’s Tax Plan Deserves Credit, But Not for Its Credits

Gov. Josh Green made waves with some of the bold proposals he offered during his first State of the State address in January.

One of his biggest initiatives — dubbed the Green Affordability Plan — aims to give Hawaii residents more than $300 million in tax relief.

The best part of the governor’s affordability plan was his proposal to increase the personal exemption and standard deduction amounts for the state’s personal income tax, as well as index Hawaii’s multiple income tax rate brackets to inflation.

Although not a cut in tax rates, these are much wel-

comed, and it would be a shame if the Legislature does not follow through.

Increasing the personal exemption and standard deductions would give families more money in their weekly paychecks. No waiting or paperwork. Just immediate relief from Hawaii’s high cost of living.

And tying Hawaii’s income tax brackets to inflation?

That’s also a great idea that could save Hawaii taxpayers millions of dollars, if approved by the Legislature. No longer would Hawaii residents be pushed into higher tax brackets simply because their employers gave them a cost-ofliving adjustment to cope with inflation.

Less welcome was the governor’s call for a variety of tax credits, including for food,

rent and childcare expenses. He also called for an increase in the state’s earned income tax credit (EITC) and a tax credit for teachers who spend their own money buying classroom supplies.

These are all well-intentioned ideas, but rather than provide immediate financial relief at the cash register — the point of purchase — they would put taxpayer money in a

government coffer before giving it back a year later.

Then, of course, there’s the matter of filing all the paperwork. In case you haven’t noticed, tax credits can be complicated. The EITC form is 38 pages long, and the tax credit just for renters contains several dizzying stipulations and requirements.

Perhaps that’s why many people simply don’t file to claim them. They might be eligible, but all the questionnaires and paperwork make it hard to tell.

There’s also the concern that complicated tax credits make it easier for people to make mistakes or cheat, which can result in too much money going to the wrong people and not enough going to those who are truly eligible.


lawmakers to simply just cut taxes. It’s the easiest and most straightforward way to give hardworking families relief. Instead of waiting until tax season to fill out a mountain of paperwork, residents would see immediate relief at the cash register, their point of purchase.

Lawmakers would do well to enact Gov. Green’s proposed increases in the personal exemption and standard deduction amounts for the income tax, plus his idea to index the income tax brackets to inflation.

The proposed tax credits? Again, I would rather our elected officials simply lower tax rates. Tax credits are good, but tax cuts are better.

That’s why I always urge

The Philippines One of the World’s Most Romantic Destinations — Report

MANILA, Philippines

— Have you ever wondered what the most romantic destinations are in the world?

Where do couples love to travel to for a romantic getaway, especially for Valentine’s Day? Well, ready for the big reveal?

Latest Airbnb data re-

veals that the Philippines is one of the global booking platform’s most romantic destinations around the world. It has one of the highest proportions of couples traveling together during the Valentine’s Day period, along with Puerto Rico, The Netherlands, Greece and New Zealand.

There are actually so many destinations in the country that are worth a visit with your loved one, your partner in life. After a long hiatus brought about by the pandemic, you might be able

to travel again this Valentine’s week (or month) and bond over scenic views, good food, and pampering — whatever bonding activities you enjoy together.

Here are some easy-onthe-pocket Airbnb stays:

Casa Malaya in El Nido, Palawan. It’s a tropical-inspired villa adorned with antiques and tribal Filipino pieces. The villa has a private pool and spacious sun lounge where you can hang around.

Another villa in El Nido, Colibris Corner,

also beckons if your idea of a perfect getaway is waking up to the sound of hummingbirds and feasting your eyes on beautiful island views.

Soultribe Beach Retreat in Siargao. It offers fun island activities, such as island hopping, horse riding, surfing lessons, massages, and yoga classes.

Peakway Bell Tent in Cebu. It is a glamping dome that can fit up to six guests and pets are allowed. The dome offers some of the best mountain,

lush greenery and starry night views. It even comes with an outdoor dining area exclusive to your barbecue nights.

Alperi Farm in Amadeo, Cavite. This 2,000-square-meter farmhouse in Amadeo, Cavite offers a sala, full kitchen, patio, outdoor dining area, three bedrooms, two toilet-baths for your exclusive use. You also get to enjoy the gym, theater and arcade room, as well as a tree playhouse and outdoor pool. (www.philstar.com)

KELI‘I AKINA is president and CEO of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii. Alperi Farm in Amadeo, Cavite

Fil-Am Actor Wins 2022 Chicago BroadwayWorld Awards

Filipino American actor Van Ferro won the 2022 Chicago BroadwayWorld Award for Best Supporting Performer in a Play for his critically-acclaimed performance as John N. Fail in Chicago-based Oil Lamp Theater’s “Failure: A Love Story.”

“I really appreciate everyone who cast a vote and everyone who asked their friends and family to vote for me,” says Ferro. “I hope that this encourages more people of color to participate in Chi-

cago theatre, especially Filipinos.”

The play follows the three Fail sisters as they explore love, death and the transient nature of life. Rick McCain of Let’s Play Theatrical Reviews wrote that “Van Ferro is comical as the short-wit John N.”

Ferro is considered one of the busiest actors in Chicago theatre for appearing in multiple productions such as “Murder in the Court of Xanadu,”

“The Octopus,” “Same Time, Next Year,” “The Christians,” and “In Memoriam.”

Moreover, Ferro has also been cast in multiple commercials for brands such as Sam’s Club, Kohls and Calypso Lemonade.

As a proud Filipino, Ferro has accepted membership in the Artist’s Board of the Chicago Artists’ Guide to help diversify theater hiring and casting in Chicago’s theater scene.

“I am honored to serve with talented and driven theater professionals to help in opening the door wider for BIPOC people in Chicago theater,” he said.

DOH Announces First Pediatric Influenza Death of the Season

On Feb. 10, the Hawaii Department of Health announced that a state resident under the age of 18 has died of influenza. The child was hospitalized at the time of death and was the first death of a child from influenza during Hawaii’s flu season.

“We are especially saddened to announce the death of a child in our community. Our thoughts and condolences are with the family at this difficult time,” said Health Director Dr. Kenneth Fink.

“If you or your loved ones have not received the flu vaccine this season, I hope

family in the province continue to farm the land, which has provided them financial support and self-sufficiency and they’re able to use the money to pay for college for the younger generation.”

She said, “My grandfather’s story of humbleness, hard work and saving money

you will consider doing so,” he added.

The child’s death serves as a sober reminder that flu is circulating widely in Hawaii. Everyone six months of age and older should get their flu shots to be protected from influenza. Flu vaccines are widely available statewide

transcends through how I live my life and the values I pass on to my children.”

Ramiscal, 62, said her uncle from Narvacan, Ilocus Sur, came to Hawaii in the 1950s to work on the sugar plantation and was able to later petition her father to come to Hawaii in the 1970s. Before my uncle,

at pharmacies, clinics and healthcare facilities.

For more information about flu vaccination locations, visit www.vaccines. gov. For information about influenza and other respiratory diseases, visit www.health.hawaii.gov/docd/disease-types/ respiratory-viruses.

my grandfather’s brother came to Hawaii decades earlier as one of the pioneering generations of Filipino plantation workers.

“This family connection to farming and plantation work is another reason why I feel strongly about supporting our farmers today. It’s tradition for our community. And there are many farmers in the state who are Filipinos. We can be proud of this because they have an important role in feeding the people of our state,” Ramiscal said.

Owning land to farm

Both Senator Aquino and Julian-Freitas bring up the point that many farmers make: that farmers need land and access to capital to start their farm. Many Hawaii farmers do not own the

climate change—it is very real and has insidious impact on our daily lives. But working with nature has its blessings.

You experience the joy of literally harvesting the fruits of your labor—of holding that golden heart-shaped mango once it ripens, and tasting its sweetness.

But simply put, this is a baby-boomer’s reflections on life as she navigates the last quarter of her lifespan. In a way, this is also the story of Zambales, and perhaps the nation.

Despite the many natural calamities and man-made catastrophes, life goes on. Despite the setbacks, there are the triumphs. It is a matter of observing life through the right lenses—one with gratitude, of acceptance, and with unshakable faith that the future is filled with promise.

land they do their farming.

One rare opportunity is being provided by real estate developer Peter Savio who has a new agricultural project, Orchard Plantation, in which he is offering affordable land to small farms on Oahu’s North Shore.

Savio told The Business Journals, “One of the big problems here in Hawaii is we all talk about [agriculture], and we talk about helping local people get into [agriculture], but we don’t have a single program to help them finance, so they cannot finance their operations. I sell everything at cost.”

The Orchard Plantation’s website says it has 15, 1 acre lots, with a minimum acqui-

For those who have visited Rosa Farms, remember those hours spent under the millennial mango trees, when you picked the vegetables for your lunch and ate with your hands kamayan style using woven plates lined with banana leaves.

Or when you enjoyed the cool breeze that wafted through as you napped after your meal, dreaming of the next merienda of kakanin and mango pizza. Bring those memories back. Read the book.

ROSE CRUZ CHURMA established Kalamansi Books & Things three decades ago. It has evolved from a mail-order bookstore into an on-line advocacy with the intent of helping global Pinoys discover their heritage by promoting books of value from the Philippines and those written by Filipinos in the Diaspora. We can be reached at kalamansibooks@gmail.com.

sition of 2 acres per parcel at $130,000 per acre, with existing and new roads and plans for a possible Plantation Camp. Orchard Plantation is a Fee simple agricultural project that will be made available to give local farmers the opportunity to own the land they farm.

Local farmers can sign up to be on the Orchard Plantation’s mailing list (visit: orchardplantation.com) for updated information.

Senator Aquino said, “I’ve long respected the importance of farming and providing food for our communities. Collectively, as a state, we need to raise a much broader awareness of the need for farmers and food providers for the near and distant future.”

(COVER STORY: Filipinos Farmers.....from page 10)
BOOK REVIEW: Blessed.....from page 8)
Van Ferro


Russia-Ukraine War: One Year

In February of 2022, the world was astounded when Russia’s Putin declared a ‘special military operation’ which turned out to be a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

When the war broke out, the monotony of my daily life as a full-time housewife and homeschooling mother was broken.

I found myself watching every news outlet and listening to updates about what was happening on the other side of the world. And with every image and video I watched, I felt my heart breaking, my tears falling and my soul praying for the nation of Ukraine.

I can still vividly remember visions of people on an exodus to neighboring countries, trying to escape the war; of burning and bombed buildings; of lifeless bodies on the streets.

But the most heartbreaking of all was seeing children being displaced and separated from their fathers who need to fight for their country.

of the bipartisan Equality Act to ensure LGBTQ Americans, “especially transgender young people, can live with safety and dignity.”

On immigration, Biden said if comprehensive immigration reform doesn’t pass, at least pass his plan to provide the equipment and officers to secure the border. And for the DACA Dreamers, once again, Biden called for “a pathway to citizenship.”

He covered a lot of bases. But in the end, it came down to the basics. Our democracy. Biden closed with an appeal to bipartisanship.

“Every generation of Americans has faced a moment where they have been called on to protect our democracy, to defend it, to stand up for it,” Biden said. “We have to see each other not as enemies, but as fellow Americans.”

We may not be there total-

One year ago, I’ve shed many tears for people I don’t know and a nation that is physically distant but badly needs my intercession and support.

One year after the war in Europe started, what happened?

According to United Nations (UN) reports, thousands of civilians and soldiers have lost their lives. About 16 million have been displaced.

Half of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure has been destroyed or damaged. Forty percent of Ukraine’s population will continue to need humanitarian aid.

And the world continues to suffer the economic effects of the war.

It seems like the end is nowhere in sight. But the people of Ukraine, though hurting, are enduring. Some people in Russia are disagreeing and persistently fighting. The rest of the world lives on, grieving yet supporting and cheering for Ukraine’s victory.

Love is celebrated every February. But the Ukraine-Russia war has displayed the opposite. It was a

ly yet, but it didn’t stop Biden from giving his grade of the nation, 4x strong.

Said Biden: “Because the soul of the nation is strong, the backbone of this nation is strong, because the people of this nation are strong, the state of the union is strong.”

It brought one of the night’s longest applause breaks before he closed reassuringly. “I’ve never been more optimistic about our future, about the future of America.”

The TV audience was just around 30 million, smaller than the 38 million who watched the SOTU in 2022. But it was still by far the largest single audience the president will address in the foreseeable future. Biden is going to battleground states. He’s making the case. The president wants another term.

And he just might deserve it.

statement of hatred and terror, a declaration of injustice and greed. Hearts are broken, instead of beating.

Experts say that the war will likely continue. It will be a long battle, a tedious one. They say that neither side is likely to gain a crucial advantage if the war continues along its current path.

Unfortunately, in the absence of any negotiations in which both sides will have to compromise, or give and take, the heartbreaking bloodshed will probably have to continue for some time.

What have I learned from this war after one year?

War is inevitable. We live in a world that is broken. People are innately selfish and greedy. We all have our own agenda and ideology. Therefore, misunderstanding is certain, and war is always at hand.

My Dad

The speech did make me think of my father. My new Amok monologue, “Emil Amok: Lost NPR Host Found Under St. Marks” is really the story of my father who came to America in 1928, and how his history changed my life.

Get tickets here: https://www.frigid.nyc/ event/6897:338/

Come see it Feb. 16-March

4 in New York City at the FRIGID Fringe Festival. And even if you’re not in New York, get tickets to see it from home on your computer, wherever you are, Hawaii!

Head to the link for tickets to the livestream.

I will talk about this column and other matters on “Emil Amok’s Takeout,” my AAPI micro-talk show. Live @2p Pacific. Livestream on Facebook; my YouTube channel; and

many issues of my life have overcome the news of the war in the European region.

Given this, I learned that peace is a privilege. I grew up in the Philippines but am now based in South Korea.

In the 38 years of my life, I have only watched on news but never experienced myself being in the middle of a war. But my own country and the nation where I am now are both in constant threat of attacks.

South Korea is always on high alert against the North’s provocation. But so far, peace is still prevailing. But many people all over the world are in war-torn countries.

I can only imagine the anxiety, the fear, the frustration they are feeling and experiencing. I am grateful for the privilege of peace that I have been given and I pray that this peace transcends all nations and boundaries.

In February of 2023, the

Twitter. Catch the recordings on www.amok.com.

I have stopped watching the news about it every day and only update myself every once in a while. But my compassion for the Ukrainian people, especially the next generation, lingers.

When I think about the suffering they had and continue to endure—losing their homes and their loved ones, my heart pains. But hope is still alive.

The war may linger but it will eventually end. Things will never be the same but everything will be alright.

As we commemorate the Ukraine-Russia conflict, I pray for peace to prevail. I pray for healing and restoration upon those who have been wounded physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I pray for reconciliation.

I pray for the war to cease.

There’s a saying that ‘only the dead have seen the end of war’. But I declare that even the living will see the end of this war. It may take time but it will come.

EMIL GUILLERMO is a journalist and commentator. His talk show is on www.amok.com. (CANDID PERSPECTIVES: Vicky....from page 6)

Melody Yadao Santiago: Mega Star Of Ilocandia; Pride Of Sinait

“Inayonko pay ti maysa a kantak manipud iti Lucky

7 Hawaii Production babaen kada Carlos Pucan, Jr. ken Ninang Pat Pucan” insilpona.

ILOKO By Amado I. Yoro iti Northwestern University. Nupay nayanak idiay San Juan Rizal idi Marso 1974, kada Reynaldo Santiago ken Carmelita Yadao, ibilangna ti Dadalaquiten Norte a lugarna, ta isu ti puon dagiti appona a tumeng da Miguel Yadao ken Ernesta Arrocena iti Dadalaquiten Norte.

dagiti aggapu iti ballasiw ti taaw.

kinapobre ti pamiliami, ken maysaak nga ulila.”


ANIA TI NAGAN A Melody. Balikas a Greigo

“meloidia” singing and chanting. Naalumamay nga ayug ti kansion, addaan rima, addaan rikna pitik ken pulso.

“Asino ti nangpili ti naganmo a Melody?” dinamagko.

“Saanko ammo” insungbatna.

“Diak nadendennaan dagiti nagannak kaniak,” impudno ni Melody.

Ulilan iti ina ken ama da Reynaldo Santiago ken Carmelita Yadao.

Ni Lola Carlina Yadao Lipaen a nanang ni Carmelita ti nagyananna kabayatan a nagubing ken dimmakkel idaiy Dadalaquiten Norte, Sinait, Ilocos Sur.

Simrek ni Melody iti elementaria iti Dadalaquiten Elementary School.

Nagtuloy iti sekundaria iti Sinait National High School, Sinait, Ilocos Sur kalpasanna

Maibilang ti Dadalaquiten Norte kadagiti kapintasan a barangay iti Sinait. Ni Punong

Barangay Roselily Dayoan ti agdama a kapitana. Sakupen ti Dadalaquiten Norte ti agdindinamag a Lugo Beach, maysa kadagiti kasayaatan, kadalusan ken katalnaan a playa iti Region 1. Inub-ubonen dagiti balligi ken pammadayaw a naited iti Dadalaquiten Norte, no saan man a kasiglatan a barangay iti rehion, maysa kadagiti kasiglatan iti probinsia ti Ilocos Sur babaen iti pangidaulo ni Kapitana Roselily. Addaan kadagiti atraksion ti turista, kangrunaan unay ti MEGA floating cottate, dagiti agtatapaw a balaybalay.

Kaayatan a sarungkaran dagiti turista nga aggapu kadagiti sasbali a lugar iti pagilian ken

“A great performer and singer,” kinuna ni Punong Barangay Roselily Dayoan a kalugaranna maipapan ken ni Melody. “Agpadakami a Yadao”, insilpona.

Adda ti historical ken relihion a pakasaritaan ti Black Nazarene, Pugot a Nazareno wenno Apo Lakay wenno Sto Cristo Milagroso ta ditoy a lugar a naidaknir ti imahen da Virgin Mary ken Sto. Cristo idi tawen 1620 manipud iti pagilian a Nagasaki, Japan idi Tokunaga regime. Ditoy met a naipatakder ti STO CRISTO MILAGROSO MARKER a nagbuligan a proyekto ti dua a gunglo dagiti taga Sinait iti Hawaii: Annak Ti inait Iti Hawaii ken Sinait National High School Alumni Association of Hawaii, ken dagiti naayat a kameng iti komunidad. Donasion ti Iloreta Family ti lote a nakaipatakderan ti nasao a marker.

“Ania kadi ti nakaigapu a nainspiraranka nga agkanta?” dinamagmi.

“Adda. Gapu laeng iti

NANGRUGI nagkanta idi adda iti elementaria.

“Nangrugi idi 90’s rinugiakon ti nakisalsalip iti kinnantaan”.

Adu a salip ti kinnantaan ti nakisalsalipanna kadagiti pasalip iti radio iti probinsia ti Ilocos Norte ken nagun-odna iti kina champion.

ADDAN AGANAY A 100 A KANTANA nga inrekord ti nadumaduma a recording company kas met iti nadumaduma a padana a kumakanta iti ilokano.

NAGBALIN A RECORDING ARTIST iti Alpha records ken Mr. Harry Corpus bukros a bukangkang iti kinagagetna a makipartisipar iti programa NAAWAGAN A KAS MEGA STAR OF ILOCANDIA.

IMMUNA A RECORDINGNA TI “Diak Gamden Ti Agayat” a nanglukat ti lubongna iti tay-ak ti musika ken kinnantaan.

“Daytoy a kantak ti nakaam-ammuanda iti numo ti biang” kinuna ni Melo. Sabali pay a kantana ti “Annadam ti Agayat”

“Malaglagipka Laeng”

“Gayam ni Ayat”


1. An annuek ti guapo

2. Lulua

3. Parparmata

4. Umisem kumatawa

5. Komustaka

ITI Aquarius record



1. Dita Dennam Awan Nagbasolak

2. Palubosannak Kadin

3. Abalayan

“ADDA pay dagiti sumaruno nga irecordko iti masakbayan,” natalged a nagkuna ni Melody.

Napagasatan nga immay ditoy America idi 2018 kas imigrante babaen iti nagasat ken naayat nga asawana ket napagasatan nga agtrabaho a porter ken caregiver idiay Santa Maria, California.

Adda regular a programana a mangeg ken mabuya iti internet iti agdama ti MELO YADAO SANTIAGO

LUCKY 7 HAWAII LIVE STREAM Santa Maria, California base. Dayaw ti Sinait ni Melody kas maysa a Mega Champion iti lubong ti musika ken kinnantaan.

Ex-Usec Manalac, Group

Appeal to PBBM: Take Full Control of Malampaya

Former Philippine Department of Energy

Undersecretary Eduardo Mañalac and the National Movement for the West Philippine Sea (NYMWPS) on Feb. 13, appealed to President Bongbong Marcos to terminate the Service Contract 38 or the Malampaya project when it expires in 2024.

The Malampaya project is currently operated by Prime Infrastructure Capital owned by Enrique Razon Jr. and Udenna, owned by Dennis Uy. Mañalac and NYMWPS

instead, asked Marcos Jr. to order the Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC) to operate the Deepwater Gas-to-Power Project.

The PNOC was created in 1973 by Former President Ferdinand Marcos Sr. for the purpose of taking over operations after the contract ends.

In a news release by NYMWPS following an online conference last Feb. 9, Mañalac said this process will deliberately place direct control of Malampaya operations in the

(continue on page 15)


LET’S ZUMBA | Filipino Community Center | Every Monday starting January 9, 2023 at 6:15pm | FilCom Center, Consuelo Courtyard, 94-428 Mokuola Street, Waipahu | Need to unwind in movement and dance after a long workday? Join the community as we Zumba through the evening. Only $5 per class. Proceeds go to support these program-types for FilCom Center.

COVID-19 & FLU FREE VACCINATION | Filcom Cares | Feb. 16, Mar. 16, Apr. 20, May 18 and Jun 15 from 10am to 12pm | Filipino Community Center, 94-428 Mokuola St., Waipahu | FilCom Cares is inviting the community to get jabbed in the upcoming free


vaccination drive. Flu vaccines and COVID-19 shots are available for free to the community. Just bring your photo ID, medical insurance card (if any), and your vaccination card. For more information, call FilCom Cares at 808-369-5380.

AARP TECHNOLOGY TIPS | AARP Hawaii, Senior Planet Organization | Every Friday from February 10 to March 10, 12-1pm | Online classes | Kupuna can learn more about technology such as Smart TVs, smart watches, virtual payments and even Spotify in this free webinars. To register, visit events.aarp.org/HITech.

THE 98TH ANNUAL HOOLAULEA 2023 | KSK Association of Teachers and


KOR-Aloha Chapter to Hold “Aloha for the Youth” Golf Tournament

The Knights of Rizal-Aloha Chapter, through its nonprofit arm Friends of Rizal, Inc., will be holding its inaugural ‘Aloha for the Youth’ Golf Tournament on March 24, 2023 at the Pearl Country Club in Pearl City.

The Knights of Rizal is an international fraternal organization dedicated to the teaching and promotion of the life, works and ideas of the Philippines’ foremost national hero, Dr. Jose P. Rizal. The Friends of Rizal, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit organization.

Proceeds from the golf tournament fundraiser will benefit the youth programs of the Knights of Rizal-Aloha Chapter, specifically its annual Rizal Youth Leadership Institute, which provides leadership and civics training

to intermediate/high school/college students; its college scholarship program, which provides financial support to promising college students; the Rizalian Essay Contest, an essay-writing competition focusing on the legacy of Dr. Jose Rizal; and the Model Students of the Year Program, which recognizes outstanding Filipino high school students in Hawaii.

According to Jun Suela, commander of the Knights of Rizal-Aloha Chapter:

“Our national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, considers the youth as the hope of our fatherland. We, as Knights of Rizal, hope to pursue this ideal by instituting programs that would help our youth become active and contributing members of our community. This fundraiser will help support these programs.”

House Committee Pass Bill to Provide Tax Relief to Hawaii Residents

Announced on Feb. 14, the House Committee on Education and Committee on Economic Development approved bill HB1049 for a second hearing.

“The bill aims to restructure the state’s income tax brackets, increase tax credits for working families, and create tax credits for teacher expenses,” as stated in the announcement.

Moreover, the bill would lower the income tax for all


brackets, increase the income of working families by thousands of dollars and Hawaii renters would see relief through increased tax credits.

For individual filers from $2,200 to $5,000, they would see a double in their standard deduction. While those from $1,144 to $2,288 would see a double in their personal exemption.

“This measure provides much-needed relief for our families who work hard every

hands of the government.

He added that this will also serve to maximize earnings for the Filipino people, who are at this point, losing billions of pesos to what they believe as

unqualified private companies.

Udenna and Prime Infra currently earn P50M each, or a combined P100M daily from Malampaya gas, the same amount the Philippines gov-

day to maintain their households and make ends meet,” said Economic Development Chair Daniel Holt.

“By reducing the financial burden on families, we empower them to make choices that benefit our local economy and bring growth to our communities.”

To track the status of bill HB1049, visit capitol.hawaii. gov/session/measure_indiv. aspx?billtype=HB&billnumber=1049&year=2023.

ernment may earn if it takes full control of the operations.

Presidential Decree No. 87 or the Oil Exploration Act of 1972 mandates that said activities should ensure maximum benefits to the people.

Parents, Kamehameha Schools | February 25, 2023 at 8:30am-4pm | Kamehameha Schools, Kapalama, 210 Konia Circle | Enjoy authentic local food, music, games, and much more at this fundraiser event to support teacher and student grants, college scholarships and ohana events.

THE 27TH ANNUAL HONOLULU FESTIVAL | The Honolulu Festival Foundation | March 10-12, 2023 | Hawaii Convention Center, Kalakaua Avenue | The three-day event will highlight cultures from Hawaii and the Asia-Pacific region such as the Philippines, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Tahiti and many more. Admission to the events is free. For the full event schedule, visit honolulufestival.com.

The golf tournament will have the following levels of sponsorship:

GOLD $2,000: Includes one (1) team of three (3) players; golf cart with signage; 3-hole sponsorship tee signs; preferential tee-time; sponsor logo on all printed materials, social media, banners (by tier); VIP golfer gift bags, lunch, team prize, and dinner.

SILVER $1,500: Includes one (1) team of three (3) players; golf cart with signage; 2-hole sponsorship tee signs, tee time; sponsor logo on all printed materials, social media, banners (by tier); golfer gift bags, lunch, team prize, and dinner.

BRONZE $1,000: Includes one (1) team of three (3) players; golf cart with signage; 1-hole sponsorship tee signs; tee-time; sponsor logo on all printed materials, social media, banners (by tier); golfer gift bags, lunch, team prize, and dinner.

TEAM $750: Includes one (1) team of three (3) players; golf cart with signage; tee-time; golfer gift bags, lunch, team prize, and dinner.

“This is a worthwhile endeavor to benefit our kids,” says Gino Soqueña, tournament director. “It will also be a fun event. I hope people will support it.”

For those interested, please reach out to Jun Suela at (808) 228-0665 or Gino Soqueña at (808) 393-1807.

er cultures are now being recognized. When you see them [successful Filipinos] on the screen or in the paper with their names that are like our names, that’s impactful. That inspires the next generation of kids who want to be just like them, if not more.”

Educating those in the community about journalism is another step toward achieving representation.

Aubree Campbell, a 23-yearold communications senior from Kaneohe, was a staff writer for The Silversword, Chaminade’s student publication.

Campbell attributed her experience writing for the online paper to giving her valuable lessons and respect

for the field. She encouraged the education of more Filipino students interested in studying journalism.

“It’s a very strict discipline,” Campbell said.

“Deadlines are so important. You need to be organized, you need to get the information correct, and it gives you a lot of appreciation for those actually in the field. It pushes you to be on top of things and helps you work under pressure. You have to use words efficiently and effectively. You’re not just writing fluff all over the place. There’s a point to everything, and I think it’s amazing. It’s important that everyone learns more about their culture and what’s happening in their community.”

(FEATURE: Young Local....from page 7)
PHILIPPINE NEWS: Ex-Usec....from page 14)
FEBRUARY 18, 2023