Hawaii Filipino Chronicle - March 23, 2024

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MARCH 23, 2024
BIBLE REFLECTIONS Beauty for ashes NEWS FEATURE the 2024 ohana Medical Mission to the PhiliPPines HAWAII-FILIPINO NEWS social Media star BretMan rock acknowledged at the hawaii state caPitol PICTORIAL NEWS ilocos norte governor visits hawaii, delivers keynote address at a March 13 syMPosiuM


Filipinos’ Christian Heritage Came About Through Evangelization, The New Frontier of Digital Evangelism Is Worth Pursuing

Today the global Filipino Christian community is celebrating Easter and the risen Christ because of Catholic missionaries who came to the Philippines some 500 years ago. That evangelization is responsible for the Philippines being the only predominantly (near 80%) Asian-Christian nation. It is also the third largest Catholic country in the world with some 85 million adherents, and this figure does not include the massive Filipino diaspora communities around the world.

So those in our Filipino community who love of our relationship with Jesus Christ and our cultural and religious practices like those during Lent, Holy Week and Easter have Catholic-Christian evangelists to thank.

Spanish missionaries in the 16th century had to sail thousands of miles in treacherous, dangerous, and unknown conditions to spread the Gospel.

Hundreds of years earlier during the cradle years of Christianity, St Paul used the Roman road system, often dangerous to travail with lurking bandits, to share the good news of Christ’s mission. It’s said that St. Paul traveled over 10,000 miles in his journeys to Syria, Turkey, and Greece. Historians say if it weren’t for St. Paul and early evangelists like him, Christianity would have remained a sect and not the cosmopolitan religion it is today.

Digital evangelism

While physical missions are still needed, it’s an exciting time for Christian digital evangelism, which is the strategic use of the internet, mobile, social media platforms, podcasts and apps to share the Gospel with the online world.

Digital evangelism also makes it easy for more people to be involved and reach out to our global neighbors. We know the difficulties and rejection that evangelizing can have when taking the door-to-door approach. But with digital evangelism, reports show that people are more open to engage or at least listen.

One wildly successful example is the Hallow App which is designed to help people deepen their relationship with God through audio-guided prayers, Bible readings, a daily Rosary, daily Gospel, daily novenas, and saints. Hallow is now the number one Catholic app in the world and number one Christian prayer app in the U.S.

The Roman Catholic Church -- which has been active in spreading the Gospel for 20 centuries -- is also on board with the new frontier of digital evangelism.

Pope Francis said, “to be a Christian is to help carry the mission forward: to bring the good news of Christ to all creation.” In Matthew 28:19, it says embodying Christ’s call is to “go and make disciples of all nations.” And how do you do that? You must go where the people are. Young people are spending most of their waking hours in front of a computer screen or phone. The Church can be a beacon of hope and light in this often cold and impersonal digital space.

In the Roman Catholic Church’s Synod on Synodality last October, it recognized that the internet is not just a tool but a culture which we are called to “enculturate” with the Gospel. A working group called the “Mission in the Digital Environment” was formed. In addition, a “Synthesis Report” was presented, supporting development in the Church’s approach to digital evangelization.

The report states, “Digital culture represents a fundamental


We know that religion is one of the most vibrant expressions of culture. For Filipinos this holds true, perhaps more so than in other communities. For example, while Christianity is waning in the West, in the Philippines it remains strong with adherents to the Catholic Church steady at a remarkable near 80%. Furthermore, outside of the Philippines, diaspora Filipinos have taken their faith with them and are active in their local Catholic communities. We see that Catholic-Christianity remains a prominent feature of our Filipino identity.

For our cover story this issue, associate editor Edwin Quinabo reports on this exciting time for many in our community -- the season of Lent, Holy Week and Easter, as we celebrate Jesus Christ’s life, mission, death and resurrection. The article goes into the religious and spiritual Filipino practices during this season, delving into the meaning behind them and their Catholic origins. A few members in our community share their heartfelt stories of how Christ has touched and anchors their life, as well as how they spend their Easter.

Continuing our coverage in this election season, we have two articles addressing what’s at stake in the presidential elections. First, HFC columnist Emil Guillermo contributes “It’s Biden v. Trump, But There’s Only One Way to Vote to Save Democracy.” In it, he highlights Biden’s recent State of the Union Address. “The rematch is on and though November may seem far away, lock in your vote in your mind and heart now. There can be no swaying if democracy is to be saved,” Emil comments. Second, HFC columnist Will Espero contributes “The Race for President.” Espero said, “Biden and Trump are the last of their generation to be president of the United States, and the voters of November need to remember past actions, deeds, outcomes, and words when marking their ballots.”

In pictorial news, HFC columnist Rose Cruz Churma covers Ilocos Norte Gov. Matthew Manotoc’s visit to Hawaii. About 250 guests welcomed Gov. Manotoc in a special reception while Gov. Josh Green hosted the Philippines delegation at Washington Place before they left for California. We also have a news feature on the 2024 Ohana Medical Mission (OMM) to the Philippines. The success of the mission would not have been possible without the hard work of all volunteers both from the USA and Philippines and the able leaderships of Dr. Ian Guerrero of OMM, Dr. Ferdinand Ramos of the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Medical Alumni Association of America and Dr. David Bolong, chairman of the Department of Surgery, UST Hospital.

Also in this issue, we have a feature on Filipino international student Angela Bauza, news on local social media star Bretman Rock’s welcome by the Governor and state lawmakers at the Hawaii State Capitol, and mainland news on New York Filipinos commemorating the 38th anniversary of the EDSA People Power on February 24. We have an Open Forum contribution from Keli‘i Akina, president and CEO of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, titled “Cutting State Spending to Help Lahaina is Only Real Choice.”

March is Women’s History Month. In observance of it, HFC columnist Arcelita Imasa, M.D. addresses how women are doing in the workforce, the average pay gap between men and women, as well as the status on paid sick leave. We hope you enjoy these and our other columns and news.

Lastly, I’d like to wish our readers a blessed and Happy Easter. Christ is risen. Thank you for supporting the Hawaii Filipino Chronicle. Visit www.thefilipinochronicle.com for your free e-copy of the Chronicle. Until the next issue, Aloha and Mabuhay!

Edwin Quinabo

Contributing Editor

Belinda Aquino, Ph.D.


Junggoi Peralta

Photography Tim Llena

Administrative Assistant

Lilia Capalad

Editorial & Production Assistant

Jim Bea Sampaga


Carlota Hufana Ader

Rose Cruz Churma

Elpidio R. Estioko

Willie Espero

Perry Diaz

Emil Guillermo

Arcelita Imasa, M.D.

Seneca Moraleda-Puguan J.P. Orias

Charlie Sonido, M.D.

Emmanuel S. Tipon, Esq.

Contributing Writers

Clement Bautista

Edna Bautista, Ed.D.

Teresita Bernales, Ed.D.

Sheryll Bonilla, Esq.

Dr. Dylan Bothamley

Serafin Colmenares Jr., Ph.D.

Linda Dela Cruz

Carolyn Weygan-Hildebrand

Amelia Jacang, M.D.

Caroline Julian

Max Levin

Raymond Ll. Liongson, Ph.D.

Federico Magdalena, Ph.D.

Matthew Mettias

Maita Millalos

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

Shalimar / Jonathan Pagulayan

Advertising / Marketing Director

Chona A. Montesines-Sonido

Account Executives

Carlota Hufana Ader

JP Orias

Publisher & Executive Editor Charlie Y. Sonido, M.D. Publisher & Managing Editor
A. Montesines-Sonido
Associate Editors
Dennis Galolo
(continue on page 3)

Corporate Mainstream Media Is Doing a Woeful Job So Far in Covering the Presidential Elections

Donald Trump needs to lose the presidential election because he is a threat to democracy. Americans must not elect a candidate facing criminal proceedings, and on and on – it’s been all about Trump the horrible, dangerous candidate. This is the Democratic Party strategy employed that they believe will win the election.

And it’s not just Democrat leadership and Joe Biden’s handlers making this an almost exclusively anti-Trump campaign, but the mainstream media is also framing this election as a battle of “personalities” with only two issues – abortion and immigration –given proper coverage.

It’s expected historically that Republicans avoid running on policies that really matter except their one-note “secure the border” stance that would matter. But they’re not sincere about passing legislation on this issue, evidently. It’s been decades and counting since the last comprehensive immigration reform. This year Senate Democrats basically handed in a bill all what Republicans have been asking for

change in the way we conceive of reality and consequently relate to ourselves, one another, our surroundings, and even to God.” Further, “the digital space is recognized as a vital arena where the Church is called to respond to Jesus’ call to go to the ends of the Earth and share his Word with the same fervor and adaptability it has demonstrated throughout nearly two millennia of missionary work.

“We need to provide opportunities for recognizing, forming, and accompanying those already working as digital missionaries while also facilitating networking amongst them,” the report states.

Digital presence of the Church can go beyond spreading the Gospel, but to also open communication with church members, hear what their concerns are, and enga-

on border security, but that bill died in the House for political reasons, not policy reasons.

So, what do we have? Democrats, Biden, Republicans, Trump and the mainstream media essentially ignoring issues and policies that Americans are concerned about, and want answers to, but no one is listening.

Why then should it come as a surprise that most Americans are not passionate over either candidate or this election at all?

Mainstream Media’s poor coverge

Who’s to blame for this voter apathy? In part, voters themselves are to blame.

But ultimately, corporate mainstream media have not been doing their job in pressing both Biden and Trump on issues Americans are interested in, pocketbook matters that make Americans lives’ challenging, and increasingly more difficult by the year.

For example, inflation is said to have come down. But to Americans, we don’t see that when we go to the grocery store as the price of basic essentials keep rising. Rice, meats, poultry all leav-

ge people in issues important to the Church like caring for migrants and the environment or peace-building efforts and support for families.

Not a substitution for in person connection

While digital evangelization is a necessary modern way to reach out to people using modern tools, a caveat is that it should not be a replacement for in-person social connection, in-person gatherings such as attending digital mass for in-person Mass.

During the height of COVID-19 isolation, that’s when digital evangelization and digital connection started to grow. But we’re no longer there and in-person connection, and Mass in specific, is the ideal choice. After all, we can’t receive the Eucharist in a digital mass.

ing average Americans sticker shocked.

Americans would like the media to press politicians on the problem of inflation – that the food chain from producers to processing and grocery stores themselves lacks competition and is excessively consolidated. Therefore, Americans are at the mercy of a few corporations determining how much profit they want for any given quarter, any given year. And Americans lack choices or substitutions to affect prices.

Is this kind of unbridled capitalism Americans want? Why are anti-trust laws grossly neglected or lawsuits by the government not being pursued? Why are food imports costing so much? Would supporting American farmers, processing plants help to stabilize prices? What can be done to spur fair competition in the food chain?

Why wouldn’t corporate media not press politicians on this lack of competition? Because the media themselves are consolidated chains wherein a few corner the media landscape.

And this problem of runaway prices – largely due to a

However, for its supplemental value and its practicality in reaching people in today’s modern lifestyle, certainly the Church must be involved in this new frontier of digital evangelization.

Happy Easter

During this Lenten season, Holy Week and Easter, we are once again reminded of God’s presence in our lives. As many in our Filipino community embrace Christianity, we join you in our gratitude for Jesus’ mission of taking on the suffering of the cross for our sins and salvation. We also recognize the importance of our many time-honored Filipino cultural-religious expressions that arouse deep spirituality and our deep connection to God. May you all have a Happy Easter. Jesus Christ is risen.

lack of competition --- is not just on food, but the same for energy which inflation here is also hurting Americans at the pump or to power our homes with utilities and water. Again, we’re looking at the “basic” means for Americans to survive.

Politicians are not interested to make changes that break these big corporations’ influence and to spur fair competition that could give consumers respite from rising prices because these monopolies of industry are financing politicians’ campaigns and lobbying Congress to keep the status quo.

Corporate media are simply not asking the politicians the right questions or writing the stories Americans want answers to. They are not interested in exerting pressure because their bosses also want to keep the status quo.

Instead, what the American voting public has been fed by the media is endless “they’re too old” polling articles and candidates’ shortcomings and rhetorical gaffes.

Americans want answers to policies that matter.

Is the fourth estate, the American media just as dysfunctional as Congress? Have the historic defenders of the

people, the American media, lost their way and become too corporate friendly, status quo friendly, political-establishment friendly? Who among the power structure of big government, big corporation and big media is looking out for we the people?

Each election there is a mantra for change. The pendulum of power from Democrats to Republican keeps swinging. But Americans are still waiting for changes.

Perhaps we are looking in the wrong direction and shouldn’t only be looking at the political sphere. We need to be looking at the gatekeepers of information who control the parameters of debate. We need to be demanding that media be stronger advocates for the people and not distract us with superficiality that will not better Americans’ daily lives.

We need a media unafraid to challenge politicians, not cozy up to them because these politicians granted select media an exclusive interview. Write the stories without them in a critical fashion that will have politicians coming back to you for an explanation. That’s how it used to be done.

The bottom line is just as we need better politicians, we also need a better media.

(Filipinos’ ....from page 2)

Filipino Christians Focus on Easter’s Religious Significance, First, It’s About Jesus and His Resurrection

or millions of Filipino Christians around the world it’s the most sacred time of the year – Holy Week, which begins on Palm Sunday March 24 and finishes on Easter Sunday March 31.

FHoly Week concludes 40 days of the annual Lenten season (this year starting on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 14), a time when the faithful immerse themselves in deep prayer, fasting, penance and almsgiving, all for the purpose of nurturing a deeper relationship with God, Christians say.

Pope Francis said, Holy Week marks “a time of grace that the Lord gives us so that we may open the doors of our hearts and our communities, and to go out to meet Jesus and others, also to bring the light and joy of our faith.”

From Palm Sunday to Easter

Biblical scholars debate the timeline of events that punctuate Holy Week whether they happened within this short period of time of one week, but they estimate that starting from Passover, the dramatic events in the last days of Jesus occurred rapidly.

TIMELINE. What were these events said to have occurred during Holy Week? Sunday (Palm Sunday) -- Jesus enters Jerusalem on Passover. Monday – Jesus clears the Temple overturning tables of money changers and market sellers-traders which disturbance gave the Romans and religious leaders fuel to seek him for questioning. Tuesday – Jesus preaches at the Mount of Olives where he is questioned by the Pharisees and Sadducees. Intense conflict begins to break out in Jerusalem as talks spread of Jesus being the Messiah, the savior and liberator of the Jews. Thursday (Maundy Thursday) – Jesus shares the Last Supper with his disciples from which Catholics later instituted the communion or Holy Eucharist. That evening, Roman soldiers arrest Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. Friday (Good Friday) – Jesus stands trial before the Sanhedrin (Jewish council) led by the high priest Caiaphas. Jesus is accused of blasphemy which is punishable by death and is turned over to Pilate (then Roman governor) who elects to have the crowd decide on who to

crucify and who to set free between Jesus and the zealot Barabas, a convicted prisoner. The crowd chose Barabas. Jesus then is sentenced to death, tortured and crucified on Golgotha. Biblical scholars estimate Jesus died that late afternoon around 3:00 pm. Saturday (Holy Saturday) – Jesus’ body rests in a tomb. Sunday (Easter) -- Jesus rises from the dead.

Hawaii Filipinos observing Holy Week

Edna Bautista, Ewa Beach, a Catholic-Christian, said she and her husband attend all masses during the Easter Triduum--from Maundy Thursday and Good Friday to either Holy Saturday or Easter Sunday, along with her parents who serve as eucharistic ministers at church. After a busy Triduum, she said they simply celebrate relaxing with a meal and movie on Easter Sunday.

“It’s refreshing to witness the Elect get baptized into the Catholic Church on Easter Vigil [Holy Saturday]. We see the salvation that Christ brings to souls, and I pray that more find and practice the faith, especially in a time when many people have sadly fallen away and become easily susceptible to twisted and misguided influences,” Bautista said.

Alyssa Laureta, Honolulu, said she normally celebrates Easter by going to Sunday service at Pearlside Church with family and friends followed by sharing a meal with her loved ones.

Marline Corpuz, a Catholic-Christian, attends Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Ewa Beach or St. John the Baptist in Kalihi on the Easter Triduum. “Some years I feel nostalgic, so I bring my family to St. John’s, the Church of my childhood, during some days of Holy Week. Otherwise, it’s more convenient to attend our neighborhood church in Ewa,” she said.

Bautisa and Corpuz are among some 263,000 Catholics in Hawaii or about 15% of the state’s population. It’s believed just over 40% of Hawaii Catholics are of Filipino ancestry.

In Hawaii, there are many Filipino Catholic clubs under the umbrella organization Diocesan Congress of Filipino Catholic Clubs (DCFCC). A local Office for Filipino Ministries helps to bring over priests from

the Philippines to work in Hawaii. It was founded by Father Henry Benedict Sabog, the first priest of Filipino ancestry ordained in Hawaii in 1960. Prior to that before Hawaii became a state, Philippines-ordained priests were sent to the islands to help build the local Roman Catholic Church.

Today, at any given time there are between 30-50 priests of Filipino ancestry working in the state, the highest number among ethnic groups in Hawaii.

In 2021, the Philippines celebrated 500 years of Catholicism which was brought to the country in the early 16th century when Spanish missionaries and colonists brought over their religion, beginning in Cebu. According to the 2020 Census Population and Housing, there are about 85.5 million Catholics in the Philippines or 78.8% of the country.

Cardinal Antonio Luis Tagle, former archbishop of Manila now a cardinal and third highest rank in the entire Roman Catholic Church, is believed to be on a short list of Papabile (Pope-To-Be) after Pope Francis. Known by insiders as a charismatic evangelizer, Tagle’s skills are said to be favorable in this time that the Church is looking to expand evangelization in Asia and Africa, as well as expand their reach in the new frontier of digital evangelization.

Pope Francis said during his historic visit to the Philippines in 2015: “Filipinos everywhere are known for their love of God, their fervent piety and their warm devotion to Our Lady and her rosary. This great heritage contains a powerful missionary potential.” (continue on page 5)


Sharing the Gospel and serving in ministry

It was through Christian missionary work that Laureta’s life was radically changed, she says. When she was a student at Hawaii Pacific University, she met a team of campus missionaries and faith-filled students. “They came into my life and demonstrated God’s love for me,” she explains. “As a sophomore in college, I was lost, depressed, unsure of my future, and didn’t know what my purpose in life was. It was because of this campus ministry that allowed me to fill a void in my heart that nothing of this world could fill - but only God could.”

Seven years later, Alyssa and her husband Vien, are now Campus Missionaries with Every Nation Churches & Ministries. “We work with college students on UH Manoa, UH West Oahu, Leeward Community College, and Hawaii Pacific University. Just as my life has been changed by discovering love, passion, and a purpose in a growing relationship with God, I believe He is calling us to reach this next generation for them to experience the same.

“Our heart and desire are to engage, establish, equip and empower young leaders to unashamedly share the Gospel wherever they go and to make a difference wherever they are. We are also passionate about sharing with others how God is moving in the next generation and ways we can partner to raise and reach them together,” Alyssa said.

Bautista served in the marriage sponsors ministry and helped prepare engaged couples for the Sacrament of Marriage. Edna and her husband have been married for over 27 years. “I believe that a Christ-centered marriage is a strong foundation for building a happy and stable family life which positively leads to creating good and safe communities. It is important with these Christian principles to pay it forward and be the best example of Christ that we can be,” she said.

Corpuz is not in ministry of any kind, but says she is active in perpetuating the

faith among her family. She explains, “as the eldest sibling, I’m the one who coordinates our Easter dinner each year which is a large celebration for all my siblings, their families and mine. We grew up with this tradition of Easter being a very special day in the year. And I want this tradition for our children and grandchildren,” Corpuz said.

Filipino Holy Week and Easter traditions

On Palm Sunday Mass, woven palm fronds or palapas blessed by a priest are handed out to congregants as a reminder when the son of man riding a lowly donkey was welcomed with waving palm leaves. On this day, Jesus’ arrival was met with jubilation by some of his followers as word spread quickly among Jews that the Messiah was making his glorious arrival.

Filipinos bring home their palm fronds and place them on a table set up for Holy Week that typically includes a cross, Jesus and Mary statues and fresh flowers. The fronds are believed to bring blessings into the home.

On one of the days in Holy Week typically before Good Friday, Filipinos practice the old custom “Pabasa ng Pasyon” (reading of the Passion) or “Pabasa” for short at a family member’s home. At these gatherings women lead the Pabasa. In the traditional way, they kneel before the temporary Holy Week altar –while the men gather behind them also facing the altar.

A related tradition that’s often done at the same gathering is the “Pasyong Mahal,” a sixteenth century epic sonnet portraying the life, crucifixion and eventual resurrection of Jesus. The Pasyong Mahal is sung in a eulogic, melodic lament, and with a palpable sadness in the voices of the lolas (grandmothers or elderly women) leading it. The entire narration is done in a group chant in acapella with a lead vocalist narrating it. In some cases, there is musical instrument accompaniment like a guitar or more elaborately a rondalla (multiple instrument) ensemble when done in public


Typically, tears are shed as the faithful sing and meditate on the suffering of Christ. Dressed in black (traditionalists wear a black or purple veil) as in a funeral, the epic Pasyong Mahal can last for hours. The idea is that the faithful participants are with Christ during his agonizing, long physical death.

That solemnity of the Pabasa and Pasyong Mahal culminates on Good Friday.

In the Philippines, there is an extreme tradition that’s discouraged today but still practiced called the penitensya or penance that involves magdarames (those who volunteer to share in someone else’s sorrow) practicing self-mortification of the flesh such as hitting oneself on the back with leather straps or crawling, lying down, or walking barefooted in a Good Friday procession that reenacts Christ’s journey carrying the cross.

The magdarames or flagelantes (flagellants) believe not only that they are giving penance for their sins and others’ sins but comforting the Lord by capturing this spirit of oneness in spirit and sorrow with him. The ultimate act of penitensya is the actual crucifixion of three chosen penitents. The penitensya in San Fernando, Pampanga, Philippines, have Catholic-Christians from around the world flocking there to witness it.

Today, more commonly, Good Friday customs most Filipinos follow in and outside the Philippines is simpler by attending the Stations of the Cross followed by Mass where attendees practice the pahalik, a devotion that involves kissing the image of the dead body of Christ on the cross.

Easter, Christ is Risen

Concluding Holy Week is Easter Sunday when Christians celebrate the risen Christ who rose from his death by crucifixion after the third day. Easter in the Philippines is called Pasko ng Pagkabuhay or Pasko ng Muling Pagkabuhay

“As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the

“What makes Christianity unique is not that Christ died as people do, but that He rose from the dead, which is a tenet of our faith. He represents hope and love in an imperfect world. Because of our human failures, Jesus sacrificed His life for me and for all us sinners so we can be redeemed. As a Catholic-Christian, I try to follow His example and strive to do good on Earth and one day to be with Him in Heaven. Per the Great Commission, it is our duty to help others get there, too.”

right side, and they were alarmed. ‘Don’t be alarmed,’ he said. ‘You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples…’” Mark 16:5-7.

Christians believe Jesus’ crucifixion was the heavy ransom Christ voluntarily paid for the sins of mankind so that all who believe in him can have salvation. Easter represents hope in eternal life and renewal of Christians’ faith in Jesus Christ.

Celebrations that mark the resurrection of Christ can be found across the Philippines from big cities to small towns. One of the most popular Easter processions is called the salubong that depicts the end of suffering by the removal of a black veil over the statue Mary.

Nonreligious Easter practices

The nonreligious celebration of Easter has children searching for eggs or artificial eggs with small prizes or money in them.

“When I lived on the mainland, I had foodie friends from around the world who shared their culture and cuisine with me. Sometimes I still try to incorporate those Easter traditions into my own celebrations—from eating Polish paczkis (jelly-filled donuts) or Portuguese malasadas the day before Ash Wednesday and Mexican capirotada (bread pudding) during Lent to dying eggs red like the Greeks and baking braided breads like the Ukrainians for Easter. Sometimes I would make pastel-colored puto, because I think they look like Easter eggs, and share these sweet Filipino rice cakes on our international table. There are so many fascinating Easter traditions around the world, and I loved how our global get-togethers show both the diversity and unity as Christians,” Bautisa said.

Laureta describes her typical Easter events. “We would do activities together like color eggs, fill eggs for the egg hunt, and just eat good food and sweets all day. During the egg hunt, it has been always com(continue on page 6)

(Filipino.....from page 4)
A flagellant act of penistensya during Good Friday.

Cutting State Spending to Help Lahaina is Only Real Choice

By their nature, emergencies tend to be sudden and unforeseen.

As the devastating example of Lahaina has shown us, emergencies can come with profound costs, both human and financial.

Political leaders can anticipate such problems by putting away money in emergency funds or keeping government spending low in order to build up a surplus that will serve as a cushion, if necessary.

Unfortunately, that’s not what Hawaii has done. Instead, lawmakers have consistently increased spending through the years, despite

being warned that such high spending is unsustainable.

The golden rule of budgeting is that government spending should not outpace the expansion of the private sector. Yet, between 2013 and 2022, Hawaii’s state budget ballooned by 87% while the private sector increased by only 24%.

A confluence of factors resulting from the COVID-19 crisis led to a modest surplus, but that was short-lived. Rather than save for the future, the Legislature went on an ill-advised spending spree in 2023. Even after Gov. Green chipped away $1 billion, total spending still busted through the constitutionally mandated state spending cap by more than $1 billion.

Thanks to disappointing

revenue projections and higher costs, this year’s budget was set to exceed that cap again. But now that the costs associated with Lahaina’s recovery are higher than anticipated, the problem is even worse.

Originally, Gov. Josh Green’s administration estimated that Lahaina’s recovery would cost $600 million over the next four years. Now, the state is trying to determine whether that amount will be exceeded in just one year.

Already, the governor has asked the state Legislature to immediately pass a $362 million appropriation for Lahaina relief — in addition to the $199 million that was allocated to the wildfire response last year. This has forced the Legislature to go hunting for more funding, which in my view leaves only real option — spending cuts.

Some people might suggest the state could take on more debt to pay for it all, but that’s not a solution. Debt is borrowing against the future. All it would do is delay the pain while making it more expensive for Hawaii residents in the long run.

Higher taxes aren’t the solution either. Hawaii already has the nation’s second-highest tax burden, highest cost of living and highest average housing prices.

Given our declining population and stagnant economy, we simply cannot afford to raise Hawaii’s tax burden any further.

That means the only remaining option is to cut the budget. Legislators have anticipated this, and are considering everything from across the board 10%-15% budget cuts to canceling the redevelopment


Social Media Star Bretman Rock Acknowledged at the Hawaii State Capitol

Filipino-American and Hawaii local social media star Bretman Rock Sacayanan Laforga was recently invited to the Hawaii State Capitol to be recognized for his contribution and impact locally, statewide and internationally for uplifting people through his social media content.

Known online as Bretman Rock, the social media personality has 18.9 million followers on Instagram, 16.3 million followers on TikTok and 4.3 million on Facebook as of this writing. With his content covering make-up, fashion and comedy, Bretman Rock never fails to highlight his life growing up Filipino in West Oahu.

The 25-year-old so-

peting on where the ‘golden egg’ is and who would find it.” She said one memorable Easter, “One year an egg had $50 inside and that golden egg was balancing on our uncle’s beer bottle he was holding, but no one thought to look there until all the eggs were taken in the yard.”

Meaning of Easter

cial media star was greeted by Hawaii Governor Josh Green, M.D. and Lieutenant Governor Sylvia Luke upon his arrival at the Hawaii State Capitol.

“Mahalo for all you do to inspire people from around the world and especially Hawaii’s keiki to not only be proud of their cultural heritage but to be their true authentic self,” said Green in a speech.

of Christ. In the Passion, He [Jesus] gave us an example of obedience, humility, constancy, justice and of other virtues also, all of which we must practice if we are to be saved. Christ suffered for us, leaving you an example that you should follow His steps.”

of Aloha Stadium.

Budget cuts inevitably bring on complaints from groups who don’t want to see some programs lose a penny of government funding. But the fact is that we have no other choice if we are going to do the right thing for Lahaina victims.

In truth, we should have embraced responsible budgeting years ago. Not only would it have put our economy in a better place, but it might have left us better able to respond to emergencies such as the Lahaina wildfire.

Cutting the budget — and resisting the urge to increase it again — will empower us to help Lahaina and build up the surplus we need to be prepared for future emergencies.

“Not only are you able to use social media as a tool for good, but you’re able to inspire people who don’t

all us sinners so we can be redeemed. As a Catholic-Christian, I try to follow His example and strive to do good on Earth and one day to be with Him in Heaven. Per the Great Commission, it is our duty to help others get there, too.”

often get the spotlight. Your breaking of barriers and success are truly commendable (continue on page 11)

the promise of eternal life to all who believe in Him.”

In St. Thomas Aquinas’ critically acclaimed Meditation for Each Day of Lent, he said, “there was not any more fitting way to free the human race than through the Passion

Corpuz gets emotional whenever she thinks about what Jesus did on Easter. “I am so thankful to God for sending His son Jesus whose death on the cross saved us from our sins. We’re all sinners and undeserving of eternal life in heaven. How loving of God to have found a way for us to be redeemed and share eternal life with Him,” she said. “And Jesus’ dying on the cross was that way. This is why we celebrate Easter with pure joy and gratitude.” (

Bautista said, “What makes Christianity unique is not that Christ died as people do, but that He rose from the dead, which is a tenet of our faith. He represents hope and love in an imperfect world. Because of our human failures, Jesus sacrificed His life for me and for

Laureta said, “Easter is a reminder of the pain Jesus endured through the crucifixion on the cross and the victory he won through the resurrection from the grave. What this means for us is that there’s hope and assurance that no matter our past or present circumstances, Jesus offers forgiveness and

COVER STORY: Filipino....from page 5)
KELI‘I AKINA is the president and CEO of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii. Social media star Bretman Rock with Lt. Gov. Sylvia Luke and Gov. Josh Green

e are now at a stage where the big rematch for the U.S. presidency is assured between President Biden and the former president who, at first, wouldn’t go away peacefully but now wants to get re-elected and stay forever.

WIt’s Biden v. Trump, But There’s Only One Way to Vote to Save Democracy

tator. Only Trump would be trumping American democracy for his own gain.

President Joe Biden has no such desires. He’s thinking about the good of the country.

Biden’s State of the Union Address last week had me at “Hello.”

Or more specifically, “Hitler,” the name the president evoked when he began the speech.

This time, Donald Trump vows to do things the right way—for his own self-aggrandizement—in order to ensure his permanent sense of power.

He’s surrounded himself with all the enablers who will help him achieve his stated goal—to be dictator for a day. One day is all he would need to make the decisions and pull the levers to make sure he becomes president for life.

Just like China’s Xi. A dic-

Biden started with a quote from President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who in January 1941 said, “Hitler was on the march. War was raging in Europe.”

It was a reminder of the threat.

“President Roosevelt’s purpose was to wake up Congress and alert the American people that this was no ordinary moment,” Biden said. “Freedom and democracy were under assault in the world. Tonight, I come to the

same chamber to address the nation.”

The president was equating Hitler with Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and with Donald Trump’s acquiescence to Putin.

“My predecessor, a former Republican president, tells Putin, ‘Do whatever the hell you want,’” Biden said, quoting Trump.

“A former American president actually said that, bowing down to a Russian leader. It’s outrageous. It’s dangerous. It’s


So why do the majority of Republicans want Trump to be our next president?

And what of you? Are you tired of freedom and democracy? Then by all means, consider Trump, the man who has coddled Russian dictator Vladimir Putin for years, and who just last week entertained Hungarian dictator Victor Orban at Mar-a-Lago. These are Trump’s role models. Not Lincoln, Jefferson, LBJ, or JFK.

If only it were Marcos, senior and not Bong-Bong in the presidency in the RP. Trump would be all over them.

Of course, American presidents from Reagan to Bush have always loved the Marcoses, propping them up until the fall.

A whole new era now, with Trump and the white dictators. That’s how a freedom-loving country like ours finds its Republican party embracing a

man who represents the same threat to American democracy as Hitler.

They don’t see themselves as a threat because they see “the rest of us” as the ones who stand as mortal enemies of their vision of America.

What’s that America? One where the freedom is to their liking: Lots of guns, no immigrants, and everyone pregnant is forced to have unwanted babies. And all the history books feature Donald Trump as the best president of all time, for the rest of time.

That brings us to the other line in Biden’s State of the Union address, which may well be the single most powerful one in the speech.

“You can’t just love your country when you win,” Biden said.

Of course, you work together, winners and losers, to make a better America. You

(continue on page 10)

Rematch: Biden vs. Trump

locos Norte Governor Matthew

dience from the local business and non-profit sectors, as well as government officials from both the State and City and County governments, along with delegates from the Philippines. by Rose

Ithe Investment delegation to Hawaii and California. The nine-member delegation from Ilocos Norte arrived in Honolulu on March 10 and departed for California on March 14. Local government and business leaders from Ilocos Sur also joined them.

A welcome reception attended by close to 250 guests was hosted by Hawaii Governor Josh Green and First Lady Jamie Green at the historic Washington Place last Monday, March 11, before a closed-door meeting with Hawaii’s government officials.

On Tuesday, March 12, the Ilocos Norte delegation initiated an investment presentation and dialogue with a very limited group at the Philippine Consulate.

The business symposium, which took place on March 13th at the Hawai’i Convention Center, drew a diverse au-

Manotoc led Phil and Christine Sabado from Maui presenting one of their most popular home accessories to Gov. Manotoc and partner Jamie. Governor Matthew Manotoc of Ilocos Norte delivers his keynote address at the Hawaii-Philippines Sister Province Symposium at the Hawaii Convention Center last March 13. At the center is Gov. Josh Green and First Lady Jamie Green with DOE head recruiter Jams Lynch Urbianak posing for a photo with several J-1 teachers from Ilocos Region. To the right wearing leis are Ilocos Norte Governor Matthew Manotoc and his partner, Jamie Herrell. (L-R) Charles Degala of Tahiti Productions, Kahu Kamana’opono Agres, Troy Mendoza, and Rosemarie Mendoza of HPBEC. (Standing L-R) Bennette Misalucha, Noli Cabatu, and Amelia Cabatu. (L-R) Maggie Domingo, Adela Salacup, Carol Cardenas, Keith Kanetani, Fe Velasco of the HPBEC board, Allan Alvarez, Alonzo Alvarez and Atty. Rhoda Yabes Alvarez. Standing are Sol Solleza and FCCH’s Immediate Past President Rocky Anguay. Eddie Flores Jr. Chairman of the L&L fast food empire addresses the audience as part of Panel B while moderator Joe Berardy of DBI Hawaii, Greg Auberry of Consuelo Foundation, and Phil & Christine Sabado listen. Panel C participants (L-R) Mylene Reyes, Melody Calisay, Keith Kanetani, and moderator Jeoffrey Cudiamat. (L-R) Second-generation Filipina from Kauai and Panel D moderator Su Lazo with Xavier Ruiz of Ilocos Norte’s head of tourism office and Romel Dela Cruz whose father and uncles were sakadas in Big Island. Panel A moderator Bennette Misalucha with panelists James Lynch Urbianak, Tim Mobley (President & CEO of Connext), Sergio Alcubila III (Executive Director of the Hawaii Workers Center), and Rhoda Yabes Alvarez (immigration lawyer with offices in Hawai’i and the Philippines).

The 2024 Ohana Medical Mission to the Philippines

The Ohana Medical Mission Inc. (OMM) once again started the year 2024 by conducting a large-scale medical mission in the Philippines.

The medical mission covered the towns of San Fernando, Bauang, Bacnotan and Balaoan in La Union from January 8-12 and January 13-14, 2024 in Cabugao, Ilocos Sur sponsored by the Sonido Family.

This was also preceded by an OMM-supported medical mission in Barangay Sta. Cruz, Sinait, Ilocos Sur on December 30, 2023 sponsored by the Iloreta Family c/o Ms. Herminia Gaspar, the current secretary of OMM.

The medical mission provided medical, surgical, dental,

optical and humanitarian services to the beneficiaries. It also provided continuing medical education (CME) to local physicians with the help of local experts in the fields of Cardiology, Rheumatology, Surgery, Endocrinology, Geriatrics, Pediatrics and OB-Gyne.

The La Union medical mission is considered to be one of the largest undertakings of OMM.

This has been a close collaboration among stakeholders namely the Provincial Government, Local government units, Philippine Medical Association, La Union chapter, Philippine Dental Association, La Union chapter, UST Medical Alumni Association of America foundation, TITANS USA, Sigma Beta Tau Phi Fraternity and Kappa Chi Omega Soror-

ity of the University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Medicine and Surgery.

The Ilocos Training and Regional Medical center in San Fernando, La Union has provided the indigent patients free laboratory and ancillary services. It also accepted referred patients from the mission for continuity of care.

The success of the mission would not have been possible without the hardwork of all volunteers both from the USA and Philippines and the able leaderships of Dr. Ian Guerrero of OMM, Dr. Ferdinand Ramos of the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Medical Alumni Association of America and Dr. David Bolong, chairman of the Department of Surgery, UST Hospital.

Those who joined from

Barangay Santa Cruz, Sinait, Ilocos Sur


Total services rendered: 285 (Medical, Pediatrics, Optical)

Humanitarian-gift giving provided as well

Cabugao, Ilocos Sur

CABUGAO MISSION (Jan. 13-14, 2024)

Total patients served: 1,100 • Total services rendered: 1,171

Services: Adult Medical: 482 • Pediatrics: 184 • Dental: 63 • Minor surgical: 43 • Optical: 399 • Humanitarian Gift-Giving: 325

Hawaii include first time volunteer students from the PMAH foundation, Balaonians of Hawaii led by Mr. Cesar Ramirez, sisters Carlota Ader and Baybee Hufana-Ablan, both from San Fernando, La Union and Marianela Jacob APRN ,President of the Philippine Nurses Association of Hawaii with his family.

Familiar faces and veteran missionaries who joined the mission are Dr. Charlie Sonido, Nelson and the Sonido family, Dr. Amelia Jacang, Dr. Russel Kelly and wife Cynthia, Dr. Arnold and Dory Villafuerte, Hermie and Bill Gaspar, Dr. Ed Dela Cruz and Armie Dela Cruz RN, Dr. Robert Sy and JP Orias, OMM’s executive director. Volunteers from the USA mainland include Dr. Ferdinand Ramos, Dr. Samuel Macagba and wife Jane RN, Dr. Manuel Dela Cruz, wife Lucy with daughter Ysa-

belle, Dr. Bernie Servillas and wife Monica, Petronilo Ramos and Marielle RN, Dr. Rizalina Peralta, Hydie Invencion RN, Carlota Ader and Baybee Hufana-Ablan.

The Philippine-based volunteers include local government unit volunteers, Philippine Medical association volunteers, Dentist volunteers, Surgery residents of UST hospital, medical students from the University of Santo Tomas and the preceptees of the Hawaii Titans Preceptorship program.

The medical mission culminated with the Aloha Night at GEFSIES Greek Grill, a fun-filled night full of laughter, dancing, singing and pure camaraderie among missionaries. The weeklong mission has never been a dull moment.

OMM sustains its missions through the generosities of all the donors. OMM will forever be grateful and honored for the donors to be part of its success. On to the next mission!

Municipalities of Balaoan, Bauang, and Bacnotan in La Union LA UNION MISSION (Jan. 8-12, 2024)

Total patients served: 6,129

Total services rendered: 7571 (excluding humanitarian gift giving)

Services: Adult Medical: 3,230 • Pediatric: 1,383 • Dental: 738 •

Minor Surgeries: 256 • Medium surgeries: 29 • Optical: 1,935 •

Humanitarian Gift Giving: 800 families



“Ohana means family. Family means nobody gets left behind.”

I heard the sentence first from my children Tweety and Paul and from my son-in-law Jonathan, when my wife Delia and I visited them eight years ago in their residence in Mililani, Oahu, Hawaii.

Then, I learned that the word was popularized in English after I watched the 2022 Disney film, Lilo & Stitch.

Ohana is a Hawaiian word referring to a person’s extended family, which can include friends and other important social groups.

The bonding, in every encounter among ohana, whether it be long drives, physical sports, walking, trekking, mountain climbing, river trips, island hopping, etc., is always so intimate and affectionate that no amount of physical strain and sleepless nights could have spoiled the

Ohana: The Center of the Universe

fun and warmth the family had after long years of not being together due to physical boundaries.

In another instance, ohana, describing relationship networks, carries a certain responsibility.

When you are part of an ohana, you have an obligation to take care of those in your circles, and they have an obligation to take care of you.

In the context of a family, this can mean respecting your elders or caring for children within the family.

In a work ohana, colleagues share obligations. More generally, a member of any type of ohana is expected to behave honorably and avoid bringing shame to the group.

Despite the discreetness of American society, the family is still recognized as the institution where everything that we do and need in life such as education, relationships, values, responsibility, and work is the center of the universe.

I have been watching the TV series Blue Bloods, about a family of cops in the city of New York, and they always end up at a long table for dinner at the end of the day and discuss various issues relat-

PERSPECTIVES: It’s Biden v. Trump....from page 7)

find common ground. You’re on the same team.

You don’t stop the peaceful transition of power with an attempted insurrection.

You don’t proclaim as a party that the election was stolen and continue to deny the legitimacy of an election to this very day.

You don’t stop a real compromise on immigration because it makes for a GOP campaign issue.

You don’t balk at any real solutions because it’s better for you to continue to fight and argue about fixing a problem.

Yet that’s what we see from the Republicans. They’ve lost the sense of democratic values. And once they have full control in a second Trump term, it just won’t matter what their opponents think anymore.

Autocracy, strongman

ing to their work, themselves, school, and current issues.

Every member of the family puts in his/her one-cent worth of knowledge for every topic they are faced with at the dining table.

I also remember in the past, when we were still young, we did the same practice (with a family of 16: father, mother, grandmother, and 13 children) gathered at a long table for dinner, and discussed things while eating.

This was the old practice, and the Blue Bloods experience must be the contemporary practice. So, the family is still the center of the universe, old and new!

In fact, even Pope John Paul 11 and Pope Benedict XL1 stressed the importance of the family “in the life of the church and of society.”

Pope John Paul said before a packed congregation in St. Peter’s Basilica: “The family has always been the center of attention of my venerable predecessors, especially Pope John 11. He was convinced, and I reiterated it many times, that the crisis within the family comes at the grave detriment of our civilization.”

Parenting has always been the center stage, not only for full-time parents but also

rule, dictatorship by any other name.

Biden’s speech was different. It sought to bring us all together, not just based on ideology, but on class.

Biden boasted about the good economy. The facts are undeniable. He cited historic job growth and small business growth for Black, Hispanic, and Asian Americans. (A shout-out to us!)

800,000 new manufacturing jobs. More people with health insurance than ever before thanks to Obamacare, which Republicans want to ditch.

The racial wealth gap is the smallest in 20 years. Inflation dropped from 9% to 3%, the lowest in the world and trending lower, Biden said.

But most Americans see the economy like the weath-

for working moms and dads. Because of the role they play, Mother’s Day is celebrated every second Sunday of May and Father’s Day is celebrated every third Sunday of July, to commemorate their parenting efforts.

Family reunions also have been treasured by families all over the world.

“To us, it is the time of the year that we renew our common memories and get better acquainted with more relatives. The family is so huge that we wanted to be with them so often. They all have something to add to enhance our lives. We are like never-ending book, so to speak, that gets closer to completion every reunion but generates greater interest every time we meet,” my children chorused.

Even when our family members are dispersed in different places because they already have their own families, we can always connect with them via Zoom, emails, letters, video conferences, etc.

That’s the wonder of the internet – it makes things possible by breaking the physical boundaries that separate us.

That’s what we do! My eldest Gigi, with her husband Eric, are in Sydney, Australia,

er forecast. There’s the actual temperature and then there’s the “feels like” temperature. And Americans are having trouble feeling how good things really are.

Biden gave assurances for all. “I’m determined to turn things around so the middle class does well, the poor have a way up and the wealthy still do well. We all do well.”

That’s not what you hear from Republicans, who under Trump enacted a $2 trillion tax cut that Biden said, “overwhelmingly benefits the very wealthy and the biggest corporations and exploded the federal deficit.”

The national debt rose by 39% under Trump to $27.8 trillion, higher than any other presidency.

And it was tax cuts to the rich that did it. When you cut

but they always keep in touch with us, not only during special occasions but every now and then. So, with my son Jojo (with his wife Alvi and children Kayla and Bibay) from Jacksonville, Florida, they are also always in touch with us.

My daughter Tweety (with husband Jonathan and the soon-to-be-four-year-old daughter Ellie by March) is also always in touch. They lived in South Carolina for four years and will be relocating back to Oahu, Hawaii where my youngest son Paul is likewise residing in Kapolei, Hawaii.

My other daughter May (with Steve) is also living in Manteca, California where they bought their house last year. They make sure that they visit us once a week and are always present on special occasions.

Of course, my son Jayson, who graduated from San Francisco State University is with us at our Milpitas ancestral home.

Family matters… then and now!

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

out income, a nation’s debt rises, and so-called conservative values go out the window.

Biden promised a fairer tax code where billionaires who pay just 8% now will pay their fair share.

And he vowed to change the fact that 55 of the biggest companies that made $40 billion in profits paid zero in federal income taxes.

On the economics, Biden gives us options. Trump takes away, while fully focused on being an autocratic strongman like Putin.

With democracy’s norms neutralized, he would be a dictator in the White House, surrounded by “yes men.”

That’s the dark Trump vision. And it’s so anti-American, that it’s energized Biden to take his SOTU address on the road.

Oh and the age thing? Just this week, the GOP ageist strategy was dealt a blow when the special prosecutor in the Biden documents case denied saying Biden was senile.

In fact, Robert Hur said Biden had a photographic member.

Add that to the SOTU address and Biden’s showing us all he’s got the stamina, energy, and wisdom to defeat the darkness and fight against the possibility of an American dictator.

The rematch is on and though November may seem far away, lock in your vote in your mind and heart now. Don’t change. Don’t waver.

There can be no swaying if democracy is to be saved.

EMIL GUILLERMO is a journalist and commentator. His talk show is on www.amok.com.


Silver power! Elderly power!

The Democrats and Republicans have decided, and President Biden and Donald Trump will meet in a rematch for the most powerful position in the world, president of the United States of America.

Both men had no problems getting their party’s nomination even though Trump had to defeat a line-up of younger candidates who wanted the job.

With Biden being 81 years old and Trump being 77 years old, this is the oldest coupling of candidates in the history of our nation.

Many voters are unhappy with the two choices because of their ages, and there is talk of a legitimate third-party candidate becoming a spoiler.

Voters have expressed their desire for younger dynamic candidates, and some have even spoken of not voting at all.

I wouldn’t recommend this as every vote counts, and is a symbol of the freedoms we cherish.

and I’m so proud that you’re an ambassador of aloha and from Hawaii for the world.”

Luke also extended the same sentiments to Bretman Rock.

“What’s truly inspiring about Bretman is his unwavering commitment to living authentically and sharing his genuine self with the world. Bretman is undoubtedly a treasure to Hawaiʻi, and his authenticity inspires us all to be our truest selves,” she said.

In true Bretman Rock fashion, he shared a profound remark during his speech.

“There are three rocks in

The Race for President

The issue of age is an important one, and I, as a Democrat, had concerns about President Biden. His speech at the State of the Union did change my mind, and I feel Biden is ready and capable for the ensuing campaign this year.

There is no doubt that the president shows his age and even sounds old at times. However, that’s the nature of aging, and we’re all going to be in that boat one day.

In Biden’s case, I see him as a sage elderly man with a long history of politics and governing beginning with his time in Congress.

Age brings wisdom, and the president’s background and experience are towering compared to Trump who served one term in the executive branch.

Trump’s slow handling of the COVID-19 crisis was weak and ultimately led to hundreds of thousands of deaths in my opinion.

His apparent coziness with North Korea’s Kim, Russia’s Putin, and Hungary’s Orban shows a willingness to befriend dictators and leaders who are not friends of Democracy.

His role in the January 6 insurgency, his handling of top secret classified U.S. documents, his attacks on NATO countries, his denials of his last

Hawaii: Barack, The Rock, and Bretman Rock,” said Bretman Rock.

Bretman Rock joined the Hawaii State Legislature Filipino Caucus meeting and then a House of Representative floor session. Both meetings honored the social media star for his significant achievements in his career.

“Bretman’s journey reminds us that our differences are what make us beautiful and that embracing our roots can be a source of strength and inspiration. His success is a beacon of hope for young Filipino Americans and aspiring content creators, showing them that with hard

presidential election defeat, and his efforts to stop the transition of power between himself and Biden show me a man who should not be president a second time.

Trump also lost two significant court cases in our legal system, and fines resulting from the two cases exceeded over $500 million. One jury in New York did find Trump guilty of sexually abusing and defaming E. Jean Carroll in 1996.

In his New York civil fraud case, Trump was also found guilty of fraudulently overstating his assets and lying about his assets, thus, duping banks and lenders to his benefit.

As punishment, Trump

work, perseverance, and a little bit of sparkle, anything is possible,” said Representative Rachele F. Lamosao.

“Your mannerisms have helped normalize acceptance of individuals who may be different, making me and my friends feel validated; you’ve inspired youth and adults across the country to live authentically,” said Representative Adrian K. Tam who also serves as Co-Convenor of the Legislature’s Equality Caucus.

“Your impact is immeasurable, as seen in the countless LGBTQ individuals who see themselves in you.”

were created in February of this year.

In Hawaii, our cost of living is high, but I wouldn’t blame the president for the outcomes. Housing is one of the biggest cost drivers in our state, and both county and state governments can improve to make affordable housing more available.

I don’t ever expect housing costs to go down in Hawaii as we are now in an era where developable land is scarce, the workforce is limited, permitting is still slow, and opinions on what to do are varied.

has been banned from being an officer or director for three years in any NY corporation or entity along with the $354 million fine or sanction.

With several court cases still open, why would voters want to elect a person who already has been found guilty in our justice system and could possibly be found guilty again in federal court?

I’m appalled that the support for Trump is so strong and pervasive in the Republican party, but since he was a former president, I can see how his vindictiveness and talk of revenge bring fear to some politicians and power brokers.

Others may just like his independent style and audacious personality.

Age, the Israeli/Hamas war, funding Ukraine’s war, inflation, and the economy have been areas of criticism by President Biden s opponents. Mortgage rates are hovering over 6%, and the real estate market has cooled considerably under Biden.

In his State of the Union speech, the president did mention a plan that would provide $400 a month for two years for new homebuyers. For middle-class families, this could mean the difference between buying or renting. Inflation was at 9.1% in 2022, but the latest figure was 3.2% in February of 2024.

Unemployment is at a low 3.9%, and 275,000 new jobs

More rentals and assistance from the federal government would be nice as government subsidies and tax credits can be helpful for states, counties, developers, and nonprofits trying to build affordable rentals.

Stay tuned as more pocketbook issues are addressed by the candidates in the coming months.

The race for president is on, and we must carefully pay attention to what is happening in our neighborhoods and towns before the November general election.

Two older Americans will battle, and the winner will dictate the future of our country and the world. One candidate is a businessman and former president with an unfortunate criminal background and history. The other is a career politician currently in office.

The respective political parties have chosen these seasoned citizens to lead our nation, and we must choose who we feel is the best choice for our children, the economy, and the world.

Biden and Trump are the last of their generation to be president of the United States, and the voters of November need to remember past actions, deeds, outcomes, and words when marking their ballots.

Age can sometimes be a blessing. God bless America!

WILL ESPERO retired from the Hawaii legislature after serving 19 years in the state House of Representatives and state Senate. He is currently a novelist, poet, and supporter of the arts. Lingering Thoughts provides a glimpse of his perspective on current events and issues.

(HAWAII-FILIPINO NEWS: Filipino International....from page 6)


Bibliolepsy, A Novel

The author, Gina Apostol, is the latest (Spring 2024) Dan and Maggie Inouye Distinguished Chair in Democratic Ideals at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. She is the second person of Filipino ancestry to be selected—the first was Antonio A. Oposa Jr. in 2015.

The Inouye Chair’s goal is to draw leading intellectuals, artists, and other public figures to Hawai’i to educate students and the greater community by sharing their work. By staying in Hawai’i for a semester, they in turn, can be inspired by Hawaii’s unique ambiance.

To date, the author has written five novels, the first of which is Bibliolepsy written in 1997 which won in the Philippines’ National Book Awards of 1998. This book was reissued in 2022 by Soho Press—with a preface added, and a new cover design.

The main protagonist is Primi Perigrino, and like the author, grew up in Leyte or thereabouts, and eventually pursued higher education in the big city.

The narrative is from Primi’s perspective and de-

scribes her affliction for the written word—thus the title of the book—a made-up name with a mix of Latin and Greek roots that loosely mean the desire for books and words.

From Primi’s written monologues, she sounds like a self-absorbed eccentric whose lifeline is books and the written word—and the folks who authored these.

In the first part of the book, eight-year-old Primi’s parents disappear mysteriously from an inter-island ferry.

Her father was a graphic artist/underground political cartoonist (circa 1972 when Martial Law was declared in the Philippines) while her mother was a “crazy” but beautiful taxidermist—and their deaths leave Primi and her older sister Anna in the care of their weird grandmother they call abuelita

Primi is considered a reading prodigy and swoons over the written text and seduces the authors she admires, while her sister Anna is a mystic who believes that positive energy will oust the dictator—since the second part is set amidst the backdrop of mid-80s Philippines, toward the end of Marcos regime, a time of censorship, political

protest, and civil unrest.

Unlike the other books describing the mid-80s era, the author has her own unique style in describing those days.

“CNN had cornered the market on the street revolt: I look at the onscreen crowds.

The country has emerged as kitsch of the day, a panorama of many divisible scenes shot up as one gigantic yellow mushroom you could chew, and psychedelia followed.”

It is an unusual take on living through political turmoil, eloquent but also disturbing. Sometimes funny but always provoking. Despite these—I think reading one of her books is enough for my lifetime.

To those who are intrigued by her writing, she has four other published books.

Her latest is La Tercera, published in 2023. She plans to read from this latest novel at her scheduled talk on April 5, Friday 5:30 p.m. at the Scottish Rite Cathedral in Makiki.

Her talk entitled “Istorya: Weaving Personal Stories into Fiction” is about how

researching and exploring family history opened links to Philippine revolutionary history and the anti-colonial legacy of Rizal and others. It should be a memorable evening.

For those interested in attending, please send an email to kalamansibooks@gmail. com. Or contact its sponsors—the Filipino Association of University Women (FAUW), UP Alumni Association of Hawaii (UPAAH), and the Knights of Rizal— Hawaii and Aloha chapters.

ROSE CRUZ CHURMA established Kalamansi Books & Things three decades ago. It has evolved from a mail-order bookstore into an online 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.


Comprehensive Survey Reveals the Mindset of Local Residents in All Four Counties

The Winter 2023 Edition of Hawai’i Perspectives showcases the results of comprehensive surveys done by nearly 900 residents across the state. The survey was conducted from October 7 to November 16, 2023, in each of Hawaii’s four counties.

The scientific polling conducted 411 interviews in the City and County of Honolulu, 206 in Hawaii County, 164 in Maui County, and 166 in Kauai County. Some of the issues highlighted by the respondents were Hawaii’s high cost of living, lack of affordable housing, and growth of homelessness.

In a press release, Pacific Resource Partnership shared the survey’s “most revealing discoveries”:

- 56% of Hawai‘i residents believe the state is on the wrong track, compared to 45% four years ago.

- 80% of Hawai‘i residents say the gap between rich and poor is growing.

- 51% of those surveyed blame government permitting for Hawai‘i’s severe housing crisis.

- 65% of respondents say we should allow more visitors to Hawai‘i to create jobs for residents and opportunities for small businesses.

- 44% of those who took part in the survey have personally thought about leaving the state.

- 62% of respondents define affordable housing for a two-bedroom apartment as $1,500 per month or less, and 86% define an affordable home as having a purchase price of $500,000 or less.

- 78% of Hawai‘i residents are not willing to pay a higher cost of living to meet the state’s 100 percent renewable energy goals.

“Hawai‘i Perspectives represents the pulse of our people as communities throughout the islands grapple with longstanding issues like a lack of affordable housing, skyrocketing prices due to inflation, and rising homelessness with people living on our city streets,” said Josh Magno, Pacific Resource Partnership interim executive director.

“It’s our hope that policymakers, community leaders, advocacy groups and others

use the information contained in Hawai‘i Perspectives to make sound, commonsense decisions about our collective future in this place we all love. Although the data picked up by Hawai‘i Perspectives reflects a sense of pessimism about the future of the state, there is also hope that we can find the right mix of ideas and innovation to move Hawai‘i forward.”

The survey was conducted by Anthology Research which is a Honolulu-based full-service market research firm. The last Hawai’i Perspectives edition was published in 2019 when the organization surveyed residents in the same year.

“Pacific Resource Partnership wanted the Winter 2023 edition of Hawai‘i Perspectives to accurately reflect the attitudes of local residents in all four counties, which required a stratified approach and the polling of nearly 900 individuals,” said David Pettinger, senior partner at Anthology Research.

To view the full scientific survey and its findings of Hawai’i Perspectives, visit https://info.prp-hawaii.com/ hawaii-perspectives-winter-2023-issue.



Filipino International Student Angela Bauza on Her Master’s Program Journey

Studying abroad is a privilege and a gift that many students hope to experience in their educational careers. Similarly, aiming for higher education by pursuing a master’s degree is also something that most young adults don’t consider but when an opportunity presents itself to pursue graduate school, it’s an opportunity that is too hard to pass.

For Filipino international student Angela Bauza, the opportunity to pursue graduate school abroad was a chance for her to regain herself from burnout and explore the world beyond the confines of Manila, Philippines.

“As much as I loved my job, I was looking for something more. Then my parents suggested looking into graduate programs,” Bauza shared as she recalls the start of her journey as an international student in the United States.

“And that’s what made me realize, maybe this is an opportunity for me to start pursuing my big dream of living abroad, specifically New York, and also rekindle my passion for the industry at the same time.”

Born and raised in the Philippines, Bauza grew up in a big family surrounded by her parents, siblings, cousins, uncles, and aunties.

She pursued a degree in Communication Arts with a specialization in Film at De La Salle University in Manila because of her love and passion for film production.

After graduation, she had a stint as a production assistant in a production company but quickly realized that it wasn’t the right path for her.

Despite leaving the production industry, she ventured into a similar industry such as advertising and public relations that still championed her skills in production.

With an impressive career in public relations, Bauza said she learned the best lesson while working at an agency.

“Being under a lot of stress and pressure, sometimes you can’t help but feel really overwhelmed and it can really get to you,” she shared. “But I learned that if I’m able to communicate with my team (where I’m lacking, where I need help with, etc), then we work better as a team, and it also makes us stronger as a team.”

However, the pressures of challenging and fastpaced work still lead to burnout. With the encouragement of her parents, Bauza looked into graduate schools despite her initial thoughts of being “just an average student.”

“For the longest time, I’ve perceived graduate school as prestigious and only the smartest people could get accepted. Since I was never really a grade A student in school and I was just an average student, I didn’t think this would be an actual opportunity for me,” she explained.

“But more than anything, getting a chance to live in New York has always been a dream of mine and that’s what pushed me the most. I thought that it was worth giving it a shot, at least. Because if I didn’t end up getting it, then at least I wouldn’t have regrets and I knew that I tried.”

Bauza took a leap of faith and sent her application to New York University’s (NYU) Master’s in Integrated Marketing program in January 2021. Two months later, she received her acceptance letter. She then began to process her U.S. student visa application.

2021 was a tough year as the world tried to make sense of the new normal during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Processing her visa application with the U.S. Embassy in Manila, Bauza faced numerous delays that almost made her miss her

first day of school at NYU. But luckily, she made it in time to New York in August 2021.

“I hoped to get to New York a month before school started, but because of the delay with the embassy, it was shortened to two weeks,” she said. “It was a lot of time under pressure, but thankfully it all worked out in the time.”

Her master’s program took two years to complete and Bauza officially graduated in May 2023. Looking back, she shared the whole graduate program experience was inspiring.

“Experiencing graduate school at NYU was both challenging and inspiring,” Bauza shared.

“It was inspiring because I got to meet a lot of great people, from all over the world. My classmates and I all had our own stories and I don’t think we would have crossed paths if it wasn’t for this. It was also inspiring because I had the privilege to be taught by professors who were real professionals and experts in the industry. My fellow classmates were colleagues in the industry. And it was really inspiring to see how we were all from different parts of the world, but we shared the same passion for this, and that’s what connected us.”

Despite living thousands of miles away from the Philippines and Asia, Bauza still kept in touch with her roots and is always looking for ways to give back to the Asian community.

Currently, Bauza works at an Asian clothing brand company called Love, Bonito as part of its marketing team. As an Asian woman, she is proud to see her employer champion women’s empowerment in the workplace and in the products they offer.

“The best part of my job is being able to with like-minded people and serving the community of Asian women like me,” she shared.

“It’s great that I also align with the company’s values especially when it comes to women empowerment and I think that’s one of the biggest motivations I have while working for Love, Bonito. I also work with a great team of passionate women and they help me grow every single day, even outside of work, I really learn a lot from them.”

In her free time, she volunteers at a non-profit organization that focuses on giving back to the Asian community. Bauza volunteers at Heart of Dinner, a non-profit in New York that addresses food insecurity and isolation experienced by Asian American seniors. As part of the organization, she personally delivers nutritious care packages to the elders.

“I enjoy volunteering because it’s through these actions that may look small but may have a huge impact on someone else, that makes it feel extremely fulfilling. I am also continuously looking for other non-profit organizations and programs that I could volunteer at,” she shared.

When asked about her future plans, Bauza shared that she’s focused on building her career in the US.

“I love New York and I’m not ready to leave just yet. For the foreseeable future, I hope to be able to work here and start building a life here for myself,” she said. “I don’t have plans on moving back to the Philippines anytime soon, but I am not closing my doors there especially because my family is there.”

For fellow Filipinos who are dreaming of moving abroad for school, Bauza advises then to hold on to that dream and not let it go.

“Believe in yourself and know that you deserve to chase after your dreams just like everyone else,” she shared. “With hard work and great passion, you can achieve anything you set your mind to. It won’t be an easy journey, but nothing worth having comes easy.” 

Angela Bauza graduating from New York University


It’s women’s history month. How are women doing in the workforce these days?

– Reader

Dear Reader,

Salamat for your great question.

Sadly, a pay gap still exists between men and women for equal work. While it has

March is Women’s History Month

improved a little, women still earn only 78 cents for every dollar a man earns for equal work.

That’s the average pay gap between working men and women in the United States. For women of color, this gap only increases, furthering the distance between equal work and equal pay.

In addition to the pay gap, many things would help women (and men) thrive in the workforce. We need quality, affordable childcare for all. And it needs to be available for evenings and weekends too.

We also need paid sick days and family and medi-

cal leave so that women and all workers can afford to take care of family members or stay home when they are sick. We hope that our State Legislature will pass Family Leave this year!

Women are the vast majority of workers in the food service industry and tipped workers deserve and need

to be paid the full minimum wage and not the less subminimum.

Finally, all genders need family-supporting wages!

Too many women and families work more than one job just to survive thus making it hard to put family first. Women and all workers need opportunities to move up the pay scale. That means time and funding to get additional education and training are key. But for many, this is out of reach for those who are too busy working more than one job and don’t have resources or opportunities to get additional training.


Daily Dose of Sunshine

There’s this line from one of my favorite children’s movies, Lilo and Stitch, that goes: “Ohana means family. Family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten.”

But one man from Manoa in Honolulu took this quote seriously but in a very distorted way.

He brought his whole family–not one left behind–to their death. Paris Oda, a 46-year-old chiropractor, murdered his 48-yearold wife Naoko and their three children, 17-year-old Sakurako,12-year-old Orion, and 10-year-old Nana, before taking his own life.

Upon hearing (or seeing) the news about the Oda ohana, even though I don’t know them, I felt grief and pain for the family. It was truly heartbreaking.

What drove the head of the family to kill his innocent loved ones? Why? What happened?

There must be so many questions that will be left unanswered in everybody’s head, especially the friends

and family left behind. I can only imagine the shock and terror the children must have experienced during the whole ordeal.

Though this is becoming a common occurrence, I still couldn’t comprehend why these things must happen. We surely live in a broken and dark world.

According to the news, the employees of Paris Oda noticed that he began showing signs of depression and had become moody and disengaged, probably triggered by financial issues.

Though we will never know if it’s depression that has been the driving force for such a terrible act, one thing is for sure, no one in his right mind will take the lives of the people he loves and eventually his own life.

I just recently finished a Korean drama entitled, “Daily Dose of Sunshine.”

The show explores the world of psychiatric care and tackles the different mental health issues people are facing and the symptoms they carry.

The story revolves around a kind-hearted psychiatric nurse named Jung Da-eun, who goes above

and beyond to be a ray of light for those under her care like Byeong-hui, a high school student who keeps on harming herself and Yuchan who experiences panic attacks when faced with stressful situations.

Da-eun eventually suffered depression when one of her patients committed suicide.

At the end of the series, Jung Da-eun uttered these words and they struck me to the core:

“We’re all standing on a border. Byeong-hui stood on the border between dreams and reality until she finally found an answer. Yu-chan stood on the border between anxiety and stability. And now, he’s found a way to stop hurting.

I once stood on the border

What else would you add to this list of Hawai’i Workers Center’s priorities that would allow women workers and all workers to THRIVE? Let us know what you think. Write to me at hiworkerscenter@ gmail.com.

Hats off to the hardworking women and all the working people!

Sincerely, Hawaii Workers Center

Dr. ARCELITA IMASA is a practicing family physician and the secretary of the Hawaii Workers Center’s Executive Committee of the Board. She grew up in the Philippines before migrating to Hawaii with her family more than a decade ago.

between depression and hope until I found someone who always visited me before depression ever did. We all cross between night and day in the journey of an entire life. Each one of us is standing between normal and abnormal.”

Indeed, mental illness can strike anyone at any point.

It was an eye-opener as it caused me to have a greater understanding and deeper empathy for people who are battling with mental illnesses.

Anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, panic attacks, and depression are real. These can lead people to do unimaginable things that can be a threat to themselves and others.

There are people around us who seem to lead normal lives but in reality, are fighting to get through each day.

I have family and friends who are in a daily battle to survive. Their struggle is real and they need people around them who will hold the ropes for them.

We may never fathom what went through the mind of Paris Oda when he decided to do such a horrify-

ing deed that has shaken the community and the whole of Hawaii, but understanding the condition of his mind prevents us from having rash and harsh judgment towards him and people like him.

While depression or mental illness will never justify an evil act, I hope that this tragedy has taught us to have compassion for those who have a daily battle on their minds.

I pray that this has moved us to support them in every way–emotionally, spiritually, and professionally.

To the family and friends of the Oda ohana who are still coming to terms with what happened, we grieve and mourn with you. We pray for peace and comfort to be upon all of you.

And if you are reading this and are struggling with your mental health, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Help is available. You are not alone.

And to all of us, may we be the daily dose of sunshine that the people around us need to choose to keep on living. May the Oda family tragedy never happen again.


LET’S ZUMBA | Filipino Community Center | Every Monday starting January 8, 2024 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.

FLORES DE MAYO & FILIPINO FIESTA | FilCom Center, Filipino Jaycees of Honolulu | May 4, 2024 | FilCom Center, 94-428 Mokuola Street, Waipahu | The community is urged to save the date for this year’s celebration of Filipino culture


and heritage! To stay up to date with new information, visit filcom.org./2024filipinofiesta.

SELF DEFENSE FOR WOMEN | Hawaii Defense Academy, Filipino Community Center | April 6 from 10am to 12pm | Filipino Community Center, 94-428 Mokuola St, Waipahu, Hawaii | Join this free comprehensive self-defense for women class designed to empower and equip participants with essential skills to enhance personal safety. The free workshop is open to women 18 years and older. For more information, visit instagram.com/hawaii_defense_academy.


Beauty for Ashes

Iwas just 8 years old when my Mom stopped talking for 5 years. My mom loved to travel when I was young, and one day, after coming home from her religious travel, she was not the same.

Suddenly, she lost interest in life and just spent time lying on the bed. Basic activities like eating, showering, and even talking were things she couldn’t do anymore.

Overnight, our family had to adjust. At just 8 years old, I had to step up to manage the whole household, take care of my Mom, cook for the family, and study. During those moments, I felt helpless, neglected, and lost.

But God is amazing. Even though my parents practiced another religion, they enrolled me in a Christian school because it was the only Chinese school near our house.

One chapel day in school, I learned about God’s love and how He gave His Son, Jesus Christ, to pay for the penalty of my sins. That day, I willingly surrendered my life to Jesus and accepted Him as my Lord and Savior.

With a child-like faith, I started to read the bible daily. Even though there were times I could not understand what I was reading, there were a lot of truths that were made clear to me. That God is my Abba Father and He will never leave nor forsake me.

In the moments when God’s timeline didn’t appear to match my expectations, I trusted God’s promises.

Isaiah 41:10 says “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

God’s Word protected me from going astray even when weeks turned to months and months turned to years that my mom’s condition showed no signs of improvement.

As I reached high school, particularly when I was 13 years old, out of nowhere, I heard a familiar voice that I had not heard in years: “Kumain ka na ba?” (Did you eat already?)

Tears fell from my eyes as I heard my mom’s voice for the first time after 5 long years. Praise God! My mother was back!

Suddenly, everything was a new experience again with my mom around. We were waiting for this moment and never lost hope. God answered our prayers.

Life was normal once again or so I thought. Graduating from a university and working with a prestigious company, God blessed me with so much favor and success.

However, I became so busy with the wonders of the world that it crowded out God’s Word from my heart. I no longer had the intimate prayer life that I once had.

Despite my stubbornness, the Holy Spirit kept prompting me to join a small group in church. I did attend but was not consistent. Sadly, I spent less time with the Lord and my family.

Then came the worst news. In 2005, my mom was diagnosed with stage 3.5B

breast cancer. The chemotherapy she had to take was the strong kind.

She couldn’t eat well, she lost her hair, and became very depressed to the point that she became non-responsive again.

But God used this to bring me back to Him. He showed me that He was still with me all this time.

After two years of treatment, my mom was declared cancer-free. My mom was able to cook food for us, walk me down the aisle for my wedding, play with her grandchildren and was able to spend time with me and my new family.

Unfortunately, the cancer came back 12 years later in a much worse state, it spread to her bones, lungs, and liver. We were told that she only had 6 months to live and reaching a year was already a bonus.

I did not know what else to do but to surrender to God.

It was those years when my mom’s relationship with God truly deepened. So did mine.

On October 10, 2019, I recommitted my life to the Lord and this time, with a stronger resolve to never backslide. With the help of my disciples and my group, I started to walk with God again.

My mom’s life was ex-

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tended to 5 more years until she went to heaven last May 30, 2021. All my life, I had been praying for physical healing for my mom.

I begged God to take away the pain and restore things to the way they were. But God made me realize that He was more after our spiritual healing.

My whole family accepted Jesus Christ in their lives and that for me was the BEST healing we really needed. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Even the difficulties we experience in life—some of which can seem unbearable—are used by God to accomplish His purpose in our own lives.

For me, there is no greater joy than doing His will and seeing how He continues to change lives just as He did to my family. I pray that God will find me faithful until I see Him – and my mother – face to face. To God be all the glory and praise!

ANNABELLE SIMISIM has been married for 13 years and blessed with two wonderful kids. Formerly with Procter & Gamble as a Global Solutions Manager. After she surrendered her life to Christ, she has been prayerfully growing to be a Proverbs 31 wife and mother.


Fil-Ams in New York Commemorate the 38th Anniversary

of EDSA People Power

The Filipino community across New York City gathered in Woodside, Queens to commemorate the 38th anniversary of the EDSA People Power on February 24.

Organized by Malaya New York and Anakbayan Queens, the program began at Mabuhay Mural on 69th Street and Roosevelt Avenue where community organizers gave speeches.

Martial Law survivors and ESDA People Power participants shared testimonies of their time living in the Philippines during the Ferdinand Marcos Sr. administration and the historic EDSA protests in 1986.

The program participants then marched to Woodside Memorial Park to hear more speeches from community organizers and witness cul-

tural performances.

“As Filipino youth and students today, we continue to learn lessons and fight for the rights and welfare of the most oppressed in society. We must never falter no matter how difficult the current concrete conditions are. The EDSA Uprising is proof that as long as the youth fight alongside the united masses, dictators can be ousted,” said Nico Klaredad of Anakbayan Queens.

Last year, the current Ferdinand Marcos Jr. administration omitted the EDSA People Power anniversary from its list of regular holidays and non-working days for the year 2024. The EDSA People Power Uprising ended his father Marcos Sr.’s dictatorship in the Philippines.

“The administration has pushed [Charter Change] with a sham ‘people’s initiative,’”said Dennis Madamba of Malaya Movement New York.

The author with her late mom.
MARCH 23, 2024
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