Hawaii Filipino Chronicle - April 20, 2024

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APRIL 20, 2024 HAWAII WORKERS CORNER Age DiscriminAtion in the WorkplAce? Special Supplement Inside! A TRIBUTE TO DR. BELINDA AQUINO OPINION the Bottom Up AnD the miDDle oUt – BiDenomics is greAt for the economy! CANDID PERSPECTIVES A filipino AsiAn AmericAn in 2024; plUs my oJ memory

EDITORIAL

Show Your Community Support, Attend the Flores de Mayo and Filipino Fiesta, Saturday May

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Longevity and success could best describe the annual Flores de Mayo & Filipino Fiesta. This signature event put together by Hawaii’s Filipino community rolls into its 32nd year and organizers expect to draw thousands of attendees again.

When you think about how long ago three decades is, that means the Filipino Fiesta was launched by the Baby Boomer generation. Some of them involved from the Fiesta’s start sit on the Board of Directors of the Filipino Community Center and remain active.

FilCom Center’s Roland Casamina (president emeritus), Eddie Flores, Jr (chair emeritus) and Edmund Aczon (BOD, chair) are a few who’ve helped to establish both the Filipino Fiesta and the FilCom Center. The Filipino Jaycees of Honolulu that has been involved in promotions since the beginning is no longer Generation X, but millennials and perhaps early Gen Z. Collectively, this makes three to four generational groups of Hawaii Filipinos involved in putting together the Filipino Fiesta.

Children who accompanied their parents at Kapiolani Park in Waikiki (original location) enjoying the sights and sounds of the Fiesta in their youth are now up-and-coming community leaders.

What’s encouraging through these three decades which still holds true today is the Fiesta maintains its authenticity as a “cultural” event that promotes our Philippines-inherited culture and not just Filipino Americans doing American things.

For example, this year’s organizers will introduce one event called the Santacruzan procession, a pageant-procession held in the Philippines on the last day of the Flores de Mayo that honors the finding of the True Cross by Helena of Constantinople. It’s certain most second, third generation Filipino-Americans have never heard of this procession or seen it live. This event alone is culturally eye-opening. The new Filipiniana Market at the Fiesta -- where attendees can buy brand new or gently used traditional Filipino clothing – is a great idea.

Since the Filipino Fiesta has moved its location to the FilCom Center, organizers have come up with interesting event concepts to keep the Fiesta fresh like the “Best of the Da Best Adobo Cook Off” and Sari-Sari store concept. This year’s introduction of a Balut eating contest might be cringeworthy to some audiences, but it’s certainly something exciting and will have people talking about it. New events will keep the community coming back. The kiss of death to any annual event is when people start to think, “I’ve seen that, done that, moving along.”

What’s also new is the additional option for residents to use the Skyline to the Pouhala Station and walk to the Fiesta. Taking the Skyline, especially for those who haven’t ridden it yet, adds a sense of adventure like going on a mini excursion for those that never make their way into Waipahu.

Pivotal time, generational shift

As the torch is being passed on from one generation to the next, it’s a pivotal time for the Flores de Mayo & Filipino Fiesta to keep growing and attract new attendees, particularly among the youth. It’s likely that some of the events of the Fiesta largely supported by Filipino clubs will not be as prominent a feature into the future. Why? Because Hawaii Filipino clubs whose membership are solely based on PI township or regional origin from the Motherland are not being perpetuated with the same passion among Gen X and millennials.

Their parents perhaps found camaraderie and identification in joining township-Philippines clubs. But most Filipino Ame-

Get ready for a one-day extravaganza of Filipino culture, food, and entertainment. Yes, it’s that time of the year. Mark your calendar. The 2024 Flores de Mayo & Filipino Fiesta is on Saturday, May 4, 10 am – 6 pm at the Filipino Community Center in Waipahu. Once again, this signature event is hosted by the FilCom Center and organized by the Filipino Jaycees of Honolulu.

For our cover story this issue, associate editor Edwin Quinabo gives a rundown on both encore and new events planned for the Fiesta. Just a few highlights: 1) the “Best of Da Best Adobo Cook Off” is back with a twist, “family edition” and 2) the Habi at Baro cultural exhibit; and for what’s new, 3) the Filipiniana Market – traditional Barong Tagalog and Maria Clara dresses will be on sale, 4) Santacruzan procession, and 5) Balut eating contest. Read what food vendors have in store for you and the exciting entertainment planned, including the headliner act Camile Roque Velasco, otherwise known by her stage name EliMac, the American Idol alumni from the show’s third season. Please come out and support the Fiesta and the FilCom Center.

Continuing our election coverage this year, we have two articles: 1) a commentary submitted by Gary Hooser “Clean Elections is Dead, Duplicity is Alive – Long Live Clean Elections” and 2) an opinion piece by HFC contributor Sheryll Bonilla, Esq. “The Bottom Up and the Middle Out – Bidenomics is Great for the Economy! (Part 2).

In our Personal Reflections column, we have an interesting article by HFC columnist Seneca Moraleda-Puguan “Blame the Boomers?” In it, she discusses the divide between Baby Boomer and Generation, X ,Y, Z on values toward work and personal time.

HFC columnist Emil Guillermo contributes “A Filipino Asian American in 2024; Plus My OJ Memory,” which goes over the recent Trilateral Summit held at the White House that included Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishi and President Joe Biden discussing security in the Indo-Pacific region specific to the contested Spratly Islands. While Emil’s article supports the idea of the forged security efforts among these countries, it’s worth noting that many segments in the Philippines are concerned that increasing militarization in the country by the U.S. does the opposite of security, and rather it increases tensions between the Philippines and China.

Be sure to read our other columns and news, including an article on an Asian American Stories Video Contest 2023-2024 written by HFC columnist Elpidio Estioko, a Book Review “FIRST DRAFT--Personal Essays by Ten Women” by HFC columnist Rose Cruz Churma, and for our Hawaii Workers Corner article “Age Discrimination in the Workplace?” by Dr. Arcelita Imasa, as well as an HFC article on a new state law that allows four-year driver’s license to Oahu residents ages 72-79 and a Healthline article.

Also in this issue, we are pleased to present a special supplement this issue to honor HFC contributing editor, scholar, activist and community leader Belinda Aquino, Ph.D. We have a cover story, “Our BFF, Belinda ‘Lindy’ Aquino” written by Divina Telan Robillard, Chronicle Pulse in which distinguished members in our community comment on Lindy’s invaluable contributions, and more.

Lastly, we’d like to welcome to our staff as an HFC columnist Gary Hooser, a former state senator and Majority Leader in the Hawaii State Legislature. Welcome aboard, Gary.

Thank you for supporting the Hawaii Filipino Chronicle and see you all at the Flores de Mayo & Filipino Fiesta. Visit www.thefilipinochronicle.com for your free e-copy of the Chronicle. Until the next issue, Aloha and Mabuhay!

ricans not of the immigrant Baby Boom generation have a broader ethnic identification beyond PI-township-origins or regional distinctions of Ilocano, Visayan or Tagalog and so on. Rather the ethnic identification today’s Filipino Americans have are mostly just Filipino AND American.

But for a flagship event as the Fiesta that has a mission to

Charlie Sonido, M.D.

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

Kauai

Millicent Wellington

Maui

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

2 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE  APRIL 20, 2024
FROM
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. Design Junggoi Peralta Photography Tim Llena Administrative Assistant Lilia Capalad Editorial & Production Assistant Jim Bea Sampaga Columnists Carlota Hufana Ader
Churma
THE PUBLISHER
Rose Cruz
Elpidio R. Estioko Willie Espero Perry Diaz
Emil Guillermo
Gary Hooser Arcelita Imasa, M.D. Seneca Moraleda-Puguan
J.P. Orias
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
Emmanuel S. Tipon,
Distributors Yoshimasa Kaneko
/ Jonathan Pagulayan Advertising / Marketing Director Chona A. Montesines-Sonido Account Executives Carlota Hufana Ader JP Orias (continue on page 3)
Oahu
Shalimar

US: Don’t Get Dragged into a Regional War, This is What Netanyahu Wants; Americans Want to End this War, Not Expand It

Not a single American soldier’s life should be placed at risk on behalf of Israel -- a state that has constantly ignored the U.S., the world and United Nation’s calls for a ceasefire in Gaza -- should Israel decide to expand the war into a regional conflict to include Iran.

After the retaliatory strike by Iran on Israel, its President Isaac Herzog went on CNN painting Iran as the aggressor, criticized the scope of Iran’s drone strikes relative to Israel’s embassy attack, and appealed to the U.S. and allies suggesting that it is in their interest to engage with Iran because Israel is the only democratic and free state in the region.

First, it must be clear for all Americans to know that Iran launched drone strikes in response to Israel’s bombing of the Iranian embassy in Syria on April 1 that killed Iranian civilians and military personnel. International law states that attacking an embassy is equivalent to attacking the guest nation on its own soil. Under international law, Iran had the right to retaliate. Israel knows this. What people should be asking – was Israel’s intention meant to expand the theater of war and bring in the U.S. to directly engage with Iran? Politicos have been saying this is what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants – an expansion of war to survive politically, stay in power and avoid possible jailtime on his pending corruption charges.

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educate younger Filipinos and non-Filipinos of the wide diversity of Philippines culture, for this event, the cultural booths that promote various regions from the Cordilleras to Tagalog, and Visayas to Mindoro, should always be a part of the Fiesta’s feature well into the future.

Outside of the Fiesta, whether the township and regional Philippines club that were very important in the Baby Boom generation can be sustained in Hawaii is a big question mark. One major positive is that these clubs over the decades served to invig-

Second, it’s shocking that Israel brings up the idea of “scope” in Iran’s counter to Israel’s April 1 embassy attack when you consider the utter devastation and destruction of life and infrastructure Israel has exacted onto Gaza relative to Hamas’ attack on Oct. 7. The lack of self-assessment regarding “scope” is stunningly narcissistic.

Third, Israel paints itself as a democratic and free state all the while it is operating an apartheid occupation system that robs Palestinians of freedom. It’s impossible to be both, which leads to the final counter argument that it is not in the best interest of the U.S. to go to war with Iran on behalf of Israel.

What would be the harmful costs to the U.S. if it engaged in direct war with Iran?

To begin, a majority of Americans already are opposed to further funding of Israel which receives close to $4 billion a year, and since Oct 7 received additional military aid, with billions more waiting approval from Congress.

In this week’s April 13 drones strike on Israel by Iran, U.S. military analysts estimate that Iran launched hundreds of $20,000 drones that cost under $10 million in total. But it cost the U.S. and Israel about a billion just that one night to shoot down these drones and missiles.

In a protracted war with Iran (which is far bigger and far more technologically advanced in weaponry than Iraq), it’s

orate our immigrant community and provided fun social interactions. Most importantly, they also served to unify Hawaii’s Filipinos through their various umbrella organizations.

Without these PI township clubs it’s another big question mark how united our mostly Filipino American community in Hawaii will be, ten, twenty years ahead, and beyond.

Support the Fiesta and FilCom Center

Congratulations to the or-

clear how this one night multiplied by months or even years would cost billions more in just defensive warfare alone. Add to that total cost, offensive weaponry and other possible war engagements, and the possibility of sending ground troops (as in Iraq) -- it’s likely then, that a U.S. war with Iran could run into trillions.

This astronomical cost would come as the U.S. had already sent billions upon billions to Ukraine (which exhausted the U.S.’s own arms inventory). The U.S. is also ill-prepared with low numbers of ground troops. On top of all these additional costs, our nation is already struggling with massive debt just to sustain ongoing basic programs in the U.S. like Medicare and Social Security.

World War III

As if confronting Iran itself wouldn’t be formidable enough, geopolitical experts say not only regional countries could get involved (Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, maybe even Egypt), but others outside of the Middle East like Russia and China as well in what essentially would be World War III.

International military power rankings have Turkey, Iran and Egypt ahead of Israel in military power. Add Russia and China -which have significant oil interests in the area with Iran which would almost guarantee their entry into a conflict -- then you have a scenario where it would be the U.S. and U.K. doing most of the fighting (obviously Israel

ganizers of the 2024 Flores de Mayo & Filipino Fiesta. The slated mixed events of old and new, lively entertainment lineup and ono food options should keep our community happy and wanting to come back for more next year.

Bring the whole family, meet a group of friends, or trek to Waipahu alone to the Flores de Mayo & Filipino Fiesta. Remember that the Fiesta’s success also helps our FilCom Center.

Mabuhay to our Flores de Mayo & Filipino Fiesta and Filipino Community Center.

alone would be crushed) against all these countries that are not interested in engaging in war but would be pulled into one. What would be the geopolitical benefit to the U.S. of risking World War III over Israel. None. In the last 10 years, the Middle East for the most part have been moving towards increased stability, have integrated and been a part of the global capitalist system, and was on the way towards establishing normalization between Arab countries and Israel. But Israel’s genocidal tactics in Gaza (ethnic cleansing and plans for more settlements to include Gaza) and recent bombing of Iran’s embassy are upending all that regional stability.

Damage already done

Six months into the Israel-Hamas war, the U.S. has suffered irreparable damage to its reputation in the international community for supporting Israel. The immediate months following Oct 7, a majority of the world felt Israel had a right to defend itself. Months and tens of thousands of deaths later of Gazans, aid-workers, U.N. workers, journalists, doctors, women and children and the complete annihilation of infrastructure from hospitals, schools, even churches -- the world now almost unanimously are against Israel’s incomprehensible drive

to continue this war. Many, including World Central Kitchen’s Chef Jose Andres who had seven of his aid workers killed in an attack by the IDF recently, said this war is no longer about self-defense, but a war against humanity. He is right.

This war also has torn apart crucial segments of the Democratic Party and could cost President Joe Biden and other Democrats their reelection.

For now, Biden said that the U.S. will not participate in a direct offensive should Israel and Iran get into a full-blown war. That deserves some credit, but it’s hallmark Bidenesque foreign policy that he is supporting wars that should be wrapped up. For a leader who holds most of the cards, a lion’s share of the war money, it’s dumbfounding how Biden who claims to want peace is unable to get these countries to listen to him. That’s failing leadership.

And Netanyahu is clearly set on expanding Israel’s current borders (evidence: Gaza). He also knows that only through wars do countries’ borders expand. This is true historically (which is why in the first place Israel has been occupying Gaza and the West Bank since the 6-days war in 1967). It’s obvious what Netanyahu’s agenda is. Let’s not spill American blood to aid in Israel’s colonialist-expansionist mission. 

APRIL 20, 2024  HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE  3
EDITORIAL

Enjoy Filipino Food, Entertainment and Culture at the 2024 Flores de Mayo & Filipino Fiesta

Interested in learning Filipino Martial Arts in a mini workshop? Want to purchase traditional Filipiniana clothing at a Filipiniana Market? Care to indulge in delectable ensaymadas, both classic and a modern twist? These are just a few of the new offerings and activities slated for the 2024 Flores de Mayo & Filipino Fiesta on Saturday, May 4, 10 am – 6 pm at the Filipino Community Center in Waipahu.

Hosted by the Filipino Community Center and organized by the Filipino Jaycees of Honolulu, this year’s Filipino Fiesta’s theme is “Celebrating a Resilient Community” that some could say is hallmark of the Filipino spirit that transcends from the early plantation years to the rebuilding of Lahaina devasted by the wildfires.

Organizers said the theme “serves as a unifying call to celebrate the fortitude that binds us together, acknowledging that our shared journey is marked by the determination to overcome obstacles and emerge stronger together.” In Tagalog the theme is translated to “Pagbubunyi Sa Katatagan Ng Komunidad,” in Ilokano it’s “Panagdayaw Ti Kinapateg Iti Komunidad.”

Filipino history, culture, food and entertainment will shine brilliantly in a one-day extravaganza that’s expected to draw thousands of kamaʻāina from east to west Oahu, the neighbor islands and visitors to the beautiful quiet town of Waipahu (one of the most historical Filipino neighborhoods on Oahu) for this signature of events annually put together by the Filipino community.

“Hosting the Flores de Mayo & Filipino Fiesta holds immense significance for the FilCom Center and the community we serve. Being in the heart of Waipahu where many Filipinos call home, we recognize the importance of celebrating our heritage and fostering a sense of belonging among Filipino-Americans and the broader community. This annual event not only honors our traditions, but also serves as a platform for cultural preservation, education, and community engagement. By continuing this tradition, we uphold our mission to promote and perpetuate Filipino culture in the state of Hawaii, ensuring that future generations can proudly embrace their heritage,” said

Edmund Aczon, chair of FilCom’s Board of Director.

The annual Filipino Fiesta and the FilCom Center’s histories have been intertwined from their genesis. The Fiesta -- now in its 32nd year -- started as a fundraising and awareness campaign to garner support for the construction of the FilCom Center. The Fiesta originally was held at Kapiolani Park in Waikiki and eventually made its home fittingly at the FilCom Center. The FilCom Center in Waipahu is the biggest Filipino Community Center in the U.S. and outside the Philippines. Hawaii’s Filipino Fiesta is one of the largest Filipino festivals in the world outside of the Philippines. Both have been centerpieces of local Filipino pride and blueprints for long-lasting success.

“The Flores de Mayo & Filipino Fiesta enhance the visibility and reputation of the FilCom Center as a hub for Filipino culture and community engagement. While part of our mission is to perpetuate Filipino culture, we also aim to be a community center that provides social, economic and education services. By bringing together individuals and organizations from diverse backgrounds, the event fosters collaboration, connection, and partnerships that strengthen our collective impact in the community,” Aczon said.

The Filipino Jaycees of Honolulu -- a young professional’s leadership organization with a 50-year history of developing leaders and changemakers in Hawaii -- has worked on organizing the event for years. Rovie Jay Dacumos is president of the Jaycees and this year’s Fiesta PR & Marketing chair along with Tiffany Marie S. Salvador.

Dacumos encourages the community to come together at this event “to celebrate the strength of the Filipino people.” He said, “This is the gathering to attend to meet your friends, enjoy some food, watch traditional and modern entertainment, and connect with local businesses.”

He said the event will feature diverse food options, non-stop entertainment, activities for the entire ʻohana, shopping, local businesses and community organizations, in addition to the cultural immersion experience we are known for.

Leonard Agbyani, Salt Lake, a cook in Waikiki, has been going to the Fiesta for years. “I go there for the Filipino food. I enjoy other people’s Filipino cooking and think about how these dishes are prepared different from my own. I don’t prepare desserts and usually there are some unique ones I enjoy tasting for a first time.”

His daughter, Norma, 28, said she enjoys watching the cultural performances, dancing and music. “My favorites are the dances of the Igorots from the Cordillera region. One year there was a stunning performance of the Singkil, the classic dance from Mindanao we all know, in which a suitor prince with his sword woos a princess who looks to be snubbing him the entire dance. I like the way the tempo accelerates, and it gets more dangerous for the dancers as they weave in and out of the bamboo poles.

“One year there was a kulintang ensemble (playing gongs). It reminds me of the Indonesian Gamelan that I saw once at a University of Hawaii concert performance. Both the Igorot and Mindanao cultures often don’t get the attention as the Spanish influenced culture in the Philippines. Maybe this is why I enjoy them most,” Norma said. Both Leonard and Norma plan to attend this year’s Fiesta.

While the word fiesta is a Spanish word and Spanish cultural celebration, Filipino historians say there were pre-Hispanic gatherings that were similar to a fiesta aimed at welcoming a bountiful harvest, which could explain why the fiesta season in the Philippines tend to start at or near the beginning of Spring.

4 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE  APRIL 20, 2024 COVER STORY

Historically and up to contemporary times, the fiesta itself is steep in Filipino culture. Fiestas emote jubilation and a visceral response to the bright colors and enveloping sounds of laughter and whispered chismis. Some say, no matter how old we are, the Fiesta makes us feel young again, perhaps similar in the way adults feel at a carnival or Disneyland. But the Filipino Fiesta is uniquely ethnic with a pulsating invisible band that seem to connect each Filipino in attendance to other Filipinos – like former townmates from the Motherland meeting happenstance there for a first time after years – or to connect to one’s own sense of Filipinoness.

Organizers say the 2024 Flores de Mayo & Filipino Fiesta will bring to life popular events of the past and new ones.

Repeat Events

Dacumos highlights events making an encore at this year’s Fiesta.

• Kabataan Barangay – a space for keiki to learn about Filipino culture while participating in children’s activities.

• Consuelo Cultural Village – a space to engage with representatives from a variety of Filipino community organizations showcasing diverse aspects of Filipino heritage, traditions, and contributions.

• Best of Da Best Adobo Cook Off – family edition.

• Habi at Baro exhibit by Project Director Iris Viacrusis – a cultural exhibit tour inside the Filipino Community Center Ballroom. It will showcase indigenous fabrics, jewelry, and artifacts from different areas of the Philippines, collected over a three-year period by artist and designer Viacrusis. The 2024 exhibit is in its second year and is a major feature of the Flores de Mayo & Filipino Fiesta. The exhibit is made possible by grants from the Atherton Foundation, Bank of Hawaii and the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

• Sari Sari store -- a variety of Filipino products will be sold at the Sari Sari store. Products from Filipino snacks, seasonings, food and household items will be available.

New or events making a comeback this year

• Santacruzan procession –

features keiki and teens 5-17 years old wearing traditional Filipiniana attire walking in a procession. The Santacruzan (from the Spanish santa cruz, “holy cross”) is a pageant-procession held in the Philippines on the last day of the Flores de Mayo. It honors the finding of the True Cross by Helena of Constantinople (known as Reyna Elena) and Constantine the Great. The Santacruzan procession will take place along Mokuola Street. Those wanting to participate in the procession and walk under a handmade bamboo arko (arch) are encouraged to wear Filipiniana attire.

• Filipiniana Market – attendees can buy brand new or gently used traditional Filipino clothing. Barong Tagalog, Maria Clara dresses, Kimonas, Baro’t Saya, Terno and other traditional or traditional-modern twist Filipino clothing will be sold or exchanged. Clothing will be available on a first-come first-served basis. All proceeds from the sales of donated items will benefit the FilCom Center.

• Balut Eating Contest

• Oral History Project –hear personal stories tied to family items or heirlooms that hold a significant place in our Filipino culture and the bonds we share with them. Organizers say, “the Project aims to explore the deep-rooted narratives and history attached to our precious family heirlooms and items, encapsulating our shared Filipino culture.” They say whether it’s a well-loved piece of jewel-

ry or cherished folk recipe, or any heirloom, there are stories behind them that you will find fascinating.

Food to fill your tummies and bring about a big smile

Heaps of local food from plate lunches to street food style offerings is one of the highlights Fiesta-goers rave about.

First time food vendor Monaliza Ramos, Princess Liz Creations, will be serving what she calls a modern twist on the classic ensaymada. She said, “Our ensaymadas feature unique flavors and innovative toppings, blending traditional Filipino flavors with contemporary culinary techniques. From traditional classic flavors to unique flavors, our modern ensaymadas are sure to delight taste buds and ignite curiosity.”

Ramos said she became a food vendor this year because it’s a fantastic opportunity to introduce her innovative creations to the local community and to celebrate Filipino culture through food. “My expectations for this event are high, as I anticipate a warm reception from both the Filipino community and locals, eager to explore new culinary experiences.”

Cools in Catering by Sinublan, an approved caterer at the FilCom Center, is back by popular demand and will be serving up pancit, chicken adobo and other Filipino popular dishes.

Corn Omoz Hawaii invites Fiesta-goers to try their corn on the cob with Filipiino-inspired flavors like ube horchata and calamansi fresca.

Hawaiian Honey Cones brings an innovative approach to ice cream cones that are made of organic corn cane shaped in a hollow J-shape and

Hosting the Flores de Mayo & Filipino Fiesta holds immense significance for the FilCom Center and the community we serve. Being in the heart of Waipahu where many Filipinos call home, we recognize the importance of celebrating our heritage and fostering a sense of belonging among Filipino-Americans and the broader community. This annual event not only honors our traditions, but also serves as a platform for cultural preservation, education, and community engagement. By continuing this tradition, we uphold our mission to promote and perpetuate Filipino culture in the state of Hawaii, ensuring that future generations can proudly embrace their heritage.”

filled with ice cream from both ends. They’re healthy alternatives to traditional sugar-based cones because they contain no high fructose corn syrup.

Cultural booths and interactive participation

Master Ray Dela Cruz of Hawaii Defense Academy teaches Filipino Martial Arts (FMA) classes on self-defense techniques against edge and impact weapons as well as empty hands. FMA is also known as Kali/Arnis/Eskrima.

The Hawaii Defense Academy plans to have an educational booth about FMA, will perform a demonstration on the mainstage and conduct a mini workshop on the cultural stage.

“The goal is to promote, educate, and perpetuate the Filipino Martial Arts to the community. Through Filipino Martial Arts training we learn Philippine history, and combat techniques that have modern day self-defense application developing an appreciation of Filipino culture,” said Dela Cruz.

The cultural booths will be located in the Conseulo Cultural Village being hosted by the Philippine Living Heritage Initiative, Knights of Rizal –Aloha Chapter and the Hawaii Defense Academy.

Riveting Entertainment

Famous American Idol

alumni Camile Roque Velasco, or known by her stage name Eli-Mac, will headline this year’s entertainment. Since her top 10 finish on the third season of American Idol in 2004, EliMac has gone on concert tours throughout the U.S. and the Philippines. She’s headlined a variety of gigs after singing with Universal/Motown Records. As a Filipina performing for the Filipino community is dear to her. She’s led several headlining concerts, including the two-day Fil-Am Unity Jam (A Night with Camile Velasco) 3-Style Attractions, Jam Sessions, Lumpiapalooza 2 in California, Festival of Philippine Arts and Culture in San Pedro, California, as well as a concert with Gary Valenciano and IBU in Chicago. One of Eli-Mac’s more notable television appearances was a live performance on the TFC series World Musikahan. She’s released several singles including “Hangin’ On” and “Da Da Da” and took part in filming the video for the iconic hit “Bebot” by the Black Eyed Peas.

Organizers said “the main stage will feature talents from our diverse community. From cultural performances to modern pop choreography, there will be performances for the entire ‘ohana to enjoy. To some performers, their appearance at Flores de Mayo & Filipino Fiesta is much deeper than shar(continue on page 6)

APRIL 20, 2024  HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE  5 COVER STORY (Enjoy Filipino Food.....from page 4)

State Lawmakers Have Best Chance in a While to Move Needle in Solving Hawaii Housing Crisis

Smaller homes on smaller lots could be a big antidote to Hawaii’s housing shortage if only state lawmakers would make it easier to build them.

A bill currently making its way through the state Legislature, SB3202, set out to do just that.

The premise of the bill is the sad fact that land costs are the largest component of home prices in Hawaii, so an easy way to lower housing costs in the islands is to add flexibility to county zoning codes that require every home to be on at least 5,000 square feet of land.

In other words, allow less land per house.

For example, a 5,000-square-foot lot in Kaimuki can easily have a land value of more than $1 million. So, putting a single home on that lot means that a homebuyer will have to pay for land he or she might not even need or want.

Adding a second or third unit to the lot, however, would disperse the cost of the land, and these smaller homes could then sell for a

ing their talents. It is a way to highlight the diversity in the Filipino community, and to bring them together in a place

third of the cost that standard houses tend to sell for now.

However, because of Hawaii’s current local county zoning codes, instead what we have is a lack of diverse housing options available for locals, which has prompted thousands of residents to leave the islands every year for the past seven years in search of a lower cost of living.

The political quandary is that if we can’t build outward into Hawaii’s agricultural lands, the only option then is to build more on the lands already designated for housing. The advantage of this option is that much of the needed infrastructure for new housing already exists.

Often called “upzoning,” this means either building more high-rises; building more multifamily dwellings such as duplexes and triplexes; converting more office buildings into residences; or allowing smaller homes on smaller plots of land — or all of the above.

This idea of upzoning is not without precedent. Diverse cities such as Houston, Portland, Minneapolis and Decatur, Georgia, have also legalized more housing in their existing urban areas with varying degrees of suc-

where everyone has a voice.”

Also scheduled to perform is Jehzan Exclusive, a Pinay rapper and Hip-Hop artist. She said she “wants to represent people and kids who might not fit the norm or status quo, especially in our local Filipino community.”

Filipino and non-Filipino culture enthusiasts will have a chance to see performances by Hawaii Rondala, the UH Manoa Kulintang Ensemble and the Mendoza Philippine Dance Group.

Local businesses and product showcasing Organizers said another one of the Fiesta’s aims is to connect our community with valuable resources including

cess. Auckland, New Zealand, is an excellent international example.

At the state level, California and Montana recently took action to preempt local governments that had been dragging their feet in addressing spiraling housing costs.

This has been the case in Hawaii. For example, Honolulu’s last Primary Urban Center Development Plan, adopted in 2004, identified redeveloping small lots as a key housing strategy but little has happened since.

So now state lawmakers are attempting to move the needle as best they can, and kudos to them for having the courage to do so.

Unfortunately, SB3202 was amended in early April to remove several of its most important provisions, despite agreement on compromise language among two of the three committee chairs in charge of hearing the bill.

It’s a shame that SB3202 was gutted after making it all this way because it probably is the best bill at the Leg-

islature in a long time that could actually make a difference in facilitating more homebuilding and alleviating Hawaii’s heart-wrenching housing crisis.

But to borrow a phrase from the famous baseball star Yogi Berra, the legislative session ain’t over till it’s over. So maybe we’ll get something we can all be happy with after all.

TED KEFALAS is the director of strategic campaigns at the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii.

HAWAII-FILIPINO NEWS

Four-Year Driver’s License Now Available to Oahu Residents Ages 72-79

Oahu residents who are between the ages of 71 and 79 now have the option to renew their driver’s license every four years as long as they are free of conditions that could impair their driving ability.

A state law that went into effect in January 2024 made it possible for this particular age group to acquire fouryear driver’s licenses.

local businesses and their services. Participating businesses this year include Valley of the Temples, Kabayan Remit, a convenient financial solution to send money to the Philippines, US Renal Care and National Kidney Foundation of Hawaiʻi Kidney Mobile Medical Clinic that will offer on-site blood pressure screening, the Honolulu Police Department will provide kūpuna ID safety cards to the first 60 kūpuna who visit their booth.

Retailers include CristoMoon Designs’ enamel pins, greeting cards, and stickers; Cherry Lacsina’s bilingual Tagalog and English children’s book; and Subie.Hi’s apparel and accessories.

All driver’s licenses can be renewed up to six months before the expiration date. The four-year license renewal fee is $20, which follows the current $5 per year fee of driver’s licenses.

The event sponsors (as of press time) are L&L Hawaiian BBQ, Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority, HEI, Kaiser, Y. Hata & Co. Ltd., US Renal Care, Aloha Petroleum.

The FilCom Center was formally inaugurated on June 11, 2002 (ground-breaking on March 18, 2000), almost a century after the first 15 Filipino farmers sailed for Hawaii on board the SS Doric in 1906. Roland Casamina and Eddie Flores, Jr. were its first president and vice president, respectively. Today Casamina is president emeritus and Flores, Jr. is chair emeritus. The Filipino Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii initiated the FilCom Center in 1991 during the tenure of Lito Alcantra as

Drivers aged 72 and older with conditions that could impair their driving ability are still eligible for a twoyear driver’s license. They are also required to submit a medical report form.

president. The FilCom Center provides social, economic and education services and promotes Filipino culture in the State of Hawaii.

Parking and Updates

Parking will be available at lots in neighboring areas and shuttles will be provided to and from the FilCom Center. Attendees are also encouraged to ride the Skyline to the Pouhala Station and walk two blocks up to the event.

Schedule of events and performances are still being planned out as of press time. For updates on parking and event information, visit https:// filcom.org/2024filipinofiesta. Events may be subject to change.

6 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE  APRIL 20, 2024 OPEN FORUM
 (COVER STORY: Enjoy Filipino Food....from page 5)

’m in New York doing my show, “Emil Amok, Lost NPR Host, Wiley Filipino, Vegan Transdad” as part of the New York City Fringe/Under St Marks Theater for three more shows: https://www.frigid.nyc/ event/6897:625

IA Filipino Asian American in 2024; Plus My OJ Memory

to see especially China.

It’s the historic image of Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida together with President Joe Biden at the first-ever trilateral summit meeting between the three countries at the White House this week.

Strip away everything and what we have is an image of people who look like us, Asian.

But our allegiance is with the white man. The president of the United States.

This is what it means to be Asian American.

But I’m still working as a journalist, viewing the world from a Filipino Asian American lens as I have for some time.

This week, I was taken by an image that should help you find, or at least confirm, your “Asian Americanness” in 2024.

It’s a photo of Biden, Marcos, and Kishida.

That’s not a law firm but a historic public bonding for all

As a Filipino Asian American who still has family in the Philippines, including Ilocos Norte, the Filipino province of Marcos, when I look at that picture, there is no doubt as to where my allegiances are.

I’m with Joe. There’s no better person in this context. He’s our horse.

At this point, there’s none better.

This is one of those obvious not-so-obvious observations that we take for granted, and that sometimes takes a while to sink in. Or you come upon a photograph from a trilateral summit, and then you realize.

Politics and history complicate things, of course. At a ceremony in the White House with the Japanese leader this week, even Biden commented on how things have changed.

“Just a few generations ago, our two nations were locked in a devastating conflict,” Biden said referring to World War II. “It would have been easy to say we remain adversaries. Instead, we made a far better choice: We became the closest of friends.”

The same could be said of the history between the US and the Philippines, a major focus of my one-man show.

Just a few lost generations

ago, the Philippines was Imperial America’s first colony, and first conquest. There were consequences. We feel it every day.

But now the past is set aside for this historic trilateral summit because Thitu Island is endangered.

Thitu, part of the Spratly Islands, owned by the Philippines, looked upon as devourable by China, is a small island strip less than a mile long, but as any real estate person will tell you, it’s location, location, location.

Thitu is an island in the South China Sea, or the West Philippine Sea as the Filipinos prefer. China’s aggression in the region has been ongoing

for nearly a decade.

It threatens peace not just the Philippines but the entire region. I’ve been writing about the Spratly Islands for years as a potential flash point.

And now there’s no question, that China’s bullying presence in the area has the lights flashing red. Despite an international ruling in the Hague rejecting China’s claims over the Spratlys, China continues to big-foot the region.

Enter the United States.

As China persists in its aggression, a reminder is needed for all the world to see.

(continue on page 10)

APRIL 20, 2024  HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE  7
PERSPECTIVES
CANDID
Pres. Bongbong Marcos, Pres. Joe Biden, and PM Fumio Kishida

10 Tips to Protect Your Eyes When You’re on the Job!

Whether you’re working remotely, at a job site, or in an office setting, ensuring eye safety and wellness is paramount.

The CDC and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) report that approximately 2,000 U.S. workers suffer job-related eye injuries requiring medical attention each day.

Recognizing the significance of this issue, the Hawaiian Eye Center shares valuable tips for preventing workplace eye injuries.

Many job-related eye injuries occur in high-risk blue-collar professions like construction, plumbing, electrical work, welding, carpentry, and maintenance.

These occupations often involve exposure to flying debris, power tools, particles, and chemicals, all of which are leading causes of eye injuries.

From inflammation, contusions, and scratches from debris to severe injuries resulting in temporary or permanent vision loss, the risks are diverse, including impact from projectiles, blunt-force trauma, eye penetration, and chemical or thermal burns.

Despite these risks, the American Academy of Ophthalmology reveals that nearly 90% of work-related eye injuries can be prevented with proper eye protection and precautions. If you work in a highrisk field, consider these essential tips.

1. Wear protective eyewear! This is the most effective preventive measure against job-related eye injuries. Furthermore, only remove protective eyewear after completely turning off tools and replace damaged eyewear promptly.

2. Follow OSHA safety rules and adhere to guidelines and regulations for your

protection.

3. Set correct controls and PPEs (protective screens, machine guards, etc.) before tasks to avoid exposure to chemical, projective, and light hazards.

4. Turn containers away when opening to minimize exposure to chemical, projectile, and light hazards.

5. Stay focused on the tasks at hand, especially when using power tools or working with chemicals. This will greatly prevent accidents and injuries, including eye injuries.

6. Flush out the eyes with water if you come into contact with debris or

chemicals. Remember, it is crucial to seek medical attention immediately in the case of an accident.

While the risk of eye injuries is lower in home and office settings, there are still potential issues such as digital eye strain, a result of prolonged computer screen use. To safeguard your eyes during home or office work, consider these tips:

1. Adopt the 20-20-20 rule in which you take a 20-second break every 20 minutes, looking at something 20 feet away.

2. Wear prescription reading glasses if needed to minimize strain on your eyes,

as well as ensure prescriptions are correct and upto-date.

3. Blink regularly to combat dry eye syndrome associated with reduced blinking during computer use.

4. Adjust your workspace: Position the screen just below eye level, 20-28 inches away, and adjust the brightness to the surroundings.

Regardless of the workplace’s risk level, caring for your eyes is crucial.

“Healthy vision is essential for both maintaining productivity in work, as well as our independence and quality of life,” emphasized Dr. Steve Rhee, lead ophthalmologist at Hawaiian Eye Center.

“By prioritizing our eye health today, we help to ensure sustained, clear eyesight for years to come.”

To learn more about eye health or schedule your next eye appointment, visit: www. hawaiianeye.com. 

8 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE  APRIL 20, 2024 HEALTHLINE

Clean Elections is Dead, Duplicity is Alive – Long Live Clean Elections

According to just about every political pundit in Hawaiʻi, the Clean Elections bill, SB 2381 –SD2 is “dead.”

We should all wish duplicity at the Capitol and gamesmanship among legislative “leadership” was dead as well.

But neither is dead really.

When they tell you, “the deadline is passed”, the truth is if Senate President Ronald Kouchi and Speaker Scott Saiki want to extend any deadline at all, they have the power to do so.

Similarly, when they say “there’s no money” – the “money chairs” – WAM Chair Senator Donovan De La Cruz and Finance Chair Representative Kyle Yamashita – can always find the money needed for any and all initiatives they

believe are priorities.

I do not exaggerate the power granted to these four individuals.

Yes, they are given this power via support from the “majority” and if a majority of legislators feel differently they could assert themselves. But they don’t and they won’t because they’re afraid of being punished by “leadership” and/ or the “money chairs.”

Some do, and will, but a majority don’t, and won’t. Instead, they just keep their heads down and hope the moment will pass.

Mahalo to Senator Ron Kouchi and the Senate for passing Clean Elections SB 2381 – SD2 unanimously.

Unfortunately, the measure remains stalled in the House, killed or at least critically injured under the direction of Big Island Representative David Tarnas, Chair of the JHA Committee.

The reasons cited by Tarnas were frankly lame at best, some would say duplicitous (there’s that word again) especially given that he had supported a similar measure in the past AND Speaker of the House Scott Saiki had publicly declared Clean Elections to be his priority.

Tarnas would not have killed Clean Elections if Speaker Saiki’s support was genuine.

This, my friends, is a fact.

If Saiki truly supported the initiative, Tarnas would have instead “kept it alive” and attempted to work on possible amendments to address any valid concerns.

But he didn’t.

Saiki’s public position in support of Clean Elections was a sham.

The people got played. Anyone who talks to anyone in that big square building will tell you this (with a wink, a nod, in confidence, and off the

record of course).

Regardless of what Saiki said in January when he introduced HB2321, the House Clean Elections bill, it’s overwhelmingly obvious that Speaker Saiki does not really support its passage.

After garnering the media recognition and accepting the accolades of the bill’s supporters, he now throws them under the bus.

It’s clear his public posturing at that time was disingenuous, less than forthright, misleading, and yes duplicitous. Others will say he was just doing what politicians do, posturing for the headlines (which he got) and then killing the bill behind the scenes (which he did).

If the scuttlebutt in the building is off the mark, if the whispers and the knowing chuckles on the Capitol rail somehow have misread the situation, and if the writers and columnists like myself are universally all wrong – then the Speaker should say so.

Action speaks louder than

words. There are two separate but similar Clean Election bills that remain alive. SB 2381 could be re-referred, deadlines extended, and put back on the table OR SB1543 which is sitting in the conference committee could be revived.

These actions and the passage of Clean Elections into law would of course require Senate support. But given that recently 100% of them voted to pass SB2381 – I can’t imagine they would not work together with Speaker Saiki and the House to pass this incredibly important reform measure.

Please contact Rep Tarnas at 808-586-8510 reptarnas@ capitol.hawaii.gov and Speaker Saiki at 808-586-6100 repsaiki@capitol.hawaii.gov and let them know how you feel on this issue.

And remember, when they tell you it’s too late, the deadline has passed, and there’s no money – know that they are not being truthful with you.

GARY HOOSER is a former Hawaiʻi State Senator and Majority Leader.

APRIL 20, 2024  HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE  9
COMMENTARY

There are many successful Asian American immigrants in the United States but we don’t know how they were able to overcome the struggles and challenges they went through to succeed.

Why? Because there was no medium or vehicle that put them together so the Asian American community will know and can learn from their experiences.

In June of last year, Silicon Valley Ethnic Media braved the challenges by putting together a massive contest nationwide known as the Asian American Stories Video Contest 2023-2024.

The goal was to encourage immigrants to tell their stories and how they succeeded so other immigrants and the whole community would know and follow their feat.

So, after almost 10

All of Us Belong Here: Asian American Stories Video Contest 2023-2024

months of campaigning for Asian Americans to tell their stories with the theme “All of Us Belong Here,” the 16man board of judges led by its chairman Joel Wong started this week screening the 72 video entries.

The community responded. The turnout was so heavy that the judges were split into two groups, one group scoring odd number entries and the other group scoring even number entries.

The 72 entries are: Romeo Morales, Kien Nguyen, Jojo Liu, Fan Zhang, Liesel Mendoza GRIT, Chinese Women Delta, James Chiao, Christopher Lee, Betty Li, Alfred Chan, Susan Mao, We Dance, Ron Chan, The Oakland Ballet, Xiaoping Yu, Jiayi Li, Liesel Mendoza, Lucy Luo, Deer Video Rancho, Gerrye Wong, Guanglan Zhu, Victor William Chan, Susan Mao, Samantha Tran, Yixin Wang, Andrew Yuen, Alex Liu, Dee Wee Lim, Chinese chamber AZ, Teresa Li, Historic CA Cemetery, Avalyn Wu, Linling Chen, Bin gong, Abby Wu,

(CANDID PERSPECTIVES: A Filipino Asian....from page 7)

At the meetings on Thursday, Biden told the leaders of both countries that the U.S. military commitments to Japan and the Philippines are “ironclad”.

What emerged was the stark contrast: An alliance of the U.S. Japan and the Philippines as the paragons of democracy in the region versus the authoritarian communism of China.

If you haven’t already, it’s time to put Thitu and the Spratlys on your radar now.

Taiwan isn’t the only island that could spark a major conflict.

Die-hard Filipino or Japanese Nationalists may reject the symbolism of the U.S. coming in as Big Brother to the rescue.

But as Asian Americans, our hope should be for peace

Memory Don Sun, JieLi, Hai

Kim Le, Jeffery Zhang, Tech for Good, Sidney Dunten, Yu (Cathy) Chang, Kaihua

Skyler Chong, Jike Cheng, Ellie Wong, Ly Pham Rivera, Lauryn Chew, William Chui, David Louie, ICAN, Michelle Ahl, Vietnamese Culture Club, Ella Ai-Vy Nguyen, Kumu Gupta, Xia Che, Quyen Vuong, Scan Wang, 888 Jasion, Jessie Han, The Abalone Village, Yuan Foundation, My Twin Son’s dream, Dr. Xiu Bao Chang, Growing Up Shaolin, Asian, or American, Sophia

Chang, We’re All Scared, Peace Messengers SF, Cathy

Chang, What Should I Do, and Calligraphy Belonging. The members of the

in the region, and support of the two largest democracies in Asia.

It’s a special plus when we have blood still in the lands to which we provide aid.

Coverage gets bumped by OJ

I was really hoping for more coverage of the trilateral summit on television.

In the past, when the Philippines was propped up by the U.S. through the Reagan-Bush years, there were demonstrators every time Marcos’s father came to the US.

Marcos was a dictator supported by U.S. dollars. Marcos Jr. is the president of a democracy. Big difference.

There are still questions about how the family was rehabilitated back into power and how it enriched itself

by looting the Philippines itself. But the tiger changed its stripes. And now it needs U.S. military help.

We’re lucky to get a glimpse of Marcos, Biden, and Kishida in the news. Recently, it was eclipsed by the breaking news of the death of O.J. Simpson.

Before there was Trump, we had OJ to polarize our society. In 1995, when I was a radio talk host, OJ could light up the phones.

I won’t go over the case now. But I do remember how OJ was for many of us, our law school. Court was in session on TV, and we found out the difference between a criminal case (where OJ was acquitted), and a civil one (where OJ had no 5th Amendment cloak, had to testify, and was found liable for the murders).

board of judges are Co-chair and chairman of the board of judges Joel Wong; Santa Clara Mayor Lisa Gilmor; Milpitas Mayor Carmen Montano; Filipino American Media Leader Don Orozco; Mattie Scariot, Director of the Poppy Jasper International Film Festival; Former Assembly member of the State of California Kansen Chu; Piyush Malik, Startup Executive, entrepreneur, board adviser; Chris Norwood, President, Board of Milpitas Unified School District; David Mosby, CEO of e21 Academy, speaker and author; Media Editor Sandy Close; Beverly Molina, Santa Clara Firefighter and author; Tony Shyu, Holly-

We also learned about that high bar for prosecutors in our system—“beyond a reasonable doubt.”

OJ got karmic justice later when he served nine years for robbery and kidnapping in Nevada.

But my memories of OJ come as a kid growing up in San Francisco. I went to the same junior high school as OJ.

My father was 50 years older than me, so we didn’t communicate. I sought out surrogates. OJ was one of them.

He played football, and so did I (Pop Warner MVP). He was always held up in our school as the role model as a Heisman winner out of USC.

He was a kid from the hood. Transcendent. And he was beyond race. He would say, “I’m not black, I’m not white, I’m OJ.”

wood award winning TV and Film Director; Richard Flanders, Rotary International District 5170 Governor, attorney; David Louie, Post Editor, Reporter, ABCowned KGO-TV; Maggie Liu, Founder of Brotherhood Cup Foundation; and Elpidio R. Estioko, author, educator PR pro, journalist and author of the book “Unlocking the Chain of Poverty: In Pursuit of the American Dream” now available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Xlibris Publishing.

This year’s video competition was chaired by Diana Weiping Ding, founder and chair, Asian American Stories, CEO of Ding Ding TV; Joel Wong, president of National Asian American United (NAAUnited) and Francis Espiritu, president/publisher of Philippine News Today, as co-chairs.

The award ceremony will be held on Saturday, May 2, 2024 at the HL Peninsula Restaurant, 136 Ranch Dr., Milpitas, California.

During this ceremony,

(continue on page 12)

I know I wasn’t the only one who saw him as a decent role model. OJ was always the role model until the juice went bad.

I mention OJ in my comic one-man show about my American Filipino life, “Emil Amok, Lost NPR Host, Wiley Filipino, Vegan Transdad.” Come see it in New York City live or at home via livestream.

Three shows left: April 13th, Sat. 5:20 pm eastern; April 19th, Fri. 8:10 pm eastern; April 21st, Sun. 5:20 pm, eastern at 94 St Marks Place in Manhattan’s East Village as part of the NYC Fringe Festival: https://www.frigid.nyc/ event/6897:625/

EMIL

10 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE  APRIL 20, 2024 AS I SEE IT
GUILLERMO is a journalist and commentator. His talk show is on www.amok.com.

The Bottom Up and the Middle Out – Bidenomics is Great for the Economy! (Part 2)

Obama inherited the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Elected in 2008, Obama came into office having to pull the country out of not just a national problem but also the global economic impact of massive banking and stock market dishonesty and greed.

Obama’s economic policies got us safely out of the intense financial danger the country faced. His tax policies pulled us out of the deficit he inherited from President Bush and gave us a surplus.

Trump’s tax cuts to the wealthiest 1% caused a $1.9 trillion deficit. It’s startling that the people who shout against debts and fiscal irresponsibility that they don’t want their children to pay – are silent on the $1.9 trillion deficit of Trump’s tax cuts.

Trump’s COVID policies and practices prevented us from coming out of the pandemic sooner.

It’s next to impossible to reach “herd immunity” when

Republican leaders (Gov. Larry Hogan being the notable exception) encouraged people to not wear masks and to believe that the globally deadly virus was no more dangerous than the flu.

If you didn’t know this, Trump routinely diverted shipments of personal protective equipment (PPE) that Democratic governors paid for and bought for the citizens of their states, and sent them to Republican governors who had not paid for the PPE.

Trump also eliminated the pandemic preparation agency and canceled the contracts to maintain ventilators, so that there was no preparation in place for the pandemic and no ventilators in time to save lives.

Gov. Hogan’s wife is Korean. To prevent Trump from

knowing that Gov. Hogan bought PPE for Maryland citizens, Hogan’s wife made the purchase in Korean.

Gov. Hogan hired private security to make sure that Trump forces didn’t steal the Maryland purchase when it arrived.

Trump’s economic policies, like his Republican predecessors, shifted money to billionaires who won’t give their driver employees the time for bathroom breaks (you’ve heard of the Amazon delivery truck pee bottles, haven’t you?) and whose $13 per hour, part-time only jobs force their employees to use Medicaid for medical insurance (including Walmart, whose owner family is the among the very richest in the country).

It’s been calculated that those billionaires could take ½ day of their own executive profits to pay for health insurance for all their workers, and still have 364-1/2 days’ profit to be rich.

The pandemic hit in 2020. Trump’s $1.9 trillion deficit tax cuts were enacted – without a single hearing – in December 2017. The highest the DOW climbed during the Trump ad-

PHILIPPINE NEWS

Internet “Lumpia Queen” Abi Marquez Nominated At 28th Annual Webby Awards

Filipino TikTok and food content creator

Abi Marquez have been nominated for the prestigious 28th Annual Webby Awards’ Social - Food and Drink category.

The Webby Awards is the leading international award organization that honors excellence on the Internet. Marquez is nominated alongside YouTube show America’s Test Kitchen and Hollywood actress Jennifer Garner.

Known as the internet’s “Lumpia Queen,” the

23-year-old Marquez shot to social media fame through her cooking and recipe videos on TikTok, especially her videos featuring various takes of the beloved Filipino dish lumpia.

Currently, her Facebook has 1.7 million followers while her TikTok account has 3.3 million followers with videos going viral with over 1 billion views and 86 million likes.

Aside from her famous lumpia videos, Marquez also utilizes her TikTok account to share Filipino recipes to elevate Filipino cui-

ministration was 28,939.67.

When Republican tax and economic policies hoard wealth for the richest 1%-2%, without any regard for the well-being of the other 98% of Americans, the economy suffers.

Superyachts and rockets for private space rides don’t spread dollars into the sea of commerce. Reagan’s “trickle down” is a lie and has been a lie for over 40 years.

People need money in their hands and that means fair tax policies and fair economic policies that put money in their hands.

Businesses prosper when ordinary customers have money to eat at restaurants, shop online and in stores, pay for activities and programs for themselves and their children, to buy plate lunches and clothes and cars and other things.

Businesses prosper under Democratic presidential administrations who understand that “when the tide rises, everyone is lifted up.”

Democrats are truly fiscally responsible and give tax cuts that put money into the hands of consumers to flow into the stream of commerce, which creates jobs.

Trump’s highest DOW, following his extremely unfair tax cuts to the wealthy, only got to 28,939.67.

Biden’s “bottom-up, middle-out” economic tax policies

have been busting the stock market for four whole years.

The optimism started after his election when people dancing in the streets nationwide began feeling hope.

Biden’s forgiveness of $143.6 billion of student loans put that much disposable income into the hands of 3.96 million Americans.

With this monthly debt forgiven, they could use that money to spend, to send into the stream of commerce, flowing into businesses that could then hire and pay other workers.

The Republicans keep fighting for the forgiveness of student loans which puts money into the hands of consumers and keeps the economy bustling.

Republican tax cuts to the richest 1-2% of wealthiest Americans, hurt the economy because they don’t circulate those dollars to create jobs and fund paychecks. Those 1 -2% put their money overseas and build luxury for themselves.

“Bottom-up, middle-out.” It works.

Look at the DOW and see how progressive economic policies that spread out the wealth among the middleand lower-class lead to a very healthy economy.

Biden doesn’t brag like Republican presidents do, but his policies gave us a strong economy. 

sine and heritage to a global scale.

In 2023, she received the TikTok Foodie Creator of the Year award which solidifies her status as a culinary influencer.

The Webby Awards highlights the power of the internet but having users vote for their favorite nominees. To support Marquez in the Social - Food and Drink category, vote for Abi Marquez at the Webby Awards website at https://vote.webbyawards.com/PublicVoting#/2024/social/general-social/food-drink.

APRIL 20, 2024  HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE  11 OPINION

FIRST DRAFT--Personal Essays by Ten Women

ore than 20 years ago, Gilda Cordero Fernando gathered a group of women with the goal of producing writing for pleasure on topics that matter and resonate with them.

MThe women were all involved in the “world of letters” whether in creating books, news articles, or as part of the academe or in cultural work.

The women met every quarter or so, where they shared their written homework over food and drinks, and probably with lots of laughter and deepening friendships.

They used these get-togethers to have their writings critiqued.

As explained in the introduction they “indulged in introspection, reflection and self-revelation” and being freed from external restrictions the women viewed writing as a “sport” (just like how kids love soccer), or as “deep play”—to experience freedom and enjoy writing for its own sake.

But mostly, this book is

an ode to Gilda Cordero Fer nando, who passed away in 2020—“the National Artist we never had”, an icon in Philippine arts and letters whose body of work rang es from writing fiction and non-fiction to book publishing, theater, and the visual arts.

I first heard of Gilda Cordero through my parents. She and my parents were high school classmates at Saint James Academy in Malabon.

Philippines.

Run by American Maryknoll sisters, it was one of the first schools that opened soon after the Japanese Occupation.

When my parents reminisced about high school days, her name would come up—one of their classmates whose books and other writings had been published.

Once browsing through our school library, I found her book of short stories in a locked cabinet. It was the first time I would read fiction by a Filipino writer in English.

In those days, the Catholic school where I studied used an American curriculum—we read and dissected works of writers from the rest of the world—except those from the

This anthology of essays begins with Gilda Cordero-Fernando’s “The Beginning and the End” and concludes with her “Space Clearing.”

In between are the essays of the other nine women she recruited to be part of First Draft, and includes essays by Fe Maria C. Arriola, Karina Africa Bolasco, Mariel N. Francisco, Melinda Quintos de Jesus, Rita Ledesma, Elizabeth Lolarga, Edna Zapanta Manlapaz, Chit Roces-Santos and Lorna Kalaw-Tirol (who served as its editor).

Her stories reflected the world as I knew it—and it woke me up. I can trace my advocacy for books and writing—awareness and pride at being Filipino—when I discovered those books in that locked cabinet.

She’s called a cultural visionary; she has inspired generations to be writers, researchers, editors, illustrators—all the talent required to get a beautiful book published.

These books have become keepsakes, collectibles—items that you keep by your side—to get inspired or serve as a link to our country of birth (for those of us who are in the Diaspora).

the sponsors will spotlight individuals who have made significant contributions to Asian American literature, film, art and culture.

The organizers said:

“It will be an evening filled with joy, appreciation, and recognition, for the talented storytellers who have shared their unique experience and perspectives with the world and a celebration of the vibrant and diverse narratives of the Asian American community.”

There will be two groups of winners: the youth category (aged 12 – 18) and the adult (aged 19 and above). A special prize is added for the viewers’ choice and excellence awards.

What is at stake? First

that of their parents.

The writings try to capture grief and the anguish of loss—of life and death as well as of inner adventures and what gives meaning to their everyday existence.

They also write about Gilda, and how she has taught them to nurture and delight in their creative impulses.

Most of the nine women conclude their collection of essays with a personal ode to Gilda, with a watercolor painting offered by Edna Zapanta Manlapaz.

The last pages included photographs of the women through the years as they gathered to inspire and support each other’s journey.

The essays ran the gamut of childhood memories and growing pains, husbands and married life to balancing careers and being wives and mothers, grandmothers or widows.

The women write about life—its riddles and contradictions, the cycles of life and dealing with aging—whether it is about their mortality or

prize winners (Adult and Youth); $5,000 funding or a $500 check each; second prize winners (Adult & Youth): $2,500 funding or $250 check each; and Third prize winners (Youth & Adult): $1,000 funding or a $100 check each.

Then we have the viewer’s choice winner (Adult & Youth): $1,000 funding or $100 each and 10 Excellence Awards at $100 each.

Names of winners will be engraved in their individual trophies and there will be an audio-visual presentation of winning entries during the awarding.

Sponsors and community partners include the Silicon Valley Community Media, Ding Ding TV, Philippine

As noted by one of the book’s reviewers on the back cover—these are refreshing narratives written by women who have reached a certain point in their lives when they don’t need to prove anything, win approval, or compete, but simply to be themselves.

The book is aptly called First Draft because these pieces are still subject to revision—to do more rewrites as its authors deem necessary.

First drafts are still open to possibilities subject to memories that may still be uncovered, or life that will still be lived.

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.

News Today, Brotherhood Cup Foundation, California State Library, Lily Lijun Li, NAA United, Fang Wu, IPAA, Alexander’s Steakhouse, Wonder Medical and Foundation Educational, Supervisor Otto Lee, People with Empathy, Poppy Jasper, APALI, India Currents, ACYPA, ICAN, ASEI, Phu Nu, Blue Dot, Asian American United Coalition, Kenson, Ethnic Media Services, among others.

Congratulations, in advance, to all winners! Let’s learn from them! 

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

12 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE  APRIL 20, 2024
BOOK REVIEW
(AS I SEE IT: All of Us....from page 10)

PERSONAL REFLECTIONS

Blame The Boomers? “O

ne sensitive area among GenXYZ involves impositions on personal time and space such as take-home work or overtime. Unlike past generations, the young people today have a life outside work, they treat their personal time as inviolable. These are all part of the “boundaries” they have learned and established through their life.

Their parents may have found overtime equates to more money, but the younger generation have better things to do with their time after office and a number really make more money doing side hustles and gigs outside of the office. Besides which, today’s young recruits are the “no homework on weekends” generation.

To better appreciate and understand this culture and values, we, the Boomers and elders, need to look back into our past life as “employees” who devoted our lives to a company or a job at the family’s expense.

Many of us lamented our “shitty” situation at work, the monster we work for or the backstabbing credit grabbers. Then we would tell the kids that there would be no weekend trip or “pasyal” because we had work to do. Kids were generally at the receiving end of the office-related anger and frustration.

We sold our soul to the company in the false hope of eventually having a nice shiny car or a house and lot but ended up working more for the company to get the upgrade. As the children grew, they slowly became aware of the high price of educa-

MAINLAND NEWS

tion, raising a family and the “slave wages” their parents were paid.

And so today, they are less inclined to pursue the dream and the romance their parents chased and compromised for. The only “good” we did was to show them it was not worth it, and they have learned well.”

This is an excerpt from the opinion piece by columnist Cito Beltran on the Philippine Star dated April 10,

New SAFE Act Will Safeguard Against Surveillance Abuses, Protect Privacy and Civil Liberty: Asian American Organization

The Security and Freedom Enhancement (SAFE) Act is a new bipartisan bill introduced by Senators Dick Durbin and Mike Lee.

This bill aims to safeguard against surveillance abuses while including the necessary provisions required to gather the foreign intelligence used to protect the United States.

“Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC) has relentlessly called attention to the blatant abuses of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that often ensnare Asian American immigrants and citizens in unnecessary surveillance because they have family, friend, and business associates living internationally

-- making them prime targets for spying by the U.S. government. We applaud Senator Durbin, Senator Lee, and the other members of Congress who brought forth this bipartisan legislation,” said John C. Yang, president and executive director of AAJC.

According to AAJC, the SAFE Act will protect national security by reauthorizing Section 702 of the Foreign

entitled “Blame the Boomers, Not Gen X-Y-Z.” This went viral and has been shared many times on social media.

My parents are boomers. I am part of Generation Y.

I must say that some of the things that Mr. Beltran pointed out are spot on. It made me look back at how my parents devoted their lives to their jobs, patiently enduring all the drama involved with work just to ensure long-term stability.

On the other hand, the younger generation values work-life balance, self-respect, and mental health preservation.

But one thing I disagree with is that they are to be blamed. I believe that it is not a blame game but instead a learning curve.

Life was different during their time. The conditions were more difficult. The boomers came after the war and global recession, a time of chaos and instability.

They didn’t have the convenience, the luxury, and the technology that the succeeding generations get to enjoy. What we are facing now is unlike what they faced then.

Looking at my life now, what I want to give my parents and their generation is not culpability but gratitude.

I am who I am and where I am now because of the foundations that they have laid in my life. I want to thank the

Intelligence Surveillance Act but it adds key provisions that protect American’s privacy and civil liberties and stops government abuses.

“The looming April 19th deadline for reauthorizing FISA Section 702 makes the bipartisan SAFE Act a timely and essential compromise bill that will protect everyone in America from surveillance abuses,” said Joanna YangQing Derman, Director, Anti-Profiling, Civil Rights and National Security at AAJC.

“If passed, the SAFE Act will allow Asian Americans to breathe a little easier knowing they will not be the subject of the more than 500 warrantless searches that occur on Americans every day under the Section 702 status quo.”

boomers for the many lessons on how to do and not to do things in life, at work, and raising a family.

I have learned (and am still learning) to become a better mother because I have witnessed and experienced the mistakes of my parents. There are times my husband and I find ourselves discussing how we won’t apply in our family the way things were in our homes growing up.

I also have learned the importance of setting boundaries because I don’t want to experience the trauma and pain that my elders have been through in their workplaces.

I have learned to set my priorities straight so that my children won’t have to suffer the consequences if these are misaligned.

Just like how Mr. Beltran concluded, our generation has learned well.

So enough with the blame game. No generation is perfect. With the changing times, each generation is distinct from the other.

My children’s generation is very different from mine. And I trust that they, too, will continue to do the things we are doing right and learn from the things that we are falling short of.

As they do this, I pray that the next generations become better than their predecessors.

APRIL 20, 2024  HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE  13

am an older female working in food service. With so much talk these days about the age of our President and former President I am worried that I will experience age discrimination. What does the law say about age discrimination and what are the signs?

IAge Discrimination in the Workplace?

(ADEA) protects most persons aged 40 years and older from discrimination based on age in hiring, promotion, discharge, pay, benefits, or terms, conditions, or privileges of employment.

The ADEA is enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Age discrimination involves treating an applicant or employee less favorably because of his, her, or their age.

kinds of work at 30 or 50 and others can work well on into their 80s. As they say, “Age is just a number.”

Some employers are hypocritical when it comes to age. When there is a shortage of workers, they are happy to hire older workers for many types of jobs.

one of the signs of discrimination to watch for.

1. While forbidden, age discrimination can sometimes be hard to prove. Here are some tips for how to fight back against Age Discrimination:

6. Submit an inquiry to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (https://www.eeoc.gov/).

7. Consider mediation or file a lawsuit.

– Reader

Dear Reader, You have good reason to worry because age discrimination is real. Age discrimination is prohibited by law.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967

The law also makes it illegal to retaliate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit.

Age discrimination is unfair and simply wrong. We all know that everyone ages differently. Some people may be physically or mentally unable to do certain

Many studies show that older workers are often more reliable workers with a strong work ethic. However, some employers seek to replace older workers with younger ones, especially if they can pay newer workers less.

And they may ask their older, more experienced workers to train younger workers. But watch out, you may be training your replacement.

If you find that you are being asked to train younger workers and are then let go, you may have a strong case of discrimination. This is

2. Talk with a supervisor. It doesn’t have to be a formal complaint right off. Sometimes the issues can be addressed in an informal conversation.

3. Keep a log. Document comments, and treatment. etc. Includes dates and other responses that are or seem discriminatory in your log.

4. Contact the Hawai’i Workers Center for information. You may need to get a lawyer. Reach out to us at phone number (503)967-5377 or (503) WORKERS).

5. Lodge a complaint with the company.

Remember, older does not mean useless! Let the Hawai’i Worker Center help you learn about all your right and stick up for your rights.

Hawaii Workers Center also offers Know Your Workers’ Rights trainings. Contact nelson@hawaiiworkerscenter.org to request training.

Thank you, 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.

Mililani-Based Filipino American Parenting Coach Announced as 2024 Women Changing The World Awards Finalist

Filipino American parenting coach Karen Gibson has been announced as a People’s Choice finalist at the 2024 Women Changing The World Awards.

The award recognizes the achievement and success of women in areas such as sustainability, humanitarian work, leadership, advocacy, technology, product development, education, health, and innovation.

Gibson is a finalist under the People’s Chouse: Education category. As the woman behind Letting Go with Aloha and Brain Builders, Gibson is dedicated to supporting parents, students, and families worldwide as they manage the ups and downs of life’s journey.

The 2024 Women Changing The World Awards is presented by Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, and Dr. Tererai Trent, a Zimbabwean-American educator. Alongside celebrating great women, the award aims to

inspire and empower women worldwide to unite and pave the way towards a better future for all.

For others thinking of following their calling to make a difference, Gibson offers this advice.

“We should pursue our calling because embracing our passions and talents not only empowers us individually but also contributes to societal progress and the collective enrichment of diverse perspectives,” she said.

In the last 12 months, Gibson launched her Positive Intelligence Coaching Program, recorded a three-episode Pep Talk for Parents on meditation app Insight Timer, and hosted her third annual virtual parenting summit for

DATELINE: LAS VEGAS

Ditoy Siudad Ti Init Agmulaak Latta

Manen, ti panagmula

awan ti pilienna a panawen

awan pilienna a disso

ita, agmulaak latta, manen

ta adda pay bin-i

dagiti bin-i iti kamalig

iti lansad ti barukong ni ayat

ti panagmula kas met iti panaginaw iti arapaap umayda iti sin-aw

ti panagmulak ikutkotko a saggaysa

sa dua, sa tallo, ken agsasaruno ditoy naulimek a siledko

agkankantaak ditoy siledko, agsursuratak agburburayok ti riknak adda iliw

adda pannakaikawa

kas tinta iti plumak, sumrek a bukel sibogan ti ayat, adda namnama a nasippukelkel agmulaak ita a kadam-eg ti daga umay ti panagsikog arapaap a nasadia

ti imulak: ayat; iti daga awan pay saluyot ngem rinugiakon nga imula

ti iwarisko iti kadagaan: ayat

parents globally.

The 2024 Women Changing The World Awards will be held on May 25, 2024 at Fairmont Windsor Park in London, United Kingdom. For more information on the awards, visit https:// wcwawards.com/. 

ayat, daytoy ti imulak

imulak daytoy iti namnama a nasimgat

yawatko ita ima: bin-I ken bukel

yawatko iti sab-okmo: biag ken rimat

agmulaak manen: awatem ti bin-i

imulak ti bukel: tagikuaem

ingget pateg

daytoy ti mulak: ayat ti panagmula, panawen ti amin a panawen. 

14 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE  APRIL 20, 2024 HAWAII WORKERS CORNER HAWAII-FILIPINO NEWS

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

COMMUNITY CALENDAR

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

LEAHI FESTIVAL | Millwood Ohana Productions, Da Ultimate Grindz | May 11, 2024, 4-10pm | Kalakaua Ave, between intersections Seaside and Uluniu Street in Honolulu | Explore local retail, jewelry, art and ‘ono food and drinks at one of the biggest festivals on the island.

13TH ANNUAL FESTIVAL OF PACIFIC ARTS & CULTURE | The Pacific Community – SPC, Gravitas Pasifika | June 6-16, 10am-4pm | Hawaiʻi Convention Center, 1801 Kalākaua Ave, Honolulu |

BIBLE REFLECTIONS

The festival is the world’s largest celebration of indigenous Pacific Islanders. For more information, visit https://www. festpachawaii.org/.

31ST ANNUAL PISTAHAN PARADE AND FESTIVAL | The Pacific Community – SPC, Gravitas Pasifika | August 10-11, 2024 | Yerba Buena Gardens, San Francisco, California | The Filipino American Arts Exposition (FAAE) of the rich tapestry of cultures and ethnic communities of the San Francisco Bay Area through its promotion of Filipino American art, music, film, dance, cuisine, history, and more. FAAE celebrates its ancestral heritage and contemporary traditions, broadening awareness and understanding of Filipino history and culture. For more information on the festival, visit www.pistahan.net.

Turning Trials Into Triumph: A Story of God’s Grace and Restoration

My parents separated when I was a little girl, but they eventually got back together and as a result, I was blessed with a brother and a sister whom I loved and adored so much.

Just when I thought we were finally a happy family, my father returned to his old ways which broke our family apart.

My mom eventually flew to the US and remarried, being able to bring my siblings with her as they were much younger.

As a child, I was sexually harassed by a relative; and while my mom, together with her parents did their absolute best to raise me to be a wonderful human being – past hurts, trauma, and pride led to bad decisions ending in more pain and suffering.

I would get in trouble at school. I would lie and cheat. I would do anything to get what I want, whenever I want. I would get involved in toxic relationships.

I was just so lost and miserable.

It was 2015 when I finally gave up and surrendered everything to Jesus. While it was the best decision I have ever made, it sure came with a cost just as the Bible said it would.

To deny myself and take up my cross meant giving up comfort, convenience, and worldly desires and passions so I could follow Jesus.

Not that He needs me to follow Him, but doing so is for my good. Romans 8:28 says, “For we know that all things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose.”

As a Christian woman, I still struggle with sin. I would beat myself up over my mistakes, and then run back to God in repentance, yet find myself stumbling again.

I would get impatient with myself and feel discouraged, but God never fails to encourage me and remind me of just how patient He is with me.

During the pandemic, I served as a nurse at a quarantine facility where most of my workmates disliked me for my convictions. To say it broke my heart is an understatement.

I worked 12-hour shifts for 14 days straight and then was in quarantine for the next two weeks.

In isolation, I’d cry out to The LORD who is my ever-present help.

These moments being locked in allowed me to just sit at the feet of Jesus and experience His comfort.

A few months after I left the facility, I was shaken to my core as I learned about

my beloved brother’s sudden passing in the United States due to a car accident. He was only 24.

Being miles away, I felt so helpless, but The LORD was so gracious to allow me to eventually go to California to be with my family.

However, I could not stay for longer than six months so I had to return here. Living alone and away from family in the midst of grief was almost unbearable.

The hormonal imbalance due to Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and Adenomyosis (PCOS) only made it worse.

There were days when I’d go to sleep and wish I’d never wake up. But then I’d still wake up and feel very disappointed, so I’d go back to sleep hoping to never wake up ever again.

In one of my weakest and most vulnerable moments, I fell into sexual sin with a brother in Christ, and for a while, I couldn’t live with myself.

For someone who was just about to be regularized as a full-time worker in the church, I felt deeply

ashamed and wanted to just vanish and be gone forever.

But by the grace of God, He provided me with the strength and courage to confess and expose my sin. While I wholeheartedly embraced the discipline I so deserved, the consequences including being talked about and looked down upon by fellow Christians were unbelievably and extremely hurtful.

But God Is Faithful. Over and over again in both the Old and the New Testament, He promised never to leave nor forsake us. It was not long until I realized that in Him, we are never truly alone.

He used the church community, my discipleship group family, and my grief counselor to point me back to Jesus and make me feel His unconditional love.

They are the physical embodiment of God’s grace at work in my life. With unwavering commitment, they were there for me and held my hand as I went through the bitter-

sweet process of restoration.

I almost can’t believe it’s already been a year since.

I didn’t think I’d still be standing, and yet here I am sharing stories of the hope I have in Jesus with all of you.

I will never forget how in my quiet moments with Jesus, He has taught me and motivated me to “get up, pick up my mat, and walk.”

In John 16:33, Jesus said to His disciples, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

More than the promise of trials and troubles, Jesus promised peace and victory.

We may be faced with the most tragic and “Maalaala Mo Kaya (Would You Remember)-worthy” situations, but whatever it may be – it cannot be for our good, because in His great love, God seeks our highest good.

Everything God allows is ultimately what is best for us.

So let us endure and run the race with perseverance, holding on to our promise-keeping God – because how can we not?

He is faithful and His love never fails. To God be the glory!

GIAN CARLA “GICA” LUMABAO is joyfully living the single life dedicated to God, her LORD and Savior, Jesus Christ. She is currently a full-time staff for B1G (Be One with God) Singles Ministry at Christ’s Commission Fellowship (CCF).

APRIL 20, 2024  HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE  15
APRIL 20, 2024
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