May 23, 2009

Eustaquio Daliva: Finding a Flower to Put Color into His Life

By Lucy Peros
Sakada Corner
May 2009 Issue of Fil-Am Observer
Sakada Feature, Page 9

IN 1946, Eustaquio daliva, who hailed from Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte, came to Hawai'i to work in the plantations. He came on board S.S. Maunawili from Port Salomague in Cabugao, Ilocos Sur, Through his brother Eusebio's sponsorship, who had earlier come to Hawai'i in the 20's, Eustaquio and his three other brothers Epifanio, Jacinto and Saturnino were able to come to Hawai'i as plantation recruits.

Not all the brothers stayed put in Hawai'i, though. Epifanio headed to work in California while Jacinto chose to work on a boat. Saturnino and Eustaquio decided to remain on Maui, who together with Eusebio, all work for the Wailuku Sugar Company. The three brothers lived in Happy Valley behind the former T.K. Supermarket.

The backbreaking work must have predisposed Eustaquio to contract tuberculosis that at that time was not easy to cure. For four years, he stayed at the Kula Sanitorium to recuperate, which he did, and promptly went back to work at Wailuku Sugar.

Eustaquio's first work at Wailuku Sugar was as mud truck driver. For $1 per day, he would pick up all the trash from the cane field and picked up rocks for cracking into smaller pieces.

Next, Eustaquio worked in the "seed bath" department. There he bundled up "pula-pula" or the cut sugar cane stalks and dipped them in hot water mixed with chemical to exterminate all of the bugs, bacteria, or aphids that would attack the young plant.

In 1956, Eustaquio decided to go back to Pasuquin find a wife. He did find a jewel in Flora who he wed after the usual traditional "danon." Smitten by her beauty, Eustaquio knew in his hear that this lady who was working as a seamstress in Manila and who came to Pasuquin just to sew the graduation dress of her cousin who was finishing high school. That cousin was Flora's mother's caregiver and so it was important for Flora to go home and show her appreciation. As luck would have it, the two met, the man falling in love with the woman even at the first time that he laid his eyes on him.

But something posed as an obstacle. In Pasuquin in those years, women were only permitted to marry if they were twenty four years old. Flora was only twenty two, fifteen years younger than Eustaquio. The match was good, and the wedding arranged, but this proble stood in the way. So the elders solved the puzzle by taking out two years from Eustaquio and putting those two years to Flora's. That made Flora twenty four and Eustaquio thirty five. With that solved, the two got married on April 15, 1956.

In July 1956, Eustaquio came back to Hawai'i, Flora followed him in November 1956.

When Flora arrived in Happy Valley, she said, "Happy Valley was not a happy valley because there were very few women at that time. Only many years later would more women come."

Eustaquio did not want Flora to work at the expense of their children. This made her full-time homemaker until their youngest child was 13.

In 1969, she finally joined the workforce, with her first job at the St. Anthony School Cafeteria where she stayed until 1973. From there, until 1976, she moved to the Charthouse Restaurant [now Carrie and Eddie's Hideaway]. In 1976, She moved to the Maui Memorial Hospital's kitchen. There she prepared desserts, salads, and other until her retirement in 1995.

Flora enjoys gardening. Her house is sorrounded with beautiful flowering plants and grapevines heavy with fruits.
With her age padded, she was able to retire two years earlier. Eustaquio who passed away in 2003 at age 84, retired when she was 58.

Eustaquio and Flora were blessed with three children. Merlyn, their eldest and married to Leonard Nagata, teaches at Lihikai School. They have two children.

Linda, the second child and who works at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center, is married to Bryan Dunn. They have three children.

Their youngest, whor works at Sensei Restaurant, is Efren.

Flora advice the older people: "Go to the beach and pick limu [seaweeds] for relaxation. Plant flowers and vegetables. It's a good therapy."

Her advice to younger generations: "Go to school and receive good education so that it easier to find a better paying job."

Nana Flora, thank you for sharing with us your story and that of Tata Eustaquio.***

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