Jul 10, 2009
Ilocos Norte Governor Visits Maui
About 300 people from all walks of life converged at the Paina building of the University of Hawaii’s Maui Community College on June 26 to welcome and talk stories with Ilocos Norte Governor Michael Marcos-Keon.
Keon was accompanied by a delegation of mayors and vice mayors from various towns of the province.
This is the second time the province’s chief executive officer visited Maui, also known as the Valley Isle.
He first visited Maui in February 2005 when then governor Ferdinand Marcos Jr., now Congressman, signed the sisterhood agreement between Ilocos Norte and the State of Hawaii.
“The main objective of this visit is to familiarize myself with the Filipino community that’s why I brought most of the mayors and vice-mayors of the various towns with me,” said Keon before a crowd of well-wishers.
“I’m elated by the warm reception you have accorded my delegation and me,” he added.
“To pursue the sisterhood agreement, the provincial government hopes to establish tie-ups with educational institutions like Maui Community College and the Mariano Marcos State University in Batac City,” said Atty. Ferdinand A. Dumlao, consultant to the provincial government.
“As the son of a sakada who hails from Laoag City, the presence of all these officials here make me feel just like a homecoming,” said Maui County Council Chairman Danny Mateo.
Gifts and tokens of appreciation were presented to Keon and his delegation by Herman Andaya, president of the Maui Filipino Community Council, the organization that sponsored the event.
Maui Mayor Charmaine Tavares said that this is the first time of this magnitude of Philippine local officials that visited Maui. She presented a certificate of recognition to Keon.
“I’m well pleased with the outcome of the occasion and I would like to thank the people who have shared their time in the planning and organization, the Filipino restaurants that donated the food, the entertainers, and to all who made this event successful,” Andaya said.
“Personally, it was a learning experience for me to get to know other towns and to discover that some persons I know hail from that particular town,” he added.
Wengie Pillos of Kahului who immigrated from Ilocos Norte a few months ago said that the gathering delighted her.
Those in attendance described the gathering as a reunion of townmates living in the diaspora with executive officials of their respective towns.
It was chance for the Ilokanos, the dominant group of Filipinos in Maui and in the State of Hawai’i, to give their moral support to them for what they are doing to further improve the way of life in the province.
The delegation consisted of the following:
Badoc- Thomas Torralba, Mayor; Bangui-Salvacion Cimatu, Mayor; Banna- Carlito Abadilla II, Mayor; Carlito Abadilla, Vice Mayor; Batac City-Alberto D. Chua, Board Member,Ma. Elena M. Nalupta, Board Member; Burgos-Cresente Garcia, Mayor; Currimao- Rosario Go, Mayor; Dingras- Robert Castro, Board Member; Dumalneg-Francis Espiritu, Mayor; Laoag City- Shirley Ong Sin, Board Member,Portia Pamela R. Salenda, Board Member, Yvonne Ranada, Board Member, Vicentito Lazo, Board Member, Ms. Miriam A. Damo, Exec. Assistant, Rep. Jonathan dela Cruz, Consultant, Atty. Ferdinand A. Dumlao, Consultant, Marcos-Salvador Pillos, Mayor, Nueva Era-Aldrin Garvida, Mayor; Pagudpud- Marlon Ferdinand Sales, Mayor, Matilde Sales, Vice Mayor, Paoay-Jessie E. Galano, Board Member, Bonifacio Clemente, Jr., Mayor; Sarrat-Edito Balintona, Mayor; and Solsona-Joseph de Lara, Mayor.