Jan 6, 2011

PEPITO and ALICE RAGASA, 2010 Outstanding Ama at Ina

Alice and Pepito Ragasa

By Fil-Am Observer Staff
[Front Page]
A couple from Kahului,  Pepito and Alice Barrientos Ragasa was awarded the Outstanding Ama at Ina—outstanding father and mother—by the organizers, Binhi at Ani, during  the 2nd Annual Rice Festival and  First Lantern Festival.

The award was given on December 18 at the Binhi at Ani  Maui Filipino Community Center.

Pepito and Alice have been married for 56 years, raised a son, Guy. They have a grandson, Stacey, and two great-granddaughters Ka-Sandra and Jer-zee.

“We are happy and humbled by this award knowing that our aspirations are for the betterment of the Filipino community,” said Alice in an interview with the Observer.

“They serve the community well,” commented Flor Garcia, Vice President of Binhi at Ani. “As a union officer, Pepito has helped many members. Alice, on her part, continues to support and at times spearheads Filipino sponsored events,” Garcia added.

“I have known the couple for a long time. Pepito has been a stalwart of the union movement during the early years. Through the years, Alice had stood by her husband’s side,” said retired Judge Artemio C. Baxa.

Pepito is one of the 498 plantation workers who left the Philippines via Port Salomague in Cabugao, Ilocos Sur in January 1946 through SS Maunawili. The workers arrived on February 1, 1946 at Kahului harbor.

Upon arrival, he was immediately assigned to Maui Pineapple at Haliimaile
In 1947, he applied and was accepted at Hawaiian Commercial and Sugar Company where he worked as journeyman welder until 1975. 

The following year, he was elected and served as full time business agent and membership director, Maui division of the International Longshoreman and Warehousemen Union.

As a union officer, Ragasa had the opportunity to help Filipinos and other ethnic groups regarding their medical pension plans.

His patience and perseverance in attending classes were paid off when he received a high school certificate from then Department of Public Instruction, now Department of Education, and a Certificate in Welding and Blueprint Reading from Maui Vocational School, now Maui College.

Because of his significant contributions to the community, Pepito was awarded as Most Outstanding 1946 Maui Sakada and also was given the distinction as one of the Ten Most Outstanding Sakadas statewide.

He was also a recipient of the prestigious “Gintong Pamana” Leadership Achievement Award. He also occupied and served on various government positions.

As the saying goes, “Behind a man’s success is a woman.” Indeed, Pepito’s wife has been instrumental to his success.
“My husband is a good man, honest, and helpful,” said Alice.

Alice was born in Hawaii but traces her roots in Urdaneta, Pangasinan
She attended night classes in accounting at then Maui Community College. She worked for First Hawaiian Bank for six years and then at the county clerk office for five years. She was a receptionist for three years at the mayor’s office.

Aside from her two great grand daughters, Alice keeps herself busy getting involved in the Filipino community. She currently serves as the president of the Kahului Filipino Senior Citizens group. She’s also the corresponding secretary of the Binhi at Ani and chairperson for the Miss Maui Filipina and Miss Barrio Fiesta.

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