Feb 1, 2011

Sakada Feature: ANDRES UGALDE SOLIVEN, Finds A Better Life In Hawaii

Andres Soliven, circa 1946

By Lucy Peros
Sakada Corner
Fil-Am Observer February 2011 Issue

One of the very few living plantation workers, popularly called the sakadas, is Andres Soliven

Like most of the other workers, he came to Hawaii to find a better life for himself and for his family; the search for adventure came in close as a motive as well. 

Born in Magsingal, Ilocos Sur, Philippines on November 13, 1920, he came with the last batch of workers in 1946. He was 26. Leoncio Soliven, a relative, sponsored him to come to Hawaii. That relative came earlier in the 1930s.


Andres came on board the S. S. Maunawili, leaving the Philippines via Port Salomague in Cabugao, Ilocos Sur. They landed on Kauai after an almost a month on the rough seas. Some of the workers stayed on Kauai to till the fields; Andres, however, was assigned to come to Maui to work for HC & S.

At HC&S, he cut grass as a starter job; he earned less than a $1.00 per hour. But during his plantation career, he worked mostly at the Paia Mill as an auto maintenance lubricator man; he worked other job until he retired in 1982. 

While working at the Paia Mill, he lived at Orpheum Camp close by. He remembered some of his close friends and housemates at Orpheum Camp, all of whom have gone on to another life, such as Eulogio and Bartolome Tamayo, Zacarias Ursua, Nicolas Urbe, and Norberto Draculan. He remembered sharing with them their community bathhouse and outhouses. In those days, there were no indoor toilets. In those days, arinola,” the chamber pot, was used for emergencies. 

With a big smile on his face, he remembered shopping at the various stores in Paia such as the Nashiwa Bakery, Horiuchi Store, Paia Mercantile, Ikeda’s Store, Bersamin’s Fish Market, Nagata Store, etc. He even remembered the late Florencio Garcia giving him a haircut at the Garcia’s Barber Shop. Happy plantation days have gone by but happy memories remain in the mind of 90 year-old Andres Soliven.

Leonora & Andres
Andres was formerly married to the late Angela Tolentino Soliven who passed away in 1963. They had a son, Nestor Soliven who was a baby when Andres came to Hawaii in 1946. In 1959, Andres petitioned Nestor so that he could come to Hawaii.

Life must go on for Andres after the untimely death of his loving wife, Angela. In 1966, Andres decided to go to the Philippines to meet his penpal whom he had been corresponding with. On his way to meet her, he decided to first stop at the house of his cousin, Paulino and his wife Susana Soliven for a short visit. 

But during that short visit, Andres saw a picture of a beautiful young lady. Instantly, he fell in love with her and wanted to know more about her. That was a picture of Susana’s niece named Leonora who was a student in Baguio City studying to become a schoolteacher. 

Before he even met Leonora, Andres and Leonora’s parents and other elders as a custom of the time, have already met and made all of the wedding arrangement. Being an obedient daughter, Leonora respected her parents’ decision for her to marry Andres and so she accepted the idea. In those days, it was common and acceptable to many young ladies to marry an older man especially if he was from Hawaii, “a Hawaiiano”. To come to Hawaii Paradise was a dream of so many young ladies. It still holds the same today.

Leonora and Andres were married at a civil ceremony on March 4, 1966 in Pangasinan and soon after that they had a church wedding at St. William Church in Magsingal. Receptions were held after each ceremony, one in Pangasinan and one in Magsingal.

Andres came back to Hawaii in April 1966. Leonora followed him in June 1966. They lived at the Honeymoon Camp, located across the Nashiwa Bakery in Paia for two years. It was a perfect name for a newly married couple to live. They moved to Kihei in 1969 when the plantation camps all over Maui were getting phased out including Honeymoon Camp. 

[l-r] Karen Siangco, Leonora Soliven, Andy
Soliven, Andres Soliven, Jaren Soliven,
Nestor Soliven and Cecilia Soliven
Leonora worked at the Trojan Country, a corn farm now called Monsanto; she also worked at Maui Lu, Kihei Surfside Condominium, and Foodland Kihei’s bakery department, the latter where she retired in 2001.

With Nestor, his son by his first marriage, Andres has three children in all: Andy and  Karen, married to Lionel Siangco.

Nestor, married to Cecilia, has since retired from the Carpenters Union. They have three children: Mark, Angela, and Bernadette Fulgencio

Karen works for the First Hawaiian Bank of Kahului.

Andy, a painter, has a son, Jaren

Andres and Leonora’s advice to their contemporaries is to relax, enjoy life to the fullest because life is too short. They say that retired couples must go on a cruise while they can. Their advice to the youth is to be good, be respectful, be patient and go to school to get a good education.

Thank you Tata Andres and Nana Leonora for sharing with us your story.


  1. Such a great story. My uncle is Noberto Draculan. I remeber the days living in the Paia Camp, where my Uncle's home was at the end of the street. My Father Cirilo Pascual Corpuz Sr. Came to Hawaii in 1931 when he was just 19 yrs of age. He never returned to PI because he was afraid of the transportation then. My father worked for Wailuku Suger as a crane operator. If you can remeber the Christmas Lights on the crane, That was my father who lite the Crane up like a Christmas tree so his children would see him working. We lived in Piihana camp. That you for a great story. Ginger Kaila-Theiss (1st Runner up in the Mrs. Maui Filipina 2011)

  2. hey nestor Iam still at skill village your buddy joe franco jr(joey), remember the pasion family, aah those were the days aloha.