Dec 14, 2011

Sakadas to be Remembered at Rice Festival

KAHULUI, Maui- They are known as the sakadas, the Filipino pioneers, who left the native Philippines, leaving behind families and friends, to come to work in Hawaii's sugar and pineapple plantations. Recruited by the Hawaiian Planters Association, the first group to come to the islands in 1906 and the last group in 1946.

Rice was their staple food, and many of them were rice farmers before they come to Hawaii to work in the islands' plantations.

Binhi at Ani will hold its Third Annual Rice Festival on December 18, 2011, from 5 pm, at the Filipino Community Center, 780 Onehee Avenue, Kahului, to remember the sakadas, to celebrate family, community and cultural heritage.

To be recognized as "Ama at Ina," outstanding father and mother, Arsenio Jacinto and Victoria Jacinto of Lahaina.

Born December 14, 1921, in Laoag City, Ilocos Norte, Mr. Jacinto was one of the batch of sakadas who sailed from Salomague, Cabugao, Ilocos Sur, on August 30, 1946, and reached Kahului Harbor 16 days later. He worked first as grass cutter with Pioneer Mill Co., Ltd., and was paid 40 cents per hour or $3.20 per day. After one year, he became an irrigator until his retirement in 1983 when he earned $10.00 per hour.

He went to the Philippines in December 1965 to marry the former Victoria Lazaro. They have been blessed with four children. The oldest, Arthur, married to Dawn Jacinto, is a US Army Veteran who was stationed in West Germany, worked as a vehicle mechanic, and now works at Westin Maui. The second child, Edith Jacinto, obtained a Bachelor of Business Administration from Chaminade University, and is administrative manager for Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. The third child, Jane Arruda, married to Keli'i Arruda, received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Fashion Merchandising from University of Hawaii at Manoa, and is Consierge Specialist Supervisor at the Westin Maui. The youngest, Lorraine Young, married to Troy Young, was Maui District Spelling Bee champion in 1988, holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English, and is a Desktop Publishing Specialist at Lahaina Galleries, Inc.

The Rice Festival will feature:
-Ringing of the Centennial [Memorial Peace] Bell, pariticipated in by living sakadas and their families, and by the officers and board members of Binhi at Ani;
-A "fried rice" cookung contest;
-Cultural dance performance by the Bailes de Filipinas [Elsie Saribay], Akahi;
-Seniors [Aggie Cabebe], Good Shepherd Church Youth [Bessie Cacayorin];
-Senoras de Kahului [Alice Ragasa], and dance International Production [Madelyne Pascua];
-Presentation of the "Ama and Ina" plaque by Mayor Alan Arakawa;
-Tribute to the "Ama and Ina" by Lorraine Young;
-Special numbers by Chelsea Guzman [2011 Miss Barrio Fiesta], Shelby Bantilan [2011 Miss Maui Filipina], Kaisahan Club [Lou Symonds], Ka-Sandra Ragasa and Trani Kaluhikaua, and
-Ballroom dancing.

Justin Cruz of KHON News will be the Emcee assisted by Jennifer Valdez.

Chairperson of the festival, Alice Ragasa, longtime community volunteer. She and husband Pepito, retired ILWU business agent, were honored as "Ama at Ina" last year's Rice Festival.

Dinner tickets to the Rice Festival is $10.00 per person.

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