Jan 23, 2012

QUIRINO OBRERO PAET, The Tale of a Man from Taleb

by Lucy Peros
Sakada Corner
Fil-Am Observer January 2012 Issue
Sakada Feature, Page 8

Quirino Obrero Paet’s story of hard work and endurance is the same story of every plantation worker who came in 1946 and stayed. 
[Quirino and Lucia Paet wedding on April 20, 1941 at Christ the King Church in Paing, Bantay, Ilocos Sur, Philippines]

Born in Taleb, Bantay, Ilocos Sur on September 18, 1917, he was recruited to work in the plantations together with his brother, Pedro.
On January 14. 1946, he left Cabagao via Port Salomague on S. S. Maunawili for Hawaii.
He left behind a young wife, Lucia, son James, and hanai daughter, Teresita Marinas.

He arrived in Kahului via Ohau, and together with Pedro, he went to live in Spanish B Camp in Puunene with other plantation workers, among others Johnny Fontanilla, Claro Ramos, Ciano Fontanilla. They all used a community bathhouse and an outhouse.  They all got along well together.
On May 20, 1946, Lucia, Teresita, James, and Precila joined Quirino in Hawaii.  They were one of the very few families that lived in the camp.
Quirino’s job at the sugar mill was  at the crystallization of molasses department. He worked there for twenty two years.  After twenty two years, he decided to work in the Pacific Construction Company.  Following that, he worked at the Kaanapali Golf Course and helped planted the grass while they were building the Kaanapali Beach Resort Hotel. 
At the same time, he owned a yard maintenance company; that was to be his side job. 
Lastly, he worked for Maui Sunset as a grounds keeper and retired from there for medical reasons.  On August 9, 1992, Quirino passed on to the next life.
At Spanish B, Rizal Day Celebration is a very colorful event.  They even had a Rizal Day Queen chosen by way of box social dancing.  Box social is similar to an auction where people (usually men) bet for a box full of goodies. The highest bidder kept the box and would have the first dance with the queen contestant. The contestant who raised the most money would become the Rizal Day Queen.  The contestants would also receive a pecentage of the money they raised.  
Sometimes Rizal Day celebration lasted a couple of days with athletic competitions relays, games, open market, and even cockfights.
The Puunene Theater was also a very popular recreation center.  They showed movies like “Darna”, a Filipino version of Wonder Woman who fought against evil often called  the snake hair lady.  The character of Dolphy, the Filipino comedian, comparable to Gerry Lewis was also very popular among the young.  Many other Filipino movies were shown in the Puunene Theater. 
Next to the theater was Teri’s Snack Shop  owned by Chris and Teresa Sevilla. Oda’s 10 cents bread  and the Hamada’s saimin were very popular food joints. There was also a grocery home delivery by George Guerrero, also a plantation worker. 
[Happy moments of Quirino and Lucia Paet]
The Paets raised and slaughtered their own animals for their own consumption. They also sold them to their neighbors, “uraga” style,  by dividing the meat into several small portions for the people to buy. 
They raised their vegetables and also picked from the fields.  In those days, they were allowed to plant vegetables in the fields.
Quirino and Lucia Paet were blessed with thirteen ambitious, community-oriented children. 
Their first child is hanai daughter, Teresita, married to Clemente Fontanilla.  They have two children and three grandchildren. Teresita once worked for the Hawaii Planters Association. 
The second is James, married to Kathleen.  They have three children and five grandchildren.
Third is Precila, married to James Peros.  They have two children and two grandchildren. 
Fourth is Gloria, married to Ongolea Filo. 
Fifth is Sally Paet.  Sixth is Lucille, married to  Smith.  They have one son. 
Seventh is Shirley Ponciano.  She has two children. 
Eighth is Victoria, married to Wayne Fukumoto.  They have two children. 
Ninth is Rene, married to Thomas Akina.  They have three children and four    grandchildren. 
Tenth is Teresita , married to Gary Piquet.  They have one child. 
Eleventh is William Quirino, Jr. 
Twelfth is Amelia, married to Steven Lee.  They have two children. 
The thirteenth is Joseph Andrew.
Quirino and Lucia believed and favored Catholic education for their children.  Their children attended Christ The King School and St. Anthony High School. 
To help defray the cost of their tuition, they did odds and ends at the school, e.g. clean the classrooms, the cafeteria, the bathrooms, and other parts of the school. 
Quirino and Lucia set up a family tradition, done by many Ilokanos, in which older siblings are sent to college but are expected to help the parents in supporting the younger siblings so they could also go to college. They did exactly that.
The Paets also had another tradition.  Every Christmas, they all got together as a family  including those who live on the other islands and on the Mainland, cook lechon as their main dish on their dining table.  This lechon would be eaten after attending the midnight  mass.  They created their own family activities as well.
When Monsignor Osmundo Calip came to evangelize the Filipinos here on Maui, Lucia and Quirino together with other people took him around the camps to remind them to go to church and not to forget their loved ones back home in the Philippines. In 1950, Monsignor Calip formed the Filipino Catholic Club.
Gloria Filo lovingly shared her happy memories about her dad, Quirino.  She said, “ I would go with my dad to sports events, watch dancing at the clubhouse. I even went with him to “biagan” (chicken fight).  I even helped him in slaughtering animals.”  
Precila and Rene also shared these about their dad:  “Mom and dad were very accommodating when people came to our house.  They welcomed everyone.  Even though our family is big, mom and dad always shared what we had.  They expected us to always look neat, go to mass, received the sacraments, and showed us good work ethics.  Mom was more of the disciplinarian to us kids.  They both expected us to behave well.”
Precila also mentioned that she and Sally took their dad to the Philippines in 1986 after so many years of being here in Hawaii.  He was able to use his free round trip ticket that was part of his contract when he was recruited in 1946.  He was able to see his siblings and his mother in law before they passed away.
Quirino and Lucia together with their thirteen children and numerous grandchildren  showed to all of us that a family who prays together and love the Lord stays lovingly together.

Thank you Precila, Gloria, and Rene for sharing with us your stories and that of your parents.

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