QuirinoObreroPaet’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, IlocosSur on
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
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, CianoFontanilla. They all used a community bathhouse and an
outhouse.They all got along well
On May 20,
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 wasat 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
At the same time, he owned a yard maintenance company; that was to be his
Lastly, he worked for Maui Sunset as a grounds keeper and retired from
there for medical reasons.On
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
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 calledthe 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 Shopowned by Chris and Teresa Sevilla. Oda’s 10 cents breadand 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,
Their first child is hanai daughter, Teresita, married to ClementeFontanilla.They have two children and three grandchildren. Teresita once worked for the Hawaii Planters
The second is James, married to Kathleen.They have three children and five
Third is Precila, married to James Peros.They
have two children and two grandchildren.
Fourth is Gloria, married to OngoleaFilo.
Fifth is Sally Paet.Sixth is Lucille, married toSmith.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
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 familyincluding 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
midnightmass.They created their own family activities as
When Monsignor OsmundoCalip came to evangelize the Filipinos here on
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
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
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 grandchildrenshowed to all of us that a family
who prays together and love the Lord stays lovingly
Thank you Precila, Gloria, and Rene for sharing with us
your stories and that of your parents.