Peace Corps trainer later held city jobs
VICKY BUNYE / 1941-2005
MARIA VICTORIA R. "Vicky" Bunye, a pioneer among Filipino-American women in Hawaii government, died yesterday of a lingering illness in her hometown of Alabang, Muntinlupa City, in the Philippines. She was 64.
Bunye was a member of Mayor Frank Fasi's Cabinet and ran for lieutenant governor in 1990.
"She was a great Filipina," said Belinda Aquino, director of the University of Hawaii Center for Philippine Studies. "She had a lot to contribute, whether it was the city, community or the university or Peace Corps training. I don't know of anyone who had such tremendous contributions across the board."
Aquino said Bunye possessed a can-do attitude and "was also extremely funny and a delightful character."
Bunye worked as an aide to Patsy Mink while Mink was a city councilwoman. Fasi appointed Bunye to his Cabinet, where she served as director of the Department of Human Resources from 1985 to 1990.
When Fasi ran for governor in 1990, Bunye made her first and only bid for political office, an unsuccessful run for lieutenant governor in the Republican primary.
Bunye came to the United States as an exchange student and studied at the University of Texas. A Fulbright Scholar, Bunye did graduate work in linguistics at Georgetown University and earned degrees in linguistics and English in the Philippines.
In the late 1960s, Bunye trained Peace Corps volunteers in Kohala for work in the Philippines, Aquino said.
Bunye was born in Manila on Aug. 15, 1941, into what Aquino described as an elite family. Despite good looks and intelligence, she displayed no arrogance, Aquino said. "She was always a caring, sharing person," she said.
In 1991, Bunye returned to the Philippines as consultant to her brother Ignacio, mayor of Muntinlupa, and later worked for him when he won a seat in the Philippine congress.
Bunye is survived by brothers Alfred "Dondo," Ignacio "Toting" and Salustiano "Yong." Mass will be held 1 p.m. Saturday at the Newman Center, Holy Spirit Parish, on the UH-Manoa campus.