Dinner wraps up Filipino centennial
A dinner with more than 1,000 guests closed the year-long celebration of the centennial of the first sakadas to come to Hawaii, last night.
The festive occasion was seen as passing on the legacy of the sakadas to a younger generation of Filipinos.
The closing ceremony of the centennial celebration -- a dinner called Parangal -- at the Hilton Hawaiian Village sold all 1,100 seats, organizers said, and brought Filipinos from throughout the state.
Parangal means honor or tribute and represents a theme of passing a torch on to the next generation, said Jun Colmenares, the event chair.
Nine Filipino professionals from fields including medicine, Asian studies, sports, politics, labor and education gave medals to nine youth leaders, symbolizing a transfer of Filipino success in Hawaii to a younger generation. Larry Ordonez, who has helped at numerous events during the centennial celebration, believed the year honoring Filipinos highlighted their progress in Hawaii and brought Filipino professionals and artists to Hawaii.
"I could see the glimmer in the younger Filipinos' eyes," he said.
Lucio "Larry" Farinas, an 85-year-old former sakada who came to Hawaii in 1946, also attended the event. He said the centennial helped to retain the legacy of the sakadas.
"We, the sakadas, are responsible for bringing our relatives to Hawaii. In numbers, we (Filipinos) are plenty now," he said. "The sakadas are very important."
Twelve-year-old Gabriel Balais said he was glad he came.
"It shows how much pride I have in my culture," he said.