HAWAII – It was 10:00 am that the tree planting ceremony started. Two Narra trees were planted in the Magic Island side not so far from the water “to symbolize the arrival of the Filipinos, especially the first 15 Sakadas from the Ilocos who embarked from the SS Doric on December 20, 1906, aand later moved to work at the Ola’a Plantation in the Big Island.
Mr. Michael Pang opened the simple and brief program while Mayor Hannemann greeted the crowd of community leaders.
Hannemann acknowledged that Filipinos played a vital role in the growth and development not only for the City and County of Honolulu, but the entire state of Hawaii. The Honolulu Council has three members with Filipino descent. Honolulu is the 13th largest city of the United States.
“This tree planting is a tradition of the past and challenges and opportunities for the future,” he said.
Hannemann also acknowledged the presence of Danny Agsalog, Senior Advisor for the Dept. of Community Services, and recognized Baybee Hufana- Ablan and Joyce Mina Oliviera as members of his administration.
In attendance were Chair Elias Beniga, Vice Chair Jake Manegdeg, Commissioner Eddie Agas, Sr., Amado Yoro, Edna Alikpala representing the FCCC Community representatives, Ron Gallegos, Bobby Agpaoa, Mrs.Lisa Agpaoa, and Al Lardizabal representing the Local 368.
Mayor Hannemann, Nestor Garcia, Linda Wong, Honolulu Centennial Vice Chair, HPD Major Macadangdang, Danny Kalehikini, Honolulu Centennial Ambassador of Goodwill, Rose Flores, City Park, and Consul Arlene Macaisa representing the Philippine Consulate General.
Another pair of shower trees were planted at the FilCom-Center by almost the same group on the same day.
Michael Pili Pang blessed the trees, followed by remarks by Chair Elias Beniga, FCCC; Consul Arlene Macaisa, Philippine Consulate General; and Toy Arre, FilComCenter president.
Councilman Nestor Garcia presented the plaque.
The tree planting ceremony is a part of the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the City and County of Honolulu and the arrival of the first Filipino Sakadas.
In attendance were Rep. Jun Abinsay, OFCC president Lynne Gutierrez and Ruben Gutierrez, Edna Alikpala, JP Orias, FilComCenter Program Director, Bobby Agpaoa, Lisa Agpaoa, Ron Gallegos, Chair Elias Beniga, Vice Chair Jake Manegdeg, Eddie Agas, Sr., Amado I. Yoro, Leo Gozar and others.
Per OFCC Resolution 2001-12 introduced by this writer and passed during the Annual Convention at the Hawaii Convention Center in 2001, there should be at least 100 Narra trees to be planted this Centennial year and 100 Sakadas to be honored for their struggles, hard work and for paving the way to better opportunites for the next generation.