KICK OFF EVENT: April 14, 2012
KAUAI PHILIPPINE CULTURAL CENTER
– A PLACE FOR ALL – Community launch event will take place on Saturday, April 14 at the Kauai Marriott Resort & Beach Club - Grand Ballroom from 5:30 p.m.
A visit to the future home of KPCC with Fil-Com Center of Oahu President, Rose Churma.
Governor Neil Abercrombie signed and presented a $1.5 million check to Mayor Bernard P. Carvalho, Jr. for KPCC on May 6, 2013.
Photo: A donation received from A&B Properties, Inc.
Tom H. Shigemoto, Vice President
Why a Philippine Cultural Center? “Members of the Vision 2020 Committee concluded that Kauai’s Filipinos can bring UNITY in our island of racial diversity. The group strongly believes that as a result of separate cultural and language dialect roots in the Philippines that immigrant descendents continue to be divided. In order to understand this, one has to realize that the Philippine islands have been the centuries old Pacific crossroads of humankind travelling between East and West from the arrival of the Chinese, Spanish, Americans and, other nationalities from other parts of the world. The Philippines which comprises of hundreds of islands have yet to demonstrate a productive interest of integrating and caring to work to close the gaps separating one Filipino group from another. On Kauai, however, the Filipino community has proven time and time again of its capacity to showcase how as a community that it unified to overcome devastating adversities.”
When Filipino sakadas and immigrants of Pangasinans, Ilocanos, Visayans, and others of Filipino descent arrived in Hawaii over a century ago without their families, they were challenged with living with other unfamiliar cultural groups who had already established their place on Hawaii’s socio-economic ladder and landscape. Their primary goal was to send money home to the Philippines to their families and thereby help to relieve them of some of their financial hardships. There were no plans to stay or save for their children’s education, no plans to develop businesses or buy land, nor were they particularly interested in uniting with other Filipino groups from other parts of their motherland.
However, today in contemporary Hawaii, Kauai’s Filipinos like their statewide counterparts realize that they can join with the rest of the state in knowing that the Kauai Filipino community is able to participate among the best of all who wish to participate at all levels as a Filipino from politicians such as the state’s highest office of Governor and the County’s highest elected office as Mayor as well as judges, educators, lawyers, doctors, and other professional fields represented throughout the islands’ many different business sectors.
The KPCC Committee realizes that it is critical to begin plans now in order to build the Center because Kauai’s youth can be saved from a sense of having no access to promising steps or a stimulus of opportunities to find and build upon their personal interests and strengths. Unfortunately, once too many have fallen into the issues of drug-related and disastrous outcomes. The Center would have easy access to all thanks to good transportation links.
“We want KPCC built in the lifetime of the first and second generation of descendents of the first wave of sugar plantation immigrants, including the Chinese, Portuguese, Japanese, Spanish, Puerto Ricans in addition to the Filipino community. These sakadas and their first and second generation descendants would have the opportunity to experience, remember and, value this Center as a tribute to their challenges and sacrifices made by their fathers, uncles, brothers, grandfathers and great grandparents. This cultural center would also acknowledge and pass on the pioneering ancestors’ spirit of strength and determination and, core values to future generations.
KPCC remarks from a committee member and entrepreneur are in one short phrase: “Fulfillment of a vision”. “Since I arrived on Kauai in 1986, I became involved in producing shows and concerts. Oftentimes, opportunity knocks, a great performer arrives offering a very reasonable talent fee. However, finding a venue was really a challenge. We almost have to plan a year ahead just to get the right day we want to reserve a performance venue. At that time, I wished there was another place like the Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall so I could book my shows anytime there was an offer for a possible cultural event. I always hoped that someday, somehow, I would earn enough income, find land and, build a facility on Kauai. That only became a part of my dream until the Vision 2020 came along two years ago.” The committee member went on to say: “Like most of us, to be a part of the KPCC’s committee is a fulfillment of a personal dream and a vision for Kauai”.
The Center would also serve as a multi-use facility that would include a kitchen that would allow for events to occur when food and beverages are served such as get-togethers including reunions, baby luaus, wedding, meetings and conferences to name a few examples. The Center would also serve as a One-stop Center to reunite, network or simply mingle with friends, relatives, business associates.
The KPCC Committee is led by businessman Lesther Calipjo who himself is an immigrant and who has realized the American Dream on Kauai. As the former President of the Kauai Filipino Chamber of Commerce and his involvement in many of the islands’ community events, he continues to invest his time and efforts in this Vision 2020 plan even during the state’s tough economic recovery.
Written by RANDALL FRANCISCO
Illustration by Marynel Valenzuela