MARCH 2, 2019


What Do You Remember About Writing for the Hawaii Filipino Chronicle?


Being a member of the Hawaii Filipino Chronicle Contributing Writers staff is both an honor and a privilege. It’s an honor to be part of this group of highly accomplished community-minded individuals who have made a name for themselves in their respective professions.

Sharing knowledge, information and expertise to the audience who have been loyal readers of this ethnic newspaper is a way of giving back to the community. This community has nurtured and enabled us to reach the apex of our professional careers. By way of print media, specifically the Hawaii Filipino Chronicle, we are able to share our knowledge and involve our community in a symbiotic relationship.

We help identify and bring to light information or issues important to our citizens. We raise their consciousness level that moved them to further actions such as fund-raising drives in times of calamities in the Philippines and other worthy causes. We do information sharing on the grass root level, creating relationships, bonding and engagements between our local people and government. When we move a person or a group to worthy involvement, we become the voice, the facilitator to positive action for a common good.

I relished reporting on Medical Missions. The opportunity to be a mission participant and share “on-the-ground” to our readers is a more than storytelling. It leads to more individuals and organizations getting involved to bring the mission to their towns, villages or cities. Recruitment of volunteers for various phases of preparing and executing a medical mission: pre-planning, fund-raising, public relations, tasks and implementation, etc. becomes a natural outcome of good reporting.

Specific themes that centered on celebrations of the year, such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, June Weddings, etc. are a source of delight. I try to reflect on my own experiences and share my thoughts. It becomes more of a conversation with a friend as I share my personal stories. On general topics such as Health Issues, Government, State of Media, Ethnic Media, etc, I do some research and decide on what will be valuable information for the readers and the impact of the information to be shared.

I refer to opinion snap shots as Public Listening. This important segment of an article allows the reader to know how the community think and feel about issues and what is important to them. This public conversation or dialog connects the media and the community, feel the pulse and the general feeling around a topic. I like to stay positive and talk about what is right so that the community can also see that there are good things going on. This may lead to action where they can do even more on what has made their community good.

The Hawaii Filipino Chronicle will continue to serve an important role in providing a familial connection to and for the Filipino community. As mainstream media provides a broad spectrum of news and ideas, the readers of HFC will continue to reach for ethnic papers that specifically address their interests and needs. I foresee a bright future for HFC while mainstream publications are suffering a decline in readership. There is a strong bond of loyalty and mutual recognition that connects ethnic media and its audience, in common terms, perceived honesty and advocacy. As long as this bond is nurtured, Hawaii Filipino Chronicle will thrive. I’m proud to be part of this publication.


Wearing full scrubs, a skullcap, and shoe coverings while observing a heart surgery done by Dr. Francis Duhaylongsod of Kaiser Permanente is one of the most treasured experiences I’ve ever had. Being in the Kaiser Permanente Moanalua hospital operating room with the staff, looking at the pulsating pumps of the state-of-the-art machines, observing Dr. Duhaylongsod in action for a Hawaii Filipino Chronicle article is something I’ll never forget.

He was saving someone’s precious life, and I was sharing a snapshot of his life’s work with others through the article. This article is one of my favorite all-time pieces I’ve written in my journalism career which now spans more than 20 years in print, radio, online, and to my present job at KHON2 television news. It holds a special place in my heart because of the rare opportunity to witness this life-saving procedure which is a normal day for Dr. Duhaylongsod. The most precious gift of life was given to his patient so the patient could enjoy more time with family and friends.

Being a contributing writer of the Hawaii Filipino Chronicle since 1999 has allowed me to write about inspirational people of Filipino heritage in Hawaii and on the mainland.

Each story I’ve done for the Chronicle is precious to me. I’ve covered stories on the homelessness, divorce and politics. What I’ve enjoyed most is doing profile stories on people such as actress Liza Lapira, women’s advocate Irene Natividad, Pulitzer Prize winning reporter Alex Tizon of the Seattle Times, and Hawaiian Room hula dancer Kaui “Rita” Santana. I’ve also done feature articles on fellow Hawaii journalists such as TV news reporter Cindy Paliracio, Honolulu Star-Bulletin sports reporter Randy Cadiente, and the late Honolulu Star-Bulletin cartoonist Corky Trinidad. My heart is full of joy because my connection with my Filipino heritage has been deepened thanks to the opportunity to write for the Hawaii Filipino Chronicle. The reach of the Chronicle goes well beyond the Filipino community.


Congratulations to the Hawai’i Filipino Chronicle on its 25th anniversary. I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to be a contributor to the Chronicle for almost 10 years, providing articles for its Family Corner series. Through this series, the University of Hawai’i’s Center on the Family provided the Chronicle’s diverse audience with a wealth of information on raising young children and promoting healthy family well-being. It was exciting to be able to discuss topics such as building a stronger family, guiding your infant, toddler or preschooler, kids in the kitchen, common childhood health concerns, learning games for children, and so much more. Our partnership allowed us to reach so many people, and it is a partnership that we truly appreciated and valued. Here’s to many more years of the Hawai’i Filipino Chronicle.


Chona, as publisher, wants Filipino stories that are told not only by data and statistics but also through interviews. So, in writing for the HFC, I often leaned on my ability to analyze statistical data but had to go beyond my comfort zone to interview people of different backgrounds and hear their stories.

One early memory about this was an assignment to write on the poorest of the poor among Hawaii’s Filipinos. The research led me to the I.H.S. shelter for women and children on Kaaahi Street. Then, houselessness was not yet a crisis here. We also assumed that Filipinos provided a roof for each other no matter what. Long story short, a Filipina shared her story of how she lost everything including her family because of meth. She said that she got hooked on ice because her boyfriend said it will help her lose weight! It was a story that needed to be written with empathy.

I have a smile in my face whenever I remember what I had to do to give voice to environmental stories. To let the local community know more about Tony Oposa Jr., I requested to be a participant-observer in his environmental law class. The Oposa doctrine is one that every Filipino should know about. In 2016, Hawaii hosted the International Coral Reef Symposium and the IUCN World Congress. I attended many presentations to bring key messages to readers. One of my real regrets has been keeping the drama to myself and not writing an article about the IUCN World Congress’ failure to pass a resolution to declare a Marine peace park in the contested South China Sea.

With Chona’s formula, I am filled with memories of stories that had led me to research and approach many subjects in new, and hopefully, empowering ways.


Writing for the Hawaii Filipino Chronicle for five years helped me to appreciate the effort that goes into some of the newspaper’s features, cover stories, and the all-encompassing current events, as well as sharing good photographs that are worth a thousand words, as they say. Your timely semi-monthly publication motivated me to attend more community events in order to fulfill my assignment for the “society page.” Mahalo nui loa for the opportunity to be part of your contributing writers team, as well as to the editorial staff including Dr. Charlie Sonido, Mrs. Chona Sonido, Edwin Quinabo, Dennis Galolo, and others.

Writing is the window to the soul. Expressing one’s self and summarizing events as well as sharing my love of group photos are very satisfying. HFC gave me the drive and opportunity to upgrade my God-given skills , take notes from professional photographers to improve my interest in capturing priceless images as part of attending community events. Maraming Salamat po, Mahalo Nui Loa, and Dios ti Agngina!


For nearly two decades I wrote for the Hawaii Filipino Chronicle. Working with the staff has always been gratifying and, often, even inspiring for allowing me to critically explore my cultural roots and expound on topics important to the Filipino community.

From my first assignment reporting on Custom and Creativity, an exhibit by Cordillera artists and curated by photojournalist, Art Tibaldo, to writing on OFW remittances, I was able to reconnect with the Philippines by researching background materials. I often concluded with many unresolved concerns, such as how Cordillera culture persists beyond art, crafts and ceremonies or if OFW remittances encourage perverse incentives for local level governmental corruption.

One rewarding article more pertinent to our Filipino community in Hawaii was on the 2006 hotel strikes. Several hotel managements formed a public relations coalition, called the Laulima Council, to sway public opinion against the strike.

By invoking Hawaiian terms and concepts, the Council tried to divide the public by portraying hotel workers and their union, UNITE HERE, as anti-tourism. My article tried to identify two supply-demand relationships in the tourist industry and to emphasize their differences.

“The price of being a laborer is the price of living. A tourist pays – the laborer gets paid. What is being ‘bought’ is not a lifestyle, a bit of sunshine or an exotic experience...it is life itself. What is being decided in the current negotiations between the Laulima Council and UNITE HERE is the price of life.”

I also addressed Hawaii’s dreaded but misconceived “brain drain” which is merely understood as sending our so-called “best and brightest” away. Instead, I pointed out its root cause as the opportunities lost to locals and taken by non-locals, a problem in the discriminatory distribution of resources and opportunities.

Salamat po!

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