Sakadas Honored at Philippine Consulate General in Hawaii
The Philippine Consulate General in Hawaii held its 3rd Sakada Day Celebration, honoring four sakadas: Tomas Agarpao Fermin Baguio, Fred Camero, and Flaviana Matute. The four came to Hawaii to work in the sugar and pineapple industries and eventually paved the way for Filipino migration to Hawaii. Sakada Day pays tribute to the Filipino migrants (sakadas) who came to Hawaii to work in medical, hospitality, tourism, construction, and other service professions.
To honor the 4 living sakadas, certificates were given to each sakada by the Philippine Consulate General, the Government of the State of Hawaii, the Offices of US Representative Tulsi Gabbard and Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell.
Attending the event were Hawaii State Officials led by Hawaii Governor David Ige and First Lady Mrs. Dawn Ige; Hawaii state legislators Senators Donna Mercado Kim and Will Espero, Representatives Romy Cachola, Ty Cullen, Gene Ward, Henry Aquino and Matthew Lo Presti; and Marshall Islands Consul General Neijon Edwards.
The 3rd Sakada Day celebration was also held in commemoration of the 110th year since the arrival of the first 15 sakadas to Hawaii on December 20, 1906.
Philippine Consul General Gina Jamoralin expressed her appreciation to Hawaii Governor David Ige and the Hawaii State Legislature for unanimously supporting the signing of the Sakada Bill that designated December 20 of every year as “Sakada Day.”
The Sakada Day celebrations have become a statewide activity. The Filipino community in the Big Island, Maui and Lanao have their own Sakada Day celebration every year.
Governor Ige expressed appreciation to the sakadas and Filipinos, noting that they form the backbone of Hawaii’s economy and culture. Filipinos, he said, who make up the largest ethnic group in the state, are at the heart of Hawaii’s tourism and health industries, bringing with them the Filipino values of family, hard work and perseverance, which contribute to Hawaii’s development.
Tyler dos Santos-Tam, a fifth generation Sakada descendant and Hawaii’s 2017 delegate to the annual Filipino American Youth Leadership Program (FYLPRO) also said a few words on what it means to be a sakada descendant for today’s Filipino American youth.
Atty. Donnie Juan, Executive Director of the Filipino Community Center, closed the program with a speech on the Filipino community’s efforts to make the annual Sakada Day celebrations possible. A rendition of an original piece, “The Sakada Song” by Marie Tedios, concluded the celebration.
The Sakada Day celebration was made possible through the collaborative efforts of the Philippine Consulate General in Honolulu, the Oahu Filipino Community Council (OFCC), Congress of Visayan Organizations (COVO), the Filipino Community Center, the Filipino Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii (FCCH), Aklan Cultural Society, Philippine Press Club of Hawaii, the Knights of Rizal (KOR) Hawaii Chapter, the Filipino Community Center and other sponsors.