Pamana Art Exhibit, A Second Novel, Filipino Empowerment

by Will Espero

October is Filipino-American History Month in Hawaii, and the Pamana Art Exhibit will once again be held at Honolulu Hale from October 5 to October 26. An opening reception with the general public is planned for October 10 from 4-6pm in the City Hall courtyard.

Corinne Gallardo and Leo Gozar are the exhibit coordinators who have been responsible for past shows highlighting local Filipino artists and their work. This year will include non-Filipinos sharing their talents and skills.

I am happy to announce I have been selected to showcase two of my paintings at this event, and I’m honored and humbled to participate with other talented artisans.

I’m also proud to announce my second novel, Vengeance In Paradise, is now available online at,, and other book-buying platforms.

Vengeance In Paradise is the sequel to Passion in Paradise, my first novel about two prominent and influential Hawaii families involved in business and politics. The public and private lives of the Wong and Henderson families are uncovered and exposed as relationships and actions dictate unexpected twists and turns in my fictional story set in the land of Aloha. Suspense, intrigue, and mystery await the reader.

My dream and goal are to secure a television deal about my novels to grow Hawaii’s local film industry and boost our local economy. Films, videos, and commercials shot in Hawaii enhance tourism and do provide free publicity for our state.

NCIS Hawaii is an example currently being filmed here with Filipina American actress Vanessa Lachey playing the lead role in this successful series for CBS. I’ve seen more Filipinos and Asian Americans on television and the big screen recently, and it’s about time we continue not only as actors and actresses, but also as writers, directors, and producers in this global market.

Historically speaking, the first documented Filipino laborers or Sakadas came to Hawaii in 1906 to work for the Hawaiian Sugar Planters’ Association. As a historical footnote, according to KHON news, the 1853 Hawaii census noted five people from the Philippines who lived in Hawaii, but no records show their names or describe how they ended up here.

The Sakadas were the pioneers who opened the doors and led the way for a wave of Filipino workers to arrive in Hawaii over the course of several decades. Their presence changed the fabric of Hawaiian society, and today, Filipino-Americans are the largest ethnic group in Hawaii accounting for over 20% of the population.

With a large Filipino base, Hawaii’s Filipinos should be able to wield considerable power and influence. We are well represented in the tourist industry, food industry, healthcare, agriculture, construction industry, and small business. Our work ethic and determination are second to none.

But one concern I’ve noticed is the lack of voter turnout during some elections. However, with mail-in ballots, voting is easier than ever.

If Hawaii’s Filipinos are to attain the pinnacle of their destiny, they must participate in the electoral process to help determine their fate. State government is the most powerful entity in Hawaii, and our vote can determine the direction of our state.

As we celebrate Filipino-American History Month, we must understand we control our future. The past tapestry we have woven is rich with culture and pride, but there is much more we can do and attain.

Individualism is important, but with a united front, our influence can be both sought after and feared. Regardless of our dialects, home provinces, or birthplace, we are Filipinos and we are strong. 

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