Thursday, May 26, 2011

Quirino Aguisanda

        Welcome to Our Hawaii

At one time, Hawaii had no name - and no people.

  The Hawaiians voyaged here
in several waves of immigration. 

King Kalakaua
wanted to bring Chinese people to the islands,
and they were the first to come
and work in his kingdom.

  In 1881 he proposed a matrimonial relationship
between Princess Kaiulani 
and a young Japanese Prince Komatsu.

  Those two groups have dominated Hawaii's Asian population until recently.

In 1906 the first fifteen Filipino laborers, all Tagalogs, came to Hawaii. By 1909, 639 workers came and by 1910, there were 2,915. From 1911 to 1920, an estimated 3,000 workers arrived yearly. In 1919, there were 24,791 Japanese workers and 10,354 Filipinos representing 54.7% and 22.9% respectively of the total plantation labor force. The 1920s saw an average of 7,630 Filipinos arriving in Hawaii annually. 

Hawaii State Flag and that of the Philipines.

According to the latest US Census,
our Filipino neighbors are now the largest Asian group 
here in the isles.

As with ANY human group, it is impossible to make blanket statements, but they are valued as nice people, hard workers and good citizens.  Their warmth, food, and culture are important parts of our island paradise.  

On November 8, 1994, Hawaii’s voters elected
Benjamin J. Cayetano our governor, 
making him the first Filipino-American governor
in United States history
and the nation’s highest-ranking
elected public official of Filipino heritage.

I would like to introduce you to a private citizen that most of us knew nothing of until this week.

Quirino Aguisanda
was born in Cagayan province

  He retired as a colonel from the Philippine army
and moved to Hawaii with his wife in 1992.

Beyond his family and church,
the 86 year old worked as a senior companion (!)
a few mornings a week.

After resting at home
during the long Waipahu afternoon,
he insisted on boarding a bus for Waikiki
and started his evening's work
as a bathroom attendant
at several restaurants and clubs
in the tourist district.

Starting his shift at 6 or 9pm,
he would work until 1 am. 

"He's a hard worker. 
In their generation they somehow
don't want to stop working."

Said his Granddaughter Monette Rivera
by telephone from her home in New York City.

On Monday morning he exited a city bus
near his home around 2:37 am
and was struck by a hit and run driver,
dying later that morning at Queens Hospital. 

"They're not rich,
but you know there was always abundance in his life because of his heart and character."

His Granddaughter told a local reporter."

Widow Eustacia is coping
with the love of her church and family.

"Being around people,
being out and about,
it's just his way."

Monette Rivera

Remember to appreciate the people you see today, the people doing simple work with great dignity!

Salamat, Colonel Aguisanda!  

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