The momentous visit of the Hawaiian delegation led by Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle, including state government officials and staff as well as leading business and civic leaders, has generated enormous goodwill.
The visit dubbed as “Lakbay Puso, A Journey of the Heart, Hawaii – Philippine Centennial Province Tour 2006,” is part of the year long Centennial celebration commemorating the arrival of the first Filipino Sakadas in 1906.
The tour is a tribute to the significance of what has become an influential Filipino-Hawaiian community; a recognition of the significant role Filipinos have played in making what is today the progressive island state of Hawaii.
In her remarks during the press conference held at the Fort Ilocandia Resort Hotel upon the delegation’s arrival from Manila, Governor Lingle underscored the emergence of the Filipino community as a major force in Hawaiian affairs. Comprising about 25 % of the population, Filipinos have indeed become a major influence on economic, civic and political issues.
Governor Lingle also stated that the Centennial celebration should bring about a renewed appreciation and awareness by the Filipino community of their heritage. Perhaps, the lasting legacy of the Centennial celebrations will be in forging a more united Filipino community.
The Governor is widely perceived to be a supporter of the Filipino community. Perhaps, her previous experiences in interacting with Filipinos have given her a meaningful understanding and appreciation of our culture. Early in her professional career, the governor rented out a room from a Filipino couple, a time she remembers with fondness.
The Governor also spoke of programs enhancing the sisterhood relationships, particularly in the agricultural, educational, and health care fields. The MMSU is slated to be the focal point of these initiatives wherein technical information is to be disseminated. In the case of health care, advisers will be sent to impart a higher level of nursing knowledge and techniques enabling our nursing students to be better qualified. This would give our students a distinct advantage in the job market as well as allow them to gain higher level entry jobs.
Governor Lingle also emphasized interaction at the economic field, as a means of actualizing the sister state – province relationships. Part of her itinerary was a visit to the soon to be inaugurated mango processing plant in Bgy. Sulvec, Pasuquin. In their remarks, both governors Lingle and Marcos expounded on the significance of the Filipino – Hawaiian venture as a concrete step in the realization of the sisterhood agreement. The actual and potential entry of investors into the country generating income and employment opportunities throughout the province has become a reality.
The Filipino has indeed arrived upon the Hawaiian if not American mainstream; a major ethnic force whose influence has extended beyond the shores of Waipahu unto the shores of Pagudpud and Currimao
The sisterhood agreements are beginning to be realized, but more than that, it is not these political and economic agreements that have given life to the ties between Ilocos and Hawaii, it is the past and continuing relationship between the Filipinos of Hawaii with the Filipinos of the Ilocos region, from where a majority trace their ancestral roots. That is the real bond.