Marilyn Manuel Oura
Lucy Peros | All photos courtesy Marilyn Oura
Martin Luther King, Jr. said this about service: “Everybody can be great because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love.” H. Jackson Brown, Jr., an American author also said: “The happiest people are not those getting more but those giving more.”
Marilyn Manuel Oura, a Sakada Offspring, is one of those service and community-oriented individuals who is continuously giving to our community, especially to our Filipino community. In the last few months, she was instrumental in creating the Bayanihan Food Distribution.
Marilyn was born in Laoag City, Ilocos Norte, Philippines. She attended Central Elementary School in Laoag, Grade 1–6, Ilocos Norte National High School, Freshmen–Junior year, Baldwin High School, Grade 10–12.
After high school, Marilyn enrolled at Maui Community College but had a change of plans. In December 1973, she went to the Philippines to get married to Dominador Pasalo, a man whom she never met but was a pen pal through a relative of his. They were married on January 6, 1974. However, their marriage did not work out. They had two children together, Randal Pasalo and Cheryl Garcia.
Randal graduated from Maui High School. He attended a college in Phoenix, Arizona, with a mechanic degree. He was previously employed with Lex Brodie, Goodyear and Tire Warehouse as their Service Manager. He is married to Roxanne Tanaka Pasalo, a County of Maui Parks and Recreation employee, as an Administration Officer. They have a 7 year old son, Takeo Dean Pasalo.
Cheryl Garcia graduated from Maui High School. She attended the University of Nevada, Las Vegas with a degree in Hotel Management and at the School of Nursing in Las Vegas with a nursing degree. She is currently employed at the University Medical Center Hospital as a Registered Nurse. She is married to Daniel Garcia. They have three children: Kiara (12), Nathan (10), Danny (6). They presently live in Henderson, Nevada.
After Dominador and Marilyn’s divorce, Marilyn started dating Dean Oura. He bought a house in Lahaina where they lived. They married in 2002. Unfortunately, Dean died in 2010 due to cancer.
Juggling work, school and little children was not easy for Marilyn but with stamina and determination, she was able to do all. Finally, she graduated with an Associate Degree in Accounting. Her degree in Accounting came in handy when she landed a job at the Maui Economic Opportunity as assistant to the Chief Accountant. Unfortunately, this job did not work out with Marilyn because of other pressures in her life at that time.
Marilyn held several jobs during her employment days. Way back in the 70s, she worked at the Maui Pineapple Cannery as a trimmer. She was a part-time cashier/Night Supervisor at Ah Fook’s Supermarket. She worked as a Pharmacist Technician at Maui Clinic. She was Teller/Loan Officer at the Maui Pineapple Federal Credit Union and Assistant to Chief Accountant at the Maui Economic Opportunity. In 1991, she began working at the County of Maui, Housing Division, where she started as a clerk and was promoted to a Housing Specialist which involved dealing with tenants and landlords. Many of her clients whom she helped really appreciated her for helping them. In August 2015, Marilyn retired from the County of Maui, Housing Division.
Marilyn and her family were active in the Kahului Filipino Community Association. She worked with Aggie Cabebe, Mercedes Neri and Maggie Evangelista. She even co-chaired the Maria Clara Ball and chaperoned the Miss Sampaguita queens to the United Filipino Council of Hawai‘i.
Marilyn has seven siblings. Nestor B. Manuel, Sr., employed at Grand Wailea Hotel and Spa as a Public Area Supervisor, is married to Juliet Baluran, a retired Registered Nurse. They have two children: Jacqueline Valerio (Mark) and Nestor Manuel, Jr. (Adrian) and three grandchildren: Jocelyn, Miles, and Chanaiyah.
Sigrid Manuel Latayada, married to Arthur Latayada, a mechanic with the County of Maui. They have three children, Sharon Chen (Sokuthy “Koa”), Annabelle Latayada Johnson (Jheremy) who live in Georgia, and Brittney Manuel Latayada. Sigrid and Arthur have two grandchildren, Audyanah and Daezha Starmer.
Sonia Beltrand Manuel was formerly employed at Grand Wailea Hotel and Spa. She and her significant other Ernest Sanchez have three children, Roderick, Anthony and Mitchel Aboy.
Elizabeth Beltran Manuel, a Roberts Hawai‘i bus driver, has one son Allan Manuel Failano (Annalisa Reyes) and one grandson Aidyn Failano. They live in San Diego.
Alfredo Beltran Manuel, Jr. (fiancée Yuki), a Polynesian Adventure Tours bus driver, has three sons: Travis, Alika, A.J. Arakawa and four grandchildren: Treyson, Tayson, Avenson, and Mikiala.
Richard Beltran Manuel (Tammy), a Budweiser delivery employee, has two children: Tiana and Riley James Manuel.
Dolores Manuel Perreira, the youngest of Marilyn’s seven siblings, is currently employed at Presentation Services Audio Visual as an Administrative Assistant. She is married to Norman Perreira, a bus driver. They have two children, Kodi and Kori. They live in Seattle, Washington.
Marilyn enjoys traveling, reading, dancing, shopping, and playing computer games. Of course, she says getting involved in the community is what she enjoys the most.
Since the 1970s, Marilyn has always been active in the community. She participated in Filipino Folk dancing under the direction of Mrs. Aggie Cabebe. In 1975, she ran for Mrs. Valentine and placed 2nd runner up. While attending Maui Community College, Marilyn and others formed a Filipino Club called Maui Community College Filipino Students Association with Mrs. Mercedes Neri as their President and Marilyn as their Recording Secretary. Their group even joined the Barrio Fiesta and made a Bahay Kubo. They enjoyed going to Keanae to pick up bamboo for their Bahay Kubo.
The following is a summary of the many positions held by Marilyn since she started serving the community: Good Shepherd Episcopal Church: Youth Director, Vestry Member, Secretary/Treasurer of the Episcopal Church Women; Maui Community College Filipino Student Association and International Club: Recording Secretary; Baldwin High School: Filipino Club and Spanish Club; Kahului Filipino Community Association: Recording Secretary, Chairperson for Miss Sampaguita Pageant and Chairperson for Mrs. Maria Clara; Maui Filipino Community Council: President (2018–2020), Recording Secretary, Corresponding Secretary, Fiesta Filipina Committee chairperson, Mrs. Valentine committee chairperson, Barrio Fiesta committee chairperson, Miss Maui Filipina Scholarship Pageant co-chair. On the state level, Marilyn chaired the Miss Hawai‘i Filipina Scholarship Pageant under the United Filipino Council of Hawai‘i in which she is also a Board Member (2020).
Marilyn has an interesting Sakada connection. In 1922 her grandparents, Leoncio and Paula Corpuz Manuel from Laoag City, Ilocos Norte, Philippines were recruited by the Hawaiian Sugar Planters Association to work in the sugar plantation in the U.S. Territory of Hawai‘i. They lived in McGerrow Camp, Pu‘unēnē, Maui, Hawai‘i while working in the sugar plantation field. Her father, Alfredo Corpuz Manuel was born on February 9, 1924 in McGerrow Camp. He attended Pu‘unēnē Elementary School. Four years later, her uncle, Alfonso Corpuz Manuel was born on August 3, 1928 also in McGerrow Camp. This camp was located across the highway from the Alexander and Baldwin Sugar Museum today. It was a very rustic and peaceful kind of a camp where Filipinos and other ethnic groups lived. They got along well and helped take care of each other.
When her grandparents, Leoncio and Paula saved enough money, they decided to go back to the Philippines in 1932. Marilyn’s Dad was only 7 years old at that time.
While in the Philippines, the family bought land, built their house made from bamboo and farmed—planting a variety of vegetables and fruit trees. Her Dad Alfredo attended Central Elementary School in Laoag City from grades 1–6. Besides Alfredo, two other siblings survived, Hilaria Collado and Alfonso Corpuz Manuel. The three helped the family sell their produce in the marketplace. Alfredo, Alfonso, and their cousin, Anatalio were business minded and they decided to open a laundry business and called it 3 Ace Laundry. The laundry business became so popular they could barely keep up with the service and so Marilyn’s grandparents had to help.
It must have been fate with Marilyn’s Mom and Dad. The laundry shop was located across the Nylon Bazaar, where Marilyn’s Mom Claudia Beltran, an attractive, single young lady was working as a salesperson. Marilyn’s Dad had his eyes on her. They went out on a date several times and on one of those dates, Alfredo asked her to marry him. As customary Filipino tradition, Alfredo went to Dingras, Ilocos Norte where Claudia’s parents lived to ask them for their blessings to marry their daughter. Her parents did not agree. They were so in love that without their parents’ blessing, they eloped instead. Things went well after that, they got married on July 4, 1950. They even built a big home next to Marilyn’s grandparents’ home. Their laundry business continued to progress.
Three years later, Marilyn was born. She was named after a popular actress, Marilyn Monroe whom her parents adored. Marilyn and her other siblings had fun playing together especially at the river close by.
Unfortunately, Marilyn’s brother Noe died in a drowning at the river. Marilyn’s father took it so hard he decided to come back to Maui. He contacted his uncle Maximiniano Corpuz to petition him. Thanks to Maximiniano, Alfredo was back on Maui in February 1967. Alfredo worked at the Maui Pineapple Co. fields then transferred to Hawaiian Commercial and Sugar Company. While working in the plantation, ambitious Alfredo studied with the International Association of Investigators and Special Police of Chicago by mail. In 1968, he received his certification and on January 31, 1969, he got his completion of the North American Investigators of Police Science. His goal was to move his family to Chicago. In 1970, Alfredo petitioned his family to move to Hawai‘i. On June 5, 1970, the family finally arrived in Hawai‘i. It was a culture shock to live in a small plantation compared to what they left in the Philippines. In fact, Marilyn wanted to go back to the Philippines to do her studies there.
Although life here in Hawai‘i takes getting used to, the move to Chicago idea took a different turn. The Manuel family decided to live at McGerrow Camp, everyone helped each other, did what they could to help the family financially. The Manuel family members were all active in the Filipino community.
Marilyn’s father was in a group called Sampaguita 5, a band which consisted of Nancy Andres as organist, Alfredo as lead guitarist, Jorge Felipe as bass, Bert Olais as drummer and Father Justo Andres as the singer. They were popular as a group playing at parties practically every weekend.
Alfredo had many talents. He not only played the guitar but also was a good cook. His family even did catering. He also worked in construction in his spare time. His beautiful Christmas lanterns he entered during the Christmas Lantern Contests used to win First Places. He also helped build the Bahay Kubo at the Barrio Fiesta for Good Shepherd Church. Good Shepherd’s Bahay Kubo won first place many times. Alfredo was awarded Father of the Year by the Kahului Filipino Community Association. He and the late Costo Madella were the KFCA cooks for Barrio Fiesta and the County Fair, cooking pork and peas and dinardaraan.
Alfredo Manuel retired from HC&S in 1986. He and his wife enjoyed going to Las Vegas. Marilyn’s Mom’s Claudia died on May 3, 2010 and her Dad died on April 25, 2012.
When she arrived in Hawai‘i, Marilyn experienced some bullying at Baldwin High School. Marilyn, however, was very resilient that she adapted at her new school environment, found new friends and proved she was just as good as anybody. She became respected by other students soon after. She and her friends even formed a Filipino Club and Filipino Folk Dance Troupe under the direction of the late Mrs. Nancy Andres. Since then, Marilyn became an important asset to the community with her continuous volunteerism. It was also at this time that she met Alfredo Romero and they became boyfriend-girlfriend according to Marilyn. They enjoyed going to the Pu‘unēnē Filipino Clubhouse for social dancing. They enjoyed each other’s company. Today, Marilyn and Alfredo live together in a committed relationship.
“When I was still working, I was already involved with a lot of community service,” says Marilyn. “I told myself that when I retire, I will devote my time more to the community. I am very much involved with the Maui Filipino Community Council as Filipina Fiesta Chairperson. As Filipina Fiesta Chair, I appoint the Chairperson of the Miss Maui Filipina Pageant and oversee the pageant to make sure it is in order and organized. I also appoint the Chairperson of the Barrio Fiesta and Rizal Day-Installation of Officers. My greatest involvement right now is the Bayanihan Food Distribution. It started with a dream that I had. I told Emi Cortez, the president of Maui Filipino Community Council, Atty. Alfredo Evangelista and Nora Cabanilla-Takushi, the president of Binhi At Ani that I had a dream to give back to the community by feeding or giving something. Everyone agreed, so here we are helping the families in need by giving boxes of groceries, etc. I cried when we were able to give out 547 boxes during the first distribution and 756 boxes during the second distribution. We are in gratitude to the businesses, Rep. Justin Woodson, Rep Troy Hashimoto, Sen. Gil Keith-Agaran, Mayor Mike and Joycelyn Victorino and other individuals who unselfishly donated their time, talent and treasures. The third distribution is scheduled for July 25. Thank you to the Steering Committee, Nora Cabanilla-Takushi, Emi Cortez, Melen Agcolicol, Vanessa Domingo, Jeanice Paa, Florante Garcia, Arthur Latayada, Michelle Santos, Arnel Alvarez, Manny Baltazar, Joan Andia, and Atty. Alfredo Evangelista. With your hard work, you are the reason we are able to do this. It makes me cry more because when I went to Panda to buy dinner, my fortune cookie said, ‘YOUR DREAMS WILL BECOME A REALITY’ and it did! Thank you Lord for your guidance and keeping everyone strong and safe.”
Lucy Peros is a retired school teacher, having taught at St. Anthony Grade School and Waihe‘e Elementary School. Both of her parents, Elpidio Cachero Cabalo (a 1946 Sakada) and Alejandra Cabudoy Cabalo of Hāli‘imaile worked for Maui Land and Pine Company. Lucy now enjoys retirement and has time to join other seniors in the Enhance Fitness Program under the Department of Aging three times a week. She also attends the line dancing class and other activities at Kaunoa and joins other Waihe‘e School retirees when help is needed at the school. Lucy also devotes some of her time to activities at Christ The King Catholic Church. She enjoys writing and reading in her spare time.