“And this is 2020 …”
Hopes, Dreams, Challenges and Resolutions for the New Year
Alfredo G. Evangelista | Assistant Editor
At the stroke of midnight on December 31, amidst the fireworks and after all the sashimi and suman have been devoured, folks will be toasting their champagne glasses and bellowing Happy New Year!
For many, the New Year represents a new beginning; hopes and dreams; and an opportunity to make a resolution. For businesses, the New Year represents opportunities and challenges.
“My hopes and dreams may be different from everybody,” said Nora Cabanilla-Takushi, president of Binhi at Ani. “My hope is for all the unfortunate children to find good families and be well-taken care of. My dreams are that my children will be able to have good health and continue to follow their dreams and be able to share their love of God to everyone.”
“Good health, financial stability, strong family ties, and a fulfilling loving relationship are my hopes and dreams,” said Marilyn Oura, the current president of the Maui Filipino Community Council. “And I hope the Council will continue to be successful under the new president Emerita Cortez.”
“I hope for better health and prosperity for our family,” said Sharon Zalsos Banaag, the newly installed president of the Maui Filipino Chamber of Commerce. “To be healthy,” echoed Michelle Santos, secretary of Binhi at Ani.
Health appears to be a top priority for many members of Maui’s Filipino community. “At the top of the list is continued good health. Without health, little else is feasible,” said Elizabeth Ayson, a past president of the Maui Filipino Chamber of Commerce, one of the seventeen past presidents of the Maui Filipino Chamber who were recently honored during the 25th Anniversary Celebration of the Maui Filipino Chamber.
Melen Magbual Agcolicol, also a past president of the Maui Filipino Chamber and a business owner, hopes that “my family will always stay healthy and our family businesses will continue to be successful.”
Romeo Guzman, owner of RG Electric and Vice President of Binhi at Ani hopes for a “better and prosperous year 2020.” Florante Garcia, a past president of Binhi at Ani, hopes to “have multiple streams of income and grow to sustain my lifestyle.”
Closer family relationships is also high on the list. “Another high hope is to have more time with my family, all extremely active and engaged in life. My dream is for the entire clan to gather in reunion, to reconnect our strong bonds and meet newest additions,” said Ayson. Essie Arruiza, a member of the Binhi at Ani Board of Directors agreed and hopes for “more bonding with family members.”
Mario Arruiza, her husband says “I hope to be a better me” while Elmer Tolentino, the Purchasing Manager of Westin Maui says “I hope to be a better person as I am thinking of retiring next year.”
Mary Basig, 2019 Miss Maui Filipina, says “I am living proof that dreams still do come true even when life takes unexpected turns and I hope to be a great role model for the community to show just that. I dream to impact and change lives as others have done for me.”
Interestingly, none of those interviewed hoped for world peace. Is it a sign of the political climate where folks do not believe that world peace can be achieved?
New Year’s is also a time when folks make resolutions, many similar to their hopes and dreams. “To be in a better health, more traveling with family, and to be rich and prosperous,” said Essie Arruiza. Her husband Mario resolved to be “a better me and better health and wealth.” Lani Cabanilla aspires “To read more books—at least ten to fifteen; to commit to healthy choices and maintain my weight.”
Health is a hot topic for resolutions. Garcia resolves “to stay fit and healthy and have more time to work out.” Banaag strives for a “healthier life style and stronger finish for 2020” while Agcolicol resolves “To start my diet … as always the same every year!”
Community service is another subject for resolutions. Cabanilla resolved “to volunteer more” while Cabanilla-Takushi said “I told my husband that I would slow down in my community service and focus on our family and health.” Guzman resolves to have a “better life and happy life with my family and the community.”
For some, resolutions are not to be. “I don’t believe in resolutions because I never stick to it,” explained Santos. “Past resolutions have not proven workable, often they’re in the realm of something out of reach,” said Ayson.
For those in business, each year is a constant challenge, especially small business owners. There’s even a day for small business that’s wedged after Black Friday and before Cyber Monday: Small Business Saturday—the Saturday after Thanksgiving. On Maui, especially for Maui’s small business community, a brief look at Filipino businesses especially in the food business shows the growth and challenges facing businesses.
On Lower Main Street in Wailuku, a number of businesses have changed hands.
At the location that previously housed Minit Stop and briefly, Traje Farms, Rowena Tumacder Mariano and her husband Angelo recently opened Asian Mart & Fast Food. Further along Lower Main, Song Solagross, the partner of former Cupie’s owner Bernard Paet, took over Tokyo Tei. (For over a year, Cupie’s has been under the ownership of Ron Daniels and his partner Em Escopete Mennel.) At the corner of Lower Main Street and Mill Street, Z-Man’s Kitchen owned by Zaldifer Pascua is now shuttered.
Also on Lower Main Street, Randy Cruz, owner of Randy’s Catering, has leased his space to Felix Sanchez of Sanchez Variety Store. Cruz renovated the old Paukūkalo Store site on Waiehu Beach Road and Randy’s Catering is now providing hot food items to Wailuku Seafood Center, LLP, owned by May-Anne Alibin and her husband Exsor. (Further down Waiehu Beach Road, Poke Hale Grindz, owned by Anthony Vargas, Jr. is now closed.)
Back to Lower Main Street—Rosie’s Cantina is no longer owned by Andrew Callo. Callo recently opened Kelly’s Superette Inc. in Kahului Shopping Center at the site of the old Ah Fook’s Market and briefly, Maui Style Market. Just a few stores down, Ichiban the Restaurant is now owned by Zaida Agsalog Juan, of Juan’s Kitchen fame. Juan’s Kitchen used to be located at 62 Market Street in Wailuku (at the prior site of Café O’Lei and briefly Café Central and the recently opened 62 Marcket Restaurant in which Chef Larry Badua is a part owner with Chef Marc McDowell). A couple blocks down, for over a year, Four Sisters Catering has been headquartered at the corner of Vineyard Street and Central Avenue.
If you venture to Queen Ka‘ahumanu Center, Originz Maui—which now features a Kamayan Night—owned by Heizel Buted Allado-Bio has taken over the space previously occupied by Vidad’s. (Allado-Bio’s sibling owns Da Shrimp Hale in Maui Mall, which opened about three years ago.)
Over on the westside, Chef Jojo Vasquez and his partner opened Fond Restaurant in Nāpili Village—just a few doors away from Chef Joey Macadangdang’s second restaurant Joey’s Kitchen Nāpili. In the spring of 2020, Macadangdang expects to open his third restaurant named Macadangdang, which will be located at the Fairway Shops.
And in Wailea, Chef Sheldon Simeon recently celebrated the one-year anniversary of his restaurant Lineage. Simeon owns Tin Roof on Dairy Road in Kahului.
And yes, just up Dairy Road in Maui Marketplace, Jollibee’s is set to open any day (in the space previously occupied by Bank of Hawai‘i and right across from the McDonald’s owned by Erlinda Rosario and her son Grelyn).
Whew! For Filipino food businesses, there’s been a lot of changes in 2019 and more challenges for 2020.
Oh yeah, we haven’t talked about the last edition of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker which opens on December 20 or about the upcoming 2020 presidential elections!
For the Fil-Am Voice, 2020 will be the start of our fourth year in bringing you news, features and events highlighting Maui’s Filipino community. We’re happy to be here and we hope for your continued support.
May the New Year bring blessings to all of you. Hau‘oli Makahiki Hou. Naragsak a Baro nga Tawenyo amin!
(Fade out to Barbara Walters saying … And this is 2020 …)
Alfredo G. Evangelista is a graduate of Maui High School (1976), the University of Southern California (1980), and the University of California at Los Angeles School of Law (1983). He is a sole practitioner at Law Offices of Alfredo Evangelista, A Limited Liability Law Company, concentrating in estate planning, business start-up and consultation, nonprofit corporations, and litigation. He has been practicing law for 36 years (since 1983) and returned home in 2010 to be with his family and to marry his high school sweetheart, the former Basilia Tumacder Idica.