Bahay Kubo Heritage Garden Reawakens

Bahay Kubo Heritage Garden Reawakens

If you haven’t been to the newly-renovated Bahay Kubo at Kepaniwai Heritage Gardens located at ‘Īao Valley – it’s worth a visit. Thanks to the many faithful volunteers who spent many, many weekends repairing this treasured cultural heritage. There is still more work to be done to preserve it.

Inspired by the simple beauty and distinct fragrance of the jasmine flower, Sampaguita Sundays was launched on February 25, 2024 at the Bahay Kubo in Kepaniwai Park in ‘Īao Valley. The Sampaguita is the national flower of the Philippines, also known as pīkake in Hawaiian. I had the distinct honor to offer an opening prayer for this special event. A deepest gratitude to those who have dedicated their time for the revival of use of the grounds of the nipa hut, a typical shelter for rest for workers in the rice fields of the motherland, as well as the renewal of interest in the community’s coming there for special celebrations, as a way to honor the Filipino culture. Members of La Galería: Compañía Baile Filipino led in the singing of Lupang Hinirang, the Philippine National Anthem in its official Filipino version translated in 1958 and revised in 1963 by Felipe Padilla de Leon.

The newly-installed board of the Bahay Kubo Heritage Foundation stand proudly in front of the Bahay Kubo at Kepaniwai Heritage Gardens, ‘Īao Valley.
Photo: Vince Bagoyo

Chris Rabang conducted the installation of the new officers. The officers and directors of the Bahay Kubo Heritage Foundation are Paulo Sabado (President); Jasmine Esguerra (Vice-President); Christine Sabado (Secretary); Jorge Tirona (Treasurer); and Directors Elizabeth Ayson, Cherry Respicio-Urias, Philip Sabado, Elmer Tolentino, Zaldy Ugalino and Tante Urban. Legal Counsel is Alfredo Evangelista.

The incoming president’s message emphasized the goal of providing activities that would welcome increased participation of the community, to heighten cultural pride and awareness in our young people, to encourage families to spend more time to enjoy each other, and to commit to the upkeep, maintenance and care for the gardens and grounds.

A ceremonial planting of three sampaguita keiki marks the beginning of Sampaguita Sundays underwritten by the Bahay Kubo Heritage Foundation of Maui.
Photo: Vince Bagoyo

Three sampaguita were planted by the outgoing and incoming presidents followed by merienda of arroz caldo, pancit and a variety of sandwiches donated by Tante’s Island Cuisine and fellowship among members and guests. Unsuspecting visitors to the site were treated to delicious food, along with helpful commentary about the facility and its history.

In keeping with tradition, Tinikling, the popular bamboo dance was performed by members of La Galería with the bamboo professionally executed by the teachers, Lawrence Pascua and Dance International Production’s director Madelyne Pascua, who made the dancers move their feet faster and faster, in escalating complexity, leaving everyone in state of breathlessness. A few lucky guests were given the hilot treatment by Jasmine Esguerra.

A single sampaguita planting is readjusted after it has been newly reposted into the grounds of Kepaniwai Heritage Gardens at ‘Īao Valley in Wailuku.

According to the organization, Sampaguita Sundays are scheduled monthly at one o’clock on the last Sunday. A variety of programs are planned and all are welcome to be there for relaxation, enjoyable company, delicious foods and most of all, community building. Mark your calendars and look forward to renewing old friendships and exploring new ones. Family and friends are the most cherished social experiences among Filipinos. Mabuhay to all!