Community… in action

Editor’s note: Send your community briefs to This month’s column was compiled by Assistant Editor Alfredo G. Evangelista.


One definition of Bayanihan is helping a neighbor as a community; doing a job together, lesseing the workload and making the job easier.

Another definition of Bayanihan is community spirit.

Some of the volunteers who assisted on Saturday.
Photo: Alfredo Evangelista

Within the logo of Binhi at Ani, the words “Promote the Bayanihan Spirit” are stated.

It was indeed fitting that the first pandemic food drive organized on Maui (and apparently in the State of Hawai‘i) by a Filipino community organization was titled “Bayanihan Food Distribution.”

As explained in the solicitation letter “In times of need, it’s important for all of us to come together to assist. That is the meaning of Bayanihan.”

Mayor Michael Victorino (2nd from right) poses with State Representative Justin Woodson, State Senator Gilbert Keith-Agaran, and State Representative Troy Hashimoto.
Photo: Alan Fukuyama

With Binhi at Ani spearheading the efforts, it was a successful one. The numbers gave testament to the success:

• $7,887.00 monetary donations received
• 547 food packages distributed including
• 675 plate lunches
• 3,066 canned goods
• 330 bags of rice
• 2,427 pounds of produce
• 1,971 packages of noodles
• 480 dozens of eggs
• 1,000 Pepsi beverages
• 600 loaves of bread/pan de sal
• 1,200 McDonald’s certificates
• 600 masks

Interestingly, the idea for the event did not come from within the Binhi at Ani organization but from Marilyn Oura, the past president of Maui Filipino Community Council. “I wanted our Filipino community to do something to help everyone who had been affected by COVID-19,” said Oura. “So I made a couple of calls and spoke to Nora Cabanilla-Takushi, the president of Binhi at Ani and with the support of Emi Cortez, the current president of Maui Filipino Community Council, we agreed to work together for the community.”

The kitchen crew prepping the hot food.
Photo: Alfredo Evangelista

“It was not an easy event to plan as none of us have been intimately involved in such an event before,” explained Cabanilla-Takushi. “But with the guidance of our steering committee and the hustle of Melen Magbual and others to solicit donors, we succeeded way beyond our expectations.”

“When we learned that the amount of hits on the instructions for the Food Drive had gone from 2,000 to almost 8,000 in a couple of hours, we increased the number of food packages from 300 to 500,” said Magbual. “Thanks to all our donors who contributed. We could not have done it without them.”

The donors for food, produce, canned goods and other items were 3 Angels Farms, Alcalanians, Asian Mart and Fast Foods, Vince Jr. & Jennifer Bagoyo, Estephen & Violeta Baloaloa, CAA Market Place, Café O’Lei, Central Pacific Bank, Cupies, Jeffrey & Lydia Dela Cruz, Alfredo & Basilia Evangelista, Family Produce, Four Sisters Bakery, Four Sisters Catering, Girl Scout Troop #717, Happy Tummy, Home Maid Bakery, JMA Imports, Juan’s Kitchen, KPMW Radio, Krispy Kreme, Kusina Ni Jayboy, Mila Lat, Loe Farm, Lorenzo & Emi Magana, Magbual Families & Friends, Nancy Magsayo, Magsingal Association of Maui, Mahi Pono, Bruce Mcdonald, McDonald’s of Maui, Duane & Cora Molina, Obys Farm, Paradise Supermart Fast Food & Catering, Pascual’s Catering, Ernie & Loida Paz, Pepsi, Randy’s Catering & Fast Food, RG Electric, Ride Assist of Maui LLC, Safeway, Takamiya Market, Maria Thomas, Travelicious, Ua Wai Farm, Hedy Udarbe, Roseminic Ulep, Valdez Farm, and Wailuku Seafood Center.

The Hawaii National Guard assisted with traffic.
Photo: Alfredo Evangelista

Monetary donations were received from Belinda Agapay, Josephine Agapay, Levi & Pamela Aguinaldo, Marc & Jeanette Aquino, Elizabeth Ayson, Imelda Balmores, Benjamin Acob, Attorney at Law, Errol Buntuyan, M.D., C&N Electric, Rennie Cabal-Amisola, MD, Ferdinand & Gloria Cajigal, Emi Cortez, Jeffrey & Lydia Dela Cruz, Vanessa Domingo, Exhaust Works Maui LLC, Maritess & Mac Fagaragan, Friends of Gil Keith-Agaran, Clayton Fuchigami, M/M William Guerrero, GP Insurance Services LLC, Don & Rose Guzman, Troy Hashimoto, Hawai‘i Living Water Store, Island Refuse, Inc., Johnstone Supply Maui, Jonathan Starr Foundation, K&R Auto Body and Painting LLC, Wayne Kobayashi, Maria Kriekenbeek, M.D., Land Sea Engineering Construction Inc., Law Offices of Alfredo Evangelista, A Limited Liability Law Company, Bien Lazatin, MD, Felicitas Livaudis, MD, Mikes Auto LLC, New Wave Auto Care Body & Paint, Noble Travel, Noel Termulo MD Inc., Marilyn Oura & Alfredo Romero, Christina Porte, Antonio & Luz Ramil, Sam Sato’s, Inc., Michelle Santos, Smile’s Auto Specialist Inc., Dominic Suguitan, Hedy Udarbe, Elizabeth Whitehead, Joselito & Helen Yuzon, and Jeremy Zane.

Key to the effort was also the work of the volunteers. Vanessa Joy Domingo was tasked with creating a volunteer work flow, including working with the Maui Police Department and the Hawai‘i National Guard to coordinate the traffic. “We had over a hundred volunteers. They volunteered on Friday night to pack the food packages and on Saturday to distribute the food packages,” said Domingo. “We were really concerned about the traffic because of the non-availability of the Maui Waena parking lot. But as we drove around to observe the traffic flow, we noticed how those in line had self-policed themselves and alleviated the traffic problems by going through the side streets—all without any instructions from MPD. That was truly amazing to me.”

Mayor Michael Victorino offered a prayer before the Food Distribution.
Photo: Alfredo Evangelista

Based on the success of the first Bayanihan Food Distribution, a second one will be held on Saturday, June 27, with the starting time moved to 9:30 a.m. “We know there is a continuing need,” said Cabanilla-Takushi. “Binhi at Ani will continue to be our community center and promote the Bayanihan spirit.”

Disclosures: Alfredo G. Evangelista served on the Steering Committee along with Arnel Alvarez, Manny Baltazar, Nora Cabanilla-Takushi, Emi Cortez, Vanessa Joy Domingo, Florante Garcia, Arthur Latayada, Melen Magbual, Marilyn Oura, Jeanice Paa, and Michelle Santos.