Get Ready to Celebrate the 50th Annual Barrio Fiesta!

Get Ready to Celebrate the 50th Annual Barrio Fiesta!

May 24 and May 25 at Binhi at Ani Filipino Community Center

Every year since 1970, Maui’s Filipino community has come together to host a Barrio Fiesta.

2019 will be the 50th edition of the longest-running Filipino festival in the United States… it belongs to Maui and it’s time to celebrate!

Cue: Kool and the Gang’s Celebration song to play in the background:

Celebrate good times, come on! Let’s celebrate!
Celebrate good times, come on! Let’s celebrate!
There’s a party goin’ on right here. A celebration to last throughout the years.
So bring your good times, and your laughter too. We gonna celebrate your party with you….

“I’ve attended every single Barrio Fiesta since 1970 when Nancy Andres started it. She was the general chairman back in 1970. I chaired the first Barrio Fiesta with Greg Peros,” said Agrifina “Aggie” Cabebe. “Fifty years later, we need to continue to perpetuate the Filipino culture for our younger generations. And we need to move forward as a Filipino community on Maui and work together.”

A cockfight demonstration at the 1970 Barrio Fiesta.

“Binhi at Ani is happy that we can continue the tradition of the Barrio Fiesta that was started by the Maui Filipino Community Council,” said Nora Cabanilla-Takushi, president of Binhi at Ani. “When it was started in 1970, an influx of recent immigrants from the Philippines caused many problems, especially in the schools,” explained Cabanilla-Takushi. “The initial purpose of the Barrio Fiesta was to share the Filipino culture with the rest of Maui County and to also instill a sense of pride in local Filipinos of the rich culture of their motherland.”

Today, fifty years later, the need to share the Filipino culture with all of Maui’s residents remains true. The Filipino community is growing by leaps and bounds. According to the 2010 Census, Filipinos and part-Filipinos now make up the second largest ethnic group in Hawai‘i.

Miss Barrio Fiesta 1970 Shirley Evangelista.

“We’ve been looking forward to this grand celebration of fifty years for some time now,” said Florante Garcia, who served as Binhi’s president from 2012 through 2014 and served as the Barrio Fiesta chairperson for at least eleven years and is serving as the chairperson for this year’s golden celebration. “We are continuing to reemphasize our Filipino culture in our food, entertainment, and displays. Also, we have some great contests and giveaways. And you can buy a commemorative T-shirt that celebrates the fifty years of the Barrio Fiesta.”

So get ready, because the 50th Annual Barrio Fiesta is just a month away—Friday, May 24 (5 p.m. to 10 p.m.) and Saturday, May 25 (10 a.m. to 10 p.m.) at the Binhi at Ani Filipino Community Center, 780 Onehe‘e Avenue in Kahului.

And oh, yeah, tell a friend and don’t forget to share on social media with this year’s hashtag: #barriofiesta50

Are you ready for ono food? Tell your friends!
Celebrate good times, come on! Let’s celebrate!


Okay, so food is at the top of the list for any Barrio Fiesta and yes, this year there’s a lot of Filipino food such as atchara, chicken adobo, chitcharon, dinuguan, kalding, kaliente, lechon kawali, lumpia, marinated boneless bangus, miki, pansit, pinakbet, pork adobo, pork and peas, and sing kut sar. And there’s local food too like adobo turkey tails, bbq pork, boiled peanuts, chow fun, lettuce wraps with chicken or pork, loco moco, pickled mango, roast chicken, spam musubi, sweet and spicy fried chicken, and teriyaki beef.

Now for the important stuff–desserts! There’s bibingka, cascaron, ginataan, halo halo, ice candy, leche flan, patupat, puto, puto plan, and suman. So what’s my personal favorite Filipino food? Kalding and yes, here comes the gout attack, dinuguan but sing kut sar is really close. My favorite dessert? Halo halo, ice candy, bibingka, leche flan, oh well, everything on the list!

And oh yeah, I have to admit my favorite local food is chow fun, sold by my church (Good Shepherd Episcopal Church) since 1976. The back story is that in 1976, I was the president of the youth group at Good Shepherd and we were planning a trip to the West Coast and we needed to raise a lot of money and you can only raise so much money by selling halo halo… so I stuck my neck out and signed up for chow fun because I loved chow fun and I thought it would appeal to the palates of locals who would attend the Barrio Fiesta. I got chewed out by Manang Nancy Andres (who started the Barrio Fiesta) for making an “executive decision” while I was still young—17 years old and in high school… but I guess that decision worked out because Good Shepherd has sold chow fun nonstop since 1976!

And in case you want to cook at home, there will be a Farmer’s Market operated by Arthur Latayada where you can buy vegetables and even cooked corn on the cob and other good stuff.

I’m definitely ready for all the ono food… especially after the Lenten season. Besides I’m sure my Mom will want me to buy her some balon. Hmmm… I wonder if any of the food vendors have delivery service?

Are you ready for some fun contests? Tell your friends!
Celebrate good times, come on! Let’s celebrate!

The first contest will be a Pabitin on Friday evening, right after the 6 p.m. opening ceremonies.

Kids can jump for a variety of prizes such as candies and toys… and it’s free!

But at the top of the list of contests is the Grease Pole Contest sponsored by Benjamin Acob, Attorney at Law. The scheduled time is 1 p.m. on Saturday and is open to youth ages seven to 13. The first place will win $300 while the other contestants will share in a pot of approximately $200.

And right after the Grease Pole Contest (approximately 2 p.m. on Saturday, inside the Center), there will be a Keiki Art Party coordinated by local artist Philip Sabado and his wife Christine of the Sabado Art Foundation and sponsored by the Friends of Yuki-Lei Sugimura.

For those who like to dress up, there’s a Barrio Wear contest sponsored by Friends of Justin Woodson on Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. The first place winners (male and female) will receive $100 while the second place winners (male and female) will receive $50. And if you’re a Karaoke singer, you can enter the Amateur Karaoke Contest sponsored by Law Offices of Alfredo Evangelista, A Limited Liability Law Company.

The contest will be held on Saturday night at 8:30 p.m. The song can last no longer than five minutes and the contest is limited to 10 contestants maximum who must provide their own notebook or phone to download their music. Three hundred dollars will be awarded to the winner (sorry, no second or third prize and no divisions for youth or elderly).

Eat Da Pansit contest.

But the big money ($500 to the winner) is for two contests on Saturday afternoon. At 3 p.m., there’s the Eat Da Pansit Contest sponsored by Friends of Gil Keith-Agaran, with the pansit donated by Maria Lanakila Filipino Catholic Club. The first four to eat a plate of pansit will move to the second round where they will eat a larger quantity… but all to win $500. “There is no Fiesta without pansit,” explained Keith-Agaran, “so I am proud to sponsor this contest.”

At 3:30 p.m., the AnyKine Sisig Cooking Challenge sponsored by Tante’s Island Cuisine will be held. Contestants will have thirty (30) minutes to prepare and cook their sisig on stage. Contestants must bring all their ingredients, cooking utensils, pans, knives, cutting boards, propane gas stove, hot plate to serve, etc. And the guest host is none other than Tante Urban. “Sisig is one of the most versatile and popular dishes among Filipinos,” explained Urban. “Masarap kasi! It is good! So join the AnyKine Sisig Cooking Challenge and you may be the winner of $500!”

Are you ready for some culture? Tell your friends!
Celebrate good times, come on! Let’s celebrate!

Ilocos Sur Village.

In the Center’s hall, The Barrio Fiesta Experience will feature a miniature Bahay Kubo and cultural villages from Cebu, the Cordillera region (Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, and Mountain Province), Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Metro Manila, Mindanao, and Pangasinan.

There’s a competition going on between the cultural villages with a cash prize of $500 so check out who can lay claim to being the best cultural village. “We were so excited to win the competition last year that our whole group went on the stage to receive the award,” said Romeo Guzman, president of the Ilocos Surian Association of Maui. “I hope we can repeat this year.” A special feature of the 50th Annual Barrio Fiesta will be a photo exhibit of prior Barrio Fiestas. If you have a photo you want included, it’s not too late. Email them to or call (808) 242-8100.

Are you ready for some pageantry? Tell your friends!
Celebrate good times, come on! Let’s celebrate!

Filipinos love pageants and at the 50th Barrio Fiesta, you’ll get to see a whole bunch of queens as well as queen wannabes.

On Friday night at 8 p.m., 2018 Miss Barrio Fiesta Sierra-Naomi Cachola Perryman will crown her successor. Will it be Czarina Carino or Tricia Pascua or Khyle Marie Mathalie Simon? Only one way to find out!

And there will be a Little Miss Barrio Fiesta Pageant on Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. with four contestants vying to succeed Zoe Zane. They will compete in four phases: talent (40 points); Filipino attire (30 points); active wear (20 points) and on-stage question and answer (10 points).

If you want to know who are vying for the 2019 Miss Maui Filipina Scholarship Pageant, the candidates will be presented on Saturday afternoon at 5:30 p.m. after a performance by the 2018 Miss Hawai‘i Filipina Joy Nina Tabon.

But if you want to see a whole bevy of beauties, you have to get to the Barrio Fiesta on Friday night at 6:30 p.m. to watch the Santa Cruzan. The Santa Cruzan is a religious procession depicting the finding of the Holy Cross by Queen Helena, the mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine, who ended the persecution of Christians. There are a number of Reynas or queens in the procession. For the 50th Annual Barrio Fiesta, past Miss Barrio Fiestas will be playing the role of the Reynas. [See box above for a list of the Miss Barrio Fiestas.]

As of press time, those confirmed to participate in the Santa Cruzan are Shirley Evangelista (1970), Ligaya Macadangdang (1973), Nora Cabanilla (1977), Myrna Baggao (1978), Ernalin Corpuz (1981), Rena Encarnacion (1989), Chamille Misay (1990), Nichole Castro-Cabanilla (2003), Moana-Marie Raquinio (2006), Annastaceya Arcangel (2008), Mary Grace Basig (2010), Chelsea Guzman (2011), Sheena Garo (2015), Jena Arconado (2016), Kimberly Taroma (2017), and the reigning Miss Barrio Fiesta Sierra-Naomi Cachola Perryman (2018). “I’m really looking forward to reenacting my walk down memory lane as the 1977 Miss Barrio Fiesta,” joked Binhi at Ani president Nora Cabanilla-Takushi. “But really, this year we wanted to include as many of our past Miss Barrio Fiesta’s as possible and the Santa Cruzan procession was perfect. If you haven’t yet confirmed, please contact me at 276-8861.” Myrna Baggao, Miss Barrio Fiesta 1978 was thrilled that she would be on island (she lives in Las Vegas) and able to participate: “As a former Miss Barrio Fiesta, I am excited to participate in another event that celebrates the culture of my Filipino heritage.”

Are you ready for great entertainment? Tell your friends!
Celebrate good times, come on! Let’s celebrate!

Aggie Cabebe with Good Shepherd dancers.

The 50th Annual Barrio Fiesta will feature cultural entertainment from a number of groups. The Good Shepherd Episcopal Church Filipino Folk Dance Troupe will perform on Friday at 7 p.m. Good Shepherd first performed at the Barrio Fiesta in 1974 and won the Filipino folk dance competition. “Good Shepherd has been blessed with having Nana Aggie Cabebe—the General and the Mother of Filipino Folk Dance on Maui—as our instructor since 1974,” said Basilia Evangelista. “We believe it’s important to continue to share the culture and we will be dedicating our performance at the 50th Annual Barrio Fiesta to Nana Cabebe, who has done so much for Maui’s Filipino community.”

Good Shepherd will be followed by Bailes de Pilipinas at 7:30 p.m. and the Friday entertainment will close with Zumba led by 808 Cru Dance Fit at 9 p.m. On Saturday, Dance International Production will perform at 6 p.m. while La Galería: Compañía Baile Filipino will perform at 8 p.m. Saturday’s entertainment will close with the King’s Cathedral Youth Group at 9:30 p.m.

Are you ready for Special Events? Tell your friends!
Celebrate good times, come on! Let’s celebrate!

Veterans Memorial Service

At high noon on Saturday, the 10th Annual Veterans Memorial Day Service will begin. The service which was started ten years ago by the late Rogelio Evangelista, a United States Air Force veteran, will include the solemn POW/MIA service.

Later that afternoon at 5:30 p.m., the Binhi at Ani Scholarship recipients will be presented. (The scholarship deadline is May 1, 2019 and scholarship applications can be obtained from your high school counselor or downloaded on Binhi at Ani’s website.)

At 7 p.m. the Outstanding Housekeeping Awards will be presented. The awards honor outstanding employees in the Housekeeping Department from a number of hotels, including Grand Wailea, Ka‘anapali Beach Hotel, Kea Lani, and Sheraton Maui.

“We truly appreciate the Housekeeping departments for their outstanding performance, dedication and enthusiasm in achieving the hotel’s goals,” said Leilani Cabanilla who, together with Donnie Dadiz, is in charge of the awards. “Every day, the Housekeeping teams prove they are an asset to the hotels and our tourism industry.”

Last year’s awardees were Suzette “Susie” Cabacungan and Richard David of Ka‘anapali Beach Hotel and Joenalyn Pascua and Alberto Ngayan of Grand Wailea. And if basketball is your thing, the Barrio Fiesta Basketball Tournament will begin on Friday, May 24 with games at the Wailuku gym and the War Memorial gym. Games will continue on Saturday, which includes a three-point contest at 3:30 p.m. at the War Memorial gym. The championships will start at 1 p.m. on Sunday at the War Memorial gym.

“We are expecting about twenty-four teams this year,” said Basketball commissioner Donnie Dadiz. Dadiz, the former Baldwin High School basketball stand out who played shooting guard and small forward like his idol Kobe Bryant, played in the Barrio Fiesta tournament for seventeen years and has been its Commissioner since 2015.

“There are three divisions: Open-Aged; 35 & Over; and Pure Breed (Full-Filipino). The teams are coming from the Big Island, O‘ahu, Maui, and maybe even Kaua‘i,” said Dadiz. “It’s not too late to form a team but there is a maximum of eight teams per division so if you’re interested, contact me at 315-1514 before May 10.”

Saving the Best for Last—Tell your friends!
Celebrate good times, come on! Let’s celebrate!

Lucky winner of the Philippine Airlines trip.

Yup, at the end of each night (at approximately 10 p.m.), Philippine Airlines will draw a name of a person who will win a round trip airfare from Honolulu to Manila. “Philippine Airlines is pleased to support Binhi at Ani and present not only one but two airline tickets for the 50th Annual Barrio Fiesta,” said Sol Solleza, Honolulu District Manager. “After all, what better way to share our culture than having Philippine Airlines fly you home?”

Of course, certain restrictions apply including but not limited to: one entry per person; must be at least 18 years of age; and must be present, with proper identification to win. Your name on your identification must match your entry form (no nicknames!).

Mahalo Plenty to Our Sponsors and Participating Organizations Celebrate good times, come on! Let’s celebrate! It takes a humongous team effort to produce the 50th Annual Barrio Fiesta. First, mahalo to our sponsors and major donors (as of press time): County of Maui – Office of Economic Development, Bayer, Tante’s Island Cuisine, Friends of Gil Keith-Agaran, Benjamin Acob, Attorney at Law, Friends of Justin Woodson, Law Offices of Alfredo Evangelista, A Limited Liability Law Company, Friends of Yuki Lei Sugimura, and KPMW.

Bahay Kubo.

Second, many organizations and individuals are participating as Food Vendors or organizers of the Cultural Villages. They are led by Binhi at Ani and include Alcalanians, Bahay Kubo Heritage Foundation, Good Shepherd Episcopal Church, Good Shepherd Episcopal Church Youth, Ilocos Surian Association, King’s Cathedral, Magsingal, Maria Lanakila Filipino Catholic Club, Maui Filipino Chamber of Commerce, Maui Filipino Community Council, Sabado Foundation, San Juan Lapog, Sto. Niño Organization, Melen Agcolicol, and Zaldy Ugalino.

Finally, many individuals have spent thousands of hours coming together to ensure a successful 50th Annual Barrio Fiesta. “It’s the Bayanihan spirit,” explained Nora Cabanilla-Takushi. “Regardless where our roots are in the Philippines or whether we are local-born or immigrants, we come together to share our rich culture with all of Maui… and it’s an important legacy that we need to continue and celebrate!”

Cue: Kool and the Gang’s Celebration song to fade out:
It’s time to come together
It’s up to you, what’s your pleasure
Everyone around the world..Come on!
Yahoo! It’s a celebration!
Celebrate good times, come on!
Let’s celebrate, come on now….

Alfredo G. Evangelista attended the first Barrio Fiesta in 1970, performed Maglalatik in 1974, chairs The Barrio Fiesta Experience, and is coordinating the program for the 50th Annual Barrio Fiesta. He is proud to continue the tradition of the Veterans Memorial Service at the Barrio Fiesta that was started ten years ago by his late brother Rogelio Evangelista, who served in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War.