It’s Barrio Fiesta Time
The longest running Fiesta in the United States is held on Maui.
Alfredo G. Evangelista | Assistant Editor
For the 54th consecutive year, Maui will host the Annual Barrio Fiesta—and yes, it’s the longest running Fiesta in the entire United States. Even during the pandemic years, Maui’s Barrio Fiesta was held virtually!
Fiesta time in the Philippines is always a time of fellowship (many who have moved away from the barrio and live in Manila and elsewhere return to their hometown for the annual town fiesta), food and culture. Here on Maui, the 54th Annual Barrio Fiesta will be held live on Saturday, May 26 (5 p.m. to 10 p.m.) and Saturday, May 27 (10 a.m. to 10 p.m.) at the Binhi at Ani Filipino Community Center, 780 Onehe‘e Avenue in Kahului, across Maui Waena Intermediate School.
The Barrio Fiesta was initiated by the Maui Filipino Community Council and first held on May 31, 1970 at the War Memorial grounds near the swimming pool. At that time, there was an influx of recent immigrants from the Philippines which caused many problems, especially in the schools. 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, the need to share the Filipino culture with all of Maui’s residents remains true as Maui’s Filipino community continues to grow by leaps and bounds.
“We are pleased to again present the annual Barrio Fiesta,” says Melen Agcolicol, president of Binhi at Ani. “We continue to refocus on sharing our rich Filipino culture—whether it’s through food, entertainment, exhibits, and contests. It’s really a continued perpetuation of our culture so our youth will not forget their roots and the rest of Maui can appreciate our Filipino culture as well.”
Food, culture, pageantry, contests, and special events will be featured during the 54th Annual Barrio Fiesta.
Of course, traditional Filipino food will be offered such as balut, banana lumpia, bangus, cascaron, chicharon, dinuguan, empanada, longanisa, pansit, pinakbet, pork adobo, pork and peas, and pork lumpia. And a few local favorites such as bbq beef, chow fun and shoyu chicken. Plus Filipino vegetables and fruit!
Food and business vendors include Binhi at Ani, Bayer Crop Science Hawai‘i; Christ the King Youth Ministry, Da808spin, FILCOM Cares; KPMW, Maria Lanakila Filipino Catholic Club, Maui Aids Foundation; Maui Filipino Community Council; Maui Health, Millennium Express; Philippine Nurses Association Maui, Hawai‘i; Ria Money Services; Grace Sales, Realtor; Sto. Niño Organization of Maui; and U.S. Renal Care.
A special booth will feature the Philippine Consulate General of Hawai‘i who will provide information as to the various services provided.
Philippine cultural entertainment will be provided by Bailes de Pilipinas (Friday at 8 p.m.), Dance International Production (Friday at 7:30 p.m.), Sto. Niño Organization of Maui (Saturday at 6:30 p.m.), Students of Aggie Cabebe (Saturday at 7:30 p.m.), Kā‘anapali Beach Hotel (Saturday at 8:30 p.m.), La Galería: Compañía Baile Filipino (Saturday at 9 p.m.) Wailea Marriott (Saturday at 8:30 p.m.).
Each night, Zumba will close the program. Eva Marie Arconado-Mirzai will lead the Zumba on Friday night at 9:30 p.m. while Ginalyn Dela Cruz will lead the Zumba on Saturday night at 9:30 p.m.
And at 10 p.m. each night, there will be a drawing (no entry fee required, one entry per person, must be 18 years or older, entry must match government issued ID) for a $500 Travel Certificate. Sponsoring the Friday night drawing is Asian Mart & Fast Food while Grace Sales, Realtor is sponsoring the Saturday night drawing.
Friday night will be hosted by Rowena Dagdag-Andaya while Jeremy Zane will host the Barrio Fiesta on Saturday evening.
Inside the Center, there will be a replica of a Bahay Kubo created by the Bahay Kubo Heritage Foundation. Projected on stage will be photos of past Barrio Fiestas. Cultural villages depicting several provinces/regions of the Philippines will also be featured: Cebu created by Sto. Niño Organization of Maui; Cordillera created by Sabado Art Foundation; Ilocos Norte created by Julie Agcolicol Cruz; Metro Manila created by Philippine Nurses Association of Maui, Hawai‘i; Mindanao created by La Galería: Compañía Baile Filipino; and Pangasinan created by Miguel Agcolicol. The best cultural village will receive a $500 prize. Cultural villages will be graded on culture, originality, presentation and interactivity.
Vying for the title of Miss Barrio Fiesta are Kiara Ganoy and Naeomi Paa. Ganoy is the daughter of Loren and Diana Ganoy. Ganoy is a seventh grader at Lahaina Intermediate. Paa is the daughter of Richard and Jeanice Paa. Paa is a sophomore at Maui High School. The 2023 Miss Barrio Fiesta will be crowned on Friday evening at 7 p.m.
Former Miss Barrio Fiestas and Little Miss Barrio Fiestas will participate in The Santa Cruzan depicting the finding of the Holy Cross by Queen Helena. As of press time, those expected to participate are Shirley Evangelista, Miss Barrio Fiesta 1970; Tina Castro, Miss Barrio Fiesta 1976; Nora Cabanilla, Miss Barrio Fiesta 1977; Myrna Baggao, Miss Barrio Fiesta 1978; Ernalin Corpuz, Miss Barrio Fiesta 1981; Chamille Misay, Miss Barrio Fiesta 1990; Vanessa Milan, Miss Barrio Fiesta 2002; Moana-Marie Raquinio, Miss Barrio Fiesta 2006; Joana-Leesa Ped, Miss Barrio Fiesta 2007; Chelsea Guzman, Miss Barrio Fiesta 2011; Jillian Ped, Little Miss Barrio Fiesta 2012; Mia Suh, Tiny Miss Barrio Fiesta 2012; Selena Rodrigues, Little Miss Barrio Fiesta 2014; Sheena Garo, Miss Barrio Fiesta 2015; Christal Bismonte, Little Miss Barrio Fiesta 2015; Elizabeth Thomas, Little Miss Barrio Fiesta, 2017; Sierra-Naomi Cachola Perryman, Miss Barrio Fiesta 2018; Zoe Zane, Little Miss Barrio Fiesta 2018; Raine Lopez, Little Miss Barrio Fiesta 2019; and Audryanah Starmer, Miss Barrio Fiesta 2022. Playing the role of King Constantine will be Treysen Manuel.
The 2023 Miss Maui Filipina contestants will be introduced on Saturday at 6 pm. Lennel Alvarez, Miss Maui Filipina 2022 will lead the four contestants: Kasey Cababat, Sandra Desierto, Johanne Paige Cruz Guevarra and Shyla-Tehara Moore.
The Veterans Memorial Service will be held on Saturday at 12 Noon, featuring the POW/MIA Empty Chair Ceremony. Coordinated by Ryan Sagayaga, the service’s participants will include Mario Arruiza, Duane Molina, and Vince Bagoyo, Jr.
The Outstanding Housekeepers Awards—recognizing outstanding housekeepers of Filipino ancestry from several Maui hotels will be presented on Saturday at 8 p.m.
Several contests with large prizes are scheduled. (Flyers and more details on the contests can be found on Facebook: @BinhiatAniFilipinoCommunityCenter.)
AnyKine Sisig Challenge sponsored by Tante’s Island Cuisine. Saturday at 3:30 p.m. A maximum of five contestants will have thirty minutes to cook a Sisig dish. Contestants will be judged on presentation/style; taste; uniqueness; and overall, with the winner receiving $500. The deadline to pre-register is May 21.
The Barrio Fiesta Voice sponsored by Law Offices of Alfredo Evangelista, A Limited Liability Law Company. Friday at 8:30 p.m. A maximum of ten contestants will compete to be the 2022 Barrio Fiesta Voice. Each contestant will have up to 3.5 minutes to perform and must use their own phone to play the music. Contestants will be graded on vocal quality, stage presence and audience response. The winner will receive $500.
The Barrio Wear Contest sponsored by Rusty and Hedy Udarbe. Saturday at 7 p.m. Contestants will be judged based on authenticity, design, accessories and presentation. The male winner will receive $250; the female winner will also receive $250.
Climb the Greased Pole Contest sponsored by K&R Auto Body & Painting LLC. Saturday at 1 p.m. Limited to ages 7 to 13. The winner will receive $500 while other participants will share in the community pot.
Do the Sungka! sponsored by Johnstone Supply of Maui. Saturday at 10:30 a.m. There will be several preliminary rounds based on time, i.e., the one with the most marbles/pebbles/stones at the end of the time limit will proceed to the next round. The final winner will receive $500.
Eat Da Pansit Contest sponsored by Friends of Gil Keith-Agaran. Saturday at 3 p.m. The first four participants to eat one pint of pansit will participate in an eat-off, during which each participant will need to eat one plate of pansit. The first one to eat all the pansit wins $500. The pansit will be donated by Maria Lanakila Filipino Catholic Club.
Sabado Art Foundation Keiki Art Party sponsored by Friends of Yuki Lei Sugimura. Saturday at 2 p.m. Limited to ages 7 to 13. The theme will be announced at the onset of the art party. The winner will receive $500.
There will also be a Pabitin sponsored by Friends of Justin Woodson. There will be four pulls of the Pabitin from which will be hanging an assortment of prizes: Friday at 6 p.m., Friday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday at 10:30 a.m., and Saturday at 3 p.m.
And a lechon demonstration (Saturday at 4:30 p.m.) is being arranged!
“We’re very excited to again present the Annual Barrio Fiesta–the longest running fiesta in the United States. We could not have continued this unmatched tradition without the support of our sponsors, advertisers, donors, vendors, entertainers, volunteers and the Miss Barrio Fiesta contestants. There is definitely something for everyone at the Barrio Fiesta–food, culture, and entertainment. It’s a terrific way to continue to share our culture with all of Maui and to be with old and new friends.”
Major sponsors include Bayer Crop Science Hawai‘i, Maui Health, U.S. Renal Care and McDonalds of Kahului, Media partners include The Fil-Am Voice and KPMW.
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 counseling and nonprofit corporations. He has been practicing law for 39 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.
Evangelista is Co-Chairperson of the Barrio Fiesta committee and attended the first Barrio Fiesta in 1970.