It’s Time for A Fiesta
53rd Annual Barrio Fiesta goes LIVE!
Alfredo G. Evangelista | Assistant Editor
In the Philippines, the month of May is Fiesta time. And on Maui, the Barrio Fiesta will be held for the 53rd consecutive year. The 53rd Annual Barrio Fiesta will be held live on Friday, May 27 (5 p.m. to 10 p.m.) and Saturday, May 28 (10 a.m. to 10 p.m.) at the Binhi at Ani Filipino Community Center in Kahului (across Maui Waena), according to Melen Agcolicol, president of Binhi at Ani, the coordinating organization. Portions of the Barrio Fiesta will be virtually rebroadcast on Binhi at Ani’s Facebook page on June 11 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., thanks to the media students at Maui Waena under the direction of Jennifer Suzuki Felipe.
According to Agcolicol, 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.
The 53rd Annual Barrio Fiesta is being dedicated in memory of the late Agrifina “Aggie” Cabebe, the Chairperson of the first Barrio Fiesta in 1970. Cabebe, also known as the “Mother of Filipino Folk Dance on Maui,” passed away in December 2020. “Binhi at Ani is forever indebted to Mrs. Cabebe,” said Agcolicol. “Mrs. Cabebe was the first president of Binhi at Ani back in 1985 when it was incorporated. Her contributions to Binhi at Ani and Maui’s Filipino community will never be matched and it’s fitting Binhi at Ani dedicates this Barrio Fiesta–the first live one in two years–in her memory.” Cabebe’s family will be in attendance throughout the Barrio Fiesta.
Food, culture, pageantry, contests, and special events will be featured during the 53rd Annual Barrio Fiesta. Traditional Filipino food such as banana lumpia, cascaron, chicharron, dinuguan, empanada, gulaman, ice candy, marinated bangus, pansit, pork adobo, pork and peas, pork bbq, pork lumpia, puto, suman, vegetable lumpia, PLUS your favorite local dishes: andagi, bbq beef teriyaki, chow fun, corn, sweet spicy chicken, AND a Farmer’s Market will be offered.
Food and business vendors include Binhi at Ani, Humana; Maria Lanakila Filipino Catholic Club, Maui Filipino Community Council; Millennium Express; Ria Remittance; Grace Sales, Realtor; Sto. Nino Club of Maui; Travelicious; US Renal Care; and World Remit.
Philippine cultural entertainment will be provided by Dance International Production (Friday at 7:30 p.m.), Sheraton Hotel (Saturday at 7:45 p.m.), Sto. Nino Organization of Maui (Friday at 8:15 p.m.), Students of Aggie Cabebe (Saturday at 6:30 p.m.), Kā‘anapali Beach Hotel (Saturday at 7:30 p.m.), Amante Sarmiento (Saturday at 7:50 p.m.), and La Galería: Compañía Baile Filipino (Saturday at 9 p.m.).
Each night, Zumba will close the program. Eva and Friends will lead the Zumba on Friday night at 9:30 p.m. while NRELS will lead the Zumba on Saturday night at 9:30 p.m.
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 Law Offices of Alfredo Evangelista, A Limited Liability Law Company; Mindanao created by La Galería: Compañía Baile Filipino; and Pangasinan created by the Siores Family. 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 Angel Alba, Audryanah Latayada Starmer and Kyara Tumacder. Alba of Kahului is the daughter of Pablito and Normalita Alba. Alba is an eighth grader at Maui Waena. Starmer of Wailuku is the daughter of Danford Starmer and Annabelle Latayada Jackson. Starmer is a freshman at Maui High School. Tumacder of Wailuku is the daughter of Jerald and Heidi Tumacder. Tumacder is a junior at Maui High School. Kyhle Marie Simon, Miss Barrio Fiesta 2019 will assist Mayor Michael Victorino in crowning the new Miss Barrio Fiesta on Friday 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; Concepcion Jaramillo, Miss Barrio Fiesta 1971; Tina Castro, Miss Barrio Fiesta 1976; Nora Cabanilla, Miss Barrio Fiesta 1977, Myrna Baggao, Miss Barrio Fiesta 1978; Ernalin Corpuz, Miss Barrio Fiesta 1981; Joelyn Bularon, Miss Barrio Fiesta 2005; Mary Grace Basig, Miss Barrio Fiesta 2010; Gillian Ped, Little Miss Barrio Fiesta 2012; Christal Bismonte, Little Miss Barrio Fiesta 2015; Elizabeth Thomas, Little Miss Barrio Fiesta 2017; Kimberly Taroma, Miss Barrio Fiesta 2017; Zoe Zane, Little Miss Barrio Fiesta 2018; Raine Lopez, Little Miss Barrio Fiesta 2019; and Khyle Marie Simon, Miss Barrio Fiesta 2019. Playing the role of King Constantine will be John Klyde Simon.
The 2022 Miss Maui Filipina contestants will be introduced on Saturday at 6 p.m. Mary Grace Basig, Miss Maui Filipina 2019 will lead six the contestants: Jacqueline Agorilla, Lennel Alvarez, Rochelle Balala, Ahlyzxle Calleda, Kailee Delos Santos and Shay-lea Ruiz.
The Veterans Memorial Service will be held on Saturday at 12 noon. Hosted by Virgilio Agcolicol (SP4, U.S. Army, Veteran) and coordinated by Ryan Sagayaga (E-4, U.S. Army, 487th Artillery Group, Company C, Veteran), participants will include Sharon Zalsos Banaag (E-4, U.S. Air Force, Aerial Port Squadron, Air Mobility Command, Veteran), Vince Bagoyo, Jr. (Sgt, Hawai‘i Army National Guard, Veteran) and Chelsea Evangelista Fernandez (SPC, U.S. Army, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Veteran). Kaiali‘i Kahele (Lt. Col., Hawai‘i Air National Guard, U.S. Air Force) will lead the POW/MIA Empty Chair Ceremony while the colors will be presented by the Hawai‘i Army National Guard.
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 Friends of Justin Woodson. 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 Residential Care of Maui. 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 Pabitin at the Barrio Fiesta! sponsored by Friends of Kaiali‘i Kahele. 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.
Plus FREE food boxes from Maui Food Bank for 65 years and older on Saturday, beginning at 10 a.m. until supplies last. Maui High School HOSA club members will be assisting in the distribution (and volunteering throughout the Barrio Fiesta). One box per person, must present ID to verify age.
And a lechon demonstration (Saturday at 4:30 p.m.)!
“We’re very pleased to continue with the preservation of our Filipino culture by annually having the Barrio Fiesta,” said Nora Cabanilla-Takushi, this year’s Chairperson. “The Barrio Fiesta is the longest running Filipino fiesta in the United States and we are proud to have it here on Maui. There is definitely something for everyone. And it’s a terrific way to continue to share our culture with all of Maui and to be with old and new friends.”
The 53rd Annual Barrio Fiesta is funded in part by the County of Maui Mayor’s Office, Office of Economic Development. Other major sponsors include Bayer Crop Science Hawai‘i, World Remit, US Renal Care, McDonalds of Kahului, Friends of Elle Cochran, Friends of Richard Bissen and Friends of Michael Molina. 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 start-up and consultation, nonprofit corporations, and litigation. He has been practicing law for 38 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 a former Filipino folk-dance student of Aggie Cabebe.