Kwento Kwentuhan

The Concept of Bayanihan

Liza A Pierce of “A Maui Blog”

It has been over six months since the COVID-19 hit the United States and the effect of that here on Maui is devastating, especially in terms of our economy. Many people have lost their jobs. This COVID-19 has uprooted our way of life in so many different ways.

“In times of need, it’s important for all of us to come together to assist. That is the spirit of Bayahinan.” This is a quote from the Binhi At Ani website, as they announced the Food Distribution Drive.

Some of the Volunteers at the Conclusion of the Food Distribution.
Photo: Basilia Evangelista

To date, Binhi At Ani has done four Food Distributions. In August, the #BayanihanFoodDistribution raised $7,130 in donations and distributed 711 food boxes which included 1,286 plate lunches, 4,741 canned goods, 608 bags of rice, 8,904 pounds of produce, 336 bags of Starbucks coffee, 1,806 packages of noodles, 696 spaghetti sauce bottles, 1,000 Pepsi products, 3,240 beverages, 1,396 snacks, 1,200 McDonald’s certificates, and 900 Maui Gold pineapples.

All this news about the #BayanihanFoodDistribution got me inspired to dig deeper into what Bayanihan means.

Pronounced like “buy-uh-NEE-hun,” Bayanihan is a Filipino word derived from the word bayan meaning town, nation or community in general. Bayanihan literally means “being a bayan” and is thus used to refer to a spirit of communal unity and cooperation.

The concept of Bayanihan is traced back to a Filipino tradition which can be observed in the province wherein the town’s people were asked to assist a family who will move into a new place. The relocation involves more than moving the family’s personal belongings. It also concerns the transfer of the family’s entire house to a new location. A traditional Filipino house—Bahay Kubo—is made of indigenous materials such as bamboo and nipa/anahaw leaves, unlike the modern homes nowadays which mostly are built with wood on a cement slab.

Volunteers get a temperature check.
Photo: Basilia Evangelista

In order for the volunteers to carry the house, bamboo poles are tied length-wise and cross-wise and go under the house. Approximately, it will take about 15–20 volunteers to carry a house and together they’ll move in unison heading to the family’s new place. As a token of gratitude, the family serves food to the volunteers at the end of the move.

The Bayanihan spirit shows Filipinos’ concept of helping one another most especially in times of need without expecting anything in return. Filipinos strongly believe in helping their kababayans (fellow countrymen) in any possible way they can to extend a helping hand. It is a beautiful Filipino mentality of helping one another.

Mayor Victorino gives a pule.
Photo: Basilia Evangelista

Back to the Binhi at Ani #BayanihanFoodDrive; it’s heartwarming to see the support of Mayor Michael Victorino, State Senator Gilbert Keith-Agaran, Representative Justin Woodson, Representative Troy Hashimoto (who have been at each of the four Bayanihan Food Distributions) and other elected officials such as Councilmembers Tasha Kama and Yuki Lei Sugimura as well as candidates Claire Carroll, Stacy Helm Crivello, and Rick Nava. We are also very appreciative of the hundreds of volunteers including the Maui Police Department and the Hawai‘i National Guard who helped plan, pack and distribute the supplies. As the saying goes, “we are all in this together.”

Donations of food, produce, canned goods and money are always needed.

Mahalo to those who donated food, produce and canned goods in August: Al’s BBQ Pit, Asian Mart & Fast Food LLC, David & Imelda Balmores, CAA Market Place, Nona Del Rosario, D.M.L. Plants & Produce LLC, Family Produce, Four Sisters Catering, Home Depot, JMA Imports, Juan’s Kitchen/Ichiban Restaurant & Sushi Bar, KPMW Radio, Mahi Pono, Chris & Jenny Martinez, Maui Food Bank, Maui Gold, McDonald’s of Maui, Mystery Maui, Nāpili Community, Oby’s Farm, Sammy & Shari Papagayo, Paradise Supermart and Catering Service, Pepsi, Pitaya of Maui, Rodney Saribay, Yuki Lei Sugimura, Tight Tacos Maui, Hedy Udarbe, and Wailuku Seafood.

Keith Wright of Maui Food Bank (center).
Photo: Basilia Evangelista

Mahalo to those who provided monetary donations in August: Anonymous, Benjamin Acob, Attorney at Law, Joyce Afalla, Eleri Agsalog, Keku & Cindy Akana, Belinda Aquino, Emmanuel & Eliza Baltazar, Sharon Zalsos Banaag, Kauanoe Batangan, Judith Boyd, Breen Builders, LLC Hawai‘i, Kristina Castro, Emerita Cortez, Christopher & Verli Curley, Delchest Holdings Inc., Dorvin D Leis Co., Inc., Filipino Women’s Civic Club Foundation, Rose Galanto, Ganir & Co., J. Hagedorn, Troy Hashimoto, House of Finance, Inc., Jacob’s Ladder LLC, Jonathan Starr Foundation, Vanessa Kop, Law Office of Lance D. Collins, Vanessa Medeiros, Ely & Violy Natividad, Rick & Rina Nava, Juliana Patao, Rey Prado, Pyramid Insurance, Flora Ramos-Wildman, Sam Satos’s Inc., Kehaulani K. Santiago, Smile’s Auto Shop, Yuki Lei Sugimura, Anthony Takitani, John Tomoso, TTT Salon LLC, Hedy Udarbe, and Cecilia Villafuerte.

The next #BayanihanFoodDistribution will be on Saturday, September 26, 2019 beginning at 9 a.m.

To receive the latest news and announcements on the #BayanihanFoodDistribution, make sure you follow the Binhi at Ani Facebook Page at

Liza Pierce of A Maui Blog is an Interactive Media Strategist in Hawai‘i. She started blogging in 2006 and she loves talking story online and spreading aloha around the world. She’s lived on Maui since 1994 and considers Maui her home. A wife, a mother, a friend…and so much more. She loves Jesus; Maui Sunsets Catcher; Crazy About Rainbow; End Alzheimer’s Advocate. Her life is full and exciting here on the island of Maui. Liza is currently the Interactive Media Strategist with Wailea Realty Corp.