Lolita Marie Sevilla Eugenio
Lucy Peros | All photos courtesy Sevilla Eugenio ‘Ohana
Behind every great daughter is a truly amazing dad. Dr. James Dobson, an American Christian author and psychologist said a good father will leave his imprint on his daughter for the rest of her life. This holds true with this month’s featured Sakada Offspring and her relationship with her Sakada Father.
Lolita Marie Sevilla Eugenio was born on July 17, 1953 in Wailuku, Maui, Hawai‘i. She attended St. Anthony School from kindergarten to eighth grade and Baldwin High School from ninth to twelfth grade. Her late husband, Gilbert Eugenio was a senior manager of Longs Drugs, head of security at Wailea Point and retired from Wailea Blue Golf Course.
Lolita’s oldest child, Leola M.K. Waikiki-Lovell is employed at Noguchi and Associates, a licensed insurance agent and a food truck owner of Sumo Dog. Her husband Frank Lovell is with the County of Maui, Parks Department. They have one child, Brock Lovell.
Keolamainameamaemae D. Gilbert is Lolita’s second child. She is a pharmacy Tech at Kaiser Permanente at Maui Lani. Her husband, Kanamu Gilbert, is an artist, crafter, self-employed and his business is #Sewintrouble. They have two daughters, Emmaleigh and Elizabeth Gilbert.
Lolita’s youngest child is A.B. Kilipaki Eugenio, a professional golfer, PGA Associate, and a Certified personal Coach at Golftec Hawai‘i. His children are Teamana and Rai‘hau Eugenio.
Lolita has five other siblings. Linda Sevilla Kushi is a retired special education Resource Teacher with the State of Hawai‘i Department of Education. She has two children, Justin Kushi, employed by Hawaiian Electric and Alana Kushi, who works at Kaiser Permanente.
Rosita Sevilla Stein (deceased) was an RN at the Mercy Hospital in San Diego, California. Her spouse Greg Stein and son Eric reside in Las Vegas.
Duke Anthony Sevilla is the County of Maui Supervisor of the Pools, and Lifeguards and Water Safety Department. He is married to Jean Sevilla. Their children are Ihilani Cypriano who resides in Hilo and Zoie Sevilla who resides in Las Vegas. Both daughters have respective businesses. Their son, Shea Sevilla, DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice), CRNA (Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist) resides in Long Beach, California. Their youngest son Duke Kahae Sevilla is an employee with the County of Maui.
Lolita’s brother, John-Mario Sevilla is the Dance Director at-Large of the Luna Dance Institute in Berkeley, California. His Partner is Jim Nelson, a writer. They reside in Oakland, California.
The youngest of Lolita’s siblings is Christina Sevilla Smith. She is a retired fuel systems Administrator for Hawaiian Electric. Her spouse was the late Alapaki Smith. She resides on O‘ahu with her children, Kamuela and Kiana Smith.
Lolita has many talents. She is an extraordinarily talented dancer. At age 7 she already started Spanish dancing lessons, ballroom dancing as well as Filipino dances with Mr. Tito Cesar until age 15. Then at age 12, she started dancing hula with Momi Tokunaga. Then she professionally danced for Kumu Hula Iola Balubar at the Sheraton and Wailea Resorts. She was a member of the St. Anthony 6th grade choir which within two years became Sing Out Maui under the direction of the late Ron Gonzalves. She is also a talented piano player, under Miss Leval as her piano teacher.
Lolita lived and grew up in Paukūkalo, Maui with her family. The Sevilla family had a grove of two hundred papaya trees with fruits needed to be harvested daily before the children went to school. They also raised a herd of fifty goats, a couple of pigs, ducks and chickens which also needed to be fed before going to school! The Sevillas were a self-sufficient family. They also raised tilapia, catfish, taro, ong choy, watercress as well as bananas and peanuts. Lolita says they had so many chores and it was hard work but they had fun doing it. They owned Sevilla’s Store in Wailuku where they sold most of the produce they raised. With the fish, they even sold the Filipino favorites, the bisicol (Filipino escargot) that was a best seller in those days. Today, they are nowhere to be found.
While in high school, Lolita was a very active young lady. Besides being a member of Sing Out Maui, she participated as a varsity cheerleader and performed the lead role of Oliver and other musicals under the direction of Sue Louden, choir and voice teacher. With Mr. Ken Weathers, when she was a Junior, she sang with a band doing a cocktail show at the Maui Palms Hotel. She was also an active member of other high school clubs.
Lolita’s Dad, Asisclo Baylon (A.B.) Sevilla, a Sakada, encouraged his children to participate in school activities as well as get involved in volunteering in the community. Asisclo Baylon Sevilla became the owner of Sevilla’s World Tour and Travel in 1966. According to Lolita, her father took the opportunity to help the retired HC&S employees to return home to their families in the Philippines. When they were young, they were recruited to come to Hawai‘i where they would have an opportunity to build a fortune for themselves and their families. They were promised a return trip home to the Philippines.
So Asisclo took the initiative to help these men get back to the Philippines. He went to the ship’s records in Honolulu, found the names of the young men that had retired, contacted them and asked if they remembered or had records of their bango numbers or contracts given to them at the time of registering to come to Hawai‘i.
In 1967, the first Balikbayan chartered flight on Philippine Airlines took off to Manila, Philippines. Asisclo contacted as many families as possible in the Philippines to prepare for the welcoming of these Sakadas that had not seen their families in years, for some, over forty years! Lolita was on that flight with her Dad. She experienced first-hand in seeing the joy of those Sakadas seeing their loved ones again.
From 1972–1979, Lolita decided to work at Longs Drugs, Kahului as a cashier. Then she worked with her parents at Sevilla’s World Tour and Travel for eight years. She became a sales representative and merchandiser with Hawaiian Housewares, outside sales representative with Maui Office Machines and managed a distribution company. Finally, she retired from United Airlines after fifteen years of service.
Lolita received leadership awards and recognition from the Boy Scouts of America as well as the Pop Warner Football and Cheerleading Association, Western Region. For seventeen years after 1998, Lolita produced and directed Heiva I Maui, a Tahitian dance competition at the War Memorial Gym. This was a way for our diverse cultures to come together, showing and sharing their talents in Tahitian dance.
Presently, Lolita enjoys sewing crafts. She is the president of the Maui Polynesian Tahiti Fete Association, President of the Filipino Catholic Club, a member of the 7 a.m. choir and sacred hula gestures at St. Anthony Church in Wailuku and an advisory board member of the American Cancer Society. She is also a Notary Public for the State of Hawai‘i, Second Judicial Circuit Court. She assists families with U.S. Immigration filing forms.
Lolita shared this very endearing story about her Dad Asisclo Baylon Sevilla and her Mom Frances Fortunata Arcilla Sevilla. Frances was born in Pepe‘ekeo, Hilo, Hawai‘i. Her parents migrated from Cebu, Philippines. Asisclo Baylon Sevilla aka A.B. (American Boy) was born in Paoay, Philippines. He arrived on Maui when he was 18 years old, a Sakada. He even authored a book titled Tay-ak Ni Gasat (In the Field of Fortune). The first printing of his book was in 1931 and the second printing was in 1981. Both were printed in English and Ilokano. Asisclo had a Filipino radio show every morning from 4 a.m. to 6 a.m. with KMVI Radio Station. He also had a live show on Sunday afternoons. He even had live performances by such bands as the Molina Brothers as well as his orchestra with Asisclo on the violin. This went on for forty-six years. He spoke in Ilokano as well as played games in English so non-speaking listeners could also play and win prizes from his sponsors for his show. His listeners were not only Filipinos but all other ethnic groups for they loved the music he played. He also announced for HC&S work fields to report, for the sugar cane field workers. He was the only way to contact all workers to their job sites especially since he was on at 4 a.m. He also announced whether there was work in the fields or when the weather was rainy and stormy.
Lolita also shared her Dad did not last in the sugar plantation fields. He found a way to do other types of jobs. He was a salesman for suits, worked in the A&B Store, learned retail and eventually became a self-employed businessman. He sold kerosene, went house to house delivering to homes all over the island from Pu‘unēnē, Pā‘ia to as far as Kapalua. In fact, Lolita assisted him during his deliveries because her brother was too little at the time. A.B. was also a farmer. He was a social butterfly. He emceed numerous weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, retirements, baptisms, you name it, he was there. He and his compadres also loved putting together festivals, fiestas and fundraisers for important causes. He also loved politics and the politicians, their rallies and coffee hours especially if it meant for the betterment of the community.
According to Lolita, Frances Sevilla fell in love with Asisclo when she enjoyed watching him play his violin at the socials she attended. She had other suitors but A.B. was also an athlete, he played tennis and won tournaments, and Frances’ hand too! She worked for Maui Community College as the Janitor Supervisor. She split her time at Sevilla’s Store as well as a Notary Public and assisted immigrants in bringing their families to join them in Hawai‘i. Frances also helped the immigrants become U.S. citizens, get jobs and encouraged the new migrants to better themselves and to take advantage and the opportunities offered here.
Lolita shared her heartwarming reflection on her Dad, Asisclo Baylon Sevilla: Being a child of a Sakada, I was taught to be proud of my heritage. My father and his fellow Sakadas celebrated every opportunity possible. I learned the art of bartering. When we needed to extend a living space to our home, Dad’s fellow Sakadas came to the rescue! We had the kalding (goat) and the baboy (pig) that were slaughtered in our backyard and divided up to those who helped with the construction. They came together and could put an extension up in a couple of days.
There were a few other instances that I remember. It was when my Dad would say that Mayor Tavares would be coming to the store to drop off cabbages, lettuce and potatoes. In turn we would give him the hands of bananas, papayas and watercress in exchange. There were no monies exchanged, just produce. As we became adults my Dad, Asisclo Baylon, would ask us, when he had our total attention ‘What are you doing for your community?’ Being good, exceptional citizens was of great importance, and value to him.
Thirty fellow Sakadas became Maui Volunteers, of the Headquarters Company 2nd Battalion, organized as a part of the United States Army, from April 15, 1942, to July 4, 1945. Dad was very proud of being a part of this group of citizens and he often shared his earning the trust and respect from his fellow citizens to him. Their friendships were worth more than a “million dollars.”
Lucy Peros is a retired schoolteacher, having taught at St. Anthony Grade School and Waihe‘e Elementary School. Both of her late parents, Elpidio Cachero Cabalo (a 1946 Sakada) and Alejandra Cabudoy Cabalo of Hāli‘imaile, worked for Maui Land and Pine Company. Lucy now enjoys retirement and has time to join other seniors in the Enhance Fitness Program under the Department of Aging three times a week. She also attends the line dancing class and other activities at Kaunoa Senior Center and joins other Waihe‘e School retirees when help is needed at the school. Lucy also devotes some of her time to activities at Christ The King Catholic Church. She enjoys writing and reading in her spare time.