Lydia Ligaya Macadangdang Merrigan
Lucy Peros | All photos courtesy Macadangdang Merrigan ‘Ohana
Lydia Ligaya Macadangdang Merrigan was born on November 7, 1955 in Wailuku, Maui, Hawai‘i. She attended Saint Anthony Catholic Grade School up to second grade then transferred to Wailuku Elementary School. She also attended ‘Īao Middle School and H.P. Baldwin High School, graduating in 1973. She then attended Maui Community College, now called University of Hawai‘i Maui College. She received an Associate of Arts Degree in 1975. She continued her studies at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa campus from 1975–1976. Then she attended Oregon State University on the University Exchange Program the next year. She enjoyed OSU so much she decided to remain there for a couple more years. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Dietetics.
Lydia was a registered and licensed Pediatric Clinical Dietitian for twenty-five years and is now retired. She worked for the WIC (Women Infant and Children) program, a Federally funded program in Clark County, Washington for eleven years as a public health nutritionist. She was a member of the Nutrition Network Group for Children with Special Health Needs at the University of Washington for twenty-two years, with selective membership which provided her with continuing education and training for the pediatric special need population. Her last thirteen years of employment was with Providence Center for Medically Fragile Children in Portland, a long-term care facility serving children from birth to twenty-one years with complex medical needs where she worked as clinical pediatric dietitian. Now that she is retired, she enjoys doing ministries at her church, participating in programs at the Milwaukie Community Center, traveling with her husband, visiting with friends, golfing, playing bocce ball-Club Paesano Bocce League (similar to a lawn bowling), Tai Chi, cooking and baking. She also enjoys beginner quilting, hula, yoga, wine tasting, and dinner club get-together with her friends.
Lydia married Michael Joseph Merrigan in 1988. Michael attended the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, receiving a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. He retired from Providence Health and Services, serving as Director of Finance through his retirement. They have one daughter Melissa Kanoelani Merrigan who attended the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington, receiving a Bachelor’s degree in Spanish with a minor in Chemistry in 2014. She completed a doctorate program in nursing through Oregon Health Science University, Doctor of Nurse Practice in 2021. She is employed as a primary care provider in rural Klamath Falls, Oregon at Cascades East Family Medicine Clinic.
Lydia is a well-rounded individual. From 1970 through 1972, she was the President of the Good Shepherd Church Filipino Youth Choir and the Youth Representative to the Maui Filipino Community Council. She was a Girl Scout Leader—Girl Scouts of Oregon and SW Washington, 1998–2004. She was a Parent Volunteer for First Tee Program, Youth Golf in 1999–2006. Currently, she is a Milwaukie Community Center events volunteer for the Meals on Wheels Program, ‘Ukulele Jammers, Stumptown Strummers ‘Ukulele Group. At St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Church in Milwaukie, Oregon, Lydia is involved in various ministries like Pastoral Care Team, Saint Martha’s Guild, Feed the Hungry, Inc. program at St. John’s, lector and usher.
Lydia received several prestigious awards. In 1973, she represented the Maui Filipino Community Council as the third Annual Miss Barrio Fiesta. She received recognition from Providence Center for Medically Fragile Children for providing excellent work in nutrition therapy. From Clark County Department of Health, she was recognized for excellence in providing nutrition therapy to Children with Special Health Care needs in the community, collaborating with Vancouver Children’s Therapy Center. Lydia was instrumental in setting up collaboration with National Charity League-Sunnyside Chapter and Feed the Hungry, Inc. program which continues today. At St. John’s Episcopal Church, she was recognized for service as a vestry member and the Sunday School ministry.
Lydia is the eldest of three daughters. One sibling is Ruby Tessie Macadangdang Farinas, married to Ricardo Farinas. They have one son, Andreano Farinas. Ruby recently retired this month as an occupational therapist. She worked as a clinical specialist in geriatrics for the Veterans Administration Hospital in Seattle for the past 39 years. Ricardo works at the Employment Security Division for the State of Washington as a College Liaison. Their son Andreano works for Microsoft as a Senior Project Manager.
Lydia’s youngest sibling is Agnes Hayashi. She has been employed with Maui County for the past twenty-three years. She is the Senior Executive Assistant to the Managing Director of the County of Maui. She is married to Duane Hayashi. They have three children: Wesley Sebastian Hayashi of Beaverton, Oregon. Wesley is the Information Technician at the Beaverton School District. Dr. Celina Hayashi is a Medical Doctor at Ho‘ola Lahui Hawai‘i Medical Health Clinic. She and her husband Ryan Rautureau reside in Kapa‘a, Kaua‘i. Celina was also a former Miss Hawai‘i Filipina. Thomas Hayashi of San Francisco, California is a Research Data Analyst at the California Department of Public Health via The Sequoia Foundation.
Lydia is the daughter of the late Sakada Pedro “Pedring” Sales Macadangdang and Remigia “Remy” Ulnagan Macadangdang. Pedro was born in Bacarra, Ilocos Norte, Philippines on January 17, 1923. He grew up in Bacarra and moved to Isabela when he was a young man. During World War II, while in Isabela, he joined the guerilla, 14th infantry, 1st battalion, Company A for two years from 1943–1945. After the war, he went back to Bacarra to visit his parents and at that time the Sakada recruiters were there to recruit strong young men to come to Hawai‘i to work in the pineapple and sugar plantations.
One of his uncles had a petition to come to Hawai‘i but unfortunately he was not able to come because he was attending college. So Pedro took advantage of his uncle’s unused petition and that gave him the opportunity to come to Hawai‘i as a Sakada.
Before he came to Hawai‘i, he was already engaged to his faithful and loving wife, Remy Ulnagan Macadangdang whom he married in 1953 when he went back to the Philippines after six years of being in Hawai‘i. Remy followed her husband to Hawai‘i in 1954.
Pedro left the Philippines in February 1946 aboard the ship, S.S. Maunawili. Though many of his shipmates got very seasick, Pedro did not get too sick. While on the S.S. Maunawili, he was able to fix his petition papers and change his Uncle’s name to his. Pedro’s original destination when he arrived in Hawai‘i was the Wailua Plantation on O‘ahu. In turn, he came to the Wailuku Sugar Plantation on Maui.
While at Wailuku Sugar, he lived with ten other Sakadas at their Piihana (Happy Valley) residence. With this many housemates, to cook their food, they lined up their pots on a horizontal makeshift grill over an open fire. Whoever was the first to wake up in the morning would be responsible for starting the fire for the rest of the housemates. They cooked this way until the company provided them with kerosene stoves. Some of his housemates were: Aniceto Cabanting, Adriano Sales, Flor Caberto, Quido Cabanting, Melecio “Abat” Cabanting and Juan Cabanting, all deceased.
Pedro’s day’s work began at 4 a.m. to prepare his lunch (balon). He worked for ten hours, twenty-eight cents an hour wage. To compensate for the low wage, Pedro had free electricity, free rent, free water and free medical until the company became unionized.
At Wailuku Sugar, he first worked as a bulldozer driver but claimed it was a bit dusty. So Pedro headed to the Waihe‘e Dairy. He worked there as a tool room deeper, milked the cows, pasteurized and bottled the milk. Pedro worked there until it closed. After Waihe‘e Dairy, he worked at the Wailuku Sugar Mill as a Crew Chief. Pedro ran the machines at the mill. He worked there until he had brain tumor surgery in 1984. He was then on disability for a couple of years and retired at the age of 65 in 1988.
Pedro Macadangdang is a life-long learner. As a pro-education himself, in 1975, he attended Maui Community College (now called University of Hawai‘i Maui College) and took up machinist, welding, and blueprint reading courses paid by Wailuku Sugar. He and Remy extended that love of learning to their three beautiful daughters, Lydia Ligaya Merrigan, Ruby Tessie Farinas, and Agnes Hayashi.
The following is Lydia’s personal reflection on her parents Pedro “Pedring” and Remigia “Remy” Macadangdang.
I am so grateful to my parents Pedro and Remigia Macadangdang for the values they instilled in me. At a very young age they ingrained in me the importance of education. My dad often expressed how he himself wanted to go to school but was told by his parents that he needed to work to help support their large family. So he did not go past grade school. Instead, he began working to support the family at a very young age. This experience kindled in him a desire to immigrate to Hawai‘i in search of a better life. I recall how my parents worked multiple jobs to provide economic stability and a comfortable life for us. Mom and Dad would say, Narigat ti Biag, Anak ko (Life is hard, my child), so you need to go to school and get college education so you don’t have to work several jobs like us. To give us a head start on our education, my Mom would set up a make-shift school in our dining room. I remember Mom propped up a black chalkboard against the dining room table where she would teach us to read simple words and sentences and use flash cards to teach us addition and subtraction. This was shortly before I entered Saint Anthony Grade School. Obviously, even from a very young age, there was no question my sisters and I needed to plan for college after high school. Both my husband and I also value education and we are proud our daughter shares the same values. Mom and Dad were very active in the church—Good Shepherd Church in Wailuku. Their involvement with the church helped connect me to my Filipino roots. Good Shepherd’s Filipino influence was fostered by its long-time priest, Father Justo Andres and his wife, Manang Nancy Andres, who served as our choir director. With several young Filipino families in the congregation, we formed the Good Shepherd Church Filipino Youth Choir. We learned our Filipino culture through music and dance. Also, participation in the Barrio Fiesta through our formative years exposed us to our rich Filipino culture. We learned to play the Filipino bamboo instrument the ‘Anklung.’ We entertained at churches and Filipino community events with singing and dancing. Mrs. Aggie Cabebe taught the younger members of our choir the Filipino dances. I was one of the older members so we were given roles of announcers for the program wherever our choir/dance troupe performed. I learned about my culture and heritage through my parents and through Manang Nancy and Father Andres. I take pride in being a Filipina. I am thankful for my parent’s dedication to the church, which has exposed me to Christian teachings and values that I try to live up to. My Good Shepherd Church peers continue to be active in the church. And even though I live on the mainland, I make it a point to visit Good Shepherd Church whenever I return to my Maui home.
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 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.