Agnes Premia Ulnagan Macadangdang Hayashi
Lucy Peros | All photos courtesy Agnes Macadangdang Hayashi
“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” This quotation by Melody Beattie, an American author is so applicable to the life of this month’s Sakada Offspring, Agnes Premia Ulnagan Macadangdang Hayashi.
Agnes is the third and youngest daughter of Pedro and Remigia Macadangdang. Her two older sisters are Lydia (Mike) Merrigan of Oregon and Ruby (Ricardo) Farinas of Washington.
Agnes grew up in Happy Valley, Pi‘ihana Camp for 15 years. In 1975, her family moved to Pukalani. She attended Wailuku Elementary School, ‘Īao Intermediate School, and Baldwin High School with honors. At ‘Īao School, she was the Student Body Vice President in the 7th grade and Student Body President in the 8th grade. She received 1st place in Dramatic Category at their Speech Competition. She also played flute, 1st chair in the Maui County Select Band. At Baldwin High School, she was a Homecoming Queen Court (9th grade), Junior Prom Court Princess (11th grade), active in Student Government, marching band member, speech team, National Honor Society member, and received scholarships from the Alfred Levin Outstanding Senior, the Maui Filipino Community Council and the American Japanese Association.
Agnes was very active at Good Shepherd Church in its Youth Choir and Folk Dance Troupe. She was also a Girl Scout and a member of the Maui Filipino Community Council Youth Program. She was a hula dancer with Kumu Hula Iola Balubar.
Even with such busy activities, Agnes managed to work. She did housekeeping at private residences, Ooka Supermarket as cashier after school and Macy’s Hi-Board youth promotion and sales after school.
In 1983, Agnes graduated from University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa with a Bachelors in Business Administration, with Distinction. From 1983–1989, because of her job with GTE, she lived in Connecticut, California and O‘ahu.
Agnes is married to Duane Hayashi, CPA, Retired, former Accounting Manager and officer with Maui Electric Company. They met in 1985 when Agnes was on assignment at Hawaiian Telephone on O‘ahu. As colleagues working together, they shared similar professional goals and work ethics. Their friendship blossomed after five months. However, Agnes’ work assignments also involved travel out of state. But a year later, in 1986, while she was assigned in California, Duane flew over and proposed. They were married in August 1987 at St. Andrew’s Cathedral on Oahu after two years of courtship. Shortly after, Duane and Agnes relocated to California as Agnes accepted another promotion within GTE. They lived there until December 1990. In 1990, they moved back home to Maui with their one-year old son, Wesley. They are happily married for 32 years and have three children: Wesley Sebastian Macadangdang Hayashi, their eldest child was a 2007 Cum Laude graduate of King Kekaulike High School and University of Hawai‘i (Mānoa and Maui College). He received an A.S. Electronic and Computer Engineering Technology with GIS Certificate of Competency. He is employed with Fukumoto Engineering since 2016 and will be relocating to Oregon in October 2019.
Their second child is Dr. Celina Jean Hayashi Macadangdang (she changed her surname name to Macadangdang in honor of her Macadangdang grandparents upon graduating from medical school). She was a 2009 Valedictorian and graduate of King Kekaulike High School. She received her BA with honors in biology from Scripps College, Claremont, CA. She is a 2019 MD graduate of UH John A. Burns School of Medicine (with Deans Certificate of Distinction and Gold Humanism Honor Society member). She is currently in Residency at Swedish Medical in Seattle, WA. She recently wed Ryan Rautureau of Seattle in June 2019. She was Miss Hawai‘i Filipina in 2009 and Miss Valley Isle in 2013.
Their youngest child is Thomas Takeo Macadangdang Hayashi. He was a 2016 Cum Laude and Headmasters Honors graduate of Seabury Hall. He is currently in his 4th year at Santa Clara University in California. He is a 2020 candidate for B.S. Environmental Studies with minors in Computer Science and Economics.
Agnes’ professional career spans thirty-six years working in the professional fields of Audit, Finance and Management. Her employment includes sixteen years in the private industry and twenty years in the government sector.
At GTE Corporation (now Verizon), Agnes held positions in Audit (Senior Audit Supervisor, Staff Auditor), Budget Analyst, Cost Accounting supervisor, Financial Accountant, Revenues Analyst, and Strategic Planning Analyst. She went through the accelerated promotional opportunities program and she was promoted five times over seven years employment. Her last position held was Supervising Senior Auditor of the Western Region Division and she was responsible for planning and managing audit engagements, and staff hiring, training and development. She also conducted audits domestically (California, Washington, Texas and Hawai‘i) and internationally (Micronesia, Canada, Japan and Taiwan).
She came home to Maui in 1991 and worked at Maui Land & Pineapple Company. Her job description included responsibility for all audit operations in evaluating internal controls of the company and its subsidiaries Maui Pineapple Company, Kapalua Land Company and Queen Ka‘ahumanu Center. She was also hired primarily to establish and formalize the company’s Internal Audit function to meet professional auditing standards. She wrote the operational auditing procedures manual, hired and trained staff.
After sixteen years in the private sector, Agnes joined Maui County in 1999 at the invitation of Mayor James Kimo Apana and have remained there since under three consecutive Mayoral appointments (12 years) and Civil Service (8 years to present). She appreciated the unique opportunity to work for three different Mayors in leadership capacities.
In discussing Mayor Victorino’s appointment of Filipinos to his cabinet, Agnes disclosed Mayor Victorino asked her to serve as the County’s Director of Finance. Agnes felt truly honored by the Mayor’s consideration but due to pressing family commitments that she believed would be a distraction from the important responsibility of the job, Agnes regretfully declined.
Since 2011, Agnes is an Executive Assistant II and serves as the Senior Aide to the Managing Director. In 2010, she was the Director of Finance, appointed by Mayor Tavares. From 2007 through 2010, she was appointed the Deputy Director of Finance by Mayor Tavares. From 2003 through 2006, she was appointed the Community Development Block Grant Program Manager by Mayor Arakawa. From 1999 through 2002 Agnes was appointed the Deputy Director of Finance by Mayor Apana. And in 1999, she was the Executive Assistant to the Mayor under Mayor Apana.
The following are very significant professional accomplishments that Agnes has done from 1999 to present: She was the overall Project Manager accountable for the major reorganization of the Division of Motor Vehicles & Licensing to improve customer service and processing. She co-managed the creation of the Maui County Service Center. She is directly accountable for the redesign and overhaul of the grants management functions and internal controls improvements for the Community Development Block Program, said program design still in effect today. She corrected audit findings and improved performance of Community Development Block Grant to achieve Low Risk from High Risk designation from HUD as well as assisted HUD with evaluation and development of statewide processes. She is co-responsible in attaining County bond rating upgrades. And lastly, she developed various countywide management and financial policies and procedures to improve internal controls and operational efficiencies.
Agnes’ professional Affiliations are: Institute of Internal Auditors, Government Finance Officers Association, and at present, the International City/ County Management Association.
The following are Agnes’ union affliliations: Hawai‘i Government Employees Association (HGEA)/American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Managerial & Confidential Employees Chapter (MCEC). Her community affiliations are: Hālau o Ka Hana Lehua Under Kumu Hula Kamaka Kukona, MEO Board of Directors, Pukalani Baptist Church, and Beta Gamma Foundation.
Agnes was also very active in supportive to her children’s schools: Pukalani Elementary, Kalama Intermediate, King Kekaulike High School and Seabury Hall.
Agnes received many awards and recognitions: Miss Maui Filipina 1978, Gintong Pamana Awardee 2002, County of Maui Office of the Mayor 2005 Department Team of Year, and most recently the County of Maui Department of Management 2018 Employee of the Year.
In honor of her parents, especially her father who was a Sakada, Agnes shared her parents’ life story.
Pedro Sebastian Sales Macadangdang was born on January 17, 1923 in Pipias, Bacarra, Ilocos Norte, Philippines to Bruno and Francisca Macadangdang. The eldest of eight children, he spent much of his youth working to help his parents to support the family and younger siblings although he very much desired to go to school. At age 14, Pedro left his home in 1937 to seek work which he found in Estrella, San Mateo, Isabela, Philippines at the Ulnagan family rice farm. He worked there for six years, and as fate would have it, it was also there that he met his wife and soul mate, Remigia Ulnagan.
In 1943, Pedro enlisted and served with the Philippines guerilla, 14th Infantry, 1st Battalion, Company A. He fought bravely during World War II for two years until 1945. After the war and returning to Bacarra, he was enticed by the Hawai‘i plantation recruiters to come to Hawai‘i to work in the sugar and pineapple plantations. Recognizing that America could provide for a better future, Pedro took advantage of this opportunity. Already engaged to his childhood sweetheart, Remigia “Remy” Ulnagan of Estrella, San Mateo, Isabela, Pedro left the Philippines aboard the S.S. Maunawili in February 1946. At 22 years old, a young, strong, tenacious Pedro arrived on the shores of Maui, in one of the last waves of our historic Sakada era, ready, hopeful and excited to fulfill his dreams of a better life in the land of opportunity, America.
For the first six years after his arrival, Pedro lived in the Happy Valley Pi‘ihana Plantation Camp with other fellow Sakadas and worked tirelessly in the sugar cane fields of Wailuku Sugar Company. His first job, cutting and carrying cane in the fields, started at 28 cents an hour and he worked ten-hour days. His first home in the Pi‘ihana Camp was a small, wooden four room simple wooden house that he shared with up to ten other Sakadas at various times. They shared their food amongst them, taking turns cooking and cleaning. With pots lined up horizontally over a makeshift grill over an open fire, whoever woke first would start the fire to cook. They lived that way for two years until the sugar company provided the workers with kerosene stoves for their homes. Life was much harder than they expected with long days toiling the fields in the hot sun and living in cramped quarters with little food and few luxuries. They were just very grateful to be earning a living which they faithfully sent back home to their families in the Philippines.
1952 was a very important year for Pedro as he proudly took the oath and became a U.S. citizen. He embraced Hawai‘i as his home and America his country. With this significant goal accomplished, Pedro returned to the Philippines in 1953 to propose to his sweetheart, Remigia, whom he had asked to wait for his return when he had left back in 1946, eight years prior. They were married in Isabela on February 26, 1953, with Pedro returning to Hawai‘i alone to go back to work. It was not until 17 months later, when her immigration papers were finally processed that Remigia could be reunited with her husband.
In July 1954, Remigia traveled on the U.S.S. Cleveland to join Pedro on Maui.
Together in a strange new country thousands of miles away from home, Pedro at 30 and Remigia at 25, began to build their new life. With Pedro laboring in the fields, Remy did odd jobs, doing laundry and sewing for workers, and selling vegetables house to house. Five years later, they saved enough to buy a plantation house. With remarkable grit, hope and perseverance, they endured significant challenges in their lives. Undeterred, they worked hard to make ends meet, determined to provide for their family that had grown to five over the following six years with the births of three daughters, Lydia, Ruby and Agnes.
Pedro worked faithfully for the Wailuku Sugar Company for 39 years until he retired in 1985 doing various jobs in different areas of the company. Starting with the back-breaking job of harvesting the sugar cane in the fields, he then progressed to the Wailuku Sugar Mill where he started out first picking stones from the machines to prevent breakage, to overseeing the machine operations, then becoming trained as a heavy equipment operator and later advancing to Mill Crew Chief. After eight years working in the sugar mill, in 1955 he transferred to the Waihe‘e Farm (known as Waihe‘e Dairy), a subsidiary of Wailuku Sugar Company. He worked at the dairy for fifteen years until it closed, milking cows, advancing to pasteurizing and bottling milk, and making other dairy products like ice cream, yogurt and cream cheese.
In 1970, Pedro returned to Wailuku Sugar Company working at the Sugar Mill for a brief time, then moved to the Mill Machine Shop. He was found to be mechanically inclined and adept at the equipment repairs and construction projects for the plantation. Having previous experience as a heavy equipment operator, he was a quick learner in becoming familiar with all of the other heavy machinery. Wailuku Sugar Company sent him to night classes at the Maui Community College where he received training in welding, machinery and blueprint reading. Pedro loved this opportunity to attend classes at the college and took as many as were afforded him by the company. This furthered his advancement at his job, which led to his last promotion to Machine Shop Crew Chief which he held until his retirement in 1985. Pedro’s retirement at 63, after 39 years, was prompted with the diagnosis of a brain tumor. Pedro underwent a major and difficult surgery for its removal and by God’s grace, he fully recovered.
Committed to also helping his family back in the Philippines, Pedro encouraged them all to join him in America. He first sponsored and petitioned his mother and two younger sisters in the late 1960’s and provided financial help with their education here in Hawai‘i. He continued to reach out to more siblings, his wife’s family and other relatives over the years. There are now Macadang-dangs dotted across the country in California, Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Texas, and Nevada, in addition to Hawai‘i. Pedro wanted his mother and siblings to also have the opportunity to build a better life and wanted to ensure that possibility by providing that bridge to America for them.
Integral to Pedro and Remy’s family life, was their unwavering faith and trust in God in all things, big and small, regardless of the degree of challenge and difficulty. Pedro was dedicated to serving his parish, Good Shepherd Episcopal Church, for over 50 years, since 1965. He devotedly served the Church as Junior Warden, Senior Warden and vestry member. A favorite past-time for Pedro was reading devotions from his Ilocano Bible.
Pedro was also enthusiastic about being involved in the Filipino community. Being thousands of miles away from his native country, perpetuating the Filipino culture was important. Maintaining the Bayanihan spirit of fellowship and support, which he grew up with in the Philippines and had been critical in his survival during his first years in the plantation camp, he wanted to nurture that value. He and Remigia were active in Maui’s very first Barrio Fiesta held in 1970 and in the decades that followed. Pedro was also a member of the United Bacarreneos of Maui and Saranay Maui, which were integral support groups for the Sakadas to stay and help each other in times of need. Pedro’s and Remigia’s appreciation of the Filipino culture and heritage had a profound impact on the Macadangdang family, imparting a sense of pride…as daughter Lydia was Miss Barrio Fiesta 1973, daughter Agnes was Miss Maui Filipina 1978 and granddaughter Celina was Miss Hawai‘i Filipina 2009.
Pedro also enjoyed various hobbies, activities that sustained his family and helped his community. While working at Wailuku Sugar, he and Remigia managed a small farm and garden, raising their own livestock and fruits and vegetables. In the early years, the neighbors, close family friends and relatives often gathered at the Macadangdang home where they would collaboratively engage in backyard slaughtering of pigs, goats and cows. It was a way for them all to feed their families and make ends meet on their frugal earnings. Pedro was also skilled in the old Filipino tradition of massaging with heat and ginger and was often visited in the evenings to give massages to those injured, ministering in the healing of sprains and broken bones. In his later years, he loved to play Bingo with his friends at Hale Makua and Hanafuda with his daughters and grandchildren.
Pedro enjoyed going to the beach with his wife and children, to swim, picnic, pick limu and collect shells which he and Remigia would use in creating elaborately detailed decorative wall hangings for their home. Pedro was an avid fan of watching boxing and wrestling matches. Following his retirement from Wailuku Sugar, Pedro’s and Remigia’s hobby of vegetable gardening also flourished and quickly expanded into a vegetable farming business. Through Maui Economic Opportunity, he played a vital role in the early development and pilot stages of MEO’s herb farming and export, and aqua-farming program for Senior citizens in the 1980’s. To his wife’s chagrin, Pedro was also known as “bog diy” a do it yourself kind of a guy, enlisting his grandson Wesley from the early age of 8 to help him with roof repairs, rock wall building, painting, plumbing, toilet installation, you name it, Pedro would first try to repair it himself.
Pedro and Remigia traveled quite extensively, especially after retirement. Besides mainland visits to Washington, Oregon, California and Las Vegas with family, they also traveled abroad to Hongkong, Mainland China, Holland, England, France, Switzerland and Italy, and returned to the Philippines on several occasions to visit relatives and to sightsee.
Pedro highly valued education and regarded it as the answer to improving one’s position in life. When asked, Pedro would always say his most significant accomplishment was having his three children and five grandchildren pursue and obtain college degrees. Working multiple back-breaking jobs at a time, as unskilled laborers, it was purely by Pedro’s and Remigia’s sacrifice that they provide for their children and grandchildren. Their love and devotion to their family were recognized in 2013 with the “Outstanding Ama At Ina Award” (outstanding father and mother of the year award) by Binhi at Ani Filipino Community Center.
Pedro Sebastian Sales Macadangdang went home to Our Heavenly Father on August 29, 2018 at Hale Makua, Kahului at age 95. He was preceded in death by his beloved wife Remigia whom he married for 64 years, his parents, Bruno and Francisca Macadangdang and his brothers Dolpho and Andres.
This writer would like to share this very heartwarming and touching testimony of Agnes Macadangdang Hayashi, a tribute to her family and especially to her parents, Pedro and Remigia Macadangdang.
“My parents’ passing in the last few years was a difficult reminder of the fragility of life. For 28 years of my adult life, they were just a ‘jump in the car, a few minutes drive’ away and we were in touch. I had grown accustomed to their casual drop ins, frequent food drop offs and our weekend dinner gatherings. For the last 28 years, we celebrated our birthdays together.
“While I am still adjusting to their physical absence, I am also experiencing the grateful realization of how blessed I am to have had the opportunity to live on Maui and be near to them for 28 years. I thank my husband, Duane, for having the wisdom, compassion and foresight to bring us back to Maui 29 years ago from California.
“Recalling those early memories, I remember that it was not my first choice at the time to move to Maui. Coming back to Hawai‘i jobless, the obvious choice was Oahu. With greater potential not only in the number of jobs available but also in the level of responsibility that our careers had progressed to on the mainland, the logical decision should have been Oahu, at least in my opinion.
“Duane, however, was of different mindset. He was persistent and adamant even though his own Dad was living on O‘ahu; he felt it was more important for us to be here for my parents as they aged, regardless of the limited job prospects on Maui. Especially since no other family lived on Maui with both of my older sisters having settled on the mainland, there was no easy answer. Struggling with doubt and anxiety, we stepped out in faith.
“It was not without challenges nor did it happen overnight but over time and with patience, we are blessed beyond measure having 28 years with Dad and Mom. Our fears for jobs were felt but fortunately, were short lived. To our pleasant surprise, we found gainful employment with Duane at Maui Electric and me at Maui Land & Pineapple Company in professional financial capacities. No doubt, we experienced our fair share of challenges with major illness, loss of loved ones and the everyday struggles that come with the fullness of life in raising three children and having demanding careers. More importantly, however, my parents richly filled our lives and our children’s lives with their love, kindness and generosity, sharing in our burdens with quiet understanding and unconditional support. My children were availed the unique experience of growing up in a close knit and loving supportive multi-generational, multi-cultural family environment. I cannot imagine now how our lives might have been had we not come back to Maui.
My parents not only helped care for my children, they taught them Filipino customs, exposed them to the authentic foods and language, imparted life lessons and of course, spoiling them at every opportunity. More importantly, by their example, my children learned so much more than from what Duane and I taught them.
Duane and I, and our children Wesley, Celina and Thomas feel truly blessed and are very grateful for our Father and Grandfather, Pedro. A Sakada, he was among those that established our community here in Hawai‘i in the face of struggle and adversity. Together with my mother Remigia, my parents’ courage and sacrifices, like that of other Sakadas, paved the way for many. With the simple, yet significant commitment of making a better life for their family, Pedro and Remigia bore the weight of the future on their shoulders to unselfishly provide opportunities for future generations.
Now that my children are young adults, I clearly see my parents’ legacy of strength, perseverance and grit in them. Without speaking a word, my parents imparted the meaning of God and family, and instilled in us the importance of integrity, humility, and hard work. Their strong marriage and love for each other fueled their perseverance through the hardships, and their devotion to family allowed us access to opportunities that they were denied themselves. In realizing the challenges that confronted them, is to know the depth and breadth of their love for their family.
My father Pedro and my mother Remigia were role models of character, with strong work ethics, integrity and devotion to serving God. By their sheer courage, faith and steadfast determination, they set cornerstone for the solid foundation of the Macadangdang family, the foundation that our family’s future generation can securely build on. My heart swells with overwhelming pride for my Father and Mother for all that they accomplished given their life circumstances of having so little education and being foreigners in a new country.
It is with grateful heart that I thank our Heavenly Father for blessing me with my loving parents Pedro and Remigia Macadangdang, my patient and supportive husband Duane and our three wonderful children, Wesley, Celina and Tommy. I praise God for directing Duane’s and my paths 29 years ago to bring our family home to Maui and be able to live those precious moments with my parents. In all of these, I see the work of His loving and mighty hand. Without grace, none of this would have been possible.
My parents’ life and Sakada journey is truly a testament of unconditional love, perseverance, grit and endurance. In loving memory and respect, I strive to perpetuate this in their honor with deep pride in my identity as a Filipino American and especially as a Sakada offspring.
Lucy Peros is a retired teacher. She taught at St. Anthony Grade School and Waihe‘e Elementary School. Both her parents, Elpidio Cabalo (a 1946 Sakada) and Alejandra Cabalo of Hāli‘imaile worked for Maui Land and Pine Company. She is now enjoying retirement. She now has time to join the other seniors at the Enhance Fitness Program under the Department of Aging three times a week, attend the line dancing class and other activities at Kaunoa, and joins the 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.