Social Encore: Aloha to the Philippines

Nov. 21, 2013 | 0 Comments

A rainbow rises from the distance as debris from damaged homes lay on a bay side in Tacloban, Philippines on Tuesday, Nov. 19. (Associated Press)

A rainbow rises from the distance as debris from damaged homes lay on a bay side in Tacloban, Philippines on Tuesday, Nov. 19. (Associated Press)

BY JERMEL-LYNN QUILLOPO / Special to the Star-Advertiser

Being a first generation American, my parents made it a point to teach me about my culture and why it was important for me to know where they were from. I was fortunate enough to visit both of my parents’ homeland; they never wanted me to forget my roots and heritage.

Both of my parents are from the province of Ilocus Sur in the Philippines. I’ve spent the most time at my mom’s hometown, Magsingal. There is something about the Philippines that I just can’t describe using words. To know where my grandmother went to school, to know the exact spots where my grandparents used to live, to see the rice fields and tobacco fields that my family once harvested — it gave me a sense of pride that I never knew existed inside of me.

Every province and every barangay (barrio) has it’s own individual story. People there are not much different from you and I. They enjoy the simplicities of life; they enjoy great company, great food and more.

I remember waking up the morning Typhoon Haiyan hit. My stepdad had the television locked to The Filipino Channel and when I saw the images and heard the stories of survivors, it just broke my heart seeing the faces of people who could be members of my family. The first thing that went through my mind was, “What is going to happen now? How will these people survive? Where are they going to go?”

Typhoon survivors queue up for relief supplies at a distribution center in Tacloban on Thursday, Nov. 21. (Associated Press)

Typhoon survivors queue up for relief supplies at a distribution center in Tacloban on Thursday, Nov. 21. (Associated Press)

The typhoon did not affect my mother’s hometown, but to know many have died and millions more are fighting for their lives, searching for their families members and have to now rebuild their lives is hard to imagine. When the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and resulting tsunami hit Japan, many in Hawaii got together and helped with relief efforts. Now the Philippines needs our help and the Aloha spirit beats strong with several organizations hosting fundraisers.

Here’s a rundown of what’s coming up in Honolulu:

“Blankets of Aloha”
Through Nov. 30 at all Ace Hardware and Ben Franklin Crafts locations in Hawaii

All Ace Hardware and Ben Franklin Crafts stores will collect blankets and sleeping bags for Typhoon Haiyan survivors. The idea for “Blankets of Aloha” came from HouseMart Ace Hardware Lahaina store supervisor Korlleen Puou.

“In Hawaii, we hug people to show we care and love them,” she said. “There is no greater expression of caring than the feeling you get when you are hugged. That same feeling of love is what we wish for the people in the Philippines when they wrap themselves in these ‘Blankets of Aloha.'”

“Aloha for Haiyan Survivors”
5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 21 at M Nightclub

A total of 14 organizations have come together for this special fundraising event. Enjoy M Nightclub’s happy hour specials; 15% of the proceeds from the evening’s food and beverage sales will be given to CARE, a non-profit organization helping the Philippines with efforts to give clean water, economic development, food and shelter.

Hawaii’s People Fund will also be on hand to accept cash donations and Hangs of Change will accept in-kind donations. For more information, visit the Facebook event page for the fundraiser.

Event coordinator Carmille Lim said she has a special place in her heart for the Philippines. Born in Bulacan, she moved to Hawaii in 2002 but would go back to visit during the summer. She said seeing the aftermath was heart-breaking.

“It’s overwhelming,” she said. “We cant believe how many people want to help. So many people from different backgrounds and different sectors.”

“Typhoon Relief Party”
9 to 11:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 21, at Addiction Nightclub, 1775 Ala Moana Blvd.

Addiction Nightclub at the Modern Honolulu will host a fundraiser with all of the door proceeds and a portion of sales from every half-bottle of Veuve Cliquot champagne sold tonight. There will also be a silent auction with specialty items including a Volcom surfboard, bottle service at the club, a two-night stay in an oceanview room at the Modern and more.

Cover is free for hotel guests; a $10 minimum donation is suggested for the general public.

“Chefs for Hope”
6:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 25, at the Neal Blaisdell Center, 777 Ward Ave.

“Chefs for Hope” is organized by Chef Chai Chaowasaree, with more than 20 of Hawaii’s top chefs, music by the Brothers Cazimero, HAPA, Raiatea Helm and Jordan Segundo, plus beer, wine and sake.

Tickets are $100 general admission; $1,500 VIP reserved seating and $5,000 VIP reserved tables are available (includes early admission at 5:30 p.m.). Click here for more information.

“Jazz Minds for Relief”
8 p.m. Monday, Nov. 25, at Jazz Minds Art & Cafe, 1661 Kapiolani Blvd.

A full line up of local musicians, including Ian O’Sullivan, Project Monday, JazzStory, Tahiti Rey and Melodie Soul are coming together to help raise money by providing great sounds. There will be raffle prizes from sponsors such as Grand Leyenda Cantina and Pint & Jigger. Jazz Minds will also have you covered with $4 well drinks, $4 domestic bottles and $5 import bottles.

Suggested donation is $5 at the door.

“Typhoon Relief Dinner”
Tuesday, Nov. 26, at Hy’s Steak House, 2440 Kuhio Ave. (first seating at 5:30 p.m.)

Hy’s Steak House Executive Chef Erwin Manzano was born in the Cagayan Valley in Naguilian Isabela. On Tuesday, Nov. 26, he’ll create a Filipino-inspired three-course dinner with the proceeds going to Typhoon Haiyan fundraising efforts.

The first seating will be at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday; call (808) 922-5555 for reservations.

“Concert for a Cause”
5 to 10 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 1, at Crossroads at Hawaiian Brian’s, 1680 Kapiolani Blvd.

Local promoter Rick Rock, in partnership with HI Finest Graphics, will host a benefit concert featuring local talent to help raise money for Typhoon Haiyan survivors. Opening acts will include Kevin Okimoto, Jasmine Nicole, the Sweetkeys and others, with Camille Velasco among the headliners.

Admission to the show will be $20 at the door; $15 pre-sale tickets are available by calling (808) 354-5540.

“Kokua for Philippines: A Night of Hope”
5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 1 at McKinley High School

The Filipino community will get together to send relief funding to the Philippines on Sunday, Dec. 1. The congress of Visayan Organizations, Filipino Community Center and Filipino Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii will host a benefit concert featuring Filipino entertainers including Augie T, Norman Arancon and Kristian Lei.

Other entertainers scheduled to participate include Gavin Vinta, Julius Mina, Nick La’a, Colby Benson and Haley Kagimoto. Suggested donation is $25; for more information visit their Facebook event page.

JCI-Hawaii Filipino Junior Chamber Fundraiser
7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 4, at Nocturna Lounge, 500 Ala Moana Blvd.

JCI-Hawaii Filipino Junior Chamber president Randy Cortez was also born in the Philippines and it hurts him to see how people have had their homes stripped from them.

Originally from Pinipin-Santa Cruz, he said the Filipino culture is unique; even though his family is proud to all be U.S. citizens, his family is still faithful to the country that taught them tradition and heritage.

“After hearing stories like a father not having the right medical care, I can only imagine the devastation and trauma they are going through,” he said. “There are stories, like a woman sleeping next to her dead kids, that are really traumatizing for someone to be experiencing that.”

Admission at the door will be $15; pre-sale tickets are available for $10. Visit the JCI-Hawaii website for more info.

“Kokua for the Philippines”
Noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15, at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Great Lawn

Clear Channel Hawaii and Oceanic Time Warner Cable will partner to present a live broadcast on local radio and television on Dec. 15, with proceeds donated to the American Red Cross. For more information visit their website.

The Filipino community has made a significant impact both here and elsewhere. With help from everyone around the world, including us in Hawaii, there is no doubt in my mind that the people affected will make it through.

Aloha means a combination of things, like love, support, and compassion. Here in Hawaii, we try to live aloha every day. I know we will do our part to send the Phillipines the assistance they need to move forward.
Jermel-Lynn Quillopo is a multi-faceted, energetic individual with experience in both print and broadcast journalism. “Social Encore” aims to tell diverse stories about Hawaii’s food, events and people; share your tips with Jermel via email or follow her on Twitter.

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