Social Encore: Looking back at 2013

Jan. 2, 2014 | 1 Comment

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

Another year has gone by, and my goodness did the time fly. Writing a new post each week for the Pulse allows me to do what I love — meet new people, explore new places and learn more about our world.

I feel there are just so many things we can learn from each other. It just takes our curiosity to give us the courage to ask the right questions. I’ve been a writer for several years now and sometimes what I hear, see and feel is hard to interpret into words. As a multimedia journalist, I feel my main objective is to always tell stories that often go untold. Each time I’m able to tell a story, it contributes to who I am as a writer and person.

Here is a small glimpse of my six favorite posts from 2013 and why they made it on my list:

Designing for Dollars

The reason why this blog made it on my list is because I was able to visit my alma mater, Moanalua High School.

I have very fond memories of my high school because of the incredible friends I made, along with incredible teachers.

To me, teachers are people who should be recognized because of the work and encouragement they give students and the lasting impressions they leave.

The art students of Mr. Jeff Fujimoto made it the 2013 VANS Custom Culture Contest with their circus designs. I couldn’t help but be proud of them, not just because they were students of my alma mater, but because they were able to represent Hawaii at a national level and really worked hard as a team (you have to remember the trials and tribulations you face when working with a large group) and made it to the top.

POW! WOW! Artists Share Insight

How could POW! WOW! Hawaii not make my list? Seeing the way this art movement has changed the face of Kakaako has been amazing. It’s helped instill positivity, added beautiful murals and created a sense of community amongst artists from around the world. Thanks to founder Jasper Wong, the movement just compeleted its third year and has been getting bigger and bigger.

Celebrating POW! WOW! Hawaii 2013 at Fresh Cafe in February. (Star-Advertiser File)

Celebrating POW! WOW! Hawaii 2013 at Fresh Cafe in February. (Star-Advertiser File)

They really changed it up this year by adding music and workshops. Being able to chat with artists and being allowed into their artistic minds really gave me a sense of who they are as people and what they aspire their art to be. As someone born and raised in Hawaii, seeing the industrial side of Kakaako transformed into an urban art gallery is something I look forward to each year.

POW! WOW! supporters recently helped fund a documentary about the festival through; knowing the people behind it and the stories being captured, I just can’t wait to see it.

Koy’s Comedy Keeps Laughs Coming

Jo Koy. (Courtesy photo)

Jo Koy. (Courtesy photo)

I have always said laughter is the best medicine and going to comedy shows allow you to lighten up a bit.

Before Jo Koy came to Hawaii, he and I talked about his past and what he hopes to accomplish in the future. Koy has made me laugh for years and it just never gets old.

What was really great about seeing him in person this year was bringing my friends and loved ones along to the show. It is always fun when you are able to share an experience with a bunch of people, let alone people you love. It was their first time seeing him live and they truly enjoyed themselves. Being able to laugh at a joke and point at my cousin because we have an inside joke in relation to what he just said was just priceless.

These type of moments create memories and I would not trade them for the world. I have Jo Koy to thank for that.

Hawaii in the Midwest

As you can tell from my posts, I travel a lot. I love what it offers.

The author with entrepreneur Bob Chinn at his Chicago restaurant. (Courtesy Jermel-Lynn Quillopo)

The author with entrepreneur Bob Chinn at his Chicago restaurant. (Courtesy Jermel-Lynn Quillopo)

The ironic thing about traveling to the midwest this past spring was the connection I was able to make with owners of Bob Chinn’s. As an island girl, you often hear the term “small island” used in reference to a network of people.

However, being thousands of miles from Hawaii and still being able to connect with people who have a special place in their hearts for Hawaii is pretty awesome.

I was able to meet the restaurant owner himself and his son, Michael. I admired Bob’s dedication to his businesses. Being able to hear how he started the restaurant and took risks in order to see his vision come to life was inspiring. I have much respect for my elders and how they were able to manage triumphs during their time.

Bob’s restaurant journey was proof that if you are determined to make your dreams come true, they are possible if you are willing to put in the work.

Because of his efforts, he pulls in millions of dollars and supports Hawaii’s economy by using fresh seafood from our waters and supporting the arts. The annual Hawaii International Film Festival is what actually started our conversation at his restaurant and his memory and taste in films is sharp!

On the Farm

Hawaii has excellent weather. Who can get mad at our beautiful island beaches and beautiful mountains?

The great thing about Kanu Farms was being able to witness the entire process of “farm to table.” I know our local economy thrives off supporting local businesses, so being able to learn more about the farming process and how to live sustainably really enticed me to learn more on my own.

Guests check out tilapia during a tour of Kanu Farms in July. (Star-Advertiser File)

Seeing different types of vegetables and fruits being grown and learning more about what it takes to run an aquaponics farm really opened my eyes to what goes on behind the scenes of local farmers. I come from a family of farmers and know the resources we have were not available to them.

Writing about Kanu Farms gave me a better understanding of what farmers have to go through when it comes to land leasing, farming conditions and other issues they face. Learning about local restaurant Sweet Home Waimanalo gave me a glimpse of how local businesses are teaming up to not only help each other, but to help educate the community as well.

Discovering Guatemala

Even though I have traveled to many places this year, I enjoyed Guatemala the most. There was just so much culture. I was only able to visit for a week, but still got to see Mayan ruins, take a dip in fresh water pools and hike a volcano.

Many of the buildings in Guatemala will remind you of Europe. (Courtesy Jermel-Lynn Quillopo)

Traveling to Guatemala after visiting Belize also made me realize how cheap it was. When I travel, I try to pay as little as possible because it can get very expensive. It’s all about how you spend your money. The cheapest hostel I was able to stay at was $10 a night in San Pedro; the cheapest street food I bought that was seriously tasty was four tacos for $2.50.

After visiting Guatemala, I realized the possibilities of living off $40 a day in Central and South America. I highly recommend visiting Guatemala. I don’t know how to describe it. The people were nice, the smaller towns gave you a feel of how it feels to live in a rural area and it will really bring you out of your traditional travel comfort zone.

FROM THE bottom of my heart, thank you so much for reading “Social Encore” each week and for your continued support. Without you, I wouldn’t be having this much fun doing a job I completely love.

If you feel like you have an interesting story or event to share, please feel free to contact me; and let’s be friends on social media — add me on Twitter and Facebook, too.
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.

  • cw

    happy new year sis :) thank u for recognizing pow wow so much hard work by so many people it really means a lot to see that here <3 <3 <3