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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, September 30, 2006

The sakada story

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 •  Night of Live Art rocks Chinatown
 •  Children & Youth Day takes over capitol district with free fun galore
 •  Niketown run to 'get kids moving,' benefit Isle P.E.
 •  Sumptuous food, wine, music at Reds, Whites & Blues benefit

By Catherine E. Toth
Advertiser Staff Writer

Angel Ramos, a retired sugar plantation worker, shows a wrench that he used as a machinist at the Kahuku Sugar Mill in the 1960s. He stands next to a large flywheel of the type that could be found inside the mill. A new exhibit will feature some items from his days there.


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'Sentenaryo: 100 years of Filipinos in Hawai'i and Beyond'

Today through Nov. 26

Bishop Museum, Castle Memorial Building

$14.95 adults; $11.95 youth; free for children under 4; special rates for kama'aina, seniors and military. (Members are free.)

847-3511, www.bishopmuseum.org

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The "Maria Clara" style, featuring a striped skirt and panyelo, is a formal Filipino dress.

Courtesy of Kathy Izon

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For most people, Jasmine Trias, Benny Agbayani and former Gov. Ben Cayetano come to mind as shining examples of Filipino-Americans in Hawai'i.

But so is Angel Ramos, a 77-year-old sakada who worked at the Kahuku Sugar Mill from 1949 until it closed in 1971. Though he never held a political office or made it to the finals of "American Idol," Ramos has contributed to the accomplishments and accolades of Hawai'i's Filipino community.

"There are so many Filipinos in Hawai'i, and they've all played a major role in (the state's) history over the past 100 years," said Kathy Izon, a third-generation Filipino-American and exhibit director at Bishop Museum. "And we're growing in numbers."

Izon helped to coordinate a new show celebrating the Filipino Centennial in Hawai'i, which opens today at the Bishop Museum. "Sentenaryo: 100 Years of Filipinos in Hawai'i and Beyond" tells the stories of Filipino immigrants to the Islands. Part of the exhibit will feature items from Ramos, including an ID badge from the Kahuku plantation and a cotton skirt made entirely by hand the fabric is even made from cotton grown in his family's yard.

The exhibit also will feature photographs, wooden carvings, cultural music and games and traditional garb.

Also opening today at the museum is "Singgalot (Ties That Bind) Filipinos in America: From Colonial Subjects to Citizens," which explores the challenges and issues confronting Filipinos in America.

Izon, who learned a lot about her own grandparents while preparing this exhibit, hopes others walk away with a curiosity to learn more about their own heritage.

"It's about (fostering) an appreciation for your roots and your ancestors," Izon said. "Hopefully people learn a little bit more about the culture, even if it's not their own. Maybe this will inspire them to find out more."

Reach Catherine E. Toth at ctoth@honoluluadvertiser.com.