On September 20, 1976, some 14 Hawaii residents who traced their roots and
relations from the fertile Cagayan Valley (Philippines), dined together in
Waikiki upon the instigation of Jesus "J.O. " and
The dinner was delightful and the conversation added ambience to the
unfolding of a historic occasion. Memories of the "homeland" were
recollected; life situations in the "new land" were shared by all who came
to Hawaii in different settings and professional goals. Acknowledging that
having many things in common, they discussed the formation of the Cagayan
Valley Association of Hawaii.
On October 24th of that same year, the Cagayan Valley of Hawaii was formally
organized in a meeting at the Philippine Consulate on the Pali Highway. Its
stated purpose and objective was the fostering of a closer relationship
among its members and the promotion and preservation of Filipino culture.
Elected officers of the newly formed organization were installed by the late
Justice Ben Menor. Sworn into office were: Dr. Quintin Uy, president; Dr.
Alex Vergara, vice president; Mrs. Ines Cayaban, secretary; Mr. Vic Rosacia,
treasurer; Mrs. Aurelia Viernes, PRO; and Mr. Margarito Cubias, auditor.
In his inaugural speech, Dr. Quintin Uy said, "It is clear that our name -
Cagayan Valley Association - whose members come from a region that comprises
the provinces of Cagayan, Isabela,, and Nueva Vizcaya, (Batanes and Quirino
added later) does not imply an intent to constraint our endeavors within the
limits of our provincial boundaries. He proposed that the association
promotes "Filipiniana" first and "Cagayana" second.
The new president continued, "I proposed to you a commitment to established
a Filipino Language School. In my personal view, this is the most vital
first step towards the monumental goal of preserving one's culture. For
language is a fundamental part of culture and language interacts with every
other aspect of human life in a society."
A Filipino Language School was established in 1977 at Aldersgate United
Methodist Church in Liliha Street in Honolulu. The school gathered momentum
but later on its enrolment dwindled. So, the organization moved on to other
Another project of the organization was a "Filipiniana" exhibit at
Chinatown's Multicultural Center. "Town life in the Philippines" was the
theme of the cultural presentation with a record number of 2,562 visitors
who viewed exhibits depicting different aspects of rural Filipino life.
Mrs. Ines Cayaban, project coordinator, gathered all the memorabilia. A folk
dance ensemble also entertained. Headed by Miss Aurelia Viernes, the dance
company went on to participate in the Fifth Conference on Philippine Dance,
Music and Costume in Waipahu on October 1, 1977.
Cagayan Valley Associaton supported the Oahu Filipino Community Council (OFCC)
and the United Filipino Council of Hawaii (UFCH); cooperated with activities
of the Philippine Consulate of Honolulu and other community organizations.
Scholarship grants were established; disaster aids to the Philippines
organized; fundraising campaigns for local emergency needs were sponsored.
The association participated in the Palama Interchurch Council's annual "Hoike
Haouli" People's Celebration at AAla Park. In 1978, CVA presented several
cultural dances at KIKU TV and performed other stage programs to Honolulu
Dr. Quintin Uy passed on the presidential gavel to Mr. Epifanio Billena in
1981. Recollecting some activities during his administration, Billena said,
"We participated in various Filipino community activities such as the year
long celebration of the 75th Anniversary of ilipino Immigration in Hawaii.
Our official delegates attended the OFCC and UFH conventions; donated potted
ornamental plants to the Philippine Consulate to adorn its lanai and
Our brief historical account now turns to the long and illustrious
administration of Mr. Don Alvarez who was elected president in 1982 and
continues to provide leadership and inspiration to the association.
The following is a comprehensive accounting of activities of Mr. Alvarez's
administration since 1982.
Co-sponsored with the Philippine Consulate General of Honolulu a Philippine
baseball team that competed in tournaments in Honolulu and on the mainland.
Sponsored successful concerts staged by the Tuguegarao Children's Choir.
Organized a "Task Force on Youth Gangs" and it became a model in addressing
the problems of the Honolulu community relating to violence and graffiti
Monitored and participated in the Youth Challenge Program of the Hawaii
Collaborated with other service agencies during the Late Night Basketball
League for Kalihi youngsters.
the Youth Gang Response System (Oahu Team) sponsored by the Department of
Provided financial aid and moral support to deserving students through
Co-sponsored a "Merienda", an afternoon of pure delight to celebrate the
80th anniversary of Filipino Immigration to Hawaii.
Provided Interaction and support to various non-profit organizations such as
"Sariling Gawa, Operation Manong, and Adult Friends for Youth".
Celebrated the nomination and recognition of Officer Department's Officer of
financial and material resources to the Mount Pinatubo volcanic eruption
victims and to those who suffered the onslaught of "killer typhoons" in the
financial resources and sent volunteers for the Aloha Medical Mission in
Vietnam, Philippines, and Bangladesh.
Continued to pursue the goals and objectives of the association as
stipulated by its Constitution and By-Laws.
Formulated a Mission which reads: "CVAH unite to promote community service,
Filipino culture, pride, growth development".
These and many more. It is not only the programs and activities associated
with our hyperactive group that makes Cagayan Valley Association of Hawaii
come to life. It is because of the individual members who care and committed
officers who lead us in the process of sharing our joys and hurts, our
celebrations and contradictions, our united front as well as our many
Lord, have mercy.