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Maui Fil-Am Heritage Fesitival Features Food, Arts & Activities

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Logo for the Maui Fil-Am Heritage Festival® on Saturday, October 17 at Maui Mall. Logo courtesy of Maui Fil-Am Heritage Festival®.

Logo for the Maui Fil-Am Heritage Festival® on Saturday, Oct.17, at Maui Mall. Logo courtesy of Maui Fil-Am Heritage Festival®.

Some of Maui’s most esteemed chefs will go head-to-head on Saturday, Oct. 17, during the Maui Fil-Am Heritage Festival®, which celebrates Filipino-American History Month with food, art, dance, culture, contests and games.

Chefs Joey Macadangdang, chef/owner of Joey’s Kitchen; Alvin Savella of Pulehu, an Italian Grill at the Westin Kā‘anapali Ocean Resort Villas; and Ritchard Cariaga of Ka‘ana Kitchen-Andaz Maui at Wailea will compete in the Master P-Noy Chef® Cook Off. Chef Sheldon Simeon of Migrant will serve as the guest host. The Maui Fil-Am Heritage Festival runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Maui Mall in Kahului.

“The Master P-Noy Chef Cook Off is one of many events that will be featured at the Maui Fil-Am Heritage Festival,” said Melen Agcolicol, president of the Maui Filipino Chamber of Commerce Foundation, which is presenting the festival. “The festival is held to celebrate Filipino-American History month, established as the month of October by the Hawai‘i Legislature—Act 15, 2008.”

The concept for this year’s Master P-Noy Chef Cook Off is a Filipino-inspired lūʻau.

“We wanted to test the chefs’ creativity and challenge them to think beyond the normal Filipino food,” said Gilbert Keith-Agaran, who chairs the cook-off with Jake Belmonte, chef instructor at the Maui Culinary Academy. “And the chefs will be required to cook everything on-site and a mystery basket containing required ingredients will be unveiled on-site.”


“This year’s cook-off will have an additional twist,” adds Chef Belmonte. “Last year, we selected an audience member to be a judge. This year, we will select three audience members to assist the chefs.”

Filipino-American History Month kicked off on Monday, Oct. 5, with a Philippine flag-raising ceremony at the County Building.

“Maui is the only county where the Philippine flag is raised to celebrate Filipino-American History Month” said Agcolicol. “Mahalo to Mayor Alan Arakawa and the County of Maui for allowing the Philippine flag to be flown for the whole month of October.”

This year’s festival will be packed with activities, games and challenges.

Here’s a rundown:

  • Any Kine Adobo® Contest sponsored by Tante’s Island Cuisine

Got Adobo? Do you believe you can adobo bamboo shoots, chicken, goat, okra, pork, squid or just any kine? To prove it, enter the Any Kine Adobo Contest sponsored by Tante’s Island Cuisine. The winner will receive $500 in cash/prizes. Restricted to the first 10 participants only and the participant must be at the festival by 10 a.m. with their entry, which must be enough to fill 55 portions (2 ounce containers).

  • Da Supa Suman® Contest sponsored by Copy Services

Do you know how to cook suman? Suman is also known as sinuman, bud bud, patupat or simply Filipino rice cake. It’s a combination of sweet rice and coconut milk that is either steamed or baked in a pan or wrapped in banana leaves or wrapped in palm leaves. If you want bragging rights as to your suman skills, enter Da Supa Suman Contest sponsored by Copy Services. The winner will receive $500 in cash/prizes. Restricted to the first 10 participants only and the participant must be at the Festival by 11 a.m. with their entry, which must be at least 10 bite-sized portions.

  • The Can You Tinikling® Challenge sponsored by Law Offices of Alfredo Evangelista, A Limited Liability Law Company

Are you nimble? Do you know your left foot from your right foot? Are you tired of that same old Electric Slide? If so, enter the Can You Tinikling? Challenge sponsored by Law Offices of Alfredo Evangelista, A Limited Liability Law Company. The winner will receive $500 in cash/prizes. Restricted to the first 10 participants only and the participant must be at the festival by 1:30 p.m. The participant will be required to sign a waiver and release. The participant must be physically fit and have not performed Tinikling in the last ten years.

  • Your Name in Baybayin

Even before the arrival of Ferdinand Magellan in 1521, Filipinos were literate and had their own script/alphabet—Baybayin. At the festival, the Kabatak Club from the University of Hawai‘i Maui College will assist you in writing your name in Baybayin.

The Filipino Fashionista® sponsored by Renato & Maria A.F. Etrata Foundation and the Little Filipino Fashionista® sponsored by Friends of Alan Arakawa.


Do you love to strut your stuff? Or do you like to play dress up? With a little culture? Young or old may enter the fashionista contests.

For adults, there will be two divisions—male and female—for the Filipino Fashionista sponsored by the Renato & Maria A.F. Etrata Foundation. The winner in each division will win a $500 travel certificate. Entrants must be at the festival by 1 p.m.

For youth, there will be two divisions—6 years and younger; and 7 through twelve years, for the Little Filipino Fashionista sponsored by Friends of Alan Arakawa. The winner in each division receiving a $100 gift certificate. The first twenty entrants will receive a $15 gift certificate. Entrants must be at the festival by 10:30 a.m.

The entrants in both the Filipino Fashionista and the Little Filipino Fashionista will be judged on Filipino-ness; creativity and innovation; and audience impact. So bring your smiles and practice your strut!

  • Speedy Balut Eating Contest® sponsored by Maui Beach Hotel

Yes, balut is a rumored to be a natural aphrodisiac but the festival is featuring a balut eating contest because it’s a wild, crazy, and fun event! And if you win the Speedy Balut Eating Contest sponsored by Maui Beach Hotel, you will win a Maui Beach certificate valued at $500! Entrants must be experienced balut eaters and be at the festival by 1:30 p.m. The first four to complete eating one balut will proceed to the final round, where they will be required to eat two baluts. The speedy one wins!

  • The Polvoron Challenge:Eat&Tweet® sponsored by Friends of Keith Regan

Do you know how to whistle? But can you do it after eating Polvoron? Polvoron originated from Spain and is similar to a crumbly shortbread made of powdered milk, toasted flour and butter. And it tastes good!

The Polvoron Challenge:Eat&Tweet sponsored by Friends of Keith Regan will combine one’s ability to eat polvoron and tweet (not electronically, of course—but a whistle—sort of the Filipino version of eating saltine crackers and saying “Polly wants a cracker!” And if you’re first, you will win $500 in cash/prizes. Entrants must be at the Festival by 11 a.m. The first four to complete eating one Polvoron and tweeting will proceed to the final round, where they will be required to eat two Polvoron and tweet. First one to eat and tweet wins!

  • The Pinoy Artist Contest® sponsored by Ben Franklin Crafts

This year’s art contest will again be coordinated by award-winning artist Philip Sabado and his wife, Christine Sabado. The theme of “Plantation Roots” was selected in recognition of Gov. David Ige’s signing the bill establishing Dec. 20 as Sakada Day. Art work consistent with the theme may be retained and used throughout the upcoming 110th anniversary celebration of the arrival of Sakadas in Hawai‘i (2016).

Thanks to the generosity of sponsor Ben Franklin Crafts and other donors, prizes (first, second and third places) will be awarded in each category: two dimensional art (must be 11 x 14 inches with mat); three dimensional art (must be mounted on a 12 x 12 inch base and not exceed 28 inches in height); and photography for each division—elementary, intermediate, high school and adult.

Mediums accepted are pencil, colored pencil, watercolor, acrylic, crayon and charcoal. For youth entries, include your name, telephone number, grade, school and teacher. For adult entries, include your name, telephone number, title and medium.

All artwork must be submitted to the Sabado Art Studio at 1980 Main St., Ste. 1, Wailuku (249-0980 or 205-2809) by Oct. 15. And yes, because the contest brings together art work from Maui’s artists of all ages and of all ethnicities, you don’t have to be Pinoy to join the contest!

  • Oh Wow! Parol Making Contest® sponsored by Kit Zulueta Productions

If you don’t think you’re artistic enough to enter the Pinoy Artist Contest, how about trying to create a parol on-site. The first 50 youth will be provided a free parol making kit. Basic materials of glue, crepe paper and cellophane will also be provided. The criteria for judging will be originality, workmanship, creativity and “The Oh Wow!” factor.

  • Festival Hoops sponsored by Friends of Joe Blackburn

Whoever said boxing was the national sport needs to recheck their sources because basketball is the national sport of all Filipinos, and so Festival Hoops sponsored by Friends of Joe Blackburn returns to the Festival.

The contest will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. near Maui Mall’s IHOP entrance. Prizes will be awarded to the top three hoopsters in each of the three age brackets (up to 10 years old, 10 to 15 years old and 16 years to adult)—the one who makes the most hoops in the designated time (45 to 60 seconds).

  • Pabitin at the Fest! sponsored by PM Handyworks

If you’re more into jumping instead of shooting baskets, try the Pabitin at the fest, sponsored by PM Handyworks. The Pabitin, which also originated from Spain, is a popular game at fiestas and birthday parties. A lattice of bamboo sticks, called a balag, is suspended and lowered and raised quickly. The balag contains bags filled with toys, snacks, coins, and other items. And yes, some folks claim it’s the Filipino version of the Mexican piñata!

  • Fabulous Filipino Food

Organizers say, be sure to come hungry! Food will include barbecued pork, pancit palabok, beef steak, menudo, pork morcon, pork adobo, igado, pancit, pinakbet, pork blood, Filipino pastries, bubble tea, pork and peas, chicharon, fried rice omelet, halo halo, empanada, dinardaraan, fried chicken, cascaron, bibingka, banana lumpia, vegetable lumpia, lechon, kare kare, puto, sweet rice and more.

The festival will be your one-stop shop for all these Filipino food and kankanen. Filipino restaurants will be on hand with Filipino food for your purchase, consumption on-site, and even your balon (take home).

“The foundation believes it’s important to feature Maui’s Filipino restaurants selling their most popular dishes. Our Filipino restaurants need continued exposure and the festival will help to expand their markets” said Benjamin Acob, chairperson of the vendors committee.

Participating restaurants are Randy’s Catering & Fast Foods, CAA Market Place, RM Mini Mart and Fast Food & Catering Services, and Vidad’s Local Kine Grindz.

  • Back-to-Back Cultural Entertainment

The festival’s back-to-back entertainment will be strictly Filipino cultural entertainment (not even an English song!). After all, they’re celebrating Filipino-American History month.

“Our entertainment will showcase Maui’s Filipino talents that will include songs and dances of the Philippines,” said Madelyne Pascua, chairperson of the program committee. “So come early and find a seat under the large tent because you won’t want to give up your space!”

Entertainers will include Missy Aguilar, Baldwin High School Marching Band, the Coolangots, Dance International Production, Alipio Galamgam, Good Shepherd Episcopal Church Filipino Folk Dance Troupe, Miss Hawai‘i Filipina Chelsea Guzman, Maui Filipino Martial Arts and Amancio Sarmiento.

Ed Kanoi of KSSK-FM will be hosting this year’s festival.

  • We Got History Exhibit® sponsored by Monsanto Hawai‘i

As in prior years, the festival will include a historical exhibit. This year, the exhibit will concentrate on Maui sports figures in a variety of sports such as boxing, escrima, sports promotion, sports training and surfing. The exhibit will be displayed outdoors near the large tent.

  • Please Take my Picture Anak ko Booth sponsored by Litratto

This year’s photo booth sponsored by Litratto (free, but donations are graciously expected) will again be in the main corridor—near the stage.

So you can dress up in your own attire or select one of the props provided by Litratto. And yes, smiles are required.

  • Leaving on a Jet Plane…

Yes, if you’re lucky, you could be leaving on a jet plane. If you come early and stay the whole day, don’t forget to register for a chance to win one of two $500 travel certificates!

And yes, Philippine Airlines, will again sponsor airfare, round trip from Honolulu to Manila, economy class. And guess what? Philippine Airlines is donating two trips!

Certain restrictions apply including but not limited to: one entry per person, must be at least eighteen years of age, and must be present, with proper identification, to win.

  • Corporate and Community Support

The Maui Fil-Am Heritage Festival is being supported by a number of companies and community groups who believe in its importance and significance.

“Local sponsor support is so vital to the Festival’s success,” said Evangelista. “Without our sponsors, the Maui Filipino Chamber Foundation would not be able to showcase our culture, heritage, history and growing number of Filipino businesses on Maui. So we are extremely grateful for our sponsors.”

Major sponsors include the County of Maui, Alexander & Baldwin, the Renato & Maria A.F. Etrata Foundation, Monsanto Hawai‘i, ILWU Local 142, First Hawaiian Bank, Oceanic Time Warner, Western Union, ACN, Philippine Airlines, Johnstone Supply of Maui, Tante’s Island Cuisine, Maui Beach Hotel, Ben Franklin Crafts, Friends of Alan Arakawa, Law Offices of Alfredo Evangelista—A Limited Liability Law Company, Copy Services, Friends of Keith Regan, Kit Zulueta Productions, Friends of Joe Blackburn, PM Handyworks, Simpli-Fresh, Benjamin Acob—Attorney at Law, Maui Mall, Maui Culinary Academy, 99.9 KISS FM, Lizada Photography, Litratto and Mix 105.5.

For more information and to keep updated on the festival’s program of events, click here.

Pre-register for the various contests by email or by fax to (888) 411-0834. Call (808) 242-8100 with questions.

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