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ISLAND HISTORY: Andres Labrador — longtime stableman at Koloa Plantation

Andres Labrador (1901-96) was born in Cebu, Philippines, and worked there as a fisherman and carpenter’s helper until 1922, when he signed a contract with a labor recruiting agent to emigrate and work on a Hawaiian sugar plantation.

Upon his arrival in Honolulu in March 1922 with his wife, Baldomera, he was assigned to Koloa Plantation, and after a voyage to Koloa Landing, Koloa Plantation put him to work as a kalai (hoeing) man at a dollar a day’s pay.

Not long after, he was promoted to muleman, guiding and caring for plow mules in the sugarcane fields.

Then in 1926, he was assigned to Stable Camp as the plantation’s stableman, in which he was responsible for the care and feeding of horses and mules used on the plantation.

Stable Camp, located next to the Koloa Mill, was where the main Koloa Plantation stable was located, and where he and his family were housed in an old, but roomy plantation house alongside the stable.

As needed, his duties also took him away from Stable Camp to various small branch stables located elsewhere on the plantation.

In 1987, in sharing her earliest memories of Kaua‘i, his daughter, Rosalina, said her family also lived alone, with no neighbors, far away from the mill at a place called Puhi Camp (not the Grove Farm Puhi Camp, once located where Kaua‘i Community College now stands).

In 1947, following World War II, when plantation mechanization had eliminated the need for horses and mules, Andres began working as a centrifugal machine operator in the Koloa Mill.

The centrifugal machines he operated separated massecuite (a mixture of raw sugar and molasses) into raw sugar and molasses.

Although he originally only spoke his native Visayan dialect, he acquired Hawaiian pidgin from his co-workers of Hawaiian, Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese and other ancestries in order to communicate easily with them as they did with themselves.

He also learned the Filipino Ilocano dialect.

After 44 years at Koloa Plantation and Grove Farm he retired in 1966.

Andres and Baldomera Labrador raised six children: Larry, Juanito, Perfecto, Rosalina, Ida and Florence.
Source: The Garden Island

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