LIHU‘E — The Philippines national flag wafted from one corner of the stage on Friday, as Kukui Grove Center joined with Rose Garabillo and Filipino organizations in observing Rizal Day with a slate of entertainment that echoed into the evening hours.
“In the record of Philippine history, there is a man whose name stands high above that of any other man,” said Lemuel Soria, the president of the Kaua‘i Filipino Community Council. “Through his pen, he was able to unite his downtrodden people, bringing to them the spirit of nationalism and love for freedom. This man was no other than Dr. Jose Rizal, a hero and martyr of the Philippines whom we honor today.”
Rizal Day is a Philippine holiday commemorating the life and Rizal’s work as a Philippine hero, Soria said.
“Jose Rizal is remembered for his compassion towards the Filipino and the country,” Soria said. “Rizal Day is a National Day of Mourning for his execution on Dec. 30, 1896. It is remembered with a large remembrance celebration every year in Rizal Park in Manila, and in other places like Kaua‘i that finds a way to celebrate.”
The president of the United Filipino Community Council said the Filipino community on Kaua‘i has made a name for themselves.
“The statue of Jose Rizal stands erect, in front of the old Kaua‘i County Courthouse where the Kaua‘i County Council, and the Kaua‘i Elections Division are located,” he said. “The Jose Rizal statue represents the ideal of compassion, his love of God, his country and countrymen, his bravery and courage.”
Many of the groups offering information reflected the ideals of Rizal, including the FilCom Cares ‘ohana that provided information on COVID-19 vaccines and testing among other health-related issues.
According to Randy Francisco, who brought FilCom Cares to Kaua‘i, the group was formed during the COVID-19 pandemic when Filipinos realized they were one of the underserved groups when it pertained to COVID-19.
The Department of Health, through its Chronic Disease Division, offered information on the high diabetes risk to Filipinos and current information on COVID-19, as well as the testing for COVID-19 among its offering of information.
This was punctuated with entertainment performances, and a crowd-pleasing edition of the Scoops game where a pair of blindfolded participants would try and scoop as much prizes from one bucket to the next, the participants ending up keeping whatever booty they could shovel.
Source: The Garden Island