Hawaii is home to a large population of Filipino descent, with around one in four residents having Filipino roots. Most of these individuals come from the Ilocos region of the northern Philippines, mainly in the provinces of Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur. To honor and promote Filipino culture and heritage, the Filipino Community Center was established in 2002. This 50,000 square-foot facility in Waipahu is considered to be the largest Filipino community center outside the Philippines. HNN traveled to Ilocos Sur to explore its history and culture, first to Candon City, the birthplace of Filipino immigration to Hawaii. Community leaders believe that Filipino heritage is experiencing a revival in Hawaii, as young people develop an appreciation for the language and traditions of their ancestors.
When he started working at a bank more than 10 years ago, he said his company sponsored events in the Philippine community. Today, newly arrived Filipino immigrants come from their 7,000 islands and settle in communities such as Kalihi and Waipahu, where there is a strong support system. The leaders of the Waipahu Filipino Community Center are trying to reestablish that connection, including through events and workshops, such as one on eskrima, a Filipino martial art. Come and experience the true spirit of aloha and revel in the friendly hospitality of the Filipino Community Center. FilCom CARES is a Philippine Community Center project that strives to provide COVID-19 outreach, education, testing, and vaccination opportunities to Filipinos and others across Hawaii. With its rich history and culture, the Filipino Community Center serves as an important meeting place for social, economic, and educational services.