The Filipino population in Hawaii is a minority, but they make up the majority of the population on the island of Lanai in Maui County. Caroline Julian-Freitas, from Alewa Heights, and the late Domingo Los Banos, the first superintendent of Filipino descent in the state, have both played a role in empowering Filipinos in Hawaii. Quinabo, a political analyst and associate editor of the Hawaii Filipino Chronicle, has been following the concept of empowering Filipinos for decades and believes that it is now at an advanced stage. Approximately one in four residents of Hawaii has Filipino descent and most come from a specific region of the Philippines. Community leaders are noticing a revival of Filipino heritage as young people gain a greater appreciation for their ancestors' language and traditions.
Eddie Flores Jr is a pioneer who has done a lot to promote the empowerment of Filipinos in business. New immigrants from the 7,000 islands of the Philippines are settling in communities such as Kalihi and Waipahu. When Filipinos talk about empowerment in Hawaii, they have high expectations, similar to those of the Chinese American community in San Francisco. In the early 1990s, at the height of Filipino awareness of empowerment that paralleled the initial stages of Native Hawaiian activism, Quinabo remembers a comment made by the late activist and University of Hawaii professor, Dr. Growing up in upstate New York, she commented on life on the mainland as a Filipina: “When I was a child, no one knew what a Filipino was. Today, among younger Filipinos — who have benefited from previous generations who believed in the concept of empowerment — there is a strong sense of mutual loyalty and connection.
But when you move out of Hawaii (and not California), you realize how Hawaiian Filipinos take for granted the incredible strength they really have. The eldest son of seven siblings, with both Filipino and Chinese parents, had completed sixth grade and was part of the middle class in Hong Kong. The revival of Filipino heritage is gaining momentum as young people become more aware and appreciative of their ancestors' language and traditions. With potential similar to that of the Chinese American community in San Francisco, Filipinos are becoming more empowered than ever before. The eldest son of seven siblings with both Filipino and Chinese parents had completed sixth grade and was part of the middle class in Hong Kong.