Rick Medina, who served one term as a state representative and seven terms as a Maui County Council member representing Central Maui, led four honorees at the Rizal Day program held Dec. 30 at the Binhi At Ani Center in Kahului, to commemorate the martyrdom of Dr. Jose Rizal, a national hero of the Philippines. Medina was presented the Distinguished Service Award by the Maui Filipino Community Council.
The organization's Distinguished Service Award went to Agrifina Cabebe, a pioneer in preserving and promoting Filipino culture on Maui and in Hawaii. She founded and led the Maui Saniatas in the 1970s and '80s, presenting regular performances of Filipino folk dances at the Maui Beach Hotel and the Hukilau Hotel, later Palms Hotel and Maui Seaside Hotel, and at many community celebrations. She taught many young people Filipino folk dances and chaired many cultural events. She was the first chair of the Barrio Fiesta in 1970 and led in building it into a yearly Maui-wide celebration. She served on the Maui County Charter Commission in 1982 and was the first president of Binhi At Ani.
Erlinda Rosario was presented the Outstanding Citizen Award. She supports many charitable organizations, such as the YWCA, the Pacific Cancer Foundation, Hospice Maui, the Maui Adult Day Care Center and the Maui Memorial Medical Center, and she donates to events such as the Relay for Life, March of Dimes and local school programs. As chair of the Kabalikat Advisory Board at the University of Hawaii Maui College, she helped bring about an educational and cultural exchange program between the college and the Mariano Marcos State University of Northern Luzon, Philippines. She is the franchisee and operator of several McDonald's restaurants on Maui.
The MFCC Most Outstanding Member Award recipient for 2012 was Emerita "Emi" Cortez. She has been active in community service especially in West Maui for many years. She is the MFCC treasurer and also serves as president of the Santiago Association of Maui.
Also at the Rizal Day program, the new officers and directors of MFCC were installed by Gil Keith-Agaran, then a state representative and now a state senator. The officers are Greg Peros, president; Claro Romero, vice president; Aggie Cabebe, recording secretary; Maggie Evangelista, corresponding secretary; Emi Cortez, treasurer; Julie Patao, assistant treasurer; and Bart Tangonan, auditor. The board members include C.J. Ancheta, Fred Duldulao, Rogelio Evangelista, Shirley Evangelista, Alan Fukuyama, Ryan Sagayaga and Elmer Tolentino.
Rizal Day has been celebrated by Maui's Filipino community as far back as 1911. Rizal sought political and social reforms under Spanish rule in the Philippines in the late 1800s. When armed revolution broke out against Spain in 1896, he was found guilty of inciting sedition and complicity in the revolution, and he was executed by firing squad on Dec. 30 of that year.