Entertainment and relief at Bayanihan

The public is invited to free entertainment Saturday at Kukui Grove Center while helping Filipino community organizations raise funds to help victims of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

“Bayanihan means ‘pulling together’ in the Philippines and that’s exactly what the various Filipino organizations and community on Kaua‘i are doing to help raise funds for the affected areas of Japan’s earthquake and tsunami disaster,” Oscar Portugal said in an email.

The entertainment schedule runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will feature a host of Kaua‘i’s musicians and dancers coordinated by Art Umezu.

Natural Harmony, the Kaua‘i Visayan Club Dancers under the direction of Virgie Cruzada, “Jammin’ 4 Japan,” a segment hosted by The Jam Room Crew and featuring some of Kaua‘i’s top youth performers including breakers, hip hop dancers and hula dancers are just some of the lineup offerings.

Umezu said he also received confirmation that Ian “Kid Robot” Navasca of Hypersquad Crew of Waipahu, O‘ahu, will be appearing. Navasca, who has roots to the new Tiano’s Restaurant in Lihu‘e, won the World of Dance Competition in Los Angeles, Calif. last month.

Portugal, Rhoda Libre, Jose Bulatao and Daphne Sanchez, the reigning Miss Island Mokihana, will share emcee duties.

Umezu said Sanchez, is no stranger to Iwaki City after being the poster girl and performing at the Spa Resort Hawaiians for the past several years.

Iwaki City is 40 miles from the Daichi Power Plant in Fukushima and has been closed since the March 11 disaster, but plans to re-open in time for Golden Week in Japan, Umezu said.

Custom-designed “Bayanihan for Japan” t-shirts will be available for Saturday’s event with proceeds benefiting the Japan Red Cross.

Sanchez will also host her “Secret Grab Bag” event which will have gifts in a marked bag of $1, $2, $5, $10 and $20. This fundraiser was a great success in helping raise funds for the Children’s Miracle Network during the Girls Day weekend.

Umezu said people can ‘purchase’ secret grab bags but won’t know what’s inside until they open it.

Proceeds from the “Secret Grab Bag” will go directly to Iwaki City Relief Fund in Fukushima prefecture where more than 50 deaths and considerable structural damages resulted from the disaster.

During Saturday’s event, Sanchez will debut “Iwaki Moon,” a song she wrote two years ago for Iwaki City, but never recorded, Umezu said.

“When Kaua‘i was devastated by Hurricane Iniki in 1992, one of the first relief checks which arrived on the island was  from Iwaki City,” Umezu said. “Now, it’s our turn to return the favor.”

Umezu said Iwaki City and especially Spa Resort Hawaiians has many ties to Kaua‘i, “Kaimana,” the show in which Sanchez stars has its main character created and drawn by Chris Faye, and a video presented in the Hula Museum created by the Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School video team under the direction of Kevin Matsunaga.

“Marissa Bonilla Purcel performed there when she was only 8 years old, and Doric Yaris, kumu hula, pays regular visits to the area with his halau,” Umezu said. “The connections between Kaua‘i and Iwaki City are many. They are the group who visits Kaua‘i regularly to take part in the Matsuri festival hosted by the Japanese Cultural Society of Kaua‘i.”

During the day, volunteers with custom fishnets will be soliciting contributions from shoppers at various areas on the mall, and Umezu said the event will be filmed and sent to Iwaki City Hall and other affected areas in Japan.

“Kaua‘i residents and visitors are asked to come and support this effort to demonstrate how living with aloha is part of our lives,” Portugal said. “It’s our turn to give back.”

The Bayanihan for Japan fundraiser is supported by numerous community organizations including the Kaua‘i Filipino Community Council, the Kaua‘i Filipino Chamber of Commerce, the Kaua‘i Visayan Club, the Kaua‘i Council of Filipino Catholic Clubs, the Filipino Women’s Club and Kaua‘i Pangasinan Association.

• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@kauaipubco.com.


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