Beginning in 1960 and continuing well into the 1980s, Catalino Suero (1910-1993) could be heard over the airwaves hosting the popular Filipino program he broadcast in the Ilocano dialect on Kauai radio station KTOH.
Along with Andres Baclig’s program on the Big Island, and A. B. Sevilla’s on Maui, Catalino Suero’s program was one of the longest running Filipino radio programs in the Islands.
It aired daily, from 4 to 6 a.m. Mondays through Saturdays and from 4 to 7 a.m. Sundays, featured world and Philippine news, commentaries, interviews, and Filipino songs and music, and was particularly popular with Filipino plantation laborers, who listened while cooking breakfast and preparing for work.
Born, raised and educated in the province of Ilocos Sur on the Philippine island of Luzon, Suero immigrated to Hawaii in 1931 and went to work on Oahu sugar and pineapple plantations.
In 1934, he was hired at Waipahu, Oahu by HSPA — the Hawaiian Sugar Planters’ Association — which conducted scientific studies and gathered accurate statistical records for Hawaii’s sugar industry beginning in 1895.
While with the HSPA, Suero completed courses in sugar technology, taught adult education in Waipahu and became a member of the Hawaii Sugar Technologists.
He was transferred to Kauai in 1956 to take charge of initiating experiments of sugar varieties on several Kauai sugar plantations and retired from HSPA in 1972.
Suero’s daughter, Charlmaine Bulosan, noted that her father was also active in community affairs.
“My father’s involvement in the community was to help the immigrants who came to Hawaii and Kauai, and if they needed help translating documents or easing into the island life and the American way, he was there to help,” she said.
Catalino Suero and his wife, Castora, had five children: Catalino, Andrita, Carmencita, Kathleen and Charlmaine.