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Hawai'i CC Hosts Conference Devoted to Advancing the Needs of Filipino Students

Hawaiʻi Community College hosted the 31st University of Hawai’i system-wide Pamantasan conference in Hilo on Friday, October 18. First established more than 30 years ago, the UH Pamantasan Council consists of administrators, faculty, staff and students in the UH system committed to addressing the needs of Filipino students in Hawai’i.

The conference theme, Sulong Sulong! Activism and Advocacy!, examined Filipino equity gaps and focused on steps that can be taken to advance the needs of Filipino students in the UH system. The conference keynote address was given by renowned psychologist Dr. Kevin Nadal, who specializes in Filipino mental health, identity development, and LGBTQ issues. Nadal is a professor of psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and The Graduate Center at the City University in New York 


Also held in conjunction with October’s Filipino American History Month (FAHM), the conference offered culture-based workshops for students to learn about their roots. The conference featured Lane Wilcken, author and cultural practitioner of the ancient arts of the Philippines, with an emphasis on indigenous hand-tap tattoos as a spiritual practice.


The Pamantasan Council gave out several awards during the conference.

The Dr. Niki Libarios Award is given to a UH faculty or staff member who is currently employed or retired. The award was given to Dr. Luzviminda Banez Migel

“Dr. Luz” is a licensed registered nurse and an Assistant Professor and Coordinator of Nursing Programs at Hawai'i CC. She earned an associate degree in Nursing from Kapi'olani CC, a master’s in Nursing (specializing in nursing education) from Walden University, and a doctor of nursing practice from UH Mānoa. Born in Cawayan, Catarman, Northern Samar, she was raised in Camangaan, Laoag City, Ilocos Norte, and immigrated to Hawai'i in 1985. Her tireless work is dedicated to mentoring and advocating for nursing students toward successful completion of their degrees, while actively volunteering and proudly sharing her Filipino culture and heritage in numerous online teachings and collaborations between faculty of Hawai'i CC and the University of Northern Philippines.

The Dr. Julius Soria Award is given to a UH student or alumni. The award was given to Allen Bartolome. 

Allen Bartolome was born and raised in Pāhoa on the Big Island of Hawai’i where he now resides. He is the son of an Ilocano from Batac, Ilocos Norte. He grew up farming and continues the tradition of farming and ranching. A graduate of Pāhoa High and Intermediate schools, he obtained an associate degree in Liberal Arts and Administration of Justice from Hawai'i CC, and a bachelor’s degree in Administration of Justice from UH Hilo. He is currently employed with the County of Hawai'i Office of the Prosecuting Attorney in the Crime Prevention and Justice Assistance Unit. He has dedicated his life to bettering the lives of individuals in Hawai’i, and has passions include social change, protecting the rights of farmers and spending time with family.

Tagumpay Awards

Chancellor Rachel Solemsaas presented three Tagumpay Awards to successful contributors to the local community who have established successful careers in politics, government and business. The three awardees are of Filipino ancestry, were born and raised on Hawai'i Island and graduated from local high schools. They are: 

  • Bryan Andaya, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of L&L Hawaiian Barbecue Franchises
  • Jason Dela Cruz, Planner in the Office of Public Health Preparedness at the Hawaii State Department of Health
  • Ashley Kierkiewicz, Hawai'i County Councilwoman, District 4

Tagumpay is a Filipino word for "success." Solemsaas introduced the awardees and played videos in which they discussed their careers, the ways they define success and how their cultural heritage influenced their lives.