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2006 Filipino Centennial Celebration

UNHEARD VOICES PROJECT

Pete Behasa

Pete Behasa was born in Kealakekua (South Kona), Hawaii in 1926. He grew up on a coffee plantation and, later, moved to Oahu, where his father worked for the Oahu Sugar Company. Pete recalls his youth growing up in Waipahu and his long service in the U.S. Army.

INTERVIEWER:

Deanna Espinas is a second generation Filipina, born and raised in Honolulu and resides in Palolo Valley. She received her undergraduate degree in elementary education and master's degree in library studies from the University of Hawaii and has worked with the prison library system for over 28 years. Deanna is currently on the board of directors for Hawaii's Plantation Village, the Filipino-American Historical Society of Hawaii and Friends of the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.

Deanna Espinas participates in a variety of cultural activities which celebrate people's experiences growing up in Hawaii. She is fascinated by the stories of her family and friends who originally were born in the Philippines and struggled to make a new home for themselves here and elsewhere.

Docents like Pete Behasa at Hawaii's Plantation Village (HPV) have unique memories of growing up on the plantation. After meeting Pete and his family through activities at HPV, Deanna wanted to help Pete document those stories: "When I close my eyes and listen to Pete's recording, I can see him bouncing a basketball with the rest of his Lorenzana Bagoong team as they competed with other plantation teams. Or picture him wincing with pain as his mother swabbed vinegar on the open sores from his work with the Sabadong gang who were hired to spray the pineapple fields with poison chemicals."

Oral History Interview

PHOTOGRAPHS:

Pete Behasa, Lorenzana Bagoong, 1954
Pete Behasa, Korea 1965
Pete Behasa, Hawaii Plantation Village, 2007

The views and opinions contained in each oral history are solely those of the interviewee and interviewer and not necessarily those of eFIL, FAHSOH, FilCom, OMSS, HCH or the University of Hawaii.

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