4/30/2017 By Dodong N Reyes
The Vintarinian International Reunion weekend in Honolulu, Hawaii attracted almost 400 town-mates, family and friends for walks, talks, community service projects,  picnics, parties, dining, dancing, meeting old friends, making new ones and, of course, speeches.

The town-mates and families who came to Hawaii in droves made this a truly remarkable and memorable weekend indeed. It's a three-day celebration of Vintar Family ties that provided an ideal opportunity to reconnect with our classmates and fellow Vintarinians, and rediscover what Vintarinian means to us and reunite for our Reunion!

Each reunion is different because each location and the number of those coming to the event are different. That's what makes planning a reunion both challenging and exciting. A couple of years ago, Eliel Corpuz from Hawaii got together with the folks in California and suggested that Hawaii will host the next scheduled reunion. Sure enough, they came out with an outstanding plan. And needless to say its execution is flawless, starting with a bus tour, seaside lunch, dinner & show at Paradise Cove, picnic at the Blaisdell Park, and ending with a glorious dinner dance at the Ala Moana Hotel.

No other reunion that comes to mind can compare with this one. It has everything you want in a reunion and then some. It's truly amazing in scope! I did not want it to end!

We thank all the attendees for their unwavering commitment to and support of Vintar and the Vintarinian Family. It's because of you that our Vintar continues its impressive rise among the ranks of the towns in Ilocos Norte.

Check out highlights from this year's exciting Reunion here & here.

Malia Hotel Lobby, in front of the registration hotel desk.
At the lookout of Halona BlowHole
Posing in front of the banner at the Blaisdell Park Picnic.
Place: Malia Hotel in Waikiki. Time: Thursday afternoon: Event: Arrival of reunion guests. Courtesy of Amante Castro Jr.

MAHALO. A word you hear a lot, once you get to Hawaii. And it is not in short supply here at the lobby of the hotel as guests arrived. There's a continuous stream of arrivals as they registered with the hotel clerk but most importantly get their names on the guest list as Clarita and Nila were frantically taking notes and fees for the festivities.

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Already, surprise faces kept popping up, as they hugged themselves to death, finger pointing, shrieking with joy trying to remember who is who.

"Guess who I am?", or "Guess who this is?" are the phrases of the day. And the answer more or less is a bewildering look or a long "hmmm..." And when they got it right, the hallway echoes with thundering laughter. Somehow, everyone clamored for recognition and no one was dissapointed.

Surprise! That's the fun of going to a reunion: It's seeing the people who you were close to all those years ago, and re-exploring the relationships of the past. Back to the future, so to speak.

Place: The island of Oahu. Time: Friday. Event: Bus Tour around the Island. Courtesy of Buddy Tunac, Eliel Corpuz & company. Two buses, ala Maria de Leon in size came up at the front of Malia Hotel and loaded the guest for a full day of fun.

Half of the fun was inside the bus. Why is it that when folks from Vintar get together, jokes galore is the motif or theme. A mosaic of jokes permeated inside the bus as time stood still.

Nobody noticed the traffic tie up, until we had to disembark for a view of tourist spots such as the BlowHole and the bus driver apologized for the delay. "What delay?" was the reply in unison.

First stop: Hanauma Bay. The bay is a circular-shaped shore on the southeast tip of East Honolulu. You can imagine how this beautiful cove was once a volcanic crater. Today, this crater, flooded by wave erosion, is home to an important nature preserve and the island's most popular snorkeling destination.

Second Stop: Halona BlowHole. Just a 10-15 minute drive from Waikiki, located off the Kalanianole Highway and north of Hanauma Bay. Why blow hole? Because during the cold season, (as if there is a winter in Hawaii) strong currents and big waves send waters rushing into the molten lava tubes below the lookout. It slams against the circular lava rocks and send waters erupting like geysers up into the air. It is worth the stop.

Third Stop: Diamond Head crater. No explanation needed here. But just in case. It is the volcanic icon that drives tourist to Oahu in droves. It's the first thing you see from the air when arriving in Honolulu.

Fourth Stop: Kualoa Regional Park. We stop here for lunch. The tide was pretty

The view of the sea is breathtaking. It's definitely a place for amazing photo op sessions! Check photo here. Just behind the park is a gentle crescent of the Ko'olau Mountain range.

Altogether, it's just a perfect day for solitude and relaxation. I'd have lunch here everyday, if I could.

low at noon and provided a
spectacular view of Chinaman's hat. It's called Chinaman's Hat because of its cone shape, which resembles the peasant's hat worn in rural China.
5th Non-Stop: North Shore. We rounded the famous North Shore of Oahu, like Vasco de Gama rounding the Cape of Good Hope. Although we did not stop here, we saw the famous sand and surf mecca of the world.

A tidbit: Buddy was telling me that majority of our townmates are using their homes here as B&B for a source of income.

6th Non-Stop: Historic Town of Haleiwa. You want to see a Hollywood movie set alive and well? This is the place. Time has stood still in this historic surf town, the gateway to the legendary North Shore. A town build for pineapple plantation workers in the late 1800 and early 1900, Haleiwa and neighboring Waimea remain as it was with their charming Western style cottages.

A very pleasant town, indeed. It reminded me a little bit of Vintar with its rustic, pastoral and rural character.

Have you seen the picture of the Obama's slurping and cooling-

off with rainbow flavored shave ice? Yes? That's right. It's taken here in this town where they visit often when in Hawaii for holidays.
7th Stop: Dole Pineapple Plantation. Hawaii is all about history. Many of our forefathers known as "sakadas" worked here during the early 1900's. The township of Waimea, as of today still have many Vintar descendants living here.

Buddy showed me a garden area where literally various types of pineapples including the Philippines pineapple were grown here during its heyday. Most of the ladies spend their time browsing at the gift shop that sells fresh pineapple and aptly-themed souvenirs.

Forget Starbucks or boba drink. This place rewards you with exotic variety of juices and smoothies, (Lanikai Juice) including the world-famous DoleWhip ice cream.

7th Non-Stop: Schofield Barracks. As we headed south via Rte 803, the names of the street changes from Hawaiian to the familiar American, like McMahon Rd, Carpenter St, Foote Ave, etc. This is the home of the US 25th Infantry Division, nestled at the foot of the Waianae mountain range.

We did not linger here much, but it is interesting to note that it is still here as a strategic enclave for the defense of the US after the Pearl Harbor debacle. If I am still in the Service, this would be the place where I'd like to serve.

Final Stop: Paradise Cove. The best luau of all of Hawaii, second to none! With the most spectacular Hawaiian sunset as a backdrop, and the ancestral folk dance and songs of Polynesian culture, you cannot beat the classical Hawaiian cuisine that was served for dinner.

Then an epic event just happened. The rain came! While eating dinner! I must confess, I thought the rain was a part of the act as the show on stage went on. It had to be. There's no other plausible explanation. It was a part of the package deal, and no refund was necessary. An unforgettable evening, indeed! Check photo here.

Place: Blaisdell Park. Time: Saturday. Event: Picnic. Courtesy of Buddy Tunac, Eliel Corpuz & Company.

Location, location, location. Where you choose to have your picnic sets the mood of the whole experience. Blaisdell Park was the right choice.

Nice view of Pearl Harbor's mothball fleet. Lots of open green areas and large trees and parking space. You can kick soccer ball around here with your friends. There are park benches and tree covered areas where you can grill. It also has a restroom available. And, oh a bike path too.

But, the tremendous outpouring of guests was a shocker. Over 100 souls came together for a memorable get together under the acacia trees. With everyone having a mobile phone camera, photo ops ruled the day. Tons of shots were taken as they mingled around and posed together.

Bon Appetitt. The reason for a picnic of course is food, to share a meal with friends, relatives, etc. You add music, singing and dancing, and you get yourself a memorable, delightful fun day. That's exactly what happened here, indeed. See photos here.

I fell in love with the singing and dancing as it reminded me of William Holden and Kim Novak, singing and dancing in the film Picnic. If you are talking about musicals, here it was as Elsa kept playing the electric piano board, and folks led mostly by Flordelize started a circle dance and kept dancing.

Needless to say, it was an excellent production, deserving a nomination for any musical award. Someday they will call it, La La Land. No, Vintar Nation.

The lechon bench drew a crowd. As they say, braising makes heroes out of weekend cooks. Well, the team who did the lechon were the heroes of the day. See photos here. I got to confess, the meat is so tender and succulent, that I kept going back for more.
Place: Ala Moana Hotel in Honolulu. Time: Sunday Night: Event: Dinner Dance. 

Dine and dance at your pleasure at the Ala Moana Hotel.

By now, after 3 days of hobnobbing, and have met and familiarized yourself with everybody, and have gotten rid of your insecurities, it is now time to dress up and for the last time try to impress everybody. Dress code: For men, it is the barong. For women, it is the Maria Clara. It's a serious business. Of all the events in the past 3 days, this one embodied all the promises of the reunion. The women were so regal, so poised,

For me, I thought the night - it will go on forever. I did not want it to end. But as they say, "All good things must come to end." MAHALO!

All were empowered because they have renewed their sisterhood and brotherhood to their cause, the Vintarinian. All of them has answered the familiar Angelus bell tolls of Vintar. Here they were together, once more. For some, maybe for the first and last time. For others, just the beginning. Still others, for eternity!

Ladies & gentlemen of the dinner dance - hallway of Ala Moana Hotel.
so stunning, so perfectly right, so Ilocana. The men were so manly, so princely, so handsomely, so Ilocano. But, all were so Vintarinian!