Section III, Sakadas in Hawaii

Dad's Cane Cutter

Remembering things in my house left from mydad growing up in the Silicon Valley. I remember a very large knife hanging in the backyard tool shed. I always thought it was a butcher knife cause I always seen my dad using it to butcher pigs and goats with it. I didn’t realize until much later that it was a cane cutter he used to harvest sugarcane on the sugar plantations in Hawaii. 

All this time when I was a kid I thought that huge knife hanging in my dad's toolshed was a butcher knife. Everytime I seen him using it he was butchering some kind of meat for BBQ in the backyard. I didn't realize until much later when I finally took the initiative to learn about my Fil-Am roots that it was a sugarcane cutter used when he worked as a sugar plantation worker on the island of in Kauai.


The Hawaiian Sugar Planters' Association recruited Filipino workers from the Ilocos and Manila regions of the Philippines. The majority of the Filipino workers were Ilocano and Visayan. My dad was one of them at the age of 16 when he came to Kauai in 1922. The Philippines was still a commonwealth of the United States and Hawaii did not have statehood yet.

These Filipino workers were refered to as "Sakadas" which translates into "Laborer" in Tagalog. The main reason these workers were recruited was to pay them lower wages.

(to be continued)

Camps were seggregated ....manipulation......cheaper wages.......strike in 1924
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Pablo Manlapit

"It is one of the cherished American ideals that each generation shall stand in advance of the preceding one: better physically, mentally, spiritually. And America demands for her workers this opportunity for development."

-Manlapit was a migrant worker, lawyer, and President of the Filipino Federation of Labor