Welcome the Year of the Tiger!
    Here it is, a brand new year—a brand new decade! The Year of the Tiger is traditionally associated with massive changes and social upheaval. It’s a volatile year for the world and on a personal level, as well. But it is also a year of extreme GROWTH. So take in these challenges as “lessons” and “opportunities.”

    But before we launch into an exciting year of 2010, we pause to be in gratitude for many great blessings of 2009. It was a tough economic year, but many people forged their way thru it, cautious but optimistic. I, as a small business person was one of them. We thank our many sponsors for their enduring support for our 15th Anniversary of EMME Inc.

    In 2010 we had a somber and sad start. We bid farewell to a dear, dear friend, Chris Pablo. My weekly golf buddy is now in heaven probably organizing a tournament of some kind. Chris always knew he was on borrowed time, especially after he found his bone marrow donor Roger Arreola from Kauai. Chris had nearly 15 years – a record – for a leukemia patient. Although it was another illness that finally took Chris home, that decade and a half were precious years for all of us who new and loved Chris.

    We saw Chris’s donor at the beautiful and elegant services at the St. Andrew’s Cathedral in early January. Saddened by our mutual loss, I reassured Roger that his bone marrow “gift” gave Chris more time to devote to sharing and caring for others who were in need. That’s what Chris promised to do and he did that and more. Pablo’s best friend Robin Campaniano was with Chris during his final months, weeks, days and moments. Campaniano delivered a most poignant eulogy.

    But I want to thank Sandy, Chris’ wife, for sharing Chris with us in the community, in the political, legal and medical circles, in the Filipino, local and greater island communities. Chris was part of them all. He taught me to “live your best moments” something I will always remember.

    In January, I had an exciting reunion with Mike Hewitson, the executive assistant to Elton John. Hewitson and I met back in 1964 when he was the road manager of another legendary English rock group, the Dave Clark 5. My husband and I attended the Elton John concert and later had dinner with Elton John’s executive team at Chai’s Island Bistro. Chai whipped up a most exquisite dinner!

    Remember the name B.J. Sams? He retired as morning anchor at a TV station in Little Rock, Arkansas. Sams used to be an anchor here in Hawaii on KHON and KITV. We had a nice reunion lunch and caught up with all the changes of television here in Hawaii. Sams was a personal friend of former Governor of Arkansas Bill Clinton and during Clinton’s presidency visited and interviewed him at the White House.

    Speaking of the President, Barack Obama had a nice Christmas holiday – just 5 streets from our home. It’s nice to know Kailua is now the new “Camp David.”

    Have a great 2010---be safe and make health a priority! Stay tuned for some great news about EMME Inc. and our programming schedule for this New Year of the Tiger—Grrr-e—a—tt!

Emme and Mike Hewitson

BJ Sams and Emme
    I had the privilege of acquiring a great sponsorship relationship with Kaanapali Beach Hotel who will be supporting our Emme’s Classic Island Moments series.

    The Maui Hotel is truly “kamaaina” and their staff truly feels like family and exudes the ohana spirit. Through them I met the Lindsey family of West Maui. There is a poignant story involving that family, which includes a canoe the Kaanapali Beach Hotel staff built, and will be part of my special in October.

    Maui No Ka Oi - is truly the island slogan in more ways to me. I left a small pouch of jewelry in the airport bathroom and thought I’d never see it again. We called the airport security and someone from Starbuck’s turned it in! The same afternoon, my pouch was returned. I sent a note and a little gift to that girl at the airport Starbuck’s who deepened my faith in our island hospitality and aloha spirit!

    On March 23rd we premiered our Emme’s Classic Island Moments on KFVE. The concept was to go back into our archives and produce a show of moments “back in the day” and share updates with our guests as to “where are they now.”
    I’ve had fun reuniting with Kelii Kanealii formerly of HAPA, Tom Moffatt, Nohelani Cypriano, Amy Gilliom, Rich Miano, Chuck Furuya, Puamana, Al Harrington and all the great guests who have come back to Island Moments. It’s a new home at KFVE—but I love the ‘neighborhood’ of local programming: Merrie Monarch, Na Hoku Hano Hano Awards and of course UH Sports!
   We’re also supporting island wear. Each week I feature a new outfit created by a local designer. The idea came from Mary Miyaguchi who used to design Emme’s Island Wear. Today we’re promoting local designers and hope to encourage people to buy local and support local in the fashion industry!


    It’s been fun reminiscing with former guests and catching up with folks that I’ve missed being in touch with. So many of the people we talk to on Island Moments become lifelong friends. And even though we don’t see one another too often, good feelings prevail whenever we reconnect.

    In the “Millennium Woman”, I had a chance to check in on pilot Zoe Ann Roach who is living her dream now as a Captain for Hawaiian Airlines. It’s always fun to catch up with Vicky Cayetano who is enjoying her civilian life and Patti Tam who is traveling the world over for her hotel business.

    I had the most response from the show we did in San Francisco from so many Hawaii transplants formerly on the airwaves. Roberta Wong, now lives on the Big Island and Emerald Yeh still lives with her husband and twin sons in the Bay Area. Yes,both Roberta, Emerald and I were alumni of KITV back in the good ole days.
   The Public Schools of Hawaii Foundation (of which I am a Trustee) celebrated Hawaii Public Schools with a great event on May 12th. We honored high school graduates and community Leaders, Allan Ikawa (Hilo High School), Daniel Lau (Mckinely High School) and Harry Saunders (Kailua High School).

   We also handed out grants to 5 teachers from various public schools for their innovative ideas and projects. To date, we have funded $3 million to public school teachers.

   Maya Soetoro–Ng attended the program as a
public school advocate and is hosting several educational workshops for teachers this summer!

   Steve Uyehara did an amazing job as emcee!

   Our Emme’s Classic Island Moments is rolling out with many great programs and comments! See our website for reviews.

   This is a most exciting month --- by the time you read this, I will be on my way to visit my father’s island in South Cebu. I was there last with my dad in the 70’s. I’m going back for a major Tomimbang reunion of over 300 relatives sprawled out on a family tree that traces the lineage of my great grandparents down to my generation.

   The island of Siquijor is as big as Lanai. My father journeyed from the island back in 1931. From island to island — to Siquijor with Aloha. Sounds like a documentary or possibly a TV special… Perhaps, so!


   At the end of May I spent two weeks through early June attending a reunion on the island of Siquijor, (Philippines) where my father was born. It’s been very difficult to talk about this life-altering experience. I met 300 new relatives and rediscovered my Filipino heritage and my Visayan roots. All I can say is, when I’m ready, I will be putting the adventure into a documentary special, which will hopefully air before the year ends or early 2011.
   We also had a wonderful screening of “Mabuhay With Aloha” in Manila at the Filipino Heritage Library upon my return from Siquijor to Manila. About 40 enthusiastic Philippine filmmakers, educators and members of the Filipino Heritage Library were there to discuss and share Hawaii Filipino experiences.


   We’ve been following an interesting story about Kaililaau, a canoe built by the staff of Kaanapali Beach Hotel on Maui. Earlier this month, the family of Kaililaau, a young boy who died 7 years ago at the age of 10, finally took his ashes to sea from the canoe. It was the young boy’s wish to have a canoe built from a tree on the family property. His wish not only came true, he was finally sent to sea in his namesake canoe. A special on this will air later this year on KGMB. Watch for it!

    It was a very sad time to say goodbye to CJ Bill Richardson. I had the honor of producing his 90th birthday video last December. I’m so glad I had the opportunity to do this, to know him and to be able to share his life with students and faculty at his law school, William S. Richardson Law School and with the legal community. My husband was one of four people who paid tribute to him at his funeral services. Jim was very close to CJ. CJ and Jim’s father, Governor John Burns were among the very few and special architects of the Hawaii we see today.

   It was a month of speaking engagements!

   Aug 21 – I helped the Visayan Hinabangay celebrate its 62nd anniversary in Waipahu. I grew up in that clubhouse and was excited to see it still in its original form sharing events with longtime members. I also shared my adventures in Siquijor since many of the members are also from the island. It was wonderful to talk about Siquijor to those who had been from or to the island.

   Aug 22 - It was an honor and a privilege to speak at the opening and the lei draping ceremony of Duke Kahanamoku’s Waikiki statue at the yearly Duke Kahanamoku Oceanfest. However, my role was to speak about Duke’s wife, Nadine Alexander who upon her death donated the estate of Duke and Nadine Kahanamoku to the John A. Burns School of Medicine.
   It was exciting to share that the legacy of Duke and Nadine Kahanamoku extends beyond water sports. It’s been 11 years now since a scholarship was formed in their names. Total to date $2 million have been given to 170 scholarship applicants and most of them are now practicing doctors in Hawaii.

  Aug  23 - It was Women’s Equality Day and I was asked to open the forum and panel discussion with military women at Camp Smith. I spoke to a group of Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines and Coast Guard women. It was good to share that back in 1980 the women of KITV went on strike for “equal work for equal pay.” Its been thirty years and its feels good to be one of the pioneers of women in television broadcasting getting appropriate compensation for our work!
   It was also fascinating to see and hear what strides women have also made in the armed forces. Met a lot of very interesting and accomplished women!

   Sep 13  - The big event this month was the PREMIER OF HAWAII 5-0—the rebooted version. I had the privilege of going to the Waikiki Beach Premier with Al Harrington, who played Ben Kokua in the original series.
Al was extremely well received by fans who took pictures, got autographs and cheered him on as he walked along the fence between the crowds and the premiere screening area.
   An ‘island moment’ was listening to Al Harrington read a personal message from James MacArthur (Danno) who could not attend the premier event. It was very touching.
   The new Hawaii 5-0 has exquisite scenery, not too many local faces and the storyline seemed a bit confusing. Lots of action, lots of blood and guts, maybe too much for me, but time will tell. Hawaii 5-0 is back - young and fresh. It just needs to ripen and mature like fine wine.


   Oct 23 - It was an honor to be part of the Hawaii Filipino Women’s League — 40th anniversary. I remember Dr. Cora Manayan who founded the group in the 70’s — she was my mentor during my early days at KISA Radio, which her family owned. I honor her for all the wonderful experiences I’ve had and learned from at the first and only Filipino-owned radio station in Hawaii. What vision the Manayan family had for our Hawaii-Filipino community back then!

   Oct 27 – This was also a month to celebrate a significant birthday —wow— where did the years go and how did I get here so fast!? My first outing was at Waialae Hawaiian Nite. We had Little Albert and his band with the most outstanding gift of talents from Yvonne Elliman, Melveen Leed and Jimmy Borges. What a great nite!!

   Oct 29 - On another night, I also picked 35 great gal pals and ended up celebrating at the SOS Classic Show. We had a blast—after that—a late nite supper at ZIPPY’S  in their private conference room on King St. Many of the women, I had and continue to admire for their strength, intelligence and finesse!

   Oct 28 - Sadly, I lost another dear friend, James MacArthur who played Danno on Hawaii 5-0 — the original series. He helped co-host and produce my award winning show “MEMORIES OF HAWAII 5-0.” We hope to share that special film with the new producers, writers and actors of the rebooted series.


   Nov 25 - This was the month to premier “Ka`ilila`au’s Canoe — A Journey of Spirit.” It’s a show that will have lasting momentum in our community and perhaps, later nationally. We had many, many wonderful comments. See Viewer Comments

   Nov 16 - Before the Thanksgiving airing, we had a wonderful premier screening event at the Ka`anapali Beach Hotel. We were given an ‘EMMY’ statuette of a hula girl designed by Kim Taylor Reece, flowers, award plaque and a screening with KBH’s 300 employees. Mahalo to Mike White, Lori Sablas, Dee Coyle and the gang for a great banquet!
   Also, getting the award with me—production assistant Joanne Corpuz and cameraman Bob Stone of Maui.

Here it is, the end of year — the Year of the Tiger — and what an incredible year of change it was!

   We lost James MacArthur, ‘Danno’ of Hawaii 5-0, Hollywood producer Al Masini and island radio personality Krash Kealoha. Life is much too short for those who contribute so much to this world and are gone too soon.

   As for EMME Inc., we had a great 24-week run of Emme’s Classic Island Moments on KFVE. Just last month on Thanksgiving Day, we aired a year-long project, “Ka`ilila`au’s Canoe — A Journey of Spirit.”  Ka`anapali Beach Hotel recently awarded us our own “Emme Award” for the canoe, hotel and Lindsey family epic. Thank you, Ka`anapali Beach Hotel for the exciting award moment!

   The touching one-hour special is now going to have an encore presentation on KGMB, Christmas Day at 6—7pm. So, if you missed it the first time, you have an opportunity to watch it—or watch it again, as many viewers had requested to do. Since then, many churches and individuals have donated goods, items and money to the Lindsey family. If you would like to make a Christmas offering to them, please contact Lori Sablas at Ka`anapali Beach Hotel (808) 667-0217. 

   Sadly, EMME Inc. is not doing a holiday Christmas television special — for the first time in 16 years. In its place, “Ka`ilila`au’s Canoe — A Journey of Spirit” will be our holiday offering. 

   Personally, this was also a life altering year for me. I celebrated a landmark birthday (The new 40!). And for the first time in decades, I visited my father’s homeland of Siquijor. I had a reunion of 300 Tomimbangs from Mindanao, Davao, Manila, Cotabato, Australia, Ireland and the Middle East. It was a most touching and tearful reunion for me.

   As we end this year of 2010, I wish for all our readers peace, love and hopefully the opportunity to understand legacy and the importance of giving back. As for 2011, I will be sharing “TO SIQUIJOR WITH ALOHA” with viewers sometime next year. However, for the rest of the time, I will be taking some personal time off to enjoy some travel and much needed down time with family and friends.

Be well everyone and thank you for everything you’ve been in my life! Maligayang Pasko to all and Mele Kalikimaka and Hauoli Makahiki Hou. Have an island moment wherever you are . . . from Emme Tomimbang and the staff of EMME Inc.

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