By Léo Azambuja

Sabra Kauka, accompanied by Sonia Topenio, blesses the land during the Kaua‘i  Philippine Cultural Center groundbreaking ceremony March 29.

Sabra Kauka, accompanied by Sonia Topenio, blesses the land during the Kaua‘i Philippine Cultural Center groundbreaking ceremony March 29.

A string of Hawai‘i officials and stakeholders performed a groundbreaking ceremony for the Kaua‘i Philippine Cultural Center in Puhi last week.

“Today, we move some dirt. Tomorrow, our dreams come true,” KPCC president Lesther Calipjo said prior to the groundbreaking ceremony on a parcel of land next to the YMCA of Kaua‘i March 29.

Sabra Kauka blessed the grounds while several stakeholders and government officials sunk shovels on the property that will one day house a center “to provide, promote and enhance cultural, educational training and social programs as well as cross cultural exchanges in our multi-ethnic environment,” according to KPCC’s mission statement.

U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard

U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard

U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said everyone involved in the project worked hard. But the KPCC is not about them, she said; their motivation is the investment and commitment to the next generation.

Back in July 2012, the Kaua‘i County Council approved a 99-year lease on a prime 3.6 parcel of land, for $1 per year. Then in 2013, Grove Farm Company signed a 100-year lease on an adjoining property of more than 11 acres. The seed for the project had been planted years before, when in 2010, Calipjo, then Kaua‘i Filipino Chamber of Commerce President, called for the creation of a cultural center.