Operations maintenance assistant Manny Tagalicud came to Hawai‘i from the Philippines in 1996, when his father—who was already in Hawai‘i—petitioned for him to come. Manny’s father immigrated in 1988 when his father (Manny’s grandfather) petitioned for him to come. In 2012, Manny’s wife and two daughters immigrated when Manny petitioned for them to come.

For those of you keeping count, that’s four generations of a family enduring years of separation and sacrifice in search of a better life, which Manny says he and his family has found in Hawai‘i. “Of course my daughters sometimes miss their grandparents, and my wife sometimes misses her parents, but life is a little bit better here, we’re all happy to be here.”

When asked to name his favorite work in the collection, his choice underscores how Anna Rice Cooke’s museum concept—creating a place where Hawai‘i’s ethnicities can connect with their cultural heritage as well as that of others—is still in play.

“I work mostly outside, but I enjoy coming to the Art of the Philippines Gallery when I can,” says Manny. “Sculpture is my favorite form of art, and as a Catholic and a Filipino, my favorite work in the museum is the wooden sculpture St. Thomas Aquinas. Every time I look at it I feel nostalgic. I used to return to the Philippines every year, but now that my family is here with me I haven’t been back in seven years. When I look at this sculpture it makes me want to visit, which I hope to do with my family in the next couple of years.”

‘Saint Thomas Aquinas,’ 18th century, Wood, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Henry B. Clark, Jr., 1983