Hawaii Today edited by Derek Paiva Page: 1 2 3 Next>>
new_Parker_Ranch_history_tour_open_rangeA new Parker Ranch tour takes guests out to historical acreage rarely seen by the public and still worked by real paniolo.

We haven’t been on it yet. But it sounded intriguing.

The ranch’s four-hour Cattle Country Tour isn’t for folks interested in roughing it on the range. There’s no saddle time. Instead, you’ll be cruising the ranch’s dusty backroads in an air-conditioned ranch vehicle with, at most, five others, while your driver takes you to points of interest and regales you with tales of each stop's history.

Parker Ranch, on Hawaii’s Big Island, is one of the largest and most historically rich ranches in the U.S. Founded in 1847 by John Palmer Parker, it is also one of the oldest working ranches in the country. Hawaiian cowboys, better known as paniolos, were working Parker Ranch’s vast acreage—stretching from the slopes of Mauna Kea to the picturesque ranching community of Waimea—nearly three decades before similar ranching operations began springing up in the American southwest.

Parker Ranch’s 135,000-plus acres still annually produces more than ten million pounds of beef, making it the 5th largest cow-calf operation in the U.S.

new_Parker_Ranch_history_tour_open_rangeOn the Cattle Country Tour, you’ll visit two of the Parker family’s most historically significant homes before heading out on Mana Road—one of the oldest roads on the Big Island. Mana Road—essentially a dirt-and-gravel trail—traverses open range where horses and cattle graze. Working stables and cowboy stations are visited along the way, including historic Makahalau station where the tour stops for a picnic lunch. You’ll also visit the original Parker family homestead, in the shadow of Mauna Kea.

A four-hour tour just too much ranch for your blood? Take the hour-long Mana Road Tour— a shorter trip on the road, a few less stories, no lunch, but lots of history.
The Cattle Country Tour is $135 per person and includes a picnic lunch and beverage. The Mana Road tour is $50 per person, with snack and beverage. Both tours have a maximum of six passengers, minimum of two.

For more information, call Parker Ranch at (877) 885-7999, or click here.

Photos: Parker Ranch

Hawaii International Film Festival returns Oct. 9

Hawaii_International_Film_FestAttention film aficionados: the 28th annual Hawaii International Film Festival is just days away.

For those new to HIFF, it is the state’s largest independent film festival. Since its inception in 1981, HIFF screened hundreds of films and has been the premier source for introducing films from Asia, South Pacific and beyond to audiences.

This year’s festival runs from October 9-19. The theme is "Staycation,” travel around the world through film. With a lineup of 150 films spanning from Canada to China, it promises to be a global affair indeed.

If you’re curious, a sneak peek of the festivities is tonight from 6:30 – 9:30 pm at the Regal Theatres 18 at Dole Cannery in Honolulu. Along with the release of the official HIFF program guide and advance screening of one of this year’s entries, Show of Hands, the film festival trailer will premiere. The trailer stars two of Hawaii’s biggest home-grown stars, Jason Scott Lee (The Jungle Book) and Kelly Hu (X2: X-Men United). The event is free and open to the public.


So what HIFF flicks are catching my eye?

  • Korean film The Divine Weapon is receiving tons of buzz. After being a hit in its native Korea, it will make its international premiere at HIFF.
  • Anchoring the event is docu-drama Rain of the Children from New Zealand director Vincent Ward. It’s part sequel, part remake, an intriguing take on rural Maori society by re-examining the past of a character from one of Ward’s earlier films.
  • Closing things out will be The Good, the Bad, the Weird. Two words: Korean Western. If that doesn’t pique your interest, then I don’t know what will. 

The Festival has premiered such Academy-Award winning films like The Piano, Y Tu Mama Tambien and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Each year, celebrated film critic Roger Ebert picks one film to be shown at HIFF, sometimes traveling to Hawaii to introduce it to the crowd.

HIFF also gives out several awards: the top film prize—the Golden Maile—and the Achievement in Acting Award. This year’s acting award recipient is The Good, the Bad, the Weird star Jung Woo-Sung. Past winners have included Samuel L. Jackson and The Last Samurai thespian Ken Watanabe.

Tickets are now on sale for at Dole Cannery.  For the complete schedule, click here, or call (808) 528-3456.

Top: Melody Wihapi in Rain of the Children
: Jung Woo-Sung in The Good, the Bad, the Weird,
Photos courtesy
Hawaii International Film Festival


Oahu hotel deals help fight breast cancer

Oahu_hotel_deals_fight_breast_cancerYour next Oahu vacation could help cure breast cancer.

Six Waikiki hoteliers are pairing with the Oahu Visitors Bureau for “Travel Pink! Travel Oahu,” a travel program benefiting the Hawaii chapter of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. The national organization is a longtime leader in the fight against breast cancer—funding research, education and patient services.

The six hotels offering Think Pink! packages are some of Waikiki’s best in their price ranges—the Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort & Spa, Halekulani, Waikiki Parc, Aqua Hotels and Resorts, the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa and the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. Depending on the property, package rates range from $136 to $755 a night—many of these include spa treatments, exclusive gifts, welcome cocktails and special dinners.

The most appealing to me, should I raise the necessary cash? Waikiki Parc’s three-night package—starting at $999—which includes daily breakfast for two, a Nobu Waikiki $150 dining credit and choice of an hour-long spa treatment, surfing lessons or 24-hour Lotus Elise rental. (Better believe I’d choose the Lotus. Call me irresponsible.)

Book the Royal Hawaiian package and you’ll be sipping the first beachside mai tais following the color apropos Pink Palace of the Pacific’s grand reopening in January 2009.

Not staying at one of the above properties? Book a Travel Pink! Oahu vacation experience—an afternoon of Chinatown grocery shopping and hands-on cooking with Chef Chai Chaowasaree of Chai's Island Bistro; a day with marine biologists, swimming alongside sea turtles and dolphins; that kind of stuff.

Click here for more information on Travel Pink! Packages. Portions of package proceeds go to Susan G. Komen for the Cure Hawaii.

Photo: Halekulani

Even more "off the radar" Hawaii getaways

yet_more_Hawaii_off_the_radar_getawaysThe latest issue of Outside Magazine features 50 American “Great Escape” getaways. The focus? Places in our U.S. so far removed from typical vacationers itineraries, Starbucks wouldn’t consider setting up shop.

A couple of Hawaii spots are highlighted: Peaceful Cove Cottage on Hawaii’s Big Island and Milolii Beach on Kauai.

The Na Pali coast doesn’t get more remote than Milolii Beach, says Outside. They brag about sea kayaking to the mile-long stretch of white sand—framed by high mossy cliffs—and hiking "the Lomi Lomi waterfall." We think Outside meant lomilomi waterfall—you know, like the Hawaiian massage. Either that, or their Na Pali guide was messing with their heads.

Outside calls Peaceful Cove Cottage the “anti-Waikiki”—“little more than a few cedar walls and a couple lanais.” Tucked near Kaimu Bay—where Kilauea lava obliterated the entire town of Kalapana in the early 1990s—the cottage is situated three miles from where magma still flows into the Pacific.

We agree with both selections. We also begrudgingly understand that although Hawaii could handily fill a list of 50 “off the radar” getaways on its own, the rest of the U.S. had to get some ink, too.

yet_more_Hawaii_off_the_radar_getawaysStill, we couldn’t help tacking on a few others Hawaii escapes for you:

Ka Lae, or South Point, on Hawaii’s Big Island isn’t just the southernmost spot in Hawaii (and the U.S.), it’s also one of the most remote. Only the most expert fishermen cast from its sheer cliffs and difficult to access shoreline. You'll also find Papakolea Beach here—one of only two green sand beaches in the world.

• HawaiiMagazine.com regulars know we gushed about Lanai’s Polihua Beach in April, “We've never experienced a Hawaii beach quite like Polihua. One-and-a-half miles of white sand. Completely devoid of people.” Click here for another peek.

• A few hardy residents inhabit East Molokai’s isolated Halawa Valley, but more adventurous souls hike and camp amidst its lush greenery and spectacular waterfalls.

• The hiking trails and cabins on Maui’s Mount Haleakala have been raved about at HawaiiMagazine.com. Click here for a refresher.

• The summit of 13,796 foot Mauna Kea on the Big Island is home to Lake Waiau—Hawaii’s only alpine lake and one of the highest lakes in the world—winter snow and a stark boulder-strewn landscape so otherworldly, NASA trained astronauts for the Apollo moon landings there.

No surprise, we couldn't include all of our favorite Hawaii "off the radar" escapes here. Round out our list by leaving a comment below.
Photos: Halawa Valley, Molokai (top); Milolii Beach, Kauai (bottom)

Kaumakaiwa Kanakaole on KIPO FM online Sunday

Planning an afternoon drive around Oahu or an evening in front of your computer in Lubec, Maine, on Sunday? Perhaps you're somewhere in between?

Might we suggest tuning into Hawaii Public Radio’s Kanikapila Sunday—a fitting name for a radio show as kani ka pila literally translates to “let’s play music.”

Host Derrick Malama does just that, playing new and classic Hawaiian music each Sunday, along with interviews and in-studio performances with a who’s who of local artists including the Brothers Cazimero, Amy Hanaialii and Na Leo. 

This Sunday’s featured guest is Na Hoku Hanohano award-winning music artist Kaumakaiwa Kanakaole. He is part of a legendary family of Hawaiian musicians and dancers that runs seven-generations deep—his great-grandmother, Aunty Edith Kanakaole, was a hula legend. Kaumakaiwa has been involved with music most of his life, even participating in the Merrie Monarch Hula Festival since he was 12.

“He’s one of the most talented New Traditionalists to come out in years,” says Malama of Kanakaole, referring to the faction of contemporary artists who aim to preserve and perpetuate Hawaiian music while producing an entirely unique sound from their exposure to pop, rock and other musical genres.

Kanakaole will be promoting his recently-released third studio album, the eponymous Kaumakaiwa. Malama will be chatting with Kanakaole and playing his music.

Where can you hear Kanikapila Sunday? If you're on Oahu, tune into Hawaii Public Radio's KIPO 89.3 FM  at 1 p.m. The rest of the world can tune in online at hawaiipublicradio.org. Just remember to adjust your schedule to match the three-hour program's 1 p.m. Hawaii Standard Time start time.

Happen to live in the Pribilof Islands of Alaska? Like folks on Oahu, you can tune in to Kanikapila Sunday on your radio every weekend on St. Paul's KUHB 91.9 FM. Oddly enough, Malama explains, there are many expatriates from the Islands there, working the fishing industry in the Bering Sea.

A warning for Pribilof fans, though: The show is delayed a week there on KUHB, so if you want to listen in to Kanikapila Sunday live go online.

Photo: Mountain Apple Company


Play ball! Hawaii Winter Baseball begins 8th season

Hawaii_Winter_Baseball_eighth_seasonHawaii_Winter_Baseball_eighth_seasonHawaii loves baseball, but it doesn’t have a Major League Baseball team.

Actually, it doesn’t have any professional sports teams, that is except for the Hawaii Winter Baseball League. This winter league is always stocked with up-and-coming players from the Major League’s farm teams and from Japan’s professional leagues.

The eighth season of HWB league play begins Saturday on Oahu, with players from 23 Major League teams, 6 Nippon Professional Baseball teams and the Korea Baseball Organization.

The league’s four teams—the Waikiki Beach Boys, the Honolulu Sharks, the North Shore Honu, the West Oahu Cane Fires (uh-huh, we dig their names, too)—will play a two-month season of games leading up to a Nov. 16 championship.

This year’s HWB team rosters includes five first-round selections from the 2008 Major League draft—catcher Buster Posey (San Francisco Giants), first baseman Yonder Alonso (Cincinnati Reds), catcher Jason Castro (Houston Astros), shortstop/outfielder Reese Havens (New York Mets) and pitcher Jeremy Bleich (New York Yankees).

HWB has a history of hosting Major League players before they made it big. Famous HWB alumni include Ichiro Suzuki, Jason Giambi, Alex Ochoa and Benny Agbayani. (Click here for a more complete HWB history).

Hawaii_Winter_Baseball_eighth_seasonHawaii_Winter_Baseball_eighth_seasonGames are played at the University of Hawaii-Manoa campus’s Les Murakami Stadium and Hans L’Orange Field in Waipahu. This weekend’s match-ups pit the Sharks against the Beach Boys at Les Murakami Stadium, and the Honu against the Cane Fires at Hans L’Orange Park.Games start at 7 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday, at both venues.

We liked HWB’s spirited match-ups, cheap ticket prices ($3 to $6 per game) and kid-friendly environment so much, we named it “best family activity” in our recent HAWAII Magazine 2008 “Best of Hawaii” cover feature.
For a complete schedule of this season’s games and more information on Hawaii Winter Baseball click here. And since I know you're grooving on the above logos and are about to e-mail me, here's a link to HWB's logo wear page.

Free admission to 11 Hawaii museums on Sept. 27

free_entry_Hawaii_museumsIf you're a museum junkie, make your Saturday plans now.

Will it be a morning immersed in Hawaiian history and culture at Bishop Museum, or an afternoon at the Hawaii State Art Museum perusing the works of the Islands’ best artists?

How about both … free of charge? And perhaps another museum, if you can squeeze in the time.

Eleven Hawaii museums are offering free admission on Saturday as part of Smithsonian Magazine’s fourth annual Museum Day. Participating on Oahu are Bishop Museum, Hawaii Maritime Center, Hawaii State Art Museum, The Contemporary Museum, Manoa Heritage Center, Mission Houses Museum, Pacific Aviation Museum, Queen Emma Summer Palace, Tropic Lightning Museum and University of Hawaii Art Gallery. On Hawaii’s Big Island, the Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaii will be open all day, free of charge.

More than 892 museums and institutions nationwide are participating in the one-day-only event, which annually celebrates their collective value as centers of historical, artistic and cultural education.

Anybody can go. You’ll just need a Museum Day Admission Card to get in.

free_entry_Hawaii_museumsPick up a copy of the September 2008 issue of Smithsonian Magazine and you’ll find a card within the pages. Otherwise, click here to download an admission card for free. Each card admits two people to as many museums as they can fit into the day.

More museums may be added to the list before Saturday. Bookmark this page and we’ll keep you up to date.

Me? I'm checking out The Puppet Show exhibition at The Contemporary Museum, with its promise of "imagery of puppets in sculpture, film, video, time-based media, animation, and photography."

Marionettes are just that cool.

Photos: The Contemporary Museum (top), Hawaii State Art Museum (bottom)

Dwarf planet named after Hawaiian goddess

Planet_named_hawaiian_goddess Pull your telescope out of the closet, there’s a new dwarf planet in the skies. And it’s been given a Hawaiian name, Haumea, after the Hawaiian goddess of fertility.

The International Astronomical Union just made it official. Discovered in 2005, the astronomical entity was classified as a dwarf planet only days ago.

Just what is a dwarf planet? Basically, it is a celestial body that orbits around the Sun. It has sufficient mass that its gravity makes it rounded, but it is not gravitationally dominant in its own region of outer space.

Haumea is our solar system's fifth dwarf planet (the others are Ceres, Eris, Makemake and recently demoted Pluto is another). Haumea is roughly one-third the mass of Pluto.


The name was proposed by the researchers who discovered it —Mike Brown of CalTech, David Rabinowitz of Yale, and Chad Trujillo of Gemini Observatory in Hawaii).

Haumea’s two moons were also given Hawaiian names—Hi‘iaka and Namaka—after two of Haumea’s daughters.

According to myth, Haumea’s children were created from different parts of her body. Similarly, the moons of the dwarf planet were believed to have been broken off its body by an ancient collision.

Coincidentally, the goddess Haumea was a personification of stone, and her namesake planet is believed to be made almost entirely of rock.

Haumea also has the distinction of being one of the few non-spherical planets in our solar system, resembling a football or perhaps a plump cigar. Astronomers think its shape comes from its rapid rotation, possibly the result of a collision with another object billions of years ago.

Artist conceptualization of dwarf planet Haumea (top): Wikipedia/Commons; painting of goddess Haumea by isa Maria

"Sex and the City" actor Chris Noth bids Maui "aloha"

sex_and_the_city_Chris_Noth_MauiSorry, we just couldn’t resist the plethora of cuteness here.

Actor Chris Noth—a.k.a. “Mr. Big” of  the Emmy-winning HBO series Sex and the City—was snapped at Maui airport yesterday, awaiting a flight to points unknown after a weeklong vacation.

The real star of the photos, though, isn’t the leisurely-attired Noth, 53, or his girlfriend Tara Wilson, 26. It's the couple’s 8-month-old son Orion Christopher.

sex_and_the_city_Chris_Noth_MauiWe’ve never seen anyone this happy about leaving Maui. Must be the adorable kid.

This summer’s $150 million-grossing Sex and the City big-screen movie—co-starring an infinitely more more stylish Noth—is out on Tuesday on DVD.

Photos: Flynet

Tales from a Waikiki "on-the-beach" luau

on_beach_luau_WaikikiMany people think luau on Waikiki Beach are a dime a dozen.

Trust us, they’re not.

Most Waikiki beachfront resorts don’t have room for a proper luau. If you want a luau on the beach on Oahu, you usually have to take a tour bus out of town.

So I was intrigued by the Hilton Hawaiian Village’s promise that its “Waikiki Luau on the Lagoon” would deliver an actual toes-in-the-sand luau experience. But it did, with rib-sticking luau food, a sweet sunset alongside the resort’s Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon and a tour-of-the-South-Pacific hula show as a grand finale.

After a long day at work, it was nice to get a lei greeting but even nicer to get a decent mai tai. A quartet of musicians offered a soothing sunset soundtrack of traditional Hawaiian and hapa-haole tunes.

on_beach_luau_WaikikiI was too late for the coconut husking and pineapple tossing, but just in time for the hukilau. It wasn’t a real hukilau, but it was still pretty cool. Dancers emulating fishermen arrived in a canoe from across the lagoon at sunset, enlisting guests to pull in their netted “catch” (no real fish) with the hukilau dance. I watched—my toes buried in the sand.

We next gathered at the luau ground’s imu—a Hawaiian underground oven—to remove a whole pig that had been roasting since noon. Kalua pig—a luau staple that’s essentially a Hawaiian version of pulled pork—tastes best smoked in a real imu, pre-seasoned with little more than sea salt. It was the tastiest kalua pig I’d had in ages. Tender and moist.

The menu also included modern, if not traditional, luau favorites such as huli huli chicken, poi, lomi lomi salmon, mahimahi with macadamia nuts and haupia.

on_beach_luau_WaikikiAn after dinner show called “E Paina Kakou” (rough Hawaiian translation: “Let’s Party”) offered up the usual array of Polynesian dance—done far better than most luau—including a very skilled Samoan fire-knife dance finale.

The Hilton Hawaiian Village’s beach luau happens every Sunday and Wednesday evening, beginning at 5:15 p.m.  Admission at $95 for adults and $45 for children is roughly in line with usual luau prices, and reasonable considering its convenient location if you’re staying in Waikiki (or live in Honolulu, like I do). Click here for more details.
Photos courtesy of Hilton Hawaiian Village
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