35 reasons why Maui is voted best island in the world

This article was published in the FilAm Courier, Oct. 16 issue.

Maui did it again. I couldn’t be more proud to call Maui my home.

Condé Nast Traveler’s Magazine has rated Maui best island in the world – the top pick of its correspondents – now on its 20th consecutive winning year.

Sure, there are tons of reasons that make Maui no ka oi. It is a collaboration among entities that preserve the island’s beauty and charm. It is the local government and organizations that have kept up with the demands of time. With 35,000 visitors coming in daily, imagine how much impact that will have on infrastructure, local businesses and environmental management.

Visitors on Maui leave with priceless memories and come back wanting more. The reason is not Haleakala nor the almost-perfect beaches that we have. Our visitors come back, stay at one of our signature hotel accommodations, and instantly become hanai to the Maui family. That is the reason. It is our friendly, unsung heroes of the hospitality department that has made us no. 1 again and again.

I recently emceed at the 2013 Outstanding Housekeepers Awards Banquet and Recognition Ball, sponsored by the Binhi At Ani Filipino Community Association. One by one the awardees went on stage and accepted recognition framed certificates. Their fellow employees cheered every time their hotel name was called out.

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Mayor Alan Arakawa thanked the honorees for their hard work. Photo by Ryan Piros, County of Maui.

These manangs and manongs make sure that after a rough day out and about Maui, visitors come back to their hotel rooms with their beds made, trash emptied, towels washed and supplies refilled. They make sure laundry is done. They make sure every dirty work is done. And they’re happy to do it for you.

I have not traveled extensively around the world to compare services and justify my claim. But I hear it from other people who have, and claimed that nothing compares to when your housekeeping person is a Filipino.

Do you know that feeling when you come home and the house is spic and span, dinner is ready, your used clothes washed, dried and folded, and your bed welcomes you with open arms for another episode of slumber? I happen to have been blessed and experienced that most of my life growing up in the Philippines. But I promise you, I wasn’t a spoiled brat.

We had a yaya – a house help. It is typical and common for Filipino middle class families to have a helper. Our yaya, we call her Ninang, has been with us since my parents were married and practically raised me and my brothers.

I reminisce the conveniences I had when I still lived with Ninang in my best place in the world – home in the Philippines.

But remember that feeling – that feeling when a deep sigh of relief really meant like a relaxing embrace. That’s the same feeling every visitor who has voted for Maui in that survey felt during their stay in the island. That was it. They had a Ninang during their stay. Because of that, Maui became their best place in the world.

Every awardee that night beamed with so much pride. Maui’s luxurious hotels and recognitions would be nothing without their hard work and love for the job. They truly are heroes.

Please stop a moment, greet, and throw a shaka the next time you meet one. And if you recognize any of these names, then you have an award-winning Ninang in your family, too.

Here are the 35 reasons why Maui is voted Best Island in the World – the 2013

Housekeeping Awardees:
Andro Lacaden
Henry Oandasan
Perigrino Yadao
Jerry Santiago
Laurence Castillo
Rowel Bautista
Amado Vallesteros
Andres Arcala
Adriano Mercado
Jun Peredo
Joven Antolin
Jayson De La Cruz
Oscar Soriano
Elenita Ildefonso
Marife Ilar
Elsa Piano
Rosario Versola
Marilou Blando
Jackie Puno
Nenita Corpuz
Maribel Ibe
Cristina Bollante
Magdalena Magaoay
Erlilnda Parilla
Erlilna Pagaduan
Leinie Acoba
Ermelita Torrente
Nellie Huliganga
Rudy Melchor
Rose Sijalbo
Cecilia Yagin
Blasilda Yapit
Nenita Alcantara
Mehelle Felipe
Giji Turner

Tweet your best hotel housekeeping moments with me at @keeet.

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131017-2Mahalo to the Binhi At Ani Board members for putting the event together! Especially to Manong Manny Baltazar, Event Chair and former awardee himself. Talk about giving back =)