Cion Solanzo offers advice to youth of today
(On Intergenerational Day on March 12 at Lahaina Intermediate School, Lahaina Complex After School Tutors from Lahainaluna High School interviewed West Maui kupuna to write their biographies. This is the fifth profile in the series.)
Cion Solanzo was born in the town of Cabugao in the Ilocos Sur province of the Philippines on Nov. 2, 1927. As the youngest of four children, she was brought up as the “spoiled” child.
Her father, Santiago Sabio, was a farmer and her mother, Paula Sosa, was a housewife who had a business where she bought and sold goods. Cion’s lone brother was the vice mayor of their town and passed away of a heart attack. The eldest daughter of the family worked as a housekeeper until she passed away from old age. Today, Cion and her retired teacher sister keep in touch with each other.
Cion’s family lived in a very friendly neighborhood where everyone knew each other. There was no need for addresses because everyone knew each other and where they lived. Her neighborhood was affected by World War II, because they needed to evacuate to a place far from town. Cion and her family resided there until the war was over, but when they returned, they were devastated. All of the houses were burned by the Japanese, so they had to rebuild their homes.
As a child, Cion was considered the spoiled one because the only chore she had was to clean the house. Her sisters did all of the cooking and laundry, so her sisters teased her about being lazy, which made Cion laugh. She admired her mother and father because they always encouraged her to go to school and they taught her good values. These values included respecting the elderly, how to get along with others, and to give thanks to God for all that he has done. These are values that she passed on to her three children.
Cion worked as a teacher in the Philippines for 13 years until she moved to Hawaii. In Hawaii, she had numerous jobs and was married to Loreto Solanzo, who passed away on Dec. 12, 1982. She is proud of her three daughters. She taught them the values of education and discipline, and has always encouraged them to do their best. All of her daughters graduated from Lahainaluna High School and continued their education in college. In spite of living alone since the passing of her husband and the marriage of her daughter, Cion feels that her life was fulfilling.
Janet Lendio, Cion’s eldest daughter, attended the University of Hawaii. Janet is the manager of the ABC Store at Lahaina Cannery Mall.
Lorna Dotomain also attended the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She is the supervisor at the Bank of Alaska.
Lorelle Persos is the youngest of Cion’s daughters. Lorelle was the valedictorian of Lahainaluna High School’s Class of 1988. She attended the University of Hawaii and Northern Arizona University and received her master’s degree in hotel industry management from the University of the Pacific. She is a teacher for hotel industry management at Maui Community College.
Looking back on her life, Cion has enjoyed every moment of it and has some advice to pass on to the future generations. She feels that the youth should respect the elderly, because one day they are going to want the youth to respect them as well.
Cion wants them to value education, because in the future, they will be able to have a better life and a higher standard of living. They should refrain from drug use because it is an unnecessary detriment to their lives. As a firm believer in God, Cion said that everyone should become a God-fearing person, because he is responsible for all that happens in our lives.
Lastly, Cion wants the future generations to be an asset to their community, rather than a liability.