Gary Girard

Gary Girard.

Hubert and Janet Rabanal have been selected grand marshals of Delano’s 44th annual Philippine Weekend celebration, which climaxes with activities this weekend. The couple has been longtime supporters of the community of Delano and served on numerous boards and committees.

Hubert Rabanal was born on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, and at age 2, he moved with his family to Delano in 1960. The son of Silverio and Simplicia Rabanal, he is a brother to Darlene, Jesse and Millie.

After graduation from Delano High, where he won the MVP award in basketball, he continued at Porterville College and then was a walk-on player at Cal State Bakersfield where he made the team. In 1979, he was chosen to play on a statewide basketball team that traveled to the Philippines.

After his basketball tour, he married Janet, also a Delano High graduate. He was a part-time teller who worked his way to branch manager. He left the banking business and for the past 22 years has worked with the state Department of Corrections.

Rabanal has served with the Delano Youth Foundation, 20-30 Club, city Parks and Recreation Commission board, Harvest Holidays festival treasurer and lifetime member, past president of the Chamber of Commerce, Philippine Weekend committee, Central Valley Basketball Officials Association and St. Mary’s Catholic School board.

He is currently on the Delano Union School District board, board of the North Kern Cemetery District and auditor for the Filipino Community of Delano. He was Chamber of Commerce Man of the Year in 2002 and is past grand marshal with the Philippine Weekend’s first tournament championship team and, in 2012, was Filipino Community of Delano Man of the Year.

Janet Rabanal is the daughter of Norman and Roberta Ward and sister to Tami and Sandi. The Rabanals have been married nearly 39 years and are proud parents of Zachary and Taylor.

She began her career with Bank of America in 1980 as a clerk in the Delano branch and then rose in positions in the bank in Bakersfield and gained a special honor from the bank in 1985. After the birth of her first child, she returned to the Delano branch as assistant operations manager and, in 1988, was promoted to commercial sales associate with the Bakersfield Commercial Banking Center and later was assistant vice president of commercial banking. She earned numerous awards during her 28 years with Bank of America. She retired from banking in 2008.

In 2011, Janet became chief executive officer of Delano Chamber of Commerce and has worked tirelessly to promote the city. She has been chairperson of Delano Centennial celebration, Harvest Holidays past president and board member, secretary to Filipino Community of Delano, past board member of Soroptimist International of Delano, Prison Advisory Board member, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce member and a helper in the Christmas food basket giveaway, Toys for Tots and Shop with a Cop.

In 1984, she volunteered with the American Cancer Society and was on the steering committee for the Bakersfield Relay and was instrumental in bringing the event to Delano in 1999. She also was a member of the Central Valley Leadership Team and Community Council. Her passion on the Cancer Society Relay was the life-changing diagnosis of her son Zachary as a child. He is now in remission. She recently completed her 10th half-marathon and has three more set this year.

The Rabanals will ride in the PW parade Saturday and appear at ceremonies at Cecil Avenue Park following the parade.


Saturday events during July are the preview of Delano’s 44th annual Philippine Weekend, which traditionally takes place the last weekend of July. This year’s fiesta theme is “Celebrating Our Rich Legacy Through Culture and Tradition!”

The Weekend’s Tiny Tots event was scheduled July 7 and the Miss and Mr. pageant on July 14.

Four women are participating in the Philippine Weekend’s Mrs. Philippine Week pageant Saturday, July 21, at the Hyatt Place on Garzoli Avenue near the Delano Marketplace. Taking part are Myrna Dagdagan, Katerina Sinco, Amie Ancheta, and Venus Cabrillas.

Chairperson Tess Patricio reports that 10,000 tickets have been printed for the Weekend fundraiser. There will be trophies presented at the show for native and formal wear and talent.

The title, however, is to be determined by the number of tickets sold. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. with the program to start at 6:30 p.m.

In conjunction with Philippine Weekend, the Chamber of Commerce will sponsor a Street Fair Thursday, from 5 to 9 p.m., on Delano’s Main Street with vendor applications available at the chamber, which may be phoned in at 661-725-2518.

There are also entry forms at the chamber for the Friday adobo cook-off at Cecil Avenue Park, starting at 4:30 p.m. Chairperson Jay Tamsi may be contacted at 661-231-5623.

The fifth annual Weekend tennis tournament at the Delano High courts is scheduled Friday from 6 to 9 p.m., Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon and 6 to 9 p.m., and finals on Sunday from 8 a.m. to noon.

Tennis tournament chair Frank Garay may be reached at 661-344-2268 or emailed at or co-chair Marvin Ubanos contacted at 661-330-7054 or emailed at Entry fee is $10 for singles and $20 for doubles.

The Saturday parade from 8th Avenue on Main St. to the Cecil Avenue Park starts at 10 a.m. Chairperson Dan Madriaga may be contacted at 661-203-3877. There is no charge to enter except for political candidates. Entry forms are at the Chamber of Commerce office, which is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.

Following the parade will be opening ceremonies at Cecil Avenue Park at 11:30 a.m. After recognition of Philippine Weekend royalty and introductions, the Barrio Fiesta booths will be open until late evening and entertainment, including local youth dancers performing native Filipino dances, will take place at the park. Chairperson is Jodie Fernandez, 661-900-8070. The entertainment is scheduled to start at 12:30 p.m.

Nikka Cabello, 661-345-5167, is arranging the dance contest at Cecil Avenue Park on Saturday while Daniella Hightower 580-678-2709 is the chair for the singing contest at the park both Saturday and Sunday.

A Santacruzan procession will take place Saturday evening around Cecil Avenue Park, starting about 9 p.m. Contact person is Ricky Dela Cruz, 661-703-7571.

The Philippine Weekend basketball tournament, which draws teams from throughout the state and as far as Las Vegas, is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. on Sunday. Delano High gyms are to be the sites of the games with the possibility of another gym. Chairperson Rick Pablo may be reached at 661-302-7288.

Bingo is sponsored by Delano High cheerleader parents at the school cafeteria from noon to 7:15 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Cheerleaders will be selling the fiesta’s official souvenir program for $1 as well as concessions.


A special award presented by the Philippine Weekend committee is the Mabuhay award, given to someone for great service over a long period of time. This year’s recipient is Helen Calip, once the business manager for the school newspaper that I advised at Delano High School.

She has been a one-person committee raising scholarship funds for deserving Filipino students in the local high schools. Since 2004, under her direction, the Philippine Weekend scholarship fund has awarded $14,750 in scholarships to 119 students.

Born in the Philippines, she came to the U.S. at age 3, the daughter of Florentino Sr., a Navy and Merchant Marine veteran, and Guillerma (Emma) Calip, who managed the homefront, raising four children. The family settled in Delano in 1965 with Helen attending Fremont Elementary, Delano High and UCLA where she earned a bachelor’s degree.

After a stay as bank assistant manager in new accounts and loans in the Los Angeles area, she returned to Delano to care for her mother. In 1994, she began work for Bakersfield College and is currently the admissions and records technician at the community college’s Delano campus.

Her involvement in the community of Delano includes being a member and/or holding various officer positions in the Filipino Community of Delano Inc., Filipino Women’s Club, Philippine Weekend Inc., Filipino American National Historical Society, Filipino Catholic Association and the Delano Elementary School District Hall of Fame committee. She also is involved in Delano’s annual Relay for Life event.

She has received several commendations from work, community organizations and government officials. Among them include a Bakersfield College Employee of the Month award, Woman of the Year recognition from the Delano Chamber of Commerce and the Filipino Community of Delano Inc., and as an inductee to the Delano Elementary School District Hall of Fame.

She says that her service to the community of Delano and to the Filipino community have given her a deep sense of gratitude and appreciation of the unique, vibrant and joyful connections she has made.


Theft of the Delano Chamber of Commerce’s fireworks booth in the Smart & Final parking lot was foiled, a chamber official said.

The burglars who broke into the booth advertised items on “Delano Deals” on Facebook and were caught in a sting operation.

Not only were the stolen items from the fireworks found at the burglar’s home, but also illegal fireworks.


Delano grape grower Ken Kovacevich celebrated his 90th birthday with about 300 people at the Delano Slav Club honoring him in late June.

A sign prepared by family showed he was born June 29, graduated from Reedley High School, served two years in the Army including one in Korea, and has five children, 12 grandchildren and six great grandchildren.

He has traveled to 25 countries on six continents. His first tractor, said Ken, was a pair of mules named Pete and Molly. In 1998, he was honored as Delano’s grand marshal for the Harvest Holidays celebration.

At his request, everyone in the crowd stood before the dinner to sing together “God Bless America.”


My daughter, Renee Carson, has reported to me that when she posted something on Facebook about her childhood friend, Kim Kuney, in Delano, she got a response from Alma Martens, who for a time was the babysitter for Renee and Kim. Alma and husband Wayne, once the service department head at the Delano Chevrolet agency, now live in Bakersfield.


Delano Regional Medical Center deserves a pat on the back. Hospital property is located along Garces Highway at the Randolph Street intersection and has a sign “Delano Community Garden” on hospital district property.

People — and I’m not sure if a person has to be a hospital employee — can grow vegetables on the property as there are several separated gardens on the property.

The crops not only can help feed a family but also offers an opportunity for those gardening to continue a hobby or tradition.


With the announcement of All-Area teams by The Bakersfield Californian newspaper, no local prep athlete rated higher than Honorable Mention. Some “mentions” were not even gained by some top athletes, maybe an oversight of the paper but more likely a failure of coaches to forward their names for consideration.

Christopher Ponce for Robert F. Kennedy High received mention for track and field. For softball, Cesar Chavez player Malaya Espiritu gained notice. For baseball, Cesar Chavez players Eric Barraza and Jon Ozuna were both recognized.

Kobe Silva, whose grandparents James and Olivia Tamsi reside in Delano, was a first-team baseball selection for Bakersfield’s Frontier High School. Silva’s parents, Brandon and Anna, are former Delano High athletic stars.

Many of the names appearing on all-area lists were also familiar and likely children or grandchildren of people with Delano “roots.”

Gary Girard is a longtime resident of Delano. He can be reached at 661-725-8803.

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