Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Big Island of Hawaii – University of Hawaii at Hilo

University of Hawaii -- Hilo

One of the real advantages to living on the east side of the Big Island is the University of Hawaii at Hilo.  I have been fortunate to lecture at the school the past two years teaching Introductory Business to some 40-60 students, depending on the semester, and a management class in Organizational Behavior to about 30-40 upper class men.

The students in my classes have been heavily represented by the Hawaiian Islands but also came from the mainland, Guam, Tonga, Samoa, Micronesia, Japan, Korea, the Philippines and Sweden.  And their overall attitude and approach to learning is excellent.

The University is composed of six Colleges, and has received recognition for numerous academic programs including its marine biology, volcanology, astronomy, Hawaiian language, pharmacy, agriculture, computer science, and nursing programs.

Its College of Hawaiian Language, Ka Haka ʻUla O Keʻelikōlani, is the only school in the United States to offer graduate degrees for study in an indigenous language.
And the University’s College of Pharmacy is the only approved pharmacy school by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) in the State of Hawaiʻi and the Pacific Islands.

According to one survey by U.S. News and World Reports the University of Hawaii-Hilo ranks in the top ten for having both the most ethnically diverse and the lowest percentage of students with debt at graduation.

Seeing this University up close almost daily made me wonder about its origins.  The school was originally founded as the Hawaiʻi Vocational College (Hawaiʻi College) and in 1947 it became as an extension division of UH Mānoa (the main University of Hawaii campus).

UH Hilo enrolled 1,600 students by 1986. And since 1998, the university has increased enrollment every year. The Fall 2011 headcount of 4,077 is the highest enrollment in the history of the campus and a 150% increase since 1986.

Its Center for the Performing Arts is home to the Hilo Symphony as well as offering a full program of entertainers this year from The Billy Cunliffe Trio to the Bad Boys of Dance to the play Hairspray.

The University of Hawaii at Hilo is truly the jewel in the crown for those fortunate to visit of live near Hawaii’s second biggest city.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

A Hilo “Luau” on the Island of Hawaii

A luau is a Hawaiian feast or party usually featuring food such as poi, kalua pig, poke, lomi salmon, opihi and haupia, along with beer (and rum drinks); and often entertainment, like Hawaiian music and hula.

On July 4th we had some friends over to watch the fireworks over Hilo Bay and decided to turn it into a mini-luau.  For something special, my wife Devany and I wanted to prepare a Cuban style roasted pig, something similar to kalua pig which we have had at several Hawaiian celebrations here.

The word kalua literally means "to cook in an underground oven" and also describes the flavor of food cooked in this manner, i.e., “kalua pig.”  Kalua is an ancient Hawaiian cooking method that uses an imu, or underground oven.

At a traditional luau, a fire using kiawe wood (a species of mesquite tree) is built in a sand or dirt pit (the imu).  It is about six feet long, four feet wide and three feet deep. Rocks are placed in the imu to retain cooking heat after the flames have burned down.  Once the rocks have become extremely hot, the hole is lined with vegetation such as banana leaves.
Imu Ready for Firing
The meat to be cooked (in this case a suckling pig) is salted, rubbed with herbs, stuffed with more hot rocks, and covered with ti and banana leaves.  To maintain even heating and to retain the meat's natural moisture, it is covered first with wet burlap, then with a layer of sand or soil.  The meat is then left to cook in the pit for six to seven hours.

Since we did not particularly feel like digging up our yard, we did perhaps the next best thing which was to use a pig roasting box purchased from “La Caja China”.  The La Caja China is a box designed to accommodate the roasting of a marinated whole pig, butterfly cut.  The pig is placed inside the box, and charcoal is placed on top of the lid to roast the meat inside.  After about five hours the pig is well roasted and tastes amazing.

We were able to buy the big from a local abattoir in Hilo not far from our house.  It probably weighed about 60 pounds (80 pounds live weight) and barely fit in the La Caja China.

Devany had marinated the pig in a solution of sour orange and garlic with spices for 24 hours before the day of its cooking.  She also injected the pig with more of the marinade just before the coals were started.  Her recipe for the (marinade) is as follows:

2 gallons of orange juice
1 quart of lime juice
1 cup of dried chopped oregano
¼ cup garlic salt
3 cups of chopped garlic
½ cup of cracked black pepper

At the "Luau"
The results were well enjoyed by all, and while not quite a real luau, it certainly was a great feast.  I’ll discuss some of the other gastric elements to a traditional luau in subsequent postings.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Golfing on the Island of Hawaii (the Big Island)

Golf is a great game, in fact I have been playing it since I was twelve years old, but on some days it can be less than exhilarating – like when you shoot your weight rather than your age (Bob Hope's quote).  But for those who love the game like I do, there are few places better to live or visit than the Big Island.

Fairmont Orchid Golf
We live on the windward/East side of Hawaii Island in Hilo. While the best golf resorts are on the island’s other side (see my earlier entry All Around the Island),  the nearby Hilo Municipal public course is quite challenging with its multiple elevated greens and lava creeks that come into play on about twelve holes (slope: 121).  The course is well maintained and playing pressure is about average.  And unbelievably, if you are a resident over 60 years of age the monthly green fees are only $24 for unlimited play.
Courses on West Side of BI (Google)
Within 45 minutes of our house are two other public courses, one in Volcano and the other in Waimea, plus a nine hole course in downtown Hilo near the oceanside.  Volcano Country Club is beautiful and located at about 4,200 feet you can get some really nice drives (slope: 124).  Waimea Country Club is challenging for the beginner given its gorse-like roughs that make finding errant balls almost impossible, but a lovely course (slope: 132 ).
Four Seasons Golf
Most of the serious golf action is located on the drier west side nearer Kona/Kiluea and the luxury golf resorts around Waikoloa Bay.  The only three that I have been lucky enough to play have been the Hapuna Golf Club, Big Island Country Club and the Waikoloa Village Golf Club.  All were magnificent.

The Big Island course was designed by Pete and Perry Dye and features an island green (slope: 136).  Unfortunately, as I recall, no one in my foursome avoided the water.
Big Island Country Club
The other eight courses that I hope to play one day (listed from Kona northward):

+  Kona Country Club – Mountain and Ocean Courses
+  Makalei Golf Club
+  Hualalai Golf Club (near Hawaii’s only five-star resort, the Four Seasons) – designed by Jack Nicklaus
+  Waikoloa Beach Resort – Beach Course (Robert Trent Jones designed) and Kings’ Course (Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish Scottish links-style )
+  Mauna Lani Resort – North and South Courses (the favorite of Hilo’s golf guru George at Golf Treasures) 
+  Mauna Kea Golf Course

George at Hilo Golf Treasures
Numerous golf course vacation packages are available.  And for more information on these and other golf courses on the Big Island, check out the following link: Big Island Golf.  And, most important, if you are in town and need someone to play, let me know!  All of the above courses are closer than two hours from our Hilo home.