RT Cunningham

Waipahu Festival Marketplace in Hawaii - Exploring the Island of Oahu

Waipahu Festival MarketplaceToday was not my first visit to the city of Waipahu, Hawaii on the island of Oahu. I’ve been to Seafood City once before, but today was my first visit to the Waipahu Festival Marketplace.

I visited the city at least once while I was stationed at Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. One of my military coworkers had family living there. There are a lot of Filipinos living there, 55.5 percent according to the Wikipedia page for the city.

The Waipahu Festival Marketplace

I made a big mistake in going there on a Saturday morning. There wasn’t any place to immediately park. I had to wait for a spot to open up in the parking lot. A friend of the family told us it was the worst day of the week to go there, after we had already left and arrived at Seafood City.

It’s like an open-air market, only indoors. There are stalls of fruit, vegetables and fish. There are eateries and there are bakeries (they call them bakeshops or bake shops). My wife, Josie, and my daughter-in-law, Cathy, bought some things, and we left within 30 minutes. I have no idea what they bought.

Seafood City

Seafood City shares a building with Jollibee, a Filipino franchise based in the Philippines. We bought some buckets of chicken from Jollibee on the way out.

Seafood City is a Filipino-oriented supermarket headquartered in Pomona, California. It has branches in several states and even one in Canada. I noticed some imported rice with “Seafood City” printed on the bags. It’s rice from Thailand and I seriously doubt they would do such a thing for a small chain of supermarkets in the United States.

Josie and Cathy bought some more food items and again, I have no idea what they bought (other than lumpia wrappers).

The Length of the Trip

Waipahu isn’t far from where we live at HMR. According to Google Maps, it’s about 15.3 miles (24.62 kilometers) and it should take about 27 minutes to drive to the marketplace. The round trip, including the stops, added up to less than two hours. I can only estimate that we spent less than 30 minutes at each place.

We rarely go shopping anywhere outside of the local area. The local area includes a mini-market at HMR, the post exchange and commissary at Schofield Barracks and the cities of Wahiawa and Mililani. The Town Center of Mililani is less than 10 miles (16.09 kilometers) away. We very rarely need anything outside of the local area.

Both Josie and Cathy are Filipino. They live on mostly rice, seafood and vegetables. We can’t find a lot of it in the local area. We plan to go to Waipahu on weekdays in the future, to avoid the crowds. And to find adequate parking in short order, obviously. Although Josie has a driver’s license, she refuses to drive here. Most of the time, I’m okay with doing all the driving. I’ll do almost anything to keep both of them happy.

Two or three hours every couple of weeks is a small price to pay to keep everyone that way, especially me.

Photo Attribution: beautifulcataya, CC BY-NC-ND, via Flickr


RT Cunningham
September 14, 2019