GGM’s Relationship with Madame Pele

Great Grand Master’s Relationship with Madame Pele

Madame Pele reviles herself at times as a beautiful young lady and at other times as an old lady

The Great Grand Master believed in Madame Pele with all his heart.

Madame Pele is probably one of the most known of the Hawaiian Gods. Residents of the Big Island learn about her from an early age and visitors to the Big Island usually learn about her on their first tour of the Hawaii Volcano National Park.

Since the Big Island is the home to one of the most active volcanoes in the world, residents can feel the hundreds of small earthquakes each year and have lived with the volcanic haze (known as vog) for the past 30 years.

Recently, one of our local TV stations did a special on Madame Pele and interviewed Island residents, scientists, artists, and rangers. They asked if they believed in Madame Pele. It was interesting to see the reaction of these individuals. Most never really answered the question because they didn’t want to get bad luck if they said they didn’t believe in her, and then most hesitated to say they believed in her legend because then they would be labeled as “Superstitious”. This was definitely not the case with the GGM; he would not hesitate to tell anyone that he believed in Madame Pele.

When the GGM arrived on the Big Island in 1927, he soon learned that he hated the plantation life. He told us, “No way am I a mule, I wasn’t going to work 12 hour days, six days a week for the plantation owners to get rich.”

In those days, if you didn’t fulfill your contract, the plantation owners would deport you back to your country of origin. The GGM had no intentions of going back to the Philippines, so he ran away into mountains until they thought he was dead. While up in Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, he remembered the stories he heard about Madame Pele and he became very interested in the Hawaii Volcanoes.

Picture of Braulio Pedoy when he was mid aged

The story the GGM told us that while he was hiding in the Big Island Mountains near the Volcano Park, he found a perfectly round 10 inch hole in the side of a cliff with smoke coming out of it. He thought that it was so unusual, as if was cut into the cliff by man; so he yelled into it “Maddddddammmmmme Peeeeeeeleeee?” Then the GGM said he heard a women’s voice that said “Yeeeeeesssssss”. The GGM said his whole body shivered and all the hairs on his body stood up. He was so scared he didn’t try it again.

After about a year, the GGM eventually came down from the Big Island Mountains and caught a fishing boat to Oahu. But every year he had a tradition of going to the Hawaii Volcano National Park, on the Big Island and placing an offering for Madame Pele. All Pedoy School Instructors and students were welcomed to go with him. Every year, we would practice escrima in our rooms, eat at Hilo Hawaiian Hotel’s seafood dinner buffets and pay our respects to Madame Pele up at the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

GGM gets Chief Knut in a lock at the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel in 1990 during one of our annual visits to the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

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