Maui College students Edelene Parilla, 18, and Emmanuel Tabbay, 19, were part of a tightknit group of friends who sought outdoor fun.
“They loved adventure,” said Lawrence Pascua, a Filipino folk dance instructor, who had the pair in his group La Galeria since 2011. “They loved discovering mountains, going up hiking all the time, to the beach all the time, finding new places to jump off of.”
In addition to dance and culture, Pascua tried to keep it fun for students by taking them to visit places like Haleakala and Hana. It also helped solidify the friendship between members, he said, adding Parilla and Tabbay’s strong “friendship was molded by the group.”
The depth of that friendship was shown Monday when Tabbay jumped into the ocean to try to save Parilla, who was swept off the rocky coastline near Hono-kohau Bay by a wave at a place known as Chutes and Ladders.
They died at the scene.
“Emman was very brave,” Pascua said, adding that he was smart and always spoke the truth.
They were “very, very good friends, like brother and sister,” Pascua said, adding they knew each other before they joined La Galeria.