HONOKOHAU BAY, MAUI (HAWAIINEWSNOW) - Loved ones are mourning the loss of two young friends who died in waters off West Maui on Monday. Emmanuel Tabbay and Edlene Parilla moved to the Maui several years ago from the Philippines. They took classes at UH Maui College and also enjoyed exploring the outdoors.
Tabbay, 19, came from a close-knit family in Kahului that spent a lot of time together.
"We made the best memories together as cousins, all of us. It was the best thing ever," said Kimberly Nicole Calinog, Tabbay's cousin.
Tabbay loved to play basketball and cook. He finished his first year of culinary classes and was working at a restaurant. His relatives said he always protected them.
"One time, we went to the Cliff House and was big waves. He says not to go in. I really wanted to but he said no, it was too dangerous," recalled the victim's cousin, Dave Tabbay.
But yesterday, Emmanuel Tabbay, Edelene Parilla, and two other friends ventured down a tricky trail called Chutes and Ladders near Honokohau Bay. While exploring the tide pools at the bottom, a wave swept Parilla into the ocean. Tabbay jumped in to save her.
"He's that kind of heroic guy that will do anything to save someone's life," said his cousin Rhealynne Tabbay.
"I just hate beaches. I didn't even think Chutes and Ladders was a safe place to go," said Calinog.
Rescue divers found both bodies underwater. Parilla, 18, just graduated from Maui High School last year and started studying nursing before becoming interested in cooking.
"She's a happy person. She loved to travel, go to the beach," said Mary Berzabal, Parilla's sister-in-law.
The two families are now praying for healing after a heartbreaking holiday.
"Just seeing him, that's what I'm going to miss. I just want to see him one more time," sobbed Calinog.
Warning signs are reportedly posted at Chutes and Ladders, but hikers still venture onto the private land.
Parilla's funeral is set for next month. Memorial services for Tabbay are still pending.