Three Historical landmarks, One Location! Apia Gets a facelift.
By Vaoese Limutau Kava
Photos by Vaoese Limutau Kava
What does Aggie Greys Hotel, Ioane Viliamu Building, and the Mulivai Catholic Cathedral have in common? They are all situated on Beach Road, Apia, They are all being renovated this year 2014, AND they are Historical Buildings and Samoan Landmarks.
Aggie Greys Hotel, Apia.
Aggies as most Samoans call it, is often mentioned by writers across the globe as the Best Hotel in the South Pacific, and with good reason. Aggie Greys Hotel boasts to be, not only the first hotel in Samoa, opening it’s doors to travelers from around the world in 1933, but also is known to be the friendliest hotel in all of Polynesia. Many famous guests came through Samoa and stayed at Aggie Greys. Among them was actor Gary Cooper,
In Dec 2012, Cyclone Evan raged for 2 days leaving behind a devastating result and this included the beautiful Aggie Greys Hotel in Apia. The Vaisigano River next to the hotel overflowed to flooding circumstances and caused the hotel to evacuate all guests to their Aggies Resort in Mulifanua. The Directors saw the chance after the cyclone damages, to merge with strong International Hotel Chains to lift the standards of marketing and presence to enable Aggies to compete better, in the International Arena. This also led to the signing of a partnership contract with the Sheraton Group of hotels. Aggie Greys are venturing into bigger and better markets, hoping for better and quicker returns after the renovations.
John Williams (Ioane Viliamu) Building
The famous English Missionary, John Williams or Ioane Viliamu as all Samoans call him, arrived in Samoa in 1830. He belonged to the London Missionary Society group that traveled to the Polynesian Islands to preach about Christianity. He brought the knowledge of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the Samoan Islands. He would be very proud today to know that Samoa is a Christian Devoted Country, where church is only second to family, and where churches for worship to God is built in every village. In 1980, the EFKS church, built a 5 story building naming it after the famous missionary John Williams, and dedicated it to his memory. It was the tallest building in Samoa for many years, until the government buildings in the reclaimed area of Apia were built. It also houses many of the EFKS church offices, and is leased out to other tenants for revenue. Late last year, the EFKS church approved a $3 million tala funding for the renovation of this historic building. The Church owned building is being renovated with the hope of attracting new tenants. All of Samoa awaits the final product which is estimated to take at least 2 years to make.
Mulivai Catholic Cathedral, Apia
The Cathedral was built in 1884. It’s twin towers have been a landmark for the Apia town for over a century. It was on it’s third century when the engineering report on the structure of the building concluded that it was no longer safe, especially after the earthquake of September 2009. The cathedral was pulled down in 2011 to make way for a new, larger and modern church for all to worship in. Though there were many that were sad to see the old historical church come down, (which is also the burial site of Cardinal Pio who was a very significant individual in moving the Catholic Faith forward in Samoa), there is still a loud presence of unity and strength in the hearts of the local Catholic community and all Samoans. They all help and are positive about improving on what was once the most loved building by all Catholics in Samoa. It’s name is the Immaculate Conception of Mary Cathedral, but most Samoans call it Mulivai.
"TO SUA" is the World's best Swimming Hole ever!
TO SUA OCEAN TRENCH, SAMOA
By Vaoese Limutau-Kava
Photos by Vaoese Limutau-Kava
A Tourist Attraction in Samoa and a “must see when you are visiting. To Sua literally means “Gigantic Swimming Hole”. To get to the trench, you have to climb down a well constructed and stable “non slippery” ladder, about 30 meters down from ground level. The pool is located in the district of Lotofaga, in the south coast of Upolu Island.
Water flows into this deep hole through a lava tube tunnel. To Sua is situated in a well maintained, beautiful garden park overlooking the southeast coast of the island. It is open to all visitors. The property is owned by the Mata’afa Family where the tomb of Laulu Fetauimalemau Mata'afa (1928 - 2007), wife of Samoa's first Prime Minister Mata’afa, and the paramount chief of Lotofaga, is situated close to the trench.
As described by a fellow tourist in Tripadvisor. “This is hands down the best tourist attraction in Samoa. An incredible journey down a steep, sturdy ladder into what feels like the bowels of the earth awakens the butterflies in the stomach, the fluttering sensation is short-lived as you descend into a crystal clear blue-green oasis where fresh and salt water blend in this giant jurrassic park like sinkhole”.
The trench is stunning, and you wont be disappointed. What will also surprise you is how beautiful and well maintained the park is that surrounds the trench. You can enjoy the scene from the cliffs, overlooking the ocean and there are available open fales you can lounge in if you are one of the faint hearted like me who will not take the adventure into a world my children describe as “you can just float in the protected ocean water and you are engulfed into a world of your own, while watching the sky, with green hanging ferns surrounding the sky on giant rocks”. This attraction is worth a stop and don’t miss it when next in Apia.
See the photos below in Slide Show.