Strength and Beauty in Hawaii’s Hidden Corners
By Bruce Sach, Taste of Life
Pilipo Solatario is a survivor. He survived the 1946 tsunami that wiped out his village on the Hawaiian
island of Molokai when he was a child. And he has survived decades of cultural assimilation in Hawaii, holding fast to his traditions.
Pilipo is a spry octogenarian whose family has farmed the same valley for over 40 generations. He shares his
memories and his culture with me and 26 other visitors in his secluded home in Molokai’s lush Halawa Valley.
When he was 5 years old, Pilipo was chosen as the member of his family responsible for carrying on its
traditions and cultural practices. After the United States overthrew Hawaii’s monarchy in 1893, much of the native culture was suppressed and had to be taught in secret. Pilipo spent many years covertly keeping his culture alive, though he now spreads it openly to the younger generation, and to visitors like me.