John Greif made his historic landing in San Pedro in a sea plane because there was no airstrip back then in 1957. Oh, how great it is that he fell in love with San Pedro and with a native girl, Celi Nuñez. He said he thought he had landed in Heaven and I am sure he saw this angelic woman in the person of Celi Nunez and he thought she was an Angel. I was present at the soccer field when he landed and I can tell you that the entire village, some 300 persons strong, was there. Everyone wanted to see a plane for the first time in their lives. We just looked and looked at the plane in amazement.
Consequently to that visit, a romance commenced between these two celebrities. John was a pilot who fought in a war. And Celi was the first Sanpedrana girl to have graduated from a high school. It seems like a natural connection and with those two heads together there came forth the commencement of the tourism industry. John and Celi opened the doors to the first hotel in San Pedro in 1964 with George Price (+) cutting the ribbon. They had faith that their efforts and investment would be fruitful, and just look at what we have today.
This couple did not stop there. They had to open the doors of San Pedro to foreign visitors and they lobbied enthusiastically for an airstrip because John’s passion was in flying more so than in the hotel. Once the land was identified, they soon received government’s green light to work on the airstrip. All the older Sanpedranos can reminisce a crowd of Sanpedranos and Celi herself at the field cutting down coconut trees and bush with machetes and axes. They were paid two dollars for cutting down a tree and they thought it was a bargain. Everyone cooperated because Celi had convinced everyone that this would be good for San Pedro. By 1969 we had a grass airstrip and the commencement of commercial flights to San Pedro. Now just look at the airport we have today as a testament of Celi and John’s efforts and the people of San Pedro.
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