The first supermoon of 2015 will appear tonight when a particularly bright and large full moon graces our skies. You will be able to see the supermoon just after the moon rises this evening, with the best time to watch around 1am Monday morning.
This supermoon is the result of a full moon with a close approach to the Earth on its elliptical orbit, resulting in the largest apparent size of the lunar disk as seen from Earth. The moon will appear 12 and 14 per cent larger and shining around 25-30 times brighter than normal. When the moon gets this close, it has a strong effect on the Earth’s ocean tides, creating larger tides than usual.
The Tycho crater is a key feature that you may be able to spot during a supermoon. The Tycho spot is a system of rays was caused by an asteroid impact millions of years ago.
If you miss this super moon, the next one is only a month away on September 29, which will be the biggest of the year.
How can you take your love of music to new heights? Start off at an elevation of 3,900 feet above sea level and then let some of the world’s top performers set you soaring. The Boquete jazz and blues festival is the ideal launching pad to send you into orbit. The sky is by no means limited in the open-air amphitheater of the luxurious Valle Escondido resort, located in a picturesque mountain community in the Republic of Panama, not far from the Costa Rican border. Each yearly festival has reached a new crescendo, and the lineup for the tenth annual event, scheduled from 26 through 28 February 2016, promises to raise the bar even higher.
The Ministry of Public Works for Panama announced that starting tomorrow, Saturday August 29 2015, there will be intermittent closures of the bridge of the Americas. These closures are expected to last up to, and potentially beyond 10 months. We are certain these closures will make getting in and out of the city messy. We encourage drivers to be prepared and plan ahead to mitigate road rage. Here is what the Ministry of Public Works published today regarding the closures:
"Alternate use of the Centennial Bridge or the Omar Torrijos Avenue is recommended for car traffic to enter the city. The work will be extended to run until June 2016. The work being done is related to the reinforcement of the slab rolling, paint, hardware changes, among others. "
QUOTE: “Indian food is like classical music raja—it takes time to build up to a crescendo.” --Shobhaa Dé, Superstar India—From Incredible to Unstoppable
My husband and I were recently invited by friends to a special dinner for 50 people sponsored by the Canadian Club at a new restaurant in the city, Avatar. The restaurant is the joint venture of two Canadians, Avatar Singh and Sanjay Seghal, who are committed to this project and the food that they offer.
On Saturday August 23 we set out from Coronado to the first ever Feria Santa Mónica de Coclé! There was steady traffic from Playa Blanca up until the fair exit (approx. 5km). We arrived in the afternoon, just on time to catch some paso fino. Admission was just $1 for adults, and 50 cents for children. Each district in Cocle had their own tent set up where handcrafts, plants & food were sold. There was also an agricultural and tourist display from each region. Food trucks and street vendors set up in a large beer garden where there were picnic tables and a few tents for visitors to hide from the slight rain that was consistant throughout the weekend.
Saturday August 22 Seguros FEDPA, celebrated their new Coronado location with a grand opening party. Many were in attendance to enjoy music, drinks and appetizers while getting to know more about the services FEDPA offers. The 100% Panamanian company, with over 20 years experience and multiple locations throughout the country, now has an office on the second floor of the Coronado Mall.
FEDPA’s aim is to offer all-inclusive insurance packages to those living in the beach area. Coverage available includes life insurance, commercial & residential property insurance along with automobile & taxi insurance.
2015 will be the first year Feria Santa Mónica de Coclé will take place. The event is aimed at boosting tourism in the province, while offering a family friendly event that highlights the diversity and cultural of the region.
The fair will be held on Saturday 22 and Sunday August 23 during which local businesses will have the opportunity to market their products. There will be an agricultural and live stock exhibition along with rodeo and folk music.
However the largest attraction will likely be the hot air balloon, making their apperance in Panama for the first time. Residents and visitors to the area will have the opportunity to enjoy the show on both days. Proceeds from the show will be used for social works in the province of Cocle, especially in initiatives focused on education.
"We thought it would be helpful to do a comparison of prices between Machetazo, Super 99, El Rey, and Riba Smith to help us all in figuring out where to buy what. We tried hard to compare "apples and apples," meaning exact weights or quantities, same brands, if possible, etc. We hope it will be helpful to you. As always, prices change, distributors change, and quantities differ between store-to-store on any different day. We hope this will help you with your shopping expeditions!"
A total of 48 animals (14 cats & 34 dogs) were seen at last Sunday's Spay the Strays clinic in El Espave. While, the turnout was lower than usual for animals, there was no shortage of volunteers. The clinic took place in the local school, where the operating room was, for the first ever, an air-conditioned room, to make the day even better Mailbox Etc. donated a giant cooler of cold drinks for helpers. These vital clinics are made possible by hard working vets & dedicated volunteers and community members who support them.
Thursday August 13 the police force, serving areas from Chame to San Carlos, held a Community meeting at La Teca. The meeting began just after 2:00 p.m. with only standing room available. There was a translator present however, Major Howard, who gave the presentation, spoke primarily in English. The meeting started with introductions. Major Howard introduced the various officers, sergeants & directors of the DIJ who were in attendance. The police Mascot was also introduced. Major Howard explained that we need to know each other, preferably by name. He went on to talk about the necessary actions to take when in need of help. "The first thing you need to do is call the free-line #104" he said.
The Major also acknowledged the language barrier. "We have a problem," said Major Howard. "Not everyone who answers the phone speaks English. "But we are working on that". "It's easy to learn English. I studied and I am here speaking to you all today." The major listed actions to help solve the language problem. These included, offering the on-call officers training in English, and having a second number to call.
Yesterday (Aug. 12. 2015) The Panamanian government declared a state of emergency in response to the nation wide drought. The declaration was in an effort to take responsible action and prepare for an extended drought that could last well into "rainy season", affecting the country dramatically.
The state of emergency will be in place until 60 days after the temperature of the equatorial tropical Pacific Ocean drops 0.5 degrees Celsius below what is considered the "normal" temperature, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
In a meeting with authorities yesterday the Environmental minister, Mirei Endara, stated that rainfall for the months of October and November would be 50% lower than previous years. For this reason measures must be taken to save water immediately. At this point authorities have banned the use of potable water for watering lawns, gardens, and golf courses. They will also not be issuing permits for burning of branches, brush and other natural waste for fear of fueling wildfires. Currently, we are unsure how these regulations will be imposed.
August 14 is National Golden Frog Day! Why does this frog have it's own day you ask? The golden frog is a critically endangered amphibian that is endemic to Panama. The bright yellow amphibian, has become a symbol of Panama, ppearing on lottery tickets, souvenirs, maps and more. Believed to bring good luck, the tiny frog, that’s actually a toad, has great cultural importance.
This year's Golden Frog celebration in El Valle will take place on Aug. 15 in the plaza commercial Paseo El Valle starting at 11:00 a.m. There will be educational activities for kids, food trucks, music and more!
The golden frog festivities in El Valle will continue on later in the month on Aug. 30 with a race. There will be 5k, 10k, and 15k tracks, inscription closes on July 26th and is offered at a cost of $25.00 for more info on this event visit caminandopanama.com
If you are unable to attend the events but would still like to learn more about the golden frog, you can see the little creature in captivity at El Nispero, the zoo in El Valle. The golden frog exhibit is open daily 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Closed Tuesdays.
August 10 2015 - 10:44 A.M. There is a protest taking place in front of the High School in Chame. The protestors are primarily students. We have information stating their demonstration is in response to the unreliable electricity the school has been receiving.
Both directions of the highway are blocked causing significant traffic. We recommend avoiding the PanAmerican Highway in Chame and the surrounding areas.
We will update once the highway is clear.
Update: 11:45 A.M.. - the road is clear. The protest lasted about 45 minutes in total.
The police forces servicing the areas of Chame & San Carlos will be holding a meeting focusing on a new security program. The meeting will be held Thursday August 13 at LA Teca starting at 2:00 p.m.
We spoke with Major Howard Friday Aug. 7 about the new Security Program. The Major explained the program, in collaboration with the Pacific Beach Community, is an effort to mitigate crime occurring in the area. The program's aim is to offer a greater level of security in the beach area through an increase of patrols and greater level of communication. Mayor Howard explained in this meeting engaging the community as a whole will be crucial in executing the new program.
Did you know that health care provided by the Panamanian Government is available to permanent residents and citizens working in Panama? Despite this, most still prefer private health care. Why? Because it's affordable and it guarantees the best care, quickly.
While it is possible to live in Panama without any insurance, as paying the full cost of medical treatment is sometimes feasible, it makes good sense to be insured. The risk of having an accident is always present. And while most medical procedures are offered at a cost lower than in North America, the price of medical treatment in Panama rises annually. It is important to assess these costs and take into account, when seriously injured medical costs add up quickly.
Health insurance is the best way to mitigate the risk.
Update: By now you have likely seen the video footage of professional Surfer, Mick Fanning’s brush with death at the J-bay open that took place last month on Eastern Cape of South Africa. During the competition the Aussie surfer encountered what was believed to be a massive bull shark. As he was tossed off his board, Mick punched the shark while kicking and screaming to get away. Miraculously he escaped unharmed. This was the first time an attack like this occurred during a professional surf competition and was aired live on television.
Not long after a second surfer, Craig Ison warded off a shark attack by punching the predator after it bit his leg while surfing with about 100 other surfers at Evans Head, in northern New South Wales.
But it is not just Australian surfers who have been encountering sharks lately, over half a dozen human-shark interactions have occurred in a very short period of time in the continental United States. The events (and media coverage) have made some beach goers weary of entering the water.
What has caused the recent shark attacks? And should we be concerned about it here in Panama?
“Ending is better than mending.”
Aldous Huxley, A Brave New World
When we talk about sustainable change in countries and communities we are speaking about changing mindsets as an approach to solving problems. Spay Panama is one such organization that uses a sustainable approach to solving the over-population problem of dogs and cats. By providing low cost sterilizations, they help low-income owners reach their goal, and by promoting responsible animal ownership and education, they strive to solve the problem at the root.
Animal overpopulation is a common problem in developing countries where free roaming animals are a symptom of an increase in human population, poor waste disposal management, and an absence of responsible animal ownership values.
To deal with the issue in Panama, Patricia (Pat) Chan created Spay Panama in 2001. Speaking by phone, from an on-site spay and neuter clinic in Bethania, Pat said:
“When we started in 2001, we had two vets who agreed to do low cost operations and we began by doing spays and neuters on Sundays at a clinic that was on loan”.
The Pacific beach area, Panama City, Boquete, and beyond continue to grow with a high concentration of aging expatriates. A plan and support system for this next phase of life is important. A community initiative called The Panama Hospice and Respite Foundation (PHRF) was formed with this in mind.
PHRF is a non-tax oriented, private interest foundation which provides service free of charge. Its mission is to assist, using trained volunteers, hospice clients and their caregivers as well as those needing short-term help in crisis situations. The volunteers work in cooperation with the client's primary caregiver. While PHRF hopes to extend its services to all members of the community, in this inception phase it only provides service in English.
Additional services provided by PHRF are a Buddy Connection System, a Home Care Equipment Loan Program, a Blood Bank Registry and Seminars on Planning for Healthy Aging.
If you are interested in the initiative tune in to the Gerry D Show on 89.3FM, COOL FM tomorrow, Friday, July 31st from 8-9:30. Joyce Perrin, the president of PHRF will be interviewed by Sandra Synder.
Michael Lester, a journalist by profession, spent several months in Panama in 2011. During that time he sent out emails or as he calls them, "dispatches" to a number of close, personal friends, back in the States.
Recently, he compiled these reports into an e-Book called "Dispatches from Panama.” In it, you will discover a lot of local color -- from the cockfights in Gorgona to the synagogue in Coronado, from a villa in San Carlos to a shoot-out on the autopista, from churches to "love hotels." His book has a chapter on real estate, area expats are mentioned and there is even a mention of playacommunity.com.
José Pedroza runs a stall in front of Picasso Restaurant and Bar. His roadside shop is decorated by Panama Hats, which he will custom hand paint upon purchase. "I will paint whatever you want", says José. "Some people want logos, others their names and some prefer a nice design of colors".
José's hand painted hats have been purchased for birthdays, souvenirs, special occasions and as happy hour tokens. His hats are Montecristos. Real Panama Hats, coming from Ecuador and available in varying grades of quality from $20 - $40 inclusive of painting.
By Ezekiel S. Jakub of Conservación Panamá
Panama is not a large country, in fact, in comparison to the United States; Panama is roughly equivalent in size to South Carolina. As we have previously discussed in many articles, the level of biodiversity here in the tropics is simply astounding when compared to the temperate climate. To further interest your senses, there is a really neat biological concept called “endemism” that occurs often in areas of high diversity and Panama is no exception to the rule.
“Endemism”, as a biological concept, means that a particular species (Bird, Plant, Reptile & Et) geographically exists in a restricted area; being confined; belonging to an exclusive area. There are several endemic species which occur in Panama, restricted to the borders of Panama, and which do not occur outside of Panama (hence this neat idea of “restricted existence”). As you may imagine, when a species is endemic, in many cases this can cause trouble for its ultimate survival. This can occur due to an increased sensitivity to human development and loss of habitat. If you, as a bird for example, are restricted to a small area … this can make you more susceptible to these anthropomorphic influences. In fact, this can make you less resilient.
El Valle de Antón is situated in the 6km wide caldera of a dormant volcano. The town offers year-round spring like climate, sitting at an altitude of 600m with the highest point of the caldera reaching to 880m. 28 km from the Pan American Highway in the Province of Coclé, the steep and windy road promises a drive no less than 45 minutes.
El Valle boasts great restaurants, spas & hotels, trails for hiking and an abundance of wildlife. No visit is complete with out a swim in a nearby waterfall, a basket full of fresh produce from the local market and an authentic Italian meal.
Both the volcano and the village of El Valle de Anton are part of Panama’s first national preserve created in 1966, the 19 square miles Altos de Campana National Park.
The park is a great place for hiking. Get an early start; this is when birds, butterflies and many other species are the most active. While there are many well travelled trails to explore, a guide comes highly recommended. A guide will take you directly to the best spots and save you from getting lost.
There are some great promotions happening during Golf Month at Vista Mar. Take advantage of the group deals below from July 15 - August 15, 2015.
For more info on golf at Vista Mar, or to book a tee time call 345-4097.
Special #1 - Receive a 20% discount in Green Fees for a group of 12+ people and 4 promotional golf shirts
Special #2 - Receive a 25% discount in Green Fees for a group of 25+ people and 6 promotional golf shirts or three umbreallas
Special #3 - Receive a 30% discount in Green Fees for a group of 36+ people and 8 promotional golf shirts. Also the possibility to win a Shoot Out Hole in One for a prize of $50,000 for one person
*subject to availability
*The discount will be applicable to the golf rate
*The discount does not apply to the twilight rate
This sweet dog, named 'Mili', was rescued in front of near Queso Mili by the side of the Interamerican Highway. She has been bathed, cleaned, got all her shots updated and spayed. The vet estimates she is around 1 year old. She is playful, loving, good natured, and is looking for her forever family - ideally someone with a fenced backyard and willing to spend the time to care for a dog. Please contact Mariam in Coronado at 6672-4299.
Almost 200 people were at the Azura Development for the inauguration of their pool and social area that took place Saturday July 11, 2015. The event began at 2:00 p.m. with an array of carefully crafted appetizers and drinks. Many guests arrived promptly, egar to see the model homes. Some residents even welcomed guests into their own homes, offering an idea of the customization available when purchasing a new home in the development.
Toni Munoz moved into her new Azura home on July 1st, and was one such resident opening her doors to friends and acquaintance in attendance.
Another member of the Azura community had residents over for some more drinks and snacks after the event was finished.
We felt a huge sense of community building in the Azura development. The full time residents, developers, staff, and their friends and family offered a warm welcome to new faces.