The Azuero is a large peninsula located in the south of Panama. Cultivated over 10,000 years ago, it was one of the first parts of the country to be settled, before the arrival of the Spaniards. The peninsula is often referred to as the “heartland” of the country, upholding traditions of farming, culture, and celebration. It is also home to one of Panama’s most secluded national Parks, Cerro Hoya.
The Azuero peninsula is divided into three provinces: Herrera, Los Santos (both of which are entirely on the peninsula) and Veraguas, which extends into the west of the peninsula. It is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean on the south, the Pacific and Gulf of Montijo to the west, and the Gulf of Panama on the east.
On Febuary 20th, Janine and Pat Sullivan, held a Texas Hold' em Poker Tournament at La Ruina Restaurant. The entry fee was $20, of which $10 went to Spay the Strays (STS), the other half into the pot for winners. Along with donations contributed that evening, the Sullivans raised almost $500 for Spay the Strays.
There were 3 winners (Left to Right - Mike Wotoshek, Doug Smaill and Richard Burry)
Spay the Strays will be holding our next clinic at the Gorgona Casa Comunal on Saturday, March 28th.
Woody's Beach Bar in Farallon was home to a hundred and forty on-air entrants in the Great Panama Beach Party orgainized by Canadian radio station Mix 97 from Belleville, Ontario and CAA Travel. The event was MC'd by Panama Helpline's Rob Brown, who hails from Belleville.
Brown organised five fun games including Kamikaze Karaoke (you must sing whatever random song comes up) which was won hands-down by nine year old Max Nitsche from Kitchener, Ontario - against a filed of seven adults!
The County Mounties made an appearance in full costume and riding an inflatable horse, the Panadian Flag was unveiled(Canadians living in Panama) and a lobster eating contest began.
Yesterday, February 23 at approximately 10:00 a.m. Coronado residents, living on the the Coronado Golf course, realized there was a two-toed sloth hanging out in their front door planter! The 5' high ornamental bamboo plant seemed like an odd place for a sloth. So, concerned about the animal's well-being they called several people in the community for advice on what to do.
When PlayaCommunity received news about the sloth, we reached out to our friends at Conservación Panamá. While many community members offered to relocated the sloth to a more secluded environment, Ezekiel Jakub of Conservación Panamá advised otherwise. Zeke told us that unless the animal was in clear distress, the best thing to do would be to let him be. "Often animals come into areas where it is odd to see them" explained Zeke, "usually they are just passing though".
In this case it seemed likely that the sloth was a juvenile, and indeed just passing though the territory. so we passed along Zeke's advise, "so long as the sloth seems generally protected from predators, let him move on his own, when he is ready."
On Friday Feb 20 Snow (a happy stray puppy), was found on the Cita Constera. Here is her story told by Daniela her rescuer:
"She was following me while I was running with my dogs, I thought she belonged to the man in front of me, but then he left without her. She was very docile and playful. She was following people trying to get their attention, she ran until the road and began to cross. I couldn't just do nothing, I couldn't leave her there to be hit by a car. When she herd me call to her she came to me. She needed someone's attention and I gave her mine.
I took her too the vet to see is she was in good health. She was under nourished, she had ticks and flees and needed antibiotics. The vet said her blood levels were inconsistant indicating an infection or virus. Many people have asked me if because of this, she is a danger to other dogs. It is in fact the contrary, other dogs are a danger to her. Because she does not have anything to protect her (vaccinations), she could die if exposed to other dogs. I want to do everything possible to save her. She cannot be vaccinated until her blood is regular.
In this moment I am seeking someone to care for her while she recovers. She needs a place where she will not be in contact with other dogs.
On Wednesday, February 25, Playa Community’s own Wine Guy, M. Stefan will host a special wine tasting dinner at Bluwater Bistro in Gorgona, featuring the wines of Susana Balbo. Stefan has chosen 5 wines, each picked to compliment the unique 4 course dinner. Susana Balbo is an award winning winemaker and winery owner from Argentina’s Mendoza region. Her wines have won numerous prestigious awards and acclaim. M. Stefan is an international wine authority and regular contributor to Playa Community News.
This special event is $45.00 + tax & tip. Seating is limited. Reservations: 6469-0341.
Tomorrow, Saturday Feb 21st, PlayaCommunity's third bi-monthly Cleanup will kick off at 8:00 AM in Coronado. This time we are at Playa Serena to cleanup the beach and beach accesses which have been left a mess after Carnival. Beach cleaners will be meeting at the Coronado Beach Club at 8:00 AM and teams will break off from the meeting point in both directions. The amount of beach and road we are able to cover depends on how many people attend, so please help get this message out in any way you can.
As always the PlayaCommunity team will be there at 8:00 AM sharp to help coordinate the cleanup. We will provide gloves, garbage bags and water for all participants. If you are unable to join us tomorrow but are at the beach, take a few pieces of trash off the beach when you leave! Send us a photo of the trash collected and we will post if on PlayaCommunity.com's Facebook page, along with the photos from the event.
The pollera is the national dress of Panama, worn by Panamanian girls and women on important occasions. The Panamanian pollera is a descendant of a dress worn by Andalusia females in the XVI century. There are a few variations of the national costume, while each has a unique purpose, they can all be defined by a few simple elements.
Miss Nieves de Hoyos, director of the Museo del Pueblo Espanol, published an article, "La Pollera Panamena," in 1963. She wrote:
"[…] white with a full skirt of two or three ruffles embroidered or appliqued in floral designs. This description is, simply, the pollera.”
The traditional dress is accompanied by a complicated hairstyle using gold combs resembling the ornamental pins once common in Valencia and Salamanca, Spain. Much like the evolution of this richly decorate hairpin, the pollera has evolved, becoming quintessentially Panamanian.
Conservation Panama has recently been in charge of caring for a Variegated Squirrel baby which dropped from its nest after a predation event. The baby, currently about 2 weeks old, is not able to be put back or taken back by its parents.
For the last several days the Conservation Panama team has been stabilizing the young squirrel from dehydration and giving it a proper course of nutrition which was suggested by Wildlife Rehabilitation specialists in the United States whom specialize in squirrels.
Author: M Stefan
As the season changes to summer (dry), I like to change up my wine repertoire to include something pink. No, not that sweet, fruity, blush stuff. The 4 wines reviewed below are serious, dry and full of complex flavors. If you think you don’t like rose wine, give these a try. You will be very pleasantly surprised. Served chilled, versatile enough to go with a variety of foods or served alone.
Juve y Camps Brut Rose’ Pinot Noir, Cava, $20.00 12% alc. Spain
Produced from Pinot Noir grapes this sparkling wine is a pretty, deep pink, almost red color. On the nose there are both floral and berry fruit notes in perfect harmony with alluring cherry blossom and strawberry aromas and flavors. Broad on the palate with savory, spicy fruit, it will make a superb match for jamon Iberico and other charcuterie. Long bottle aging – 3 years -has brought balance, length and weight while retaining freshness and vivacity. What a wonderful bubbly! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
With Carnival 2015 just around the corner, the country begins gearing up for the most celebrated week of the year.
This year, the celebration begins on the night of Friday February 13th and lasts until the night of Wednesday February 18th. Whether you intend to join in the festivities, or avoid them all together, it is a good idea to prepare yourself.
If you have never experienced Carnival Panama-style, we recommend it. After all, it is the largest carnival celebration in the world after Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.
Having a good plan is the key to having a good time.
If your aim is to avoid the crowds, do your shopping ahead of time and avoid the Pan American highway. If you are joining in the festivities this year here are few handy tips from some Carnival 2014 survivors:
Long time rivals TUMBA MUERTO and CLUB DEPORTIVO de BEJUCO, squared off Sunday, Feb 08 in the Bejuco Sports Complex to battle for the sub 20 - District Championship Trophy. The stands were filled with fans and they were not disappointed! It was a hard fought and exciting game which wasn't decided until the final minutes.
Both teams mounted strong attacks throughout, and the goalies made some spectacular saves. It was a very physical game which saw many players walk off the field battered and bruised. The game was stopped several times to allow teams to tend to fallen warriors. Thankfully, they always got up under their own power, like good soldiers, and there were no serious injuries.
Tumba Muerto scored first midway through the first half with a kick from the side corner which sneaked in past Mario, the Bejuco goaltender. This lead held until the half which saw Bejuco trailling 0-1. Both teams came out strong in the second half with fire in their bellies and went at it again fighting tooth and nail.
Today (Monday Feb. 9 2015) The Home Owners of Avenida Boulevard shut down the Boulevard Road of Coronado in Protest. We spoke with several home owners this afternoon (1:30 p.m.) to find out more about the protest.
We were told by residents of the Boulevard who were in attendance at the Coronado SA meeting yesterday (Sunday Feb. 8 2015) that their protest is in an effort to prevent construction vehicles and workers from passing though the backroads that connect Gorgona to Coronado. These residents feel that developers have a responsibility to ensure their trucks pass though the main Coronado gates and that all workers have a ID card and sign in.
The Panama Christian Foundation (PCF), are a group of business people who operate from Christian principals. The core of their operation is to lead by example. It is by these principals, that the PCF has created a futbol (soccer) team that has been participating in Chame District of Panama at the official league level.
The foundation runs soccer camps 4 days a week in Coronado and Bejuco for boys and girls aged 3 - 15. “Our membership is open to all”, says Francisco Oñate the sports coordinator and managing director of PCF. “We have different levels of culture, social economic levels and people from all walks of life coming together to play.”
World famous author and Coronado Resident, Greta Sherman, will promoting her new book “The Humpty Dumptys", Tuesday February 10th at La Teca. The book signing will begin at 6:00 p.m. and go until 8:30 p.m. A Tapas dinner with salad and dessert will be offered for $12.00. Regular signature entree dishes will also be available.
Guests will have the opportunity to meet the author and purchase a personalized English edition of the book for $10. The retail price is $16.99. The book has received good reviews on Amazon—75 five star reviews and two four star reviews, with comments including: “I couldn’t put it down and read until the wee hours of the morning.”
“Defy written.” “You learn to love and hate the characters—they are so real I felt as though I knew them personally.” and "The author takes the reader on a journey so descriptive that it feels as if one is a part of the experience.”
Carnival, or “Los Carnavales” as described by most Panamanians, has been celebrated nation wide since the early 1900’s. Each year for the four days leading up to Ash Wednesday, the country shuts down to party; enjoying parades, live music and fireworks.
Among the highlights of carnival is the crowning of a new queen. Typically the town is split into an upper and lower section (calle arriba y calle abaho), crowning their own rival queen.
Each section boasts being better than the other, having a better party and the more the beautiful queen. During carnival, the competitive emotions of the towns run high. Being crowned queen is a tremendous honor, not only for the young woman being crowned but also for her family.
Elssy Vasquez Barrera, from the small town of Parita in the province of Herrera, was a carnival queen in 1981. Today she lives in Coronado, and continues to participate in Carnival annually as part of the Parita Carnival organizing committee.
Elssy spoke with us about some of the responsibilities of being queen. “The queen is the ambassador of the town for the year. She has to organize activities, be present at important events and raise funds for the following year’s carnival.”
Last Sunday, the Bejuco sub 20 'futbol' team (sponsored by PCF) earned their spot in the District Championship Final game, beating Espave 1-0 in the district semi-final game.
The two teams battled to a frustrating tie at the half. The battle continued for much of the game when Bejuco finally scored about midway through the second half. Espave mounted several challenges but the goaltender, Mario, was able to block every attempt to even the score.
The Championship game will be Sunday in Bejuco La Paz field. Win or lose, both teams will advance to the 'Provincial Tournament' played in 'La Muquita' stadium in La Chorrera. Check our facebook for time and more details. www.facebook.com/fcpcf
PCF needs community support to continue this work. You can help at: www.pcfpanama.org
El Hato Del Volcán, better known simply as Volcán, is a small mountain town located in the Chiriquí province of Panama. Nestled in the foothills of Panama’s tallest peak Volcan Baru (3,475m), this dormant Volcano was first inhabited by indigenous tribes thousands of years ago. Volcán and the surrounding communities, including the agricultural capital of Panama Cerro Punta, are still home to many indigenous people belonging primarily to the Ngäbe or Guaymí commarca.
Over the last century, groups of Swiss immigrants have settled throughout the highlands leaving their mark on the area’s architecture. Today the town is praised as one of Panama’s top retirement destinations boasting coffee farms and national parks.
As you begin to climb in altitude passing through the small village of Cuesta de Piedra, the breeze gets a bit cooler, the air misty, and you can almost begin to taste the coffee. Driving through the clouds, past tall pines growing up towards the volcano’s peek, the sleepy town looms. Despite its appearance, Volcán is actually quite an active town. Almost 80% of Panama’s milk, meat and vegetables pass though here. The town is a highland hub for locals, expats and tourists alike with amenities like banks, grocery stores, restaurants and hotels.
This afternoon there was a fatal accident in Asturias, an area of the private development Altos del Maria. It has been reported that a tour bus carrying 10 American tourits went off a cliff. A witnesses told TVN the driver lost control of the vehicle due to a problem with the brakes. Two fatalities have been reported and several of the injured were airlifted to Albrook and then to St. Thomoas hospital. Since Altos del Maria is a private community only ambulances and rescue teams were allowed in the area. For this reason some details are unclear including the number of injuries. See the La Prensa and TVN reports below.
What is a trust?
A trust is a contract by which a person called the settlor transfers assets to a trustee (ACTION TRUST, S.A.), to hold and manage them for the good of a beneficiary, who may be the settlor himself.
Trust companies are supervised by the Superintendency of Banks, which ensures that customers are served under the highest professional standards.
Why should I create a trust?
A trust is very versatile instrument because it can undertake any lawful activity, so it is limited only by the imagination of its parties.
What assets can I place into a trust?
Any type of assets, present or future, can be settled into a trust. The applicable law allows for assets to be transferred by the settlor or by third parties once the trust has been created, with the consent of the trustee.
By: Jamuna Burry
In 2007, I had recently moved to Coronado and was in attendance at an informal resident’s meeting at the Coronado Resort Hotel. At that meeting the information shared was important enough for more people to know about it. However, the reach was limited to the people present at the meeting, and whomever they talked to. While word-of-mouth would get the information to some people, many would go without knowing. Also, the content of what did get passed on would be unreliable. Hence playacommunity.com was born as a portal for passing on information.
Over the next few years, playacommunity.com would provide relevant information to a small, but growing English-speaking expat community in Coronado. The potential for doing business at the beaches was great, but the full-time consumer base was not large enough to support the operation of many small companies, including playacommunity.com. Businesses came and went rapidly. In order to survive I made exclusive advertising agreements with two real estate companies. This allowed them to list properties and advertise real estate sales and rentals on the website. It was an unconventional approach. In a market where businesses were desperately seeking clients to stay afloat, I made the decision to limit the amount of clients we could work with.
****** CALLING ALL BIRDERS ************
The Christmas Bird Count: Old and New Traditions
By Ezekiel S. Jakub
Every year throughout the Americas thousands of people take part in an annual bird census, called The Christmas Bird Count (CBC). The count is administered by the National Audubon Society, and the purpose is to provide population data for use in science, especially conservation biology.
By: Anibal Diaz
January 9th is a national day in Panama called "Martyrs Day". It is a tribute to honor the patriotism of civilians and students who gave their lives for Panama to be a sovereign country throughout its territory.
After the separation of Panama from Colombia in 1903 a French man named Bunau Varilla made a treaty with the United States on behalf of Panama Republic. This treaty granted in perpetuity, the Panama Canal, along with a 5-mile strip of land on either side of it, to the United States. This area, which stretched from the Pacific coast to the Atlantic coast, was called the "Panama Canal Zone". With this treaty Panama was politically divided into two, having US territory running down the middle. For Panamanians to pass from one side to the other, they had to cross a path, which would later become "Puente de las Américas." Bridge. Many Panamanians did not agree with this treaty, but they accepted it in order to gain the help of the United States with separation from Colombia.
The 7th annual Discovering Surf Talents Levis Cup, brought over 50 young surfers from around the country, to Playa Serena in Coronado. The event, originally scheduled for the 18th & 19th of October, was proponed as there was no swell. The waves predicted for the following weekend (October 25&26) were small, ranging from 1-3ft, but learning to compete in unfavorable conditions is one of the many challenges competitive surfers face; with this in mind, the event went on.
The first day of competition began with a reminder from Technical Director, Stanford Raúl. “It is not the quantity, but the quality waves” he said. This means, judges score the best maneuvers, not the numeber of waves each surfer rides. Playacommunity was on the sidelines as young compeitiors Veronica, Marita, Maria, Andrea and Vivian took to the water. All under the age of 12, each girl raced to the water with a smile. The younger of the compeitiors were accompanyed by a parent or coach.
QUOTE: “For fish to taste right, it must swim 3 times—in the sea, in butter, and in wine.” --Oceanaire Restaurant
Of all the fish in the ocean, I like fresh fish the best! Thus is the credo of Christian Mahlke’s new gourmet fish market and restaurant in the Plaza Bayside Center in Coronado. Christian brings in fresh fish daily from both the Pacific and Caribbean, as he has a long established relationship with fishermen and buys from the same people all the time. The pescaderia features fresh lobster, crab, shrimp, and varieties of fish. He sells whole smaller fish and uses large deep-sea fish for nice sized fillets. Christian instills pride in the fact that most of his fish are caught in the healthier deep seas, rather than close to shore. The pristine market boasts sparkling glass cases adorned with treasures from the sea in their beautiful colors.