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 attach 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.
Bid4theBeaches (B4B) was started as a way for beach residents to raise funds for non-profit initiatives that are in constant need of money to operate. The project is the brainchild of Roberto Chocolate, who himself has spearheaded several non-profit endeavors at the beaches, modeled on successful Boquete projects.
Bid4theBeaches asks businesses to donate services that consumers can bids on. Bids begin at 35% of the actual cost. Bidding remains open until either the full price is reached or the bidding period expires. The opportunity gives deal-seeking consumers a chance to win an item at a lower cost, while supporting a worthwhile cause. Bid winners can choose the B4B cause to support or request that funds are distributed equally to all causes. Bids can be made online at www.Bid4theBeaches.com.
For Bill and Dorothee Upchurch, coming to Panama several years ago was a life changing Vacation. While enjoying the crashing waves of the Pacific, a business opportunity was born. The couple thought to themselves, let’s create some high quality t-shirts with original designs, using fabrics from the Americas. Their goal, to fill a void in the souvenir market in Panama, offers the opportunity for visitors to take home a lasting memory.
After two years of planning their move, creating their own unique designs and selecting the right suppliers,“That’s Why Panama” was launched. Thanks to the welcoming Panamanian laws, the wonderful community of Coronado and the support from the terrific staff at Picasso’s Restaurant, the products were launched and extremely well received.
By: Epicurious Em
QUOTE: “The optimist lives on the peninsula of infinite possibilities; the pessimist is stranded on the island of perpetual indecision.” --William Arthur Ward
Punta Chame Villas is a boutique-style resort located at the very end of Punta Chame peninsula, approximately 20k from the Pan-Am highway. The resort has 15 rooms, lovely pools and Jacuzzi, a lobby restaurant and a large, breezy bohio restaurant adjacent to the pool. The resort is situated just feet from the beach and is pristine and well maintained. It’s a great place to take a drive for lunch, enjoying a winding road through small towns, mangroves, and orchid farms. During the week, sometimes you might be one of only a few diners, but the place is usually packed on the weekends and provides great people, lizard, and iguana watching entertainment.
Until now, monitored security has not been a reality at the beaches, unless you are talking about a security guard walking around the premises. While many homes and businesses have video-monitoring systems installed, there has been a noticeable gap in the market as far as audible alarms is concerned. In fact over the years, a number of community based groups have attempted to fill these gaps by offering practical makeshift solutions, such as air horns to alert neighbors and watch groups. However these solutions assume the proximity of neighbors and that both home inhabitants and neighbor is present, willing and able to respond.
Panama A/V is now offering a more reliable solution. They have teamed up with Panama Help Line to offer a monitored audible alarm security system. The company has been offering video security systems at the beaches for the past 4 years. “A good monitoring systems depends having solid triggering equipment and live operators on the other end of the line”, says Jeff Scher, President of Panama A/V, “with Panama Help Line we are finally able to offer that”.
Join the PlayaCommunity team this Saturday July 11th from 2:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. at the Azura pool grand opening.
Located in Rodeo Viejo, just 5 minutes from Coronado the Azura development is a gated community gaining attention from residents and visitors alike. With the completion of the social area and several model homes ready for delivery, now is the perfect time to come check it out!
Enjoy one of the area's most luxurious pools, and take advantage of the opportunity to see four Azura model homes ranging from 140 mt2 - 213 mt2. If you like what you see, a brand new home is available for immediate delivery.
Azura aims to design & build with quality in mind. Find out more this Saturday at the Azura Pool Grand opening from 2 - 7. For directions & more info call Mary at (507) 6150-6289
Earlier this year the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) proposed the removal of two-thirds of the world’s humpback whale population from the endangered species list. Humpbacks became endangered in 1970 and after 45 years of conservation some populations are showing signs of making a comeback.
NOAA estimates that the West Indies population of humpback whales is growing at the rate of 2% per, while the East Australia population is growing at the rate of 11% per year. However not all humpbacks populations are growing. Some communities, including Panama’s whales, still face environmental dangers such as vessel collision and fishing net entanglements that threaten their existence.
Sheila Scott and Louise Belisle of CASA attended the Grand Opening of Price Smart at Costa Verde last week. Sheila tell us, "The store is big, bright, clean and very well stocked. We toured the whole store. Louise and I talked with a number of people including a produce guy and bakery manager. Everyone we talked to spoke English. The bakery is the largest in Panama and will have a wide variety of new items, they had some great pastries, baguettes, cookies, muffins, etc. I like baby pears which were not in stock, so I asked the produce guy about them. He said they would be in during August and September".
"I also met Mario Ruiz who is in charge of E-Commerce, he told me that their website has products not sold in the store, many of commercial grade, and they can be delivered to Costa Verde for pick up using cash or credit card".
Panama prosecutors are looking at closing the case without resolution in murder of Ed Moynan. This according to Carlos Sanad Espino, the lawyer on record for Ed Moynan’s family.
Canadian expat, Ed Moynan went missing from the Coronado area in 2012. In November of the same year, his body was found in a suitcase at Altos de Campana National Park.
In August of 2014, Swiss National Ludwig Vico Pereira arrested was taken into custody in connection with the murder. Later that year Robert Struder a German expat living in Coronado was also questioned.
Carlos Sanad Espino, says police failed to process evidence and follow up on a number of details, resulting in an inability to prosecute. While the decision to close the case has not yet been announced, the announcement is expected to come soon.
We have received information from Union Fenosa that there will be an electrical shut down affecting Coronado Friday 19th from 7:45 am to 12:45 am for maintenance purposes. Playacommunity contacted and verified this information directly with Union Fenosa.
Take advantage of some great deals and help seven terrific community organizations with Bid4theBeaches! Bid4theBeaches.com is an online charity auction to benefit seven local organizations including: The Rotary Club of Playa Coronado, The Panama Helpline, Spay Panama, Panama Conservaćion, Panama and Coclé Community Theatre, International Film Festival of Panama (IFF PANAMA) and Woody’s House of Hope.
Starting June 12th at 7 PM participants can bid on items online at Bid4theBeaches.com. Bids can only be made online by Pay Pal.
Winners will be notified by e-mail and sent instructions on picking up their tires or redeeming their prizes. 100% of the money raised will go to seven beneficiaries.
Ruben Dario Villegas Ochoa is a 28-year-old bodyboarder from Colombia. Ruben has competed and placed on both the Panamanian and Colombian national circuits, gaining recognition in the sport of bodyboarding. He started winning competitions quickly, placing first in Panama in 2010 and 2011. With experience and sponsors behind him, he became confident “boogieboarding” was a becoming serious sport, but he didn't always see it this way.
" I started bodyboarding in Colombia when I was 14 years old, in the beginning I wanted to surf. I didn't know bodyboarding even existed. I asked my granddad to bring me back surfboard from California. He was traveling there, and said he would bring me a present for Christmas. When he got back he gave me a boogie board. I was disappointed. I thought it was a toy, to play with in the white wash, less serious than a surfboard."
"When you are a kid, you've got to play with what you are given. So I started going to the beach and surfing whitewashes with my "boogie”. This was at Pradomar the beach close to my house in Colombia."
By: M Stefan
One of the enjoyable benefits of being a wine writer is finding lesser-known suppliers and their handpicked offerings of wines. Recently, I received samples of 6 wines sold by Ferro Wine Imports. Andreo Ferro is an Italian, living in Panama City, importing Italian wines. His wines are sold only in restaurants and hotels, mostly in Panama City. So far, in the Pacific Beach area, there are only two locations I know of where Ferro imports are available. These locations are: Luna Rossa in Coronado, and Casa de Lourdes in El Valle.
The 4 prices listed are from Luna Rossa’s wine list.
A culture is a way of life of a group of people--the behaviors, beliefs, values, and symbols that they accept, generally without thinking about them, and that are passed along by communication and imitation from one generation to the next.
A splash of culture was the secret ingredient in the dishes Thelma was preparing the evening we met. The funny thing is, she didn’t even know it.
We arrived in Torio just after dark. A friend had suggested we eat at Thelma’s place in town. Thelma greeted us warmly, calling us into her kitchen to find out what we wanted for dinner.
There were two options on the menu that evening, stir-fried chicken with homemade patacones for $6.00, and lobster pasta for $8.00. We all opted for the lobster pasta. Thelma asked us to come back in 40 minutes; the food would be cooked fresh.
By: Mark K.
The 2015 Lexus Panama Classic was held April 30 through May 3. For the 2nd year in a row, the tournament was presented at the beautiful, Jack Nicklaus designed, Buenaventura Golf Club in Rio Hato.
72 professional and amateur golfers from 15 countries competed for a total purse of $175,000 with Mexican professional, Rodolfo Cazaubon, winning the champions share of $31,500 for his 4 round score of 12 under par. This is the 25 year old Cazaubon’s first professional win on the PGA Latin American tour.
Countries represented included: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Columbia, Dominican Republic, Germany, Mexico, Norway, Panama, Peru, Spain, Sweden, and USA.
by: Epicurious Em
QUOTE: “In the last couple of weeks, there was a review in the La Prensa newspaper about a new restaurant they referred to as five stars with the atmosphere of Havana 1950. It is called La Posta.” —Anonymous Review June 18, 2005
Several months ago, the flagship restaurant of the famed Henesey-Rodriguez Group, La Posta, closed at the old location in the city and recently reopened its doors at the corner of Calle Uruguay and Calle 47. Having been frequent diners there for over five years, we were curiously optimistic about the new venue. Fortunately for us, we dined there shortly after they reopened and were included in a “friends and family” evening.