As we well know and appreciate, Panama is home to a wide variety of wildlife. It's known as a bird-watching destination, and we've all seen our share of unidentifiable-to-us creepy six-legged critters -- but there are some other truly rare animals, as well, many of whom have only Panama to call their homes. Have you seen any of these?
Bocce Ball, sometimes called ‘Bocci’ or ‘boccie’ is an ancient Italian game seeing play as far back as Roman Empire times. Traditionally played on natural soil and asphalt courts, Bocce is a neighborly game, similar to lawn bowling. Play is perfect for socializing with a beer in the hand and a picnic waiting in the wings.
A group of residents have been quietly playing Bocce at the beaches for the last 6 years. Meeting on a weekday afternoon, in an undisclosed location, their memberships raise and fall through the snowbird season. Their hush-hush games culminate into a tournament every March called the ‘Ides of March’, where the winning team takes home bragging rights and prizes.
This past March, players teamed up to create 8 teams to compete in the annual Ides of March championship. Getting into the fun of the event, players took license to individualize their clothing. Teams like the Pink Panthers - a team of ladies, donned themselves in pink from ball caps to pink bows on bocce sneakers.
Spay the Strays is very excited to announce Patrice Kumaran as the newest member of the Management team.
Patrice brings a lifetime of veterinary clinic experience to the group and will be an invaluable asset to the Spay & Neuter clinics. We are also very pleased to have Dr. Jay Kumaran, DVM, MS, FNAVS, FVSLS as our consultant.
With this highly experienced veterinary team STS will be able to offer a much higher level of service to the community. Patrice will be responsible for the actual clinics, from the moment we unlock the door to when the last animal is taken home.
She will review each position and make sure all of us are following the correct procedures. Up until now we have not had anyone with this level of experience and we know both Patrice and Dr. Jay will make a huge difference.
Spay the Strays operates periodic local clinics which provide low cost/no cost Spay & Neuter services in the beaches area. The organization is wholly supported through donations & fund raising efforts. A dedicated team of veterinarians and volunteers work tirelessly to provide this much needed service.
There is a myth in Panama that say, “If you go to the beach on Good Friday, you will turn into a sardine.”
In colonial times, Myths like these were created to warn against indulging in worldly pleasures during Semana Santa (Holy Week). Children were told, “If you climb a tree, you will turn into a monkey.” Or, “if you swim in the river, you will become a fish.”
In the Roman Catholic faith Semana Santa is a time for remembering the passion, death and resurrection of Christ. While many hold true to this Spanish tradition and their Roman Catholic roots, others head to the beach to spend this week long vacation with family and friends.
Recently, it seemed appropriate to gather and compile my tasting notes into a list of BEST BUYS & HIGHLY RECOMMENDED wines. To make it easier, I have split it into 4 categories: Sparkling Wine & Champagne, White Wine, Rose’ and Red Wine and by price.
SPARKLING WINE & CHAMPAGNE
Jacqueline Brut Blanc de Blanc, (France, Cremant) $6.25
Nice tiny bubbles with a fruity & citrus nose. In the mouth it has a creamy feel with hints of green apple. Interesting nutty finish. Simple and clean. Excellent value. BEST BUY
Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Brut (California, USA) $19.95 BEST BUY
Mostly Pinot Noir. Excellent color & bubbles. Nose with yeast and deep fruit. In the mouth it shows full flavors of mango, citrus, honey, spices and earth. Excellent with spicy foods, rich sauces and other full main courses.
In Panama poor and remote families will sometimes send children they cannot take care of to orphanages. These orphanages are government controlled and subsidized, although many of them still require additional support from the private sector. When a girl living in an orphanage turns 17 she must move out and support herself. This makes it extremely difficult for her to stay in school. The Woody House of Hope will give girls like these a home with food and a support system, offering them the chance to complete school.
Marie Claire, the founder of the Woody House of Hope, is a teacher at 5-Star Academy an International School in Santa Clara. With a Masters in Social Work and a passion for teaching, Marie Claire wants to create positive role modeling for girls coming through the orphanage system. She is not a newcomer on the block, Marie Claire has been involved with similar projects helping children in Haiti and the Dominican Republic for several years.
Butterflies are important in our natural world. They are significant plant pollinators, a food source, and an indicator of the ecosystem’s well being. With butterflies in global decline, Jon and Linda from Pennsylvania decided to open a butterfly sanctuary in the mountain town of El Valle. The sanctuary’s mission is to educate on the ecological importance of butterflies and to pave a road for butterfly preservation in Panama.
The Butterfly Haven (El Mariposario) is an enclosed habitat where 12 different species of native butterflies, including the majestic Blue Morpho, live and breed. The Haven grounds include a café, library, gift shop, garden, laboratory and flight house. The main attraction, the flight house, is a 1500 square walk-in mesh room, containing over 200 butterflies.
A 1-year-old domesticated coyote is in need of a home. Taken from the wild as a baby, he has lived his entire life with humans. He is friendly with adults and kids, dogs, cats and many other animals. In his current home he lives happily with a sloth and a kinkajou.
Since he was never taught the skills of hunting and living in the wild, he only knows human companionship and a dog dish.This means he needs to be taken care of, he cannot be released back in to the wild.
While ANAM has offered their cooperation, they will not take the animal on themselves, nor will any of the zoos. Right now the coyote faces euthanasia because he cannot find a suitable home.
Currently the coyote is in the Volcan area, if a home is found transportation will be provided.
Yesterday, April 13 2014, Mr. Martinelli himself attended the inauguration of the CASAMAR development in San Carlos. Over 600 guests were in attendance. Many were dressed in beach chic attire, excited by the prospect of shaking hands with the president.
With ties to the project and a house of his own in the development, Martinelli seemed comfortable in CASAMAR’s new luxury beach club. He danced to live rock and roll, shook multiple hands, and posed for hundreds of photos.
As the night came to an end guests were served fresh seafood paella. While the sun had set, the party continued. Guests danced, drank and enjoyed good company well in to the night. A lucky few even sang a karaoke rendition of “we will rock you” with the president himself.
QUOTE: “There is no sauce in the world like hunger.” --Miguel Cervantes (Don Quixote)
There’s a new “kid on the block,” Candela Grill, located approximately 6 km from The Rey in Coronado heading towards the city, directly across from Banco National in Chame. Candela is the creation of Owner Diomedes (who prefers to be called “Junior”), and is assisted by his wife, Ana, and brother-in-law, Juan. Candela has replaced the former Rincon Cubano Restaurant.
My spouse and I were invited to a tasting dinner shortly after the restaurant had been open three weeks. It was very special, since we were given small tastes of many dishes; therefore, we were able to sample and discuss them. We started with clams in garlic sauce. My husband claims to be an expert on clams and gave this succulent dish his blessing. The clams came out steamy hot and sweet in a luscious sauce of celery, garlic, peppers, parsley, carrot, butter, and I suspect, white wine. Definitely a go for $6.95, and the hot, crispy garlic bread ($2.50) was the perfect accompaniment.
Saturday, April 12, CASAMAR will open it's doors with an inaugural beach party. The event will be held in the CASAMAR beach club from 4:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. The beach club, over looking the Pacific Ocean is the perfect backdrop to enjoy the sunset, drinks, appetizers and live music. The evening is open to the public and family friendly, offering a kid’s activity area.
CASAMAR is large development, situated on 190 acres of land just 5 minutes away from Coronado. The project features an extravagant beach club with a restaurant, grill area, bar, lounge infinity pools and more. CASAMAR will also include a town center, for “a taste of the city life at the beach”. CASAMAR’s town center will offer visitors, shops, restaurants and cafes.
Liz Larroquette’s no-BS approach to advising clients on real estate has earned her the respect of thousands of expats who have relocated to Panama, and many more who are considering relocating in the future. See what there is to discover at LizLarroquette.com.
Buying a condo in a foreign country is an exciting, once-in-a-lifetime experience. Still, it can be daunting- especially when you feel like you don’t know what you don’t know! I’m somewhat of a “property matchmaker,” helping to pair expats up with their dream homes in Panama. After almost 10 years of specializing in Panama’s Gold Coast, I’ve found that the best indicator of my clients’ person-to-property match often lies within these questions.
PCF and associated community groups are thrilled to be able to invite you to a very special event which will be the beginning of some very good things for the people of Coronado and the entire beach area of western Panama in the Chame district. We are announcing the GRAND OPENING of the:
April 4 2014 - The first commercial flight landed at 11:15 a.m. this morning, at the Scarlett Martinez International airport in Rio Hato, Panama. The Sunwing Charter flight brought media attention from all over the nation to document the highly awaited landing.
The Sunwing Charter came from Toronto, Canada. Travelers on the flight were on their way to the Riu Hotel that recently opened its doors in the Playa Blanca development.
Once passengers exited the aircraft, the charter flight flew to Tocumen International in Panama City, where passengers flying back to Toronto boarded. A source at the airport told us, they expect charter flights coming from Canada every Friday.
If you grew up or raised children in the United States, chances are you or they attended a school that, at one point or another, discussed or actually went through with cutting or reducing its music program. That's incredibly unfortunate, considering that research has shown that studying music not only gives students a skill they can use throughout their lives, but also improves test scores, aids language development, and improves a child's ability to learn other subjects.
Panama Coast International School in Gorgona makes music a key element of their curriculum. According to Kathy Kress, PCIS principal, "All students are musicians and should have the opportunity to explore and expose their talents and passions through a performance-based program." That's why the school has a rock band at every grade level, starting in kindergarten.
In a few days, authorities of popular vote will be elected; these authorities will serve in government for the next 5 years. The four authorities are: Representatives, Mayors, Deputies and the President of the Nation. The elections will be held on Sunday May 4th 2014. It is very important to understand that 4 authorities rule each sector in Panama. The authorities represent the Executive power in each sector; these authorities are elected by popular vote. The general elections are a means to elect these four authorities: “Representatives”, who represent the corregimientos (a Spanish term used for country subdivisions for administrative purposes), the “Mayors” representing the Districts, the “Deputies” representing the electoral districts, and the “Presidency” representing the whole nation.
This morning (Wednesday, April 2) at 11:13 a.m., a 5.8 magnitude earth quake hit 53km south of Pedregal, Panama. Pedregal is in the Chiriqui region near David. So far no injuries have been reported, although some schools have been evacuated. The earthquake was felt along the Pacific coast as near as Santa Clara. Other have reported feeling the quake in Veraguas, Colon, Bocas, and Panama City. Some people have evacuated their buildings on Costa del Este (TVN).
Annie Canavaggio’s “Romper La Ola” (Breaking the Wave) will screen at this year’s International Film Festival (IFF) Panama. The documentary about three Santa Catalina Surfers, Oli, Deivis and Cholito, explores the challenge of becoming a professional surfer in a small town. Last May, the three surfers along with Gary Saavedra, represented Panama in the 2013 ISA World Surfing Games (WSG) that took place in Santa Catalina. The games came to an emotional close with Oli taking home a silver medal on his home break.
An 8.2 magnitude earthquake hit off the coast of Chile on Tuesday April 1st, approximatly 83km NW of Iquique, Chile. Within 45 minutes of the quake the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) reported high sea level readings indicated a tsunami wave had been generated.
6-foot waves have reportedly already hit the Chilean coast (CNN.com). A tsunami warning is in effect for Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Panama. A tsunami watch has been issued for Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico and Honduras (PTWC).
Don Winner of Panama-guide has up to date info on the situation. His last update at 8:24 p.m. reported the tsunami wave is expected to reach Panama in about 4 hours. Bulletins will be posted on Panama-guide.com hourly or sooner if conditions warrant.
UPDATE: All tsunami watches and warnings previously issued have been canceled except for tsunami warnings for Chile and Peru, the Pacific Tsunami Center announced.by CNN's Steve Almasy 9:44 p.m.
For this April 1, I thought it would be appropriate to review some very special wines I’ve tasted. Having worked long and hard at this particular group, I even borrowed (stole) a few descriptions by other wine writers whose work I admire. I know some may think it’s all whiffing, sniffing and guzzling. But believe me, it can be very hard work. Especially with these particular bottles!
2013 Lemon Hills Vineyard and Lemonade Stand, Sauvignon Blanc, $47.00 (on sale this month for $2.99) 17.9% alc. California, USA.
Is this citrusy and crisp or just sour and tart? Like being whipped five or six times with a leather belt by a dominatrix; then just as it starts to hurt she gives you a slice of fruitcake. Great legs but a wrinkly butt. I suggest it be put back on the horse. I recommend this wine be laid down for some time…and forgotten about.
March 30, at approximately 8:00 pm a fire started in the building located on 9th Street, La Terraza, San Felipe (Casco Viejo). The Fire Department needed support from other units, as the firemen had problems with water supply. The Director of the Fire Department also said they had a hard time accessing the fire due to narrow streets and improperly parked vehicles.
Hooked on Panama is a family operated fishing lodge located in Punta Burica, a small town 17 km south of Puerto Armuelles. Situated on the Costa Rican border, the lodge offers 3000 square feet of lush tropical beachfront, a wealth of wildlife, access to empty surf breaks and some of the best deep-sea fishing in the world. The country’s best known fishing destinations, Hannibal Bank, Isla Montuosa, Isla Ladrones and the 1000 Fathom Drop are only a short boat ride away from the lodge.
In 2004, brothers, Mike and Dan Peavy and their father Don purchased the 20 hectares of beachfront in the sleepy town of Punta Burica. Nautical charts for the region showed some of the best surfing and fishing in Panama. For about 2 years, the two brothers and their father worked together to create plans for the lodge, where they themselves would like to stay and play.
PCF is registering a new soccer team with PanDeportes which is the Panama Sports Authority (Instituto Panameno de Deportes). Operating as a ‘persona juridica’ (legal entity) The new club will be called: FUTBOL CLUB – PCF’ or FC-PCF
The team is being formed as a ‘selectivo’ team which is by invitation only. The best players from around the area including Panama City will be invited to participate. The focus of the team will be on ‘EXCELLENCE, ACHEIVEMENT AND PROFESSIONALISM’ both on and off the field. PCF is working with each player personally to further develop attitudes and values which support a successful life.
On Wednesday, March 26 2014, the National Environmental Authority (ANAM) banned circuses from entering the country of Panama with wild animals of any species. While resolution 149 was approved last month, it was not published until last week (GlobalPost, 2014). The resolution states that traveling circuses, public shows, and other similar entertainment organizations are now prohibited from bringing wild animals into the country of Panama.
The ban does not apply to animals intended for zoos, private collections or animal rescue centers, nor does it apply to domestic animals. Panama still permits pets such as dogs and horses to be used in the circus, on the condition that their owners comply with health measures established by the ministry of health.