November 12, 2010

An Isthmian Festival.

      I would like to "post" a news that appeared on a Panama’s newspaper and I found it interesting to post on the blog. I hope that you find it interesting.
     “34 years ago, Henk Van Der Kolk was an architect who wanted to turn around his life and did so.
     This Canadian is one of the founders of the Toronto’s Film Festival, considered one of the most important in the world alongside Cannes and Venice.
     Beginning in November, he will reside in Panama, in the community of Santa Clara, home of T. Rob Brown, a patron of the arts, who is married to Yolanda, Van Der Kolk’s painter daughter.
     As he was in love with the isthmus, he wants to make a film festival here (Panama).
     Perhaps it couldn’t be difficult if with a handful of employees and enthusiasm founded in 1976 the Toronto’s Film Festival.
     He believes that Panama is the ideal spot of Central America for this project because it has a stable currency, safety, an efficient network of air links and has become a popular place to go to retire and says he is proof of that.
     We are pleased that Panama also offers the option of being in a tropical rainforest in the morning and be back at night to sleep in a five star hotel.
     Such variety is another impetus to develop, because in his opinion it wouldn’t be more difficult to convince Hollywood producers to shoot in this land.
     His Isthmian Festival would have a strong Latin American component, and he regretted that a high percentage of the screen quota in Panama is lead by commercial Hollywood cinema.
     The first version of the festival will be in April 2012. "Panama has a better infrastructure than Toronto had 34 years ago when he started the festival. Perhaps it not achieved the same worldwide, but will be as similar as possible."
     He is pleased to have been well received by the Ministers of Tourism, Salomon Shamah, Minister of Commerce and Industry, Roberto Henríquez and INAC Director, María Eugenia Herrera.
     How much required investment is not known , but he began to knock doors in North America.
     It should not be difficult if your team is able to get the $ 7 million that is needed each year to “jump-start” the Toronto Film Festival.”
     On the other hand, it is already taking the first steps for the development of cinema in Panama. In the City of Knowledge (Panama City), since 11th to 22th October, 2010, it developed the II Meeting of “Cine Iberoamérica Panamá, 2010”. Among the films to be projected highlight two that have seal of Panama: “Chance” and “Business”. During this meeting, film workshops and film competitions were held.

By: Daniel Dominguez Z. La Prensa.
Translation: Jack
See Spanish publication at: vivir + LA PRENSA 

October 17, 2010

The Harpy Eagle.

     The Harpy Eagle (Harpia harpyja) is a falconiform bird specie in the Accipitridae family living in the Neotropics and it’s the second largest eagle in the world, but the most powerful and robust. It’s surpassed in size (distance between the ends of the wings) only by the eagle of the Philippines (Pithecophaga Jefferyi). The female’s average size is 100 cms. length, size of 200 cms. and weight of 9 kgs. The male has smaller dimensions up to 196 cms. in size and weighing approximately 8 kgs.

   Its plumage is gray on the head; black on the back, upper wings and chest; and white on the underside of the wings and abdomen. The tail is black with three gray bands. It has an erectile crest of feathers on its head. It also has a sharp beak and claws that can reach 15 cms long. It can live even 40 years.

     The Harpy Eagle is a predator. It’s favorite prey are climbing mammals such as monkeys, sloths and coatis. It also feeds of reptiles (such as green iguanas, snakes) and birds. Despite its size, it has the ability to penetrate the dense and thick foliage of the jungle to hunt their prey, one of the animals proportionately strongest in the world (up and carried in flight three times its own weight). It prefers to live in dense virgin forests, so the loss of its habitat puts it in endangered extinction species, their morphology is highly adapted to the habitat in which hunting. For this purpose, their wings are proportionally over the trunk not too long (allowing it to fly swiftly into the dense canopies of trees).

     The harpy eagle is the Panama’s national bird. The Act was registered as No. 18 of April 10, 2002 in Official Gazette No. 24,530, with four items, setting the third items fines up to five thousand dollars (B /. 5,000.00) for those who capture, traffic, cause injury or death of adult Harpy Eagles, offspring, eggs or nests. It is protected by institutions such as ANCON, ANAM, The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (...), “Patronato Amigos del Águila Harpía”, among others.


August 09, 2010

"Square Trees".

     Have you ever heard about square trees? Only in Panama, a tourist place known as “El Valle de Antón”, you can find these kinds of trees.

     Physically, the trees are not square. They are called "square trees" because the base of the trunk is totally square. If you measure with a measuring tape each side of the trunk, you get the same dimension. In addition, as a curious fact, the inner rings of the tree, which are used to tell the age of a tree that grows one each year, are square too.
     The trees can reach a height of 12-15 meters.

July 26, 2010

Messi and his Friends Team vs The World Team.

     A few days after the World Cup South Africa 2010, with the victory of Spain, on Wednesday, July 14, 2010 was a great joy for all Panamanians. Under the sponsorship of Samsung and organization of 141, was held in Panama City the friendly game of “Messi and his Friends vs The World”.
     The event was held at the newly renovated National Soccer Stadium “Rommel Fernandez”, with a full capacity of 26,000 spectators and the most modern in Central America.

Rommel Fernández Stadium

     In addition to the Panamanian fans, fans came from Central American countries and Colombia, through tour packages sold in those countries. Furthermore, these tourists took to shopping and visiting the Panama City.
     That night the stadium was filled to its full capacity. Nobody wanted to miss the World football star, the Argentinean, Lionel Andrés Messi, FC Barcelona player and winner of the title FIFA WOLRDPLAYER 2009.

The teams were composed of the following players:

Messi and his Friends Team
Lionel Messi, Martín Palermo, Sebastián Abreu, Franco Zuculini, Cafu, Gabriel Milito, Juan Arango, Lucio, Leandro Lázzaro, Ariel "Burrito" Ortega, Mario Yepes, Josué, Nicholas Otamendi, Juan, Ricardo Sá Pinto

The World Team
Marco Materazzi, Christian Vieri, Mariano Pernía, Fernando Couto, Iván Helguera, Fernando Morientes, Edgar Davids, Dwight Yorke, Kevin Kuranyi, José Francisco Cevallos, José Pinto, Jaime Penedo, Blas Pérez, Gabriel Gómez, Nelson Barahona.

Technical Directors: Hernán "Bolillo" Gómez and Cesar Farías.
Football Referee: Horacio Elizondo.

Press conference at Intercontinental Playa Bonita Resort and Spa

     Although it rained that night, this did not stop the game from being held. More than 25,000 people attending the stadium between Panamanians and foreigners, most of who were Central Americans and Colombians, were shouting the name of the Argentinean star: Messi, Messi! It was a magical moment for all present and TV viewers who watched live transmission of the friendly game. They could not believe seeing a soccer game with many Football World Stars in Panama. It was like being in a World Cup.
     In brief, the first goal was made by the Spanish Fernando Morientes, from the World team, to Ecuador goalkeeper José Cevallos in the 8th minute of the first half. Then in the 13th minute, Brazilian Lucio, who belonged to Messi and his Friends team, evened the score, beating Barcelona goalkeeper, José Pinto.
     Messi scored three goals in the 32nd, 45th and 87th minutes. The other two goals from Messi and his Friends team were scored by Leandro Lázzaro in the 53rd minute, and the other by Zuculini Franco in the 89th minute.
     Blas Pérez,, from the Panama’s National team striker and World team, scored three goals to minutes 72nd, 79th and 90th, the latter being the most precious, a "hat trick" (chilena), ending the game 6-4 in favor Messi and his Friends team.

Some moments of the game!!! 

Blas Pérez's "HAT TRICK" (Chilena)

Players' withdrawal at Rommel Fernández Stadium

July 23, 2010

Las Tablas Carnival 2010: “Culecos”.

     In the Interior towns of the Republic of Panama is where most Panamanians celebrate the carnival tradition, by four consecutive days before Ash Wednesday.
     The carnival is organized by the people, divided into two streets, "Calle Arriba" and "Calle Abajo" (Up Street and Down Street), although in some villages or towns there is a third street. During this carnival festivities, the two streets are rivals and they compete to see who is better in the town's central park, where both "tunas" face other. They compete on who is better: the most beautiful queen, floats, fancy dresses, "murga" and "tuna". Generally, both “tunas” are considered winners by themself in each presentation.
     In this post I want to define three words that are important in Panamanian carnival tradition.
     “Tuna”: group of people and musicians who accompany and support their queen, either Up Street or Down Street, during their performances.
     “Murga”: group of musicians who play the songs of the queen during carnival; usually, they go in a float behind the queen; the song lyrics are to ennoble their queen, or to make fun of the Queen's family and her “tuna”. But they don’t mention names, only assumptions facts. You have to investigate who they talking about. All people who sing are behind their Murga or queen.
     "Culecos" or "Mojaderas" are made on the morning of carnival from 9 in the morning in the town's central park. The "Culecos” are made with tanker trucks parked on the streets around the park and throw water through hoses to all who attend. Each "Tuna" (Calle Arriba and Calle Abajo) presents a single float with the company of their "murga".
     In the "Culecos" or "Mojaderas" each queen goes on a float inspired by a specific theme, like her dress, trimmed with rhinestones, sequins, and feathers of exotic birds. Definitely, the queens are the only ones that are not wet, obviously, because the water would damage the dress and they would lose their grace.
     The videos that I posted are from Las Tablas Carnival 2010. The background music is played by a "murga", but it is only to give it a carnival atmosphere. They are not the songs that were sung and performed in this carnival. In addition, I posted the pictures of the costumes or fancy dresses that were exhibited at the "Reina Torres de Araúz Antropology Museum" in Panama City, weeks after the carnival. In this way, you can see the details of the costumes.

Calle Abajo de Las Tablas Theme: Cards Games
Calle Arriba de Las Tablas Theme: Diwali: Lights Festival - Nepal

Calle Abajo de Las Tablas Theme:  Valentine
Calle Arriba de Las Tablas Theme: Aphrodite

Calle Abajo de Las Tablas Theme: Romany Lineage - Gipsy Lineage
Calle Arriba de Las Tablas Theme:  Marie Antoinette Josèphe Jeanne de Habsbourg-Lorraine: Forerunner of French fashion.

Calle Abajo de Las Tablas Theme: Cockfights
Calle Arriba de Las Tablas Theme: The Music of My Land

July 22, 2010

Amador's Causeway - Calzada de Amador.

     Amador’s Causeway or “Calzada de Amador” is located, exactly, in the Pacific entrance of the Panama Canal. It’s a path that connects Panama City with Naos, Perico and Flamenco Islands. This road was built with material from the extraction of soil from Culebra Cut, when building the Panama Canal. During the Spanish conquest, the islands were a favorite anchorage of Spanish galleons arriving in Panama City and loaded with treasures snatched from the Inca Empire. In 1913, the islands became part of Fort Grant. This fort was used to defend the Panama Canal entrance against possible attacks from Germany or Japan during the First World War.

     The Amador Causeway is now a tourist spot and perfect for walking, jogging, skating, biking and enjoying beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean: the ships awaiting permission for transit through the Panama Canal and the fabled Bridge of the Americas; whereas at the other side, you can see the smashing horizon and modern Panama City and its skyscrapers, as well as the Old Town of Panama City (Casco Antiguo).
     Throughout the entire roadway will find fast food restaurants, American franchising, Italian, Mexican, Cuban, Greek, International restaurants and, of course, Panamanian restaurants. There are also seafood restaurants, as well known in Panama for their freshness, quality and taste.
     Both the beginning and end of the road, you can find bars, nightclubs, discos, some with dance floors and music for all likes.
     Another attraction is the Smithsonian’s Marine Exhibition Center, a place to learn about the flora, fauna and see some exotic species of marine life both the Caribbean and the Pacific of Panama.
     Small shopping centers, marinas for yachts, hotels and a convention center, could not miss in this wonderful place of the country.
     In 2011, will be inaugurated the Museum of Biodiversity, designed by Frank Gehry, which will be one of the biggest attractions of the place. You can see more information on Categories-Megaprojects-Panama: Bridge of Life – Museum of Biodiversity.
     I made a video with my photos. I hope you enjoy it.

June 29, 2010

My name is Panama - IPAT's Tourism Commercial

     The video that I post was Panama’s first tourism commercial that I remember. It was created to promote the tourism for the Miss Universe beauty pageant in 1986, celebrated on July in Panama City.
     I remember at that time, the responsible authority for tourism in Panama was IPAT (Panamanian Tourism Institute), today, ATP (Panama’s Tourism Authority), and the government was under the dictatorship of General Manuel Antonio Noriega.
     "My name is Panama" or "Mi nombre es Panama" was the promotional slogan of tourism which is now a trademark that sells Panamanians items such as molas, woven on clothing; cartoons alluding to Panamanian folklore and culture, and printed on t-shirts in multiple colors; and national handicrafts

     Venezuelan contestant Barbara Palacios Teyde, in her response to the jury at the Miss Universe in 1986 said: "We must highlight the great work that Panamanians do when they have foreign people in their land, as in our case, we, the misses of this pageant. I think it should be emphasized at all times that they not only have beautiful lands, but the Panamanians are people, beautiful people, who always offer a lot of warmth. I think that is very precisely that slogan that says: My name is Panama!!!”

June 07, 2010

Atlas Ads: a Panamanian Beer.

     Atlas is one of the most recognized and consumed beer in the country, and its logo appears at events such as carnivals, fairs, musical events and on the walls of store retailers around the country, such as advertising and sponsorship.
     My purpose of this post is not to advertise the product and assess its quality and taste. I wish to highlight of their commercial advertisements folklore, culture, landscape and the melting pot of races of our country during the last thirty years. Not only is the beer, is the country, Panama.
     The main objective is to know the landscape of Panama and its people. Remember that the first videos presented were made in the 80s and the last are the most current. Before each set of videos I put the lyric of them in English so you can understand what each group of video wants to transmit. Enjoy them.

Cerveza Atlas: "Así es mi país" (This is my country) ((1985-1986).
This is my country
and so are my people,
first people who love and feel ...
This is my country
and so are my people, people who work and enjoy.
This is my country
and this is my first people, people who enjoy the present.
This is my country
and this is my people, people who love and feel...

Cerveza Atlas: "Así es mi país" (This is my country) ((1986-1987). Other version.
This is my country
And so are the things we like
Because we like them...
And so are my people
People who enjoy the present...
Who know sure what they feel
These things we like always
These things we like always.

Cerveza Atlas: "Así es mi gente" (This is my people) (1989).
These are the people, the people of Panama.
What joy that good, drink the Atlas their beer.
Take life with joy, always drink your Atlas very cold.
These are the people with Atlas to enjoy.
Here and there, and throughout Panama.
These are the people, the people of Panama.
What joy that good, they drink the Atlas their beer.
People are happy, the people are friendly.
As our people like no other.
These are the people with Atlas to enjoy.
Here and there, and throughout Panama.
These are the people, the people of Panama.
What joy that good, they drink the Atlas their beer.
The people of Panama, here and there, drink Atlas.

Cerveza Atlas: "Yo soy el sabor" (I'm the flavor) ((1991-1992-1993) Salsa rithm.
I‘m of this land,
and I have the happy flavor of my people.
My soul is golden, sun caress
And the white foam of my beaches
comes from inside me ...
I'm city and fields
from color neighborhood
I'm first, I'm the flavor
Atlas: I'm first
Atlas: I'm the flavor. Bis.

Cerveza Atlas: "Nuestra gente, nuestra cerveza" (Our People, Our beer) (2009).
We are that happy land
We are really Panamanians.
We’re going foward, we enjoy today.
And It’s one and our, what a great beer,
made with our rithm.
Pure Panamanian, it’s Atlas the flavor.
We first, we have flavor
Atlas, we are first
Atlas, we are the flavor.

June 03, 2010

Aladdin The Musical.

     From April 8th to May 9th, 2010, Disney’s Aladdin The Musical was stage on “El Teatro en Círculo”. The costumes and props were among the details that most attention.
     The musical was live, and the songs performed by Panamanian artists, highlighting those who have participated in Mega Projects on TV like Rafael Moreno (Vive La Música, fourth season), as Aladdin and Anne Lorain Lanier (Latin American Idol, third season ), as Princess Jasmine. Of course, we have to highlight the work of other actors and dancers on stage, male and female choirs, as well as all the work behind the scenes.
     Andres Morales, belonging to the cast of the TV show "La Cáscara", was The Genie of the magic lamp . I think this was the ideal role for him, because he has the versatility to imitate people and personality like "The Genie".
     I am glad that we are growing Broadway-style musical here in Panama, with Panamanian artists, musicians and professionals.

Aladdin And Friends Disney Images

May 30, 2010

Laffit Pincay Jr.

     Laffit Pincay Jr. was born on December 29, 1946 in Panama City. He is considered the biggest Panamanian horse-racing pride. "The Corsair", as he is known since he arrived in the U.S. tracks, is a member of the American Horse Racing Hall of Fame, as well as in Panama.
     He made his debut on March 22, 1964, and won his first victory on March 28, 1964, with the same horse that debuted named "Huelen". The same year he won his first main event, "Clásico Independencia de Estados Unidos" with the horse “Alucinado II."
     Since 1965, he has been riding on the Presidente Remon racetrack in Panama City, he managed to enter to the elite group of riders who win over 200 races in a year, topping the statistics of riders with 249 victories in 696 opportunities.
     In Panama, he completed 1,395 rides, winning 449 races, 298 seconds, 216 thirds, 180 fourth places, and 258 times out of silver.
     In 1966, Pincay Jr. was hired by Fred W. Hooper, a prominent horseman, to ride and compete in races that were held in the United States. His first victory was on July 1, 1966, riding the horse "Teacher's Art", owned by Hooper, at Arlington Park in Chicago.
     His success in the United States can be summarized as follows: He set a record for most wins in a year by imposing 380 horses in 1971; He was inducted into the National Museum of Horse Racing and Hall of Fame in 1975 at 29 years old; He leaded all sums earned in the United States in seven times (1970 -1974, 1979, 1985), the horses that he rode generated revenues of $ 203 million; He won five times the "Eclipse Award”, top honor of American horse racing (1971, 1973, 1974, 1979 and 1985), more than any other rider in history; He got his win 8,834 on December 11, 1999 with "Nip Iris" in Hollywood to become the new leader among the riders in the world with the most wins in history, dethroning American rider Bill Showmaker who held a mark of 8,833 wins in his retirement in 1990.
     In 1980, Laffit Pincay Jr. was hired to ride the Mexican specimen “Pikotazo” at the “XIII Clásico Internacional del Caribe”, winning the race.
     He won four races of the U.S. Triple Crown: the Kentucky Derby "with" Swale "in 1984, the" Belmont Stakes” three times consecutive with "Conquistador Cielo" (1982), "Caveat" (1983) and "Swale "(1984).
     Laffit Pincay Jr. also won seven races of the millionaire series called "Breeders Cup": Classic for 3 million dollars with "Skywalker" in 1986, the "Distaff" twice, "Bayakoa" in 1989-90, the "Juvenile", three times with "Tasso" (1985), "Capote" (1986) and "Is It True" (1988) and "Juvenile Fillies" with "Phone Chatter” in 1993.
     On February 13, 2002, with the success of "STAGE PLAYER" in the second race of the day, the number of wins of Pincay Jr. reached the 9,300 dreamed goal victories.
     On April 29, 2003, almost 39 years after that first success, the Panamanian rider announced his retirement from the profession due to a physical injury caused in an accident while attending a horse race.

April 03, 2010

Sancocho - Chicken Soup.

     Sancocho is a typical Panamanian chicken soup seasoned with yams, onions, cilantro, oregano, garlic, pepper, and salt. Its origin is in the Azuero Peninsula, to be precise in Los Santos Province. There are other ways depending on the region of the country where it is prepared. In some places other ingredients such as corn, squash, cassava and “otoe” are added . You can also find beef soup (Chiriquí Province) or fish soup (Colon Province).
     The soup is one of the most representative dishes of the Panamanian cuisine, and it is usually accompanied with a bowl of white rice. It's the dish that can not be missed on the restaurant menu in the country, and its low cost and taste is one of mayor demand.
     This revitalizing soup can be taken at lunch, at dinner after a hard day at work, and after a carousal to recover energy. In many country parties the soup is served between 2:00 a.m. and 3:00 a.m. for those who want to replenish their energies.
     Top “sancochos” are slowly being cooked first to smooth chicken meat, and afterwards so that the yam is tender and so it disolves, making the soup acquire a thick consistency.
     In the Interior, it is prepared in a large pot and stove with wood, giving the soup a smoky special taste. This type of Sancocho can be found in “fondas” (small restaurants) in the Interior during festivals, regional fairs and during Carnival.

     The soup has healing properties, it contains nutrients and vitamins, which can help to reduce cold symptoms. People make the soup when they have flu, an upset stomach or after a long night of alcohol consumption.
     On August 16th, 2003 and to celebrate the Centenary of the Republic, the world's largest Sancocho, called "The Centennial Sancocho” was made.
     To do this we had to compile a special stainless steel pot with its respective lid, as well as designing the stove (burners), how to hold it, the instruments of server and mix , using for the latter wooden oars, all which was a Guinness Record.

     The preparation of the Centennial Sancocho began at 5:30 am and ended at 11:00 a.m. People immediately proceeded to serve the soup in cups. The cost of each cup was $ 0.25, and the funds raised were donated to Hospital del Niño (Children’s Hospital), a public hospital.
     Some important Guinness Record data:
Pot size: 2.00 meters high and 3.00 meters in diameter.
Chicken and yam Quantity: 3.0 tons (3,000.00 kg.).
Onion Quantity: 1500.00 pounds (680.38 kg.).
Garlic Quantity: 80.00 pounds (36.28 kg.).
Cilantro Quantity: 60.00 pounds (27.21 kg.).
Oregano Quantity: 10.00 pounds (4.53 kg.).
Pepper Quantity: 5.00 pounds (2.26 kg.).
Salt Quantity: 80.00 pounds (36.28 kg.).
Water volume: 2033.00 gallons (9,148.50 liters).
Heat of the burners Gas: BTU 4,000.000.00.
Number of cups served: 21,365.00 dishes approximately of 12 ounces each.
Cost per cup: $ 0.25.
Number of Volunteers: over 300.

March 25, 2010

Urban Photography Festival 2010.

     The first Panama’s Urban Photography Festival took place from March 11th to 14th, 2010, and the event was inside of Santo Domingo Church’s dilapidated structures where you can find the famous “Arco Chato” (Flat Bow).
     The event was promoted by the Casco Antiguo de Panama Office, to collect the photographic works of professionals, amateurs, and enthusiasts, highlighting the art, historic places, how people live in the streets every day, people, buildings and houses, food and folklore of Panama, among other things.
     All who wanted to exhibit their work could do for free, as the entrance.
     To participate in the competition you had to register and pay a cost depending on the category and professional level. Fifteen categories were awarded, with total on prizes of about $ 6,500.
     I visited the exhibition one day and I post some photos of the Festival. The day that I visited the exhibition were exposed only a few photos. Every day, different photos were exposed with its author, being spread all photos of participants and non participants during the four days of the event.