Special Features

Important independence dates

Fiestas Patrias

November 3

Panamanians celebrate the foundation of the Republic on November 3, when Panama separated from Colombia in 1903 with the writing of the “Acta de Independencia del Istmo”, declaring what was a province of Colombia to be an independent and sovereign nation called The Republic of Panama. The day is celebrated with a huge parade in Panama City. The route is from Parque Bolivar in Casco Viejo, past the Presidencia, to the Cathedral Square and down Avenida Central to Avenida B all the way to Plaza 5 de Mayo. A second route will be along Via España from Calle 43 to Calle 57. There has been some controversy about the decision to have two smaller parades instead of one massive one.

Novembre 4

Flag Day is celebrated on November 4. The Panamanian flag was designed by Manuel E. Amador and sewn by María Ossa de Amador. They had worked on the flag when plans to become a nation were still secret.

November 5

Independence celebrations continue on this day because it was on November 5 that Panamanian officials in Colon convinced the Colombian forces to desist their efforts to march on the Panamanian capital. Historians report that this cost them $8,000 in those days. This day finalizes the celebration of separation from Colombia and is an especially important day in Colon, one on which the nation recognizes the province’s key role in the country’s independence.

November 10

In the Los Santos Province, the “Primer Grito de Independencia de Panama de España” (The First Cry for Independence from Spain) went out on this day in 1821 from leaders in La Villa de Los Santos. This region was the headquarters for the freedom movement from the Spanish Crown.

November 28

On this day in 1821, Panama’s independence from Spain was consolidated and the Isthmus was declared free of Spanish reign and leaders proclaimed a voluntary union with Colombia.

What would Halloween be without Dracula!

By Donna Dawson

Tropical Gardening with Donna Dawson
The plant world contributes the pumpkin for Halloween, and it offers The Dracula orchid which never raises its face in the daylight hours. The Dracula is a fascinating and rare orchid species with monkey faces, long tails and sometimes even hairy blooms. The name means “Little Dragon” and these dragons are as unique as their ancestors.

This strange and intriguing genus was created by Dr. Carlyle Luer in 1978. Prior to this time they were included with the Masdevallia genus. There are approximately 124 species found in the Dracula genus. Of these, ten species originated here in Panama including the Dracula roeslii ‘Finca Dracula’.

Dracula orchid
Dracula orchid

La Finca Dracula (The Dracula Farm) is located in Guadalupe, Chiriquí, the highest village in Panama. It was started as a hobby in 1969 by Andrew Maduro of Maduro Tropical Flowers and covers 22 acres of tropical forest that is often bathed in clouds. Here you will find more than 2,200 different orchid species from Central and South America. It is one of the most important orchid farms in Central America.

Nestled at the edge of Parque La Amistad (Friendship Park), a World Biosphere Reserve and UNESCO world heritage site, it is a joy to walk around the gardens, and of course to buy some orchids to take home as a memento of your experience. Visit www.fincadracula.com or telephone 771-2070 for further information.

Ol' Jack's out walkin' the dog

Ol’Jack loves to take his miniature schnauzer Fluffy for walks along the Paseo las Bovedas, the bougavilla-covered esplanade that runs along the top of the old seawall at the tip of the peninsula known as Casco Viejo. After the pirate Henry Morgan and a bunch of other rummies burned down the original city, these historic walls were built above the surf in a more defensible position way back in the 17th century.

They built dungeons embedded in the walls and that’s literally what las bovedas means in Spanish – the dungeons. Legend has it that prisoners didn’t like high tide because it could rise to chin-high, while they were chained to the walls. Other legends suggest the water sometimes rose higher. Too bad Morgan couldn’t have stayed for a tide or two. Now the dungeons have been converted to an art gallery and a restaurant.

Located at the ends of Avenue A and Calle Primera, Paseo las Bovedas has to be one of the most beautiful dog walks in the world, with it’s views of El Puente de las Americas, the Causeway, a flotilla of ships waiting to take their turn through the Canal and a magnificent view of the skyline of new Panama. Part of our stroll goes around La Plaza de Francia, which commemorates the French effort to build a Canal. You might think that a memorial to a failed attempt situated next to historic dungeons would make this a sad place. It’s the opposite however, considered by many to be the most romantic stroll in all of Panama. Certainly, Fluffy and I have to discreetly choose a bench for a cigarette (for me, not Fluffy) so we don’t intrude on the many couples nestled all along walls particularly in the pink of evening time.

However, walking the dog means more than just getting some air and exercise. Ol’Jack is a great believer that you need to take a little plastic bag along in case the spirit moves your pet. Some of our neighbors don’t do this, which is a wonderful way to spoil a romantic jaunt along the seaside for somebody else.

You are what you eat... but do you eat right?

By Michael R. Joseph DC,DACBN,CCN

If I told you that you are what you eat, you would probably tell me you have heard that before. But what if I told you that you are also what your mother and father ate and you are what your grandparents ate too? Few people know that our food choices come largely from your genial history. We eat what our parents eat, and that isn’t always optimal.

Food is fuel. It is important to pay special attention to the foods and liquids that we use to fuel our bodies and make sure that we are not stuck in any unhealthy patterns. While our bodies can tolerate some abuse, it is important to remember that whole and natural foods are the best to keep our bodies energized and our digestive tract optimized.

Alta Vita quote of the week:
A piece of dried apricot does nowhere near what a fresh one can!

Our bodies are around 70% water. And all of our nutrition is broken down into liquids so it can be transported into the blood stream and transported to our cells where it is used for energy production and the creation of new cells. If we eat foods tha are dry or lack the fluid, the fluid necessary to transport the nutrients will come from digestive enzymes.

These are actually secretions from organs and glands. If we over-work our organs and glands by eating too much processed or dehydrated or packaged foods, things start to break down. One of the first signs is constipation. So think first before eating a piece of dehydrated fruit. A piece of dried apricot does nowhere near what a fresh one can!

To get in touch with nature and choose whole natural foods, call Alta Vita Spa at 390-9919 or 6677-6616 to assist you (and your children) with your dietary and nutritional needs.