‘Parade of 1,000 Polleras’

Spectacular display of folklore and tradition in Las Tablas

Mil Polleras Parade 2011Panama’s pollera dress is arguably the most beautiful traditional dress in all the world.

A grand Panama tradition will take place on Sunday, November 27. The traditional Parade of 1,000 Polleras will be celebrated in the Azuero Peninsula town of Las Tablas in the Los Santos province. The “Mil Polleras” Parade has thousands of women dancing gracefully in Panama’s traditional dress. The “pollera” is considered to be one of the world’s most prized traditional dresses.

The weekend of November 27 is also the time of a big national celebration for the “Fiestas Patrias”, or Independence celebrations. The Thursday and Friday prior are national holidays so many people will already be in the interior of the country. The nearby vacation spot of Pedasí will certainly host many of the visitors and tourists who venture up to Las Tablas to see the spectacle.

Make reservations now

Accommodations in Las Tablas and the surrounding areas are sure to fill up for this big event and it is wise to make arrangements soon.

Polleras are hand-stitched in Las Tablas and the surrounding communities, where the dress originated based on Spanish heritage that is still strong in this folkloric heartland region. But participation in the parade is open to polleras of all kinds and from all over Panama and the world. The only requirement is that the lady who wishes to participate in the big parade should know how to properly wear and dance in the pollera. The dress itself should also be made in a way that respects the traditional confection.

Traditional songs (salomas) and percussion (tamboritos) music will accompany this elegant and impressive parade. Security in the region will be tightened for the event, as much of traditional jewelry that is worn in this parade is made of real gold.

The “Mil Polleras” Parade was traditionally held on Calle 50, the main business artery of Panama City, and was characterized by the contrast of women dressed in Panama’s national dress, dancing down the city street.

4X4 extreme day at Figali

4X4 extreme day at FigaliAn image of Extreme Jeep competition in Venezuela.

Extreme sports fans have an activity to look forward to at Figali Convention Center on Saturday, November 20. From 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. the event, called “Fórmula 4x4” will feature off circuit-racing, mud pits and more.

Entrance costs $10 and inside, there will be music and options for lots of fun to be had at the Seco Herrerano “Platinum Zone” as well as at the Balboa beer stand. Food will be provided by Grill 50 among other concessionaries.

Entrance costs $10. For more information call Sayary at 6679-7559.

Leonardo da Vinci exhibit on the genius, artist and inventor

Leonardo da Vinci exhibitSecrets behind the Mona Lisa, da Vinci’s most famous painting, are being revealed at the exhibit.

The exhibition “Leonardo da Vinci: genio, artista e inventor” (genius, artist and inventor) is officially open to the public at the Museo Antropológico Reina Torres de Araúz (MARTA) on Ave. Juan Pablo II, Llanos de Curundú. The opportunity to enter the world of this Renaissance artist is open from Tuesdays to Fridays from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. at $9 for adults and $7 for children and from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, at $11 for adults and $9 for children.

The exposition, complete with 150 replicas of da Vinci’s paintings, sketches and models of his inventions – all reconstructed by Italian experts — occupies the entire museum. There is also a 22-minute documentary on his life.

Fun for adults

Among the attractions are a presentation on “secret codes” surrounding the Mona Lisa masterpiece, a wine tasting and café for adults.

Fun for kids

The exhibit also seeks to teach youngsters through entertainment. “Kids come and think they are at a fair and, without noticing, they are learning things they didn’t know,” says John Sepúlveda, producer of the exposition in Panama.


Six students from the University of Panama who are specialized in the Renaissance era and other experts on the topic will be guiding attendees through the replicas in this enlightening exhibition that allows taking flash photographs, a luxury normally forbidden at great museums.

For more information, contact 501-4731.

Australian inspiration for CanadaPLUS Christmas event

Candelight carols to raise charity funds, spreading holiday cheer in Casco Viejo

The initiative of an Australian broadcaster over 70 years ago, that produced one of the longest running shows on earth, is coming to Casco Viejo on Saturday, December 3. Carols by Candlelight (Luces de Navidad) aims to become a holiday tradition that will support the community.

How it all began

On Christmas Eve, 1937, Norman Banks was walking home in Melbourne, when he saw an old lady sitting alone in a room with a candle, listening to the radio and singing “Away in a Manger.”

He wondered how many others in the city were also alone at that special time of year, and he planned the city’s first “Carols By Candlelight” for the next year with a choir of 30, two soloists and a fireman’s band. 10,000 people showed up, all carrying candles.

The following year the crowd swelled to 25,000 and over the years it continued growing to become a staple celebration across Australia and in other countries, raising millions of dollars for charity and viewed on television around the world.

Panamanian version

Now, the CanadaPLUS social club will replicate the event in Panama. Already there are six choirs, a musical ensemble from the Danilo Perez Foundation and star soloists from Ópera Panamá confirmed to participate.

The National Institute of Cuture (INAC) is reportedly on board with the Carols by Candlelight (Luces de Navidad) initiative. Sponsors include Estrella Azul, Copa Airlines, Panamá Pacífico, Arco Properties, Palo Alto coffee as well as many small businesses and individuals.

Event details

The big caroling spectacle will take place in Plaza de Francia, at the tip of Casco Viejo on Saturday December 3, beginning at 7:00 p.m. The concert will be preceeded by a procession of children carrying candles through the streets of the Old Quarter. Following the concert, CanadaPLUS will hold a VIP reception, admission is $15 per person.

A giant Canadian Christmas tree, donated by Gago Brothers, will stand in the Plaza with a lighting ceremony scheduled for Thursday, December 1. Many residents and businesses of Casco Viejo are already planning to decorate for the event.

Candles for charity

Admission to the event is free and participants will be encouraged to purchase a souvenir LED candle that comes complete with battery. The funds raised through this event will go to Fundación Calicanto which runs programs for disadvantaged children and women in the historic San Felipe neighborhood. The candles come in two sizes, the smaller at $5, and the larger ones at $12.

Illustrated songbooks will be distributed free of charge beginning this month.

Seating arrangements

There will be seats available at a small charge ($5 prepaid, $10 on December 3) to raise additional charity funds. Sponsors can also purchase blocks of seats for seating lower income seniors or disabled people. Tickets for these seats will be distributed by local churches, Calicanto and sponsors.

Home delivery of tickets and candles when orders reach $50 will be available within the city.

For information, call 6689-6890 or email

Timeless favorites at Rincón Alemán

Michael and AnitaMichael and Anita.

A singing duo that goes by the name Anita and Michael will present an evening of “Timeless Favorites” on Monday, November 14, at 7:30 p.m. at the Rincón Alemán German restaurant in Bella Vista. Their repertoire includes songs spanning from the 1950’s to the 1980’s and include rock, standards, ballads, country and duets. For information, directions or reservations, call 264-0590.

Concert Roster

Maná in concert

Sábado, November 12

The acclaimed Mexican band Maná, now on the road with their “Drama y Luz” CD tour, will perform at Figali Convention Center. This concert was originally announced to take place on November 8 and a date change shortly followed. Tickets at TicketPlus locations in Metro pharmacies, Hometek, Digicel stores and online at

DJ David Guetta

DJ David Guetta

Thursday, November 17

The famous French DJ David Guetta, whose electronic beats have become mainstream hits, will be performing in Panama on November 17 at the Figali Convention Center. Tickets are available at Ticketplus, Metro pharmacies, Hometek, and Extreme Planet, at $40 for the general public, $100 for the Premium area, and $175 for the VIP area.

Vocal Sampling

Vocalists interpret pianos, percussion in special concert

Thursday, November 24

Six Cuban musicians are bringing an entire band to Panama, but they are not bringing any instruments to the concerts. The group called “Vocal Sampling” sings the parts of musical instruments, trumpets, piano and percussion, performing their own pieces as well as remakes of famous Cuban singer Silvio de Rodríguez. Their concert at the Ateneo Theatre at the City of Knowledge will also feature hits form their latest album Akapelleando. A capella is a difficult style, but this group is secure in the genre, having been nominated for a Grammy on three occasions. Tickets at and Blockbuster locations. For more information call 6685-3135..

‘Piracy in Spanish America,’ a new exhibition at the Interoceanic Canal Museum

Interoceanic Canal Museum
The Interoceanic Canal Museum in Casco Viejo. El Museo del Canal Interoceánico en el Casco Viejo

An exhibition that is five centuries in the making has just opened in Panama City. “Mare clausum, Mare liberum: La Piratería en la América Española” (Piracy in Spanish America), opened at the Interoceanic Canal Museum on Wednesday, and will be on through November 27.

This exposition, which opened on the 519th anniversary of Columbus’ discovery of America, narrates the story of 300 years of piracy in America, from the 16th to the 19th centuries, using original documents that contain information on pirate attacks that took place in Panama. The exhibition includes original documents written here in Panama that record attacks. Several hundred years after their creation, these documents have returned to the Isthmus from the Archivo General de Indias in Sevilla, Spain.

The exhibition contains over one hundred original documents, letters, weapons and other objects of historic value. Among them is a letter on pirate Henry Morgan’s attack on Panamá La Vieja, the first Panama City.

Exclusive to Panama

Panama will be the only country in Latin America to host this exposition which recounts three centuries of battles and encounters between pirates and Spaniards on their way to Spain with gold and silver from America.

“The exposition is a scientific and historic analysis of piracy; contrary to the romanticism that books and movies have given to it, piracy was tremendously cruel and violent and it caused huge damage,” said Ángeles Ramos, director of the Interoceanic Canal Museum, located on Plaza Catedral in Casco Viejo, Panama City’s Old Quarter.

For more information, contact 211-1649 /

Country Fairs

Panama’s fairs and festivals are colorful and lively. Country-folk are friendly and welcoming so they are excellent venues for visitors to get a taste of the ‘real’ Panama. See the schedule which follows.

10 de noviembre Desfile Asociación Cívica Santeños de David
10 de noviembre Grito de La Villa de Los Santos
11 al 13 noviembre Festival Mi Ranchito de Rio de Jesús
27 al 30 noviembre Feria de San Andrés, Chiriquí
25 y 26 noviembre Desfile de Carretas Damas Pedasieñas
16 al 19 de diciembre Feria de Tierras Altas Volcán, Chiriquí