Daily Archives: May 26, 2011

The Texas Of Panama

Texas has always had an inflated opinion of itself. Growing up, of course, it prided itself as the “biggest” state in the Union and I was delighted when Alaska became a state and relegated Texas to second fiddle status. In the last year there has been talk about them seceding and becoming several additional states instead of just the one.

Here in Panama Chiriqui Province, where I’m living, the people have a similar opinion of themselves. Chiricanos have a distinct “pride of place.” They almost see themselves as a country in and of themselves, and would probably secede themselves if it was possible. The highest point in the country, Volcan Barú is located here. It is often considered the “bread basket of Panama.” In the highlands around Volcan and Cerro Punta you’ll find huge fincas growing a wide variety of vegetables. There are large cattle ranches in Chiriqui as well as some of the finest coffee plantations found anywhere in the world. On the dashboards of the majority of cars here you’ll see not only the Panamanian flag but that of Chiriqui Province as well. Men wear baseball caps embroidered with the name “Chiriqui” on them. The pueblo of Boquete here in Chiriqui is touted by such publications as Forbes and Money magazines as one of the top 10 places to retire abroad.

Whether this pride is deserved or not isn’t for me to say. I simply note it as a fact.

As I wrote in a previous post I am enjoying listening to “Tipica” music and when I go to bed at night I hit radio station WCHT which specializes in the music. Last night, though, I forgot to set the sleep timer and about two in the morning the following song woke me up…

But let’s not think Chiriqui is the only province with pride of self.  Herrera province, which is actually the only other place in Panama I thought of settling down in has its own anthem sung by Karen Peralta who sang the song above.

This form of tipica music is known as “Tamborito.” Wikipedia says, “Tamborito, literally translated to “the Little Drum”, is a genre of Panamanian folkloric music and dance dating back as early as the 17th century. The Tamborito is the national song and dance of Panama. The dance is a romantic, couple’s dance, often involving a small percussion ensemble, and in all versions; a female chorus. The Tamborito is performed in formal costumes in front of large, interactive crowds that form a large circle around the performers. The members of such crowds often participate in the percussion of the song as well as the actual dance itself[1]. The Tamborito is most commonly performed during Panamanian festivals, and in particular, the Panama Carnival.” For the whole post go here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tamborito

And the Tamborito dancing starts at an early age as I saw in the Mother’s Day celebration in Boqueron last November.

Panama opens itself to me anew every day.


Filed under Boqueron Panama, Living Abroad, panama, Retirement Abroad