Panama: Roots, Culture and Arts

Panama is a well-known tourist destination but there is a hidden Panama not often viewed by the common tourist. Just like any other country, Panama has both wealthy and impoverished area. For the unconventional traveler, these areas can be dangerous but they also hold so much culture and arts.

San Miguelito is a district in Panama City, Panama that has produced athletes and music artists. On October 11, 2017, the national Panama football team defeated Costa Rica with the final score of 2 versus 1. This matched was the official game qualifying Panama for the World Cup for the first time ever. The Panamanian president Juan Carlos Varela commemorated the date by making it a national holiday. Football player Luis Tejada was one of these players. He is a native of San Miguelito and proof that not everything from the ghetto is bad.

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(Photo courtesy of FIFA)

Another area is Colon. This is the central of Afro-Panamanians. Portobelo, Colon was once a slave-port and is now a UNESCO world heritage site. Every year on October 21st, Panamanians take a 53-mile pilgrimage with the Negro Cristo (Black Christ) statue in order bring blessings and miracles to their lives.

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   (Photo Courtesy of Playa Community)

  Yet, another area is Rio Abajo. This is the birth place of Reggae star El General. This Grammy-award artist started what is now called Reggaeton. Before there was Reggaeton in other countries such as Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic, El General started the tropical sounds of reggae beats, drum patterns, and the Jamaican  influence  to Latin America.

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(Photo Courtesy of Tony Polanco)

In the interior of Panama, a small jungle like area called “Chilibre” borders both Colon and Panama City. I have family here including my father and this is my 2nd home ever since he was deported back in 2002. Every time I’m in Chilibre it is a humbling experience. This area has influenced me so much that I made a music video to expose the world to the other Panama not mentioned in travel guides. Panama has more than what meets the eyes.

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Panamá: El Paraiso Escondido

Located in the center of the Americas, the Republic of Panama is a hidden paradise with more than just the Panama Canal. Welcome to a paradise of rich & diverse culture, unforgettable cuisine, and a adventure awaiting.

Panama’s people are diverse and comprise of different ethnicities, cultures, and languages. It’s official language is Spanish but due to migration movements, global influences, and tourism, there is more than just a Spanish influence. For example, the building of the Panama Canal sparked large migrations of people from Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago. Panama also has a hundred year presence of Chinese that is central to Panamanian culture. The indigenous community of Panama is a rich and large one itself. The Kuna are one of Panama’s indigenous groups. In cities like Colón, you also see Panama’s African presence that dates back to colonialism.

The food in Panama is a seafood lover’s treasure. Panama is an intriguing country which translates to Fish in an indigenous language. My favorite fish is Corvina. There is nothing like fresh salt water fish. I visited Mi Pueblo in the Amador Causeway (take me back!). There is no shortage of seafood in Panama.

An adventure awaits in Panama!