Posted by: luisabaldwin | December 16, 2010



NOVEMBER 28, 2010


Photography courtesy of Mark Heyer

(Click to enlarge)

It was a beautiful day for which Boquete had been preparing for months.  November 28 is Panama’s celebration of Independence from Spain and Colombia and boy do they take it seriously!

It’s so refreshing to live in a culture steeped in the traditions that define it.  But this is the big one (other than Mother’s Day and Christmas) for which every town and city in Panama waits for.  Boquete is no exception.

Out of the boxes come the uniforms and costumes.  They’re lovingly and carefully cleaned.  Doting mothers all over Boquete get out their irons and press each garment.

Style, and grace!

Girls stand in front of the mirror and carefully put on their makeup and do their hair.  For months our ears have been a testament to school boys practicing their drums and anxiously awaiting this big event.  Everybody has been very busy and anticipation is in the air.

The whole town turns out for this one – well, that is those left that aren’t in the parade!  Baby’s in arms and grandmothers and grandfathers all enjoy two days in the Village Square and on the sidewalks watching the festivities.

Natural Beauty and Innocense

Fruit juice stands are set up all over the place in anticipation of a good business day.  A booth is constructed, the official viewing stand, for the village mayor and other “important” people.  It’s all very proper.  Kind of like the USA was fifty years ago.  Wholesome!

About 20,000 people from all over Panama came to Boquete for this parade and schools from all over the country participated.

This sign reads, "For the Respect for Life and the Dignity of the Village"!

Also in attendance were police and military academies.  It was quite the event.

As Mark Heyer (photography courtesy of his talent and camera) put it, “Many of the pictures to follow include young women.

Let’s face it, they are the superstars of the event.  They provide grace and beauty, without which the parade would be little more than a collection of drum beating, testosterone-addled adolescent males.”

Mark then added, “Poleras are the national costume of Panama.  These two are well on their way to the competitions, where the queens are generally crowned at the age of eighteen.  All the jewelry is real gold and each piece has a story and significance.  In the major competition as many as one thousand contestants may appear.  Many of the Poleras are worth $20,000.00 or more and are passed down from generation to generation.”

The "Polera", the National Costume of Panama

After the parade, the festivities were only getting started.  Imagine the little town of Boquete and its 17,000 residents with 20,000 guests who could only think of the continuation of the festivities.

The viewing booth for the Mayor and other important dignitaries

I’ll bet it was one heck of a party and a lot of waiting for food and drink.  Well, what can I say?  That’s where I slipped the gate and escaped to the peace and serenity of my home.  Congratulations to the good people of Boquete.  You’ve done yourselves proud.

A Hansom Young Man

The native dress of the indiginous Nobe

A Future Crowned Queen! Cute as a button.

Oh those drums. The male testosterone catcher!



  1. Hello everybody,

    I would be grateful if somebody could tell me about noise levels in Cotacachi? I have heard that there is constant noise from aircraft coming in to land at Quito airport, just to the south. Is this so unimportant so as not to be noticeable or is it really unpleasant?

    Thank you in advance,


    • Hello Martin,

      Please scroll back to the Ecuador posting and send off an e-mail to Steve who lives there. He’ll have an answer for you. But if you look at a map, you’ll see that Cotacachi is pretty far away from Quito.

  2. Fantastic!

  3. Glad you liked it Rondi. I thought you might.

  4. I’m trying to reach Mark Heyer, a friend when we were in the US. I’m planning to visit Costa Rica. How can I reach him?

    • Hello Hal,
      I’m sorry but I do not know Mark Heyer.

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