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2012 - CASA Chili Cook Off in Coronado PDF Print E-mail
Panama Social - Coronado Area Social Association
Thursday, 08 March 2012 20:32

CASA took over the famous chili cook-off last year and have decided to continue having it on a yearly basis.  Originally the cook-off started with a few friends getting together and voting on which chili won them over. Over the years it has grown. This year over 100 people showed up to the lobby of Alcazar, condominium on the Coronado Golf course. Tables and chairs were rented, set up and the crock pots plugged in.  Members paid $3, non member $5.  Everyone brought a plate to share as well as their own beverage.

This year, there were 9 volunteer chefs.  The rules were simple, Chefs  were to make a large pot of chili (to feed a minimum of 100 people, 1 oz. portions). Tasters received a numbered tasting cup of each chili entered into the competition and a ballot to pick the one the though was best.  No names were attached to the samples thus making it anonymous.  Simple and efficient!

Chefs were invited to ‘trash talk’ the competition and tell everyone why their chili should be chosen over the others, but they were not allowed to say which number they represented.  Some of the speeches were pretty funny! There are some serious chili cookers out here!

Your Donation Dollars at Work PDF Print E-mail
Panama Social - Spay the Strays
Thursday, 08 March 2012 15:52


This past weekend in San Jose, the Spay the Strays Group worked in conjunction with Spay Panama for our annual Blitz.  It ran from about 4:30pm on Saturday to 8:00 and then on Sunday from 7:30am until 5:00pm.  In those 13 hours we operated on 307 dogs and cats.  Although we received $830 in donations (average $2.70 per animal) from pet owners, our total bill is $7,142.00.  A huge undertaking like this could not have been paid for without the sponsor of the donor match last year as well as all of our valued supporters who contributed so generously!
To handle this Blitz, Spay Panama brought 25 persons from the City who slept in sleeping bags on site.  Our own 34 volunteers supplemented them in three long, hot, dirty shifts proving that it really does take a village!  We owe all of them a debt of gratitude.  From the Altos area we had: Lidia DeConto, TC McVey, Bob Miller, Gary Kwilos, Geri Bachman, Deb and Dave Billing, Terry Phipps, Tracy Nowak and her daughter Arika, and Dusty (who really doesn’t have a choice…).  The volunteers from the beach area were: Ruth and Charlie King, Jimbo, Rob Condit, Greg and Diane Stewart, Max Poirier, Sheila Scott, Barb Williams, Kassy Ajax, Linda Mannell,  Rene Schafer, Fredrika Hurley, Anne-Marie LaCombe, Paula Lopez Leon, Pam and Corinna Frangione, Gisele, Pascale, Thad, and Anick Marceau, Yocheved Morgan, and Yassyr Valdespino. (Hopefully, I left no one out…)
Don Winner Rocks the Playacommunity Mixer PDF Print E-mail
Panama News - Community News
Saturday, 03 March 2012 10:45

If you happen to be an English speaking person living in Panama, chances are you are well acquainted with Panama-Guide.Com. The site is owned and operated by an American named, Don Winner, who translates local Spanish news from popular daily newspapers and posts them on his site, as a service for the many non-Spanish speaking Expats in Panama. His posts are often annotated with his sharp, to the point, no-holds-barred opinions, that make Panama-guide the best read English site in Panama.

However, Don doesn’t just translate the news. Sometimes he makes the news. Perhaps it is his Military background with a Masters Degree in Intelligence, or his passion for getting to the bottom of things. Whatever it is, Winner is known for sticking with a smelly story until the bitter end -  as is the case with American serial killer Wild Bill. Winner was instrumental in Bill’s capture. The same is true for 4 other murderers hiding out in Panama.

Last Thursday, about 160 guests were treated to a Question & Answer session with Don Winner at the Playacommunity Mixer. A monthly get together for Expats in the beach area. Winner answered “in-my-opinion” questions from an rapt-with-attention audience, about Panama; it’s politics, it’s future, it’s developments and even questions like “Should I drive to Boquete”.

The Playacommunity Mixer was held at Paraiso Restaurant in Las Uvas. The Mixer is generally held on the 4th Wednesday of each month. Details of the next Mixer are at Playacommunity.Com.

The event was photographed by Oliver Wolfe Photography. Event photos can be viewed here.

Canadian Embassy Visits Coronado PDF Print E-mail
Panama News - Community News
Wednesday, 29 February 2012 23:20

canadian embassyWith the Canada-Panama Free Trade Agreement currently being ratified, Canada's Ambassador to Panama, Sylvia Cesaratto made an outreach call to Canadians living in Panama's Pacific beaches.

Ambassador Cesaratto and her staff, hosted a Meet and Greet affair at El Rincon del Chef in Coronado. Canadians from around the beach areas gathered with short notice to meet the Ambassador.

Meeting Canadians in Panama is a strategic priority of the Canadian Embassy. They want Canadians outside Canada to register with the Embassy. This allows the Embassy to know where Canadians are in case of an emergency. Should an emergency situation arise, the Embassy works to get the word out through area 'Wardens'. Keith and Susana Cheng, owners of HIM Home Improvements and More are Wardens in the Coronado area.

New Mom’s Mission PDF Print E-mail
Panama Social - Coronado Bible Church
Wednesday, 29 February 2012 10:49

churchAs a missionary outreach program, once a month a group of ladies from Coronado Bible Church visit the maternity ward at a local hospital with gift bags containing diapers, baby clothes and personal items for the new mom’s and babies.

On their last trip to Penonomé, I (Donna Anderson) was asked to join the ladies and talk to a few of the mom’s to get a little bit of their stories. My good friend Clemencia, who speaks fluent Spanish, joined me on this adventure.

We arrived earlier than the rest of the group and after several wrong turns we finally arrived at the maternity ward. We decided to wait there for the rest of the group to arrive. The lady beside Clemencia had just walked 2 hours to the hospital and was waiting to see if she would be admitted to the hospital today. This baby will be her 5th child.

The Younger Expat Community in Panama's Pacific Beaches PDF Print E-mail
Panama News - Community News
Tuesday, 28 February 2012 12:13

crowdThe Coronado and the surrounding beach areas have grown in leaps and bounds over the last three years or so. Increased commerce and tourism have resulted in more people making the Pacific coast of Panama their permanent home. Many retired expats, are drawn to Panama due to the Pensionado visa benefits. Some of these foreigners choose the beach communities as their home, to enjoy a relaxed lifestyle. With Panama booming in all sectors of industry, the beaches are also starting to see more families with children move into the area.

More families, mean more schools. The good news is that International Schools at the beaches are brimming with students and expanding to make room for newcomers.

Fresh Langostinos in Coronado PDF Print E-mail
Panama News - People of the Community
Thursday, 23 February 2012 10:44

shrimp salesmanAs odd as it seems, fresh fish at the beaches is not as abundant as one would think. Apart from getting your own panga and fighting the ocean, the fishing co-ops in Gorgona and San Carlos are the best source for fish caught the same day. However you have to be there early as the co-ops have usually sold out by 9 am. Also co-op catches don’t make it to the local grocery stores. At the beaches, Super 99 and El Machetazo carry fish in their fresh foods counter, one can’t be sure they are caught the same day.

So, if you happen to see Jorge Gonzales standing on the corner of the El Rey parking lot, holding up langostinos to passing cars, stop and get yourself a few pounds of fresh shrimp for dinner. Jorge purchases the daily catch at the co-ops and makes it available to those of us who just can’t get up early enough. He sells out fast, so when you see him, don’t wait till your errands are done to make your purchase. While Jorge is usually at the El Rey parking lot on weekends, you can also find him in San Carlos and El Valle at times.

Coronado Bible Church Has a New Meeting Place PDF Print E-mail
Panama Social - Coronado Bible Church
Thursday, 16 February 2012 15:03

coronado churchSince its inception, Coronado Bible Church has been blessed to be able to use space at the hotel of Coronado Golf and Country Club. The hotel generously provided that space to the church at no charge. Their generosity has been greatly appreciated!

Due to the renovations and expansion project at the hotel, the church was advised that space would no longer be available. Coronado Bible Church is now blessed to be using the facilities of Rey de Paz Church. The air-conditioned sanctuary provides comfortable seating for over 180 people and the facility also has adequate parking. Rey de Paz is located next door to the new Him shopping center on the autopista, directly across from Cochez.

Panama Residency Visa Requirements PDF Print E-mail
Panama News - Useful Information
Saturday, 11 February 2012 09:03

travel visa panamaOnce you have decided to change the cold weather for a tropical and sunny day at the beach. There are just few places in the world that are still affordable and if you have done your research, you will know that Panama is one of them.

 My country is small, with about 3.5 million people. We have great beaches, nice weather, and incredible friendly and kind people.  It has a great balance between the countryside and a cosmopolitan city, with one of the strongest banking systems in Latin America. We also have a large community of professionals in various sectors.

We have always been recognized in the world for the Panama Canal, the Ninth Wonder of the World. For people relocating here, we have much more to offer than that, like the possibility of being in the beach in 45 minutes from both sides, Pacific & Caribbean, amazing restaurants, great food, shopping malls. In Panama, there is a whole world of things to discover, that’s why the prestigious magazine National Geographic has recommended Panama as one of the top tourist destinations to visit in 2012. 

CASA Gets a New Board PDF Print E-mail
Panama Social - Coronado Area Social Association
Thursday, 09 February 2012 21:26

casa_logo_smThe Coronado Area Social Association (CASA) voted in a new all-volunteer board for 2012. The association which was formed in 2005 was originally called the Coronado Social Association (CSA).  It was started as a means for English speaking expats to meet and socialize. The organization changed its name last year to be more inclusive of surrounding beach neighborhoods. Since it's inception, the organization's social agenda included raising funds for worthy local causes.

The CASA organizes and runs several annual events at the beaches: Chili Cook-Off, Beach Picnic, Craft Fair and Christmas Dance. Apart from that, they also maintain a Book Exchange, which is located at El Litoral Bed & Breakfast in the Coronado Area. Over the years, the organization has donated funds to a number of causes including, an orphanage, distribution of food baskets to the poor, distribution of care packages to new mothers in need and educational programs for local children.

CASA maintains a mailing list and sends out useful information to their membership. For more information about  CASA does or to become a member email  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Coronado International School Back in Action PDF Print E-mail
Coronado - Coronado News
Thursday, 09 February 2012 10:34

The Coronado International School is back on the beachgrapevine. The school, which was supposed to open last year stalled due to delays. The bells will finally ringnstudents in this year in August. The school is located at Colinas del Mar, in the Coronado area. The road to the school is accessed from the Interamerican Highway through a small street running  by the Coronado Mall.


For the upcoming new school year, the billingual school will offer classes for pre-school students from 2 years of age, and Kinder students from 5 years of age. To ensure individual attention, class sizes will be limited to 20 students.

Preparation is key to a smooth property transaction. PDF Print E-mail
Panama News - Useful Information
Saturday, 04 February 2012 13:36

house_for_saleDeciding to sell your property takes a lot more than sticking a price tag on it, calling a real estate advisor and sitting back to wait for a buyer.  Oh no.  There is so much more that you will need to do to put yourself in the position of being prepared for that upcoming offer.

The first thing I always recommend (and yes, I’ve been known to get pushy about this :), is to contact your attorney immediately.  It is extremely important to know where you stand on your property and corporation taxes and to know if you have a property tax exoneration in place . 

Give your attorney a call and let them know that you have your house, condo or lot on the market and what price you are asking.  They will be able to let you know what your tax obligations and closing costs will be when you sell your property.  Also, since you will need your attorney’s representation in the sales transaction, it is a good idea to communicate with them what you are up to so when they get the introduction from your real estate representative they too are prepared to move forward.   And, to state the obvious, knowing what your tax and closing obligations will be is very helpful when determining the price of your property.

Training for Ironman in Coronado PDF Print E-mail
Panama News - Community News
Friday, 03 February 2012 23:45

rick_yaswinski_ironmanThis month, Panama is host to athletes arriving from around the world to participate in the Ironman Triathlon, on February 12th. While this competition has professional athletes participating for a $75,000 prize pool, which will be paid out to the first 8 positions in the male and female category, the majority of the athletes entering the Ironman competition are doing so to challenge themselves personally.

Rick Yazwinski a software engineer from Toronto, is relatively new to the world of triathlons. He ran his first ever triathlon just 9 months ago in May of 2011. It was a sprint distance, which is considered as an entry level event for athletes just starting out in the triathlon world. Since then he has done 3 Sprints, 1 Olympic length and 1 Half Iron - and he is hooked to the challenge.

Panama’s Ironman distances are as follows: Swim, 1.9K in the Pacific Ocean at the entrance to the Panama Canal. Bike, 90 km across the Bridge of the Americas. Run, 21 km through Amador Causeway. The event must be completed within 8 hours. Ideally Rick hopes to complete within 5 hours and 15 minutes, climate and weather permitting. Here in Panama, his biggest challenge will be the heat and humidity. Rick is hoping the unseasonably cool weather we have been experiencing at the beaches, stays long enough and makes its way to the city next week.

Need to Pay a Traffic Ticket? Here’s How PDF Print E-mail
Panama News - Useful Information
Friday, 27 January 2012 14:27

parking ticketI received a parking ticket in Panama City, which had been adhered to the driver's window of my vehicle. You do not have to go into Panama City to take care of it. The closest ATTT (Autoridad de Transporte Terrestre something..) is in La Chorrera. I called the phone there (244-3266) and ascertained that they were indeed opened.  Note this is considered a governement building and the dress code does apply.  No bare shoulders, long pants for men and no flip flop style shoes.

The ATTT office is VERY easy to locate: as you enter La Chorerra, pass the Accel gas on your right, and as you come to the Texaco gas on your left, (NOT the one on the right) make the left.  (There has been changes to the road, therefore now you need to go pass the overpass going into Chorrera, turn left to get on the side coming back to Coronado).  It's behind and to the left (west) of the Texaco pumps.


Go inside, and go to the CAJA window. Present your ticket, and you will be asked for a Cedula, Passport or Nacional Driver's License. The attendant will ask if you are the owner of the vehicle ticketed, and put either your name (if it's not your car) or the plate number (if it is your car) in. He then has all the information on you in Panama: License status/previous tickets/outstanding tickets/passport status and registration status. The fine is only ten dollars for the summons. It was my first and I don't know if subsequent ones are more. I asked what would happen if you didn't answer the ticket. He told me there was a 10% increase in the fine per thirty days, and your registration will be blocked upon renewal date, you could expect problems at customs, then ultimately, if you are stopped by the policia, you can/will be arrested. The computer system is amazingly effective and thorough, and the local policia have hand-held versions.

First 2012 Spay The Strays Clinic PDF Print E-mail
Panama Social - Spay the Strays
Tuesday, 24 January 2012 13:18

spay clinicOn Sunday, the Spay the Strays Group conducted our first clinic of 2012 in Bejuco. Unfortunately, one of our vets was unable to attend so we operated on about half our norm: 27 animals. The good news is that no abortions had to be done, for the first time ever. If this clinic had not occurred, chances are that at least half of those animals would have become pregnant with unwanted litters. Several first time volunteers helped out and the slower pace allowed for a lot of cross-training. Please check out the photos below.

On 3 and 4 March, we will be holding our huge annual blitz in conjunction with Spay Panama at the Casa Cultural in San Jose (the town just past Coronado). Our goal will be to spay and neuter at least 200 dogs and cats. That will really help since we now have a waiting list of 72 animals. If you have a rescue animal or if you know a low income petowner with a dog or cat who needs sterilizing, this is the time to do it! Otherwise, our smaller clinics are full without even announcing them. We will be scheduling three shifts of volunteers so any assistance either working or by providing supplies will be greatly appreciated. This Blitz is made possible by the many generous donations during our past donor match that totaled $3600!

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