Chiriqui Libre edition for NOVEMBER 2009.

We have articles on hidden treasures near the Chiriqui town of Bugaba - A great Bed and Breakfast in Panama City - An amazing artist who works with a backhoe - and finally, dietary help with food colorings. PLEASE SCROLL DOWN TO VIEW.

The Tombs of Bugaba.

Milagros Sánchez Pinzón

In 1858 striking discoveries in Bugabita world (Chiriqui) the London Times newspaper in its edition of April 11 this year informed the world about this amazing archaeological wealth. A random event if not unfortunate at this time, leads to the hands of unscrupulous people who could only see the commercial value of that treasure rather important part of our archaeological. The news spread quickly and people drawn from Bugabita an amazing amount of gold from various graves. Whose cash value was estimated at that time in a million Balboas. Unfortunately most of the objects were melted and therefore were lost irretrievably. A few pieces survived this destruction which are now in museums in different countries.

The doctor F.M. Otis as written in Harpers Weekly, New York August 6, 1859 tells us of the fact bugabita like this: A neighbor of Bugabita, a small town in the district of Boqueron. In the province of Chiriqui (New Granada) while wandering the mountains in the vicinity of his ranch, he found a tree that had toppled the previous day's storm and saw its roots below a small earthen pot. Upon examination found to contain wrapped in a piece of cloth semi rotten time, various figures of curious and fantastic shapes of metal. So bright yellow and made him suspect that it was gold. Realizing he was in the midst of an ancient Indian huaca or burial immediately began exploring the small mounds that lay everywhere, shrewdly suspected that they should contain such treasures. The result was that in a short time three or four days succeeded in unearthing not less than sixty-five pounds of gold. However as I was not sure of the quality and value of the metal revealed his neighbor discovery and in less than 15 days over a thousand people working there were having dug more than 9 pounds 225 pounds of gold figures most which proved to be of fine gold, his story later tells us: As for the size these figures ranged from 24 grams to dusk six ounces, represented wild animals, birds, fish, reptiles and horrible half-human monsters to the last degree. Although not all in many huacas (burial sites) were three golden plates from 3 to 12 inches in diameter, drilled wax by two circular holes center: Almost the majority were of virgin gold, while others varied in purity from 15 to 20 carats adds in his review, Dr. Otis. But very little information is available regarding the condition of the graves and their contents were found except that on the left side all facing east huacas were vessels containing one or a golden image.

With the flight of the golden also lose any information of scientific interest for archeology as building forms is unknown graves, its type, age and other parts for this valuable science data. In its statement on this case says Wolfgang Haberland had been discovered the first tomb of Panamanian Indians, the first of a long series and since most of them not scientists. So while this was the beginning of more tragedies in the Indian graves in this country.
Because of the circumstances "scientifically unfavorable" that these graves contained gold and therefore objects of great commercial value Exhausted Bugabita Cemetery individuals and other dealers dug new graves for profit and unhinged explored elsewhere for lack of interest and destroyed the pottery.

Few works sporadically escaped the death blow of the stone or the half ferocious shovel of knowing whether they had gold. Some survived because of its showiness. They aroused the interest of collectors and so this aficiones No longer limited themselves to gold but also to the wax mica. They met only selected pieces that gave a false idea of the contents of the graves Chiriquí, in this regard soon Haberland says almost every museum in the world had at least some objects in this area.

Since then not only the gold coins and gold cast out of our territory and we lost but also the pottery ... Our rich archeological clay and gold designed to be referred abroad by men of higher culture who knew estimate it moved the first publications on this topic concern the Isthmian archeology. Are these works Ballaert Pinard and appeared between 60 and 70 century famous antepasadoAun is the report that on the antiquities of Chiriqui desefectuó Williams de1888 Holmes at Elan. "Ancient Art of the Province of Chiriqui" considered at that time as the best publication of the archeology of Central America. This series complements the work of George McCurdy Study of the Chiriqui Antiquities which appeared in 1911. In 1919 Lothrop devotes its first study of these gold objects. The Discovery of gold in the graves of Chiriqui.

Discoveries and excavations in other parts of Panama. Central America and Andean region attracted attention for some years and is noted Bugabita displaced until 1935 when Osgood is dealt with in study based on the museum's collection of Yale University, later this year Linné also publishes his studies, finally Henry Wassen in 1948 described some graves on the outskirts of Boquete. (Milagros Sánchez Pinzón is the curator of the Obaldia Museum in David City, Chiriqui)


By David Dell.
People from Western Panama find traveling to and through Panama City a burden they would rather do without. I know our tourist officials will hate me for saying this, but the noise, pollution and humidity makes staying in our fair capital less than enjoyable. True, the shopping and restaurants can ease the pain but for most of us we still need to find a good, quiet, convenient place to stay. I think I may have found a solution.

Dos Palmitos is a small bed and breakfast found in the serene seclusion of the Balboa area. The homes here date back to the glory days of the American canal. Palm trees line the sides of the manicured boulevards and the noise and bustle of the city seems a thousand miles away. On one of these neatly curved streets you will find a fairly new Bed and breakfast called Dos Palmitos. Run by a French, English, German and Spanish speaking expat called Angeline. Local architect, David Escobar, helped Angeline remodel this circa 1920’s home to make it into an oasis of peace, just minutes drive away from both Albrook Airport and the center of town.

The four guestrooms are neat, clean and have air-conditioning, hot water showers and flat screen TV’s. In the low season a double occupancy room will start at $75 a night (including breakfast). In the main guest meeting room there is an Internet accessible computer, although the French keyboard might be a challenge to some. There is Wi-Fi available and Angeline will happily give you the password at no extra charge. The guestroom is decorated with several black and white pictures from the early days of Panama. Here is a challenge for any visiting history buffs: see if you can spot the historic oddity in these pictures? There is also a small kitchen with a fridge so you can store your all important drinks and possibly cook a late night snack.

After a pleasant night’s sleep my wife and I woke to the sounds of birds and parrots and strangely the distant sound of a military bugle playing a wake up call. It turns out that Panama’s detective division, DIJ, have a training base nearby. I am happy to report the oppressive noise of the city was distant and unobtrusive. Angeline makes a wonderful breakfast of fresh fruit and homemade bread rolls. Add to this a flask of coffee, topped off with bacon and eggs and you have a meal to take you through the day.

The great advantage of a B&B over the standard hotel is that it is not impersonal. You have a homelike atmosphere that you can relax in. You have someone other that a housekeeper or bellhop who you can talk to and gain information. If Dos Palmitos features in your future travel plans then be assured that Angeline can arrange for tours of the canal, old city or even to the jungles of the Darien. Phone in advance and she will arrange for an English speaking taxi driver to pick you up.

The best part of staying at Dos Palmitos is that in Panama City I now have a little home away from home. Sitting on the porch drinking coffee in the cool morning breeze or putting the world to rights over a glass of wine in the evening, these are the special times I will always savor. Finally, staying in Panama City can be an enjoyable experience.

Dos Palmitos is just a 3-minute drive from Albrook airport, for pick-up and reservations call: (507) 6581-8132 or Email:


By David Dell.

I first met sixty four year old Marcial Vargas when we worked together constructing a decorative waterfall and lake. At one point, I wanted a large rock moved some fifty yards to a point next to an artificial pond – the problem was that the rock was huge, too big to be lifted by either of the retro’s two buckets. Marcial wasn’t fazed. He gingerly rolled the rock (the size of Volkswagen Beetle) over and over until it finally rested in the exact chosen position.

Retros, or backhoes, are to be seen all over Panama, from farms to building sites. They are the workhorses of the construction and agricultural industry. Ninety per cent of the time their tasks are mundane and repetitive, they load, they unload or just move soil from one location to the other. But when placed in the hands of true mechanical maestro, they become like a paint brush in an artists hand.

Marcial’s reputation amongst the people of the Volcan is becoming truly legendary. He is credited with constructing nearly thirty lakes and waterfalls in the area. Recently I watched as he cleared away some dense jungle west of the town and transformed a pile of rocks into two small lakes with a breathtaking cascade that will surely hold visitors in awe for years to come.

Near death experience. Some twelve years ago, he was working on a steep slope when the ground gave way and his retro rolled over three times before coming to a rest. He credits his survival to wearing a seat belt. Something he stills does to this day – especially when the terrain is steep or rain soaked.

Locals I have talked to, speak in awe of his capabilities. This is only surpassed by their deep respect for his honesty, cheerfulness and heartfelt desire to perform the tasks to the exact way his clients desire. He is known as someone who will do the job in half the time taken by other operators, and will never drag out the work to pump up the price. Most of the ex-pats that want work done with a retro will patiently wait weeks for him to become available.

Marcial starts his day around 5:30 with a two kilometer jog around the quiet and deserted streets of Volcan. Then he is off to work armed with his flask of decaffeinated coffee, cheese sandwiches and wearing his trade mark smile. He is quiet, unassuming and takes virtually no credit for the wonders he creates. I have never seen a look of frustration or anger on his face, even when “the gringo” wants him to move the same rock for the second or third time. His philosophy is simple: he is there as the facilitator of the one paying his wages. Although, if he is left to his own creative desires, his talents are obvious.

There has been many a day when I have driven Marcial back to Volcan from a work location. With both of us tired, and invariably soaked to the skin from the constant rain, we leave a part of Panama that has become even more beautiful, more awe inspiring. I may have been the creative force, but I am always mindful that the paint brush was not in my hands, it was in the hands of a mechanical wonder-worker, an unsung Panamanian artist, Marcial Vargas, retro operator extraordinaire.


Sonia Jones ND from the Haven Spa and Clinic, Boquete.

As children we were told to eat our greens, but we should have also been told to eat up our reds, yellows, oranges, blue, and purples. Fruit and vegetables are packed with nutrients and vital substances that protect us from all sorts of degenerative diseases. We need to be eating a rainbow of colors and as big a variety of fruit and vegetables as possible.
The color blue. Anthocyanines found in fruits like blueberries and bilberries are wonderful anti-oxidants that boost the production of collagen which helps to maintain the elasticity of the skin and so much more. This anti-oxidant increases short term memory, improves balance and co-ordination.
The blue lagoon smoothie - blueberries, dark plums and banana. Blueberries are bursting with vitamin C and bioflavonoids that enhance the absorption of vitamin C. Banana is high in fiber and potassium, gives the smoothie a rich texture.
The color red. Lycopene is found in red fruits like tomatoes, water melon and pink grapefruits, a member of the carotenoid family and seems to target the organs like the lungs, stomach, and pancreas. If you are susceptible to aches and pains or suffer from any type of arthritis you will need to consider not eating many tomatoes for your source of lycopene, eat more watermelon and pink grapefruit. A lot of arthritis sufferers have experienced improvements after avoiding tomatoes as they cause considerable acidity in the body. Lycopene reduces the risk of breast and cervical cancer.
Red sunset smoothie - water melon, strawberries and banana. Water melon is very cleansing and hydrating, contains compounds that protect against cell damage. Strawberries are also rich in vitamin C, helping to fight infection, anti-inflammatory properties helping ease aches, pains and joint complaints.
The color purple. Flavonoids found in fruits like blackberries and blackcurrants, protect against heart disease by dis-arming free-radicals in the blood stream before they do any harm. They help keep cholesterol levels healthy helping to prevent heart attacks and strokes. Flavonoids help to increase the absorption of vitamin C.
Purple Boost smoothie - Blackberries, beetroot and banana. Blackberries are bursting with vitamin C to boost the immune system. Beetroots are excellent for cleansing, stimulating the liver and the kidneys.

The color orange. Beta-carotene found in orange fruits and vegetables like apricots, pumpkin and carrots, protect against cancer, enhances the immune system against viral infection, cystitis, conjunctivitis and skin conditions.
Orange Zing smoothie - Carrots, orange, banana and ginger. Carrots are cleansing, stimulating the liver.

The color green. Glucosinolate found in green vegetables like broccoli, spinach, cabbage, lettuce, is one of the most important anti-oxidants protecting against cancer. They are extremely cleansing to the whole body.
Green sensation - Cabbage, apples and cucumber. The color yellow. Lutein and Zeaxanthin are found in yellow fruit and vegetables like yellow corn, yellow peppers, grapefruit etc. These substances protect the eyes from age related disease like macular degeneration and cataracts, protecting against free-radical damage.
Yellow burst smoothie - Pineapple, grapefruit and banana. Are you getting all the food colorings you need? For more info:
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Our apologies to our regular readers as we have been falling behind on our updates.The DECEMBER issue will be coming out within two weeks.
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