January 18, 2005
  • It’s Carnival time
  • New residential development in La Romana
  • Eduardo Frei to speak in Playa Dorada
  • Punta Cana takes the lead
It’s Carnival time
The song says, “Come February, all is happy, dance in the street at night and dance in the street during the day.” It sets the mood for the colorful weekends of carnival all through February with the key events taking place in Santo Domingo, La Vega and Santiago.
The La Vega Carnival, one of the most colorful in the country, will be launched this year in Santo Domingo. The La Vega Carnival begins on 22 January with the crowning of the carnival queen, and continues on 29 January with the crowning of the king in Duarte Park. This year’s carnival is dedicated to Silvano Lora, the recently deceased artist who was a member of the La Vega Carnival Union, and to sports writer, Johnny Mendez. Activities begin on the first Sunday of February, just like the song says.
Carnival also gets going in Santiago on 30 January with the first big parade. Local TV channels will jointly transmit the carnival activities live, including the main parades. The carnival in Santiago features traditional characters such as “Robalagallina”, “Calife” and “Los Tiznaos.”
According to documents at the Tomas Morel Folklore Museum, the “lechones”, those elaborately-costumed carnival characters, were originally there to keep order, marching at the head of the parade to open a path through the exuberant crowds. They carried small staffs that they waved back and forth. These were replaced by sisal rope whips, and later an inflated pig’s bladder was attached to the sisal rope.
As reported in La Informacion, Santiago’s hometown newspaper, each region and each neighborhood has its own mask, although years ago they were all pretty much the same. However, the tradition of the different parts of town squaring off against each other with the “toetes” and the “vejigas” led to the need to distinguish each sector.
The climax to carnival is held on the streets of Santo Domingo, and is usually programmed for the first Sunday in March.
New residential development in La Romana
Baseball star Alex Rodriguez and Miss Universe 2003, Amelia Vega were present at the launching of the Los Altos residential project in Casa de Campo, La Romana. Willy Bermejos, president of the BAP Development company, based in Miami, said that 90 luxury apartments near holes 17 and 18 of the Dye Fore golf course will be built. “This is probably the most spectacular golf course in the Caribbean,” said Bermejos who explained that the project is designed for those who can afford to spend US$600,000 to US$1 million for a vacation home. The apartments range from 235.3 square meters to 387.9 square meters.
Eduardo Frei to speak in Playa Dorada
The Ministry of Foreign Relations, together with the Association of Hotels, Condominiums and Stores of Playa Dorada is organizing the First International Forum United Seas with the theme of “Puerto Plata Meets Globalization.”
The event is scheduled for Tuesday, 1 February at the Playa Dorada Convention Center. The guest speaker is former Chilean President Eduardo Frei. He will speak on “Governance and Tourism”. At a press conference yesterday, Morales said that the Ministry of Foreign Relations is active in supporting tourism, manufacturing free zones, the film industry, high tech business among other areas seen as positive for the country. For more information on this event, contact the Playa Dorada Hotel Association by writing to Karina Abbott at [email protected]
Punta Cana takes the lead
Punta Cana Resort & Club together with its Punta Cana Ecological Foundation took the lead to start coral gardening in the Dominican Republic. The pilot program seeks to ignite the spirit of recovery of coral reefs in the country. Dr. Austin Bowden-Kerby, well known for his management plan that led to the recovery of coral reefs in Fiji in the Pacific, head the first workshop at Punta Cana over last weekend. Participants included dive shop owners, Ministry of Environment staff, National Aquarium staff, Reef Check monitoring program participants in the DR, Punta Cana gardeners, Punta Cana Resort and Coral Canoa staff, Fundacion Global and DR1. During the workshop, the first fish houses (coral hospitals) were built as part of the pilot recovery effort.
Dr. Bowden-Kerby emphasized the need for the coral gardening effort to be part of a comprehensive management plan integrating fishermen, hotels, community and government to rescue the important resource.
Dr. Bowden-Kerby at a Tuesday talk at the Fundacion Global in Santo Domingo, had urged prior to the workshop in Punta Cana that the DR need take the lead in Caribbean efforts to rescue the coral reefs. He explained that once people know the value of this natural resource, they will change habits and actions that affect the well-being of coral reefs. At the conference, Dominican marine biologist Francisco Geraldes said that the corals are worth RD$3 billion to the Dominican economy. Healthy reefs are important for fishing, beach sand creation and protection of the coasts.
Dr. Bowden-Kerby highlighted that one mile of healthy reef can produce three tons of sand a day, important for the conservation of Dominican beaches. Parrot fish and sea urchins grinding the coral into sand. Bowden-Kerby mentioned that coral reefs have been harmed by the high concentration of nutrients in waste water discharged into the sea, garden and golf course fertilization that cause an excess of seaweed, and Sahara dust pollution. Overfishing has eliminated the important groupers (mero) and lobsters that would remove the seaweed that instead ends up smothering the coral reefs, that are abandoned to the damaging damsel fish and star urchins.
For more information on the Punta Cana Resort & Club, see http://dr1.com/directories/hotels/puntacana.shtml

Advertise FAQ News Archives Unsubscribe Home Page