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May 20, 2008
  • Samana Gastronomical Festival
  • Punta Rucia: GeoTourism Destination
  • Dreamin' Live benefit concert
  • Upcoming shows in Santo Domingo
Samana Gastronomical Festival
To promote the culture of Samana, the Samana Tourism Cluster held their first Samana Gastronomical Festival at Club Cayenas del Mar in Playa Anadel on 10 May. In preparation for the event, students from the Culinary Arts School of the PUCMM in Santo Domingo traveled to Samana a year ago and with their professor Ramiro Viera and carried out research into the evolution of cooking in the area, from the times of the original Indian inhabitants, through the Spanish influence, up to modern times when immigration from other countries has had an influence. A selection of recipes was then prepared for distribution and as a sample of different culinary influences in the food of Samana. The same students were responsible for cooking the dishes served during the Festival. The event was complemented by workshops on tourism awareness, food hygiene and destination management. Guillermo Graglia, director of the Hotel Management Department at PUCMM stressed that the event sought to highlight the importance of the authentic cuisine of Samana, as well as stimulate the imagination, creativity and dedication that are essential to cooking today. The Festival also sought to motivate local restaurants to include more authentic dishes on their menus. The Samana Tourism Cluster announced that they would be producing a second recipe book with recipes from Samana's best-known cooks.
Dishes prepared for the event included: Starters - Samana-style Shrimps (sauteed in a soft coconut and fresh tomato sauce and served with rice and vegetables), Banana Salad (with avocado, onions, peppers in a soft cilantro oil with Johnny Cakes); Main dishes - Crab stew with coconut; Fried fish breaded with coconut and a light coconut sauce; Grilled Pork Loin in Pigeon Pea sauce with Pilaf Rice. Desserts - Yautia and Cheese Cake; Boniato Bread in caramel sauce with sweet potato crisps; Coconut Pudding, with chocolate ice cream.
The success of the Samana Gastronomic Festival has motivated Las Terrenas, in the northern part of the province, to organize its own First Gastronomical Festival of Las Terrenas, scheduled for Sunday, 17 August at Casa Blanca hotel.
Punta Rucia: GeoTourism Destination
Remote Punta Rucia, Estero Hondo and Buen Hombre, on the northwestern coast of the DR, seek to jointly become the country's first GeoTourism destination, emulating the strategy in place in places like Guatemala, Peru, the Sonora Desert of Mexico/Arizona and Romania. The concept was originally developed by the National Geographic Society to build a form of tourism that "sustains or enhances the geographic character of a place - its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage, and the well-being of its residents." The focus is to develop a model of tourism that will be socio-economically, culturally and environmentally self-sustainable in the long term. The plan fits into a broader scheme that envisions the creation of the country's first GeoTouristic Pole, running geographically from Luperon to Montecristi in the northwest and is further intended to serve as a catalyst for a wider application of the GeoTourism concept.
The community has joined efforts, and is being assisted by several national and international organizations, such as the Ministry of Environment Protected Areas Department, Reef Check Dominican Republic, the United States Peace Corps, Counterpart and their Ridge to Reef project, the National Geographic Society and working with the Puerto Plata Tourism Cluster and the Dominican Sustainable Tourism Alliance (DSTA).
The plan for the near future is to offer EcoAction Discovery Excursions with the complete participation of the community and the collaboration of the above organizations so as to include the community in making use of their natural resources, while also achieving a more equitable share in the economic benefits.
The area includes picturesque rural surroundings, long stretches of virgin white sand beaches, vibrant coral reefs and the renowned Cayo Arena islet. In order to achieve self-sustainability while providing a more visitor and destination friendly service, the plan is to organize, train and better equip the community as service providers, taking visitors out to the atoll for observation of its unique coral reef ecosystem.
The communities are working closely with Jose Manuel Mateo, director of the Protected Areas Department at the Ministry of Environment. In addition to fulfilling the key role in the initiative to update institutional policy, taking into consideration the experiences gained over the past eight years of commercial use of Cayo Arena (CA), attention to the communities' request for permission to share access to CA with the existing tour operators has been prioritized as of high interest.
Further along these lines, in response to concerns about occupancy overload, the organization recommends regulating the number of visitors to Cayo Arena to a provisional maximum of 600 visitors per day, in groups of 200 visitors in three shifts, distributed among four tour operators and a community group, organized as the Punta Rucia and Cayo Arena Maritime Transport Association (ASTRAPUCA), working closely with a Peace Corps volunteer & RCDR. Also, the possibility of developing self-sustainable and non-intrusive excursions to the Estero Hondo manatee sanctuary is also being considered. For more information on the Punta Rucia effort, write to Mickey Gough at [email protected]
Dreamin' Live benefit concert
Sosua and Cabarete are staging their own benefit concert with local musicians at Sea Horse Ranch on 24 May. Funds will help start a music program at the Dream Project, a US-based nonprofit organization providing quality education for children born into poverty in rural areas and small communities in the Dominican Republic. The Sea Horse Ranch concert is a first of several planned by the Dream Project.
The idea started with the young musicians of the band Soulibre, many of whom are students at the International School of Sosua. They thought this would be a good way for them to do their community service by giving something back to less fortunate youth, by doing something that they love. A large part of the proceeds will help the Dream Project purchase basic musical instruments, and the members of Soulibre will follow up by volunteering and giving basic music classes at the Dream Project school in the Callejon de Cabarete.
For the 24th of May, an evening of Jazz, Rock and Reggae under the stars will feature: Cabarete Jazz Quartet, Futuros Divorciados and Soulibre.
Tickets for the concert are RD$500 for adults and RD$250 for students. For more info and tickets: (809) 224-3110 / (809) 223-1748. For more information on the DREAM Project go to www.dominicandream.org
Upcoming shows in Santo Domingo
Santo Domingo continues to offer evening shows for lively nighttime entertainment.
Legendary Dominican rock band Toque Profundo is scheduled for a Corpus Christi Day performance at Casa de Teatro as of 9pm. Admission is RD$300 per person.
Ania Paz is set for performance with her Jazz Ensemble on Corpus Christi Day, that same evening, 22 May at Cinema Cafe in Plaza de la Cultura at 11pm. Paz recently won a composition award at the Festival Claro in Lima, Peru for her song "Hoy te Amo". Her song was chosen out of 3,318 entries.
On the weekend of 23-24 May, the Georgia National Ballet will be performing at the National Theater. Proceeds from their 23 May show will benefit the Rehabilitation Association. Their visit to Santo Domingo is part of a Latin American tour by the company.
On 29 May, legendary Cuban trumpeter Arturo Sandoval is booked at the Hotel Jaragua. Sharing the stage with him will be the Santo Domingo Jazz Band.
Popular Mexican bandleader Camila will follow the next weekend at the Hotel Jaragua (5 June) with a performance that is part of the group's "Todo Cambio 2008" world tour.
Legendary Mexican rock band Mana will be visiting Santo Domingo for a single performance at Estadio Quisqueya on June 12 at 8:30pm. The concert is part of their "Amar es Combatir World Tour".
The National Theater will be presenting Victor Hugo's "Les Miserables" this coming 13 June. Cecilia Garcia, Carolina Rivas, Nuryn Sanlley, Frank Ceara, Kenny Grullon, Antonio Melenciano, Hector and Anibal Estrella, among others will be on stage in the classic musical.
Disney's High School Musical, the Ice Tour, will be in Santo Domingo at the Palacio de los Deportes arena of the Juan Pablo Duarte Olympic Center to delight young crowds from 12 July to 27 July. The Ice Tour is a one-and-only live fusion of song, dance and team-spirited fun inspired by the smash hit Disney Channel Original Movie "High School Musical" and this summer's highly anticipated "High School Musical 2". The show stars a cast of world-class skaters who will rock the house. Tickets are priced at RD$400-RD$2,500. The event is promoted in the DR by Conciertos Saymon Diaz.
For more DR calendar events, see www.dr1.com/calendar

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