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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Holiday Season 2012 in La Manzanilla

   The holidays are here!! Even if you are living in the tropics the Christmas Spirit and Holiday Cheer  is starting to spark in all of us, we somehow feel compelled to be close to family, close to tradition and be giving towards the ones we love the most.

   This feeling in our country is translated towards our most essential and beloved family member, our mother. We take it to the streets to recreate a long journey in her honor, a centuries old pilgrimage, we bring her offerings of many different kinds, things like personal sacrifices, prayer, fireworks,  food, flowers and dance. The Virgin of Guadalupe is our most important divine symbol, it embodies our mother Earth, our ancestral power and knowledge repressed and murdered by our European conquistadores and modern westernization, she is our saviour, our only future and hope, our only known past, our common origin. In La Manzanilla like in most Mexican towns the procession begins 9 days before her birthday 12/12/12.

Lety, Mildret y Abril despues de la peregrinacion. 

    Most residents will be aware of the activities with fireworks which invite and encourage everyone to join the contingent, the objective is to honor her with what they call Mananitas a la Virgen. Each day people from town dress up in traditional Mexican clothes, made out of manta and hand sewed skirts, blouses ass well as huaraches on their feet. The afternoon peregrinacion begins around 7 p.m. alternating each day from the south and the north end of town. The reach the church and after the mass all the "indit@s" share the goodies in their baskets, the Mom's have a little secret competition on who packs the best treat. This is by far the children's highlight of the whole thing!

Indita and her basket. 

Getting ready for Holiday decoration!

   Most houses have a traditional X-mas decoration but they will also set up a Nacimiento with a baby Jesus at the center and of course a Virgen de Guadalupe image in the front of the house surrounded by colorful Christmas lights and plastic flowers. 

Valentina in one of her Holiday outfits! <3 

Special Thanks to: 
All the inditos and inditas of 2012! 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Desfile de la Revolucion Mexicana 2012 - Photo Contribution

On November 20th of every year we celebrate Mexican Revolution in the entire country, every academic institution participates in a desfile (parade), we honor a revolutionary ideal that poor men and women deserved land, water and freedom.
   The Mexican Revolution was a very complex process, and it never really ended; a lot of positive things came from it, but some of it's most dignified leaders ended up homeless living under the revolutionary statues and sculptures in the big city parks.

   If you visit the office of our Ejido you will see a large picture of Emiliano Zapata, he is one of the iconic leaders of the Revolucion to say the least. Thanks to him the creation of the La Manzanilla Ejido was possible, for some revolution leaders taking down the Dictator of the time Pofirio Diaz was enough, but for Zapata a land reform was crucial and paved the way for the elimination of the Hacienda systems and the exploitation of the workers, who basiclly lived in the conditions of slavery and extreme poverty.

   Here are some pictures taken by some local residents them selves, hopefully they can help you imagine the scene back around 1910, we have some pretty serious characters...

Francisco I. Madero was the first real candidate to challenge Porfirio Diaz's dictatorship in a formal election, he was extradited to the USA and from there conducted the armed rebellion with the support of General Pascual Orozco and revolution celebrity Pancho Villa. 
He is against consecutive reelection. 

In the parade we can't miss the rich upper class of the time, Dictator President Porfirio Diaz was really in to French culture and French ideals, during his regime he built amazing European like buildings, libraries, sculptures, parks, he supported scientific research, national history and  popular art. Of course all of this thanks to his wife Carmen who came from one of the richest Mexican families, she taught the uneducated Oaxacan General to speak English, French and all about high society. 

Here we have the popular Machete dance, most of the soldiers who fought during La Revolucion were common farmers and country folk. In 1910 less than 1% of Mexican families owned about 85% of the entire farmable land. Small town with small portions of land made about 50 of the population and depended almost entirely on the Haciendas, these Haciendas were also the only ones entitled to receive new irrigation technologies, government credits, etc, etc... 

Here we have Daira a typical Adelita! That is what they called the women who accompanied the men during La Revolucion, they set the camps, feed the army, carried their babies on their back with their rebosos, walked beside the men who rode horses and some of them were trained soldiers and were even promoted to Generals. 

Here we have the Adelitas consorting with the Soldados, there was a lot of drinking going on on the southern side of the revolution, not in he north because Pancho Villa would not allow it!  Famous songs called corridos were used to describe epic battles and their heroes or victims, it was how people kept informed on what was happening back then... 

After Francisco I. Madero and his allies made it to the Presidential Chair it was not long before another rogue General and his troops infiltrated to the capital and had him executed, his name was Victoriano Huerta. Zapata and Villa decided to meet and together decide what to do with this new usurper. 

Pancho Villa and his Northern Division came to join forces with the southern army of E. Zapata, together they we set to overthrow yet another character who came after the Presidential chair, it was Venustiano Carranaz who once fought with them had now lead an army of his own in to the capital and proclaimed himself President of Mexico. We now have those iconic pictures of the two very different leaders meeting and consorting. 

Students all around Mexico show their athletic abilities during the parade.

Some of the local High school kids have to go as far as Cihuatlan to participate in the
 parade since it is an obligational attendance nation wide.

   There has not been such a revolutionary climate since 1968 amongst the Mexican youth and working class as there is now in 2012, university students have revived Zapatas ideals. Once again the concentrated power amongst a very few is overwhelmingly baring on the majority of people. Giant historic mobilizations of protesters are purposefully not broadcasted by the only two existing T.V. networks and the "drug war" has now affected and touched almost every body's life directly or indirectly. New civil organizations like the #YoSoy132 movement arise in the need to communicate truth, dignify and unite the country. Ironiclly enough what came out of the Mexican Revolution is the Partido Revolucionario Institucional or P.R.I..

Zapata Vive, la Lucha Sigue!!

Special Thanks to:

Liliana Castillo Martinez, 
Aby Ramos,
Violeta Figueroa Michel,
Xochitl Soto,
Irlanda Rutherford
 Daniel Figueroa Michel.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Support your Local Economy - Temporada Turistica 2012 - 2013

   The much anticipated tourist season has begun in La Manzanilla, little by little you will see the small streets fill with car traffic, the beach with pale bodies and the taco stand will now be packed by 6 pm!

   By this time of year most businesses are busy setting up, getting ready, giving their place a fresh look  to welcome the winter vacationist and part time residents who return curious to explore and experiment La Manzanilla time and time again, or the first timer, who will for sure be experiencing a more modern version of town, a new crazy bright color on the Jardin benches, new eating establishments, new galleries, new babies...!

   Here is a small list of some of the businesses and entrepreneurs that are ready to give you their best services and products during you stay in our town...

"Abarrotes Costalinda" is fully stocked to help you with your Thanksgiving shopping! 
They sell everything and anything you might need, from fresh produce to dippers and make-up.

Store owner Rocio "Chio" is always there to greet you with a smile :) 

"To travel with comfort and security your best option is Eloy Soto Contreras"! 

There are new arrivals at "Ada's Bazar", like these cool masks 
from San Miguel de Allende and hand made jewelry.

Hand painted watercolor lamps done by Guadalajara artist Angela Lopez. 

Ada will help you find the perfect souvenir or home decor item,
 she is located right across from the Taco stand on the main street.

Behold "Cafe Del Mar"!  Soft Opening Friday November 23rd 7:30 pm!! 

Young new Chef Hector Castillo will be debuting his new project "Cafe del Mar" 
after graduating from cooking school in Manzanillo he returns to his town La Manzanilla 
to compete in the local food and drink industry. At night he will be serving 
"tapas y botanas", wings, salads, etc, before introducing a full menu in December. 

The Bar will be serving a wide variety of drinks 
like Cappuccinos, Lattes, Tea, Italian Sodas, 
Molecular Drinks and more!

This is a type of organic fertilizer that contains worm poop, the worms have been feeding off goat manure, water and other composting materials, in this rich mixture is called humus.
The liquid form is a concentrated version of this. 

Liquid Humus has an impressive list of benefits and unique qualities: 
  • it helps retain moisture in the soil longer
  •  it allows fungi and bacteria to thrive and fight off diseases for the plant
  • increments the production of chlorophyll in the plant
  • balances pH in acid soils 
  • increments crop productivity 
  • as well as purifying the soil from foreign chemicals, and many more positive attributes

Alejandro "El Aguila" is selling Liquid Humus $10 pesos per Lt. 
his cel phone number is :315 108 7172  

   As you can see there is always something new every year, the townspeople have to push themselves and reinvent themselves to try and make the most of the tourist season economically in order to survive the slow summer.  So we encourage you to shop local! 

Special Thanks to:
Ada's Bazar,
Abarrotes Costalinda,
Cafe del Mar and
Eloy Soto Contreras.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Dia de Muertos en La Manzanilla 2012

   Today is the day when the dead are allowed back in to the world of the living to enjoy some of their favorite pleasures from their past life and can be reunited with their loved ones who invoke them. This is a millinery tradition that spreads across Mexico, having it's origins in the celebration of the ancient Goddess Mictecacihuatl "Lady of the Dead", now known as La Catrina.
  How do people in La Manzanilla celebrate and pay homage to their dead? For one the yearly ritual starts a few weeks before the big day, every family is busy with the construction of Coronas handmade out of plastic or paper flowers, these serve as decoration for the graves.
   Another way you know Dia de Muertos is coming soon is because El Panadero starts offering Pan de Muerto for sale, this a traditional artisan bread that is usually shared with the lost ones by placing it on their altars, graves and breaking bread with the rest of the family.

   All day today you will see crowds of people walking out to the Cementerio to place their Coronas and clean the graves of their loved ones. For some the celebrations and activities start on the first of November, that day is reserved for Las almas inocentes which means this is when we mourn children and those who were very young when they passed.

   This year more than other we can observe various activities in town all allusive to Dia de Muertos, more than a few years a go, it makes us all so very happy that despite the rapid change of our surrounding cultural environment we can rescue our ancient practices and adapt them to make them our own and regain our own cultural  identity as well as never forgetting the identity of those who have left this world before us...

Students of the third grade pose after their performance in La Quema del Mal Humor. This is a symbolic practice of burning bad humor and negative energy away, usually performed  during carnival in other parts of the country. 

In this image we can see a couple of Coronas and flowers placed on the graves early.

Every family uses their creativity to decorate their loved ones resting place.

Socorro dressed as La Catrina, behind her one of the many altars mounted 
by the students of Miguel Hidalgo High school in el Jardin last night. 

As motivation for the students the High school conducts a contest and the altar that is most creative but manages to incorporate all the symbolic offerings gets a price. Some on the elements the judges look for are 7 levels that represent the ascent to heaven, salt crosses to purify the body, an arch for the soul to enter this plane, the colors orange and purple that represent death and life, etc... 

Pedro "Piedritas" resting in his chair like he used to all the time drinking a Coca cola. RIP. 

Our beautiful angel Marianita, here her friends from school 
put together a slide show presentation of some of her happy moments. RIP. 

The night ended with dancing, drinking and celebrating the dead. Just the way they would of liked to celebrate if they were still here with us. 

   If you missed all of this, don't worry it's not too late! Tonight there will be live music in el Jardin, a Reggae music band from Monterrey is playing "Viento Roots"!!! So go join in la fiesta de los muertos...


(in loving memory of Vicky) 

Special Thanks to:

Sophia Rutherford,
Irlanda Rutherford,
Eloy Soto Contreras,
Preparatoria Regional de 
Cihuatlan Modulo M. Hidalgo.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Regreso a Clases! - 2012 - Back to School! (Covered by Lin Loza)

   Hello dear readers, in this edition of L. M. in Motion we would like to talk to you about our towns school system and how it is conformed. Our most loyal contributor, personal friend and now a representative for our county in the La Huerta H. Ayuntamiento,  Lin Loza has done a terrific job once again of documenting in a small, but mayor way an important aspect of our community.

   Education plays a crucial part in shaping the future of any community, so we are happy to see more High school graduates, even tough they have to travel to another town to attend school and get their diploma. There is now a local daycare where young children can receive early stimulation other than being watched by grandparents or their siblings. We are also happy to see more kids from town become   professionals and return to our community to give back.

Playing "Tazos" after school

   It is both easy and hard to get an education in La Manzanilla, it is for the most part free but only until you try to reach beyond basic education it's were it gets difficult for families to pay for room and board or/ and far away transportation.

    Primaria (Elementary), Secundaria (Middle school, grades 6th, 7th and 8th) and Kinder are mandatory in Mexico, but in our town sometimes there are just not enough 3 year old attending the Primero of kinder garden so the teachers have two include them with the next group Segundo or wait until the child is 4 years old.

Padres de familia charlando afuera del Kinder

   The kinder garden teachers are very welcoming to foreign students and we all remember growing up having foreign classmates all trough middle school in La Manzanilla, they would be speaking Spanish in no time!

  Our Elementary "Manuel Lopez Cotilla" is named after Mexican education visionary from Guadalajara who created rural school systems such as our own and fought hard to eliminate religion from the classrooms; these type of schools belong to the SEP (Secretary of Public Education).

Here we see the classrooms rebuild after the 1995 earthquake, and a cute girl under the Almendro leaves.

   There are 98 boys and 123 girl students today, these students come from La Manzanilla, Boca de Iguanas and Los Ingenios. The school has 7 groups in total because they have two Terceros, 3roA y 3roB due to overcrowding. So there are a lot of 8 year olds! 

Director de Primaria: Jilberto Arechinga Rodriguez  

Alumnas barriendo cancha de basketball/volleyball. 

   Everyone must participate to keep the school clean since they can't always afford a janitor. In fact there is a Parents Committee that helps deal with the schools challenges, they trow benefits, offer their own labor when it comes to cleaning or working on the school, and even help run the school kitchen and cafeteria area. It is truly a community effort! Current President of the Comite de Padres de familia: Rosaura Montes Garcia.

  The next level of education you can get in La Manzanilla is the Telesecundaria, located at the entrance of town and named after Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon a rebel revolutionary priest who lead the Mexican Independence War.


   This type of school is a Mexican designed model of education, intended to reach the most desolated and rural areas of the country trough a television signal in an effort to combat illiteracy.

Alumnos antes de clases

  There are 6 groups in this school divided in to A and B respectively with 88 students in total. There are 5 teachers and an administrative person. Principals name is Guillermo Camacho. 


Sesion al aire libre

  A Parents Counsil exists as well for parent participation in the Telesecundaria it is represented by Jose Manuel Figueroa "Chemillo". Sadly enough a large number of kids wont make it past here in their education, a lot of them will rather stay behind and work construction instead and the girls work in housecleaning or some form of customer service in local stores or restaurants, etc. Also teenage pregnancy usually occurred during this time and is a mayor reason for drop outs. 

   But now there are more option for the working mother because now we have a Day Care in town thanks to a government program that subsidizes  these types of children homes, so working parents don't have to pay for child care. 

Daycare Center

   Here they care for kids under 4 years old, they have 3 groups for 1 years, 2 and 3. Families from both La Manzanilla and Los Ingenios use the Daycare services. They have 23 children currently enrolled, their  Directora is Judith Requena and Josefina Lua Madrigal is her assistant and the children's cook. They also have 3 other caregivers. 

  The main places to get a college education if you are from La Manzanilla are: Melaque (Marine Biology only), Manzanillo, Col., Colima, Col., Puerto Vallarta, Autlan, Guadalajara. And most people achieve their degrees in the Public State Universities like U de Colima or U de Guadalajara

I hope we provided some insight in to La Manzanillas academic structure :)

Hasta la Proxima! 

P.S.: Today was the election for Delegado in our town, we welcome 
Don Pedro Preciado Chavez "El Brujo"looking forward to working with him!

Special Thanks to:

Lin Magali Loza
Eloy Soto Contreras.

Monday, October 22, 2012


Viva Mexico hoy y siempre! 
   Trying to keep up with our effort to upload life in La Manzanilla and it's current happenings we bring you a recap of the month of Septiembre our most patriotic month.

   During this month Mexicans celebrate our Independence manly and our flag, and in La Manzanilla the end of the slow season for tourist businesses and the return of the children to school.

   For those who visit our town seasonally you might wonder what your neighbors are up to while your gone? and if you are a new visitor this is what you should expect on a summer/fall visit to La Manzanilla.

A quite famous view of La Manzanilla, while the jungle seems alive and 
vibrant the low clouds make it even more dramatic, 
this is our favorite sunset season. 

During this month the temperature drops just enough 
that you can run around the Campo for an early workout. 

With business being so slow Eloy takes time off his Taxi to 
try one of Vano's customized bicicletas.

And since it's soooo slow he tries another! They say this one can carry a cooler! 

La guapa Josefina celebrando el Grito de Independencia!! Viva Mexico!!

Kevin and Frank celebrated with friends at local bar Las Cabanas. 
Don't let that cute face fool you! 

Every school in the nation goes out in the streets in a parade fashion to perform 
civic acts and celebrate Mexico's Independence Day Sep. 16th. These are some of the High school 
students in the town of Miguel Hidalgo (who was an independence hero himself), the kid's from La Manzanilla have to come here to attend High school and be part of the activities. 

During this time around the country people were typical regional dresses from 
that time period or later, this is what Jalisco women wear when they ride 
their horses and dance el Jarabe Tapatio with their Charros

And now we have reached my favorite sport "el Palo Encebado" which literally means the "Pig Fat covered Post", the objective of the game is to form teams and take turns to see which team can climb the post and collect the prices that are hanging from the top, stuff like food, shampoo, booze, soccer balls, etc etc

Pure entertainment! This year it took them only 5 minutes to get the prices
 down they are going to have to make it more challenging! 

Some years they grease up a pig and close off a couple 
streets and who ever catches it gets to keep it!  

This is an annual event on the afternoon of Sep. 16th put on by the Delegacion as part of the festivities. Strangely enough this is a french custom as well as a Mayan one and many towns in Latin America practice it as well. 

I hope you enjoy the month of September where ever you are!
Saludos y que Viva Mexico! 

Special Thanks to: 
Aby Ramos,
Issac Figueroa,
Oscar Cordova,
Eloy Soto Contreras,
Lin Magali Loza Lopez,
Modulo Miguel Hidalgo and
Delegacion La Manzanilla