Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A journey to the higher waterfall of Cuba

First, comes the sound of water falling, the sound of water that not yet shows. Next the guide said: This is the way. A lookout's stairs impose itself and is not left another remedy that to raise them to find immensity. The cooing is louder, we are arriving. Just some steps… A few steps…

Two flows of water are seen from the lookout. The higher of both is not the highest of Cuba, because in some months it gets dry. So you will not be wrong if you say that Guayabo waterfalls measures 240 meters, although it has a neighbor of 300.

This time the miracle was done at Pinares of Mayarí, between the thicknesses of the pine cubense, the tocororos, the green carpenter, the cartacuba, and the nightingale. Is fascinating what the irregularities of the lot and the force of gravity can achieve, that's nature.

The arrival and the visitors' departure dial the daily rhythm. Almost the sun shows up, the road's red dust is stirred. Not to smoke, not to throw papers, not to kill animals, these are some of the measures that should have in account the visitors. Of the international tourism arrive the agencies Cubanacan, Gaviota, Ecotur, and Cubatur, what bring a flow of 20 to 30 people in the day.

The Guayabo waterfalls is placed in the National Park The Measurement (La Mensura), where 293 species of the flora have gotten registered, and around 90 of the fauna, comment William, the guide, while he leads us through a path that arrives to the top of the waterfall.

Tell according to him, one of the most singular plants of the zone is the peinpalantus nipense, is similar to a cactus, but sprouts a white flower. The peipalantus is endemic of the zone and inhabit just in this region of the country.

The Company Forestal of the region holds 13 projects at the zone. Environmental Education's project has like first objective to develop a protective conscience in the people that live on close to the area damping of the park.

The reconstruction of forests is other of the projects that is favorable to preserve the ecosystem. In the last six years, 12 hectares of forested mass it had been incorporated to the park.The precious wood in danger of extinction: the savin, is one of the most used to reforest.

Now, from the height the green predominates, and we just can see the top of that great iceberg that is the water torrent in falling. A colilargo sparrow hawk marauds in the neighborhood. This animal is part of the Project of Threatened Birds, next to the nightingale, known as the tenor of the mountain, and two sorts further.

The Guayabo is the spinal column of a surroundings that goes over 576.7 hectares. It wouldn’t be the great waterfall that we all admire if it were not like the water that grows from a fertile soil, healthy, alive. Other visitors arrive, again the amazement in front of immensity. There is an abyss below their feet. The fall does not stop; the cycle does not end up.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Holguin, my beautiful city

People of Holguin feel proud of this eastern province if they recall that it has one of the largest bays and nickel reserves in the world and one of the most relevant indigenous cemeteries of the West Indies.

And that’s not all. A portion of land currently belonging to Holguin made the Conquistador Christopher Columbus say that Cuba was “the most beautiful land” in the universe. Holguin was also the site of the meeting between the Spanish and the natives when the Grand Admiral was introduced to tobacco.

Many people have forgotten that Holguin came to be the first province to reach one million inhabitants or that it has the longest undersea cavern in Cuba, that it has the highest natural waterfalls on the island and one of the most beautiful natural treasures of our times: the natural bridge over the Bitirí River.

It was Fidel and Raúl´s birthplace, this land witnessed the design of the first July 26 Movement armband.

It is the venue of the most important cultural youth event in Cuba known as Romerías de Mayo (May Processions) , as well as of the most relevant international movie festival outside the Havana: the Low Budget Movie Festival.

Holguín has a huge 458 step staircase up the Loma de la Cruz mountain, it also has the second Polynesian restaurant in Cuba, which was inaugurated by the then leader Maurice Bishop, in July, 1983.

Amazing Geography

The huge bay of Nipe, with the towns of Mayarí and Antilla, is 25.9 kms long and 16.8 kms wide; with a capacity of 1,700 million cubic meters of water. These details would seem nothing if we do not recall those stories telling how the Virgin Caridad del Cobre appeared floating there, or that it was the hideaway of infamous pirates like William Hasting; or bloody sharks like Don Pepe, according to legends.

If this geographic accident in Nipe is important, it is also worth mentioning the Guayabo waterfalls, around 200 meters high, located in Pinares de Mayarí. Likewise, it is amazing to see the largest undersea cave located in Tanque Azul, in Gibara, which is three kilometers long.

What about the bridge over Bitirí River, in Cueto, built by the magic hand of Nature! It is near Birán hamlet and has been declared a National Heritage.

It also treasures the Crystal Peak in the eastern part of the province, 1,231 meters over sea level, surrounded by the Cuban flora and fauna.

Another important place is the Wind Farm in Gibara, the largest in Cuba. It has six wind generators 55 meters high and weighing 75 tons.

At the beginning of 20th century, construction workers built the great staircase ending at the wooden cross in Cerro Bayado, which is 261 meters high.

Archaeological explorations done in the Farallones de Seboruco caves, in the Mayarí area, give proof to human activity there six thousand years ago. From that one can say that Seboruco man was the first inhabitant of the current province of Holguín and one of the first in Cuba.

All these historical elements are the basis of Holguin people’s singular identity.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Iberoamerican Fiesta in the City of the Parks

Held every year in Holguín, the Ibero-American Culture Festival is a cultural event meant to render homage to the encounter of the old and the new world. In Cuba, such encounter took place with the arrival of the admiral Christopher Columbus to Bariay Bay, in Holguín Province, on October 27th, 1942.

The festival, which has contributed to the development of culture in this Cuban province, gathers intellectuals, artists and people from our country and all Iberoamerica who are interested in maintaining an enriched cultural dialog within this space of art and reflection.

This year’s festival will include cultural events dedicated to the audiovisual; the Ibero-American Symposium on Arts, wuth the presentation of the project “Leer America” from Casa de las Americas; exhibitions and an attractive popular party that beautifies its venue, the Ciudad de los Parques (City of Parks)..

The Ibero-American Conference on Thinking, which will has two forums: “Ameroiberia, Utopia or Reality?” and “50 years of Cuban Revolution” are also programmed for the festival.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

July 26 School Complex: Real Heritage of Cuban History

For those who have read about the decisive events that took place July 26, 1953 in the Eastern Cuban city of Santiago de Cuba, visiting what used to be the Moncada Garrison, now 26 of July School Campus, is like having history at our finger tips. Being inside the building museum feels the past, while turning our eyes to its school rooms and outside its walls, translates into an encounter with the reality that inspired the historic action.

The building was raised while Cuba was ruled by the tyrannical Spanish governor Miguel de Tacon, back in the first half of the 19th century, and later during that period the facility was used as a prison for Cuban independence fighters who opposed Spanish colonialism. By that time, the building had only its first floor and a basement with room for 200 prisoners.

The solid facility was first named "Cuartel Nuevo Presidio" garrison, later it was called "Reina Mercedes" and in the early 20th century it was named after independence general Guillermon Moncada, who had been incarcerated in its cells.

In 1937, the building was partially destroyed by a fire. Later it was rebuilt and remodelled with observation points and thick walls that hid the many tortures and murders that took place in its cells under the bloody Fulgencio Batista dictatorship that took power through a coup in 1952.

Following the attack of the garrison by a group of revolutionaries led by Fidel Castro, July 26, 1953, many of the attackers were murdered or gunned down in different sites of the city of Santiago de Cuba.
One year after the triumph of the Cuban Revolution in 1959, the garrison was turned into a school complex, like many other garrisons and barracks throughout the country were.

At present, the 26 of July School City or elementary education complex is made up of six schools named after martyrs of the historic action.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Holguin Remembers “El Guayabero”

The Holguin branch of the animation studios of the Cuban Institute of Cinematographic Art and Industry (ICAIC) presented this week the video "Mi son retozón", dedicated to the legendary singer Faustino Oramas "El Guayabero". The new video features images of the picaresque character whose humor made him as popular as his quixotic figure. “Los guayaberos”, founded by Faustino Oramas, provided the music for this tribute to the singer known for his humorous songs and who toured the country with a unique Tres guitar and peculiar hat. “El Guayabero” died in 2007 in Holguin and was one of the greatest exponents of son music, deeply rooted in the eastern region of the island. He began his musical career at age 15 with the La Tropical Septet. The song "Marieta" was undoubtedly his most popular , recognized and hummed over and over again by his followers.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The historical Biran

If you come to Holguin you can visit Fidel Castro birthplace and learn about his extraordinary life.

Biran is a historical place located in this eastern province, founded by Angel Castro Argis, father of the Cuban leader of the Revolution. Castro Argis built 27 houses and facilities forming the Biran Castro Batey.

You can enjoy the scenic community which, along with its buildings, has also protected the natural environment. Eleven of the original wooden buildings constructed by Castro Argis remain well maintained today, the majority painted yellow with red zinc roofs. Members of the Castro Ruz family, along with other residents, often share interesting local anecdotes with visitors.

There´s a two-story house where President Fidel Castro grew up and where his parents Angel Castro Argis and Lina Ruz Gonzalez resided until their deaths.

Among the buildings is the Rural School #15, which was brought to Biran by Angel Castro and served as school for his children and the rest of the community’s children.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Gibara: Low-Budget Film Festival Begins

The International Low-Budget Film Festival that takes place each year in Gibara, opened Monday with the traditional parade and the screening of the Cuban film "Un dia de noviembre" by the late film director Humberto Solas.

The Cuban actress Eslinda Nunez, Margarita Maguregui from Spain and Mexican Filmmaker Ricardo Benet make up the jury that will grant the awards for the winning films in the category of fiction.

A jury made up by Gonzalo Fredes from Chile; the Cuban Xenia Rivery and Ivan Trujillo from Mexico will grant two awards in the section of rough cut projects and unpublished scripts for feature films, sponsored by HIVOS and Swiss Effects.

Filmmakers Jesus Leon, from Spain; Lissette Vila, from Cuba and Mexican Guillermo Moteforte will grant the prizes in the category of documentary, video art and experimental works.

The program for the event includes forums to debate topics related to the Cuban film such as "The invisible offices, an unresolved school," and “For a less Low-Budget Film: Towards an optimal post-production with greater potential for distribution."

The festival will pay a special tribute to Cuban filmmaker Tomas Gutierrez Alea, with the screening of the documentary “Titon: de La Habana a la Guantanamera,” directed by
Mirta Ibarra, on Tuesday at 7:00 pm at the Jibá movie. Films like "Fresa y Chocolate" and "La muerte de un burócrata," both directed by Titon, will also be shown during the festival.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Gibara Welcomes International Low-Budget Film Festival

The coastal city of Gibara in Holguin, will host the 7th "Humberto Solas International Low-Budget Film Festival, schedule from April13 to 19.

Convened by the Cuban Institute for Cinematographic Art and Industry (ICAIC), the Ministry of Culture and the Governments of Holguín and Gibara, the event will pay homage to the late Cuban filmmaker Humberto Solas, author of the project. Participants will compete in the categories of documentaries, feature films and short fiction, unpublished scripts, and experimental video works, among others.

The Jiba cinema of this city, also called “La villa blanca”, will be the headquarters for the Festival and will also host the opening and closing galas, while the Culture Center will host conferences on world cinema. In addition to film screenings, the event will once again include a mix of different artistic manifestations such as theater, painting, music and literature.

Despite the damage caused by Hurricane Ike in Gibara on September 7, 2008, the organizers have made available to participants a date with film that refused to disappear.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Holguin: older than it seems

Recent finds in Holguin could confirm the existence of an aboriginal and Hispanic community with certain economic development before 1752. The finds might corroborate the hypothesis supported by specialists from their previous work on the house of the Lieutenant Governor. For researchers, there was already an important population group since the mid-seventeenth century.
The excavations of what could have been the interior courtyard, revealed a collection of time materials like fragments of utilitarian pottery clay, English earthenware of the 18th and 17th Centuries, Spanish majolica in the early eighteenth, and fragments of flint blades, cut in the manner of the aboriginal inhabitants of the area.
The background of this research is found in the excavations carried out at the house of the Lieutenant Governor and the San Isidoro Church, used as a cemetery in the eighteenth century.
The new findings underline the need for greater attention to the architectural knowledge of history of this Cuban province of a remarkable architecture beauty.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Guayabero: a new brand of wine to excite the senses

The new brand of wine El Guayabero, named after a Cuban folk singer known for his humorous songs, will exceed other wines capacity to unleash the tongue, as it enriches the bouquet with a special double sense to make drinkers blush or generate excitement.

Beyond its quality, which many local sommeliers ponder, this wine had its success guaranteed when it was named after the famous folksinger whose double sense compositions and serious face made people hilarious.

Faustino Oramas(El Guayabero) was considered the King of doublé sense and for many fans to perpetúate his legacy in a red, sweet wine, is to do him a magnificent and just homage.

To remember him and please the palate at the same time, this new wine was born after his demise at 95 years of age, when considered a national symbol, loved by his people. This calls for a toast.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Humpback Whale Seen in the Coastal Town of Gibara

A humpback whale about 11 meters long and about 15 tons was spotted Tuesday by sport fishermen in the coastal town of Gibara, in Holguin.

Identified of similar proportions as one captured in coastal waters of Gibara 30 years ago, the cetacean was seen by Carlos Merino and Juan Tejeda in the area around the inlet of “La Canoa”. This inlet is located between Punta Rasa and Goleta, so the whale came to a relatively short distance from the coastline in the Atlantic waters.

The whale emerged about 40 meters from his small boat that seemed to be a huge vacuum, and observed that water vapor expelled from a hole in his head, said the two sport fishermen, then the huge mammal submerged in the ocean waters without paying any attention to the amazing fishermen.

The humpback is one of the 78 species of whales reported worldwide, which includes whales, dolphins and porpoises. Many of these animals often make long migrations during the colder months to warm areas, which includes the north region of Cuba and hence this humpback ride along the coast of Gibara. The finback or blue whale is among the biggest whales which can measure up to 30.5 meters long and weigh about 200 tons.