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House of Panama
Founded: 1989

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HoP at the parade


Dance Classes:
The Houses of Panama’s dance group “Sonares de Mi Tierra” (Sounds of my Land) teaches folkloric dances from various regions of Panama.  Costumes are all hand made worn with gold accessories and pearl like headpieces; which compliment these authentic attires.

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Panamanian Dances

December Nights


Lawn Program:
The annual lawn program is held every year in the month of August.
The entertainment for this event is provided by the House of Panama’s own folkloric group “Sonares de mi Tierra”.  At times the house invites special groups from who travel from Panama to San Diego to delight the visitors for a full hour.

The food the members have prepared are:  Rice and Coconut accompanied by Fried Fish or Rice and Peas accompanied by Ropa Vieja – shredded beef stewed with vegetables. Ojaldres (Indian fried bread) – with meat and sausage, hot links on a skewer, Patacones - fried bananas, pineapple upside-down cake, raspados – a sweet desert of ice cones with flavors and condensed milk.

For the Ethnic Food Fair the menu is similar to that of the lawn program.

The December Holidays feature banana leaf tamales, a special vegetable chicken soup called Sancocho, which is made from a root that is called “ñame”.  Jamaica made with ginger is a refreshing drink to be enjoyed.

Panamanian Festival:
An event called “Panama Friendship Reunion” is held every year in a different State. Panamanians, from all over the United States, come together to celebrate their heritage.  Quite often it is held in San Diego, because they like it here. The members of the House of Panama in Balboa Park are always actively participating.


Dance Classes:
Plans are underway to hold dancing lessons for children in the near future.  They also will be instructed to learn the Panamanian folk dances and wear the costumes that are indigenous for their culture.

Language Classes:
The members of the House feel it is important to teach their children the language, the cultures and the customs of Panama, so they will start a program for the children in the near future.

Panama - Coat of Arms

Folkloric Dress


The Panama Canal gave its host country a worldwide identity in 1915 with the completion of the canal.  It was built by the U.S. Corps of Engineers between 1904 – 1914. The location is the narrow isthmus between Costa Rica and Colombia.

A journey thru the Panama Canal is an interesting experience. To see these huge Ocean liners being maneuvered thru 6 locks (3 on the Pacific side and 3 on the Caribbean side) sometimes just inches from the walls of the locks, is amazing.  Little locomotives running on tracks at each side pull these giants safely into the next lock.  The captain of a ship has to give up the navigation of his vessel completely to the pilots of the canal, for the duration of the passage. (He has the day off).

Contrary to the sometimes erroneous belief, that the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea are on different water levels, this is not the case, they are on the same level.  The purpose of the locks is to bring the ships up to the Lake Gatun level, (a 163 square miles big sweet water lake), which is higher than the oceans then navigate them to the lowering locks.  Nine thousand people are employed for the operation of the canal.

San Diego has a real connection to the Panama Canal, because the Exposition of 1915 in Balboa Park took place to commemorate the opening of the Panama Canal.

The Monetary System in Panama uses only hard currency for cash, no bills.  But the American Dollar is accepted everywhere, and the exchange rate is 1:1. 

Chiriqui means “The valley of the moon” it is a province with rich tropical rainforests and beautiful valleys. It has the highest peak on the Panamanian isthmus, 13,800 feet above sea level.  It allows a breathtaking view of the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.

large product photo   FUTURE PLANS

Did you know that Balboa Park has its name because the Park offered a wide view of the Pacific Ocean and explorer Vazco Nuñez de Balboa was the first European to sight the Pacific Ocean (from the coast of Panama)? 

That is why our main goals is to obtain our very own cottage.  What better way to show the wonderful customs and culture from the country that gave this wonderful park its name, not only to the residents of San Diego, but to all the visitors from around the world that visits America's Finest City.


Land Area: 78,200 sq km                               
Population:  3,242,173 (July 2007 est.)
Capital City: Panama City                                        
Language:  Spanish (official), English 14%; note - many Panamanians bilingual
Religion:  Roman Catholic 85%, Protestant 15%
Form of Government: constitutional democracy
Economy:Panama's dollarized economy rests primarily on a well-developed services sector that accounts for three-fourths of GDP. Services include operating the Panama Canal, banking, the Colon Free Zone, insurance, container ports, flagship registry, and tourism. A slump in the Colon Free Zone and agricultural exports, the global slowdown, and the withdrawal of US military forces held back economic growth in 2000-03; growth picked up in 2004-06 led by export-oriented services and a construction boom stimulated by tax incentives.
Export: bananas, shrimp, sugar, coffee, clothing

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Source: The World Factbook - Panama





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