A bi-weekly news source for the village of San Pancho, Mexico
February 13th 2017

A Changing of the Guard
We all attended the Entreamigos annual fundraiser gala event celebrating the history and the future of EA.  It was a lovely and emotional evening. It started with a tasting of tequila and many other regional beverages and delicacies. From there we wandered to the beautifully set tables on the patio of the lounge at La Patrona Polo Field. We stopped along the way to try our luck at the raffle table filled with treasures donated by the various businesses in the community.
We were served a delicious 3-course dinner by EA Scholarship students.
 After the meal, Nicole got up to speak...She told us the story of the founding of
Entreamigos and how it has continued to grow and flourish with the help of Indira and Plantaté, countless volunteers and the support of the community - and then she informed us that the time had come for Nicole to move aside and allow a new group of leaders take up the charge and breathe new energy into this important organization that is the very heart of San Pancho. She introduced us to Frieda, Glenda, and Sarah. We will be introducing them in depth in a future issue.  We wish them all the best as they take on the mantle of leadership and work to bring Entreamigos into the future. We know that that they will do great things and Nicole will remain on the board of directors, gently guiding and mentoring them as they take on their new roles. It was a bittersweet moment, and we are so glad we were there to see this full circle. The rest of the evening was filled with excellent music and good conversation as we stood by the warmth of wood fires. Another perfect San Pancho evening.
St. Francis of Assisi - Alive  in San Pancho
By Nancy Brown

St. Francis of Assisi, San Pancho's patron saint, is patron of animals and ecology, and he is one of the world's most beloved saints. The man who became Pope in 2013 chose St. Francis as his papal name - the first time a Pope has done that - because, he said, " Francis was a man of peace, a man of poverty, a man who loved and protected creation."
St. Francis founded the Franciscans, one of the religious orders sent by Carlos V, King of Spain, to spread Christian doctrine among the natives in Mexico and to promote colonization. Many towns were named during the colonial era, though I do not know exactly when San Pancho got its official name - San Francisco.
The original Franciscans lived according to strict vows of poverty. They slept in the open, worked for necessities, and begged when they had to. Their belief was that having no possessions set them free. For them, humankind and nature were all one, an interdependent web. One favorite story about St. Francis's life is about how he preached to the birds, telling them to be thankful for the beautiful clothes God had given them. The birds stood still and flew away only after he had finished.                                     
Devotion to St. Francis has always inspired artistic works, and San Pancho has an ample number in public places. A cantera statue of a meek St. Francis, elevated on a planter and pedestal, stands about fifteen feet tall on the beachfront plaza. Donated to the village by Dar Peters, a local builder who died in 2005, and former resident John Alexander, this St. Francis holds a bird in one hand and a beggar's bowl in the other.
On the walkway to the beach from Calle Cuba one of the wall murals - this one by artist Craig Downs - shows St. Francis releasing birds in a San Pancho setting. Sea turtles crawl into the ocean, and palapa huts dot the mountainous landscape
On Calle Mexico the church doors bear carvings of St. Francis, who seems to be blessing the tiny birds perched on the cactus plants and rocks at his feet. Inside the church on the wall behind the altar, a statue of St. Francis stands in front of the crucifix. Behind him is a mural painted by San Pancho artist Miguel Angel Vallajan. The birds in this painting are local species - magpie jays, gulls, and frigate birds - and in the distance we see the basilica of St. Francis in Assisi, Italy.
The stage backdrop on Plaza del Sol - a panorama of St. Francis gazing out to sea - is a unique work. From a distance the figures shimmer in the light and appear to be made of beads, like the art objects created by the area's Huichol indigenous people. The landscape is painted but the foreground figures - St. Francis, sea turtles, whales, and Huichol designs - are composed of bottle caps pressed into beds of silicone sealer. The mural was created for San Pancho's fiesta patronal, the annual celebration honoring San Pancho's patron saint, by artists and craftsmen from the town. Miguel Angel Vallajan painted the background and Jose "Pepe" Castellaños, Ramiro "Cocho" Gonzalez, and Abraham Vivas Castillon crafted the bottle cap designs. People from the community pitched in - they brought food for the workers and donated silicone sealer and bottle caps.
I have not had the pleasure of being in San Pancho during the fiesta patronal, but residents tell me it is a lively nine-day (September 26-October 4) devotion to and celebration of St. Francis. Each day processionals in honor of the saint wind their way around town and the priest celebrates a special Mass. Neighborhoods sponsor parades with floats bearing men dressed as St. Francis. Nightly fiestas on the Plaza del Sol feature bands, dancing, food, games for kids and adults, and lots and lots of fireworks.
For a town its size San Pancho has a remarkable number of groups devoted to the protection of animals and to preservation of the ecological system - Birding San Pancho, San Pancho Animales, Grupo Ecológico de la Costa Verde ("the turtle program"), Alianza Jaguar, and Entreamigos.
In art works throughout the village and in the life of the community itself, St. Francis's spirit is alive today in his little namesake village.

Nancy Brown and her husband, Skip Weldon, have spent winters in San Pancho since 2001. The rest of the year they live in West Haven, Connecticut. In 2016 they sold the home they had built here, and this season they returned as renters. ("We love the life here, especially the sense of community, and we didn't want to give that up!" Nancy says.) In 2013 Nancy and four other American women self-published a book, Viva San Pancho!, about daily life in their adopted hometown.

Thanks Nancy for honoring us with your beautiful words!
Polo Tournament
The Valentine's Cup at La Patrona

Location Change!

Fiesta Mexicana will be held at Hacienda San Pancho!
Same awesome party but different awesome location!
Don't miss it!  Saturday Feb. 18th at 6:30pm
Featured Video
Malagua San Pancho Skate
Malagua San Pancho Skate

  This is an older video but fun part of San Pancho's life - the kids and the skate park - we love it!
Earl Miller -  Man on the Street

Our dear friend Earl has been hitting the streets to find out who you might meet when you are here in San Pancho.  
Here's the scoop!

Aydia and Baiden

Where are you from?  

Vail, Colorado

What do you do?  

Aydia-age 11 loves to swim, ski, hockey and soccer
Baiden age 9, loves hockey, soccer, biking and skiing. 

How did you find San Pancho?  

My grandparents have had a house in San Pancho for about 19 years, since 1998. We have come to visit multiple times a year our whole lives.

What is the best thing for you about San Pancho?  

The beach, sunset, building forts, boogie boarding, Los Arbolitos street tacos, taking a boat, whale watching and snorkeling.
John and Trisha Trombetta

Where do you live? 

We live in Stoney Creek Ontario. 

What do you do for a living? 

We are self employed @Grand River Natural Stone. 

How did you find out about San Pancho? 

Our sister in law has been visiting San Pancho for the past 5 years. 

What do you like about San Pancho? 

We enjoy the lovely, kind and gracious people, the slow pace, the authentic Mexican feel...the roosters,the dogs, the awesome food....a perfect place to decompress.

Earl & his beautiful wife Jane are the owners of  Roberto's Bungalows, San Pancho's friendliest place to stay.  Earl and Jane will take you under their wing and have you living like locals from your first day. Stop by and say Hi!  

Thanks, Earl!!!

San Pancho Music Festival!
More info here!

Featured Vacation Rental 
Villa Caleta is our idea of paradise!

This breath-taking beauty is our dream vacation getaway. Offering luxury and seclusion with a secret beach just steps away and resort-style amenities of a bartender and personal chef who prepares and serves three meals a day, daily housekeeping, and in-house massage/spa services.

The villa itself is a luxurious hideaway built beneath a traditional palapa. The roof soars to over 60 feet, creating a dramatic zenith for this unique home. Open-air design optimizes our stunning jungle surroundings, and the living room, swimming pool, and dining decks feature unobstructed panoramas of the Pacific Ocean. Most of Villa Caleta's wood and stone were locally sourced in Nayarit. All the doors and windows are handmade, along with two enormous tables hewn from fallen trees within Las Clavellinas. The Villa includes four bedrooms, each with a king bed and private bath. There is also a double sleeping loft with private entrance that shares the main bathroom.

Villa Caleta is best suited for 8-10 people but for larger groups you can also include its sister property Villa Violeta, located directly across the cove. The sprawling grounds of Villa Violeta
accommodate up to 18 guests within three casitas and main villa - together both properties can welcome up to 28 guests!

Villa Caleta is perfection in its every detail. This stunningly beautiful villa can be your private paradise.  
San Pancho Getaways - by Candice Fulton

And Now for Something Completely Different:
Talpa de Allende

We last paused this adventure ((previous newsletter) at Cruz de Romero, the hilltop entrance to the Jalisco mountain town of Talpa de Allende, an hour and a half or so on the other side of San Sebastián del Oeste.

Down the road, at the bottom of the hill, we're welcomed into the town itself with a beautiful collection of statues of the many Mexican and worldwide emanations of the Virgin Mary. 

This icon of Mexico plays a major role in the life of Talpa, here in her role as Nuestra Señora del Rosario, Our Lady of the Rosary, whose miracles have been believed and celebrated for 373 years. In this cowboy town in a valley of ranches, with a resident population of 7,000, La Chapparita ("The Little Short One") is the main attraction. Most sources say she draws around three million peregrinos (pilgrims) into her presence every year. They come to thank her, to beseech her, to pray to her, to honor her. 

Some travel advisors will tell you to avoid Talpa during its five major festivals. I'll concur with staying away during Easter week, as Talpa overflows with visitors even more than our familiar beach destinations. But we went last year during the Fiesta de San José in March and enjoyed the activity. Some streets were closed, others unrecognizable; but all day long, we watched diverse groups of pilgrims enter the plaza from every direction.

The restaurants overlooking the plaza are a grand vantage point. You'll dine on traditional Jalisco country fare while having a perfect view of much of the activity below. You will have noticed the mariachi bands waiting at the edge of town: they're there to accompany the pilgrims who hire them, often all the way into the church. Here, in a typical Talpa scene, a group of peregrinos with a band approaches the plaza while a cowboy concentrates on spinning his rope. 

Have your camera ready for the performance art down in the plaza. This group of dancing peregrinos in indigenous costume represent both pre- and post-Christian Mexico.

Alongside the plaza is a wonderful quirky market, offering everything from leather boots and shoes to an amazing assortment of religious souvenirs and kitsch. The church itself has a gift shop with higher quality remembrances of your visit to the little Virgin. Behind the church is a museum that is absolutely worthwhile, with a collection of old retablos, the primitive "thank you notes" for perceived miracles, handpainted on tin. And do wander the side streets of Talpa. The shops and sights are a delight.

If You Go Hotels abound in Talpa. In order to have a full day to experience the town, we stayed two nights in La Misión, a very Mexican hotel right off the plaza. But we hired a tour van to see the rest of town and were shown the Casandra (linked below), an interesting lodging that we will likely choose next time. If you go during a festival, make reservations as far in advance as you can. Take the tour: you'll find open air vans on the north side of the plaza. Take pesos, not dollars, and take warm clothes. All through the year, the temperatures in the mountains are chillier than at the beach. You'll want long pants and/or skirts: inland Mexico is most definitely NOT the beach and you'll feel pretty foolish as the only one in town with shorts on. Yes, you may enter the church, but be respectfully aware of the formalities and avoid photos if there is a mass in progress or people praying. 

Talpa de Allende is one of my favorite Mexico destinations. You can read more about the town and the fascinating story of Nuestra Señora del Rosario in my blog post, http://www.sanpanchovida.com/2016/03/of-goddesses-and-madonnas.html

Casandra Cabañas: http://www.talpatours.com/cassandra/contacto.html

We are so honored to have Candice as a contributer to SPL she also writes a wonderful blog called San Pancho Vida.   If you are hungry for more tales of life and adventures in Mexico and elsewhere you should deffinately check out her blog. You will love it.

Thank you Candice for sharing this wonderful adventure with us!

 A Romantic Dinner at Mexotik

Keep up on what's going on in San Pancho - Music, Events and all the Fun!!!

Photos of the Week 
Polo Brunch at La Patrona 

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