Toledo Howler


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Toledo Howler
Physical Description:
Marta Hirons; Rob Hirons
Toledo Chapter of the Belize Tourism Industry Association
Place of Publication:
Punta Gorda,Toledo District, Belize
Creation Date:
September 2011
Publication Date:


newspaper   ( sobekcm )

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University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
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SPRING 2013 YEAR 6, ISSUE 2 INSIDE THIS ISSUE Chocolate Festival 1 Nim Li Punit 2 Ashas Culture Kitchen 3 Calendar of Events 4 Dreamlight Internet Cafe 5 Road to the Border: update 5 PG Town Map 6 Map of Front Street, PG Chocolate Festival Weekend 9 Toledo Tour Guides List 9 Village Buses Schedule 10 Transport Schedule 11 Southern Voices Interview: Kamela Palma 12 Wats Cookin? 13 Restaurant Guide 13 Golden Stream Spice Farm 14 BTIA Toledo Members List 16 Birding with Lee Jones: Christmas Bird Count 17 Arzu on Medicinal Plants: Theobroma Cacao 18 Toledo District Map 20 Belize Birds Record Committee 17 Newspaper of the Toledo Chapter of the Belize Tourism Industry Association Chocolate Festival of Belize Chocolate Festival of Belize Chocolate Festival of Belize Cacao is native to the Americas and the seeds, or beans, are used to make co coa products and, of course, chocolate. Cacao is a major export crop in Toledo prized for its quality and distinctive fla vour and Belize produces some notable chocolate products of its own. Every Commonwealth Day holiday week end the Toledo District of southern Belize holds a festiv al to celebrate this marvel lous food, and many devoted followers return each year to find out whats new in the world of chocolate making. This will be the seventh Festival, and the first in its new guise as the Cho colate Festival of Belize. The name change from Toledo Ca caoFest is a reflection of growing aware ness of the exceptional quality of Belizean chocolate and designed to capture a big ger international audience. Once again the festival will be organized jointly by the Toledo Cacao Growers Association and the Tole do Chapter of the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) with support and sponsorship from the Belize Tourism Board and NICH. The Festival kicks off with a glamorous gala opening night sponsored by Belikin who will be producing their unique choco late stout for the occasion. The Wine, Chocolate and Belikin event will be hel d this year at Be lcampo Lodge and Farm, several miles west of PG Town. Belcampo is wellknown for its beautiful setting and upscale accommodation, and the opening night will take place in the plaza at their new purpose built Agritourism facilities. Guests will enjoy live music, and the lat est chocolate creations from the Belizean boutiqu e chocolate makers Kakaw from San Pedro, Goss Chocolate from Placen cia, and Cotton Tree Chocolate and Ixca cao (formerly Cyrilas Chocolate) from Toledo itself. With hors doeuvres from Belcampos own farm and kitchen, an ar ray of fine wines and Belikins specially brewed C h ocolate Stout this promises to be a premier event in this exquisite jungle setting. On Saturday the focus shifts to Punta Gorda and The Taste of Toledo street fair that will be held along Front Street. The day is exclusively sponsored by BTL and Digicell who will be promoting their 4G interne t services. Th e day offers yet more chocolate experiences from our choco latiers, along with an array of booths fea turing chocolate themed food and crafts. Toledo is well known for its diverse range of cultures, and cultural exhibits show case Toledo's five largest ethnic groups: Kriol, Maya, Garifuna, Me stizo and East Indian. Ea ch area displays art, food and music from their culture where else can you pass from a Maya village to a Gari funa town in just a few steps? With a Chocolate Cookery Contest (sweet and savoury categories), an archaeologi cal display by NICH and the Department of Archaeology, local da nce group per formances, a Belikin bar, and live music at the stage by PGs historic courthouse theres something for everyone, and more! As always, the Festival caters for children with special Festival events: activities in clude volleyball, basketball, and soccer competitions, as well as a bicycl e race around PG Town, finishing at the north end of Front Street. Toledo is well known for its strong Mayan culture, and Lubaantun is a fitting and majestic setting for the Maya themed Festival Finale.The Sunday finale to the festival at Lubaantun is sponsored by US Capital Energy. Located in th e foothills of the Maya Mountai ns, Lubaantun flourished in the Late Classic period (AD 730 to AD860), but seems to have been abandoned soon after. Lubaantun is famed for its many clay whistles found at the site, exemplary stone work including its rounded cor ners and, of course, for the legend of the Crystal Skull. With its rich soils and high rainfall the area was, and is to this day, perfectly suited to growing the hig h quality Toled o cacao, and many TCGA members have their cacao farms in this area. Come and browse the local craft stalls and enjoy lo cal Mayan foo d, followed by traditional music and dance in the Plaza this is a great picnic in the park event with a Maya twist! Bring your friends, a blanket to sit on, a camera and spare bat teries, and enjoy a true cultural extrava ganza. For more info rmation, visit our website at and like our belizechocolatefestival page. The Creole section of the Saturd ay cultural fair in PG 2012 The Toledo Howler FRE E


2 Nim Li Punit Archaeological Site Nim li Punit was the second major site to be settled in Toledo District. Like Uxbenka, it was first occupied during the Early Classic pe riod. At present we have dated the early oc cupation of Nim li Punit only from the stylistic analysis of pottery. This demonstrates that the first inhabitants settled at the site some time in the early fifth century A.D., about 400 years after Uxbenka was settled and about 150 years before Pusilhathe largest city in southern Belize by farwas founded about A.D. 570. Like Uxbenka, Nim li Punit is a small place. It is better to think of it not as a city, but as a rural manor site founded by one or more elite families.From its founding ca. AD 400 450, however, Nim li Punit did serve as a regional administrative center. Structure 8, a long platform located along the western edge of the Plaza of the Tombs, was built around this time and served as a popol nah or council house. Over the course of 400 years, the building was enlarged and rebuilt four times, but it always kept the same form and func tion.Maya council houses are not common in Belize or Guatemala, but are much more typi cal of sites in Yucatan. They suggest decen tralized rule where different lineages, fami lies, or factions made joint decisions under a king with relatively weak authority. After Pusilha, Nim li Punit has more readable hiero glyphic monu ments (8) than any other site in south ern Belize. The written texts of Nim li Punit, how ever, were carved during just two very short time pe riods: A.D. 734 741 and A.D. 790 830. These two brief periods represent the high points of the site as a regional power. The first of these two periods probably corresponds to the lifetime of a single ruler. What is most fascinating is that at the same time that the rulers of Nim li Punit began to erect monu ments, great political unrest was seen not too far away at Quirigua, Guatemala. That site declared independence from Copan, Hondu ras during this period, and both Nim li Punit and Quirigua employed the same strange ti tle, Ek Xukpi ajaw, which might refer to inde pendence from Copan in fluence. After a 50 year hiatus, claims of political independence again appeared at Nim li Punit during the time period of the famous Maya Collapse. It may be that in the chaos of the decline of Pu silha and Uxbenka, other sitesincluding Nim li Punit and Lubaantunwere able to flourish. Archa eologists from the University of Califor nia, San Diego, will continue to work at Nim li Punit during the 2013 dry season. The excavations at Nim li Punit in 2012


3 Ashas Culture Kitchen TheHowler recently visited Ashas Culture Kitchenin PuntaGorda. This seaside res taurant is located on Front Streetsouth of the market andspecializes in freshCreole seafood,vegetarian and BBQ. They are also one of ToledoBTIAsnewest mem bers. Owner Ashton Martin opened Ashas Cul ture Kitchen inJuly 2011.The res t aurant was originallylocated on Middle Main Street before movingto itspresent seaside location. Ashas Culture Kitchenis actually built out overthe water so there is ade lightful sense of being surrounded by the sea. This placearguably hasthe best views inPG, looking out acrossthe Gulf of Hon duras towa rds Guatemala andpoints south. The owner says the stars at night are equally impressive from the verandah. Ashtons wife,Stacy, is incharge of mar keting and decorating. Ashton,originally from Punta Negra in northern Toledo, isin chargeof the mouth watering m enu. He hasapassion for cookingandsays hismain ingredient is love although healso uses coconut,cilantro,fresh vegetablesand herbs. The seafood isfresh daily so the menuchangesaccording to availability and season but usually includes avariety of fish,wild shrimp andlobster dishes. Oneof the most surp ri sing itemson Ashas menu is lionfish. Most of us know that lionfish havebecome a problem in the Caribbean in recentyears.They were probably introduced by aquariumowners who re leased them into the wild anddidnt realize that the invasive lionfish reproduce at amuch higher rate than the loca l species. Add to that the fact thatlionfish predate the eggs of commercial fishand the problem quickly became a major headachefor marine con servationists. What the Howler didnt know is that lionfish arealso extremely tasty to eat, with amild flavor similar to snapper. So wecan all help keep the loca l numbers of lionfish down by catchingand eating them! Ashas Culture Kitchen also prides itself inpro motingCreole culture. On Sundays, from 6pm, they have a jam session withCreole drummers alongside international guest musicians. Visi tors are welcome to come along andjam withthe mu s icians or just sit and enjoythe music while sipping on aglassof freshfruit juiceor beer. Ashas cater for special events such as weddings and can seat atotal of sixty four customersinside and on the verandah. Ashas Culture Kitchen isopenfor dinner daily throughout the ye a r from 4pm to midnight. See their ad inthisissue andlist ing inthe Restaurant Guide. Phone or email for more information: 632 8025 or ashasculture Musicians gather to play at Ashas on Sunday evenings Cant beat this view from Ashas verandah Asha shows off a catch of fresh lobster destined for the menu. Lobster season runs from the 15th June to 15th February.


4 Date Event Venue/Time Other Info March 11th Bank Holiday National Heroes and Benefactors Day Regatta and aquatic games at Market Wharf Celebrating Baron Bliss March 24th Annual Maya Day: inc Cortez Dance and Maya Ball Game. Tumul K'in, Blue Creek Village March 29th Bank Holiday Good Friday Local businesses closed April 1st Bank Holiday Easter Monday Local business es closed May 1st Bank Holiday Labour Day Local businesses closed May 24th Wine and Chocolate Evening first day of Chocolate Festival of Belize Belcampo Lodge from 6pm to 10pm Tickets in advance $40, at the door $60. More info contact or call 722 2531 May 25th Taste of Toledo second da y of Cho colate Festival of Belize Front Street, Punta Gorda Cultural food and entertainment from 9am 6pm More info contact or call 722 2531 May 26th Lubaantun Finale third day of the Chocolate Festival of Belize San Pedro Columbia Village, Lubaantun Maya Site from 10am to 4pm More info co nt act or call 722 2531 May 27th Bank Holiday Commonwealth Day Local businesses closed Sept 10th Bank Holiday St. George's Caye Day Carnival parade in Punta Gorda Local businesses closed Sept 21st Bank Holiday Independence Day Flag raising ceremony to welcome Independence Day Parade and jump up/block party. Central Park at M i dnight October 11th Seafood Gala first day of TIDE Fish Fest Venue to be decided or call 722 2129 October 12th Youth Conservation Competition second day of TIDE Fish Fest Venue to be decided or call 722 2129 October 13th Fish Fest last day of TIDE Fish Fest TIDE He adquar ters, Hopeville or call 722 2129 October 14th Bank Holiday Pan American Day Local businesses closed 16th November TOLTEX 2013 : Toledo Tourism Expo celebrating diversity of cul tural tourism businesses Central Park, Punta Gorda 9am 4pm Contact or call 722 2531 16th November Battle of the Dru ms Sports Com plex, Punta Gorda 7:30pm For more info contact Beya Suites: 722 2188 November 17th Paranda Top 10: live radio broadcast on Love FM. Music per formed by local PG Paranderos. Beya Suites, Hopeville Beya Suites 722 2188 November 19th YurumeinGarifuna Settlement Re enactment PG Cooperative Wharf 6:30 am Calendar of Events


5 Dreamlight Internet Caf Dreamlight internet caf is something of an Aladdins cave! Located on Main Street the modern white cementbuilding beckons tour ists and locals alike to make use of their inter net facilities, but, walking through the door way reveals a much wider array of goods and service than you might at first expect! Dreamlight was opened by Timothy Dami in May 2007, when he saw a need for additional internet facilities in town, primarily through his work as a teacher and running computer classes at the local leducation centre. One of his students was Kenrick Coleman (of Coe mans Caf fame in Big Falls village) and, hav ing successfully complete d the course and seeing his affinity with computers, he was of fered a job by Mr Tim. Kenrick is one of seven local employees at Dreamlight, and between them they have over 35 years professional ex perience. We spoke to Kenrick about Dream lights many and varied services. As youd expect with an internet caf, Dream light has several com puters available for internet access, and they charge BZ$1 for the first half hour, and BZ$1 for every addi tional quarter hour. Kenrick tells us that many students use the internet facility to help with their studies, and the service has proved so popular that they have now expanded to offer a second com puter lab to keep up with demand. The caf is open daily with hot coffee and donuts avail able to keep energy levels high, and they have now opened a games room with Play Station and Xbox for when people need a fun break from studies. Whilst Skype services are not available, their answer is to provide cheap rate international calls, which start at just 25 cents a minute. Dreamlight has also become something of a one stop shop for internet, technology and office supplies, selling a range of goods from phone top up cards to paper and printing ser vices, came ra accessories and ID photos, to DVDs as well as souvenirs. If its computer or office related, then Dreamlight is the place to go. Computer technology is still very new to some people, and Dreamlight offers ten week com puter introductory courses, covering Word, Excel, Powerpoint, internet and email, and typing skills. On successful completion stu dents can then move up to take a further ten week advanced level course. They are also a core partner in education and provide on site training for ITV ET Toledo, Julian Cho Technical High School, and Toledo Community College. As well as their educational partnership, Dreamlight believes in being an active part of the community, and two such examples are their weekly raffle where every customer has the chance to win BZ$25 and their com munity web site Their goal is to list every business and organization in Toledo so as to provide a comprehensive di rectory of Toledo services. The website aver ages around 2,500 visits each month, but the number of new visitors is steadily growing. Many small businesses in Toledo cant afford the time, or may not have the expe rtise, to build a website and offers an easy solution for them, designing and hosting a web page for BZ$50 a year. Dreamlight Internet Caf is located on the cor ner of North and Main Street (next to the Be likin Depot, close to the Uno Gas Station), and is open from 6.30am until 8.30pm Monday to Saturday, and 9am to 1pm on Sundays. See their ad on Page 2 of this issue. For more information call 702 0113. The Road to the Border Everyone living in the ToledoDistrict knows the gov ernment is inthe process of pavingthe highwayto the Guatemalanborder. There havebeen mixedfeel ings about this developmentbut weat the Toledo Howler believeitwill be agood thing all around. Once the roadispaved, gettingint o PGwill befaster andeasier for thoselivingin remote villages. A smooth,all weather surfacewill reducewearand tear on villagebuses and vehicles generally as well as reducingfuel consumption. For tourism,the new roadwill meaneasieraccess to some of the most beautiful des t inations inthe district, suchas BlueCreek andRio Blanco National Park and falls. Travelling times to these beauty spots have already beengreatly reduced. Theproject also includes improvedsignage along the roadwhich will helpvisitorswith their own vehiclesto find their wayaround more easily. We are tol d the present phase of the project isdue to be com pleted in April 2014weatherpermittingof course! Completion of this phase will mean 20milesof pavedhighway from the junc tion known asDump to Treetops, the BDFs outpost near the border. There will eventually be aformal bo rder cross ingpoint although we understand the exact location has not yet beencon firmed. Themost challenging aspect of this project, according to our sources, is the earthworks. Western Toledo isvery hilly andbe comes more so asyou get closer to the border. This is of course one reason Toledoisso pi c turesque but it also meansthe con struction team haveto excavate into hillsides with heavyequip ment to make way for the widened highway. That takes time and asmuchdry weather asthey can get. We look forward to seeing completion of the project next year. Kenrick Coleman, manager of Dreamlight Internet Cafe


6 Sketch map of PG Town






9 Map of Front Street, Punta Gorda, Chocolate Festival Weekend 24thth May Location Name Location Name Location Name Aguacate Rafael Bul Hicattee Agapito Pop Punta Gorda Lionel Martin Aguacate Felix Cus Hopeville George Alford Punta Gorda Ana Mutrie Aguacate Sylvestre Cus Hopeville Daniel Castellanos Punta Gorda Wilfred Mutrie Aguacate Elvis Tush Hopeville Emmanuel M. Chan Punta Gorda Patricia Nightingale Aguacate Francisco Tush Hopeville George Coleman Punta Gorda Armando Ramirez Big Falls Andrew Caliz Hopeville Kyrone N. Leonardo Punta Gorda Desmond Ramirez Big Falls Estevan Choco Indian Creek Sipirano Canti San Benito Poite Manuel Cucul Big Falls Perfecto Cholum Indian Creek Rosendo Coy Santa Cruz Jose Mes Blue Creek William Ack Indian Creek Nathaniel Mas San Felipe Juan Cho Blue Creek Heraldo Pop Monkey River Alfonso Zuniga San Miguel Christina Ack Blue Creek Isidoro Sho Monkey River Brent A. Young San Miguel Martin Ack Blue Creek Rosalio Sho Punta Gorda Guillermo Avila San Miguel Gabriel Choco Blue Creek Sylvano Sho Punta Gorda Abraham Coleman San Miguel Mario Choco Cattle Landing Thomas Garbutt Punta Gorda Dennis Garbutt San Pedro Columbia Feliciano Pop Crique Sarco Antonio Rash Punta Gorda Oliver Garbutt Santa Teresa Mario Chub Cuxlin Ha Lorenzo Coc Punta Gorda Bicente Ical Santa Teresa Pedro Chub Cuxlin Ha Celiano Pop Punta Gorda Victor Jacobs Sun Creek Bruno Kuppinger Forest Home Bradford C. Johnson Punta Gorda Alex Leonardo Members of the Toledo Tour Guides Association The tour guide listing is for guidance and use by tour operators. Visitors are advised to use only the services of tour operators that have satisfied the licensing and insurance requirements of the Belize Tourism Board aimed at ensuring visitor enjoyment in a safe, legal environment. Marimba players perform on Front Street in 2012 Mandy Tsangs artisanal soaps and massage o ils attract visitors at the Taste of Toledo Street Fair


10 TOLEDO VILLAGE BUSES Service Depart P.G. Destination Villages Visited Days Return to P.G. Kan 11:30am Aguacate Dump, Mafredi, Blue Creek Mon to Sat 5:20am J n L 12pm Barranco San Felipe, Santa Ana, Midway Mon/Wed/Fri/Sat 6am Chub 11:30am Crique Sarco San Felipe, Santa Ana, Midway, Conejo, Sunday Wood Mon/Wed/Fri/Sat 5:15am Ack 12pm Dolores Dump, Mafredi, Jordan, Santa Teresa, Mabilha, San Lucas, Corazon Creek, Otoxha M o n/Wed/Fri/Sat 3am Pop 10:30am Golden Stream Dump, Big Falls, Hicatee, Indian Creek Mon/Wed/Fri/Sat 6:45am Pop 1pm Golden Stream Dump, Big Falls, Hicatee, Indian Creek Mon to Sat 7:30am Pop 5pm Indian Creek Dump, Big Falls, Hicatee Mon to Sat 12pm Pop 9pm Indian Creek Dump, Big Falls, Hicatee Mon to Thurs 3:3 0pm Chun ny 11:30am Jalacte Dump, Mafredi, San Antonio, Santa Cruz, Pueblo Viejo, Jalacte Mon to Sat 3am Bol 4pm Jalacte Dump, Mafredi, San Antonio, Santa Cruz, Pueblo Viejo, Jalacte Mon/Wed/Fri/Sat 3pm Bol 6am Jalacte Dump, Mafredi,San Antonio, Santa Cruz, Santa Elena, Pueblo Viejo Mon to Sun 5:30am Shol 12pm Laguna Elridgeville Wed / Fri/Sat Pop 11:30am Medina Bank Dump, Big Falls, Hicatee, Indian Creek Mon to Sat 5:30am Chunny 12pm San Antonio Dump, Mafredi Mon to Sat 6am Coc 12pm San Antonio Jacintoville, Dump, Mafredi Mon to Sat 6:30am Coc 5:15pm San Antonio Jacintoville, Dump, Mafredi Mon to Sat 1:30pm Teck 12pm San Benito Poite Jacintoville, Dump Mafredi, Blu e Creek, Jordon, Santa Teresa Mon/Wed/Fri/Sat 4:30am Sho 11:30am San Jose Dump, Mafredi, Crique Jute, Nah Lum Cah Wed/Sat 4am Choc 12pm San Jose Jacintoville, Dump, Mafredi, Crique Jute, Nah Lum Cah Mon/Fri 5am Chen 12pm San Vicente Dump, Mafredi, San Antonio, Santa Cruz, Santa Elena Pueblo Viejo Jalacte Mon/Wed/Fri/Sat 2am Chen 5:30am San Vicente Dump, Mafredi, San Antonio, Santa Cruz, Santa Elena, Pueblo Viejo, Jalacte Mon/Wed/Fri/Sat 2pm Bobby 11am Santa Ana San Felipe Mon/Wed/Fri/Sat 7:15am Cucul 11:30am Silver Creek Dump, San Pedro Columbia, San Miguel Mon to Sat 6am Cal 11am Silver Creek Dump, San Pedro Colum b ia, San Miguel Mon to Sat 7am Cal 4:30am Silver Creek Dump, San Pedro Columbia, San Miguel Mon to Sat 1pm Cucul 4pm Silver Creek Dump, San Pedro Columbia, San Miguel Mon to Sat 12:30pm Cucul 9pm Silver Creek Dump, San Pedro Columbia, San Miguel Mon to Thurs 4pm Bug Corner The strange habits of the Sapho (heliconius sapho) So, as well as the wettest district (read most lush ) the bug question often occurs when talking about Toledo. The reality is that we do have some mosquitoes (although fewer than some other areas in Belize), but also a whole host of weird and wonderful creatures. The Sapho butterfly is often seen flitting around the Toledo Distr ict. Nim Li Punit, with its plethora of favoured butterfly plants, is a great place to see butterflies on the wing. The Sapho is one of the heli conius species, and is very similar in ap pearance to the Cydno. Sometimes called the Holstein butterfly for its black and white markin gs it will actually appear a beautiful dark metallic blue under the right lighting conditions. The heliconius butterflies have two unique, derived ecological traits feeding and mat ing behaviour! Whilst butterflies generally feed on fluids, and are usually split into ei ther fruit feeders or nectar feeders, some heliconius species collect pollen for its nutritional value in the form of amino acids. The nutrients increase egg production and can increase the adult life span to up to six months, and the relationship between the butterfly and the pollen producing vine is a classic text book case of co evolution. The second rather bizarre trait involves some strange mating behav iour, where the male butterfly will appear to mate with a female pupa! Butterflies are very choosy about which plants they lay their eggs on and have only a few select larval food plants, de pending on their breed. Males of some Heliconius species, including the Sapho, will search the food plants for female pupae, and then sit on the pu pae a day bef ore emergence this is known as mate guarding and similar behaviour has also been observed in some aquatic crustaceans, frogs, and some other insects. The males then mate with the female the next morning as she starts breaking from the pupal case, but while her wings are unextended and so soft that this strat egy is known as pupal mating.


11 TRANSPORT SCHEDULES Flights Depart Punta Gorda Arrive Belize City Service Provider Depart Belize Intl. Arrive Punta Gorda Service Provider 06:45 07:55 Maya Island Air 08:10 09:15 Maya Island Air 06:30 07:30 Tropic Air 07:50 09:00 Tropic Air 09:30 10:35 Maya Island Air 10:10 11:15 Maya Island Air 09:20 10:20 Tropic Air 10:20 11:30 Tropic Air 11:30 12:35 Maya Island Air 12:20 13:30 Tropic Air 11:35 12:35 Tropic Air 14:20 15:30 Trop ic Air 13:35 14:35 Trop ic Air 14:40 15:45 Maya Island Air 16:00 17:05 Maya Island Air 16:40 17:45 Maya Island Air 16:00 17:10 Tropic Air 16:40 17:40 Tropic Air James Bus Line Schedule Departs P.G. Arrives Belize City Departs Belize City Arrives P.G. 03:50 10:30 05:15 Express (exceptSun) 10:30 04:50 11:30 06:15 12:45 05:50 12:30 07:15 13:45 06:00 Express 10:45 08:15 14:45 07:50 14:30 09:15 15:45 09:50 16:30 10:15 16:45 11:50 18:30 12:15 18:45 13:50 20:30 13:45 19:45 14:50 21:30 15:15 21:45 15:50 (except Sat) 21:15 15:45 Express 20:30 Boats To & From Puerto Barrios Guatemala Service Provider Dep Punta Gorda Arrive Puerto Barrios Depart Puerto Barrios Arrive Punta Gorda Requenas Charter Service 09:30 10:30 14:00 15:00 Pichilingo 14:00 15:00 10:00 11:00 Memos 13:00 14:00 15:00 16:00 Boats to Livingston depart on Tuesdays and Fridays at 10 a.m. Marisol 16:00 17:00 13:00 15:00 Where to get your copy of The Toledo Howler Distribution points include: Tourism Information Centres throughout Belize Tropic Air and Maya Island Air terminals BTIA Toledo members Requenas Charters, Puerto Barrios Major gas stations As well as a wide online presence in electronic format Please contact the Toledo Howler team at 722 2531 if you would like to become a distributor for the voice of tourism development in Belizes deep south! Toledo Tourism Information Centre Front Street, Punta Gorda Town Mon to Fri 8am to 4pm, Sat 8am to 11.30am Tel: 7222531 Email: Wine, Chocolate and Belikin: Wherecan Iget my tickets?Tickets available from the Toledo Tourism Infor mation Centre on Front Street in PG, BTIA office on North Park Street in Belize City and the BTB office on Regent Street, Kakaw Chocolate in San Pedro, Goss Chocolate in Seine Bight and .the BTIA Office in Placencia.Wine, Chocolate, and Belikin Friday 24th May (tickets BZ$50 in advance, BZ$60 at the door) Lubaantun finale Sunday 26th May (adults BZ$10, high school students BZ$5, primary school students BZ$2) Tickets at the entrance; no advanced ticket sales


12 Southern Voices: Kamela Palma Kamela Palma is a resident of Punta Gorda in Toledo. She has had a varied career, at one time having been Principal of St Peter Claver College in Punta Gorda Town and Lecturer at the Belize Teachers Training College CEO in the Ministry of Human Development, then Deputy Ambassador at the Beliz e Mission in Gu atemala City and most recently she has returned from a posting as Belizes High Commissioner in London. Have you always lived in Toledo, Kamela? My grandfather, Guillermo Palma, came to Belize with his family from Santa Rosa de Copan in Honduras where the famous Mayan site of Copan is located just a mile across the border from Guate mala. He came to work as a manual labourer on a fa rm known as El Dor ado close to Forest Home and the present day dolomite quarry. Though uneducated he was obviously someone with a vision, for after a few years he was able to acquire property in the area of what is now Big Falls village. He called his place, a mile square, Misso uri and it is located east of the bridge downstream from the present day village. He was the first local to plant sugar cane and to produce brown sugar for commercial purposes. Eventually all his brothers arrived to work with him. He married Angelina Pat tico and their only da ugh ter was Isabel Palma, my mother. This is the same Isabel Palma whom the new clinic in San An tonio is named after. She worked throughout the country as a Rural Health Nurse and she was posted for many years in San Antonio village to serve all the villages of To ledo We st. My Father was Carlton Fairweather, a distinguished gentle man who had served the Motherland by travelling to the United Kingdom to join the World War 2 effort and who re turned to serve in the Government Service of his beloved Be lize. So you are of Hispanic origin? We ll I am a true Cr eole. I have Mayan, Spanish, African and Scottish blood. When I drink that is the Scottish side coming out. The African side shows itself when I dance and the Spanish when I argue or sing and my Mayan side when I am spiritual and introspective. Wha t ar e the most significant changes you have seen in Toledo in your lifetime? For me the biggest change is the road link with the north. I remember as a little girl travelling to Belize by boat. There were three passenger/cargo boats. The Heron H, The Mayan Prince and The Honduran. It wa s a long ov ernight journey. There were cabins available with two bunks or you could sit on deck on in the lounges. I remember the pigs squealing down in the hold. Punta Gorda was not the end of the line since the boats went on to Puerto Barrios. They then re turned to Pun ta Gorda and made that return journeyto Belize City, stopping at all the coastal set tlements on the way. I began to travel by road in the late six ties when I was attending sixth form college in Belize City. Are you optimistic about the development of to urism in Toledo? I am most optimistic about tourism down here. Toledo really is a gem but I am concerned about how we go about it.I think that we can become an example of best practice in sustainable tourism but we need to create the right image and attract the kind of tou rist concerned about sustainability and cultural preservation. What can PG Town Council do to support tourism? When the new road through the villages to Guatemala is completed it is likely to have an impact on Punta Gorda town itself be cause it will no longer be at the end of the ro a d. The Council needs to help make PG so desirable that visitors will still want to come here. I think there is a need in Punta Gorda Town for a cultural centre or museum highlighting the rich ness of the different cultures. Do you prefer the reef or ra inforest? That is a really difficult choice because I love them both. But if forced to choose then I would have to say that I am more taken spiritually by the rainforest. And if a tourist can only visit one place in Toledo which would it be? Well I would lik e one at sea and tw o inland. West Snake Caye is a wonderful place to visit and I love to look back to the mainland with the silhouettes of the Seven Hills and the Maya Mountains. Inland the Mayan sites of Lubaantun and Nim Li Punit both have a great sense of spiri tuality and when visit i ng I feel so much a part of the place. What is your favourite time of the year? I love Easter when the trade winds are blowing from the north east and the leaves shimmer in the heat and of course I love Christmas anywhere in th e wo rld. What is your favourite Belizean dish?Its a sin to ask any one to choose only one. I love tamalitos known as dukunu by many Belizeans. That is green corn, ground, sea soned, wrapped and cooked in the leaves of the young corn. I really love cohune cabbag e tha t the East Indians make and another favourite is Boil Up. That is pigs tail boiled until tender or salted or fresh fish (sometimes both pigtail and fish are included) along with ground food such as cassava, yam, yampi and ripe and green plantain. It is served with a rich on ion and to m ati. My favourite rice and beans is made with the black eyed beans and lots of coconut milk.


13 Restaurant Guide Wats Cookin? Twisted Creole Lobster Prep time: 15minutes Cook time: 7minutes Serves 4 INGREDIENTS cupchopped cilantro cupchopped onion cupgrated carrot 1medium green pepper finely chopped 1tbsminced garlic tsp salt tsp Complete Seasoning tsp butter 1lblobster diced into 1 cubes cupfr eshly squeezed coconut milk DIRECTIONS 1.Mix cilantro, onion, carrot, green pepper, garlic, salt and Complete Seasoning together. Use this mixture to season the lobster cubes. 2.Heat a pot to medium heat; melt butter before adding seasoned lobster. Simmerand stir for 3 minutes. 3. Add coconut milk, stir and simmer 4 more minutes. Recipe kindly donated by : Asha's Culture Kitchen 80 Front Street, south of market, only building over the sea Creole/Seafood/BBQ and Vegetarian 632-8025 Daily from 12:00-14:00 (lunch ONLY during high season) 16:0024:00 (dinner/bar year-round). Belcampo Wilsons Road Pan Central American and International 722-0050 Lunch: noon-14:30. Dinner: 19:30-22:00. (Reservations preferred) Bone Ville Cafe Jose Maria Nunez Street, next to University of Belize campus Fast Food/Catering 702-2009/669-3299 Monday to Friday: 10:00 to 21:00. Closed on Wednesday and school vacation time. Colemans Cafe Big Falls Village, near the rice mill Belizean 720-2017 Daily: 11:30-16:00 & 18:0021:00 (Reservations Preferred) Drift Wood Cafe Front Street, next to James Bus Line Vegetarian Fajina Firehearth Food Front St, PG Local Mayan Food 666-6144 Mon-Sat: 07:00-19:30. Closed on Sundays Gomiers Restaurant and Soy Centre Alejandro Vernon St, near PG Welcome sign Local & international vegetarian / Seafood 722-2929 Mon-Sat: 08:00-14:00 & 18:0021:00. Closed Sundays Graces Restaurant Main St. PG Belizean/ International 702-2414 Daily: 06:00-22:00, including holidays Hang Cheong Main St, PG Chinese 722-2064 Daily: 10:00-14:00 & 17:00 midnight Mangrove Restaurant Cattle Landing, by the curve Belizean / International 623-0497 Daily: 17:00-22:00. (Reservations preferred) Marians Bay View Restaurant Front St, south of the market by the sea East Indian/ Belizean/Catering 722-0129 Mon-Sat: 11:00-14:00 & 18:0022:00 Sun & Hols: noon 14:00 & 19:00-21:00 Martinas Kitchen Main Street, beside tortil la factory Belizean 623-3330 Mon-Sat: 07:00-15:00. Closed on Sundays Moms Restaurant Queen St, PG, by the park Belizean 620-1607/661-1359 Mon-Sat: 06:00-14:00 & 16:0021:00 Closed on Sundays Rainbow Cafe Queen St, PG, by the park Belizean 631-2309 Mon-Sat: 70:00-14:00. Closed on Sundays Rainforest Cafe Big Falls Village, just south of the bridge Belizean 669-0080 Daily: 10:00-22:00 Reef Bar & Restaurant Front St, upstairs by the mark et International/Belizean 625-8652 Daily: 10:00-14:00 & 16:00midnight. Closed on Tuesdays Shos Local Restaurant Entrance to Blue Creek Village Belizean/ Catering 668-6540 Mon-Sat: 07:00:00. Closed Sundays. Group reservations required Starz Diner BTL parking lot, PG Belizean Mon. to Sat. 7:00 to 15:00 Closed on Sundays The Lodge at Big Falls Big Falls Village, near the rice mill International/ Middle Eastern / Belizean 732-4444 Daily: 11:304:00 & 18:30 21:00 (Reservations Required) The Snack Shack BTL parking lot, PG Breakfast & lunch/ Snacks, shakes, juices & pastries 702-0020 Mon-Sat: 07:00:00. Closed Sundays Walucos Opposite TIDE pier in Hopeville Belizean/East Indian/Seafood/ Catering 670-3672 Mon-Thurs: 07:00-14:00 & 17:00 -22. Weekends: 07:00-late


14 Golden Stream Spice Farm The Howler staff had passed by the farm in Golden Stream dozens of times, idly wonder ing who might live there and what they were up to. About a year ago signs went up along the highway advertising the Golden Stream Spice Farm and Botanical Gardens. Then the Spice Farm became one of BTIAs newest members and the Howler decided it was time to go and take a look. The farm belongs to Dr Thomas and Mrs Tes sie Matthew who have been here in southern Belize since 1989 90 dividing their time be tween Wash ington DC, where Dr Matthew practises as an anesthesio logist.They own an area of 500 acres that includes a well established citrus plantation but their true love lies in all the other things that they are growing there. They include both indigenous species like vanilla and exotics like cin namon and nutmeg. The first species on our tour of the spice farm was cardam om, another exotic, native to the Indian sub continent. I love using it in making curries in particular but have al ways bought it on trips outside Be lize. Now I can find it nine miles up the road! And I was very surprised to discover it growing at the base of a plant that looked similar to a ginger. The plants grow in semi shade in rows. The intention is to de velop this as a commercial crop. The cardamom pods are harvested and dried between February and May. Another commercial crop is the vanilla production that many visitors are surprised to learn comes from the vanilla orchid. Vanill a comes in both wild and commercial varieties. We found them growing up the trunks of madre de cacao trees that were there simply to provide support for the or chids. The vanilla is normally harvested in November. The farms black pepper pro duction already provides two thousand pounds of pepper corns annually for the Belize mar ket and Dr Matthew is working with the Toledo Cacao Growers Association to create further income streams for the associa tions farmer members. December is harvest time for the black pepper and nutmeg is pro duced in small quantities all year round. Faustino Che from Silver Creek village has been the long term manager of the farm and its twenty five workers who are mainly em ployed on tending the citrus plantation. The spice farm is a labour of love that began more than twenty years ago and the love af fair continues. The climate of Belize is not too different fro mthat of Dr Mathews native Ker ala state in south west India and quite a num ber of specimens have been imported from there. Apart from the commercial crops you can find the fragrant sandalwood growing that is such a distinctive smell in the middle east and south Asi a and widely used for incense. There are also stands of several bamboo spe cies. The tour of the farm covers quite some dis tance and may be too much for less fit visitors. But help is at hand because, when the Howler visited, workers were putting the finishing touches to a charabanc on which guests will be pulled behind a small tractor for their guided tour. A restaurant is also part of the plans for future development of the farm. For more information: Phone 732 4014 or Email Seed pods of the vanilla orchid Dr Thomas Mathew stands besides a banyan tree Flowers and seeds of the cardamom A ripe fruit of the nutmeg. The familiar dark brown nut is inside




16 CUXLIN HA RETIREMENT VILLAGE For Rent 2-Bedroom Cottages 1-Bedroom Condo Studio Apartments Assisted living care 011-501-732-4747 BTIA TOLEDO MEMBERS 2013 Business Contact Person Phone Number Email Asha's Culture Kitchen Ashton Martin 632 8025 Belcampo Shirelymae Parham 722 0050 Beya Suites Lisa Avila 722 2188 Big Falls Extreme Adventure and Las Fal das Andrew Caliz 634 6979/620 3881 andrewcaliz@bigfallsex Catarina Choco, Deputy Manager TheLodge at Big Falls Catarina Choco 634 6772 Coleman's Caf Thomas & Pearleen Cole man 630 4069 / 630 4432 Coral House Inn Ale Cho 722 2878 Cuxlin Ha Retirement Village Dona Scafe 732 4747 Dreamlight Computer Center Timothy Dami 702 0113 Garbutt's Fishing Lodge Dennis Garbutt 722 0070 / 604 3548 Golden Stream Plantation Thomas & Tessy Mathew 732 4014 Hickatee Cottages Ian & Kate Morton 662 4475 Ixcacao Maya Belizean Chocolate Juan Cho 742 4050 Living Maya Experience Anita Cal & Marta Chiac 627 7408/632 4585 Requena's Charter Service Julio Requena 722 2070 The Farm Inn Petro Steunenberg 732 4781 / 604 4918 The Lodge at Big Falls Rob & Marta Hirons 732 4444 / 671 6677 Tide Tours Delonie Forman 722 2129 Toledo Tour Guide Association BTIA Office 637 2000 Tranquility Lodge Lee & Susan Oltmann 677 9921 Warasa Garifuna Drumming School Ruth & Ronald McDonald 632 7701


17 13th Annual Christmas Bird Count The 13th annual Punta Gorda Christmas Bird Count was held on 5 January. We had an ex cellent turnout with 33 participants organized into 7 teams. We recorded 5221 birds repre senting 240 species. Despite the large turnout, we fell short of our yearly average of 248 spe cies and 5958 individuals, but the results may have been affected by the weather. The day started out bright and sunny start, but it be gan to rain around mid morning and did not let up until mid afternoon. The lower than average total was also affected by our inability to get into A guacaliente Lagoon this year. This cost us at least half a dozen species. The boardwalk is now in such disrepair that it can no longer be used. The water was also higher than it has been in sev eral years, and much of the trail was under water. It is a pity that all the hard work that went into construct ing the boardwalk has come to naught for lack of maintenance, leaving one of the countrys birdiest wildlife sanctuaries essentially inac cessible to the public. Count highlights were Crested Cara cara, Aplomado Falcon, and Rufous browed Peppershrike, all of which were new for the count, and Com mon Gallinule and Olive sided Fly catcher, which were seen for only the second time in thirteen years. The effects of deforestation over the years are being reflected in the changing types and numbers of birds seen on the count since its in ception in 2000. White tipped Dove, unlike its close cousins, the Gray chested Dove and Gray headed Dove, is exhibiting a distinct upward trend in numbers. In 1999, Toledo re corded its first White tipped Dove, a bird found just across the border from Stann Creek near Independence. The first one was recorded on the P.G. count in 2004. This year we recorded 19. Of its two forest relatives, we recorded only 6 Gray chested Doves, and for the fourth year out of the last five we found no Gray headed Doves. Crested Caracara is another bird of open pas tureland and savannas. It was unrecorded in Belize twenty years ago and not recorded in Toledo until 2007 when one was seen at Aguacaliente Lagoon chasing an Osprey, intent on depriving it of its next meal, a fish it had just nabbed from the lagoon. On the count, one was found in one of the large pastures recently carved out of th e forest near Boom Creek. The two Aplomado Falcons were also found there. The Rufous browed Peppershrike was found along the entrance road to Cotton Tree Lodge, also on the edge of a pasture. On the down side, we missed eight species for the first time in the 13 year count history: Black crowned Night Heron, Lesser Yellow headed Vulture, Short tailed Hawk, Killdeer, Sepia capped Flycatcher, Scissor tailed Fly catcher, Tawny crowned Greenlet, and Red crowned Ant Tanager. Find out more about the Belize Raptor Research Institute at and at Research Institute The Belize Bird Records Committee Segueing to another aspect of birding, Belize now has a bird records committee. Formed in Decem ber 2011 and now in its second year, the Belize Bird Records Committee, or BBRC, is comprised of eight members. Chaired by Punta Gorda resident Lee Jones, the committee also has one other member from Tole do, Steven Choco, the bir d guide at The Lodge at Big Falls. The BBRC main tains the official list of birds recorded in Belize. It resolves the problem of what to do with reports of birds rarely seen in Belize, including those being reported for the first time. Since birding, unlike scientifi c coll ecting, relies heavily on sight records, the seven BBRC voting members (the secretary does not vote) decide which reported species to accept as valid records and which to reject as un supported. The BBRC still has a number of older records to vote on before it can come up with a sanctioned lis t of Belize bir ds, but it is likely to be close to 590 species. With one or two species being added each year, it will not be long before Belize reaches the 600 species milestone. The latest species new to Belize have mostly been ducks: Redhead, Gadwall, and Ruddy Du c k, plus a few other odds and ends such as Hermit Thrush and Black Swift. Although none of these has yet been ac cepted by a vote of the BBRC, all were pho tographed, which certainly helps the BBRC in coming to a conclusion as to their validity. Aplomado Falcon photo courtesy of Ryan Phillips Crested Caracara: photo courtesy of Ryan Phillips of the Belize Raptor Research Institute (Right) An Aplomado Falcon in flight


18 Arzu on Medicinal Plants: Theobroma Cacao Theobroma Cacao The cacao is a true botanical team player by design, and insistently dependent on the rain forest for its odd environmental requirements. It is one of the easiest rain forest dwellers to identify. Native cacao varieties are mostly found growing in association with taller shade trees like the aptly named "madre cacao" in order to protect young saplings from direct sunlight. The cacao is not among the taller trees of the rainforest, and only grows from 10 to 20m at the most. The tree s bark and branches are covered with grayish brown mossy patches of colored lichen and fungi. Young cacao trees seldom drop their leaves. They are not deciduous and you can see large old glossy green leaves and new limp red leaves growing on the tree at the same time, and on the same stems. But after the trees are well established, they form a forest canopy of their own, and the forest floor beneath them becomes thick with a mat of fallen leaves that return nutrients to the soil. Those leaves, together with the shade from the canopy, inhibit the growth of weeds under the trees, something that we cacao farmers obviously welcome! The pollen of the cacao is another oddity, it is too thick and heavy for the wind to carry. The plant is incapable of pollinating itself, and requires the help and cooperation of other species and microscopic insects of the rain forest to produce and reproduce. The tiny pinkish flowers of the cacao plant are also odd; growing in cauliflower like clusters from stems of older branches that were merely leaves the year before. Cacao flowers are in such harmony with our planetary solar system that they are fertile only from sunrise to sunset. They die and drop to the ground if they are not pollinated during that daytime window. If they are indeed pollinated by some loving creepy crawler, we are blessed with a cacao fruit. The cacao fruit develops as green oblong squashlike pods that grow anywhe re from four to twelve inches long, depending on the species. In the six months the cacao fruit take to mature, they gradually make their way through the spectrum of light, going from green to yellow, to orange or to red, depending on the variety. Some even odder species go as far as purple before they mature. Each pod contains a load of about fifty or so neatly stacked seeds; each individually embedded in a deliciously fragrant sweet and sour ivory white pulp. As children growing up in Dangriga, we would eat cacao fruit once or twice per year. We would suck the seeds dry until our cheeks hurt before discarding them. In our childhood innocence, we did not know that we were rejecting the most valuable part of the cacao, t he seeds that provide the raw material used to make chocolate. Indigenous people believe cacao was originally planted by the Gods. There may be more truth than folklore in the scientific name "Theobroma Cacao." The scientific botanical name of the cacao is a composite of two Greek words (Theos=God and Broma=food) which literally translate as "Food of the Gods". Unlike most fruiting trees, the cacao can live beyond 200 years and continue to bear fruit for over 25 years. T here is reportedly a cacao tree growing in Barranco that is believed to be over one hundred years of age and still bearing cacao fruit. The oldest trees on our property are at least sixty years old, and are by no means the oldest in the village...and they are still bearing. My uncle told me that when he was a child in Barranco, just about every yard in the village had a few bearing cacao trees. Baranguna used to dry and process the cacao beans and preserve them in balls that could be made into a delicious chocolate drink on demand. Yes, chocolate drinks and candy really do have medicinal uses and can even be considered a health food. High cacao content chocolate drinks have been proven to have stimulating and anti-depressant properties. They are nutritional and provide a good energizing remedy for mental and physical exhaustion. High cacao content chocolate drinks are especially recommended for women who suffer from PMS and already like chocolate because it makes them happy. The very fragrance of chocolate makes us swoon and smile. We crave it because our bodies know there is something in it that is good for us, and its all true. High cacao content chocolate is rich in B vitamins, (riboflavin, niacin, thiamine), calcium, iron, potassium and magnesium and also contains vitamins A, C, D, and E. It is particularly rich in magnesium, which may be the reason why chocolate is often craved as a menstrual tension reliever. Magnesium influences female hormone levels, which are responsible for the mood swings associated with PMS. Magnesium deficiency is also associated with heart disease, hypertension, diabetes and joint problems. Recent scientific research suggests that chocolate may prevent arterial plaque. Chocolate was found to contain flavonoids that function as antioxidants of the bloodstream. Increased antioxidants in our bloodstream lower the probability of artery clogging cells. Darker chocolate provides twice the amount of antioxidants than light chocolate. However, both light and dark chocolate are more antioxidant than prunes, raisins, berries, and leafy green vegetables. But the above statements only hold true if you are referring to real unadulterated chocolate made with enough actual cacao. The determining factors for any possible health benefits depend on the amount and quality of cacao used in the chocolate. The chocolate bars in sweet shops with fancy wrappers and big name brands are NOT what I am talking about here. Most chocolate bars and products contain only enough cacao solids mixed in for flavoring, and more amounts of harmful emulsified fats, sugars, pasteurized cows milk, artificially extracted natural flavorings, colors, and preservatives. Milk chocolate candy bars contain (by law) animal fats, and/or palm oil, both of which are known to raise cholesterol levels. Such chocolates and chocolate products are no longer healthy, and barely recognizable as a byproduct of our sacred cacao. The only chocolate products we can count on for any positive effects on our well-being are the ones we make ourselves like we did in Barranco, or those made locally by our own IXCACAO Mayan Belizean Chocolate; all produced from the same unadulterated Theobroma Cacao originally planted in Belize by the Gods. Contributed by Arzu Mountain Spirit (Lafurugu Wubu) Garifuna Herbalist and Traditional Healer A farmer splits pen a ripe cacao pod to reveal the pulp covered beans Variety of cacao know locally as balam and used as currency by the ancient Maya


19 BTIA Toledo and The Toledo Howler Together were stronger!Become a part of BTIA and make a practical contribution to the economic development of Toledo District, and benefit from our promotional work. We meet monthly at the Tourism information Centre on Front Street. How Do I Join BTIA? Visit to read about BTIA and all the membership benefits and to download an appli cation form. Complete the form an d ha nd it in at the Tourism Information Center on Front St. BTIA Toledo officers Chair: Dennis Garbutt Vice chair: Delonie Forman Secretary: Kate Morton Treasurer: Dona Scafe Councilor: Placida Requena Marketing Officer: Dilma Yolanda Cano The Howler is written, edited and produced by: Dilma Cano:, 7222531 Rob Hirons: Marta Hirons: Kate Morton: