Saturday, December 26, 2009

THe BeSt Of MeDDeLin, CoLoMBiA 2 0 0 9 ! !

Hotel Dann Carlton in Medellin

The view from my hotel room during my month long trip to Medellin.

As the end of the year approaches I would like to share some of my favorite photos, videos, stories, adventures, and trip reports regarding my travels to Medellin, Colombia.

Orquestas Sinfónicas Juveniles de Medellín, Colombia

It was not only great to meet some of these talented kids, but a true joy to see their faces when I showed them the video which they saw for the first time.

My home away from home when I am in Medellin.

Extreme Sports in Medellin, Colombia

I had a great time participating in extreme sports with my Colombian friends ! ! !

Mondongo's typical Colombian cuisine in Medellin.

I eat at Mondongo's on a regular basis. The food is great ! !

Saturday, December 19, 2009

MaRaViLLoSo EsPeCtáCuLo De LuCeS ! !

Spectacular light show in Medellín, Colombia ! ! !

Monday, December 14, 2009


Shot from PVC-1 film which was made in Colombia.

PVC-1 is a heartwrenching story that will grab you from beginning to end keeping you on the edge of your seat while you scream out for bloody murder against the people responsible for these heinous acts against a Colombian family.

Shot in one continuous take, the movie is inspired by a true story of a rural Colombian family who is terrorized when the mother is turned into a human time-bomb after criminals secure an explosive made of PVC piping to her neck only to be removed after a hefty ransom of $7000 is paid for her freedom.

I higly recommend this movie to all film lovers around the world.

PVC-1 is now availabe on DVD in the USA as well as on NetFlix’s “Watch Now” option.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

FeLiZ NaViDaD y PrOSpErA AnO NuEvO ! !

HaPPy HoLiDaYS ! FeLiZ NaViDaD y PrOSpErA AnO NuEvO ! !

MeRRy ChRIsTmAs ! ! MeDeLLiN StYLe ! ! !

Cuidad Luz: Alumbrado Navideño de Medellín

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Alumbrado Navideño en Medellín

The wold famous Alumbrados de Medellin lit up the city tonight.

La navidad en Medellin

Más de 14 millones de bombillas conforman el alumbrado navideño en Medellín, cuya principal atracción es la iluminación del paseo del Río, que se extiende por cerca de medio kilómetro, entre el puente histórico de Guayaquil y la calle San Juan. Las Empresas Públicas de Medellín y la Alcaldía local invirtieron más de seis mil millones de pesos en este montaje, el cual es realizado en su mayoría por mujeres cabeza de familia y funcionarios de las Empresas Públicas.

La iluminación del Río Medellín para este año, consiste en un gran telón de luces que corre paralelo a las dos orillas del río, en los cuales hay representados diferentes cuadros que aluden al aire, a la tierra y al mar, junto a un tendido de flores de colores a ras de la corriente.

Los diseños integran paisajes, aves, árboles y otros elementos con movimiento basado en los cambios de las luces. En la margen oriental del río se acondicionó una galería de ventas al público, que permite que los visitantes puedan hacer el recorrido, tomar un descanso, y adquirir diversos productos, en su mayoría artesanías. La Alcaldía de la ciudad programó varios espectáculos para los días de navidad y año nuevo, siendo el más esperado el concierto de Juanes, para el próximo 19 de diciembre. De igual forma, el paseo del río es usado por diversos artistas de la calle para hacer sus presentaciones.

También fueron iluminados parques en los diferentes barrios de la ciudad, vías del centro, como la Avenida La Playa y otros sitios turísticos de la ciudad, como el Cerro Nutibara, donde se encuentra el tradicional Pueblito Paisa. Las luces de navidad en Medellín estarán prendidas todos los días hasta el próximo 12 de enero de 2009.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Pablo Escobar (Dec. 1, 1949 – Dec. 2, 1993)

On this date in 1993, Pablo Escobar was gunned down in Medellín.

Above photo: Members of Colonel Martinez’s Search Bloc celebrate over Pablo Escobar’s body on December 2, 1993, in a photograph taken by DEA agent Steve Murphy. Pablo’s death ended a fifteen-month effort that cost hundreds of millions of dollars. It was the deathblow to the Medellín cartel–it became fragmented and the coke market soon became dominated by the rival Cali Cartel, until the mid-1990s when its leaders, too, were either killed or captured by the government.

At the height of his empire’s power in 1989, Pablo Escobar (1949-1993) was estimated to be the seventh-richest man in the world with a personal wealth of close to $4 billion, while his Medellín cartel controlled 80 percent of the global coke market. A hero to many in Medellín province (especially the poor people), he was a charismatic man who worked hard to cultivate his “Robin Hood” image. He built football fields, multi-sports courts, houses and churches for the locals. The locals provided him with necessary eyes and ears to elude CIA and international efforts to arrest him.

On December 2, 1993, the Search Bloc triangulated him using the radio signals. How Escobar was killed during the confrontation has been debated but it is known that he was cornered on the rooftops and, after a prolonged gunfight, suffered gunshots to the leg, torso, and the fatal one in his ear. It has never been proven who actually fired the final shot into Escobar’s head, whether this shot was made during the gunfight or as part of possible execution or suicide.

Great Time Magazine time capsule article

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Medellín: The Heart of Colombia

Welcome To Medellín, Colombia

When I booked my first trip to Medellín I did not know what to expect based on all the negative reports in the U.S. media regarding the dangers of traveling to Colombia. It seemed that every time I informed my friends, family and colleagues regarding my future trip to Colombia, they all thought I was crazy for risking my life.

For a few days I thought about what everyone had to say about the dangers of Colombia which was based solely on what they knew from the 10 o’clock news. It was too late to for me to back out now, my flight was booked, my hotel room reserved, and I had already told everyone I knew that I was going to Colombia. So despite a few reservations, there was no turning back. I was going to Medellín, Colombia.

La cuidad de eternal primavera

The City of Eternal Spring

The city of Medellín is nestled between several mountains in a narrow valley originally inhabited by the Aburra Indians. It is the second largest city in Colombia and 400 kilometers (250 miles) from Bogota, the capital of Colombia. It is home to Colombia’s biggest retail, banking, and textile companies, as well as fast becoming the business hub for all of Latin America.

The metro cable cars moves high above the metro system

Medellín's weather is more characteristic of a humid subtropical climate rather than that of a tropical climate. The city's average annual temperature is 22ºC (72ºF) and because of its proximity to the equator, its temperature is constant year round with minimal temperature variations. Average temperatures range from 15ºC (52ºF) to 30ºC (86ºF) throughout the year, which is the reason Medellín is known as “the city of eternal spring.”

El Museo Castillo

The Paisas

Upon landing in Medellín’s José María Córdova International Airport (MDE), my initial reservations quickly disappeared after I was greeted with a big smile and a warm welcome by several airport employees once they noticed that I was a tourist traveling from the U.S.A. I must admit that I was overjoyed that I did not come across any kidnappers upon my arrival in Colombia.

The Planetarium by University of Medellín

I have traveled to multiple countries around the world and have had many great and memorable trips, but what separates Medellín from other travel destinations are the generous and friendly locals affectionately known as Paisas (pie-sahs). In terms of hospitality and warmth there is no comparison. The Paisas go out of their way to make you feel like family.

Though I traveled to Medellín alone, I never felt so much at home in a foreign country due to the fact that ever Paisa I met was very eager to show off their great city. I was overwhelmed by all the generous invitations I received by everyone I met on my trip. The Paisas are warm, hospitable, proud of their city, and love showing all tourists alike what makes Colombia such a beautiful country.

The Paisa welcome party in Medellín

A City Transformed

After 24 hours in Medellín, I decided it was time for me to call home to inform my family that I was safe, being well fed, but more importantly, I wanted to tell everyone that all the news reports they had heard about Medellín was all old news. Sensing that a few people were somewhat reluctant to believe me, I decided picked up my camera and take a long walk around the city to take a few photographs to share with everyone back home.

San Fernando Plaza on Avenida Poblado

Medellín is not a third world country, as some people would like many of us to believe. I must admit, I was not prepared for what I was about to discover. The city of Medellín is a world-class metropolitan city which can easily rival any first rate city around the world. It is truly a wonderful and magical city, with interesting juxtaposition of traditional colonial architecture blended with ultra modern facilities. It also has one of the best metro systems I have ever had the pleasure of riding, not to mention it offers some stunning views of the city as you travel on one of the many sparkling train cars. Another great part of the metro system is the popular metro cable cars which takes riders high above the Andes mountains leaving you breathless at the sight of the most spectacular panoramic views of the city.

Espania Library in the Santo Domingo barrio

The local government of Medellín has been busy investing in social programs as well as building new libraries, public parks, shopping centers, roads, affordable housing, and promoting entrepreneurial programs to help the local economy by giving citizens the opportunity to contribute to all the changes happening in Medellín. I must admit I was truly amazed not just by the amount of new construction around the city, but happy to see that it was not confined to any one specific area. The transformation was taking place in every neighborhood that I visited as I walked about city.

The Paisa relaxing in the park

One of my favorite spots was the public parks where the locals meet to socialize and talk about their daily lives as well as current events. Old men sit on park benches snacking on fresh fruit, sharing crumbs with the birds, which also seem to enjoy mixing with the locals. Young mothers busy taking care of their babies while the older children where running around chasing their fathers around the park

The future genereration in Medellín

The Future of Medellín

The most amazing thing I witnessed was how curious the children I met on the streets where about me. They were not shy, to say the least. The children always approached me with big smiles on their faces, eager to share with me their personal stories. Lucky for them, they were born long after all violence had ended. It definitely showed in their faces. It was obvious because they were all full of hope with big dreams and plans for the future. I held many impromptu English lessons on the streets as the children pleaded with me to teach them English. “Juan, Tu, ThwrEE, FO...” the kids would all repeat after me.Every time I think about the children on the streets trying to count out the numbers in English, it always brings a big smile to my face.

Background: Parque Explora Interactive Children's Museum

Good Times in Medellín

The culture, the food, the music, the warm weather, salsa clubs, vibrant nightlife, lots of modern and interesting architecture throughout the city, amazing views from the metrocable, a much superior metro system compared to the one back home. And a pleasant surprise that was not mentioned in any of the trip reports I read before my departure, an incredible expansive water park to rival anything in the states. I spent a whole day relaxing at "El Parque de Aguas" and found it to be a very enjoyable experience which divided my trip. I had a great time watching the locals spend their weekend running around the park with friends and family enjoying the beautiful weather and experiencing the various water rides available. There were many families who brought blankets and picnic baskets filled with typical Colombian dishes along with treats for the children to enjoy.

El Parque de las Aguas

The city, the culture, the weather, the energy and the Paisas will all capture your heart after just one day in this wonderful city in Colombia, known as MEDELLIN!

Parque Norte

Travel Tips

I would strongly suggest anyone interested in visiting Medellín to brush up on their Spanish because there are not too many people who speak English.

No worries, an English program has been recently added as part of the regular student curriculum. Medellin takes pride in providing an educational system which now promotes English courses in all its educational institutions as part of its transformation into a world class city welcoming tourists from around the world.

Medellín Travel Guide
Map of the city, news, activities, hotels, and much more.
Juan Manuel Uribe
Tel: (57) 311 333 98 74

Where To Stay
Dann Carlton Hotel
Cra. 43A No 7-50 Avenida El Poblado
Tel: (57) 4 444 51 51

Where To Eat
Mondongo’s (Traditional Colombia Cuisine)
Calle 10 No.38-38 Conm.
Tel: (57) 4 312 23 24

Where To Shop
El Tesoro Parque Comercial. Loma El Tesoro con Transversal Superior
Cra. 25A # 1A Sur – 45
Tel: (57)4 321 10 10

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Empresas Publicas de Medellin

Empresas Publicas de Medellin Headquarters

It is not often or expected of State Owned Utilities Companies to commit their resources to helping improve the lives of their customers by dedicating their resources to developing social programs within the communities that they serve, Empresas Publicas de Medellin invests in the future of the people of Colombia.

Empresas Publicas de Medellin (EPM) is an integrated state owned Utilities Company, which is property of the Municipality of Medellin, administrative entity of this city, capital of the Department of Antioquia, Republic of Colombia.

It provides electricity energy, natural gas, water, sanitation and telecommunications services with the highest international quality standards in order to meet customer needs, while implementing business practices that guarantee long term sustainability and company growth.

Since it’s creation in 1955, EPM has strived to generate enough resources to finance its activities and promote growth, without receiving external contributions. Every year it delivers dividends to its owners to invest in development programs for Medellin. At the same time EPM holds a wide Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policy that benefits the communities in which it operates.

It currently projects its growth in the Latin American market in order to escalate its knowledge and experience, offering its social responsibility focus and efficient project management, in technical, commercial and planning operations, both in the water and energy business.

For EPM, Medellin and the metropolitan area of The Valle de Aburra. are its two major markets, with 3.6 million inhabitants. In Colombia, EPM is present in Antioquia, Bogota, Manizales, Armenia, Pereria, Bucaramanga, Cucuta, barranquilla, Cartangena, Cali, and Quibdo.

This is EMP, a modern company that evolves and every time moves closer to the people, and with its dynamism goes beyond its normal business boundaries, attributes that have characterized it throughout its history and have given EPM world wide recognition for it’s investment in the people it serves.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Sins Of My Father: Pablo Escobar

Pecados de mi Padre - Sins of My Father: Pablo Escobar Documentary

This is the incredible story of Pablo Escobar, the infamous boss of Colombias Medellin cartel, told for the very first time by his son, Sebastian and his widow Maria Isabel Santos.

In Nicolas Entels film Sebastian tells of his extraordinary childhood, growing up with a father he loved but whom he knew to be Colombias enemy number one. He tells of times of extraordinary luxury and extravagance, and other times on the run. And Sebastian and his widow open the family vaults to share their private and long hidden archives.

But this is also the story of two of Escobars most prominent victims, the Minister of Justice and a politician about to be elected President of Colombia, as told by their sons. They were among hundreds that Escobar had ki11ed in the 1980s. The film follows Sebastian as he tries to break the cycle of revenge and assassinati0n by seeking reconciliation with the sons of his fathers victims.

Discover The Transformation of Medellin, Colombia

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Juanes In Cuba.

Juanes, from Colombia to Cuba.

Cubans flock to iconic plaza for 'peace concert'

HAVANA — Hundreds of thousands of Cubans flocked to sprawling Revolution Plaza on Sunday for an open-air "peace concert" headlined by Colombian rocker Juanes, an event criticized by some Cuban-Americans who say the performers are lending support to the island's communist government simply by showing up.

Organizers say they expect as many as half a million people to attend the four-hour concert under a broiling Havana sun, making the Colombian heartthrob's visit the biggest by an outsider since Pope John Paul II's 1998 tour.

Hundreds of public buses ferried young and old to the concert site, and the government laid on even more transportation, hoping for a large turnout.

Most concertgoers wore white — to symbolize peace — and some held up signs reading "Peace on Earth" and "We Love You Juanes."

Even before the concert began, colorful umbrellas sprouted like flowers across the wide square as revelers tried to shade themselves from the unrelenting sun. An ambulance set up behind the stage was already treating those who had succumbed to the heat.

"We are going to stay as long as we have the strength," said Cristina Rodriguez, a 43-year-old nurse accompanied by her teenage son, Felix. They and thousands of others had arrived hours before the concert to get a good spot, ignoring government warnings not to turn up until noon.

"We've been here since three in the morning waiting for everyone, waiting for Juanes and for (Puerto Rican singer) Olga Tanon," said Luisa Maria Canales, an 18-year-old engineering student. "I'm a little tired, but I am more excited."

That excitement does not extend to some across the Florida Straits, where Juanes has endured death threats, CD smashing protests and boycotts since his decision to hold the "Peace Without Borders" concert in Havana.

Complete article here.

Watch the "Peace Without Borders" concert in Cuba LIVE.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Interview With Pablo Escobar’s Photographer

Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria

Edgar Jimenez, aka El Chino, was a puny classmate of Pablo Escobar’s at Antioqueno Junior High School in Colombia back in the ‘60s. While Escobar used the ensuing years to become his generation’s greatest murderous narco superstar, El Chino slunk off to a dull life as a local wedding photographer. But after a chance reunion in the early ‘80s, Escobar recruited El Chino to become his personal picture taker, documenting his political campaigns, his private parties, and the various goings-on at Escobar’s outlandish 4,500-acre estate, Hacienda Napoles.

El Chino spent the next decade in Escobar’s employ, enjoying total access and fussing over which of the drug lord’s associates was open to having his picture taken. This continued until the CIA, Los Pepes, Delta Force, Search Bloc, and a bunch of other people who wanted Escobar’s head on a platter converged to dismantle the Medellin Cartel. Recently Jimenez invited VBS to his home in the Aranjuez neighborhood of Medellin, where he let us rifle through his archives.

Courtesy of

Discover The Transformation of Medellin, Colombia

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Hippos Stray From Hacienda Napoles

Colombia Confronts Drug Lord’s Legacy: Hippos

DORADAL, Colombia — Even in Colombia, a country known for its paramilitary death squads, this hunting party stood out: more than a dozen soldiers from a Colombian Army battalion, two Porsche salesmen armed with long-range rifles, their assistant, and a taxidermist.

They stalked Pepe through the backlands of Colombia for three days in June before executing him in a clearing about 60 miles from here with shots to his head and heart. But after a snapshot emerged of soldiers posing over his carcass, the group suddenly found itself on the defensive.

As it turned out, Pepe — a hippopotamus who escaped from his birthplace near the pleasure palace built here by the slain drug lord Pablo Escobar — had a following of his own.

The meticulously organized operation to hunt Pepe down, carried out with the help of environmentalists, has become the focus of an unusually fierce debate over animal rights and the containment of invasive species in a country still struggling to address a broad range of rights violations during four decades of protracted war with guerrillas.

“In Colombia, there is no documented case of an attack against people or that they damaged any crops,” said Aníbal Vallejo, president of the Society for the Protection of Animals in Medellín, referring to the hippos. “No sufficient motive to sacrifice one of these animals has emerged in the 28 years since Pablo Escobar brought them to his hacienda.”

Sixteen years after the infamous Mr. Escobar was gunned down on a Medellín rooftop in a manhunt, Colombia is still wrestling with the mess he made.

Wildlife experts from Africa brought here to study Colombia’s growing numbers of hippos, a legacy of Mr. Escobar’s excesses, have in recent days bolstered the government’s plan to prevent them — by force, if necessary — from spreading into areas along the nation’s principal river. But some animal-rights activists are so opposed to the idea of killing them that they have called for the firing of President Álvaro Uribe’s environment minister.

Peter Morkel, a consultant for the Frankfurt Zoological Society in Tanzania, compared the potential for the hippos to disrupt Colombian ecosystems to the agitation caused by alien species elsewhere, like goats on the Galápagos Islands, cats on Marion Island between Antarctica and South Africa, or pythons in Florida.

“Colombia is absolute paradise for hippos, with its climate, vegetation and no natural predators,” Mr. Morkel said.

“But as much as I love hippos, they are an alien species and extremely dangerous to people who disrupt them,” he continued. “Since castration of the males is very difficult, the only realistic option is to shoot those found off the hacienda.”

The uproar has its roots in 1981, when Mr. Escobar was busy assembling a luxurious retreat here called Hacienda Nápoles that included a Mediterranean-style mansion, swimming pools, a 1,000-seat bull ring and an airstrip.

“He needed a tranquil place to unwind with his family,” said Fernando Montoya, 57, a sculptor from Medellín who built giant statues here of Tyrannosaurus rex and other dinosaurs for Mr. Escobar.

Hired by private administrators of the seized estate, part of which is now a theme park (imagine mixing “Jurassic Park” and “Scarface” into a theme), Mr. Montoya rebuilt the same statues after looters tore them apart searching for hidden booty.

But Mr. Escobar was not content with just fake dinosaurs and bullfights. In what ecologists describe as possibly the continent’s most ambitious effort to assemble a collection of species foreign to South America, he imported animals like zebras, giraffes, kangaroos, rhinoceroses and, of course, hippopotamuses.

Some of the animals died or were transferred to zoos around the time Mr. Escobar was killed. But the hippos largely stayed put, flourishing in the artificial lakes dug at Mr. Escobar’s behest.

Carlos Palacio, 54, head of animal husbandry at Nápoles, said Mr. Escobar started in 1981 with four hippos. Now, he said, at least 28 live on the estate. “With our current level of six births a year set to climb, we could easily have more than 100 hippos on this hacienda in a decade,” Mr. Palacio said.

“Some experts see this herd as a treasure of the natural world in case Africa’s hippo population suffers a sharp decline,” Mr. Palacio continued. “Others view our growth as a kind of time bomb.”

The number of hippos on the hacienda could have reached 31 had Pepe, the slain hippo, not clashed about three years ago with the herd’s dominant hippo, then left with a mate for other pastures. Once established near Puerto Berrío, the mate gave birth to a calf.

Faced with the possibility of a nascent colony away from Nápoles, Colombian authorities decided to act. After all, hippos, despite their docile appearance, are thought to kill more people in Africa than any other large animal.

Unable to find a zoo that would accept the three hippos in Puerto Berrío, officials in the department, or province, of Antioquia considered their options.

Capturing them was expensive, costing as much as $40,000 for each hippo, in a country where malnourishment among the poor remains a major problem, said Luis Alfonso Escobar — not related to Pablo Escobar — head of Corantioquia, a state environmental organization. Taking them to Africa was dangerous, in addition to being expensive, because of the new diseases they might introduce there.

So the officials opted for a hunt and hired a nonprofit conservation group, the Neotropical Wildlife Foundation, to help manage the operation.

The foundation brought in two experienced hunters, Federico Pfeil-Schneider and Christian Pfeil-Schneider, both of whom also represent the car manufacturer Porsche in Colombia. To ensure the hunting party’s safety, the environmentalists also secured an escort of soldiers.

All went as planned until the hunt’s details and the photo of the soldiers appeared in the news media. Outrage ensued. Newspapers speculated on the fate of Pepe’s severed head. (Luis Alfonso Escobar, of Corantioquia, rejected rumors that it went to the hunters.) A judge in Medellín issued a ruling suspending the hunt for Pepe’s mate and their offspring.

Meanwhile, other hippos may be on the loose. Mr. Palacio, the hippo caretaker here, said at least one was lurking in the waters of a neighboring ranch. Mr. Morkel, the veterinarian, said one or two others could have wandered off, according to local reports.

On the grounds of Hacienda Nápoles, a sign warns visitors to the theme park. “Stay in your vehicle after 6 p.m.,” it reads. “Hippopotamuses on the road.”

The New York Times By SIMON ROMERO
Published: September 10, 2009


Win a free trip to Colombia, register before September 21, 2009.

It is very easy to participate in “The Experience of Your Life” in Colombia.

Proexport Colombia will select one winner of the trip to Colombia from each of the countries; Ecuador, Venezuela, Perú, Brazil, United States and Spain.

Winners will travel to Colombia for “The Experience of Your Life” in October, 2009.

Each participant will meet with a blogger of his or her same nationality in Colombia to team up and represent their country.

The six teams will travel together to the four regions: Bogotá, Café Triangle, Santa Marta, and Cartagena de Indias.

“The Experience of Your Life” episode will be broadcast by Nat Geo during the first week of December, 2009.

¿What are you waiting for?

Have a go at it! Live ten magical days you will never forget.

“The Experience of Your Life” register here.

Good luck ! ! !

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Bill Gates Foundation Donates $1 Million To Medellín Libraries

Deborah Jacobs went from helping build Seattle's state-of-the-art Central Library to visiting libraries overseas with no heat or running water and budgets as low as $30 a month.

In her first year on the job at the Gates Foundation, she has directed an expanding program called the Global Libraries Initiative, which aims to improve free access to computers and the Internet in public libraries.

Today she is presenting a $1 million prize to a foundation in Medellín, Colombia, for its innovative use of technology in libraries to promote community development.

After more than a decade as City Librarian in Seattle, Deborah Jacobs now manages the global libraries program at the Gates Foundation.

In her travels over the past year Jacobs said she has seen "absolute heroism and commitment to what libraries can do," in places where "librarians are having to close the door to go across fields to their house to get warm water or go to the toilet or wash their hands."

"A million dollars feels like a lot of money to a library system," she said.

The Fundación Empresas Públicas de Medellín, or EPM Foundation, won the Gates 2009 Access to Learning Award.

The network of 34 libraries is part of a regional initiative to use technology to increase the transparency of government, create a competitive business environment and improve education. It serves patrons from low-income communities where people have no computers at home.The network includes five library parks throughout the city that serve as cultural centers with educational resources and training programs for how to use computers and the Internet.

The EPM Foundation's efforts have contributed to the revitalization of Colombia's second largest city, Jacobs said, and its work can be a model for other communities.

"As a librarian I really recognize that libraries with computers can open the doors to people, help people feel a sense of inclusion and greater connection with the broader world," she said. It has also made libraries busier than ever.

The number of library visitors in Medellín's network has jumped from 90,000 to more than 500,000 per month, and the program has helped reduce the individual-to-computer ratio from 140:1 in 2005, to 47:1 in 2008, according to the Gates Foundation.

The EPM program will use the Gates award to increase its library network, develop additional training programs and expand its services.

Complete story...

Medellín: The Comuna 13 District

Once a battleground, Medellin's Comuna 13 now a place of hope.

On October 15, 2002, the residents of Comuna 13 lived in the most dangerous and lawless neighborhood of Medellin, Colombia, caught in the crossfire between heavily-armed rival factions fighting to control this mountainous district of twisting roads and ramshackle homes.

On October 16, 2002, all of that changed.

On that day, 3,000 Colombian soldiers arrived in Comuna 13 to restore order. They were met with violent opposition from gangs and Marxist FARC guerillas, but within 48hours their bloody victory was assured.

At the time, critics asserted that the government action would only lead to an escalation in violence, that order could not be maintained here, and that right-wing paramilitary groups would continue to terrorize the populace. So far, nearly seven years later, those prophecies have not come to pass, largely thanks to the city’s Proyecto Urbano Integral (PUI—Integral Urban Project).

PUI was the brainchild of popular former Medellin mayor Sergio Fajardo, now a candidate for president of Colombia.

“Every reduction in violence, we had to follow immediately—and ‘immediately’ is a key word—with social interventions,” he told Newsweek magazine two years ago.

Four areas of the city, including Comuna 13, were identified as the top priorities for PUI. Carlos Escobar, PUI’s architectural coordinator in Comuna 13, said these were “zones where there was no presence of the state and the quality of life was very low.”

These areas often had little or no infrastructure. The city brought in architects, engineers, social workers, and communication experts to work with the local community to identify needs.

Escobar said the first task for these specialists was to overcome the “mental barrier” of the local population, which had often seen politicians promise improvements in exchange for votes, but never deliver on the promises.

“That’s why sociologists are so important,” he said.

Escobar said local statutes required the involvement of the local community in planning improvements. For example, he said people might say, “We want to create a park in this area.” The people would then be asked questions like, “What are your dreams about a place like this? What do you want to have?”

The specialists draw up plans based on the public input and then present them for review at public meetings. Based on the feedback received, any necessary revisions are made in the plans.

“Even at this stage, the community can say, ‘This is not what we wanted; we need to modify it,” Escobar said.

Once the majority of the community is satisfied with the plans, construction can begin, which provides benefits beyond whatever is being built.

“They want to generate employment, as well,” Escobar said of city officials, “so people from the community can work on the project.”

Once the work is done, the local residents are asked to make a pact with the city -- a promise they will take care of the new addition to their community.

Today, Medellin officials are proud to show off the changes that have come to Comuna 13, as they did earlier this month to a group of five American journalists. Our visit was sponsored by Colombia es Pasion, the organization charged by the national government with improving the country’s image around the world to increase business, including tourism.

Comuna 13 is not a tourist destination, though some people do take the Metro to the San Javier station and then ride the Metrocable. This is one of PUI’s projects, a gondola ski lift without a ski area or skiers. It carries residents from their mountainside homes, some of which are not served by roads, down to the Metro station, parks, and the library. It used to take the people who live at the top of the mountain 40 minutes or more to walk the distance the Metrocable covers in a few minutes.

At the end of the Metrocable line, we were joined for the ride back down by one of those people, a young woman named Melalyn. She had arrived in Medellin in June from northern Colombia.

“I was displaced by drug violence,” she explained through an interpreter. “I came to Medellin looking for a safer place.”

Today, Medellin, once the murder capital of the world, is considered “a safer place,” and the Comuna 13 project has become a model for others to follow.

When they were developing ideas for what to do in Comuna 13, Medellin city officials visited Rio de Janeiro, to study how the Brazilian city was dealing with its notorious favelas.

“Now,” Escobar notes, “the people from Rio come here.”

By Dennis D. Jacobs - August 27
Chicago International Travel Examiner

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Invest In The Future Of Colombia

Discover The Transformation of Colombia.

Why Colombia?

A few reasons to invest in Colombia. These include:

Improved Business Environment: During the past five years, the Colombian economy grew by 4% per year. In 2008, Colombia's GDP registered an increase of 2.5%, a positive growth during global recession.

Human Resources: according to IMD 2008, Colombia is the regional leader for managers and has the second most flexible labor system in Latin America. This according to the World Bank 2008.

Ideal Export Platform: Colombia holds an advantage of having signed trade agreements. This gives companies preferential access to markets that extend to more than 1.2 billion consumers, a circumstance that is only enhanced by the strategic location of Colombia.

Incentives for Investors: Colombia is the country with the second best business environment in Latin America, according to "Doing Business 2009". These incentives include:

Free Trade Zones: the most competitive in Latin America because they offer up to a 50% tax break on sales into the local market. They also can be established in any place in Colombia.

Legal Stability Contracts.

40% tax deduction on the cost of purchased machinery.

Quality of Life: Colombia has three of the top 30 universities in Latin America, 26 schools which give the SAT Test, 19 which are members of the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) and more than 45, 18 hole golf courses.

Discover The Transformation of Medellin, Colombia.

Discover The Magic Of Colombia

Discover The Magic Of Colombia

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Colombia: The Happiest Place On Earth

Bienvenidos a Colombia ! !

Move over Disney World... the happiest place on Earth is in Colombia
International Travel Examiner - Dennis D. Jacobs

Somewhere near the bottom of my deceptively potent Mandarino cocktail, I realized that the happiest place on Earth is not in Orlando, Florida, but Chia, Colombia.

More specifically, the happiest place on Earth, at least Friday night, was Andrés Carne de Res. This restaurant/bar/nightclub is a combination of Applebee’s on steroids and your favorite steakhouse on HGH and your favorite dance spot on a six-pack of Red Bull. Outside, there are Christmas lights strung through trees and Moulin Rouge-style windmills. Inside, the décor includes large dangling lighted hearts, butterflies, traffic signs, clocks, posters, video screens, festive party decorations, mannequins hanging from rafters, musical instruments, and… well, you get the idea.

Andrés Carne de Res is beyond kitschy. It’s a chaotic cacophony of cultural clutter.

This is not a calculated production originating from a major corporation’s market research. It sprang from simple and humble origins. When artist Andrés Jaramillo opened the restaurant in 1983 there were just 40 seats. Now, a nice Saturday night might attract 2,000 customers or more. There are hundreds of employees and millions of dollars in yearly sales.

Friday night, the place was packed, but Saturday night is usually the busiest night at Andrés Carne de Res. It’s not uncommon for there to be a long line of people waiting to get in.

How did Jaramillo’s creation become so popular?

“A lot of people here in Colombia think he made a pact with the devil,” said Carlos, one of the Bogota residents who made the half-hour trip to Chia with our group of journalists. “That made him even more famous.”

Colombian author Gabriel Garcia Marquez, winner of the 1982 Nobel Prize for literature, is among the many Latin American celebrities who have visited Andrés Carne de Res. As we danced to “Me Enamora,” the pop hit by Colombian rocker Juanes, our hostess, Stephany Romero, pointed out a Colombian TV star. By that time, though, I had pretty much finished my Mandarino, so I can’t begin to tell you who he was.

You don’t have to drink alcohol to enjoy Andrés Carne de Res. On Sundays, the restaurant is more of a family place. And the steaks, which Carlos said are prepared in an Argentinean fashion, are thick and savory. Another must-try item is the surprisingly addictive plantain pizza. The menu is on a paper roller encased in a box that you crank to view the seemingly endless list of options.

Before we arrived, Carlos explained that a visit to Andrés Carne de Res is “like going into a theater,” which he attributed to Jaramillo’s personality.

“He was one of the most famous characters here in Colombia,” Carlos added. “He’s very eclectic.
Entertainers wander through the crowds of people, performing and interacting. A couple of 1920s-style flappers visited our table to help wish one of us a happy birthday.

As the enterprise continues to grow, so does the collection of decorations. Part of the staff is dedicated to finding new stuff to add on a continual basis.

The music is loud and the crowds and clutter add to the confused jumble of the place, so Andrés Carne de Res is not for everyone. Then again, neither is Disney World.


A great series of articles on Colombia by: Dennis D. Jacobs.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Festival of Flowers in Medellin

Orchids, Birds and Flowers in Medellin, Colombia

August 10, Chicago International Travel Examiner Dennis D. Jacobs

Slowly but surely, like a germinating seed, Medellin, Colombia – once the murder capital of the world – is becoming the flower capital of the world.

Every year at the beginning of August, this city of 2.4 million people puts on a huge celebration called Feria de las Flores (Festival of Flowers). This year’s festival stretched from July 31 to August 9 and featured a wide array of events ranging from antique automobile displays to concerts and theatrical performances.

The biggest event of the festival is the parade which takes place on Friday, a national holiday in Colombia. A highlight of the parade is the procession of silliteros – local flower growers who march carrying massive flower arrangements on their backs.

Another major attraction of the festival is the Orquídeas, Pájaros y Flores (Orchids, Birds and Flowers) show held at the Medellin botanical garden in a facility called the Orquideorama. As part of a group of journalists touring the country as guests of Colombian tourism officials, I got a behind-the-scenes look as 100 workers prepared for last Wednesday night’s opening of the show.

Although orchids are the stars of this show, put on by the Sociedad Colombiana de Orquideología (Colombian Society of Orchidology), many other flowers are represented, including carnations, roses, delphiniums, and bird of paradise.

Speaking of birds, scattered amid the displays are cages holding canaries, parakeets, and larks whose colors rival those produced by the flowers.

The show’s imaginative displays attract many visitors and there are sometimes long lines to get into the facility, the jewel of the refurbished nine-acre botanical gardens.

In addition to Medellin residents, each year the flower festival attracts 300,000 visitors from other parts of Colombia and about 10,000 from outside the country.

As word gets out that Medellin is no longer a dangerous place (local officials proudly point out that the violent crime rate in the city is lower than many American cities, including Washington, D.C.), those numbers are likely to continue to grow… slowly but surely.

The Silleteros Parade: Hop on a chair and get carried away in Medellin

In Spanish, a silleta is a small chair. The man carrying a silleta on his back is a silletero.

The strong silleteros in the area around Medellin, Colombia – legs hardened by tramping up and down the Andes Mountains – used to convey travelers in those chairs. They also carried produce down from the mountains, including flowers.

Over time, the chairs grew more and more elaborate. Some included leafy canopies to protect the traveler from sun and rain. Those used to convey produce also grew in size to accommodate more cargo.

This tradition lives on today in the Desfile de Silleteros (Silleteros Parade), the biggest and longest-running event in Medellin’s annual Feria de las Flores (Flower Festival) that takes place annually the first week of August. The first Silleteros Parade was held in 1957. It has grown over the years to include other participants, such as bands and dancers, but the silleteros are still the stars of the show. About 500 take part in the event each year.

The silletas are judged prior to the start of the parade in a variety of categories, from traditional silletas like those used by farmers to sell flowers outside churches on Sundays to the monumental silletas. The latter may stand over 12 feet tall and weigh upwards of 220 pounds!

Discover The Transformation of Medellin, Colombia (click here.)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Juan Valdez: The Most Famous Colombian

The story of the most famous Colombian of them all -- Juan Valdez

By Dennis D. Jacobs - Chicago International Travel Examiner

I’m going to let you in on a little secret.

Juan Valdez, the one Colombian most Americans can probably name, is not a native Colombian.

Shocking, I know.

It turns out Juan was born in New York City in 1960. You probably thought he was older than 49, too. It seems like he should be. After all, we’ve been watching Juan and his faithful mule, Conchita, bringing the coffee beans down from the mountains of Colombia for years and years.

Juan Valdez was not born in a hospital, but in the offices of the DDB ad agency. The “Mad Men” there created Juan for one of their clients, the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia, which was founded in 1927.

The idea behind the ad campaign, which became one of the most successful and long-running in history, was to distinguish coffee made with 100 percent Colombian coffee beans from those using coffee beans from other countries.

From 1960 to 1969, Juan Valdez was portrayed by José Duval, who was not Colombian. He was born in Havana, Cuba and came to the United States at the age of 20 to pursue a career as an opera singer. He appeared in a touring production of “Die Fledermaus” for New York City’s Metropolitan Opera and then branched out into musical theater and movies. He died in 1993 at the age of 72.

From 1970 to 2006, Juan Valdez was portrayed by Carlos Sanchez, who grew up in the Colombian town of Fredonia in the coffee-growing region of Antioquia.

The new Juan Valdez is Carlos Castañeda, a coffee grower from the town of Andes, also in Antioquia.

Although Juan Valdez has helped establish the idea that coffee made from Colombian beans is the best in the world, until recently coffee actually sold in Colombia was not considered very good.

“We had outstanding quality coffee, but we had no idea how to drink it,” explains Harry Sasson, Colombia’s foremost chef.

He says coffee traditionally was free in restaurants and was drip coffee. Also, all the best coffee beans were exported. That is changing, and again Juan Valdez has a role.

Taking a page from Starbuck’s, the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia opened its first Juan Valdez Café in Bogota in 2002. Its success led to its expansion to Medellin, Cali, and other Colombian cities. The first Juan Valdez Café in the United States opened in 2005.

“Juan Valdez is incredible what they’ve done,” says Sasson, who owns and operates five restaurants in Colombia.

Restaurants in Colombia have had to upgrade the quality of the coffee they serve to their customers. Sasson says they’ve brought in Italian technology to create espressos and cappuccinos.

“I buy my coffee for some of my restaurants straight from the farms,” he notes. “We try to get the money for the growers.”

Thanks in no small part to Juan Valdez, Colombia’s coffee growers continue to thrive. Almost 15 percent of the country’s population depends on coffee for their livelihood and there are more than 500,000 coffee growers in the nation.

Discover The Transformation of Medellin, Colombia (click)

Juan Valdez Coffee (click)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Feria De Las Flores On YouTube

The first day of La Feria de las Flores in Medellin.

El Combo De La Estella live from Feria de las Flores singing the widely popular song "Me Voy Para Medellin!"

Fondas en la Feria de las Flores.

La Cabalgata, horse parade in La Feria de las Flores, a popular event during the weeklong festivities.

Noche Clásica y Tablados en la Feria de las Flores 2009.

Bienvenidos a Santa Elena entre La Feria de las Flores.

The good people of Santa Elena, the town responsible for some of La Feria de las Flores best Silleteros exhibitions during the parade invite everyone to Santa Elena to learn about the local culture and see how the beautiful flower diplays are put together, but they ask that visitors do not disturb the peace and avoid loud partying in the town of Santa Elena.

Monday, August 3, 2009

First Few Days Of La Feria De Las Flores

All the world is a stage during La Feria de las Flores in Medellin ! ! !

The children in Medellin march down the streets during the parade of silleritos during La Feria de las Flores.

Los ninos de la ciudad de Medellin desfilan por las principales calles de la ciudad durante el desfile de silleteritos en La Feria de las Flores.

The Cabalgata, horse parade is one of the most popular events during La Feria de las Flores. It seems everyone in Medellin loves to ride a horse.

Uno de los eventos que más miradas atrae dentro de la Feria de las Flores es la tradicional Cabalgata, el desfile de caballos.

The first few days, "La Feria de las Flores" in Medellin, 2009.

Children Beyond Our Borders in Colombia

There are many children in Colombia who go hungry each day.

UF Student Group Seeks To Help Colombian Kids

By Juliana Jimenez

Pablo could have had anything he wanted for Christmas - toys, clothes, money.

But he had something else in mind.

University of Florida graduate student Angelica Suarez, 25, told 8-year-old Pablo, a boy from the slums of Medellin, Colombia, to ask for whatever he wanted, and his "friends" from UF would do anything to get it for him.

"I want a hug," Pablo said, and Suarez says his answer changed her life.

A year before Suarez met Pablo, when she was vice president at UF's Colombian Student Association, she found she "had a very big problem," she said. "I didn't like throwing parties for no reason."

COLSA was renowned for its parties, which attracted scores of people and raised hundreds of dollars, she said.

So Suarez decided to use this money for a good cause, and Children Beyond Our Borders was born.

Donations has helped to feed many families in Medellin.

CBOB started as a small committee, then developed into a UF student organization. Now, six years later, it is a nongovernmental organization planning its sixth trip to Colombia from Aug. 8-22.

Suarez, founder and now vice president of CBOB, said in her first trip with CBOB she found the inspiration to keep working hard for the organization.

CBOB's first trip was in the summer of 2004. Five UF students took 300 pounds of clothes and 200 pounds of toys to Medellin, Colombia, which they had collected during the school year.

The NGO now carries out two annual projects in Colombia: one to Medellin in August, and another in Cartagena in May.

"I am debating who has more fun, the kids or the volunteers," Suarez said. "The kids teach us more things than we can teach them."

Students who want to volunteer helping children abroad can register with CBOB in November for the May 2010 trip to Cartagena.

With CBOB, students can work in public relations, marketing, program development and grant writing.

The level of involvement depends on the student's enthusiasm, Suarez said.

"We try to see the person's individual skills," she said. "The experience is not only to go outside the country and see places; it also allows you to expand your creativity."

Children Beyond Our Borders

Crossing Borders On The Road is the annual service trip of CBOB. For the past five summers students from the University of Florida and various other universities within the United States have gathered and traveled to Colombia to make a lasting change on the lives of CHILDREN.

During an entire academic year, student volunteers gather monetary and in kind donations such as clothes, hygiene products, school supplies and computers, which are then delivered to the cities in which our service trips take place. Also, CBOB works on different projects to be implemented with fundraised materials during the summer service trips. Before the trip, volunteers prepare, plan, and put together workshops for the children. Some of the topics we teach include Leadership, the Environment, Arts & Music, Self-Esteem, and Peace Education. We truly believe in sharing our knowledge and love with the world. That is why, for these service trips, it is very important that every volunteer contributes to the development of the educational material to be implemented in the trips regardless of their major or experience. This is what ultimately makes our Crossing Borders trips unique and a complete success.

To make a donation or for more information on how to help the children in Colombia visit Children Beyond Our Borders.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Calle 13 At Parque Norte

Calle 13, los boricuas de Nueva York en San Fernando Plaza.

Calle 13 arrived in Medellin ahead of “Feria de las Flores” for their show in Parque Norte.

Calle 13, the five-time Latin Grammy Award and Grammy Award-winning Puerto Rican hip hop and alternative group arrive in Medellin, Colombia for a one-night show Saturday before flying off to play in Mexio ahead of their extended trip to Europe.

The rapping is in Spanish; the music is from Puerto Rico, Macedonia and Nigeria; the sensibility is from Mars. Grammy-winning duo Calle 13 have no analogue in U.S. hip-hop: They're pop-savvy hitmakers with globe-trotting tastes and a riotous sense of humor.

Here, they flaunt their cosmopolitanism, collaborating with Mexican rockers Café Tacuba ("No Hay Nadie Como Tu") and spicing their songs with Afro beats, polka and, on "Fiesta de Locos," Balkan brass. Spanish-speakers will love Residente's witty raps, but you don't need to know a word to grasp his message: a plea to bury geographic boundaries under an unstoppable groove.

The duo formed by half-brothers René Pérez Joglar , who calls himself Residente and Eduardo José Cabra Martínez, who calls himself Visitante. Their sister Ileana (aka PG-13) has contributed the female vocals to some of their songs, and so has Residente's mother, Puerto Rican actress Flor Joglar de Gracia.

Atrevete te te (video)

Cumbia De Los Aburridos (video)

Tango del Pecado (video)

Calle 13 plays at the Plaza de Eventos located in Parque Norte.
When: Saturday, August 1st
Time: 8:00pm
General Admission: $63.000
VIP Admission: $103.000
Additional Information: 444 63 00

Friday, July 31, 2009

La Feria De Las Flores In Medellin

La Feria de las Flores festival in Medellin, Colombia.

Medellin's annual flower festival, or Feria de las Flores, is the city's cultural highlight of the year. Once the festival arrives it is difficult to figure out what of the million possibilities to choose from. Here's a little guide to help you out.

From July 29 until August 9 there are a number of things happening on a daily basis and a number of things that happen on one day specifically.

All days of the festival
Bonsai exposition - San Diego shopping center (all day)

Classic cars exposition - Premium Plaza shopping center (all day)
San Alejo folkloric market - Parque Simon Bolivar (all day)
Display of flowers - Pueblito Paisa (all day)
Flower and butterfly exposition - Plazoleta shopping center (all day)
Decorarte | decorative art exhibition - Museum El Castillo(9AM - 6PM)
Folkloric fair - Unicentro shopping center (all day)
Towns of Antioquia present themselves (the highway below Pueblito Paisa)

Friday July 31

Flower growers explain the silletas or flower arrangements - Los Molinos shopping center (12AM - 6PM)

Official inauguration of the flower festival - governmental district Alpujarra (6PM - 1AM)
Flower festival super concert with Silvestre Dangond, Iván Villazón, Felipe Peláez, Son de Cali, Maelo Ruíz and Grupo Galé - Atanasio football stadium (6PM - late)
Fireworks - governmental district Alpujarra (8PM)

The orchid exhibit takes place at Jardin Botanico.

Saturday August 1

Children's parade of flower arrangements - Carrera 82, La Floresta (10AM)
Zona Que Suena, local bands perform - outside Parque Explora (10AM - 7PM)
Cabalgata (horses to participate are for rent) - Carrefour Las Vegas (1PM)

Marching band festival - Southern Bus terminal (1PM - 9PM)
4th International Women's Soccer Tournament (4PM - 9PM)
Concert Colonbeat - Parque Norte (8PM - late)
Concert Rachael Starr & Nadia Ali - Forum even center (9PM)

Sunday August 2

Flower tour on San Pedro cemetary (8AM - 7PM)
Cross country motor race - Pueblito Paisa ( 9AM - )
Children's Cabalgata - Parque Pies Descalzos (2PM)
Marching band festival - Southern Bus terminal (1PM - 9PM)
Popular Music Festival (Los Visconti de Argentina, Arelys Henao, Los Relicarios, El Duelo Revelación, Otto Bermúdez & Jhon Castillo - Carlos Vieco Theater (2PM - 9PM)
Music festival with Carajo, Cadena Perpetua, Tr3sdecorazón, Don Tetto, Johnie All Stars - Club Palmahia (3PM - 8PM)

Monday August 3

Classical music and dance - Parque de los Pies Descalzos (6PM - 12PM)
Salsa party - Carrera 70a / Calle 43 (7PM)

Tuesday August 4

Jazz performances - Parque de los Pies Descalzos (6PM - 12PM)
Salsa party - Carrera 70a / Calle 43 (7PM)

Take a ride on a chiva bus during the "Feria de las Flores."

Wednesday August 5

Fauna photography competition - Santa Fe zoo (9AM - 5PM)

Folkloric jewelry exhibition - El Tesoro shopping center (11AM - 9:30PM)
Colombian music - Parque de los Pies Descalzos (6PM - 12PM)
Orchid, flower and parrot exhibition - Botanic Garden (7PM - )
Tango performance - Medellin University Theater (8PM)

Thursday August 6

Horse exhibition - Aurelia Mejía Colliseum (10AM - 12PM)
Music festival with Claudia Diez, Tono 40, Luisito Muñoz, Los Corraleros del Majagual - Pueblito Paisa ( 4PM - 12PM)
Fashion show - Junin shopping street 5PM - 6PM)
Salsa concert - Parque Juan Pablo II (8PM)
Tango concert - Hotel Nutibara (9PM)

Desfile de carros classicos y antiguos en la "Feria de las Flores."

Friday August 7

Downhill motor race - Cerro de las Tres Cruces (9AM - )
National car tuning festival - Parque Juan Pablo II (11AM - 11PM)
52nd flower arrangers parade (all day, all over)

Bullshit and lies festival (serious!) - Monterrey shopping center (7PM - )
Vallenato festival with Peter Manjarres, Silvestre Dangond, Pipe Peláez, Jorge Celedón & José Luis Rodríguez - La Macarena (7:30PM)
Bailoteca (cumbia and porro) with Billo´s Caracas Boy & Los Melódicos - Parque Juan Pablo II (8PM)
Viejoteca (cumbia and porro) - Club Palmahia (8PM - late)
Exhibition of winning flower arrangements - Plaza Mayor (6PM - late)

Saturday August 8

Exhibition of winning flower arrangements - Plaza Mayor (all day)
National car tuning festival - Parque Juan Pablo II (11AM - 11PM)
Local bands perform - Carlos Vieco Theater (12AM - 9PM)
Classic cars parade (all day, all over)
Cheerleading competition - National University (all day)

Dance performance - Lido Theater (7PM)
Vallenato party with Silvestre Dangond, Jorge Celedón, Los Gigantes del Vallenato & Pipe Peláez - Parque Juan Pablo II (8PM)
Flower festival party with Silvestre Dangond, Iván Villazón & Felipe Peláez - Pabellón Amarillo exhibition center (8PM)

Sunday August 9

Marching band competition - Parque de la Floresta (9AM - 8PM)
Chivas y flores (decorated traditional buses) - (all day, all over)
National car tuning festival - Parque Juan Pablo II (11AM - 11PM)
Gospel festival - Parque de los Deseos (1PM - 10PM)
Cultural displays of Antioquia culture - Los Molinos shopping center (2PM - )
Orchest festival - border Medellin / Enigado (3PM - 9PM)

Colombia Reports.