Afro-Boricua Folklore: “An endangered species”

Tato Torres, lead singe of "El Chivo Loco" is one of the figures that defend puertorican folklore and trova.

With very little notice and a poor promotion, this week in Puerto Rico the ”Decimanía” organization is celebrating the  week of “La Trova”. In different municipalities trough out the nation are taking and continue to take place a series of activities till next Sunday. The activity is dedicated to Luis Miranda that is one of the primary and more prominent institutions of puertorican folklore. The principal motive of this gesture is to demonstrate how letters combined with our culture or art can transmit our tradition through all the coming generations.

The “trova” is a tradition that not only us here in Puerto Rico practice. Is a latino shared heritage by countries like: Panamá, Uruguay, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Argentina, Canary Islands and Spain and others. In the words of various artists that promote and practice this artistic tradition is a very special gesture; very personal in terms that you are basically mixing your ancestry with words and music.

Tato Torres that is one of the active puertorican musicians promoting our afro-boricua tradition; previously a member of the musical group “Yerbabuena” and currently of “El Chivo Loco”. He was born in the small town of Guayanilla but raised in the Bronx, N.Y. For a couple of years he has been very active in the “boricua roots” music scene and sharing with different young artist renounced in the traditional music production. He shared a couple of words with me about his opinion and position towards the puertorican folklore and how involves us the youth.

How do you consider in this very moment the influence of folklore music here in the island?“I believe that there is a very significant influence of “folklore” in the general Boricua cultural experience and expression. They are not always the images, sounds or concepts usually depicted or perceived by most “folklorists” and/or researchers, and especially not by the media. But never-the-less they are present and palpable if one knows where or how to look
What do you think of the position of the youth in this case? Specifically speaking of college students. In what ways do you encourage them? “The youth is always in a position of great social potential. By virtue of their very youth itself, they are the natural cultural agents of and links to our future. We can only hope to maintain the youth functionally and productively integrated within the general society by making them active participants of the cultural process. By facilitating trans-generational social activity, which, inevitably generates and re-generates culture, which in turn re-binds the society together. I have dedicated myself to working almost exclusively with young musicians in my musical career so far. Both of the musical projects I have founded and currently direct are predominantly composed of young people as the core members. I find that collaborating with the youth, is the best way to produce music, which is not only well-rooted in tradition, but also contemporarily relevant to both old and new generations.

You Tato Torres, How do you define our music, our musical heritage? What impact has or could have, if more promoted? I play Boricua Roots Music, which to me means that I make use of a traditional musical “palette” to interpret a present-day Puerto Rican musical expression. Boricua Roots Music is a musical movement in which Boricua musicians have combined and re-combined elements of traditional and/or folkloric music as contemporary musical expressions. This style of modern music, which reaches back to the roots of Boricua (Puerto Rican) tradition has come to be called “roots music” or “música de raíz” in Spanish.

In reference to the occasion, that this weak is precisely the “La Semana del Trovador”. What do you think of the effort?” Anytime that a society makes any effort to actively value and recognize those cultural agents and roles, which allow us a historical and cultural continuum, is indeed something to celebrate. Valuable functions such as those carried out and perpetuated by artists and entertainers like Trovadores definitely deserve to be honored and respected. By doing this we can only strengthen and stimulate it’s survival and that of our cultural future as a People.”


APPR Spokesperson Visits the UPRM

By Karla Marie Rodríguez Acosta

Tuesday, October 3rd, Ms. Lourdes Rivera, official public relations coordinator of the student committee for the APPR (Asociación de Psicólogos de Puerto Rico) visited the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez for the very first time as an APPR spokesperson. She was greeted by the members of Psi Chi, currently the only chapter in the island of the International Honor Society in Psychology. During her visit, she informed the students about the benefits they can get by choosing to attend their 58th Annual Convention to be held this upcoming November (days 10th-12th) in the Gran Meliá Golf Resort of Puerto Rico in Río Grande.

Ms. Rivera touched on two specific benefits that the students would have by attending the convention: networking and workshops.

By attending the convention, students will be given the opportunity to network with future colleagues, building social and professional connections that could potentially benefit them in their future as both graduate psychology students and professionals in the industry. She talked about the lifelong connections she had made herself, although she did not give specifics, let alone names. She however, talked about how becoming involved with the APPR opened doors that helped her further her career in psychology.

Also, students will have the opportunity to attend workshops that will help their growth as future psychologists. They will get the opportunity to attend conferences on subjects that are rarely ever touched in undergraduate courses. She also took a moment to remind the students that should they choose to become psychologists, there are certain workshops and classes that they must take throughout the years to keep their knowledge of psychology as fresh and as contemporary as possible. “By attending the convention, you will get to experience first hand what these workshops are like, and that could potentially allow you to appreciate the reasons why they are so important.” Ms. Rivera explained.

The convention has also been tailored to allow professionals in the worldwide industry of psychology to present their research. Ms. Rivera talked about how students, too, can benefit from this. Not only can keeping up with the research help students grow professionally and academically, but it gives them an opportunity to get involved with today’s research topics of interest.

Ms. Rivera also took the opportunity to inform the UPRM students that the convention was open to the public, and not just to psychology professionals and students. “Lawyers, psychiatrists, doctors and many more professionals interested in the science of psychology always attend our convention as well.” She emphasized, expecting to encourage students who are studying psychology, but are interested in a different career path, to attend.

Following her breakdown of the benefits of attending the convention, Ms. Rivera explained the benefits of becoming a member of the APPR, starting with the discounted admission prices the students would get if they became members. Students who choose to become members of the APPR will only have to pay $25 pending additional hotel fees (room, food, and other services), as opposed to non-members who would have to pay $150 plus hotel fees.

In addition to discounts, members of the APPR will receive a tri-monthly psychology journal, e-mail notifications informing them of future events and job opportunities, and will be considered, if eligible, for graduate school grants.

Ms. Rivera ended her presentation by informing the students of this year’s convention slogan: Liderazgo, Diversidad y Optimismo: Impulsando el Cambio, which stands for Leadership, Diversity and Optimism: Promoting Change.

“By attending the APPR 58th Annual Convention, you will discover if a career in psychology is for you.” She finished, smiling at the group of students sitting in front of her.

The members of Psi Chi as they listen to APPR spokesperson, Ms. Lourdes Rivera.


Doris L. Soto

INGL 3268

Dr. Stephania Uwakweh

Mikah’s Profile

Victim of Domestic Violence

Most young mothers like Mikah are looking for improving themselves and make the best for their children; but when life changes and situations are the ones overbearing, decisions making and moving forward are not options in her case. Mikah parents were separated but they had a good relationship. In July 17, 2011 when Mikah was in the states looking for a job, her father took a gun and shot her mother 10 times killing her and leaving Mikah’s child in the house by herself. Then, Mikah father decided it was time to end his life as well and he committed suicide half an hour later in his car leaving Mikah and her brother orphans, “ I talk to my mother by 7:55 and by 8:15 my grandmother call telling me about my mothers death, and I immediately call my father and he was not dead yet I suspect” said Mikah. During the murder of her mother, Mikah’s daughter was in the house hiding in the back locked in a room; she did not experienced any of the violent events, although she was there. Mikah’s daughter was supposed to be picked up by her father Andrew (Mikah ex-boyfriend) the night before the assassination but she wasn’t. Andrew, Mikah ex- is now suing her for full custody of their daughter because he deputed “my daughter was put in danger because her mother left her in her grandmothers house unattended and in a violent enviorement” which was not the truth. Now Mikah is experiencing the lost of both parents and a lovely daughter that she is extendedly fighting to get back. The custody proses have been delicate and painful for Mikah “ I feel alone and I need my mother because what these people are doing to me its just not humane”. Andrews mother is a lawyer and in Puerto Rico and its sad to say that if you have connections and money that means you own the law. Mikah’s case continues with a series of events that are testing her life and sanity, neither of her parents houses had insurance and the debs are passed to the heirs “ my mother was 55 years old and she should have been more aware that is she had a 30 year mortgage and by the future she might need to use one but no one really thinks about this kind of tragedies” Mikah says “ I don’t keep any wrath with my father, but if he kill my mother an then went to jail I’ll probably abandon him in jail until I have enough strength to see him which I see impossible, in the other hand my brother loved him and he would had visited him in jail if that was the case”. Although this situation is hurting Mikah, she wants the best for her daughter so she decided to leave her with Andrew for a determine time period; “they are offering my daughter the best schools, ballet classes and a pediatric psychologist that is helping her go through the lost, she feels her hands are pretty much tied because of her own situation dealing with her parents death. The situation Mikah is going though is terrible and there is more to it. The lawyer helping her in the case is doing his best as well as Mikah that has been through so much that is for a person to admire and support.

MIT Lab Sets It’s Sight On UPRM Students.

October 23, 2011              By: Bernard Aanonsen

On Monday, October 3rd, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Lincoln Laboratory (LL) paid a visit to the University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez, with the intention of recruiting students who might be interested in a career on science and engineering.

Pedro Torres and Edward Betancourt, both researchers at the Lincoln laboratory held a conference in a small room to explain the goals and expectations of the laboratory. They began by stating that the conference had three purposes. First, to explain the difference between the MIT and the LL, second, to detail their mission, objectives and expectations, and third, to explain to the students the benefits and reasons as to why choose LL as their workplace.

As expected, they began explaining the differences. It should be noted that, those who are accepted do not work or are students for the MIT, instead they work for the laboratory. They said, that the key difference between the two of them, is their goals. As explained by Mr. Torres, the Campus aspires to serve humanity and nature, while the LL’s goal is to defend the United States from possible threats. In his own words: “Lincoln is simply applied science for the purpose of defending USA”.

After explaining the differences, they began to talk about the LL’s mission. As stated before, the LL’s primary mission is to use technology in support of national security. The LL was originally established to deal with possible Cold War issues. This issues involved things such as, the defense of USA against possible soviet missiles and such. After the fall of the Soviet Union, the LL’s mission changed drastically and nowadays it deals more with terrorism attacks, protection against bioweapons and the creation of radars and missiles. This has impacted the nation in many ways such as in bio defense, improved defenses and advanced technology.

Torres then added “The lab’s purpose is not to promote theory it is to apply it”. Through this, he makes it clear, that only those interested in getting their “hands dirty” are the ones that should apply.

Finally, they went on to explain, why the students should choose the LL as their workplace. Many appealing benefits were promised, such as a flexible work days, life insurance, vacations, financial support for continuing education, etc. Bentancourt added “The lab has a very flexible schedule. You don’t have a set time to fulfill, instead you have some goals to accomplish and you do them at your own pace.”

Students who are in any science or engineer major such as, Electric Engineering, Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Mechanical Engineering and more, should take it into consideration, if they are interested in making the latest technological advances for the defense of their country.

Improving Your Finances

“How to Improve Your Personal Finances” was the title of Prof. Juan F. De Jesus conference, which he gave Tuesday Oct. 4, 2011 in room AE-339.

In the conference Prof. De Jesus stated that we have to divide our plan or objectives between short and long terms. It could be short term like making repairs to your home or long term like thinking about buying a house. “You should establish your priorities and classify them between short and long term” Prof. De Jesus said. “They should be positive and realistic goals, in other words reachable goals” he added.

Now that you got your priorities established and your goals set you should make a list and in one column list your sources of income and in another column list your expenses. “This way you can see where you can make potential savings and cuts” he said. This is a good way to see if you can incur in additional expenses and if so in what amount.

A good way to save money is to always plan ahead. If you’re going on a vacation you should look for special offer packages and cheap flights, even traveling in low season could save you some money. “Use your head when buying, compare prices, and don’t buy unnecessary things” said the professor. “And if you can pay in cash do so. Why get into more debt using your credit card in excess?” De Jesus asked.

Doing simple things like turning the lights off, using less water, not going out to restaurants every day, and consolidating your trips to town to save gasoline would generate a good amount of savings. Paying your bills through the internet is easier and cheaper. Think well where to invest your money. “If you can do it yourself why pay someone else to do so?” the professor asked referring to things like mowing the lawn, changing the oil from your car and painting your house.

Dr. De Jesus explained that you can lower your debts by doing the above mentioned savings but if those are not enough, you can always resort to a loan from a financial institution. Taking loans isn’t a bad thing in itself but the bad habits people incur those are bad. Habits like paying the minimum on their loans and credit cards, spending excessively on things you don’t need, spending more than what you have, and paying a debt with another debt. When you’re thinking of getting a loan you should look for loans that have risk-free interest rates. And after you have taken the loan, always be on the lookout for loans with lower interest rates and shorter repayable plans than the one you have. The same goes for insurances; always compare the benefits and fees with that of other companies.

Each day fewer people are saving and instead more and more are spending their earnings as the days go by. Over the last six years, around 6 million dollars that were on saving accounts in banks of Puerto Rico have been taken or removed by their owners. “In Puerto Rico the consumer debt is approximately over 22 million dollars, and that is alarming” Prof. De Jesus said.

Basically if everyone would take a look at their finances and see how they can modify things so that they can have a better control over their expenses. Now that’s important because if you can’t manage your finances well you won’t be able to buy the things you really need and might even end up overrun in debts. Making subtle changes in your daily routine could end saving you a lot of money.

Work done to monument of José de Diego

By: Giancarlo Fraticelli Ortiz

Did you know who founded our University? José De Diego founded our “Colegio de Agricultura y Artes Mecánicas de Mayagüez” (CAAM), now known as “University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez”. José De Diego was a very important figure in Puerto Rico. He was a statesman, poet, attorney, legislator, and journalist. He contributed a lot to the island of Puerto Rico. José De Diego is known as: “The father of the Puerto Rican Independence Movement”. He was one of the main figures, supporter, and activist for Puerto Rico’s independence from Spain and from the United States. This past October 4, 2011, a work of improvement to the monument in his honor was made in University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus.

Representatives of the Independence Party of Puerto Rico, “Partido Independentista Puertorriqueño” (PIP) began maintenance work on the monument to José De Diego located at the gate of the main entrance in Mayagüez Campus (RUM). The decision of organizations to take over the maintenance of the monument is in response to the refusal of the leadership of the RUM to assume jurisdiction over the matter, said Muñiz Quiñones, chairman of the Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP) in Mayagüez. In this situation collaboration of teachers, students and alumni of the RUM and separatist militants were recruited to give the monument of the aristocrat an ornamental garden.

In the work involved, in addition to PIP, members of the Nationalist Party of Puerto Rico, the Pro-Independence University Federation (FUPI) and the National Hostos Independence Movement (MINH) were involved. Muñiz Quiñones said that establishing a working committee for periodic maintenance of the garden will be efficient. Also in this cause there will be participation of members of the New School, a separatist organization focused on the political education of poor and working people.

The monument will need cleaning and the Institute of Culture of Puerto Rico will take responsibility of these actions, the Institute offered voluntarily. This volunteer work is intended to honor the figure of José De Diego, primarily responsible for the founding of the College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts on September 23, 1911, and serve as a reminder that the Puerto Rican Independence Movement continues to work, as it has always worked, for the enlargement and improvement of the aspects that make Puerto Rico, the island which it truly is, “The island of enchantment”.

This work is very important and relevant to the students of the RUM because they make them realize and find out information about this great leader. José De Diego was a very important figure in Puerto Rico. His contributions to the island were very significant. In memory of José De Diego Puerto Rico has honored him with a holiday on his birthdate. José De Diego is important to RUM’s students principally because of his foundation of the University where we now study. He was a very intelligent man and his life was full of adventures and surprises that made him found “our University, our home” like he called the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus.

José De Diego founded the College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts on September 23, 1911, to this day it has developed a great deal of professionals in all fields of study and with it’s 100th years anniversary it’s much to be expected of this great institution.

The Neighboring sweets

By: Luis E. Palomo Ramos

From Friday, Oct 1 2011 to Sunday, Oct 3 2011 the citizens of Cabo Rojo celebrate a religous festivity in honor of St. Michael, made possible by the local county and Mayoress Persa Rodriguez.  This celebration includes music and religious parades to be enjoyed by local families as well as interested visitors.
Lining the streets one can find all sorts of food stands selling pizza, sandwiches, baked potatoes and more folkloric foods like “empanadillas”, filled with different meats, “alcapurrias”, “pastelillos”, “rellenos” and many more local foods and fritters.  Also, as inappropriate as it may sound, as part of the puertorican culture many kiosks serving alcoholic beverages are also erected along the sidewalks of the town square.
Artisans from all over travel to attend the festival in order to display their work.  Along the Plaza there are small shops selling hand made art like vases, paintings by local artists, jewelry made of stone, bone, seashells and/or wood.  One can even find folkloric clothes and woven sheets and decorations, all  made by the talented artisans of Cabo Rojo and other towns.  Some of them bring over more rare crafted artifacts like handmade soaps and candles.  Some artisans actually specialize in making sweets of all kinds.
The streets tend to be so filled with people that the shops are actually very difficult to get to.  The streets get filled with the people coming to pay tribute to the patron saint, but many, many people also come to enjoy the musical performances and cultural richness of it all.
This celebration shows the more cultural side of the town and its people and even goes as far as to  bring in some of the culture of many other towns all over the island of Puerto Rico.  It’s a great opportunity to learn about and be able to appreciate many different aspects of  the people and customs of Puerto Rico.  The Festival of St. Michal creates a conglomerate of things, each face of the diamond that is Puerto Rico with its remarkable uniqueness.  Everything comes together there to captivate everyone’s senses and create a memorable impression in lives of anyone that attends.

News Story: Chillin Bar & Grill Finally Opens Grill

By: Arnaldo G. Nieves Vázquez

Chillin Bar & Grill (Mayagüez) celebrated their second year anniversary of going into business along with the long awaited inauguration of their kitchen in the patio of the bar last Saturday Oct. 1, 2011.

The event took place from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. at Chillin Bar & Grill located in the “Pueblo” of Mayagüez. In celebration of the occasion, they opened earlier than their usual hours so guests could stay and enjoy the event as long as possible.

From 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. customers were offered free drinks and they danced to music by featured disc jockey DJ Coach. Chillin Bar & Grill’s official disc jockeys are DJ Shaylom who plays on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays and video jockey VJ Doctor Live who plays on Thursdays.

The island-wide known rock band “Algarete” was scheduled to play later that night. However, due to unknown complications, the band was replaced by an unnamed local band playing cover songs like “Mariposas” (by Enanitos Verdes) and “Que Se Joda!” (by Algarete) as people danced and listened to the music. After that, the boxing match “Juanma vs. Oliver” started and was played on the numerous television screens over the bar area.

As people watched the match, they enjoyed bar snacks such as fritters, wings, nachos, sausages and quesadillas from the new kitchen, open Monday through Friday from 10am to 12am and Saturday from 10am to 10pm. The kitchen is outdoors and has a light-finished wooden front wall with shutter style windows opening up to the counter space. People lined up to place their orders at the window and pick up their fritters and other snacks. In addition, there is a Wi-Fi area useful for those who want to study while they eat there and a delivery service as well for those who want to stay in their apartments or college students who need to stay at campus. “Chillin Bar & Grill is conveniently located at a walking distance from Mayaguez’s University of Puerto Rico (UPRM), so students have easy access to our great food or we can bring it to them if they can’t come to pick it up themselves” said Osvaldo Tubens Mendez, owner of Chillin Bar & Grill.

The entire night, Chillin Bar & Grill was full of people eating, drinking, dancing, singing and viewing boxing matches. The atmosphere was young and lively, full of college students celebrating a night out. The bartenders were serving drinks from behind the well-stocked, wood-topped bar. The partygoers were clearly enjoying their time at Chillin celebrating the new kitchen and bringing good vibes to the event.

Chilin Bar & Grill's new kitchen and employees

Finance your life

By Rolando Matias


A large numer of students were present at a conference “improving your personal finances”. It took part at Tuesday, October 4, 2011 at the AE-339 room at RUM. It was given by  professor Juan F. de Jesus, and was put together by the Financial Management Association.

The main purpose of the conference was to advise the students of the University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez Campus (RUM), about how they should be taking care of their finances. The main topic was on how to save money, comparing expenses with the income.

The conference was part one of three conferences, which will help on how to save on different situations. This one was a general idea of how some expenses could be stopped and save more money for the future. Some presentations were given on how in Puerto Rico over the years, saving income has decreased drastically. “People are just not saving money anymore” De Jesus as to bring an impacting comment to the students about the problem we have the island. Some advices given by the professor to help cut the amount of money wasted and increase the saving budget were: avoiding traveling during high season, going out to eat, and control car expenses.

One of the best ways to save money, as said in the conference is to recognize to have priorities and to leave some desires aside. And some examples were given on how some people prefer to have an iPod rather than a good meal in the fridge. According to the Prof. De Jesus, younger people tend to waste their resources faster specially on unnecessary things and need to create a consciousness that what they are buying is not really needed.

The conference ended with a big applause and several of the organizers thanking the professor for his time and great explanation of the subject. There were also some announcements of upcoming conferences, part 2 and part 3 of the “improving your personal finances”.

Business Administration Department celebrates their 41st anniversary

By: Stefanny Santana Rivera

University Band and Standard Bearers interpreting the University anthem.

The Business Administration Department (ADEM for its Spanish acronym) of the University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez Campus celebrated their 41st anniversary and the University’s 100th anniversary last Thursday at 10:00am on September 29, 2011.

The activity started in the lobby of ADEM with an Open House for the Business and Economist Development Center and a Job Expo with Puertorican and American companies. The student organizations had different setup booths and ADEM had a gallery of pictures from the founding of the department until recent years.

The University Band with its Standard Bearers was the center of attraction, wearing green and white uniforms (symbolizing the university colors) had the crowd of students, professors, deans and the university chancellor dancing to the rhythm. Being the youngest faculty on campus, at the celebration of their anniversary, they have showed the inner school spirit at its fullness.

When the students first entered the lobby of ADEM, they saw many tables of different Business Companies and Banks ready to offer them their first internship, summer job, graduate school options or even their first real job. The companies gave students brochures and application forms of the programs they offered and students gave them resumes and personal statements. The department of ADEM is known for dressing appropriately or in business attire even for classes, for this particular event students were required to dress professionally.

At 10:45, the formal protocol began with an ADEM student who welcomed the guests. The University Band played “We got the beat” and the Standard Bearers danced to the melody; the crowd loved it. They had an amazing glow on their faces; it was as if they wanted to get to the stage and dance with them. “I feel so proud to be representing my school at one of the most important university activities of the century. This moment will go down in history and I’m so excited that I will be part of it.” said Christine Perdomo, captain of the University Standard Bearers.

Dr.Jorge Rivera Santos, University Chancellor giving his speech.

After the welcome, came a series of speeches from the University Chancellor, Dr. Jorge Rivera Santos, deans and professors. The whole protocol was based on the history of the department. Others talked about how proud they were of their students because of all the hard work and enthusiasm dedicated into everything they do.

Finally, everybody rose from their seats to listen and accompany the University Band and the Standard Bearers while they interpreted the University Anthem. When they finished, the student organization, Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) threw white and green balloons into the sky. The activity ended with a presentation from the University Band.

In the end, there was nothing left to say but “Antes, Ahora y Siempre COLEGIO!!!!!”(Which is the University’s most famous phrase, it means we are the best in the past, present and future).

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