Locals Spots in the West

By Johan Rodríguez and Félix Saldaña

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Housewife María Dolores Vélez is enjoying the fresh air before it rains on the town square of Mayagüez on a recent Thursday morning. Vélez Dolores used to be a resident in Mayagüez but she moved to San Germán. “I have dedicated my life to being a housewife and I don’t regret it.”

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Ricomini Bakery employee Héctor Vélez, posing for a photo behind the window where the sweets are located on a recent Thursday at noon. Ricomini Bakery has been known for its desserts, jelly rolls and pan flute. Besides their sweets, they have had a varied lunch menu that is prepared daily. “The experience of working here nice but what I really like more is the pay.”

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Our Lady of the Candelaria Cathedral building on Mayagüez on a recent Thursday morning. The Cathedral built in 1763 and is located eastern end of the Colón Main Square facing the town hall. Curiously the towers have been remodeled two times, one when lightning struck the tower and the second when the earthquake on 1918 destroyed on tower and affected the other one.

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The town square of Mayagüez, “Plaza Colón” on a quiet Thursday morning. The town square was built in 1760, near the city foundation. The town square has been remodeled through the years, under majors Benjamín Cole and José Guillermo.

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Hilton Pérez García, enjoying a “normal day” at his stand of traditional candy on the town square of Cabo Rojo on a Thursday afternoon. Throughout the day he has witnessed how the environment around the town square changed, with students early in the morning, business men at noon and at night he saw normal adult people. “I like weekends because on Saturday you see more adult people coming to the town square to enjoy the activities and on Sundays we have more like a family environment.”

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Papa’s pizza owner Wilhelm Rodríguez and one of his employees posing for a photo in the local business of Cabo Rojo Papa’s pizza on recent Thursday at noon. Wilhelm Rodríguez participated and won competitions internationally and also appeared in renowned TV channels like ESPN and Food Network. “I feel really proud because I started from the bottom working in maintenance cleaning bathrooms and tables, then I started working here and learned all kinds of tricks and here I am as the owner of the place.”

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The San Miguel Arcángel Church standing on the side of the town square in Cabo Rojo. The San Miguel Arcángel Church, a Roman Catholic parish church was built in 1783. The monument you see at the right is of Salvador Brau, he was a Puerto Rican journalist, poet, writer and renowned historian born in Cabo Rojo.

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The “Plaza de Recreo Dr. Ramón Emeterio Betances” exhibiting a monument to Betances, who was born in Cabo Rojo. Dr. Ramón Emeterio Betances was a Puerto Rican nationalist who is considered to be the father of the Puerto Rican independence movement and was the primary instigator of the Grito de Lares. This is the only town square with the Puerto Rican flag that has no American Flag accompanying it; instead it has the flag of Cabo Rojo and the flag of Lares.

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Añasco resident Pedro Álvarez skating in the town square of Añasco. Álvarez began skating only a few months ago, but he has had many other hobies in the past. “Besides skating I’ve always been a collector of classic videogames, like for the Atari”.

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Ex-horse trainer Crucito Rosa Millayes selling barbeque food at the corner of the Añasco Town Square. Rosa started selling food at the town square when he injured his back and had to stop training horses for a living. “I see working here selling food as one of the new opportunities that life has given me,” however the majority of his customers are students from the school across the street, a school which is included within the 100 schools that will close.

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San Antonio Abad Parish building on a recent Tuesday morning. The original church was built around 1733, and then it was remodeled in 1801. The bell towers has two bells; of 800 pounds and over 500 pounds, with a series of small bells from the original church.

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In the José Adolfo Pesante Bracetti town square a monument recreates the taínos drowning the Spaniard Salcedo. This town square was built to the measurements of 486 meters of length and 232 meters of width, and became the second biggest town square in Puerto Rico. This plaza also contains monuments to Dr. Manuel García de Quevedo, Mariana Bracetti, and José Adolfo Pesante Bracetti.

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The Brother’s Pizza employee Francisco Muñiz standing behind the counter during his shift. Muñiz has always enjoyed talking to customers who frequent the restaurant and takes interest in getting to know them. “I have lived my whole life in Rincón, it is good here, these are my people”.

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Ex-fireman Isaías “Bombero” Hernández Vives drinking coffee in front of The Brother’s Pizza restaurant in Rincón. Hernández was a fireman for 32 years and was born in Ponce, then moved to San Juan and later on to Rincón. “I never liked math, but when I became a fireman I had to pick up some math books and became instructor for the new trainees”.

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St. Rose of Lima Parish standing next to the “Plaza de Recreo” on a recent Tuesday morning. Founded in 1789, at that time it had two employers, St. Rose of Lima and San Antonio de Padua. It is said by local Isaías Hernández that St. Rose of Lima was born in Puerto Rico and Fled to Perú.

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The Rincón town square, this town square was named after Alfredo Raffucci Bayron. Alfredo Raffucci Bayron was the first elected mayor for Rincón and he was the mayor for 32 years. The Alfredo Raffuci town square was reconstructed completely in the year of 2004 and has a fountain, and an amphitheatre.

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