Puerto Rico is a magical place. Some people call it "The Enchanted Island" while others call it "Paradise", but one thing is for sure---- all who visits and leaves Puerto Rico misses Puerto Rico.
As a famous song says, "En mi Viejo San Juan" (In my Old San Juan) which was written by Noel Estrada. He wrote it for his brother Eloy who was deploy in 1942 to Panama during the WWII. Noel's brother had written to him how much he missed Puerto Rico -- that feeling of nostalgia for his motherland is what inspired Noel to write the song. You don't have to be Puerto Rican to relate to the lyrics of missing your homeland and the desire to return.
Here's a nice video that further explains the story behind this amazing and most beloved song:
Link: En Mi Viejo San Juan
The first time I visited Puerto Rico I was a child. I remember it well because it was the first time I flew in an airplane. My mother was nervous because on the flight to San Juan Airport, the airplane encountered turbulence; I had no idea what that was or what it meant but it was fun. I thought it was like a roller coaster. Cheerfully enjoying the ups and downs while my mother held onto the armrest. Finally, we landed and one thing that stuck with me ever since was the cheer that Puerto Rican did soon after the plane landed. They clapped with joy in celebration to be back home. Seriously, every trip I've done to Puerto Rico on every landing there is this ritual... I love it. It's so cool. Awesome, I found a neat video of this ritual... enjoy:
Over the years, I've gone back to enjoy not only the beauty, adventures, but also the family and friends. Puerto Rico's richness is found everywhere from the Rain Forest in El Yunque, the desert like forest in Guanica, west coastline ideal for surfing, beautiful beaches all around, and finally, the interior has a vastness of lush Mountains, Waterfalls, Forests and Lakes.
Furthermore, adding to the richness of Puerto Rico is it's people, culture and food. Looking back at moments I can't help but to miss this magical place.
I used to hike to the highest point and absorb the view. Here's one of the views:
There are times you can experience the following weather: Foggy, Sunny, Rainy, Cold and Hot; all in one day. That's Puerto Rico for y'ah, but it doesn't last long... usually it's sunny and warm with a soft breeze.
I enjoyed sightseeing the old San Juan...the old buildings full of color along the coast and the sound of the waves hitting the rocks was a delight.
I took so many photos and I'm glad because it's gonna be awhile before I return. Life has a way to change your path and for me, it's been a long time since I last updated this sight. During my absence a few years back Hurricane Irma and finally Hurricane Marie just battered Puerto Rico and left those living there struggling. The damage that Puerto Rico experience was unimaginable as I watched the news and desperate to make connect with my parents who decided to retire there. It took several days before I even knew they were alive and okay. Ever since I've done everything in my power to help them. I'm sure anyone who has a loved one out there has done the same. Even now help is still needed out there. As I watch the news and talk to friends and family I feel a loss.
And for a long time I felt a need, a desire to do something and as I learn more about Puerto Rico, something was manifesting within me. I wanted to celebrating every town in Puerto Rico and then it hit me, why not celebrate each town by creating a mini-Vejigante Mask wall art.
It took me a long time to figure out how I wanted to do this. I started to draw again and play around with the design, look, and feel of these mask. After weeks on end, one day I lost myself into my creations and began to feel it--- I felt the love for the town and was inspired by their flag. The first town I made was San Juan, Puerto Rico.
After I hung it on my wall, I was even more inspired and determine to create my own collection. The first batch I made included the following towns: Ponce, Arecibo, Lares, Utuado, Adjuntas, Ricon, Caguas, Vieques, Dorado, Abonito and Aguadilla.
I stepped back and was in awe at how beautiful they looked. Gradually, I continue to design and handmade each mask.
It takes me a few days to make one since the process is takes time. I prefer to have quality work and take my time to ensure it looks good. Here I am cleaning the edges:
As usual, I end up cutting myself in the process. Those tools are super sharp which makes them ideal for this work. So far, I have made about half of the towns in Puerto Rico.
Funny thing is as I worked on my own project, others started to encourage to make them available online, which I have. I have made them available at my SybariteStudio.Etsy.com store. I'm humbled by the wonderful response I've received. Here's one:
and another that appeared on my facebook page:
With every feedback, I'm encouraged to do more. I'm feeling the love for Puerto Rico. I'm learning more and more especially their passion to honor and remember their family roots... To read their story and to connect the younger generation to the older ones with a common love that celebrates their hometown which is why I'm "Celebrating Puerto Rico"
I'll continue to work on these mask...my goal being to have all of them all designed and available for you, too.