Category Archives: Panama Journal

Good Luck Mr. President

Yesterday was quite a day. I thought it went off well.

I especially liked the Inaugural Parade. Is there anything more patriotic than a marching band.

I have always liked listening to John Philip Souza. There is nothing better than the patriotic sounds that Souza created. I remember watching the movie Stars And Stripes Forever.

I watched it again last night on Kodi. It is nice to be able to search on Kodi and watch any movie.

I followed that movie with the James Cagney movie Yankee Doodle Dandy, which was about George M Cohen.

Souza and Cohen did a lot to raise the patriotic feeling in the US, when it was needed. The US needs to return to its patriotic roots. Both Cohen and Souza looked at the flag with reverence.

I hate seeing the flag burned. I have never felt that was a proper way to protest. When I see the flag burned, it burns me.

In my search for the two movies I wanted to watch last night, I found a YouTube of Bob Hope and James Cagney. These were performers, I admired. I can’t think of many actors now that I would give your 2 cents for.

Security Message for U.S. Citizens: Inauguration Day Demonstration on January 20, 2017 at 10a.m.

Following ACS Message was just sent out.

U.S. Embassy in Panama

Security Message for U.S. Citizens

January 20, 2017

The U.S. Embassy in Panama City informs U.S. citizens that it has received a report of at least one planned demonstration on January 20, 2017 in Panama City related to the Inauguration.  One demonstration is scheduled to begin 10:00a.m. in Parque Belisario Porras.  All U.S. citizens are reminded to remain diligent in your personal security.


U.S. Citizens should plan their travel accordingly and avoid all confrontations.  Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence.  You should avoid areas of demonstrations, and exercise caution if in the vicinity of any large gatherings, protests, or demonstrations.  Review your personal security plans; remain aware of your surroundings, including local events; and monitor local news stations for updates.  Maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security.


For further information about security in Panama:


  • See the State Department’s travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Panama Country Specific Information.



  • Contact the U.S. Embassy in Panama, located at Building 783, Demetrio Basilio Lakas Avenue Clayton, Panama, at +507-317-5030, 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Friday. After-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is +507-317-5000.


  • Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

Metro Optica Guest Review

I had mentioned in the past that Dra. Ines Chang had been recruiting ophthalmologists to office in Metro Optica. I just received a review from a Chiriqui Chatter reader who has recently visited one who is moving his practice to David.

Following is a guest post of the reader’s experience.

We now have an eye specialist full time in David. Dr. Andres Osigian moved to David from Panama City officially in December and set up his office with Dra. Ines Chang at Metro Optics.

I have developed glaucoma and now have cataracts. Dr. Osigian was very thorough, answers questions and is very careful in making sure you understand the medication. I now am using four kinds of drops, all must be applied at different times and spaced out over the day. He made sure I understood how to make this all work. He also showed me the most efficient way to get the drops in my eyes and not down my face, an excellent way to save on refilling prescriptions.

The doctor is still settling in and must move his equipment from Panama City and make arrangements to use hospital facilities. My next appointment is in May when we will make arrangements for surgery for the cataracts. I will report in to Don Ray after that to relate that experience.

I know Ines has worked very hard to get a specialist to David and she is very pleased to have Dr. Osigian with her. He speaks excellent English, as does the rest of the staff there. Having any kind of health problem is unsettling. Being able to go for help where you feel comfortable and confident makes it easier to deal with. Not having to travel to Panama City makes it even better.

Metro Optica is across the street from Super Star Computer in the following map.

Tom Needs Help

Request Has been satisfied. Thanks.

As the title says, Tome needs help. If you are coming from Pennsylvania to David, maybe you can help.

Hi Don,

I have a bag of special rivets I need to fix some legs here but the rivets  are in Pa. It weighs about 1 # or a little more.Would you ask your readers if any one coming soon and could carry them down.I would need about 3 days to mail them to them.They would be in a 1 qt ziplock so they can see what it is.

Thanks Don

Tom McCormack  

724.495.6310  US home
US Cell 412.519.5060  
Panama Cell 507 6 760 3439 (country code 011)

Permanent Tourist Changes in Panama

Things have changed for those that have lived in Panama as permanent tourists. As of now, when a tourist enters Panama, their time limit is for 90 days. If the tourist applies for an extension, he/she may remain another 90 days.

I may be wrong, but if I read the document, I will attach, correctly the extension will include a $50 fee.

I also understand that the time one must stay out of the country may be reverting back to what it was in the past, which was 72 hours. This would not be a new change but an enforcement of current requirements.

These changes should be a major discouragement to those that have found it easy to come to Panama live as a permanent tourist.

Personally, I like the changes. If people want to live here on a permanent basis, I think they need to apply and receive a permanent residency card.

Now this isn’t cheap either. When I did it in 2002, I paid about $400 plus fees for blood tests and other minor costs.

The last I heard, it was running at least $1,500 plus the other minor fees. To complicate it more, Panama now requires approval from the US FBI showing good conduct. This requires having a set of fingerprints sent to the FBI.

Many have found it difficult to get an acceptable set of prints while living in Panama. There is also a limited amount of time to get the prints and get the pensionado card and if the time limit is reached and all “I”s are not dotted and all “T”s are not crossed, they the process will begin again.

To read the current law changes, click HERE.

Tag – Who Needs A Tag

Panama seems to have a problem getting the replacement tags for cars. My car is registered for June, however, the new tag didn’t get to David until the middle of December.

I went through two extension letters, which granted permission to drive with an expired tag, before it finally got here. I have seen cars driving with tags 5 years old.

I guess this fellow decided he was tired of going to the office for a new letter.

Will’s Excellent Adventure 2017

Following is a guest post by William Wolff

William H Wolff
Alto Dorado, Boquete, Panama

January 06, 2017

My Journey

The spring of 2008, I was offered a job working as a Construction Manager at the expansion of the Panama Canal. During my interview I mentioned that I had been in this country only one time previously, during the early 1970’s. I was not fond of the climate then and I wasn’t certain I could adjust to the heat and humidity. At the end of the 3 day process my friend (who was my reference for this position) invited me to visit Boquete. I had never even heard the name previously.

We drove from Panama City through the country on a horrible road, the InterAmericana. It was primarily a two lane, miserably maintained, highway that was convincing me, with every pot hole, that I did not like this country. We stopped a few times to eat and to rest. This trip took over 8 hours. Continue reading Will’s Excellent Adventure 2017

In Case You Missed it

In case you missed it, 2017 has arrived. I find I am more grateful each day when I get out of bed. In fact I am happy I can get out of bed. I have seen so many of my friends pass.

I have been lax with the blog lately. Partly because of laziness, partly because of being busy, and partly because of enjoying Natalie visiting for the holidays.

Hopefully, life will return to normal now.

Life is Fragile – Enjoy Each Day.

Just one day after Carrie Fisher dies, her mother Debbie Reynolds followed her. The loss was too much to bear. I have seen this several times.

This needs to be a reminder to enjoy each day to the fullest and always let our family and friends know how much we care for them.

I just finished another Embassy case for a couple that had moved to Panama only about two months ago. They were loving it here. They loved the country. They loved the people.

Then one had a stoke and fell and was taken to Regional Hospital. This is where everyone is taken following similar accidents, unless someone intervenes.

The holidays are not a good time to be in need of medical attention in Panama. Doctors are not available often and sometimes it will take a couple of days for a specialist to come.

Death followed

We were able to take care of the hospital, the Doctor’s cause of death report (Desfuncion), the Panama death certificate and get the body sent for cremation in record time. The Embassy is preparing the US death certificates.

These sort of cases, at Christmas time, really affect me. However, it was amazing to see the support of those that were there to ease the pain.

As you go forward today, think of those you love. Call them and tell them. Life is fragile. Enjoy each day.

The Gift of Giving

I visited a short time yesterday with Tom McCormack. He was in his usual place doing what he does when he is in Panama and that is giving of himself to those less fortunate.

I think Tom told me that he has provided more than 400 legs. Talk about walking the walk.

This gentleman had come from Aguadulce to receive a little help from Tom.

This prosthetic would cost over $9K in the US and the cost from Tom is a smile and a handshake.

Other prosthetics run up to $25K and again the cost from Tom is zero.

At this time of year it is good to see the tears of joy instead of tears of sadness.