Finding True Love

Falling in love is one of the most fantastic and magical journeys we can experience in our lives. The beauty that crowns The Island of Enchantment makes Puerto Rico one of the most exciting regions in the world. For those who would like to celebrate their wedding or honeymoon, this is the place to do it. Magic is at your reach everywhere in the island; but, just know that you don’t have to be with someone to find it.

Sunset in Aguadilla
Sunset in Aguadilla

I remember my first kiss during my younger days in Puerto Rico, promising a forever to my boyfriend while we watched a breathtaking sunset. I used to write love poems and believed in true love. However, as the years went by, my heart got broken more than once, and, to protect me from getting hurt again, I believed that true love wasn’t for me.

After spending the holidays in my beloved island, I decided to share through this blog about the magic that is continuously flowing there.  Although my voice warned me, that unless I allow my soul to do the writing, I will not get the inspiration, I am seeking.

From the first moment I started compiling my articles on Puerto Rico, a series of events mysteriously unfolded. Consecutive dreams of the Indian Taínos hunted me, unexpectedly manifesting the resources to visit Puerto Rico. Upon my arrival, as I was exploring places to write about, I was also going on a soul journey.

While I was driving from San Juan to Aguadilla, my native town in the Northwest coast of Puerto Rico, I was so thrilled because I could feel that something extraordinary was about to happen during that trip. Hunting me a succession of strange dreams when I was there, on my first night, I woke up in the middle of the night hearing my deceased father whispering a secret into my ear. The vibrant and full moon of that evening was shining across the bright sky. While I was trying to recall what my dad murmured, I fell asleep again, hearing in my dreams a little girl saying“enamórate” meaning “fall in love.”

The following day, I cruised around Aguadilla, seeking for spectacular twilights.  Painting the horizon with metallic and vibrant hues, Mother Nature loves to exhibit spectacular sunsets in the rural and small town that is surrounded by the blue Caribbean Sea.

Aguadilla Sunset by Jerry Valentín
Aguadilla Sunset
by Jerry Valentín

Heading to the Western coast and to what has known the road to happiness, Rincón is considered one of the most romantic and charming towns in the world.  We took an excursion in a boat to watch a whale, bringing back memories of my younger days when I spotted a few whales from the beaches of Aguadilla and Isabela. That night the dream of the little girl returned, urging me to let go. “Let go of what?”  I asked, to only hear the melody of the coquí soothing my dreams.

San Felipe Fort at Old San Juan by Ricardo Justino
San Felipe Fort
at Old San Juan
by Ricardo Justino

In old San Juan, the sound of congas and drums hypnotized my body that was rhythmically swaying with the compass of the music. The festive atmosphere of the ancient city, surrounded by the ancient forts and the majestic ocean, hosts a home for many ghosts. Legends that go back to our indigenous and Columbus’s time claim that the ghosts of murdered lovers are seen throughout the streets. I was able to perceive the presence of those spirits that promise eternity to their loved ones.

Old San Juan at night
Old San Juan at night

Only 8 miles from the coast of Puerto Rico, I went to Viequez Island with my daughter. During a moonless night, we glided through the secluded mangles in Mosquito Bay, kayaking through the dark canal to one of the most bioluminescent bays in the world.  Swimming in the sparkling waters while a conglomeration of shooting stars was rhythmically falling from the heavens, I saw bright clouds drawing a heart in the sky.

The day before I left Puerto Rico, I went hiking by myself in the Dwarf Forest at El Yunque. Once I reached the weird world over 3,000 feet above sea level, I laid down on a rug of foliage to rest. As I contemplated the clouds passing by, I gratefully admired the island from such a mystical dimension. Attempting to connect with my inner being, I closed my eyes for a few minutes, then opened them, blinking at the vision of a beautiful Indian Taína that was standing in front of me.

El Yunque Trails Ricardo Justino
El Yunque Trails
Ricardo Justino

Wondering if I were in some trance, I asked her if this was a dream. She talked for a long time and, even though I couldn’t recognize most of the words she said, I was able to understand her. She told me the Taínos knew that their lives begin in an invisible world, created from within. She mentioned quantum physics, multi-dimensions, and physical laws, explaining how nature plays such an important role in our lives.

She also told me she was bringing me a gift and urged me to let go of the past. She said we resist our circumstances when we don’t want to let go. When I asked for her name, she whispered Maniyio, promising me a magical life if I accepted her gift. As I realized I needed to go back, I felt overwhelmed by her vision and the talk, not wanting to leave.

Accepting her gift, while I hiked down to my car; I realized through my dad’s dream, the little girl telling me enamórate and Maniyio’s vision that true love must be found within me. The best gift I could have ever received was the one Maniyio gave me, helping me to understand that I don’t need to fear to get hurt anymore because real love is the manifestation of discovering my true self.

By Jerry Valentín
By Jerry Valentín

A Tropical Christmas

One of the things I like so much about Christmas is that magic seems to intensify its glowing magnificence through nature. The first time I saw snow, it seemed Mother Nature was covering the ground with a white carpet, transforming it a shower of soft raindrops into iridescent feathers. Overwhelmed with a marvelous feeling, I believed the sky was playing a heavenly melody while a silent musical note was hitting the snowy ground.Asalto-Navideño-Logo

Through the winter solstice, the chilly air, and still nights, the white Holidays are cherished with fireplaces, eggnog, and mistletoe. While the custom of singing joyful carols in the streets is very popular in the United States, Christmas in Puerto Rico cultivates a joyous celebration that represents the authenticity of the people through its culture.

As much as I love a white Christmas, La Navidad Boricua, meaning a Puerto Rican Christmas, is very magical. If you can experience it, an enchanting spell will touch you by shifting your perception and altering your senses with a romantic veil. Feeling a flirtatious breeze provoking your body, the spirit of the dancer will possess you. As you swing to the beat of rhythmical sounds resonating everywhere, your legs, your hips, and your arms will swirl with the frisky air. Dancing is like breathing there, so as you breathe, your spirit will carry you with a harmonious tone, inviting your body to sway with joy throughout the day.

While you must warm clothes during a White Christmas, the climate during the tropical Navidad is what I considered so perfect. Simplicity is expressed throughout the day without humidity by wearing shorts and sandals, and you are welcomed by the charming evening with a silk stole. At night, the Christmas lights and the bright stars in the sky are surrounded by the majestic Caribbean Sea that seems to be creating a symphony of twinkling lights.

Las parrandas, known as the Puerto Rican carols, fill the night with all kind of percussion instruments, accompanying the cheerful voices that are announcing a party is just beginning. Everywhere you see everyone celebrating a fiesta. At night, the locals gather with all kind of musical tools to go from house to house, assaulting their friend’s homes with songs that express a desire to dance, drink, and eat.

The sound of the coquí, the Puerto Rican miniature frog, seems to be louder on La Navidad than the rest of the year because nature is in harmony with the physical laws. The tenderness of the wind caresses the intensity of the moon, embracing the brightness of the sun. By arousing the splendor of the ocean, magic is reflected in the Island of Enchantment.

A religious tradition celebrates a mass right before dawn each of the 12 days before Jesus Christ was born to prepare the island for joy, peace, and love. On Christmas Eve and Day, La Navidad is symbolized with angels reminding us that miracles are waiting for us to receive them. Before the little children go early to bed, they leave cookies and milk for Santa and his reindeer, hoping the magical night will fly away so they can see what Santa brought them.

On New Year’s Eve, the vibrant stars, glowing moon, and the ocean waves compete with the fireworks that take over that evening. Several superstitious rituals that bring us good luck and fortune during the New Year are whispered by our ancestors, allowing the spirit of the dancer to flow through us. A lechón asao (roasted pork) is deliciously prepared, complementing it with pasteles (plantains pies stuffed with meat and seafood), arroz con pollo, mofongo, and yautía.

The children of the United States start the season by awaiting the arrival of Santa Claus, ending the merry festivities right after the New Year. In Puerto Rico, on January 6, Los Tres Reyes Magos (Three Wise Men) travel on their horses through Belén to bring gifts to all the children of the Island. The night before, they leave a basket or shoe box with hay for the horses. Joy take over the atmosphere of the Island while the Reyes Magos and the musicians go around the pueblos (towns) announcing their arrival.

This event is celebrated the night before with a velorio (wake) in honor of the Wise Men that are on their way.  Aguinaldos puertorriqueños, known as typical songs, are dedicated to Baby Jesus, who was already born on December 25. Serving a big asopao (a traditional stew) along with coquito, a delicious Puerto Rican eggnog, an assortment of typical tasty desserts is prepared throughout the holiday season.

I am grateful for for experiencing the gift of a solemn white Christmas. However, once you allow the spell of La Navidad puertorriqueña touch you, nothing will ever be the same. Through the breeze, you will hear the blissful chants of our indigenous Taínos whispering secrets of wisdom. Through the opulence of the stars, and in each falling star, you will hear the angels singing that dreams do come true.  Through the movement of the ocean waves, you will discover joy, peace and love within you.

¡Feliz Navidad!

The Gift of Mother Nature

The most rewarding wonders of nature are those that are continuously overwhelming us with so much enchantment. Regardless of the adversities, we might be facing, just by letting Mother Nature comfort us, we may find the peace that will enlighten our path.

As you can see the blessing in a joyful flock of birds flying across the horizon right when the sun is descending, a shower will paint a rainbow throughout the sky. At night, sparkling fireflies give you the illusion that little falling stars are sprinkling you with a magical dust. Regardless of how bad you think your day might be, let go of yourself, and through the playful breeze feel the tender touch of blissful butterflies blowing kisses at you.

The marvelous gifts of Mother Earth are found anywhere in the world. In Puerto Rico, even if you are not able to see him, when you hear Ko-kee,  Ko-kee, the native frog that can only be found there is joyfully welcoming you to the Island of Enchantment. Just know that this tiny frog known as the coquí is a gift from Mother Nature to bring magic into your life.

Pronounced “ko-kee” the little musical tree frog became the official mascot of Puerto Rico during the primitive times when our indigenous ancestors the Taínos incorporated the symbol of the coquí in their artwork. The Taínos believed the diminutive amphibian,  which they considered a magical frog, knew the language of the stars.

A gift from Mother Nature
The gift from Mother Nature

Belonging to the Eleutherodactylus family, the name means “free toes” because unlike many frogs, they don’t have webbed feet. Their special disks or toe pads allow them to climb vertically, clinging to trees and jumping over 3,000 feet tall, giving us the illusion that they can fly.

These miniature native frogs are 1 to 2 inches and weigh between 2 and 4 ounces. Inhabiting in forests, mountains, and urban areas, they lay their eggs on palm trees leaves or other terrestrial plants. Sometimes abandoned birds’ nests become their new home, laying the female from 16 to 40 eggs, about 4 to 6 times a year. When they hatch, only 2 of the species sing, which is the forest and the common coquí, reaching maturity at eight months.

The male is the only one that sings, producing a high pitch sound to attract females and to set his territory during the breeding season. A legend claims that it was the coquí who became the pioneer of the “Serenade” when a man wanted to let his beloved one know how much he loved her.

Of 16 species of the coquí, three are already extinct. Eleven of those only live in Puerto Rico and have become endangered. The glorious symphony we used to hear over 20 years ago is not as intense as it used to be. Besides the coquís having a low reproduction rate, their habit is destroyed each time trees are killed. As the population increases, our magical gift from nature is decreasing.

Most of these little creatures live in the rainforest. The “duende” coquí will only survive at the Dwarf Forest, El Yunque. He is the tiniest frog of all the species, measuring about 15 mm. The Taínos believed the sublime land was sacred because it was where their God Yocahú reigned; considering the “duende” coquí a beautiful amphibian.

El Duende Coquí USDA Forest Service
El Duende Coquí
USDA Forest Service

Mistakenly transported in a cargo of plants that were carried to Hawaii, several years ago our coquís found a new home there. However, while the Puerto Ricans love to hear their serenade at night, the Hawaiians find annoying their sound. Even though USDA Wildlife Services has come up with a plan to eradicate the little frogs in Hawaii, many people, especially Puerto Ricans, are outraged by the killing of the Puerto Rican mascot.

Wishing to have a tiny coquí in their surroundings outside of the island, some people have tried to carry the little frogs deliberately out of Puerto Rico. As a result, it is now a felony to transport coquís.

Just like the Indian Taínos, some natives believe that by wearing the symbol of a coquí, it would bring them good luck. Others hope to find the peace that will take them to the dream world by listening to the lovely serenade of the coquís right before going to sleep. And those like me that are always grateful and joyful when we recognize the pleasant melody reminding us of the magic that is welcoming us in the Island of Enchantment.

The Portal of La Ceiba

That was the first time Maniyio experienced anger. Desperation replaced the peace that always crowned her had been replaced by desperation. Fear was an unfamiliar and cruel threat that was overwhelming her. While she laid down under the colossal and ancient tree that would always bring her comfort, Maniyio stared at the glowing stars with a broken heart.

La Ceiba Tree
La Ceiba Tree

She grew up in a small town of La Cordillera Central of the beautiful island they called Borinkén.  As the daughter of Abey, the cacique (chief) of the Indians Taíno tribe, Maniyio was always surrounded by love and joy. Remembering with nostalgia those years when her island was a magical paradise, a river of tears inundated her irritated eyes during that lonely night.

While she tightly embraced the huge trunk of the mighty tree, she contemplated the movement of the breeze, rhythmically flowing with the shadows of that night. A chilly silence penetrated into the deepest part of the forest. Quietly staring at her, the owl that always kept her company was reflecting in his smoky eyes the pain that was tormenting her soul.

Maniyio learned at a very early age that the sacred tree, known as La Ceiba was the portal to higher spiritual realms. As a little girl, she liked to spend hours visiting the primitive tree.

Transiting to a higher dimension through the magical channel of its roots, she was able to communicate with the great spirits, gaining the wisdom in a short time that could take many lives for others to acquire. Recognizing Maniyio had been blessed with a very special gift, Alonso, who was the bohíque (priest or medicine man) of the tribe, became her mentor on her six birthday.

Preparing the beautiful Indian Princess for her life mission, he taught her that there were five directions in this world. In addition to the north, south, east, and west, the fifth one was an etheric tube that went from the bottom of the ocean through the earth and into the center of the skies. This direction reached out from the roots of the tree and the great branches that were supported by the heavens.

Her keen ability to communicate with the great spirits was so impressive; however, upon her fifteenth birthday, Maniyio had a premonition that frightened her. In search of some answers, she visited La Ceiba, hearing that big changes were rapidly approaching her.

A couple of days later, the Spaniards invaded Borinkén, transforming their beautiful island into a prison when they colonized the land. That was the first time the Taínos experienced hatred toward the Spaniards. The warmth and trust they offered the Spanish soldiers quickly vanished, as the Indians realized that the Spanish took their freedom away.

Shortly after a Spanish captain named Hernán arrived at the island, he noticed the physical beauty of Maniyio. Trying to conquer her, he brought her exceptional gifts. However, her heart belonged to, the right hand of her father; Caguano decided to confront Hernán to warn him that Maniyio would never be his. Even though he had no intention to attack the Spaniards, one of Hernán’s soldiers killed him.

As a result, a war between the Taínos and the Spaniards took place. Maniyio’s heart was shattered into pieces when they brought Caguano’s dead body to her. With only a few months away from their wedding, she had been joyously planning their big day.

During the war between the Taínos and the Spaniards, many other Indians died too. Fearing for her parent’s life, she went to the magical tree for help.

–I am so angry.– Maniyio cried out with shadows in her eyes.

–What answers would you like to get tonight?  —La Ceiba asked her with a compelling and compassionate voice.

–How can I let go of this emotion? –Maniyio implored feeling abandoned for the first time in her life.

–Fear is such a powerful emotion but, in reality, is just a perception that the limited mind creates.–The tree said with a warm and soothing tone.

–Why is Yocahú allowing so much misery?–

–You made a pact with your soul before you incarnated this life. Deep down you know that pain can strengthen your spirit. You agreed to go on this journey so you could learn and teach the lesson. When you were much younger, you were able to reach higher dimensions through me. Center your soul in love and once you do it, you will understand that fear is the opposite emotion of faith and hope.– La Ceiba stated, reassuring her that even though she was feeling weak and hopeless, the spirits of the Spaniards had a long way to gain consciousness.

–Why did Caguano have to die? Help me to understand why this was supposed to happen?–Maniyio protested, her wisdom blinded by the anguish of losing her beloved Caguano. Momentarily, La Ceiba’s branches led her to the realm of the great spirits in the heavens. Becoming a portal to the mystery of death, the spirit of Caguano reached out to her.

–My beloved Maniyio, I will always love you. I’m sorry for leaving you, but you must continue with your mission.– Caguano’s spirit declared through the gentle movement of the branches.

–My mission? What do you mean? Because of me, you and other members of the tribe died. Maniyio’s reply denoted desperation.

–There is always a reason for everything in life. Yocahú allowed this to happen because our children will have to learn to survive in a new world.– Caguano’s spirit firmly stated while the gentle breeze cleaned her tears.

–What children are you talking? Now that you are dead, we won’t be able to have children.–

–Life is a continuous cycle. Everything happens simultaneously. That is why time is only a perception. This moment is the only reality. Even though I was killed in this dimension, there are others where we are together, already married with children. Life is magical.– As she heard Caguano’s spirit say those words, Maniyio was able to see his loving and hopeful smile.

–That is how I felt until the Spaniards showed up to kill you.– Maniyio said, desperately clinging to his spirit. The Spaniards are here to teach us that there is a new dimension where fear and hate is very powerful. It is your responsibility as the spiritual master you are becoming to show others who we are. You learned through La Ceiba that we are powerful spiritual beings inside a human body–

–I can’t understand why this had to happen.–

–The pain you are experiencing is blinding your wisdom, but once you find the comfort and healing, you will be able to understand that even if our tribes disappear, our legacy will always survive.–

–By why do we deserve this? How can I help others to understand what I can’t understand myself? What happened to our magic?–

–The magic is found within. No one can take that away from you. We learned through Juracán that there is evil. Even though we feared it, we didn’t experience it. We are very lucky to be Taínos because our consciousness allows us to surpass the illusion of this third dimension we are facing with the Spaniards.–

Even though Maniyio couldn’t change the new world where the colonizers were destroying their dreams, she was able to understand that she could change her reality from within. With the guidance of La Ceiba, Maniyio shared her wisdom and knowledge with her people and mastered her ability to transit from one world to another in the spirit world.

While the Spanish soldiers claimed victory in the new world they discovered, the Taínos began to disappear rapidly from this earth by ascending to a higher plane. During that time of oppression, the ancient and sacred tree, also known as The Tree of Life became the portal to an invisible world that reigned in the most sublime and magical lands of Borinkén.

Searching for my Soul’s Name

Surrounded by the splendor of the full moon, I stared at the reflection of the woman who was standing in front of a mirror and asked her. “Does my soul have a name?” With a curious smile, she said, “I’m not that deep, why don’t you ask your inner self?”

A few days went by, and I forgot about my soul’s name. The circumstances and responsibilities of my busy days transformed me into a robot and instead of listening to my inner voice, I reacted to what my ego kept telling me to think, to feel, and to do.

When I noticed that the moon was quietly rotating somewhere in the universe away from Earth, and the glowing stars were shooting kisses to our planet, I asked my inner self for my soul’s name. “Seek for it in Puerto Rico,” I heard through the fresh wind of autumn.

A couple of months later, I went on a quest to The Island of Enchantment. When the airplane landed, I cherished the grateful applauses of joyful passengers for our arrival. After getting a rental car, I left with my daughter to Aguadilla in the Northwest.4775467579_ecec173f0f_z

The full moon of that stormy night was majestically illuminating the ocean that placidly borders the northwest coast of the island. When I arrived in Aguadilla, and I saw my loving mother happily welcoming us, a shower of memories about my childhood overwhelmed me. “Let the little girl in you express her spontaneity,” I heard, as my strange dreams possessed me that night.

In my dreams, my father, who died two decades ago, was whispering my soul’s name in my ear the moment I opened my eyes. In that instant, I felt a translucent feather touching my spirit. Through the shadows of that night, I heard the echo of the wind hovering far away in a still silence. I tried to remember the dream with my dad, but instead, I fell asleep again, allowing the magnificent feather to tenderly stroke my heart.

desecheo crash boat pelican
Sunset in Aguadilla
Taken by Jerry Valentín

The next morning, I went to my hometown beach, Crash Boat. The rhythm of the ocean waves metamorphosed into off-white bubbles like musical notes on the shore. As I dived into the crystal and refreshing water letting my body float in the deep ocean, I was urged to let go of any fear that was firmly holding my resistance.

I returned to those days when magic would anchor me in a world of wonder, and the girl within dared me to soar high. As the years became decades, the little girl sadly stared at the woman who had become afraid to fly. Hoping she would know my soul’s name, she suggested I could find it in the most magical place on the island.

At the highest peak of El Yunque, throughout the mystical fog of the forest, I heard the chants of our indigenous ancestors, the Taínos, commanding me to entwine my spirit with the quietness of the woodland. Contemplating how the never-ending horizon of the magnificent mountain was transforming the bright shadows into crystal raindrops, I felt one with the magical dust that was spraying the land.

El Yunque Rainforest
El Yunque Rainforest

Laying down in the dwarf forest where stunted trees become gnomes, I was covered with a fuzzy blanket while my soul held me tight between the clouds of the rain forest. “When will my soul’s name be revealed?” I asked the little trees that seemed to be dancing, rhythmically moving their skinny and long branches. “When you can let go of the search, you will become the answer,” I heard from the gnomes, the chants, and the spirits that live in the most sacred places in Puerto Rico.

Kayaking with my daughter through a dark mangrove canal on a moonless night, I observed how the glowing sky was shining with the same intensity as the luminescent bay of Laguna Beach in Fajardo. While abundant falling stars were descending like joyful little birds, I felt so powerful at the explicit belief that I am so much more than a human being.

At my sister’s church, I felt the Omnipresence of God flowing throughout those walls while everybody sang joyful hymns with so much devotion, giving thanks for the love that touched so many of us. A silent tear rolled down my cheeks, dissolving into the sob that was oppressing my broken heart into a blissful instant. Spontaneous moments supported by the love of my family revealed me that true happiness is found within.

A glorious sunset
A beautiful evening
Taken by Jerry Valentín

After journeying to the island searching for a magical answer that could show me how to love myself, one glorious morning the giggles of the little girl within woke me up.  She tenderly whispered that the name of my soul is like the notes of a song synchronizing its vibrations. Just like music is motion in time, my mind carries on its melodic movement through eternity, becoming the mystery of its name a peaceful and infinite silence.

The Magical Bays of Puerto Rico

Imagine yourself on a moonless night, gliding along in a kayak through the calm waters of a secluded lagoon sheltered by mangrove trees. While you paddle through a tropical and dark canal, the shore is faintly illuminated by a group of spectacular constellations. The soft breeze is joyfully playing with the tide of the ocean. Magic is within your reach. As you look up at the sky, full shooting stars are kissing the warm and sparkling waters of the sea.

Surrounded by the mystical, narrow passage of a coastal swamp, the only sound breaking the silence of that peaceful night are the raindrops that tenderly fall. While you contemplate the light shower illuminating the ocean, you wonder if there is a surreal world inhabiting Puerto Rico; and in that precise instant, you feel one with the universe.

by Andrea Massimini/Flickr
By Andrea Missimini

When you approach the magnificent bioluminescent bay in your kayak, a breathtaking show performed by mother nature begins to spray magically the ocean with a sparkling glitter, giving you the illusion that marine creatures are dancing like aquatic fireflies.

Beauty, mystery and magic entwine that moment, reminding you that life is narrowed down to instances of absolute bliss. I remember when my parents would take me to the glowing bay at La Parguera, in the southwest of Lajas. Back then the water was full of luminescence.  Sadly, throughout the years pollution has contaminated the bay, killing much of the mystical microorganisms.

During my most recent trip, I went with my daughter to Laguna Beach in Fajardo. Located in a natural reserve on the Northeast tip of Puerto Rico, this unique wonderland that comes alive with millions of glowing organisms provides an incredible experience, only found in very few places on earth. We paddled in harmony while we navigated in a kayak through a deep canal.

Kayaking at Glowing Bay
in Laguna Grande

The bioluminescence bay is still blessed after so many years with a healthy ecosystem due to the total preservation efforts that prohibit or decrease access to the bay by boat. Swimming is not allowed to protect the water from contamination by chemicals. Best seen on a moonless night, the majestic sky full of falling stars seems to be having a contest with the luminescent ocean to see which one will glimmer the most.

In earlier times, the bioluminescent inlet was considered an enigma. Some people believed that it was an alien base while others feared it was an evil place, afraid that the waters were venomous. After years of studies, it was concluded that a bio bay is a rare ecosystem containing millions of organisms called “dinoflagellates.” These micro-organisms from the plankton family, emit light through chemical reactions when the surrounding water is disturbed. While the moon is quietly elsewhere in the universe, the magical glow-in-the-dark effect is wondrous, like an aquatic fairy dust.

The pristine bay provides a unique habitat for these microorganisms. The mangrove forests that surround it are a vital source of nutrients for the organisms, which can’t survive in salty waters. Also, the Bay has to stay calm with a stable and warm temperature. The mangrove ecosystem is a bridge between terrestrial and marine environments. Besides protecting the bay from big waves and storms, they provide people with abundant supplies of wood, food and medicine.

Puerto Rico’s gift; Mosquito Bay in Viequez Island, located in the Northeast, is known as the brightest one, where pollution has not touched the enchanting tropical harbor. Because of its pristine ecosystem, it is the only phosphorescent bay in the island where you are allowed to swim.

As you dive into the bright neon green world of dinoflagellate, see your whole body covered in a radiant light. Imagine yourself as a being of light. Let the warm water dress you in a luminescent gown. Indulging in such a magical moment, you feel joyful and with a thankful heart, you cherish an experience that will stay with you forever.

Manifesting with the Moon

According to experts, magic is the art of producing illusions by invoking supernatural powers. I have always been fascinated with this idea. Since I was a little girl, I believed that magic in Puerto Rico is a manifestation of its magnificent nature. I imagined dwarfs and fairies playfully dancing in the mountains of the island.

Surrounded by crystal waters and breathtaking sunsets, I felt lucky to live in what is known today as the Island of Enchantment. At bedtime, my father liked to make up stories about magical kingdoms. My favorite one was about the fairies from another planet that came to explore the island and loving it so much, decided to stay. He vividly described these fairies as tiny transparent frogs that could almost fly. Evolving into coquís, they still enchant everybody who hears them sing.4775467579_ecec173f0f_z

There were so many times throughout my younger years when I looked at the night sky with fascination, witnessing the marvelous and magical show of the falling stars in the black heaven of my rural and small town. With the musical accompaniment of the breeze, I felt I could hear the moon during its lunar cycles, echoing the powerful chants of our indigenous Taínos.

The connection I had with nature as a girl inspired me to write. A persistent inner voice has always insisted I write the words I hear through the wind.  I remember to listen to the voices without being able to see their faces, referring them to invisible voices. They were real because they told me so many things I was able to confirm when I became an adult.

The first time I heard in school that the Taínos liked to perform a sacred  ceremony, I wondered if those invisible voices commanding me to write were our indigenous Taínos. Recognizing how powerful the moon was,  they celebrated a ritual during the full moon to honor Yocahú (their good god), Atabey (Mother Nature), and their ancestors. The ceremony lasted they celebrated a ritual during the full moon that lasted three days where dancing, fasting, drumming, chanting and praying was performed by everybody to honor Yocahú (their good god), Atabey (Mother Nature), and their ancestors.

The Taínos believed the new moon phase was optimal for planting and seeding their crops. They felt that the mysterious dark phase of a half-moon allows a period of ingestion before the fruits break through the soil and reach for the sunlight.

Just like our indigenous ancestors, many people continue to believe that the bright side of the moon, with its thin silver ring and mysterious unseen forces, offers a nurturing environment where our dreams can show roots before their miraculous manifestations begin to sprout and reach out to the stars.

After being absent from Puerto Rico for a few years, I was finally able to fly to my magical island on December 31 of 2012 and again on July 21 of this year. During both dates, I experienced a magical full moon intensified by the pleasant breeze and the serene waters of the sea.

On July 22, that night was very special because we had a super moon, which is the moon’s closest point to Earth for the monthly orbit.  During my stay there, every time I looked at the new moon and asked for a wish, assuring me the shining stars that it would be granted.

The Taínos planted seeds on the new moon and prayed for 14 days, honoring the lunar phases. Because the lunar cycle is, like the menstrual reporting period, 28 days, they believed women have within the rhythm of the universe. Crowned by a feminine aura, the moon is considered a powerful goddess with the potential to bring magic into your life by manifesting your desires.IMG_0124

Where you feel dissatisfied, I invite you to pay attention to the moon. It doesn’t matter where you are in this world. Beginning with the new moon, the mysterious darkness and thin silver ring is quietly and patiently waiting for you to express a desire with a grateful heart. Just know that the moon wants to grant you what you want.

Once you have done it, observe the beautiful moon emerging into its fullness for the next 14 days. Take a few minutes at night to contemplate the movement of the earth’s shadow across the firmament. Some nights you may only see clouds covering the satellite with a white gown. During each night remember to tell the moon your wish, believing that it is already granted, and it will be manifested at the perfect time.

Our highly intuitive Taínos left us a legacy of spiritual principles that are full of wisdom. If we honor their teachings, incorporating them into our lives, we will be able to create the life our heart desires. As for me, this connection with the moon is the first step in a beautiful and magical journey of dreams coming copy 2

Walking in the Clouds

As I walked through the misty air of El Yunque, I hiked to the top of the mountain that rises over 3,500 feet above sea level, known as El Toro Trail. The steep terrain and wet climate, surrounded by a wild and abundant vegetation, transported me to another world where everything seemed so small and far away.

La Mina Fall at El Yunque
La Mina Fall at El Yunque

I started with my daughter and nieces at Big Tree Trail, contemplating some of the trees that grow up to 125 feet tall with roots over 200 years old. When Hurricane Hugo hit the rainforest in 1989, it changed its course, causing the storm to miss the northwest of the island. Even though the robust and violent winds destroyed most of the woodland of El Yunque, the Tabonuco trees best resisted the hurricane. I observed the roots of the enormous trees, admiring its incredible force and remembering when my strength was tested.

Just a few years ago I was a spouse, a retailer, a successful business owner and in my small life, I was content. I realized how much I took for granted because my life unexpectedly turned upside down, and the harder I tried to shift things around, the worse the struggles became. Losses were striking me one by one. Simultaneously, my marriage ended, I was forced to close my store, losing my house shortly after that.

Anniversary at Felicity Gifts Shop
Anniversary at Felicity Gifts Shop

Feeling lost, lonely and abandoned, I had to start all over as a single parent. Depression and sadness overwhelmed me. The magic I felt since I was a little girl vanished. Longing to go home in 2012, I was able to spend New Year’s Eve in Puerto Rico. While I was there, my sadness miraculously disappeared through the incredible healing power of nature. A shift-aligned my mind with joy, realizing that the magic I thought I had lost had always been there, just like in those ancient trees.


I fell in love again with my beautiful island, and when I came back to Atlanta, I decided to begin this blog. Writing about Puerto Rico has filled my journey with enchantment, adventure, romance, and magic. The more I learned about Borinken, the prouder I feel as a Boricua. I begin each day applying small rituals in my routine that would fill my life with joy and magic. Loneliness and sadness are no longer present in my emotional atmosphere, as I became aware that we have two choices in this short life: to be happy or unhappy.

As a Latin woman, I love to dance, believing Puerto Ricans learn how to dance before learning how to walk. So instead of dwelling in worries, I discovered that the secret of feeling magic is in learning to let go. Once I was able to surrender my worries to a higher power, miracles continuously manifest in exciting and freeways.

During my second trip to the Island of Enchantment this summer, I went back to El Yunque to indulge in the bewildering atmosphere of the rainforest. Divided into four regions of woodland: Tabonuco, Palo Colorado, Sierra Palm and the Dwarf Forest. From Palo Colorado Forest, I hiked with my daughter and nieces to La Mina Falls. Even though there is only one season in Puerto Rico, I noticed that the leaves turn red in Colorado Forest when they are about to fall, just like in autumn. Inhaling the fresh air that graciously floats between the fog, I exhaled, letting go to just be in that glorious moment.

During the moderate hike of about 45 minutes, we passed a beautiful rushing river, canopied by a lush green vegetation and a steep pavement of rocks. We stopped at La Mina Falls, where the water cascades over a cliff into a pool. There were many people taking pictures and bathing in the cold waters. I heard someone wondering if those waters could have healing powers. I believe everything in El Yunque is magical and powerful, just like the Indian Taínos believed it is a sacred place because it was where Yocahú (their good god) and Atabey (the mother of nature) reigned.

Because it was raining and slippery, my daughter and nieces decided to wait for me there while I headed to Sierra Palm Forest. When I reached Mt. Britton peak that is over 3,000 feet above sea level, amazed by the overwhelming sights from the observation tower. Becoming the official tree of El Yunque, the Sierra palm fruit is the primary source of food for the endangered and rarely seen Puerto Rican parrot.

I continued my walk through the clouds, finding myself in the Dwarf Forest after hiking for another mile. Contemplating the fog moving in like a pearly white gauze, the rocky path, labyrinth of sweeping valleys and entangled vegetation seemed like another world. In this mystical land of stunted trees and uncertain climate, the woodland appears to establish communication with a universal intelligence.

View from the Dwarf Forest
View from the Dwarf Forest

I sat alone in this mist-cloaked mysterious land for a while, noticing how the trees transform into distorted dwarfs. Submerged in that world of clouds, I heard the dwarfs laughing, dancing, and chanting secrets of wisdom, as if in front of an audience.

Our indigenous ancestors communicated with the spirits that incarnated those old and mighty trees. Through the legacy of knowledge they left us and my connection with nature in Puerto Rico, Atabey became a guide, sharing with me principles that allowed me to create an exciting life, having Puerto Rico as a magical background.

UFOs at El Yunque

When I saw the movie “Pandora”, I felt it could have been filmed at El Yunque. Through the ethereal atmosphere of the forest, a portal to another dimension is hidden behind the passing clouds. Its spectacular views encompass the blue waters of the northern coastline and the easternmost tip of Puerto Rico. There is a veil of mystery that characterizes the prominent mountain, holding hidden secrets.

"marg6043; a member of", UFO in Puerto Rico and Military bases;

Officially known as the Caribbean National Rainforest, the 28,000 acres woodland was originally named by the Indian Taínos after the benevolent spirit of their god Yuquiyu, meaning in their language, forest of clouds. During the time Spain was ruling the island, the colonizers confused the name with El Yunque. In 1905, after the Spaniards had granted Puerto Rico to the United States, the oldest reserve in the occidental hemisphere became the only national rainforest in US territory.

Located in the Sierra of Luquillo, El Yunque has been a focal point of UFO and paranormal sighting since the Taínos were the first inhabitants of Borikén, believing them that the forest was a sacred mountain because its highest peak was the dwelling place of their deities. UFO researchers claim that our indigenous communicated with extraterrestrials, teaching them these “ancient astronauts”, known as aliens, the physical and spiritual laws of the universe. The Taínos believed that one of their space crafts may have crashed in the rainforest during the earlier times and that the aliens were gods. Much later the ship disappeared, but the energy merged with the aura of the forest.

By MidEastGui UFOs and the island of PR
By MidEastGui
UFOs and the island of PR

When Christopher Columbus discovered the island, he wrote in his journal that during his journeys, he saw strange lights coming from the mountain of what is known today as El Yunque. A mystical forest is an excellent place for paranormal activities to take place because of its place on the south side from the Bermuda Triangle. Strange Mayan figurines were mysteriously found in Puerto Rico. Just like the Mayan Indians, ufology analysts believe extraterrestrials are attracted to the energy that is found in the forest.

Known as one of the most visited places by UFOs in the world, serious investigations of this strange phenomenon are happening in Puerto Rico. Even though the mystery of the rainforest remains strictly secretive to the government; there is a theory that a subterranean extraterrestrial base exists inside the forest. Some scientists and researchers speculate that El Yunque is a UFO geomagnetic radiation base. Geomagnetic is known as the energy produced by a magnetic field that provides vital protection for keeping the earth atmosphere in the place.

Throughout the years, many people have seen strange lights hovering over the rainforest, and there have been several cases reported of people having encounters with reptile beings, humanoids figures and bizarre creatures inside El Yunque. Part of road 191, allowing the entrance to the forest is prohibited to the public and at night, witnesses have reported strange military activity. The forest is closed every day at 6:00 PM and there is a threat of shooting if trespassing takes place.

The mysterious forest serves as the home of thousands of endangered species of the island’s fauna and floral. While gleaming leaves surround you, shadowy trails sheltered by gigantic trees and the dim light of the sun rays, sparkling stones and wild vegetation; its beautiful and breathtaking scenery are accompanied by the melodious sound of the coquí, the puertorrican tree frog. However, many people are afraid of visiting the forest. What is the military personnel hiding inside the rainforest and what is about El Yunque that interests UFOs?

Over the years, many alien spaceships sightings have been reported, but the latest case that created controversy was in February of 1988 when a group of locals heard a loud sound. They all saw the crash and explosion of a UFO. The next morning, a television station showed up to videotape the incident; getting the military involved right away and announcing the television news right before airing it that their shooting had mysteriously disappeared.

During the various times, I have visited El Yunque, I haven’t witnessed any paranormal activity yet. However, I know some locals that have seen UFOs flying over the mountain. There is much controversy about the activity that takes place there. Strange balls of light coming from the mountain have been seen, many people have mysteriously disappeared and were never found, a military secret place is hidden inside the forest, sightings of the chupacabra and grey aliens have been reported, as well as numerous cases of abductions of extraterrestrials. It seems our government have been secretly collaborating with them for several years. Why are they keeping this from the public and when will they disclose the true about these beings? Who are they and why are they there?

Areyto – The Dance of the Taínos

Our primitive ancestors, the Indian Taínos celebrated their circumstances through a religious ceremony called Areyto. Music played a vital role in the history and culture of Borikén, named the Taínos gave to Puerto Rico, meaning in their language, the land of God.

Throughout thousands of years, the Areyto evolved into other genres of music and even when unfortunate circumstances could be devastating to the island; this art of science called music is the magical element that shifts sadness into bliss. It reminds Puerto Ricans that they can find the solutions to their problem through singing and dancing.

Starting with the national hymn of Puerto Rico, called La Borinqueña, the Indian Taínos left us a legacy of their customs and culture. The Areyto ceremony played a significant role in their social, political and religious life, and its purpose was to worship their ancestors and to seek spiritual guidance from the spirit world.

By performing dances and music, the community participated in the Areyto, and the festivities could go on for days. It usually took place in the central plaza of a village, called the Batey.  Also known as dance courts, this rectangular and vast area was surrounded by stones slabs, and decorated with carvings of zemís to hold the spirits of Yocahú and Atabey.

Petroglyph at Caguana Ceremonial Center
Petroglyph at Caguana Ceremonial Center

Taínos believed zemís had powers that affected their physical environments, such as the weather, health, death, and childbirth. The Carved zemís from stone or wood were made in all shapes and sizes, as well as adorned with gold and semiprecious stones.

Led by the cacique, which was the chief of the tribe, the Areyto was a religious ceremony, helping him the bohique, a shaman with supernatural powers. Before the ceremony, he painted or tattooed his body with zemís. Besides using medicine herbs, chants, tobacco, and maracas to create an immortal sound; magic was the most powerful element he used for healing. He understood that magic was perceived by being able to see far beyond his physical eyes. He mastered quantum physics, believing his world was a projection of his inner eyes.

Both the bohíque and the cacique inhaled cohoba seeds. The purpose of this hallucinating drug was to reach a state of mind that would transport them to the spirit world. There were times when they added the cohoba to the tobacco and ground shells, with the means to enhance its effectiveness.

Before beginning the Areyto ceremony, they would go through a purifying process by fasting or by inserting a stick in their throat to cause vomiting. Inhaling the Cohoba into the nose with tubes made of bones or wood, the bohíque, and the cacique’s state of hallucination was to communicate with their gods, hoping to receive guidance and answers.

To prepare for these ceremonies, the Taínos liked to paint their bodies with dyes made from plants and adorned their bodies with parrot feathers and jewelry made of shells. The caciques and bohíques wore capes decorated with feathers.

The Areyto began with a procession of the Taínos carrying baskets of cassava bread, and singing songs about the zemís. They also went through a cleansing process by pressing a stick down their throat and vomiting.

The woman brought cassava bread to the bohíques, who offered it to the zemís. Dancing, singing, and chanting followed, glorifying the deities and praying for prosperity and health. They created music with a wooden drum, made from a tree, called atambor. This instrument was accompanied by maracas, guiros, conch shell trumpets and flutes that were made from bones. When the indigenous were not performing, they sat on stones, while the caciques and bohíques sat on their stools.

Among the different reasons Areitos were celebrated, the visit of prominent guests was one of them. Fray Bartolomé de las Casas, a Spanish priest who lived in Puerto Rico during the Spanish colonization, described an Areyto ceremony as a beautiful and magical ritual where the Taínos expressed their essence by telling tales of their past circumstances and their ancestors to their children while they danced and sang.

Caguana Ceremonial Center, Dancing Court
Caguana Ceremonial Center, Dancing Court

Known as one of the largest Taíno settlements in Puerto Rico, the Ceremonial Plaza of Caguana was one of the preferred sites for the Taínos to celebrate the Areyto. Located in Ponce, this center is one of the largest and oldest plazas in the Caribbean, providing this site an ideal setting for archeologists to study the evolution of the Taíno culture. 

The historian believes the Areyto was a medium to escape this world and to reach higher dimensions. Even though only the cacique and the bohique were the ones establishing communication with higher spiritual realms, the purifying state they were all able to reach through the Areyto ceremony, would benefit each one of them, allowing them to receive grace, wisdom, and joy.