|The Alvarez family returns to Boriken to reconnect with their roots.|
The family delegation included Susan Alvarez, along with her two children, Kathleen and Charles, and her sisters Judith and Carmen Pagano, and Carmen’s two daughters Hyacinth and Heather. They started their journey on a Friday morning, visiting ceremonial centers between Ponce and Utuado crossing thru “Las Indierras” and the Cordillera Central mountain range. “The mountains always call me, I never felt more at home as when I was passing our beautiful, majestic mountains” said Carmen (Mita), the family matriarch.
With trip itinerary prepared by “Mountain Tours”, proprietor Roger Guayakan Hernandez was the official guide for the family. Hernandez is also a Liaison Officer for the United Confederation of Taíno People on the island. Their first stop was to Ponce's Tibes Ceremonial Center. At the Center’s museum, the many artifacts and informative dioramas complimented the orientation presented by Taíno community member Luis Santiago of Wakia Arawaka. This Center features a film explaining what researcher call the Igneri (Saladoid) culture to the so-called Pre-Taino who settled the site along the “Valley of Tibes” from around 300AD to 1000. The grounds feature seven "batei” and two large ceremonial "plazas".
|Kathleen, Susan, and Charles Alvarez at Caguana|
After a tasty roast “pernil”, pollo and “costillas “luncheon at Adjuntas family restaurant - "El Boriqua", the tour proceeded to Utuado's Caguana Indigenous Ceremonial Center thru the winding mountain road along the Adjuntas/Dos Bocas River Valley. The Caguana Ceremonial Center features 22 large stone petroglyphs lining the numerous, and large “batu (ballgame)” courts along the Tanama Valley hillside facing the spectacular “Semi” mountain peak. This Taino site has been occupied since 900AD indicative thru “Ostiones” artifacts found along with Capa style highly decorated ceramics (1280AD- 1500AD).
After passing thru the half century improvements (since the family’s time in the Diaspora) made to the Utuado area, the tour returned thru the old Camino Reale (King's Road Route 123), which is awaiting the last stage of the $20 million dollar connection between Adjuntas and Utuado to complete a new expressway Route 10 between Ponce and Arecibo. The 3,000 ft elevated rural central mountain range has kept this region relatively isolated. This continues as it has for the past 500 years holding the ancestral secrets of the many villagers who have settled along the many rivers and tributaries for the past few thousand years.