Archivo de ‘Life and Society’

EL COLOMBIANO, 100 years of constant evolution

Sábado, febrero 4th, 2012

Over the past 100 years, EL COLOMBIANO has evolved into a multi-platform brand of informational experiences for our audiences through a variety of print publications, magazines, websites, mobile applications, interaction with users and a well-established presence in social networks.

To welcome the centennial, EL COLOMBIANO adopted a new design with a European format that offers readers more convenience with perks like color, images, multimedia and immersion experiences in its contents. The remarkable changes are the product of a meticulous research process which resulted in a daily publication attuned to the lifestyles of today’s readers and reinforced by our journalistic tradition.

Last year, EL COLOMBIANO also began using the Manroland Uniset 75 printing press, which at 45 meters in length and 11 meters in height is capable of printing more issues in a fraction of the time and operates with minimal impact on the environment.

Face to face with the XXI century and its technological advances, EL COLOMBIANO will not be left behind and is determined to follow readers’ lead. With this in mind, the newspaper has ample presence in the digital world including but not limited to’s real time updates, multimedia and interactive options, and is focused on being a major presence for readers on their mobile devices and social networking sites.

Following a period of significant growth and development, EL COLOMBIANO has numerous publications that complement the newspaper and cater to different target audiences such as Q’Hubo, a periodical that specializes on stories from the streets, or the neighborhood publication, Gente, which has editions in four areas of the Aburrá Valley: El Poblado, Laureles, Belén and Envigado. Magazines and supplements like Viernes, Generación, Propiedades, Yok, EL COLOMBIANITO and Paladares are also a part of the EL COLOMBIANO family.

As it celebrates100 years, EL COLOMBIANO has its sight set on renovation, always remaining true to ethical principles and committed to constant evolution.

Sophia Vergara up for Emmy award

Viernes, julio 9th, 2010

Barranquilla native, Sophia Vergara, was nominated for an Emmy Award in the category of Best Supporting Actress for her role as larger-than-life Colombian, Gloria Delgado-Pritchett, in ABC’s Modern Family. The hilarious sitcom about the ins and outs of an anything-but-conventional family earned Vergara’s co-star, Julie Bowen, a nomination as well.

High fashion comes to Itagüí

Viernes, noviembre 6th, 2009

A new business model is born in Medellín specializing in fashion for wholesale buyers. It’s located in Itagüí and the difference is that it’s a showroom for the city’s new designers, for whom it may be difficult to start their own clothing line or open a store and who want to expand their business.

The idea has the support of the Medellín Cluster City Project which guarantees these entrepreneurs guidance, assistance and new ideas for growth.

Carlos Vives brings us Clasicos de la Provincia II

Martes, septiembre 29th, 2009

carlos-vives-colprensaThis October 21st will be 75 years since the birth of Carlos Huertas, one of the most important vallenato composers whose ‘El Cantor de Fonseca’ was recorded by Carlos Vives in an unforgettable version for his “Clásicos de la Provincia” more than 15 years ago.

For this reason as well as Vives’ love for the vallenato of La Guajira, and also because of his close friendship with Carlos Huertas Jr., he not only recorded another one of Huertas’ songs for the second installment of ‘Clásicos de la Provincia’ but it will also be the first radio release scheduled for next week.

“It’s a song about a poet who loses it all through the years and scolds women for leaving him alone”, said Carlos Vives during the launching of his partnership with the chain Exito, where his album can be purchased as of September 30th.

Starting this weekend, Colombians can purchase the first single from the album titled “La Muchachita” on the superstore’s website as well as preorder the full length album starting September 28th.

According to the artist this album had been in the works ever since the first volume was in production. “I always thought there should be more than one album so we could introduce more of our folklore, but the record company disagreed. Can you imagine what they would have sold had they listened to me?”

And he added, “with Clasicos de la Provincia we revolutionized Colombian music by taking traditional forms and mixing them with new patterns. Back then it was seen as disrespect for our folklore, but little by little it was understood and then made it to where it is today. With the second volume I feel we were much more disrespectful”.

It wasn’t easy for Carlos and his band “La Provincia” to select the songs for this second volume, which arrives a year after his “Pombo Musical” project and five after “El Rock de mi pueblo”.

“It was a hassle because we went all the way back into vallenato’s prehistory, and so there were lists and lists of songs. I think we have songs for a third and fourth volume of ‘Clasicos de la Provincia’ if the public wants them”.

“We won everything with original songs. Now we want to do the same with these classics, in honor of our folklore and its creators. How lovely would it be to bring a Grammy home to composers who are still alive or to the families of those who have passed”.

Although it’s hard for the singer to choose favorite songs from the album, among them is ‘La Cachaquita’, one he dedicates to his young daughter. “My baby is a ‘cachaquita’ and I want her to feel proud of it. Besides, there are few songs as lovely dedicated to women from Bogota”.

Grisales wants to come back, but to give back

Lunes, agosto 31st, 2009


Two violins, a viola and a violoncello, a classic quartet, is the gift Colombian luthier Jorge Grisales wants to offer Medellín and hopes to see in Antioquia’s Museum. Nowadays a resident of Cremona, Italy, Grisales also wants the instruments to be loaned, at the museum’s discretion, to certain musicians so that they may be played.

This instrument builder was born in Antioquia and grew up in the Buenos Aires neioghborhood, he makes it a point to return to the country every two years. At the age of 45 he specializes in making bow instruments and says that, for his life, he made the decision to be a great maker of instruments as opposed to a bad musician.

Caballo de Troya, a place to buy a piece of Colombia

Domingo, agosto 9th, 2009

dsc05060I’m on vacation these days and, fortunately for me, I get to spend it in my hometown Medellín, Colombia. From my experience as a proud ‘paisa’ living in the U.S., I figured it might be useful if I pointed out some of the things I cannot leave without doing every single year I visit, or some of the new things to do that I find.


Fruit made out of fique, the natural fiber of the fique plant, from Santander, Colombia.

I love the United States, don’t get me wrong, but there is something about this beautiful, chaotic valley called the ‘City of Eternal Spring’ that I just can’t live without, and every time I visit I try to soak up as much of it as I can.

When you walk into my home in the U.S., it’s hard to deny where I’m from. I display my nationality proudly and love getting compliments on some artifact I may have brought back from Colombia, usually from a store called Caballo de Troya (Trojan Horse), located on a winding road called Las Palmas that’s filled with little restaurants and places to stop on your way to and from Eastern Antioquia.


This Parcheesi board was made by the inmates of the maximum security prison in Itagui, Antioquia.

When it comes to Colombian craftsmanship, you seriously don’t need to look any further than this store and let me just say up front that they didn’t ask me to write this piece. I did get a discount for paying cash, but everyone does. I approached them for this article because I truly believe they have the best selection, and price-wise they’re comparable to anyone else.

This business started out 24 years ago when Bernarda Restrepo and her daughters Miriam, Doris and Marta would come into the city to sell skins; they eventually included planters and baskets among their products. Slowly they expanded and started a little store, just a mile or so from where they’re located now, and sold carefully selected items brought in from all parts of Colombia. Today it’s easily 3,500 sq ft of pottery, ceramics, sculptures, precolombian artifacts and skins and hammocks of course, which started it all and represent the majority of their sales.

dsc05063I usually speak to Nelson Marulanda (pictured left), who knows me as the nostalgic Colombian who lives in the United States and misses her hometown so much that each year she needs to pack her suitcases full of as many artifacts as she can manage to get past customs. He’s been working for the ladies for 19 years and knows where everything’s from and how it’s made.  dsc05046In all fairness, the other employees there are perfectly nice as well, I’m just used to dealing with him.

How else would I know that this container (pictured right) from Chocó, in the Colombian Pacific, is handmade with the fiber of guérregue palm and you dsc05049_editedcan actually fill it with water and it won’t leak?

Or that this elephant (below right) isn’t wood? It’s ceramic, not kidding, and finished so beautifully that it actually looks like solid wood.


A ‘mola’ is a true work of art and something really worth taking a minute to look at, since it’s not likely any of us will ever master it, or try it for that matter. It depicts either a geometric pattern (below) or some kind of country scene. They are handmade and use a reverse appliqué technique in which several layers are sewn together and parts of each layer are cut out to form the design; the edges are then sewn down.

The one Nelson is holding (left)is extremely elaborate and probably the size of a standard shower curtain, it costs 850.000 pesos, roughly US$425.00, which truly doesn’t dsc05039seem like a fair price for such intricate work.

If you buy something breakable tell them you’re traveling and they’ll wrap it. Nothing I have ever purchased from them has ever arrived broken, even after the delicate touch of a baggage handler…

Don’t even attempt to pull out a Discover Card though, they don’t take it nor does any other merchant in Colombia as far as I know. Maybe if enough of us users ask them they’ll take it down here, meanwhile just leave it at home, it’s useless here.


A 'carriel' is a handbag used by men in the Antioquia region since Colonial times; these are made in Jericó, Antioquia and nowadays are a fashion statement for women as well.


Masks made in Vaupés, in the Colombian Southeast bordering Brazil


The items sold in Caballo de Troya aren’t simply home décor, nor are they just souvenirs for tourists; they represent an entire culture and its talent. It’s a beautiful and legal way for millions of Colombian artisans to make a living.

The more we appreciate these arts, the more likely they are to be passed down through generations and continue to spread the image of Colombia in a beautiful, positive way. 

I never leave my country without taking a piece of it with me from Caballo de Troya. No item can ever replace actually being here, but somehow having it around helps.

Colombiamoda goes green

Miércoles, julio 15th, 2009

colombiamodaSaving the Earth plays a key role in Colombiamoda this year. The 20th edition of this fashion fair and trade show, which opens on July 27th, brings with it a sense of responsibility towards the environment.

The presence of new talent and brands representative of a whole new lifestyle has also been announced, in addition to a more commercial concept represented by the presence of a number of businesses inside the event.

The capacity of some runways has been increased and spaces have been divided differently this year. It’s an ecological version of design and fashion, with a commercial twist.

An example worth following

Martes, mayo 12th, 2009

Conscious of the fact that children are a priority in this country, foundations like Éxito and Bambi Homes work to benefit the physical, mental and nutritional wellbeing of children, especially during early childhood, a stage that is crucial to human development and left uncared for can lead to irreparable damage.

More than 10.000 children have passed through one of Bambi’s nine homes, an organization founded 24 years ago by Swiss Rupert Spillman.

Farewell, Totoya

Jueves, abril 30th, 2009

mariavictoriagomezmartinez_29042009Strength is not measured by the state of our bodies, but by the way we cope with the grief life throws at us and tests us with; it is that kind of strength that “Totoya”, as she was referred to by her family, was best known for.

Maria Victoria Gomez Martinez lost her hard-fought battle with cancer on Wednesday morning, leaving behind family and friends who knew her as the serene, strong woman they turned to when they needed the right piece of advice at the perfect time.

Here was a woman who knew how to step back and think, who carried herself with dignity and poise unlike any I have ever known; but who also had that dry sense of humor that made her so hilarious to listen to, especially when she talked about her childhood and the mischief she and her brother Juan used to get into. That humor came from her mother, Bertha Martinez, and her artistic ability from her father, Fernando Gomez Martinez; painting was a passion she shared with many of us fortunate enough to have some of her artwork adorning a wall in our home.

Whatever she said to do, you did it, not because you had to but because you knew that if it came from her, it was the right thing to do.

Whenever something happens I don’t think I can handle, something she used to say always comes to mind: “Fortunately God also invented time”.  Time is what we need for wounds to heal, time is what makes us stronger, along with the belief that we are not given more than we can handle.
She is survived by her husband Alfonso Ortiz, son and daughter-in-law Andres and Maria Gabriela, daughter Martha, and five grandchildren, as well as brothers, sisters, and many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

Arab fashion sewn silently

Jueves, octubre 2nd, 2008


They can’t hear the music, but the care and dedication they pour into their creations makes it seem like they can. A group of 6 deaf mutes, with the leadership of small business owner, Nelly Tabares Cuervo, manufacture the clothing for bellydancers.

The company, called Creaciones Salomé Niff, is run out of Tabares’ home and offers everything from beautifully crafted skirts and tops to accesories like bangles and tiaras.

Tabares, whose son is a deaf-mute, says it’s difficult for the handicapped to feel useful and accepted, so it is her dream to be able to give more people this chance through her business.

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