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Puerto Vallarta News NetworkVallarta Living | September 2008 

Vallarta Magic: It's For Real and It's The People!
email this pageprint this pageemail usPolly G. Vicars - PVNN

The United Nations International Day of Peace Poster

Ana Luisa Espinosa showing Vallarta's International Day of Peace to Husband

Vallarta's innovative poster

The Headliners, Erika and Vick of Arcane, for the September 21 Concert for Peace at the Westin with the proceeds going to Becas Vallarta

Isabel Manore with Margaret Tolton for the First Becas Fiesta at the Madison Avenue Pub, Toronto, Canada

Presentation of the first check from Isabel, Dave and friends on the beach at LaPalapa two days after Hurrican Kenna

Husband proudily displaying that first check - $30,000 pesos

Last year's check presented by Isabel and Dave and friends at the Becas Breakfast at La Hacienda - $10,000 dollars

Lucille Shipley and a painting from her workshop

Some of the workshop artists who donated to Becas

Gabriela Rojas Jim้nez of Connell & Associates and the Punta de Mita Foundation with Erica Lynn Martling, Executive Director of the Foundation

Lynne Bairstow of Dine Corporation and my "writing" mentor
Those of you who have read my books and articles in the local press, know that I truly believe that there is something magical about this paradise by the sea. But you may ask, "Is it truly magical? and if so, what is the source of this magic?"

My retort is how else can one explain why folks from all over the world vacation here for a few days and then decide to relocate "lock, stock and barrel" as Husband and I did more than twenty years ago. How else explain that the local business people, artisans and artists continue to support the more than twenty charities with their generous donations for the seemingly endless round of fund raisers, no matter how bad the economy, year after year? How else explain why doctors will see you immediately if needed, make house calls, and actually telephone to see how you are doing after a hospitalization?

Here is my explanation with a play on James Carville's mantra for the Clinton (Bill's, not Hillary's) presidential campaign: "It's the People - Stupid!" After the horrible devaluation of the peso almost fifteen years ago, I used those words as a chapter title in my book, Tales of Retirement in Paradise.* And today, I am moved to resurrect the phrase in light of the horrific economic crisis facing both the U.S., Mexico and the world. And, I still say, contrary to what anyone else says, that Vallarta magic is real and it isn't due to the gorgeous green mountains that surround us, nor the beautiful sea that laps our shores, nor the brilliant sun that brightens most of our days - it is the people!

Case in point: Ana Luisa Espinosa is a beautiful young Vallartense whom Husband and I are just getting to know. Of course, I have extolled the merits of Becas Vallarta to her as I do to everyone. A few weeks ago she came to me to tell me of her new passion - World Peace Day. Her eyes danced as she told me how affected and inspired she was after viewing Jeremy Gilley's film, "The Day After Peace." She told me that she wanted to organize an event in Vallarta to bring awareness and hopefully eventually fulfillment of World Peace and she wanted the proceeds from the event to go to Becas Vallarta. Well, she certainly got my attention with that!

The date was set by the United Nations as September 21, but the rest was up to her. I was amazed that she had already secured a place for the event, The Westin Hotel and Spa; she had already secured the headliners for the concert, Erika del Real and her brother Vick from the duet Arcane; she had already started recruiting sponsors! She told me she had never done anything like this in her life, but I could see that her inspiration was so profound that she was going to pull this off. I climbed onboard, as did the other Becas members.

Yesterday, with a smile as bright at Vallarta's sun, she brought Husband and me very professional posters, handouts and tickets to sell. This one young lady, with no backing from government or big business, had singlehandedly garnered almost twenty sponsors to help with the event!

Now all the rest of us have to do is buy our $200 peso tickets to the Sunday, September 21, 6:30 pm event. This event is sure to inspire all with the showing of the Jeremy Gilley movie, "The Day After Peace" and the incredible concert of music, familiar as well as new compositions, by Erika on the violin and Vick on the keyboards.

Ana Luisa is the epitome of Vallarta Magic and I say, "You go gal!" For tickets or information call 223-1372 or 322-135-0206 or email espinosana1(at) or phvicars(at)

But before leaving Ana and World Peace Day, I am moved to quote World Peace's web site, "International Day of Peace is also a Day of Cease fire – personal or political. Take this opportunity to make peace in your own relationships as well as impact the larger conflicts of our time. Imagine what a whole Day of Cease fire would mean to humankind."

But Vallarta Magic doesn't stop with Ana. Isabel and David Manore are the owners, builders and dynamic forces behind their incredibly successful Madison Avenue Pub and Madison Manor Boutique Hotel in Toronto, Canada. About six years ago they came to Vallarta, renovated an old property and now have duplicated that success with their fabulous Casa Isabel which they have dubbed "Madison South." As soon as they heard about Becas Vallarta, they began to help. They sold my books to their clients, gave free and discounted apartments to Becas members and their friends, bought tickets to every event we held and became dedicated to our effort to help education the bright, but economically challenged young people of Puerto Vallarta.

Five years ago, already renowned for staging some of Toronto's biggest and most successful special events, they started a new tradition, a Mexican Fiesta honoring their long time friend Bill Spence, with all the proceeds going to Becas Vallarta.

It was a wing ding of a party that Husband, Marg Tolton Baughman, Chuck Baughman, Joan Cannon, Ed Cannon and I journeyed to Toronto to attended. Isabel housed us in her beautiful Madison Boutique Hotel and treated us to a fabulous evening with door prizes, Canadian/Mexican food, margaritas and of course, music.

It was a rousing success and Isabel proudly presented Becas with a check for more than $3,000 USD. She and Dave have continued the tradition, raising more money for Becas each year. This year's event, just completed, raised a whopping $11,500 USD for us. Vallarta Magic? I think so!

Lucille Shipley, grand dame of Vallarta's art scene, along with the students from her Workshop stage an exhibition every year with a portion of the receipts going to a local charity. This year they chose Becas Vallarta as the recipient. Artists Pat Adair, Janice Beck, Brenda Bray, Mary Ellis, Frankie Kruger, Kari Mueller, Edwige Pelletier, Suan Pierce, Shirley Preston, Mila Saunders, Cassandra Shaw, Lucille Shipley, Heidi Snowden, Claire Wagner and Gloria Whiting exhibited their unique and imaginative artwork.

Recently Cassandra Shaw, owner of the fabulous Basilio Badillo jewelry, accessories and clothing store at 276 Basilio Badillo, who puts the focus on preserving Mexico's culture and traditions with the items for sale, presented Becas Vallarta with a check for $4000 pesos to aid in our efforts. What a tribute these talented and hard working artists gave to Becas Vallarta. Vallarta Magic again? I think so!

I will only regale you with one more example of this magic, although I could go on and on! Recently I told you all that Becas had entered into a collaboration with the Punta de Mita Foundation. This foundation is doing all kinds of wonderful things in little villages in the Punta de Mita area. (See

One day they hope to institute a scholarship program similar to ours and we are anxious to help them. One of the main sponsors of their foundation is the Dine Corporation that has developed resorts and residential communities along the coast in Nayarit. They are devoted to making that area a wonderful place to live and to work by helping educate the young people and adults, building schools, roads, water systems and other infrastructure.

My good friend and writing mentor, Lynne Bairstow, works for Dine and the Punta de Mita Foundation. I asked her to help with securing a donation from Dine for Becas Vallarta and this past week Erica Lynn Martling, the Executive Director of the Punta de Mita Foundation presented us with a $5,000 check making her Foundation a Becas Compadre and further cementing our association. More Vallarta Magic? You be the judge!

* (Incidentally, BanderasNews online and Vallarta Today in print are currently serializing that book weekly.) Click here to read a serialized and updated online version of Polly G. Vicars' sell-out book, Tales of Retirement in Paradise.
Polly G. Vicars and her husband of 57 years, Hubert (a.k.a. "Husband") retired to Puerto Vallarta in 1988 and soon became active members of several charitable organizations. Polly is the author of "Tales of Retirement in Paradise: Life in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico" [a sell-out!] and "More Tales of Retirement in Puerto Vallarta and Around the World." Proceeds from the sale of her books go to the America-Mexico Foundation, a scholarship foundation that is their passion.

Click HERE for more articles by Polly Vicars.

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving
the included information for research and educational purposes • m3 © 2008 BanderasNews ® all rights reserved • carpe aestus