On April 1990 I had the opportunity to work as a civil servant. Noriega’s regime had been recently toppled and the new government was looking for people from the private sector to help with the reconstruction of the country.
I worked under Mr. Guillermo Ford who was the Minister of former Ministry of Economic and Planning (MIPPE). He was also Vice-President of Panama. I held the position of Chief Auditor for two years and was later transferred to the Panama Bureau of Tourism (IPAT) which badly needed a person to organize its Finance Department.
Working at IPAT as Finance Director has been one of the most rewarding jobs I’ve had. I knew that one of the revenue channels for Panama was tourism as well as telecommunications, marine activities and the Free Zone. I had a marvelous opportunity to work under Anel Béliz, General Manager of IPAT, developing Panama’s Tourist Master Plan for a period of ten years. The plan was financed by the Organization of American States and was a total success. To this day, the plan is being implemented with great professionalism by IPAT’s personnel.
Our offices were located at Atlapa Panama Convention Center, the most beautiful building in this country. I felt so proud driving every day to work to this special place. It was a real privilege working in such a magnificent edifice.
Atlapa was built in 1980 to house conventions from North and South America. The idea was a good one, but Panama was not prepared for this responsibility, plus Noriega was not a helping hand either. Tourism started to develop and mature during the 1990s when the Panama Tourist Master Plan was designed and implemented by President Guillermo Endara and his staff.
Atlapa, which is a contraction of the words Atlantic-Pacific) is the most important convention center in Panama and Central America. This fabulous 19.8 acres complex, borders the Pacific Ocean and offers a maximum events capacity of 10,500 persons. It is easily accessible from Tocumen International Airport and only minutes away from major hotels and the International Banking Center.
Among it’s many facilities, the majestic theater-auditorium—Anayansi—is equipped with the most sophisticated light and sound system and is designed with the highest acoustic qualities in order to accommodate from philharmonic orchestras to operas. It can sit comfortably 3,000 persons and offers dressing rooms and rehearsal rooms for musicians, dancers and chorus. A second theater sitting 600 people is ideal for artistic events, congresses, conferences and banquets.
On Good Friday I visited this place to see how much it had changed over the years. It was nice to see that the building is well maintained and still has the majesty of a great structure. Below are some of the photographs I shot for your enjoyment.
Before I insert the photographs, let me explain that the first picture looks weird. The building seems crooked and cracked in the middle. The reason is that, in an effort to capture the whole building, I took three pictures and “stitched” them together with a special software. It was the only way I was able to get a photograph of the entire building.
I apologize for this inferior-quality photo, but as the saying goes, “it’s better 10 percent of something, than 100 percent of nothing”. Having cleared this issue, these are the pictures of Atlapa Panama Convention Center. Here we go.
Photograph of Atlapa Panama Convention Center building. As you can see, it is a very large structure with an exquisite architecture design. The high section at the right of the building is the Anayansi Theater. (Credit: Omar Upegui R.)
A large brightly-colored sphere which shows exactly where the Isthmus of Panama is located. We boast as being the "Bridge of the World, Heart of the Universe." (Credit: Omar Upegui R.)
Photograph of one corners of the building where you can appreciate the straight lines that characterizes the architecture style of the structure. (Credit: Omar Upegui R.)
This exterior perspective of the building gives you a pretty good idea of how big this building is. Its premises cover 19.8 acres (8 hectares). (Credit: Omar Upegui R.)
This picture exposes the elegant straight lines of this building. It is so different from the type of building currently being designed. (Credit: Omar Upegui R.)
A close up of the upper body of the building where you can clearly see the box-shaped sections of the structure. (Credit: Omar Upegui R.)
In this picture you can see the different architecture styles of buildings around Atlapa. Atlapa certainly stands out in elegance and style. (Credit: Omar Upegui R.)
It was a encouraging experience going back to a place that brings me so many dear memories. I loved so much working there. Good Day.
Read Full Post »