Friday, February 26, 2010

Santiago Sacatepequez: Credences Made Art

Photos in this page by, used with authorization.
Santiago Sacatepequez is another Municipality of the Department of Sacatepequez and it is located only 34 kilometers West from Guatemala City. Most of the population is comprised by Maya Cakchiquel descendants and they speak Cakchiquel.
Every July 25th., there is a festival to honor the saint patron, Santiago Apostle (James, son of Zebedee); however, Santiago Sacatepequez is world famous for the celebration of the Day of the Dead and All Souls, celebrated on November 1st. and 2nd. This is the time when giant kites (barriletes) up to ten meters in diameter, made of tissue paper and bamboo, soar in the skies.
This tradition was born here, in Santiago Sacatepequez and, according to some documents, it is said it started at the beginning of the XX century; I am not really sure about that and my personal conclusion is that, being Guatemala a place where the oral tradition prevails, it was probably until those dates when this celebration was documented in written documents. Even within the population of Santiago, there are several opinions regarding this matter. What I can tell without any doubt, is that the kites are now larger, more colorful, much more beautiful than they were before.
Anyway, the purpose of this post is not to give you a lecture, but to share with you this amazing expression of credences made art. One of the most accepted credence indicates that the kites are intended to send the bad spirits away, to become messengers between the live and the dead, and to be part of the celebration, a celebration that honors life and death.
While this colorful and intriguing festival is going on, families follow the usual custom on all souls day of laying flowers on their relatives' graves, and holding graveside vigils sharing food, extraordinary food I must add that deserve a separate post.
From all the videos I found and watched, I want to share two, the first one, from the Plug Sonido Channel, a documentary about the ceremony thanking Mother Earth and asking her permission to cut the bamboo; the second one, from the Tierra de Lenguas Channel, with interesting information and extraordinary images. Please click and enjoy!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

San Lucas Sacatepequez

On the Pan American Highway, right on the crossroad to Antigua Guatemala we will find one of the most popular family outings: San Lucas Sacatepequez, or as locals call their town: The Door to the Guatemalan West.
The weekends' fair in San Lucas is the place where we Guatemalans from the city and surroundings go to satisfy some of our cravings for typical food, specifically for what we call "antojitos" (snacks); among my favorites: sweet corn atol (atol is a hot and thick beverage that can be sweet or salty, depending on the main ingredient or toppings), tostadas (fried corn tortillas covered with guacamol, or ground black beans, or fresh tomato sauce, all of them garnished with dried cheese and chopped parsley), charcoal roasted corn with salt, lime juice and red pepper powder, hand made black corn tortillas (my daughter's favorite) with  fresh string-like cheese (and lorocos when in season), and typical candies (different from those we found in Amatitlan), such as preserved yams, figs, chilacayotes, oranges, jocotes (hog plums), manzanilla, and many more!
My very own (and proud to show) chilacayote version!
To give you a better idea of what this fair is all about, I invite you to click on this video, which I am posting with the authorization of its creator, Luis Valenzuela, a young talented Guatemalan TV producer.

As part of the Guatemalan history, San Lucas Sacatepequez is much more than just a colorful fair. It is actually a town proud of its traditions, as they show every October 18th., when they celebrate a festival honoring Saint Luke, the saint patron. As I mentioned last Friday, the Christianity introduced during the colonial times combined with the local ancient Maya beliefs have turned out into unique expressions of faith and one of the highlights of this festival is the Dance of the Moorish and Christians, a dramatic representation of  old battles between these two groups.
I am not able to find the precise words to explain the dance and ceremony but, thanks to our good fortune and a little bit of perseverance,  I found another video also produced by Luis Valenzuela, which I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Senderos de Alux Ecological Park

Photo by, used with authorization.
Continuing with some of the family outings from Guatemala City, today we start heading West, through the Pan American highway and for a while, according to my travel itinerary, we are not going back to Guatemala City.
On this route, the first place we are going to visit, is the ecological park Senderos de Alux (Alux Hill Trails), a 66 acre reserve of highland pine-oak forests in the  Department of Sacatepequez. The park contains natural interpretive trails, a very nice playground area, restaurant, and even a camping area. 
Probably due to its proximity, most of Guatemalans associate this area with the Municipality of Mixco, which is part of the Department of Guatemala. Geography aside, the reason why I decided to stop at this place is not just because it has become a popular outing from Guatemala City, but also because it is part of the Alux Mountain Range, another and larger (5,000 hectares) protected reserve.
The Senderos de Alux Ecological Park is co-managed by  the Municipality of San Lucas Sacatepequez and ARCAS, a non-profit organization, which since its inception believes that environmental education is one of the keys to addressing the causes of wildlife trafficking and other threats to Guatemala's natural resources.
The work this organization is doing in the park is quite remarkable. They have built interpretive trails, exhibitions, amphitheaters, temporary enclosures for rescued wildlife, and a small natural history museum, and as of today, the records indicate that they reach around 10,000 children per year through educational presentations on topics related to endangered species, environment and health, litter, migratory birds, and sea turtles.
As you may appreciate by the last two pictures above (from the ARCAS Website), ARCAS is rescuing wild life from traffickers and taking care of the animals until they are ready to go back to their habitat. We can and should help preserve nature and its creatures by not endorsing merchants that sell endangered species of any kind. 
In the same way, and since from now on we are going to places where people are literally struggling to  preserve their traditions, their culture, their ancient legacy, and their nature, my suggestion is to continue our journey with our minds and hearts wide open, enjoying and learning from what we are about to see, and respecting what we will encounter on our way. After all, we are only visitors. Thank you for sharing my concern.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Amatitlan Lake

 Photos in this page by, used with authorization.  
If yesterday you enjoyed the view from the Naciones Unidas park, today I am sure you are going to enjoy this close-up approach and why not, a boat ride around the beautiful Amatitlan lake. I am happy to know that an ongoing, ambitious and well planned rescue project by the Authority for the Sustainable Management of Lake Amatitlan and its Basin will preserve this important natural resource and recreational area.
I am not sure about the origin of the name, but I learned in school that Amatitlan means Land of Amates and for me, it has to be true because there are lots of amate trees in the forests surrounding the lake. 
The Amatitlan lake is the fourth largest water body in Guatemala, located only 32 kilometers to the south of Guatemala City at an altitude of 1,188 meters above sea level. The lake consists of two basins connected by a narrow constriction, where a dry dock was constructed to let the railway pass through.
Along its history, the lake has been used in other multiple ways. In pre-Columbian days, it was a place for rituals where offerings were deposited. During the colonial times, the lake was a center of fisheries and its catchment area was the most important site of production of cochineal, which was the main product for export when industrial chemicals had not yet replaced the natural dye.
Today, Amatitlan and the surrounding valleys, mountains and nearby volcanoes present a unique landscape, making the area a recreation park that offers plenty of activities for adults and kids. Typical food such as fried mojarras (a fresh water white-meat fish), and typical candies such as the unique pumpkin seeds-based marzipan (a recipe from the colonial times where the traditional almonds were substituted by local ingredients) are a must when visiting this area. And if you don't believe me, try this simple recipe; I am sure you will love it!
Combine together: 2 pounds of pumpkin seeds, peeled and ground (how fine or coarse, it will depend on your preference for texture), 2 pounds of sugar, 4 cups of milk, and 1 cinnamon stick. Cook at medium heat and, stirring occasionally bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to the minimum and keep cooking stirring constantly, until it becomes a soft paste. Remove from heat and extend the paste in a layer of about 1 inch thick. Let it cool and cut in squares. To preserve the marzipan, in case you have leftovers or make a batch to share with friends, pack every piece with parchment or waxed paper as it is shown in the small photo above and to the left. In Amatitlan, we also find this marzipan in those small, round, wooden boxes and the trick to eat it is to break  the cap in half and use it as a spoon. Do I wish I was there? Si pues!
Before we finish our visit to Amatitlan, I want to share with you more music, in this case, not the traditional marimba but another rhythm very popular in Guatemala: Salsa. Click the video and enjoy!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Naciones Unidas National Park

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I do hope you enjoyed the weekend and the last posting, which I used as the ending of our journey throughout Guatemala City.
This week I want to share with you, some popular Family Outings from the City, starting today with a visit to the Parque Naciones Unidas (literally: United Nations Park), located in Amatitlan Municipality (equivalent to a County), Department (equivalent to a State) of Guatemala, only 21 kilometers away from Guatemala City.
The Naciones Unidas park is one of the five first areas declared national parks in 1955 and within its 373 hectares contains cultural exhibits as well as open natural spaces, focused in the environmental education of the visitors. The park is under the management of the organization Defensores de la Naturaleza since 1997.
The Naciones Unidas park is literally a green refugee for a city that keeps loosing its green spaces due to the impressive urban development.
The name of the park is due to the original project of the park, which was intended for every country represented in the U.N.O. to build a permanent exhibit depicting nature, culture, and folklore; however, the only country that built the exhibit was Guatemala in the area known today as Plaza Guatemala (Guatemala Square).
In the plaza we can see replicas of important places and landmarks from throughout Guatemala: Tikal, the Majestic Maya Temples from the Classic Period; Zaculeu, the empire protected by Kaibil Balam; Antigua, a travel to the colonial times; Palin, with a huge Ceiba (Guatemala's national tree) as the perfect scenario for family picnics; and the Kiosk, a space designed for marimba and popular music concerts.
In addition to the plaza, the park also contains a system of trails perfect for low impact hiking and birdwatching. Even if you are not a big fan of hiking, I recommend you to take a walk at least through one of these trails to enjoy the breathtaking views to the Amatitlan Lake and to the Agua and Pacaya Volcanoes, the last one, one of the most active volcanoes in Guatemala.
Even though the cultural plaza plays an important role attracting visitors to the park, I would say that the most important role of the park is the protection of the forest in the basin of  the Amatitlan Lake. A few years ago, I went there to plant some trees and I remember that as one remarkably rewarding experience.
 Photos in this page by, used with authorization.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Easter Season in Guatemala City

Photo by, used with authorization.
In the Christian tradition, today is the first Friday of the Easter Season, which began two days ago on Ash Wednesday.
The catholic expressions of faith during the Easter Season in Guatemala City are not as famous as those we can see in Antigua Guatemala; however, let me  tell you that these are as beautiful and splendid as those are.
Photo by, used with authorization. 
For what I have seen, the Easter Season is carefully observed throughout the country; actually, there are towns where the rituals are conducted in ways that could give all of us a better understanding  of the local culture and the syncretism that has occurred between the ancient Maya beliefs, traditions, and folklore, with the Catholicism as has been practiced since the Spanish colonial times.
Photo by, used with authorization. 
Note: the tree in the background is a fragrant matilisguate.
Anyway, since we are almost done with the journey through Guatemala City, my objective today is not to lecture you about catholic religion, but to give you a glimpse of the way the Holy Week is celebrated in the city with processions, flowers' rugs, music, and even food.
Photo by, used with authorization. 
To tell you the truth, my personal memories of the Easter Season are probably more earthly than religious because every detail I remember is always associated with joy, with colorful and fragrant flowers, such as the jacarandas, matilisguates, and corozo (flower from a palm tree that are profusely used during the whole season), and with food. I know, every celebration in Guatemala is associated with a special dish and I have to tell you, as most of the Guatemalan families, mine was part of the rule, never the exception. One of my favorite dishes was, and still is this desert called torrejas, one of my mother's Holy Week specialties.
Photo by, used with authorization. 
Last but not least, the music also plays an important role in the Easter celebrations. I found this video in Youtube and as far as I can understand, it belongs to the Website I sincerely hope they won't mind sharing it with all of us. The music is not the usual band but a delicate arrangement played by a marimba.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Kaminal Juyú (a.k.a. Kaminaljuyu)

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Welcome to one of Guatemala City's best kept secrets, and one of the many sites filled with mystical mysteries with a rich cultural and historical legacy, not just for Guatemala, but also for the world, as the civilization that flourished here dates back to 1,5000 years BC.
Kaminaljuyu has been described as one of the greatest of all archaeological sites in the New World by Michael Coe, although the remains of the site today are less impressive than many other Maya sites more frequented by tourists. This important site has revealed a lot about Maya ceramics, sculpture, architecture and engineering. This site was the main producer of Obsidian and also controlled the commerce routs between the Pacific Lowlands, the Highlands, and the Peten Lowlands for centuries. 
Kaminaljuyu lies in a valley in the west side of Guatemala City and contains a total of over 100 platforms and mounds created before the end of the Pre Classic period (ending approximately in the year 150 BC). The valley is surrounded by hills which culminate in a string of lofty volcanoes to the south that separate the area from the Pacific Lowlands. At an altitude of 7,000 feet above sea level, the climate is temperate and the soil is rich due to frequent volcanic eruptions.
The Pre Classic phase (a.k.a. Miraflores phase) is the foundation for later eras of the Classic Maya to flourish. Cultures of this phase developed exceptional irrigation systems and had a stable agricultural community. The remains from this time period are abundant at Kaminaljuyu. It is known that they traded cotton with their neighbors in the Escuintla area and practiced loom-weaving and were expert potters. 
Religious practices that would later be further developed throughout Mesoamerica were taking root at this time, such as mounds to serve as substructures for small shrines or temples and ritual burial of the dead. The abundance of remains from this period at Kaminaljuyu indicate it was the seat of a large community.
The site was first excavated in 1,925 by Manuel Gamio when he made stratigraphic excavations and found deep cultural deposits yielding potsherds and clay figurines from the Middle to late Preclassic (1,500 BC to 150 AC). Later the extent of the site’s importance was discovered in 1935 when a local football club accidentally uncovered a buried structure and the name was given: Kaminal Juyú from the Ki´ché words meaning "hills of the dead".
As you can see in the photo to the left, the area was largely swallowed up by real estate developments in the late 20th century, although a portion of the center of Kaminaljuyu is preserved as a park.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Museums Complex in La Aurora

Continuing with our visit to Finca La Aurora, today we have the privilege of visiting the National Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, which is a good start for those who among their reasons to travel to Guatemala, is their interest in the archaeological patrimony of the country. The museum is dedicated to the conservation of archaeological and ethnological artifacts as well as the research into Guatemala's history and cultural heritage.
This is one of the most visited museums in the city because of its large collection of archaeological treasures, which is displayed in chronological order: pre-classical, classical, and post-classical. As a matter of fact, this museum has the most important collection of Mayan art in Latin America, and its pieces are constantly traveling to be part of the exhibits in foreign countries.
It has been found that in the pre-classical period (2,000 BC to 250 AC), the ancient civilizations developed very complex irrigation systems to guarantee the agricultural production and secure the subsistence of the communities. Some of the most important sites of that period are: Kaminaljuyu in Guatemala City (the place we are going to visit tomorrow), Uaxactun and El Mirador in Peten, and El Baul in the Pacific Coast area.
As part of the Ethnology Exhibit, in this museum we can also find an extraordinary collection of textiles and artifacts, as well as large models of the main Maya sites.

All the Photos in this page by, used with authorization. 
Another important museum in this complex is the National Museum of Contemporary Art, which is dedicated to  the artist Carlos Merida, one of the most famous Guatemalan painters within the cubist movement, and who stood out in painting, drawing, printmaking, and lithography. Due to family reasons, Calos Merida made his home in México where he became active in the Mexican mural painting school. In Guatemala City, one of his most representative works, is the mural in the IGSS building in the Civic Center.
The musical expression has been present in every stage of the development of the Guatemalan culture and that is why I want to share with all of you this interesting documentary. The narrative is in Spanish, but the sounds and music are universal!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Entering to Finca La Aurora

As I told you yesterday, the stop planned for today is in Finca La Aurora. This land was acquired by the government around 1890 with several projects in mind and the final result is what we can see now:
The Zoo, founded in 1924 and considered one of the largest gardens within the city, which according to the official Website (in Spanish), contains animal species from America (such as spider monkeys, parrots, macaws, jaguars, crocodiles, coatimundi, and a good selection of exotic snakes), Asia, and Africa, as well as common farm animals. The place also includes a playground for kids, restaurants, and some other recreational areas. It is small, but well maintained and beautifully set. Please click the following link to enjoy gorgeous photos by
The Handicrafts Market, which unlike the Central Market in the Historic Center, is dedicated completely to handicrafts and also unlike the Central Market, it is kind of a peaceful place. In general the prices here are a little bit higher; however, it is fair to acknowledge that most of the pieces we will find in this market are well selected, some of them from organized communities, such as the Proteje group, which is part of the Ixchel Museum.
Photo by, used with authorization.
One of the most popular, cute and inexpensive souvenir you will find here are the world famous Worry Dolls (in Spanish, Munecas Quitapenas, which literally means "dolls that take your worries away). The dolls are usually packed in small bunches in tiny wooden vibrant-yellow-painted boxes. According to the folklore, the dolls are placed under the pillow before going to sleep to enjoy a pleasant dream, thanks to the dolls who are taking your worries away. Lovely story, isn't it?
Around the corner, we will find the Children's Museum, where all of us, kids and the not so kids, will learn (or remember) many interesting things while having fun. The previous link will take you to the official Website of the museum (only in Spanish), a brilliant one I must add.
The International Airport is also within the Finca La Aurora and, even though it plays an important role in our journey because it is the main port of entrance to Guatemala, I am just going to mention that is certified as Category I by the FAA and ranked No.1 in services and modernization in Central America. One of the features of this airport is that usually there is a marimba ensemble greeting arriving passengers with authentic marimba music. Click and enjoy the sounds of the Land of the Quetzal!

If you like the museums, I mean the museums for grown-ups, please come back tomorrow. We will stop then at the Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, and at the Museum of Contemporary Art.

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Zona Viva in Guatemala City

Photo by, used with authorization.
I hope you all enjoyed the weekend and had a wonderful Valentine's day with your loved ones!
Today, I am going to start explaining that when I originally planned the order of the Journey, I did not realize how many interesting places there are in Guatemala City. I know, Guatemala City is not precisely the place of interest for most of tourists; and that is one of the reasons why I am trying to be as descriptive as I can in this virtual journey.
After last Friday's visit to the Botanical Garden and Ixchel Museum, and since today we are heading to the Zona Viva, home of hotels, restaurants, boutiques, and art galleries, I want you to know that we are going to pass by some of the largest world-class private hospitals in the city; and also close by the impressive Oakland Mall, a three stories shopping center with an indoor Merry-Go-Round for kids, bookstores, cinemas, and several restaurants, including one that is actually build inside a salt water aquarium; and last but not least, we are going to pass through the old Barrio Santa Clara (Santa Clara neighborhood), where during the first months of the year, we can be delighted with the flowers of the Jacarandas and Matilisguates, spread all over the ground as a colorful and fragrant rug.
At the end of Zona Viva we are also at the end of the Avenida de la Reforma, where we will see The Obelisk, a park that commemorates the independence of Central America and has become an important landmark in the city since its uses are diverse: concerts, festivals, parades, among others. In addition, from the Obelisk Park to the East, we could travel to El Salvador, via the Inter American Highway; to the South, we could visit the Avenida de las Americas, a boulevard built as a homage to every country in the Americas; and to the West, via the Boulevard Liberacion from where we will continue tomorrow's Journey passing by the old Aqueduct and the Flowers Clock, we are going to make a stop at Finca La Aurora.
Photos by, used with authorization.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Avenida de la Reforma and Surroundings

 Photo by, used with authorization.
Since we are still in Zone 9, I am going to go just a little bit to the east right to the Avenida de la Reforma (literally: Avenue of the Reformation), which separates Zone 9 from Zone 10. This is a wide and beautiful boulevard built in 1897, inspired by the Champs Elysees in Paris. Adorned with many monuments, this avenue is considered part of the national heritage due to its artistic and historical value.
The avenue runs from North to South as Zone 9, and in the opposite direction as Zone 10. On both sides, we are going to see large buildings some historic and some others contemporary, including the USA Embassy and Consulate, a few gorgeous residences,  plenty of restaurants, and some of the finest hotels in the city. Right in the middle, we can admire beautiful gardens and several monuments, including the one built by the sculptor Max Leiva in year 2,000 dedicated to Miguel Angel Asturias, the Literature Nobel laureate I mentioned in the Civic Center post.
Passing by the Avenida de la Reforma without exploring the surroundings would be a shame. So please, stay with me. I can assure you, we will enjoy the visit and the first place we are going to, is the Botanical Garden, which contains many local plants and flowers as well as some exotic specimens. It was the first of its kind in Central America.
Our second stop is the Ixchel Museum of Indigineous Dress, which "was founded to address the need to rescue indigenous culture within a society that was rapidly modernizing, often losing its traditions and identity. The museum's work encompasses the acquisition, conservation   and exhibition of indigenous clothing as well as extensive research   and publication of findings." The first link in this paragraph will take you to the official Website where you will find very well documented information about the Guatemalan Maya textile tradition from pre-Colombian times to the present.
Detail of the Huipil I am using as the background for the title of this blog.
Do you remember I already told you this is one of my favorite places in the city? Well, it is. Not just for the textiles that I adore and have a few, but also for the extraordinary collection of paintings by Andres Curruchich. "His works portray the daily life of his town, San Juan Comalapa (Chimaltenango), through scenes such as the harvesting of corn, the cutting of hair, the washing of clothes and the activities of the market square, as well as local traditions such as Holy Week processions, dances, celebrations in honor of San Juan, the patron saint of the town. The figures that appear in his paintings, except for the traders from other communities, are of special interest, since they show the distinctive dress of Comalapa."
Photo by, used with authorization. This link will take you to more San Juan Comalapa photographs, perfect to illustrate the artistic legacy of Painter Andres Curruchich.
Even though I would like to continue describing this part of the city, I think it is enough for today and for the week. My last recommendation for now is: go out and enjoy a wonderful meal and if you like the night life, in Zona Viva (zone 10) you will find a wide variety of restaurants, night clubs, cafes, and many more. I would go to Hacienda Real for one of the most tasty, juicy, and tender steaks I have ever tried and a glass of red wine. Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Passing Under the Torre del Reformador

To be fair, I am going to start today thanking Maynor Mijangos from Galas de Guatemala, because in addition to let me use his photos, he mentioned this blog in his newsletter yesterday and as a result, this blog has two new followers and I am more excited than ever to continue guiding you through this journey. Thanks again Maynor!
As I mentioned yesterday, Guatemala City is kind of an spiral and that is why the zone that follows zone 4, is the 9, which is surrounded by zone 10 (to the East), zone 8 (to the West), and zone 13 (to the South).
One of the most notorious landmarks of Zone 9 is the Tower of the Reformer (Torre del Reformador) built in 1935 to commemorate the 100th. birthday of Justo Rufino Barrios, former president of Guatemala acknowledged for the numerous reformations he introduced to the country. This 75 meters steel structure resembles the Eiffel Tower, only you can drive underneath since it was built right over a crossing of roads.
Originally conceived as a residential area, Zone 9 is now in the process to become a commercial one since many of the big houses have been transformed into offices and some others have been demolished to make the space suitable for large buildings. Despite this, we still can see in the area beautiful gardens, ample boulevards with trees and nice sidewalks.

Photos in this page by, used with authorization.
Almost in the mid part of this zone we find the Plaza España (Spain Square), which shows the fountain built as a memorial to King Carlos III of Spain, originally located in the Constitution Square. My best memories about this place are the ceviches we used to buy some Saturdays, right on the street. Let me tell you, to-die-for! In case you are wondering what a ceviche is, my best explanation is a simple yet delicious recipe (I wish I had a photo to share):
4 cups (approx. 2 lbs) salad size shrimps, peeled and clean (or fish like mahi-mahi in small cubes)
2 cups of fresh Roma-type tomatoes, diced
1 cup of fresh onion, diced
1 cup of fresh cilantro (in Guatemala is called culantro), roughly chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped (in Guatemala we use crushed Chiltepes)
2 cups of fresh lime juice (approx. 12 limes). Here is very important to clarify that in Spanish we call limón to the limes; I recommend you not to use lemons because the flavor is not the same.
Salt and pepper
Optional: 1/2 cup of ketchup and 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
Blanche the shrimps in boiling water for 3 minutes, transfer them to a bowl with icy water to stop the cooking process. Drain well.
Return the shrimps to the bowl and add the lemon juice. Let stand covered in the fridge for about 2 hours.
Add the rest of the ingredients, season with salt and pepper, mix well, cover again and put it back in the fridge for another hour or so. Do not leave it in the fridge for too long as it may become soupy.
Serve with plain or salty crackers and a cold Gallo beer (may be available under the brand Famosa). Cheers!