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June 1st, 2010

Central Roig, Historic Sugar Cane Plantation and Mill, Yabucoa, Puerto Rico, El Yunque, Rain Forest

 

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Sightseeing around the southeastern side of the Island of Puerto Rico took me to Yabucoa.  This town is in short proximity to Humacao, where I grew up.  I just wanted to take a trip around this area and see what time had done to this beautiful part of the island.

I arrived at the remnants of the Central Roig, which is located in Yabucoa.  Yabucoa is known as Sugar Cane City.

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At one time in history there were 6 sugar mills operating in this area.  The most important one was Central Roig.  The name was changed to Central Roig when it was bought in 1909.  It is a historic sugar cane plantation.

Yabucoa is a fertile valley that produces plantains and bananas.  But, most of the valley was used for sugar cane growth.

Central Roig was one of the last mills that produced sugar in Puerto Rico. 

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During harvest it felt like it was snowing except that the flakes were black and the weather was warm.  Hand harvesting accounted for more than half of production.  It was done by using “machetes”. 

The “colonos” of the sugar were the harvesters.  They lived at the mill in small houses in a plantation atmosphere.  My father grew up at the mill and my grandfather worked for the Central Roig.  I remember him bringing me sugar cane.  It was such a treat to chew on the cane and, oh, so sweet.

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Another method of harvesting is using sugar cane combines.  This is called a mechanical harvest, but the preferred method was with the “machetes”.

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The sugar cane industry had been most important in Puerto Rico for 400 years and in 2000 the Central Roig closed.

I had to take the pictures of what was a very important part of my family’s past.  Puerto Rico’s own governor’s mother grew up in “La Central”, as well.

The mill looked so sad and abandoned and as I took those pictures I kept thinking if only those buildings could talk.

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On that same day I took off with my driver to El Yunque, the rain forest.  You already met him in my previous blogs.

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I had to go and visit because I also spent so much time there.  You might not know but people do have homes inside the rain forest.  They are beautiful homes in a most unique environment.

Approaching Rio Grande, which is where El Yunque is located, you could see that it was raining; 240 inches per year.  The mountain is 3,543 feet high. 

El Yunque at a distance; Rain Forest

El Yunque at a distance; Rain Forest

The little town of Palmer had not changed in all those years.  It was great and I could not believe it.  At least something has remained the same.

Driving up the rain forest I had to open the windows; the coolnest of the mountain and the mist were fantastic.  In El Yunque there are 4 different forest vegetations.  The mountain is also renowned for its unique Taino petroglyphs (rock engravings).

One of the “Kodak” moments of every tourist visiting El Yunque is the Coca Falls.  Through the years I have taken pictures up on the rocks.  I had to take some more and the falls looked exactly the same, as well.  The sounds were unforgetable. 

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Not too long ago a friend reminded me that to reminisce is to live; definitely, so true.

Talk to you later….

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, June 1st, 2010 at 6:28 am and is filed under Puerto Rico, Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

26 Responses to “Central Roig, Historic Sugar Cane Plantation and Mill, Yabucoa, Puerto Rico, El Yunque, Rain Forest”

  1. Oh Gloria, it has brought up so many memories for me as well. Those days were so simple, we were so lucky that we grew up with no fears of anything bad happening to us. I remember going to La Central to pick up my friend Barbarita, whose grand father was at one time the manager.
    Those were the days my friend!!!!!

  2. elena says:

    my father used to work there ..and some other family member those pics. makes me very sad cauz my father is gone already. but yeah there were no fears..like todays day.

  3. elena says:

    thanks for the pictures thats my hometown i love my island and i wish i could go thre one day. oh i remember picking up the black flakes..and my hands were all black. with the stain. i wish i could be a child again!..and have the same father i had.

  4. elena says:

    CENTRAL AZUCARERA : NOSTALJICO! SOLO PENSAR EN ELLA HUELE A AZUCAR ES COMO ESCUCHAR EL PITO DE LAS 12 Y EL MAS PENOSO ERA CUANDO SE ACABABA LA SAFRA …ASI LE LLAMABAN. QUEDAN ALLI … EL SUDOR DE LOS TRABAJADORES SUS HUELLAS EN LA TIERRA …TAL VEZ SUS VOCES WHO KNOWS! YABUCOA HOLIA A CANA MOLIDA…A AZUCAR…OLORES INOLVIDABLES. NO CREO TENGAN LOS MISMOS OLORES ! PUERTO RICO ES BELLO PERO EL OTRO ME PARESIA MAS BONITO. NO POR K SEAMOS LATINOS TODOS HABLAMOS IGUAL NI MUCHO MENOS TENEMOS LAS MISMAS COSTUMBRES. K TRAEN A NUESTRA ISLA Y LO CONFUNDEN TODO. POR ESO PREFIERO VIVIR ACA CON EXTRANOS K VIVIR EN MI PROPIA ISLA CON OTROS EXTRANOS. CREO POCO A POCO LA PURA SEPA SE VA A ACABAR. CUANTO LO LAMENTO! PUERTO RICO NECESITA UNA LIMPIESA. PERO TOTAL! AVECES ME PREGUNTO COMO LE HACEN COMPARTIENDO LO POCO K ENTRA A LA ISLA CON GENTE K DEBE LARGARSE A SU PAIS Y OBLIGAR A SUS GOVERNADORES K CUMPLAN CON ELLOS.

  5. elena says:

    GRACIAS POR LAS FOTOS! K PENA K NO TOMASTES FOTOS ADENTRO! CUANDO VI LA FOTO DE LA OFICINA DEL PERSONAL SE ME ROMPIO EL CORAZON …LA ULTIMA Y LA PRIMERA VEZ K FUI AHI FUE DESPUES DE LA MUERTE DE MI PADRE . FUIMOS A RECOJER SU ULTIMO PAGO. K DOLOR TAN INMENZO! GRACIAS A DIOS PUERTO RICO ESTA RODEADO POR AGUA DE OTRO MODO NO HUBIERA ESPACIO PARA LA GENTE. ME SORPRENDI EL OTRO DIA VER K HAY UNA CALLE K SE LLAMA QUISQUEYA ! K HORROR! PRONTO VEREMOS CASITAS DE CARTON CON MADERA VIEJA POR DONDE ENTRAN LOS RAYOS DEL SOL. HA HA HAHAH. K FASTIDIO!

  6. elena says:

    COMO ME GUSTARIA SER TIBURON O UNA PIRANA!

  7. admin says:

    Muchas gracias por tus comentarios. Mi abuelo vivio y trabajo en la central tambien. Mi papa nacio en Yabucoa. Creo que si una tormenta le da a PR estos recuerdos se iran para siempre. Esa area de la central esta olvidada.

  8. Osvaldo Rendon-Herrero says:

    Can you tell me how long the sugar cane (”safra”) lasted in months? What did the people do during “tiempo malo”? Thank you.

  9. admin says:

    I believe the safra was about 6 months. The “tiempo muerto”? I am not sure what they did; maintenance? preparing the land?

  10. Luz Fores says:

    Buen articulo, tengo una pregunta. De casualidad alguien me podría decir el nombre de la plantación de cana que estaba localizada en lo que es ahora palmas del mar. Es que estoy investigando el origen de mis familiares y me a llevado a este lugar.

  11. admin says:

    Cerca del pueblo de Humacao estaba la Central Ejemplo. Tambien llendo para la Playa de Humacao estaba la central de la Eastern Sugar y la que estaba en Yabucoa era la Central Roig. Por muchas partes, incluyendo a Palmas del Mar habia siembra de cana pero eran llevadas para su proceso a algunas de estas centrales. Gracias por su comentario.

  12. Pablo Vallecillo Mandry says:

    Do you know what the name of the plantation was before it was bought and renamed Central Roig in 1909?

  13. cassy says:

    sThanks for the sharing

  14. Anastacio Lozada says:

    yo trabaje en la central en 1955 cuando tinia solo
    15 anõs me fui a estados unidos y ahora que regrese a vivir a yabucoa cuando paso por la central dan deseos da pena al ver el abandono de
    un lugar que tanto dio al pueblo de Yabucoa .Si
    ubiese un modo de restaural esta central yo seria
    boluntario.Dios perpimata que alguin dijera presente y pudiermos conservar este tesoro

  15. admin says:

    Sr. Lozada fue un placer hablar con usted. Puerto Rico necesita personas como usted para hecharlo para adelante. Gracias por sus comentarions.

  16. Thanks a bunch says:

    There’s nothing I fancy more compared to coming to this web-site every day after work. Thanks for most of the terrific articles!!

  17. admin says:

    Thanks!!

  18. Cesar Cruz Bonet says:

    Mi papá era mayordomo de la Colonia Ingenio de la Central, su nombre era José Cruz Román (Don Pepe). Esto me trae muchísimos recuerdos y me hace recordar todos los años que viví en PR.

  19. admin says:

    Me alegro le haya gustado. Mi papa se crio en La Central. Como ve esta cayendose, pero que se va hacer. Hay un senor que vive en Yabucoa y le gustaria que se convirtiera en un sitio turistico. Yo le dije que el gobierno es dueno de esas centrales. Mi abuelo tambien trabajo en la central. Yo me acuerdo que el me traia cana. Deliciosa.

  20. Dave says:

    $author you have got a terrific right here. The particular you was in fact to me with thanks

  21. El Cimarrón says:

    Cuantos de nosotros habremos muerto en sus campos, Jornaleros, casi esclavos, trabajando por una miseria, si no trabajaba y me quedaba cuidando mi cepa en casa, me metían preso, (leyes de vagancia)
    Y toda la riqueza se la llevaban fuera de la Isla los dueños ausentes. la blanca azúcar, el dinero que con ella hacían, cuanto maltrato aguantamos del mayordomo, del capataz!

    por los menos nos quedamos con la negra melaza para destilar NUESTRO propio Caña (el que sabe, sabe)

    Ay pobre del que idealize estos tiempos! que confunda la buena vida con 12 horas de trabajo en el cañaveral!

  22. admin says:

    Muchas gracias por sus comentarios a mi website.

  23. Antes de la Central Roig era llamada La Central Mercedita.

  24. luis colon says:

    mi abuelo sixto jimenez nacio y trabajo en la central roig, toda mi familia es de yabucoa yo me crie en la central.

  25. luis colon says:

    me crie en la central. mi abuelo sixto jimenes trabajo en la central

  26. admin says:

    Mi papa tambien se crio en lal Central. Pepito Fernandez. Mi abuelo era Juan C. Fernandez. En Facebook hay una pagina que se llama Museo de la Azucar. Se estan moviendo para tratar de convertir la Central en Museo ya que su impacto fue muy grande. Gracias por sus comentarios.

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