Every year on July 16 the people of Taboga pay tribute to their Patroness La Virgen del Carmen.
The holiday is based on a story passed on through the people of Taboga for centuries. According to this story around the 16th century the island and its peole were plagued by pirate attacks because of its use as a port for Panama City at the time.
One day around noon the people of Taboga Island were preparing once again to defend themselves from the pirates and as they were heading towards the beach armed with sticks and stones they saw a woman on the sand facing the approaching ships. To the pirates this woman appeared to be the commander of the armed group and upon seeing her they quickly retreated and left the island in peace. The townspeople unaware of what had happened went to the island’s church to give thanks to God. When they arrived they saw wet footprints leading up to the altar and the statue of the Virgen del Carmen’s feet were wet and covered with sand.
The people believed that she had protected them from the attack and thus named her Patron Saint and Protector of the Island of Taboga.
The island celebrates this day with a boat parade and on the weekends with special church services and celebrations.