Planning to Visit the Philippines Soon?

There are hundreds of tourists attractions in the Philippines. But as a lover of the Island of Marinduque (Home of the Morions and Heart of the Philippines), I am indeed partial to its beauty, charm and its friendly and hospitable residents. Therefore, help me achieve my dream of seeing this island becomes a world tourist destination, by telling all your friends and relatives about this site. Welcome, to you all, new readers and faithful followers of this site! The photo above is Poctoy White Beach in Torrijos, Marinduque with beautiful and majestic Mt Malindig in the background. Some of the photos and videos on this site, I do not own. However, I have no intention on infringing your copyrights. Please do not forget to read the latest National and International news in the right side bar of this blog!

Friday, November 27, 2009

One of My Favorites Piece of Music-Romance by Shoskatovich


The following videos are one of my favorites classical piece of music. The Composer is Dmitri Shoskatovich and the title is Romance (From the Gadfly). The first video is a tribute to Carl Sagan. The second one is an original recording. This song had been used as theme songs of a TV series in England as well as in some movies. Every time I heard this song it makes me feel very nostalgic of my younger days,and my favorite TV show in the early 70's.




Most of you probably have not heard of Dmitri Shostakovich. Here is a short biography from Wikipedia. From his last name you might guess he is Russian, and you are correct.
"Dmitri Dmitriyevich Shostakovich (1906-1975) was a Russian composer of the Soviet period and one of the most celebrated composers of the 20th century.
Shostakovich achieved fame in the Soviet Union under the patronage of Leon Trotsky's chief of staff Mikhail Tukhachevsky, but later had a complex and difficult relationship with the Stalinist bureaucracy. His music was officially denounced twice, in 1936 and 1948, and was periodically banned. Yet he also received accolades and state awards and served in the Supreme Soviet of RSFSR. Despite the official controversy, his works were popular and well received.
After a period influenced by Prokofiev and Stravinsky, Shostakovich developed a hybrid style, as exemplified by his opera Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District (1934). This single work juxtaposed a wide variety of trends, including the neo-classical style (showing the influence of Stravinsky) and post-Romanticism (after Mahler). Sharp contrasts and elements of the grotesque[1] characterize much of his music.
Shostakovich's orchestral works include 15 symphonies and six concerti. His music for chamber ensembles includes 15 string quartets, a piano quintet and two piano trios. For the piano he composed two solo sonatas, an early set of preludes, and a later set of 24 preludes and fugues. Other works include two operas, and a substantial quantity of film music".

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Why We Love Marinduque



The White Beach of Poctoy, Torrijos with Mt Malinding in the background

The following are some of quotes and comments from the web from visitors to our island of "Why They Love Marinduque".

Photo from marinduquegov.com
Traveling to the island during the Easter peak season can drive one nuts, but Marinduque greatly rewards your "penitencia" with one-of-a-kind religious revelry, beautiful landscape and gracious people. From: eazytraveler.blogspot.com

A small island province in central Philippines, Marinduque speaks of such profound natural beauty that will not escape the notice of a well seasoned traveller. From: instaurareperomniachristo.blogspot.com


I stayed in Marinduque for almost three weeks. It's a heart-shaped island surrounded by pristine blue waters, beautiful white sand beaches ( in most areas) and marine sanctuaries. I have been told it has one of the most beautiful virgin coral reefs. It is truly such an awesome place. While I was there I've seen so much picturesque views that more than once took my breath away. They were like pictures from National Geographic. From: www.myscrapworks.com/mswdigi/


It is with a heavy heart that I left Marinduque the next morning to go home. I wish to thank all Marinduquenos for their hospitality. Marinduque is for sure one of those places you should see before you die. http://my_sarisari_store.typepad.com/moriones Festival, May 26, 2006

My whole Holy Week experience was utterly engaging and can hardly be forgotten. Leaving the island of Marinduque after a week-long joyful festivities is quite saddening. On the Monday after the Festival, tourists begin to leave and the island become once more a place of simplicity, complacency and beauty. I am thankful to the Marinduquenos for giving me a temporary home away from my true home. Dennisvillegas.blogspot.com/april/2008.


Memories of a nocturnal walk in Boac, June 29, 2008

It was the last night of my week long sojourn to Marinduque. Eight in the evening, I went out of my hotel room to stroll once more the lovely streets of Boac. The evening was peaceful and cool with a lovely soft breeze of wind in the air. This reminded me that I was in one of the most rural places in the Philippines.etc...etc..

The sky was well illuminated with the romantic glow of the moon, creating lovely silhouttes of ancient houses from beyond, dwarfed only by the lowly clouds from above
etc... etc.... It was past midnight when I started back to my hotel room, still photographing street sceneries. Boac indeed is a lovely little town from the olden days, but its evening is even lovelier... Dennisvillegas blogspot.com/, june, 2008.


If it's your first time in Marinduque, do not worry. Almost everyone seems to be a friendly guide. Genuine hospitality is what I like most in this island.
From dongism.blogspot.com

Buenavista and Mt Malindig
Characterized by pristine natural beauty, Marinduque boasts of a wide spectrum of unspoiled beaches, mountain peaks, fabled sulfur springs, limestone caves, cascading waterfalls, fringing reefs, virgin islets and old Churches. From: www.marinduque.gov.ph


Last but not least from www.chateaudumer.com
Are you looking for a perfect and affordable vacation in the sun? Marinduque Island is the place for you! Stay at Chateau Du Mer Beach Resort. All you will hear are the sound of the waves and your heart beat. This will be an experience to remember!!.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

CNN 's Tribute to the Dancing Prisoners of CPDRC


The inmates of Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilatation Center (CPDRC) became a world wide sensation after their performance of Michael Jackson "Thriller" was posted on the web by Byron Garcia in 2007. The original video has been seen and received five star ratings from over 35 million viewers. The following video is CNN latest tribute to these talented dancers from Cebu, Philippines. You must be living in another world if you have not seen the original video by Byron Garcia. Here's latest update from CNN.

This second video by Byron Garcia is JUMP! Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

An Update on the Diving Sites in Marinduque

Here's the latest update on diving sites in Marinduque. The following video was filmed by the provincial government department of tourism. It is a short video, but shows you do not have to go far to enjoy scuba diving in Marinduque. Baltazar Island is one of the three islands in the group called Tres Reyes Island-a marine sanctuary.
Diving in Baltazar Island
Image from asiadivesite.com
Our province is mostly known worldwide because of the Moriones Festival. However, it has recently been in the news due to interests of divers all over the world to explore the diving sites in the island and in the vicinity. Among the diving sites are:
1.Natanco- north of the island has good walls and drift diving. Corals are abundant. Close by is the wreck of a Japanese torpedo boat
2.Baltazar-west of the Island-one of the Tres Reyes Island Chain- has a cave 20m worth exploring. Stone fish may be a problem.
3.Elephant Island-now known as Bellarocca- private resort with good walls, coral formation and and several varieties of tropical fish. Currents could be strong, but conditions for photography good.
4. Torrijos- canyons and fissures to explore. Can expect to encounter grouper, barracuda, tuna and shoals of tropical fish.
5.Maestro De Campo Island-southwest of Marinduque- a wall on the west side and a wreck of a ferry boat, MV Mactan on the east side
6.Banton Island- farther southwest – amazing corals and an array of fish. Dolphins, sharks and sting rays may be seen. From February to May are the good months for scuba diving
7.Sibuyan Sea- outlying areas to the south and east of Marinduque are fairly unexplored. Puerto Galera, Mindoro is the place to organize this tour if you are adventurous.
Here are two excellent videos, I found in You Tube. Enjoy! Happy Diving

Diving Video from Southern Leyte, Apo Reefs, Sogod Bay, and Puerto Galera

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Today is Veteran's Day in US


To celebrate Veterans Day today, I am reposting my article on my memories of the Filipino-American War from 1941-1946. At that time, my father was the dental officer for the Filipino-American Forces, in charge of the dental needs for all members of the Filipino-American Forces in the Western Visayas Region. My father's territory include the whole island of Panay as well as Romblon Island. This article is my personal tribute not only to my DAD but also to all Filipino-American soldiers who gave their lives for the sake of democracy in the Philippines during World War II. Here is the posting for your reading pleasure. I hope you find it interesting.

In late 1945, just after the end of American-Japanese War in the Philippines, my father who was a captain and dental officer for the Philippine-US army took me and my Mom for a month to Romblon Province. He was in-charged of all the dental needs of army personnel in the whole island of Panay as well as in Romblon. I remember we took a PT boat owned by the US navy from Iloilo to Romblon. I was only about 11 years old that time, but very knowledgeable of US history. One of my hobbies was to read US history. I have memorized all the 48 capitals of US states( yes,at that time there are only 48 states in US). My father's dental assistant was a white sergeant from Oklahoma City. He used to quiz me of my knowledge of the capital city of all the US states. If I get it right he gave me chocolates and cookies as a prize. There came a time when he ran out of chocolates, since I have never made a mistake. One capital I almost made a mistake was the capital of California. Most people think at that time the capital city is either LA or San Francisco. Even today, there are still a lot of Filipinos that do not know that Sacramento is the capital of California. The same thing with the capital of Illinois. Most Filipinos at that time believe it is Chicago( the biggest and most populated city in Illinois).

Back to my memories of Romblon. As we enter the harbor, the picturesque view of the mountain so close( all white with marble) almost took my breathe away. It was so beautiful that until today, it is still vivid in my memory. I have not been to Romblon since then, so I do not know if the view is still the same. Anyway we stayed in Romblom Island for 2 weeks. Every day my father took me to his dental office. All of his patients talked to me about their lives and towns/cities in US. That was the beginning of my life-long dream to visit and live in US someday. I did accomplished that dream, having studied, lived, worked and raised a family here in US since 1960.

After two weeks in Romblon Island, my father's assignment was one week each at the two other big islands of the province, Tablas and Sibuyan Islands. The trip to Tablas Island from Romblon took only about 30 minutes by PT boat. I remember, it was so fast, that we arrived about one hour early at the port of Badajoz ( now known as the town of San Agustin). The PT boat went back to Romblon and we waited by the side of the sea under a coconut tree for a jeep from Odiongan, capital town of Tablas Island.
We were hungry and thirsty, but there was no store (tiange) or restaurant in the area. We saw a several residents in the several nearby houses, staring at us, but no one said hello or even offer us a glass of water. As I remember these memories, I felt that if this incident happened in Marinduque, at least one person will probably offer us a glass of water and perhaps even invite us to wait in their house instead of outside under the sun ( luckily there were a few coconut trees providing us with shade). My father explained later why the town was called Badajoz. He said it means "bad hosts". I am glad the town is now called San Agustin.

Our week stay in Odiongan, Tablas and later in Cajidiocan, Sibuyan went pretty fast. Before I realized,it was time for me to go home to Iloilo and back to school.
Sibuyan Island and Mt Guiting-Guiting in the background
My memories of Odiongan and Cajidiocan - it was the most rural place on earth and the roads were bad. It felt like driving in the craters of the moon. Does any one knows what the road conditions now in the Tablas and Sibuyan Islands?
If any one is from Romblon reading this blog, I will appreciate if you let me know what is going on in Romblon today. Someday, I will visit the province again, to see if that harbor view of the marble mountain is still the same.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Time of the Year for "Autumn Leaves" to Fall


As I look at my backyard window( see photo above) a few minutes ago, the beauty of the maple trees in my yard with its yellow, orange and light red leaves getting to fall in the next couple of days reminds me of the song Autumn Leaves. There are several interpretations of this song by several musicians, but this video is one of my favorites. Moreover, the autumn scenery in the video is just mesmerizing. Autumn or Fall is one of my favorite seasons here in Northern California. However, next week when these leaves start to fall, I will certainly spend a number of hours raking these leaves and definitely an aching back after wards. But this is the way of life here in Northern California this time of the year. Enjoy this video.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Aswang and Manananggal of the Philippines

Image from www.manananggal.com

This coming Saturday is Halloween Day here in Northern California. To celebrate Halloween Day, I thought that the following story from Dave DeWall (I have his permission to post this story in this blog) is worthy of publication and very timely.

I know that most of us here in US do not believe in witches. But in the Philippines (this is true story according to the author) witches, nono's, manananggals, giant capri's, and ghosts are part of life and folklore specially in rural areas and in the provinces. Personally, if I am in the Philippines, I tend to believe it, but when I am here in Northern California, I am not a believer. However during Halloween, the subject of witches becomes a topic of interest to me.

The Witches and Manananggal of Guimaras Island, Iloilo-by Dave DeWall
Source: www.rooster4am.com October 21 and 22, 2009

“My wife’s younger sister Emily, was a beautiful baby. Cute sharp nose and just one of those infants people would gush over and comment on how maganda (beautiful) she was. She was the favorite of her parents and adored by her older brothers and sisters. When Emily was about a year old, she became extremely ill. Wouldn’t drink her milk and didn’t want to eat. What she did eat was immediately vomited. She suffered diarrhea and dehydration, and couldn’t sleep at night.
Melinda’s Tatay (Father) and Nanay (Mother) bundled up the sick little one and took her to the doctor. The doctor examined her, and prescribed some medicine. Emily got a little better the next day, but then she became quite ill again, and so another trip back to the doctor. Quite expensive for Melinda’s Father and Mother who struggled to make ends meet and support a family of eleven. The doctor prescribed more medicine, again Emily got a little better for a couple of days. Then she worsened again. More trips to the doctor with the same results as before. The same pattern persisted, get a little better, than sick again. Tatay and Nanay were becoming increasingly worried and extremely distraught; the doctor’s visits had drained what few pesos they had before Emily became sick, and now all their money was gone. What could they do to save their little infant Emily?

Only one thing to do, Tatay and Nanay decided they would have to sell the family carabao (water buffalo, the ultimate work animal on farms in the Philippines, not caribou as the carabao is often mistakenly referred to by foreigners like myself --check this link out by my friend Mindanao Bob from “Live in the Philippines” for a great explanation of what a carabao is and for a photo: http://liveinthephilippines.com/content/2007/10/are-there-caribou-in-the-philippines/). They had to raise the cash to take Emily to the hospital and have extensive tests run on her. This was an act of utter desperation; the caribou plowed the rice fields for the family farm. Without the carabao there would be no rice fields plowed and no rice next season: No rice to sell. No rice to eat. The decision was final; the next morning Melinda’s Mother and Father would bring the carabao into San Miguel to be sold.

Darkness then falls in the heart of the jungle as the giant lizards’ cries of “tukkku …tukkku..tukkku” reverberate throughout. Giant pythons hang menacingly on the trees. An evening where Melinda and her family, distraught with worry over baby Emily, huddle inside their candle lit nipa hut shorn of any modern conveniences such as electricity and running water. No telephone. No television. The only contact with the outside world was a tiny transistor radio. Emily was especially ill that evening, vomiting and crying; reinforcing Tatay’s and Nanay’s decision to sell the carabao and bring their beloved infant daughter to the hospital. Nanay held the little baby in her arms to try and comfort her and rock her to sleep. The hour is around midnight.

Suddenly the family heard a loud commotion outside! A cat emitting strange high-pitched screams was outside the front of the nipa hut. Melinda peered out the window and saw its eyes as they glowed fiery red! Tatay cracked open the front door, and the demon cat jumped inside the front entrance of the nipa hut, and according to my wife Melinda who witnessed it, FLEW across the room. It was common knowledge in the Philippines that a witch or Manananggal had the ability to inhabit an animal’s body and possess it. Melinda’s father quickly grabbed his bolo (machete) and ran towards the flying cat screaming: “You are NOT going to eat my child, you Son of a b----!” The cat literally flew out the front door, and my father-in-law shouted at all the children to gather all their old slippers (rubber flip-flops) and put them in the front yard. The multitude of old flip flops were piled up and put in a semi-circle, and Melinda’s father set fire to them.

As Melinda and her family huddled in the nipa hut, she could hear piercing screams and laughter coming from just beyond the burning mountain of rubber: it was the witch tormenting them, still in the cat’s form! Thick black smoke poured from the mound of melting flip flops, and the terrorized family huddled inside with Tatay in the doorway, bolo in his upraised right hand. The evil laughter continued from right beyond the flames tauting them.

And Blood Shall Spill!

Yesterday’s blog concluded with Melinda and her family being taunted by the Manananggal, a witch that took the form of a cat. As Melinda’s father continued to stand at his post at the front door, armed with his bolo, Melinda relates that she could still hear the witch cat laughing and screaming at them, but the burning pile of rubber flip flops was keeping the creature at bay. A half hour passed and finally the jungle fell silent; the witch was gone for the moment, and even the cry of the lizards halted.

Morning finally arrived, and though shaken by the previous evening’s horrible events, Melinda’s Mother and Father prepared the carabao for the long journey out of the jungle to San Miguel; Emily’s condition was worsening, and the carabao had to be sold to raise the funds necessary to admit the little infant to the hospital. Hospital services had to be paid for when those services were completed.

Tatay and Nanay, Melinda and the family reach the outskirts of San Miguel, and Nanay (Melinda’s Mother) runs into her sister Feliciana, a local healer. They had not seen each other for months. “Have you heard there is a new Manananggal in town looking for a baby so she can eat the infant’s liver?” asks Tita (Aunt Feliciana.) Tatay and Nanay froze! That was the witch that visited their house last night! Manananggal take on the form of an attractive woman during the day, and are known to seek out the most beautiful of babies. The witch was after little Emily!

With a quivering voice, Melinda’s Mother told her sister of the visit last night. Tita grabbed her sister’s arm, and told her they had to get Emily to the local healer that had far greater powers than Tita, the healer, had. They would need an extremely powerful healer to deal with the wretched Manananggal!

Tatay and Nanay, and Melinda and family along with Tita Feliciana who needed to make the necessary introductions since this particular healer was know throughout the region as “the healer of all healers”. One could not expect to just walk through his door without waiting for hours as he had a multitude of people that sought his services every day; but this was a dire situation. Immediate action was needed. Tita Feliciana intervened.

The healer listened to the story of the previous night’s harrowing event. His face remained stoic. Did not nod in agreement or disagreement with anything said. Asked no questions. He knew how to deal with this menace. The Healer instructed Melinda’s Mother and Father to go out and purchase a black chicken and then come back with it and Baby Emily.

Fortunately it was early Sunday morning, the busiest market day in San Miguel. It did not take long for Tatay and Nanay to purchase a black chicken. They rushed back to The Healer with the ailing Emily, Melinda and the rest of the family in tow. As witnessed by Melinda, The Healer chopped off the head of the black bird with one swift blow of the bolo. He poured the blood of the chicken out into a vessel, and made the sign of the cross on Emily’s forehead, legs, arms, and stomach. Then he took some ginger and rubbed that on the infant Emily. The Healer instructed Tatay and Nanay to go straight home, but be sure to leave the candles lit the whole evening.

Melinda’s family made the long journey back home to the jungle. Nanay fed Emily some milk. She hungrily drank all of it. Did not vomit any of it. Nanay fed her some rice porridge. Again Emily ate it all, and again, did not get sick. The house was lit with every candle available in every room. Nightfall came again. Emily went to sleep quickly, still covered with the dried chicken blood; it was the first time in almost a month that she slept so peacefully. The little one did not get ill the whole day since she left The Healer that morning. Tatay sat near the front door the whole evening with his bolo nearby, but the night slipped away without any event.

Morning came, and Emily again drank all her milk and ate her porridge. Nothing happened, she was completely healed. The chicken’s blood was then washed off of her, and Nanay patted her dry, and held her in her arms, grateful for what The Healer had done. Oh, and the carabao? It was still there. Didn’t need to sell it now. The witch? Don’t know what happened to her, but a new one has taken her place here in San Miguel now. She is a young one in the second year of high school, and it is said she is looking for a beautiful young child to devour that child’s liver. Again, The Sainted Patient Wife was eyewitness to this account, and swears it is true. Who am I to say? Many forces of darkness battle against the good every day in this world. I am but a stranger in a strange land”. Thank you Dave for your story!

Here is a short video from a movie trailer about aswang in the Philippines to complement the story above.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Halloween is Near-Witches, Nono and Goblins


Carenna in her butterfly costume-Mariposa Princess

If you go to the stores and shopping malls here in Northern California, you will see that most of the decorations are now about Halloween costumes, candies, masques and other items for the Halloween Night Festivities.

In the Philippines, the web is already filled with stories about witches ( aswang), capri, duende ( nono) or elves as well as stories about ghost and apparitions . Superstitions and Folklore's are part of life in the Philippines, specially in the provinces.

I know when I was growing up way back in the late 1930's, my parents and relatives had been telling me of stories about aswang( flying witches) visiting homes in the middle of the night and looking for pregnant women, so they could suck the fetus from their stomach. One way of discouraging the aswangs to your homes is to put garlic in all the windows. Other superstitions are the giant people called capri. There are two kinds, the white( good) and black ( the evil one). Opposite to this are the small people, the elves or Nono ( in Marinduque) .

Last year, I wrote a short article about Ghost, Goblins and Nonos . At that time my beloved Carenna( see photo above) was only five years old. She turned six last May and now in first Grade. The article that I wrote last year are as follows:

"One of the beliefs and folklore's in Marinduque are the existence of Nono ( goblins) . There are also stories about ghosts( white lady apparition) and witches. I know that in Iloilo, there is one town where there are a lot of witches(Dingle). However, there are no proofs, this is true. In our resort property in Amoingon, some of our neighbors inform us, that once in a while in a moonless night they have seen an apparition of a white lady. I have never seen one during our annual six months stay at the beach resort. The white lady is supposed to guard the property from robbers and intruders and she is the ghost of my mother-in-law".

"With regards to the Nono,( they reside in the big trees),even though I really do not believe it, I still say TABI PO NONO (Excuse me Nono,I have to pass by) when passing under the trees and bridges in my property at night. Even my 5 year old grand daughter from Sacramento, has learned of this phrase. We told her of the TABI PO NONO phrase last December, during our golden wedding anniversary celebration. The funny part is, when they were in Boracay a week later, she said the same phrase while passing a bridge at the Boracay Regency Hotel, where her MOM and Lola were staying. Hurrah to the memory of a 5-year old. Anyway, if you experience or hear of any stories about ghosts, nono and witches, please let me know".

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Viva Marinduque-The Kalutang Group


I found this on You Tube. The background music is from the KALUTANG Group of Bangbang, Gasan. Source of video: marinduquegov.blogspot.com
This video is a slideshow of "Viva Marinduque" performance tour in Marinduque's six municipalities in celebration of Araw ng Marinduque and Philippine International Arts Festival in February. Background music performed by Pangkat Kalutang of Bangbang, Gasan using wooden percussion instruments made from twatingan and bayog trees endemic to this Philippine island.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Love and Hate of Life in the Philippines

Photo from anton.blogs.com
Several months ago I wrote two articles as a guest writer for Bob Martins' web magazine “Live in the Philippines. The first article is the ten items that I love about the Philippines from the perspective of a balikbayan retiree living the “snow bird” lifestyle. Snow bird means that if it is winter time in US, my wife and I flew to the Philippines. When it gets super hot and humid in the Philippines we fly back to US. We do this every year. Most of our friends and contemporaries are envious of our lifestyle. But I say, “Eat your Hearts Out”.

Of course there is no perfect place on earth even if I call Marinduque my Heaven on Earth and my Island Paradise, (http://marinduquemyislandparadise.blogspot.com). So I wrote a second article on the ten most annoying things in the Philippines also listed below.

The following are the ten items I like and love about the Philippines. I modified and revised this list from the one published in Bob Martin's web magazine a while ago to reflect current conditions in the Philippines. These ten items are not in order of importance. I also sited my blogs for references on the subject listed.
1.The cheap standard of living: The cost of food and services with the exception of electricity is cheap in the Philippines specially services. For example haircuts, massages , pedicures and manicures is much cheaper in Philippines than in US. A specific example are Mens’ haircut. I pay between 60 to 100 pesos in Marinduque, but here in Northern California, I pay between $12 to $14 for a haircut. For $1500 plus or minus 10% a month, my wife and I live like a Queen and King here in Marinduque. The current exchange rate is about 48 pesos for one dollar as of this writing date. For fast conversion from pesos to dollars or vice versa, use “50” as the factor.
2.The simplicity and peaceful life in the provinces. The locals are easy going and do not hurry for their appointments. There is not much traffic in the provinces and in small towns. (http://marinduqueonmy mind.blogspot.com).
3.The abundance of fresh meat and seafood, vegetables and fresh fruits ( papayas, mangoes and bananas) at a reasonable prices as well as the Filipino delicacies ( lechon, lumpia and pancit) and desserts ( bibingka , leche flan and Halo-Halo).
4.Accessibility to the beaches, mountains, caves , rivers , islets for picnicking, bathing, snorkeling, scuba diving or just relaxing ( I am talking about Marinduque, not the big cities).
5.The social support system is fantastic. The presence of friends and relatives specially during Christmas and Easter seasons is an experience one can not forget. The Philippines celebrates Christmas five months every year starting from September 1 to January 31. (http:/planningtovisitthephilippines.blogspot.com)
6.Availability of all modern amenities, good restaurants, international food , modern health services in Manila, Iloilo, Cebu and other big cities and five stars vacation resorts all over the islands.
7.The dry and cool weather, ocean sea breezes ( at Chateau Du Mer )during the months of November to February. (http://chateaudumer.blogspot.com)
8.The numerous Fiestas and Festivals the whole year round, specially during the months of January and May. (http://lifeinus1960present.blogspot.com).
9.The hospitality of the people and their attitudes toward foreigners and visitors.
10.Historical and Cultural heritage we have as a nation from Spain , such as our old churches, folk dances, Kundiman music, Putong, Kalutang and respect for our elders and freedom of the press and speech and educational opportunities we had from the United States.(http://theintellectualmigrant.blogspot.com).

The ten items I dislike about the Philippines are listed below. This list is modified from what was published in Bob Martin's magazine to reflect current conditions (#4, #6 and #10) in the island.
1.Traffic and Pollution ( in big cities) There is always traffic congestion almost 24 hours a day, especially in big cities. The only time of the day when there is no traffic congestion in Manila and suburbs is between 2 to 4 AM. This is a good time to go to the airport to be in time for your 6AM flight.
2.Jeepney and Bus drivers: They drive like maniacs. They pick up and drop passengers in the middle of the road. Most provincial drivers drive like maniacs. They will overtake private cars on the wrong side of the highway and even on dangerous curves.
3.The long lines in the banks and ATM machines and people cutting-in the lines
4.The noise of crowing cocks and the barking dogs at 4AM or even earlier and loud karaoke music and out-of -tuned and horrible singing of the neighbors
5.When you invite one in your party, he or she brings one or two others, without advising you ahead
6.Filipinos seldom RSVP an invitation or answers their e-mails in a timely manner. Some have Face Books accounts , but seldom or never opens it. ( why open an account if you do not open it at all ?)
7.The heat and humidity during the summer months especially the months of March, April and May
8.The smell of fish and Durian-(probably only in Davao) in the wet markets
9.Littering'/urinating on the streets and on the beaches, parks and other public places
10.Frequent brown outs/ black outs, typhoons and torrential rains in the provinces.
You could probably add more items, but the good things outnumbered the annoying things.DO YOU HAVE ITEMS TO ADD TO THE ABOVE TWO LISTS? PLEASE SHARE!
Again as snowbirds, my wife an I are happy whether we are in the Philippines or United States. We believe that “HOME IS NOT A PLACE, BUT IN THE HEART!”.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Meditation Music and Inspiring Quotes

In my search for more relaxation music, I found this one not only very relaxing but the quotes from famous people are also inspiring. I think if you listen to this video, you know exactly what I meant. There are more than a dozen quotes, but my favorite is from George Burns, the comedian,
" You can not help getting old, but you do not have to be old". What's yours?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Latest Update on Power Outages in Marinduque


Here's the latest update on the power outages in Marinduque from Eli Obligacion blog, in case of you have not read it. I found this post very informative and educational.

Monday, October 5, 2009
MARINDUQUE POWER OUTAGES – part 2
WHAT'S REALLY BEHIND ALL THESE?

("Vicious and pernicious" is how Board Member Eleuterio Raza, Jr., Chair, Committe on Rules & Legal Matters of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, rightly describes the power outage situation in Marinduque. It has worsened now with up to 24-hour brownouts. "When will we see the light at the end of the tunnel?", asked BM Jose Alvarez, vice-chair of the said committee, during a public hearing last Thursday, Sept. 30 at the Capitol Session Hall. Alvarez went as far as suggesting that a declaration of a State of Emergency in Marinduque might be an option to consider. Following is the second post on this subject by this blogger).

In a consultation meeting with the Department of Energy and Napocor that transpired in 2004, the Marinduque Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Marelco), opted to have its own New Power Provider (NPP), in the promulgation of DOE’s Circular No. 2004-01-001.

Under this arrangement, Napocor’s function is limited to the maintenance of existing capacity with units at Bantad and Poctoy, including the power barge in Balanacan that was secured in 1997 by Gov. Carrion during his incumbency (1995-1998).


The said existing Napocor units being used today are already too old and their capabilities have greatly diminished. Marinduque requires 6.76 MW at its peak. Current capacity is only 3.1 MW. This has resulted in recurring brownouts lasting up to 24 hours.

The Marelco decision in 2004 to have its own New Power Provider put into place pilot projects for the privatization of the National Power Corp. under the Small Power Utilities Group (NPC-SPUG).

3i POWERGEN, the New Power Provider:

3i Powergen became the New Power Provider for Marinduque on the basis of a contract signed on Sept. 27, 2005, between Marelco, Napocor and the said company with then incumbent government officials, then Cong. Edmundo Reyes, then Gov. Carmencita Reyes and then provincial administrator Luisito Reyes signing as witnesses.

3i Powergen was to introduce a new technology in power generation that will harness wind energy potentials in the island province. It was to utilize Wind-Diesel Hybrid Technology to boost the electric power requirements of Marinduque.

It was to put up a 15.7-mw hybrid wind-diesel plant with investments estimated at P677 million.


The commercial operation of the plant was to start by February 2007. 3i Powergen, however, failed to implement the contract as the company went bankrupt and its financiers have left the country, according to its Vice-President, Domingo Lagundi, and as reported by Marelco itself. (SP Public Hearing, Sept. 30, 2009).

The contract was never implemented, the project never took off. Marelco, however, has remained passive and has not taken up the issue squarely with Napocor and the relevant authorities until today, that would have led to a resolution of this particular issue.

NAPOCOR, the Power Development Entity:

State-owned Napocor at the present time, is still planning to raise money for the financing of its Small Power Utilities Group’s (SPUG) budget to cover next year’s requirements. SPUG is Napocor’s missionary electrification arm, taking on a leading role in planning power development in missionary areas such as Marinduque.


Napocor assesses requirements and prospects for missionary electrification including the program for private sector participation. SPUG operates 304 generating units with a total generated capacity of about 129 MW. It serves 78 small islands and eight off-grid areas or those areas not connected to the Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao grids. It provides electricity to 42 customers consisting of 39 electric cooperatives. (manilatimes.net, Sept. 11, 2009; phistar.com, Oct. 5, 2009)

MARELCO, The Power Distributor:

Marinduque Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Marelco), exists as a cooperative under the jurisdiction and control of the National Elecrification Administration (NEA). Marelco is tasked with the distribution of power.

Under Republic Act 9136 or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 (EPIRA), electric cooperatives are given the option to register either with the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) or the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Under R.A. 9136, electric cooperatives should enjoy the principles of democratic control, autonomy and independence wherein the general membership assembly is the highest policy and decision-making body empowered to dictate to the cooperative board of director and management what it wants, and not to the whims and caprices of any government agency.

Cooperatives could then thrive as "self-sufficient and independent organizations with minimal government intervention or regulation" as envisioned under the Philippine Cooperative Code of 2008.

Further, registration of cooperatives under the CDA would result in the restoration of their exemption status from taxes by local government units (LGUs) on real property, franchise, income, as well as on importation of needed equipment, value-added tax, translating into lower electricity rates for the benefit of the member-customer-owners.

Marelco, however, has opted NOT to register with the Cooperative Development Authority nor the Securities and Exchange Commission and therefore not an independent organization but one subject to the “whims and caprices of any government agency”.

(to be continued)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

All You can Hear are the Sound of the Waves .....

This relaxing video, although filmed in Oahu, Hawaii reminds me of Chateau Du Mer Beach in Boac, Marinduque. You could close your eyes and just listen to the waves. All you can hear are the sound of the waves and your heart beat. Guaranteed to relax you and to forget the worries of the world. Visit Marinduque and stay at Chateau Du Mer!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Finally, Seair Flies to Marinduque


Here's the schedule of SEAIR from Manila to Marinduque and back. I am glad to see Zest Air will now have a competition. This schedule was posted by Sheila Evano in her Face book Notes. Thank you Sheila!

South East Asian Airlines (SEAIR) will commence flight for their newest route Manila – Marinduque – Manila this October 17, 2009. Flight frequency and schedules are as follows:

Tuesday, Saturday
Manila – Marinduque DG 385 ETD Manila: 0940H
ETA Marinduque: 1040H
Marinduque – Manila DG 386 ETD Marinduqe: 1100H
ETA Manila: 1200H

Thursday
Manila – Marinduque DG 387 ETD Manila: 1100H
ETA Marinduque: 1200H
Marinduque – Manila DG 388 ETD Marinduqe: 1220H
ETA Manila: 1320H

Sunday
Manila – Marinduque DG 389 ETD Manila: 1300H
ETA Marinduque: 1400H
Marinduque – Manila DG 340 ETD Marinduqe: 1420H
ETA Manila: 1520H

As per SEAIR (www.flyseair.com) website , the LET410 Turbolet is a twin engined short-range transport aircraft manufactured by the Czech aircraft manufacturer LET, mostly used for passenger transport. With more than 1,100 produced, it is the most popular 19-seat plane in history. It provides first class comfort, while simultaneously servicing unpaved airstrips. In the 19-seater class, no plane is better suited for short-haul.

Manufacturer: LET A.S.
Powerplant: M601-E
Length: 14.42 m (47 ft 4 in)
Wingspan: 19.98 m (65 ft 5 in)
Height: 5.83 m 19 ft 2 in)
Seat Capacity: 19 + 2 crew
Number of planes: 6
Max. Take-off Weight: 6,600 kgs (15,520 lbs)
Speed: 175 knots

To book your flight to Marinduque), contact SEAIR CALL CENTER : +632 849.0100

Office: Makati/Manila – Commercial; 2nd Floor La'O Centre, Arnaiz Ave. Makati City, Philippines 1200: Commercial FAX: +63 2 849.0219 Reservation FAX: +63 2 849.0239.

The round trip fares were not published in Sheila's posting but I hope it will be competitive with Zest Air. This means that after October 17, there will be daily flights from Manila to Marinduque and back, since Zest air flies Monday,Wednesday and Friday. This will surely be a boast to Marinduque's tourism business and a convenience for some Marinduque residents, business men and women.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

My first Cockfighting Experience in Marinduque


I grew up in the Philippines, until I was 25 years old. But I have never attended a cockfighting tournament. When I was growing up my parents instructed me never to go inside the arena or else I get a beating in the buttocks. However, without my parents knowledge, my friend and I were outside the arena a number of times where there are stalls selling merienda's( Filipino cakes and balot) and other goodies. So outside the arena, I could still remember the noise and commotion inside when the winner is announced in my mind even until today.

It was only two years ago, when we celebrated our Golden wedding anniversary that I attended a cockfighting tournament in Marinduque. This was the first request of my two sons, nephew to be (boy friend of my niece) and son-in-law who all grew up in US. They have heard and read about it, so they were really curious. So the first Sunday of their visit in Marinduque, I took them to my first cockfighting experience. We were accompanied by a local relative who was a cockfighting enthusiast and a semi-addict of this bloody sport and gambling activity in the Philippines.

WOW! What an experience! The crowds were 99.9% male. There were only three women out of about 300 gamblers. My son-in-law and "nephew to be" were the only white-skinned males(gringos) in the crowd. Of course my son-in-law who is 6 feet and 6 inches tall stuck out like a sore thumb with his height and bald head. At first I really did not understand what was going on, as the attendees were all shouting their bets to the bet taker almost at the same time. But I heard the bet taker never makes a mistake. What a memory! There were two sides, MAYRON or WALA. When I was growing up, the two opposing sides were “ SA PULA and SA PUTI”.

MAYRON means you have something and WALA means you have nothing. PULA means red and PUTI means white, indicating the opposite color of the roosters. But sometimes the roosters have the same color, so this was abandoned to the current mayron or wala as the two opposing sides.

Anyway, the noise was so deafening once a winner or a “kill” was declared. It sounded like a thousand males had an orgasmic experience all at the same time. It was so loud, that I had to cover my ears. I enjoyed more watching the antics of the crowd than the actual cockfights except for the moment of kill. After a few of these bouts, I got tired, so I went outside the arena. In the meantime, my guests were betting and enjoying themselves. We stayed for only about an hour since I was getting tired due to the noise, the heat and humidity in the arena. My son won about $10, but my son-in-law lost $15. They had a grand and fantastic time. I did not!

I will never attend a cockfighting tournament again, I just don't like the gambling atmosphere and the smell of the place(amoy pawis). My preference in gambling are the casinos not the cockfighting tournaments. It was however, an experience worthy of posting in this blog. Cockfighting also reminded me of bull fighting in Spain, that I attended about ten years ago. I loved the bull fights, not the cock fights.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Our Time Share and Exchange Experiences

The Ridge Resort, Lake Tahoe, Nevada( Our Home Resort)

Some time in the mid 1990's, Macrine and I purchased a time share at the Five Star, Ridge Resort in Lake Tahoe. Nevada. The resort is located at an elevation of 7342 feet above sea level. On the east side of the 8th floor of our 2 bedroom condo unit, you have a view of Lake Tahoe and on the west side the small town of Minden , Nevada. We purchased this time share not intentionally, but we were persuaded by the high pressure sale pitches of the aggressive sale personnel. They offered us a free dinner for two by just attending their one hour sales presentation and tour of the resort facilities. At that time most of the resorts time sharing program had no options for exchanges to other resorts. But the Ridge has that flexibility, so we signed up for a 2-bedroom unit for one week every year. We could exchange this to other five star resorts all over the world as long as they participate in the Interval International (II)Time Share Exchange Program. Since our purchase, we have exchanged our time share in Marbella, Spain, Cancun, Mexico. Puerto Rico, Aruba, Las Vegas, Nevada, Maui, Kawaii and the big Island of Hawaii. We had a grand time and fantastic vacations staying in five star resorts/hotel equivalent to The Ridge at the above places.

However, lately, I found it hard to exchange it via II, even with resorts in the Philippines. So, this year we spent our week at our home resort, The Ridge at Lake Tahoe. This occurred last week, while news of monsoon rains devastated Manila(Ondoy) and followed by a typhoon bound for Northern Luzon(Pepeng). Our prayers to those who died in these disasters. Marinduque International, Inc is in the process of raising funds to help typhoon victims in our beloved province of Marinduque.
The view from our 8th floor unit of Minden, Nevada and other buildings in the Resort

In Lake Tahoe last week, the first two days the weather was perfect. Then on Wednesday it snowed and the wind was howling at about 50 mph the top of the Daggit Summit where the resort is located. So we stayed indoors that day. But the next day, the weather turned bright and sunny again. In the meantime, we did a little casino gambling every day except Wednesday. At the end of the week, both Macrine and I lost only $200 each, not bad for 5 days of gambling for four hours each day. Macrine played the Slots and I played Pai Gao Poker.

Purchasing a vacation time share is not for everybody, especially if you do not plan your vacation ahead of time. To insure and take advantage of the exchange program flexibility, you need to be organized. With our time share, my wife and I just can not travel at the spur of the moment or if there is a promo package offered by travel agencies. Our vacation time is tied up to our time share program. Moreover, before you could exchange you need to reserve your week, then deposit it to II. After that you need to tell II to exchange it, listing three resorts and three time periods. This is the one that takes a long time, especially if the resorts you selected are popular resorts and the time periods are the busy vacation season. Owning a time share do not really save you vacation money as the sales pitches proclaimed. However, with your time share program you stay in four or five star resorts, that otherwise you can not afford or willing to pay on your own. In addition, you have the flexibility to choose places all over the world. There are over a thousand resorts listed in the Interval International Directory available for exchange. However, popular vacations spots such as Hawaii, San Francisco or France are hard to get, even if you reserved two years ahead. Availability of resorts are posted in the Internet on first come, first serve basis. So if you have the patience of Job, you may be able to get an exchange that fits your time and need. As an example, last year, I wanted to exchange my time share with a 2-bedroom unit in Las Vegas right on the Strip. I was doing this in the computer. There were about five hotels on the Strip with one bedroom units available on the week that I wanted, but no two bedroom unit. I waited for another ten minutes and surfed again. To my surprise a 2-bedroom unit was available on a hotel right on the Strip but I have only 15 minutes to complete the transaction. I completed the transaction in 10 minutes and within 20 minutes, I received a confirmation via e-mail. I was lucky and had the patience of Job surfing in the Internet. Otherwise, I may have to be content with a one bedroom unit not close to the Strip.

So what is my recommendation? If you are someone who do not plan ahead and do not have the patience of Job, do not purchase a time share. In addition, time share will cost you maintenance fees that gets higher every year. Put your vacation money in the bank or invest it. When the time comes for your vacation, then that is the time to get your money. Enjoy your vacation to a place that you choose and the time that is convenient for you and your love ones. Try vacationing in Marinduque, Philippines where your hard-earned dollars will go a long way. Stay at Chateau Du Mer Beach House for as low as $25 per day per person including meals (http://chateaudumer.blogspot.com).

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Its Already Christmas in the Philippines


Do you know that September 1 is the beginning of Christmas Season in the Philippines? It not only starts on the first day of September, but it ends 5 months later on January 31 every year. If you do not believe me , try reading some blogs about life in the Philippines from American and European expatriate nationals who are now living in the Philippines with their Filipina wives. My favorite web site is Bob Martin's, www.liveinthephilippines.com. In this magazine, one of the contributors discuss how he felt hearing “White Christmas” and other Christmas songs two weeks ago, cooling off at Mcdonald Restaurant at their local mall because there was a power outage that day in their subdivision. Speaking of Christmas songs my favorite Filipino Christmas song is Pasko Na Sinta Ko( Its Christmas, My Love) sang by world famous singer Lea Salonga. Here's a short video of the song plus another Filipino Christmas ballad( Sana Ngayon Pasko Na). If you are an OFW ( Overseas Filipino Worker) you will enjoy these two songs with background of the Philippine scenery, Filipino food and delicacies. I hope it will make you feel nostalgic about the Philippines.
I hope you enjoy Lea Salonga's rendition of these two popular Filipino Christmas ballads.

Here in US, the Christmas Season starts after Thanksgiving and ends the day after New Year or sometimes after the Feast of Three Kings on January 6. Merry Christmas to ALL!

I believe the Philippines is the only country in the world that celebrate Christmas 5 months every year.
Am I right? Are there any other countries in the world that celebrates Christmas longer than 5 months?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Hundred Island Marine National Park, Alaminos City, Pangasinan

Photo from philippinetraveltour.com
One of the many scenic spots, I want to visit in the Philippines in the near future is the Hundred Island National Park in Alaminos City, Pangasinan. Attached below is a video made by the city.

An excerpt from the article about the park by Dave Ryan Buaron of Tourism Paradise Philippines is as follows.

The Hundred Islands National Park collectively comprises these 123 limestone islands most of which are clad in lush vegetation, secret coves, strips of white sandy beaches and sand bars as well as giant clams snorkeling areas amidst largely tranquil waters with gorgeous views of the South China Sea – another 123 reasons to discover the Philippines.

Just off the coast of Alaminos City, Pangasinan (4-6 Hours North of Manila) are these 123 (124 during low tide) mushroom-shaped limestone and coral islands that compose the wonderful Hundred Islands National Park. Along with the Chocolate Hills of Bohol and Taal Volcano of Batangas- the Hundred Islands National Park also known as Kapulo-puluan or Taytay-Bakes, is considered as one of the National Geological Monuments of the Philippines.

The Hundred Islands National Park is believed to be at least about 2 million years old – the islands were part of an ancient coral area that extends well inland, a large area that used to be part an ancient sea. When the sea levels lowered, the islands were exposed, whilst hundreds of thousands of years slowly eroded the base of these islands invariably forming mushroom/umbrella shapes in the middle of stunning emerald waters.

Out of the many islands, only three were developed for tourism – the most well developed is Quezon Island (which is actually composed of three islets) which includes 2 dining pavilions, a grilling area, restrooms, nipa huts, a small white sandbar, and a giant clam garden. Quezon Island was named after the former Philippine Commonwealth President Manuel L. Quezon, whose statue we saw on one of the islets.) Quezon Island is probably one of the most visited in the National Park. You should also be able to rent kayaks as well on Quezon Island – snacks are available as well though as expected, a bit overpriced – though people are not pushy. We found some of the inhabitants on the island very friendly- and they humbly offered us some boiled bananas! Yum!

Rates on Quezon Island are as follows (subject to change without prior notice): Cottage without room (Nipa 1,2,3) –PhP 350 (day tour)/PhP 500 (overnight stay); Cottage without room (Nipa 4) –PhP 500 (day tour)/PhP 1000 (overnight); Cottage with room (Nipa A)- PhP 500 (day tour)/PhP 900 (overnight); Cottage with room (Nipa B) – PhP 600 (day tour)/PhP1,100 (overnight); and Picnic Tables & Picnic Area – PhP 200 (day tour); PhP 300 (overnight). For tent space/ pitching fee – PhP 200.

These rates are of course on top of the entrance fees –PhP 20 (day tour)/ PhP 40 (overnight). Kids 5 years old below can come in for free and there is a 20% discount for Senior Citizens.

Hopefully in the near future, I will have a chance to visit this national park in Luzon. Here is the video. Enjoy!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Are You Suffering from some Form of Addiction?

If so, seek medical help before it is too late. There are several types of addiction. The most common from my personal point of view are gambling, computer, nicotine or TV addiction. There are other types such as drugs, pornography or sex addiction. Any activity that ruined the balance of your life is an addiction. Let me discuss only four types of addiction that I have personal experience.
Image from youcanstopnow.com
Nicotine: My wife is addicted to nicotine. She is a nurse and she knows the medical implications and effects of nicotine in her body. She tried to quit several times for the last 40 years. I even sent her to a Cessation Clinic, but after a few weeks, she is back to smoking. Nicotine causes changes in your brain, that makes people to use it more and more. Nicotine addiction is the hardest to break, because of the physical symptoms of withdrawal.Among the symptoms of withdrawal are: Irritability, anxiety, hostility,impatience, depressed mood, restlessness, difficulty concentrating and decreased heart rate.
The worst part of this habit, is that cigarettes increases one's risk of a heart attack My wife knows this as a medical professional, but she can't quit. I need help to convince her to stop. Can you help? For more information on nicotine addiction call 1-800-662-4357.
Photo from highlyvisitedblog.com
Computer/TV Addiction: I am mildly addicted to it. I spent about four to six hours in the computer every day. First thing I do, when I wake up is to read my e-mail. Then I check my Face Book and Twitter Accounts. Then I read all the news in US and in the Philippines. Then I manage my eighth blog sites. Afterwards I will start writing articles if I am in the mood. By the time I could get out of the computer, it is about noon time. I know I am mildly addicted, because when we are in Marinduque, if there is a power outage for more than an hour, I become restless and irritable and depressed. Luckily, I still could control my computer habit and it is not ruining my life. My wife is mildly addicted to the Filipino TV channel. She loves watching WOW WOW WEE and May Bukas Pa- a Filipino soap opera. For information on how to treat computer addiction, call 1-617-855-2908.
Photo from cbc.ca.gov
Gambling Addiction: Both my wife and myself are mildly addicted to the Casinos. As part of our entertainment, we go to the Casinos every week. My wife loves the slot machines and I play Pai Gow Poker. We used to go to movies, eat in fancy restaurants and attend Broadway shows and Concerts prior to my retirement. We do however, stick to our weekly budget. Once we reached that budget, we go home. Sometimes we win, but our losses are more than our winnings as expected. I know that I will never get rich going to the Casinos. We also go the Casinos because of the reasonable prices of food in the Buffet. When we are in the Philippines for six months every year, we go only to the Casino maybe once or twice and we really do not missed it. So, thank GOD, we are not GAMBOHOLICS yet ! If you know of someone with gambling problems, the number to call is 1-877-718-5543.
Again, let me emphasized, if you think you are addicted to the Casinos or the Computer, please seek professional help, as soon as possible. Do not wait until you are deeply addicted or have ruined your life.

Diving Sites in Marinduque, Philippines

Image from asiadivesite.com
Our province is mostly known worldwide because of the Moriones Festival. However, it has recently been in the news due to interests of divers all over the world to explore the diving sites in the island and in the vicinity. Among the diving sites are:
1.Natanco- north of the island has good walls and drift diving. Corals are abundant. Close by is the wreck of a Japanese torpedo boat
2.Baltazar-west of the Island-one of the Tres Reyes Island Chain- has a cave 20m worth exploring. Stone fish may be a problem.
3.Elephant Island-now known as Bellarocca- private resort with good walls, coral formation and and several varieties of tropical fish. Currents could be strong, but conditions for photography good.
4. Torrijos- canyons and fissures to explore. Can expect to encounter grouper, barracuda, tuna and shoals of tropical fish.
5.Maestro De Campo Island-southwest of Marinduque- a wall on the west side and a wreck of a ferry boat, MV Mactan on the east side
6.Banton Island- farther southwest – amazing corals and an array of fish. Dolphins, sharks and sting rays may be seen. From February to May are the good months for scuba diving
7.Sibuyan Sea- outlying areas to the south and east of Marinduque are fairly unexplored. Puerto Galera, Mindoro is the place to organize this tour if you are adventurous.
Here are two excellent videos, I found in You Tube. Enjoy! Happy Diving

Diving Video from Southern Leyte, Apo Reefs, Sogod Bay, and Puerto Galera

Friday, September 4, 2009

My Filipina Wife-My Little Brown Girl?



If you search for "Filipina" in Google, Yahoo or Scour search engines, majority of the "Hits" will be about mail order brides, sexy dates and dating Filipino or Asian women etc.

Today, it is not as bad compared to about five years ago. Thanks to the campaign of a few of our educated women in the Philippines (www.filipinaimages.com), the Filipino women on line image is improving. However, there is still room for improvement. Visit the site. There is instruction on how you can help improve the Filipina image on line.

Recently there was a good news toward recognizing women's rights in the Philippines. President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo signed into law the measure prohibiting discrimination against women, and recognizing and promoting their rights.

Republic Act 9710 or the Magna Carta of Women, signed at the Heroes Hall in MalacaƱang Palace, ensures women’s equitable participation and representation in government, political parties, international bodies, civil service and the private sector.

RA 9710 recognizes and protects women’s rights at home, at work and in all spheres of society toward developing all aspects of their well-being. Its most salient features include increasing the number of women personnel until they fill half of third-level positions in the government, setting up in every barangay (village) a “violence against women’s desk,” providing incentives to parties with women’s agenda and barring the derogatory portrayal of women in media and film. I believe this law was an aftermath of the latest Hayden Kho sex scandal, where Halili claimed she was maltreated sexually by Kho in a degrading and violent manner.

Moreover, to all Americans, Europeans, Australians, or Canadians and Non-Filipino Husbands, do not call your wife "My Filipina" as if your wife is a commodity that you have purchased or "my little brown girl", even if you meant it as endearment. I am addressing it to all non-Filipino husbands who are married to Filipina women whether your are residing in Philippines or other parts of the world. I am also addressing this to all Men looking for Filipina wives in the internet and other dating sites. Filipina women are known to be good wives and they must be treated with respect and dignity. Comments anyone?

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Bellarocca Island Resort Promo Package, 2009


I do not have any financial gains by posting that Bellarocca Island Resort has now a promo package for 3-days-2-nights including meals for a fairly reasonable price if you compared it to their standard rates. Moreover, If I have a choice, I would rather that you book your vacation at Chateau Du Mer Beach Resort for a much, much more reasonable price( $25 per person per night plus a 10% discount for 7 days or longer stay). (http://chateaudumer.blogspot.com) or www.chateaudumer.com
Chateau Du Mer Beach House, Amoingon, Boac, Marinduque, Philippines (916-961-3365)
The Package Promo 2009 is effective September 1 to October 31, 2009. So, if you have been planning to see this island resort in Marinduque, now is the time. Otherwise the standard rates are so expensive, unless you are rich and famous or you are a Japanese or Korean tourist. For details, visit their newly available website, www.bellaroccaresorts.com Enjoy Marinduque-my island Paradise!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Coping Mechanisn or Bad Habits?

Some Representatives of Northern California Chapter at the MI Inc. Dinner Dance, August 22, 2009 in Buena Park, CA

MI, Inc four days of fun, dancing, feasting, meetings and reunion concluded last weekend. There were five coping mechanism EXHIBITED by several members and guests of Marinduque International (MI, Inc)last weekend.

MI, Inc is a non-profit organization based here in US with nine chapters. Two from Canada, one from Saudi Arabia and the rest are Southern CA, Northern CA, Chicago, New Jersey, Washington DC and Texas. MI, Inc main project is to conduct medical mission to the province of Marinduque.

The five coping mechanism I observed during the meeting were:
Overeating, Filipino time ( always late for events), gambling in the Casinos, smoking & drinking and public outburst. Although I am not an MD or a psychiatrist, I know that the above activities are one of the many ways of coping with the pressure of daily life here in the United States. I will discuss my observations but will not mentioned names. You know who you are , by the activities I described. I hope you do not get mad at me. My purpose of writing this is to make you aware of your bad habits. In controlling your bad habits, I hope you will live longer and hope to see you more in our future meetings and reunions.

1.Overeating and Hoarding: A typical activity would be indulging in “All you can eat Buffet” ( Sea Food or Chinese). All of the California Indian Casinos offered “All you can eat Buffet” ranging from $14.99 to $24.99 per person. With the food discounts, senior citizen discounts and promo discounts, one could enjoy this buffet for as low as $9.99 per person. I am always amazed at the pile of food some people put in their plates in these places. Another observation that inspired me to write this -is how much food people took to their hotel rooms during the “after dinner dance snack “ at our dinner dance last Saturday. I called this hoarding.Photo from dailywomanday.com
2.Filipino Time: I notice that the same people are the one always late for events. I have attended almost all the Reunions of MI, Inc for the last 10 years, and the same people are the ones that are always late. Lucky for me, I am not the host. Moreover, in Filipino Parties, there is always extra food prepared. If the hosts expect 50 attendees, there is always food for 100. Macrine and I could identify on the subject of preparing two times the amount of food when we have a party in the Philippines. The reason for these is that when you invite one person to your party, she or he would bring one or two more guests. This indeed is bad manners in US, but for some reason , it is tolerated in the Philippines.
3.Gambling in Indian Casinos: The popularity of Indian Casinos and their profits are soaring in spite of the economic recession here in US. An example of the popularity of this activity was our escapade to the San Manuel Casino in San Bernandino County, Friday Night. Forty-six members of MI, INC joined this activity. After this activity, I heard that only two participants went home as winners. The rest of us lost adding to the income of the Casino. Most of us, consider this as part of our entertainment expenses. It is a good way to escape from the daily pressures of living. And If you are a retiree, it is one way to relieve boredom. The trick is to have a budget for this activity, otherwise you can be easily addicted to it.
4.Alcohol and Tobacco: You know who you are. The smokers and drinkers in MI, Inc are known to everybody. They are the same members from year to year. I just hope we are not influencing our young members to follow your footsteps. Every smoker or drinker has reasons why they smoke or drink. Most of them knows the bad effect of these habits to their health, but they can not stop because they are already addicted.
Photo from internetweekly.org
5.Public Outburst: I have thrown one public outburst about five years ago in Marinduque, when somebody cut ahead of me on the line when I was opening a bank account in Boac. I gave a public lecture why people should not cut in line, Last year, I also give a one-to-one lecture to a clerk of Zest Air who changed the schedule of my flight without informing me. But I have never thrown a tantrum or public outburst during an MI, Inc meeting . However, I know of two MI members and three incidents of public outburst during an MI Inc meeting. The first incident was during the Texas reunion two years ago and the other one was during a medical mission in Boac when Macrine was president of MI,, Inc. The latest one was last week at our business meeting and Election of Officers. Again, may I reiterate that the only reason why I am writing this, is to insure that the person(s) involved should get medical help. If the public outburst is a side of effect of medication, then it should also be reported to your physician. I hope that by my writing these incidents in my blog, whether it is overeating, habitual lateness to events, gambling, smoking, drinking or temper tantrums in public, the person(s) involved should be aware of these bad habits . The earlier you recognize you have a problem, the earlier it should be treated by a medical professional. Hopefully, you will live longer and can attend more MI, Inc meetings and reunions in the future.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Marinduque-Communist Free

Photo from mindanao.com
ABS-CBN NEWS, Philippines announced recently that the Philippine Military would turn over the responsibility of addressing communist’s insurgency in Marinduque to the local Philippine National Police (PNP). The news stated that membership of the New People's Army (NPA), a group of communist rebels has gone to zero in the island. Marinduque is the first province throughout the Philippines where internal-security operations will be turned over to the local PNP.

Arm Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Lt. General Roland Detabali said that for the past few years, no reported incidents involving the communists rebels (NPA) had been reported in my island province. My family and I have been residents of this island six months every year since 2002 after my retirement from the Food and Drug Administration, in Rockville, Maryland. I am not surprise of this news.

General Detabali also said that the military has plans to turn over to the local police the counter-insurgency operations against the communist’s rebels in the neighboring provinces of Romblon, Cavite and Laguna in the near future.

AFP estimated that there are still around 4,800 members of the NPA scattered all over the country. There are still problems with the communist rebels in the Bicol Regions as well as in the province of Batangas. Lt. General Detabali hopes that by the end of President Arroyo's term in about 10 months the threats of communist insurgency will be completely eliminated in the whole country.

The handover ceremony was held recently at the village of Paye in the capital town of Boac.Local government executives, top military and police officials attended this turnover ceremony.

AFP officials declared that this turn over of responsibility is a milestone in the internal security operations of the Philippine Military and its fight against communist rebel’s activities in the country.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Six Marinduque Videos


Recently, I was surfing on the Web and You Tube. I found about sixty short videos on Marinduque. The following six videos are my favorites. The first one was made by Eli Obligacion to honor Governor Carrion and his administration. The second was a vacation video by a typical tourist. I do not even know the video maker and the people in the vidoes, but the video was well made and shows several beauty spots and beaches of Marinduque. The third and fourth videos are from NBN, Channel 4, with Mayo Suzuki featuring the town of Gasan and Torrijos. The video contains a tour inside the beautiful mansion of Mayor Vicky Lim in Bacong Bacong, Gasan, a butterfly farm, a facility for making virgin coconut oil and a fishing village in Torrijos.
The fifth video is by Mykvan, taken 2007, Views of Marinduque.

Video by Eli Obligacion. This video made me homesick. It is an excellent video of the sites, scenery, a little bit of history, culture and traditions of our island paradise with the background music by Yanni.(one of my favorite musician)

Vacation Video from a typical tourist to Marinduque. One of the best vacation videos, featuring the beauty of our islands. There are more than fifthy videos made by tourists about Marinduque in the Web, but the quality of most of the videos is not worth your time. But the above short video, I hope you will enjoy.

Part 1 of Mayo's Video of Channel 4- Lakbayin ang Magandang Pilipinas

Part 2 of Mayo's Video of Channel 4- Lakbayin ang Magandang Pilipinas
Video by mykvan, 2007
Here's the sixth and latest video from the tourism department of the provincial government.This is one of the best video about Marinduque that I have viewed recently

Link within

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