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!

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). ( or
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, 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
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
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
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

First Bio-fuel Plant in the Philippines

Image from
Construction of the first coconut bio-fuel energy plant was announced by the Arroyo administration recently. It will be located in the coastal town of Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte Province. More than 400,000 hectares of land will be developed and planted with coconut trees to insure the supply of coconut oil for domestic market demand .

This bio-fuel power project is one of the many ways of solving climate change because the use of coconut bio-diesel will reduce green house gas emission in the atmosphere. The advantage of bio-fuel in comparison to other types of fuel sources is its biodegradability.

The first phase of the project is the construction of the Coconut Oil Mill Plant.. This will include a copra warehouse, copra milling section, coconut oil refinery section, copra cake section, storage tanks, administration offices and port facility. The second phase will be the construction of the Coconut biodiesel plant and the coconut shell processing plant. This plant is expected to produce at least 2,000 tons of coconut oil per month with provisions of up to 25,000 tons and resulting to about 300,000 tons of coconut biodiesel annually.

The estimated cost of this project is about 3.5 billion pesos of which 500 million pesos is allocated for land and infrastructure development. The remaining 3 billion pesos will be for the plantation of coconut trees, including provisions for livelihood and employment, farm supplies, fertilizers, seedlings and other needs.

Completion of this project will ensure the region its own source of alternative fuel, thus lessened the regions dependence on imported fossil fuels. It will also create job opportunities and an economic boom to other related industries.

I hope that Marinduque will be a future site of the next coconut bio-fuel plant in the Philippines. Marinduque has the land and coconut plantations needed for this eco-friendly project. Provincial officials should lobby the next administration for this excellent project, which will be a big boost to the improvement of economic conditions of the province.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Building a Retirement Home in the Philippines

Recently, I received several e-mail and telephone inquiries on the cost of building a retirement or vacation house in Marinduque. Before, I could give you a decent estimate, there are several items that I have to know:

1. What kind of a house do you want, that is either it will be constructed with native materials (nipa/bamboo/coco lumber) or with cement, hollow blocks and metal roofing
2. How big will the house be in terms of area, that is square footage or square meters
3. What kind of fixtures you want installed, such as plumbing, doors, windows, garage, balconies, fans, air conditioning, attics etc...

My estimate will consist only of materials and labor plus architect fees. It will not include furniture's, kitchen appliances, landscaping and caretaker expense and fencing of the property(highly recommended). It will not also include the price of the lot.

However, I can give you a decent estimate based on our retirement house built in 1996. If you want to build a similar house, 2700 sq ft, 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, two balconies and a one car garage with cement, metal roofing, air conditioning and marble floors, my estimate will be around 4 million pesos. So based on today's exchange rate of 1 to 48, it will cost you around $84,000. This is cheap if you compared it to the standard 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom house in US. Here in Fair Oaks, CA the standard house sells for an average of $250,000 to 500,000 depending on location.

Speaking of location, lots with beach front are very expensive if you can find one in Boac. There are a several beach front lots in Buenavista and Torrijos. They are cheaper compared to beach lots in Boac or Gasan. Lots in the interior ( no beach front) are much much cheaper and are in abundance.

If you already owned a beach front lot in Marinduque, here are a few tips you need to know before building.

Because of the salty ocean breeze especially on Habagat season (rainy- southwest winds), it is recommended that you build your house with stainless materials if possible. Double paint the outside and derusts annually. High maintenance expense is what you get for an ocean view and fresh ocean air during the amihan season (gentle Northeast winds) during summer.

So if you have a lot and have decided to build your dream vacation or retirement home, here are the steps to follow:

1. Hire a professional architect ( Research the type of architecture for your dream house). Visit local homes for ideas.
2. The estimate of the architect is normally low, so that your property tax will also be low.
3. Multiply by 2 the architect estimate. That will be your decent estimated cost until the house is finished.
4. Allot about 15 to 25% for furniture's, appliances, landscaping and caretaker expenses and fencing( highly recommenced).
5. If you can not personally supervise the construction, ask a relative or someone you can trust with finances to supervise during construction.

If you are really serious in constructing your dream house, let me know. I have 15 years of experience building three houses and one Conference Hall at the Chateau Du Mer Compound in Marinduque. I will be glad to give you ideas and free advice and tips( no consultation fees). Have Fun and Enjoy the planning, constructing, landscaping and eventually moving to your dream retirement house

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Bitik and Tarug Caves,and Hinulugan Falls

Three recent boosts to the local ecotourism development in Marinduque includes the latest exploration of Bitik Caves in Santa Cruz, the Hinulugan Falls in Torrijos and the Tarug Caves in Mogpog.
Here's is the video of the exploration of Bitik caves published recently in the provincial blog as part of the Adventure Series, edited by E. Obligacion.

Two other sites that were also recently explored are Hinulugan Falls in Torrijos and Tarug Caves in Mogpog. May I reiterate that development of these local natural wonders of the province will definitely add to the claim of Marinduque as the ecotourism capital of the Philippines.
Entrance to Tarug Cave, Mogpog and Hinulugan Falls, Torrijos

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Time for Second Contest to win free 2-nights and 3 Days stay at Chateau Du Mer, Boac, Marinduque

About two years ago, I announced a contest to win 2-nights and 3 days stay at Chateau Du Mer. A winner was chosen last year. Today, I am announcing a second contest to win this prize. I encourage all members of Face Book Katague/Catague Clan Group to participate in this contest. Read the details below:

Have you heard about the scenic beauty and unspoiled beaches of the island of Marinduque? Here is your chance to win a free 2-night stay at the Chateau Du Mer Beach Resort in Boac, Marinduque, Philippines. All you have to do is write an essay of not more than 250 words why you want to visit Marinduque. The essay will be judged on originality and honesty. The winning essay will be published in my blog above. It is open to all non-marinduqueno over 13 years old.

The prize is redeemable whole year round except on the weeks of Easter and Christmas and will not expire until December, 2011. It is non transferable and requires at least 60 days notice prior to the date of arrival.

Please note that the beach house maximum capacity is only 4 adults and 2 children. For details about the beach house, visit my website and for information on the province of Marinduque, visit

Please submit your essay as a comment in this blog or to my e-mail
I am looking forward for your submission..

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Music for Relaxation- Cure for Insomnia

Do you have Insomnia? Sleeping pills are addictive. There is an excellent alternative to cure your insomnia. Listen to relaxation music and soothing pictures is a good alternative. Taking pills causes chemical alternation of your brain and you will become addicted to it later. After viewing this video, it took me less than 10 minutes, before I dozed off to a peaceful and relaxing sleep. Try it and let me know if it works for you also. Here's the video for your relaxation!

Link within

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