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, September 25, 2010

New York City-Most Populous City in US


I have been to New York City a number of times. My first visit was in 1960. I remember visiting the Empire State Building, Times Square, Central Park, and China Town. Since then, I have been to the city, to see a Broadway Play, attend a conference( American Chemical Society), visit relatives, a little shopping and sight seeing ( Statue of Liberty). My impression of New City is that it is a nice place to visit, but even if you gave me a million dollars, I will never live there! Here's a short video of the sights of the City via Frank Sinatra.

New York is the most populous city in the United States, and the center of the New York metropolitan area, which is one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. A leading global city, New York exerts a powerful influence over global commerce, finance, media, culture, art, fashion, research, education, and entertainment. As host of the United Nations Headquarters, it is also an important center for international affairs. The city is often referred to as New York City or the City of New York to distinguish it from the state of New York, of which it is a part.

Located on a large natural harbor on the Atlantic coast of the Northeastern United States, the city consists of five boroughs: The Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island. The city's 2009 estimated population approached 8.4 million, and with a land area of 305 square miles (790 km2). New York City is the most densely populated major city in the United States. The New York metropolitan area's population is also the nation's largest, estimated at 19.1 million people over 6,720 square miles (17,400 km2). Furthermore, the Combined Statistical Area containing the greater New York metropolitan area contained 22.2 million people as of 2009 Census estimates, also the largest in the United States.

New York was founded as a commercial trading post by the Dutch in 1624. The settlement was called New Amsterdam until 1664 when the colony came under English control. New York served as the capital of the United States from 1785 until 1790. It has been the country's largest city since 1790. As many as 800 languages are spoken in New York City, making it the most linguistically diverse city in the world.

Many districts and landmarks in the city have become well known to outsiders. The Statue of Liberty greeted millions of immigrants as they came to America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Times Square, iconified as "The Crossroads of the World", is the brightly illuminated hub of the Broadway theater district, one of the world's busiest pedestrian intersections, and a major center of the world's entertainment industry. Anchored by Wall Street, in Lower Manhattan, New York City vies with London as the financial capital of the world is home to the New York Stock Exchange, the world's largest stock exchange by market capitalization of its listed companies. The original Manhattan Chinatown attracts throngs of tourists to its bustling sidewalks and retail establishments. World-class schools and universities such as Columbia University and New York University also reside in New York City.

Additional Personal Note: Before September 11, 2001, Our daughter gave us a tour of her office in the World Trade Center. I was really impressed with the Twin Towers, so the bombing of the Twin Tower on 9/11/01, I consider a personal loss.
Twin Tower Of WTC (March, 2001)

This posting is No 1 of part 1 of a series I am planning to write on cities that we have resided and visited in US. Future series(Part 2), will be cities that we have visited outside the US through our International Interval Exchange Vacation Program such as London, Rome, Marbella, Spain, Morroco, Cancun, Mexico and all of the Hawaiian islands.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Filipino Today- Be Proud You are a Filipino

The August 23 Hostage Drama of Hongkong Tourist Bus in Manila-Put the International Image of the Philippines to Zero

I received the following article from a friend in the Philippines today. As I read this article, my heart starts to hurt and I shed a tear or two. I am joining this author for forgiveness from the families of the Hongkong tourists who were killed by a crazy ex police man. The article is THE FILIPINO TODAY and written by Alex Lacson.

"After the August 23 hostage drama, there is just too much negativity about and against the Filipino. “It is difficult to be a Filipino these days”, says a friend who works in Hongkong. “Nakakahiya tayo”, “Only in the Philippines ” were some of the comments lawyer Trixie Cruz-Angeles received in her Facebook. There is this email supposedly written by a Dutch married to a Filipina, with 2 kids, making a litany of the supposed stupidity or idiocy of Filipinos in general. There was also this statement by Fermi Wong, founder of Unison HongKong, where she said – “Filipino maids have a very low status in our city”. Then there is this article from a certain Daniel Wagner of Huffington Post, wherein he said he sees nothing good in our country’s future.

Clearly, the hostage crisis has spawned another crisis – a crisis of faith in the Filipino, one that exists in the minds of a significant number of Filipinos and some quarters in the world. It is important for us Filipinos to take stock of ourselves as a people – of who we truly are as a people. It is important that we remind ourselves who the Filipino really is, before our young children believe all this negativity that they hear and read about the Filipino.

We have to protect and defend the Filipino in each one of us.The August 23 hostage fiasco is now part of us as Filipinos, it being part now of our country’s and world’s history. But that is not all that there is to the Filipino. Yes, we accept it as a failure on our part, a disappointment to HongKong , China and to the whole world.

But there is so much more about the Filipino.

In 1945, at the end of World War II, Hitler and his Nazi had killed more than 6 million Jews in Europe . But in 1939, when the Jews and their families were fleeing Europe at a time when several countries refused to open their doors to them, our Philippines did the highly risky and the unlikely –thru President Manuel L Quezon, we opened our country’s doors and our nation’s heart to the fleeing and persecuted Jews. Eventually, some 1,200 Jews and their families made it to Manila . Last 21 June 2010, or 70 years later, the first ever monument honoring Quezon and the Filipino nation for this “open door policy” was inaugurated on Israeli soil, at the 65-hectare Holocaust Memorial Park in Rishon LeZion, Israel.

The Filipino heart is one of history’s biggest, one of the world’s rare jewels, and one of humanity’s greatest treasures. In 2007,Baldomero M. Olivera, a Filipino, was chosen and awarded as the Scientist for the Year 2007 by Harvard University Foundation, for his work in neurotoxins which is produced by venomous cone snails commonly found in the tropical waters of Philippines . Olivera is a distinguished professor of biology at University of Utah , USA . The Scientist for the Year 2007 award was given to him in recognition to his outstanding contribution to science, particularly to molecular biology and groundbreaking work with conotoxins. The research conducted by Olivera’s group became the basis for the production of commercial drug called Prialt (generic name – Ziconotide), which is considered more effective than morphine and does not result in addiction.

The Filipino mind is one of the world’s best, one of humanity’s great assets. The Filipino is capable of greatness, of making great sacrifices for the greater good of the least of our people. Josette Biyois an example of this. Biyo has masteral and doctoral degress from one of the top universities in the Philippines – the De La Salle University (Taft, Manila ) – where she used to teach rich college students and was paid well for it. But Dr Biyo left all that and all the glamour of Manila , and chose to teach in a far-away public school in a rural area in the province, receiving the salary of less than US$ 300 a month. When asked why she did that, she replied “but who will teach our children?” In recognition of the rarity of her kind, the world-famous Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States honoured Dr Biyo a very rare honor – by naming a small and new-discovered planet in our galaxy as “Biyo”.

The Filipino is one of humanity’s best examples on the greatness of human spirit!
Efren Penaflorida was born to a father who worked as a tricycle driver and a mother who worked as laundrywoman. Through sheer determination and the help of other people, Penaflorida finished college. In 1997, Penaflorida and his friends formed a group that made pushcarts (kariton) and loaded them with books, pens, crayons, blackboard, clothes, jugs of water, and a Philippine flag. Then he and his group would go to the public cemetery, market and garbage dump sites in Cavite City – to teach street children with reading, math, basic literacy skills and values, to save them from illegal drugs and prevent them from joining gangs. Penaflorida and his group have been doing this for more than a decade. Last year, Penaflorida was chosen and awarded as CNN Hero for 2009. Efren Penaflorida is one of the great human beings alive today. And he is a Filipino!

Nestor Suplico is yet another example of the Filipino’s nobility of spirit. Suplico was a taxi driver In New York. On 17 July 2004, Suplico drove 43 miles from New York City to Connecticut , USA to return the US$80,000 worth of jewelry (rare black pearls) to his passenger who forgot it at the back seat of his taxi. When his passenger offered to give him a reward, Suplico even refused the reward. He just asked to be reimbursed for his taxi fuel for his travel to Connecticut . At the time, Suplico was just earning $80 a day as a taxi driver. What do you call that? That’s honesty in its purest sense. That is decency most sublime. And it occurred in New York , the Big Apple City , where all kinds of snakes and sinners abound, and a place where – according to American novelist Sydney Sheldon – angels no longer descend. No wonder all New York newspapers called him “ New York ’s Most Honest Taxi Driver”. The New York City Government also held a ceremony to officially acknowledge his noble deed. The Philippine Senate passed a Resolution for giving honors to the Filipino people and our country.

In Singapore , Filipina Marites Perez-Galam, 33, a mother of four, found a wallet in a public toilet near the restaurant where she works as the head waitress found a wallet containing 16,000 Singaporean dollars (US $11,000). Maritess immediately handed the wallet to the restaurant manager of Imperial Herbal restaurant where she worked located in Vivo City Mall. The manager in turn reported the lost money to the mall’s management. It took the Indonesian woman less than two hours to claim her lost wallet intended for her son’s ear surgery that she and her husband saved for the medical treatment. Maritess refused the reward offered by the grateful owner and said it was the right thing to do.

The Filipina, in features and physical beauty, is one of the world’s most beautiful creatures!Look at this list – Gemma Cruz became the first Filipina to win Miss International in 1964; Gloria Diaz won as Miss Universe in 1969; Aurora Pijuan won Miss International in 1970; Margie Moran won Miss Universe in 1973; Evangeline Pascual was 1st runner up in Miss World 1974; Melanie Marquez was Miss International in 1979; Ruffa Gutierrez was 2nd runner up in Miss World 1993; Charlene Gonzalez was Miss Universe finalist in 1994; Mirriam Quiambao was Miss Universe 1st runner up in 1999;and last week, Venus Raj was 4th runner up in Miss Universe pageant.

I can cite more great Filipinos like Ramon Magsaysay, Ninoy Aquino, Leah Salonga, Manny Pacquaio, Paeng Nepomuceno, Tony Meloto, Joey Velasco, Juan Luna and Jose Rizal. For truly, there are many more great Filipinos who define who we are as a people and as a nation – each one of them is part of each one of us, for they are Filipinos like us, for they are part of our history as a people.

What we see and hear of the Filipino today is not all that there is about the Filipino. I believe that the Filipino is higher and greater than all these that we see and hear about the Filipino. God has a beautiful story for us as a people. And the story that we see today is but a fleeting portion of that beautiful story that is yet to fully unfold before the eyes of our world.

So let’s rise as one people. Let’s pick up the pieces. Let’s ask for understanding and forgiveness for our failure. Let us also ask for space and time to correct our mistakes, so we can improve our system. To all of you my fellow Filipinos, let’s keep on building the Filipino great and respectable in the eyes of our world – one story, two stories, three stories at a time – by your story, by my story, by your child’s story, by your story of excellence at work, by another Filipino’s honesty in dealing with others, by another Pinoy’s example of extreme sacrifice, by the faith in God we Filipinos are known for.

Every Filipino, wherever he or she maybe in the world today, is part of the solution. Each one of us is part of the answer. Every one of us is part of the hope we seek for our country. The Filipino will not become a world-class citizen unless we are able to build a world-class homeland in our Philippines .

We are a beautiful people. Let no one in the world take that beauty away from you. Let no one in the world take away that beauty away from any of your children! We just have to learn – very soon – to build a beautiful country for ourselves, with an honest and competent government in our midst.

Mga kababayan, after reading this, I ask you to do two things. First, defend and protect the Filipino whenever you can, especially among your children. Fight all this negativity about the Filipino that is circulating in many parts of the world. Let us not allow this single incident define who the Filipino is, and who we are as a people. And second, demand for good leadership and good government from our leaders. Question both their actions and inaction; expose the follies of their policies and decisions. The only way we can perfect our system is by engaging it. The only way we can solve our problem, is by facing it, head on. We are all builders of the beauty and greatness of the Filipino. We are the architects of our nation’s success.

To all the people of HK and China, especially the relatives of the victims, my family and I deeply mourn with the loss of your loved ones. Every life is precious. My family and I humbly ask for your understanding and forgiveness.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Tour of Sacramento and the State Capitol

My two Sisters ( Myrla and Agnes) and Brother-in-law ( Dennis) and ME in front of the Capitol. This photo was taken in the summer of 2009. Agnes and Dennis are from Maryland and Myrla is from Toronto, Canada



The California State Capitol sits in Sacramento, California, at the west end of Capitol Park. The grounds are framed by L Street to the north, N Street to the south, 10th Street to the west, and 15th Street to the east. The Capitol houses the California State Legislature and the Office of the Governor of California. The building was constructed in the Neoclassical architectural style between 1861 and 1874 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as of 1973.

Exterior

The building is based on the distant Capitol in Washington D.C. The west facade ends in projecting bays, and a portico projects from the center of the building. At the base of the portico, seven granite archways brace and support the porch above. Eight fluted Corinthian columns line the portico. A cornice supports the pediment above that depicts Minerva surrounded by Education, Justice, and Mining.

Above the flat roof with balustrade rise two drums supporting a dome. The first drum consists of a colonnade of Corinthian columns; the second, Corinthian pilasters. Large arched windows line the drum walls. The dome rises 220 feet, matching the dome of the U.S. Capitol. This dome supports a lantern with a smaller dome capped with a bright gold ball.

Interior

The California Senate Chamber seats its forty members in a large chamber room enveloped in red, which is a nod to the British House of Lords, also the upper house of a bicameral legislature. The Chamber is entered through a second floor corridor. The red carpeting has a Victorian-era design. From the coffered ceiling hangs an electric reproduction of the original gas chandelier. A hand-carved dais caps off a recessed bay framed by Corinthian columns.

The Latin phrase "Senatoris est civitatis libertatem tueri" ["It is the duty of a Senator to protect the liberty of the people"] lines the cornice. A portrait of George Washington by Jane Stuart, the daughter of Gilbert Stuart, looks down from the wall above. The State Seal hangs above.

Gilded Corinthian columns support the gallery above, and dark red curtains that can be drawn for privacy are tied back along the columns. High arched windows run along the bottom below rectangular pane windows. Behind the rostrum, there are two chairs with red velvet cushions, reserved for the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the Assembly, but are never used.

The California Assembly Chamber is located at the opposite end of the Senate. Like the Senate, its green tones are based on British House of Commons, the lower house. The dais rests along a wall shaped like an "E", with the central projection housing the rostrum. Along the cornice appears a quotation from Abraham Lincoln in Latin: legislatorum est justas leges condere ("It is the duty of legislators to pass just laws").

2001 attack

On January 16, 2001, Michael Bowers, a semi-trailer truck driver with a criminal history, drove over a curb, up a short walk-way, and rammed his truck into the southern portico. The truck's fuel tank ignited, killing him and causing $15 million in damage to the Capitol.



If you are in the Sacramento area, a free tour of the capitol and it grounds is a good use of your time. Adjacent to the capitol is the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, A National Shrine, It is also a must see if you are Catholic.
Inside the Cathedral

Note: This is No.3 ( Part 1) of a series of articles of places that my family have resided or visited since 1960 to the present( #1 New York City, #2 Washington, DC).

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Philippines ranked 7th in World Beauty Pageants

The Top Five,Miss Universe,2010
World's Beauty Ranking, 2010

Philippines is rank No. 7 in the World of Beauty Pageants-September 14, 2010 as published by www.globalbeuaties.com

The fourth runner up finish of Venus Raj in the recently-concluded Miss Universe 2010 pageant put the Philippines in 7th place of the world’s beauty pageant ranking.

Pageant website globalbeauties.com has been ranking more than 150 countries based on their performance in major beauty pageants in the world: Miss Universe, Miss World, Miss Earth and Miss International. They give points to each winning, runner-ups and semi-final placements from each country and consolidate their totals to determine their ranking.

The Philippines ranked 8th in 2009 but after the fourth runner up finish of Venus Raj in the Miss Universe pageant, RP climbed one notch to no. 7 behind pageant leaders Venezuela, USA, India ,Mexico, Brazil, Puerto Rico. Numbers 8 to 10 are Colombia, Russia and Australia.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Philippines

UNESCO World Heritage Sites

The Philippines has five UNESCO World Heritage inscriptions in 11 cities and municipalities around the country. These are the Tubbataha Reef in Cagayancillo, Palawan, Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park in Palawan, Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras (Batad and Bangaan in Banaue, Nagacadan in Kiangan, Hungduan and Mayoyao all in Ifugao), Historic Center of Vigan in Ilocos Sur, and the Baroque Churches of the Philippines (Paoay Church in Ilocos Norte, Sta. Maria Church in Ilocos Sur, San Agustin Church in Intramuros, Manila, and Miag-ao Church in Iloilo).

Here is a documentary called Legacy: Philippine World Heritage Sites narrated and written by Architect Augusto F. Villalon which gives a good introduction to all these sites. The videos were divided it into four parts due to length by the uploader, Ivan Henares. This article was reprinted from The Philippine Travel Journal, Ivan About Town, dated September 15, 2010.

Part 1 introduces the UNESCO World Heritage List and talks about Tubbataha Reef.

Part 2 discusses the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park and the Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras.


Part 3 discusses the Historic Center of Vigan and the Baroque Churches of the Philippines.

Finally, Part 4 talks about conservation challenges that each site is faced with and a conclusion for the whole documentary.


Personal Note: I have traveled to almost all the big cities in US, London, Rome, Spain, Belgium, Vancouver, Toronto, Cancun,Mexico, Puerto Rico, Hawaii( all islands) but sad to say, I have only visited three World Heritage Sites in the Philippines, namely the San Agustin Church in Manila,the Miagao Church in Iloilo and the Ifugao Rice Terraces. I have plans of visiting Palawan's Underground River in the next year or so and perhaps, Vigan. I have no desire visiting the Tubbataha Reefs, since I am prone to sea sickness. I will leave the Reefs to the diving enthusiasts of the world. I hope you enjoy the videos and the excellent narration.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Philippine Cuisine-What is Your Favorite Dish?

Assorted Filipino Dishes

My last blog about Marinduque cuisine was about 8 months ago. A comment from an OFW worker in Facebook aroused my curiosity of what is written about Philippine cuisine in Wikipedia. Here's a summary for your reading pleasure. Caution: Do not read if your are hungry!

Philippine cuisine consists of the foods, preparation methods and eating customs found in the Philippines. The style of cooking and the foods associated with it have evolved over several centuries from its Malayo-Polynesian origins to a mixed cuisine with many Hispanic, Chinese, American, and other Asian influences adapted to indigenous ingredients and the local palate.

Filipinos traditionally eat three main meals a day: agahan or almusal (breakfast), tanghalían (lunch), and hapunan (dinner) plus an afternoon snack called meriénda (also called minandál or minindál). Dishes range from the very simple, like a meal of fried salted fish and rice, to the elaborate paellas and cocidos created for fiestas.
Macrine, Carenna and ELanie and the Roasted Pig (Lechon)
Popular dishes include lechón (whole roasted pig), longganisa (Philippine sausage), tapa (cured beef), torta (omelette), adobo (chicken and/or pork braised in garlic, soy sauce, and vinegar or cooked until dry), kaldereta (meat in tomato sauce stew), mechado (larded beef in soy and tomato sauce), pochero (beef in bananas and tomato sauce), afritada (chicken or pork simmered in a tomato sauce with vegetables), kare-kare (oxtail and vegetables cooked in peanut sauce), crispy pata (deep-fried pig's leg), hamonado (pork sweetened in pineapple sauce), sinigang (meat or seafood in sour broth), pancit (noodles), and lumpia (fresh or fried spring rolls).

Malayo-Polynesians during the pre-Hispanic era in the Philippines prepared food by boiling, steaming, or roasting. This ranged from the usual livestock such as kalabaw (water buffaloes), baka (cows), manok (chickens) and baboy (pigs) to various kinds of fish and seafood. In a few places, the broad range of their diet extended to monitor lizards, snakes and locusts.[citation needed] Filipinos have been cultivating rice since 3200 BC from their arrival of the Austronesian people from Southern China Yunnan Plateau and Taiwan, when they settled in what is now the Philippines. They brought with them rice cultivation and a lot of other various traditions that are used in forms today.[1] Pre-Hispanic trade with other Asian nations introduced a number of staples into Philippine cuisine, most notably toyo (soy sauce) and patis (fish sauce), as well as the method of stir-frying and making savory soup bases.

The arrival of Spanish settlers brought with them chili peppers, tomatoes, corn, potatoes, and the method of sauteing with garlic and onions, which found their way into Philippine cuisine. Although chili peppers are nowhere as widely used in Filipino cooking compared to much of Southeast Asia, chili leaves are frequently used as a cooking green, again distinct from the cooking of their neighbors. They also used vinegar and spices in foods to preserve them due to lack of refrigeration. Spanish (and Mexican) dishes were eventually incorporated into Philippine cuisine with the more complex dishes usually being prepared for special occasions. Some dishes such as paella or arroz de valenciana remain largely the same. Some have been adapted or have come to take on a slightly different meaning. Arroz a la cubana served in the Philippines usually includes ground beef picadillo. Philippine longganisa despite its name is more akin to chorizo than Spanish longaniza.

While there were some Chinese in the Philippines before the Spanish, a significant Chinese population grew only after the Spanish established themselves. Chinese food became a staple of the panciterias or noodle shops that sprang up in the nineteenth century, but were often marketed with Spanish names. The influence of comida china (Chinese food) is seen in dishes like arroz caldo (congee), morisqueta tostada (an obsolete term for sinangag or fried rice), and chopsuey.

Today, Philippine cuisine continues to evolve as new techniques, styles of cooking, and ingredients find their way into the country. Traditional dishes both simple and elaborate, indigenous and foreign-influenced, are seen as are more current popular international viands and fast food fare.

Common ingredients

As with most Asian countries, the staple food in the Philippines is rice. It is most often steamed and served during meals. Leftover rice is often fried with garlic to make sinangag, which is usually served at breakfast together with a fried egg and cured meat or sausages. Rice is often enjoyed with the sauce or broth from the main dishes. In some regions, rice is mixed with salt, condensed milk, cocoa, or coffee. Rice flour is used in making sweets, cakes and other pastries. Other staples derived from crops include corn and bread.

Fruits are often used in cooking as well. Coconuts, coconut milk, coconut meat, tomatoes, tomato sauce, and bananas are usually added to meals. Abundant harvests of root crops occur all year round. Potatoes, carrots, taro (gabi), cassava (kamoteng kahoy), purple yam (ube), and sweet potato (kamote) are examples. Kamote and a certain type of plantain called saba can be chopped, dusted with brown sugar, fried and skewered, yielding kamote-cue and banana-cue which are popular caramelized snacks.

Meat staples include chicken, pork, beef, and fish. Seafood is popular as a result of the bodies of water surrounding the archipelago. Popular catches include tilapia, catfish (hito), milkfish (bangus), grouper (lapu-lapu), shrimp (hipon), prawns (sugpo), mackerel (galunggong), swordfish, oysters (talaba), mussels (tahong), clams (halaan and tulya), large and small crabs (alimango and alimasag respectively), game fish, sablefish, tuna, cod, blue marlin, and squid/cuttlefish (both called pusit). Also popular are seaweeds, abalone, and eel.

The most common way of having fish is to have it salted, pan-fried or deep-fried, and then eaten as a simple meal with rice and vegetables. It may also be cooked in a sour broth of tomatoes or tamarind as in pangat, prepared with vegetables and a souring agent to make sinigang, simmered in vinegar and peppers to make paksiw, or roasted over hot charcoal or wood (inihaw). Other preparations include escabeche (sweet and sour) or relleno (deboned and stuffed). Fish can be preserved by being smoked (tinapa) or sun-dried (tuyo).

Food is often served with various dipping sauces. Fried food is often dipped in vinegar, soy sauce, juice squeezed from kalamansi (Philippine lime, calamondin, or calamansi), or a combination of all. Patis (fish sauce) may be mixed with kalamansi as dipping sauce for most seafood. Fish sauce, fish paste (bagoong), shrimp paste (alamang) and crushed ginger root (luya) are condiments that are often added to dishes during the cooking process or when served.

My mouth is starting to water( salivate) now and my stomach is starting to growl, so I better finish this blog and run to the Kitchen or call a Chinese Restaurant. There are no Filipino restaurant nearby. The nearest one is about one hour drive from our house here in Northern California. Bon Appetit to All!
Here's a video about Filipino Food. Again do not watch if you are craving for Filipino food..

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Most Popular Folk Dances from the Philippines

The Singkil Entourage
Folk Dances of the Philippines may be classified by regions or the times in the history of the Philippines( Spanish influence, muslim rule, etc..). The first in the list are the highland tribal dances from the Cordillera Regions of Luzon.

Cordillera – highland tribal dances

1. Dances from within the depths of the mountains among the honorable braves and beautiful belles, ring the music of long ago, heralding a victorious return and a blessed merry-making. With the wildness in their blood and forest freedom in their spirit; the Kalinga, Ifugao, Gaddang, Bontoc and other tribal groups celebrate with wild feasting, headhunt, death, peace pact, wedding and/or a bountiful harvest:

a.Chua-ay – call to get together featuring nose flute

b. Kayabang – depicts a maiden's trip to the lowlands. She beats the bamboo sticks called the bungkaka to drive away the unseen evil spirits along the mountain trail

c. Paligo – a beautiful Igorot maiden cleansing herself in preparation of the coming courtship

d. Sayap & Banga – an intricate dance of the maidens, where they skillfully display versatility on the use of the indigenous Igorot cloth, Sayap and balancing clay-pots, Banga,(clay jars) on their heads

e.Lima Nga Gangsa – a dance where tribal elders start the ceremonies with a display of rhythms on the beat of the Gangsa gongs

f.Bumayah – a dance traditionally held during thanksgiving or after a bountiful harvest

2. Nostalgia Filipina – Los Bailes De Los Anos Pasados (Dances of Yester years Past)

The coming of the Spaniards in the 16th century marked the conversion of the Filipinos, principally those in the Luzon and the Visayan regions, to the Catholic faith and the introduction of western civilization; hence, the influence on the Philippine life:



a. Polka sa Plaza – a grand parade of beautiful ladies in their traditional Spanish gowns called Maria Clara and parasols (umbrellas). With their partners, wearing their traditional Barongs, they gladly parade, beginning from the church yard going around the town

b. Valse Filipina - a waltz dance of young collegiala showing off (or showcasing) elegant Maria Clara gowns

c. Panuelo - a dance where the ladies show off their beautifully embroidered shawls (panuelo)

d. La Simpatica - A courtship dance where the picky lady charms her four suitors, who will she choose?

e. Paseo de IloIlo - a dance originating from Llo-Llo (Visayas region) where the young lady who is trying to choose suitors by dancing with them

f. Jota Rizal – This is a lively and exhilarating dance originating from the Rizal province (Luzon region)

g. Baile De Amor – a provocative teasing lovers' dance


h. La Jota Moncadena – The clicking of castanets accompanies this dance with influences of polka, waltz and mazurka

i. Polka sa Batangas – a very popular polka dance originally from Batangas (Luzon region) performed during town fiestas, religious celebration and various events either to welcome a newly wed couple or an announcement of important social gatherings

j. Alcamfor – a courtship dance where the female dancer teases her suitor with a handkerchief scented with camphor fragrance

k. Bajo de los Cocoteros – combines the two European steps, polka and waltz, in a lively dance

3. Hariraya – Muslim and lowland tribal

When the Spaniards came to the Philippines they encountered pockets of the Muslim religion in Mindanao, Sulu and Palawan. They tried to occupy and replace Islam with Christianity, but in vain; the Filipino Muslims resisted. However, they had beautiful songs and dances which were easily liked and adopted by the people:

a. Budyong – a call for a gathering of town folks for a celebration using large seashells

b. Dugso – a dance ritual from Bukidnon region, showing a man's desire to thank his gods, featuring colourful headgear and rhythmical stomping

c. Tig-Ani – a ritual dance to overcome the malevolent omen of the predator hawk

d. Tahing Baila – a dance imitating the playfulness of fish as they swim through the water

e. Kapa Malong-Malong – a Muslim dance showing the versatile uses of the Muslim tubular cloth called Malong

f. Pang-Alay Pamansak
– a courtship dance from Sulu (Mindanao) whose intricate hand movements take their influence from Bali and Thailand

g. Silong Sa Ganding – a dance that imitates the movement of the gandingan (brass gongs) and the single headed Philippine drum dabakan

h. Singkil – taken from the Maranao epic Daranagan performed only by members of the ruling class. This exotic dance features the royal prince and princess as they dance in and out of the clashing criss- crossed bamboo poles


4. Sa Kabukiran – dances from the countryside

The Filipinos are by nature lovers of the arts. They have developed songs, music and dances, peculiarly their own but with a blending of three centuries of Spanish domination and half a century of American, Asian and European influences. These are the dances from the countryside - the rice fields, lake shores, the birds, the animals and coconut groves. They depict the various moods of the people in appreciation of nature and the quiet mode of life in rural areas:

a. Pandanggo sa Ilaw
– a dance using candle-lit glasses swayed like beacons for the homecoming of the fisherman

b. Sunduan – celebrating the spirit of the villagers working on the farm. Involves sowing, harvesting, thrashing, pounding and winnowing rice

c. Subli – a ceremonial dance from Bauang, Batangas to pay homage to the Holy Cross

d. Sayaw sa Bangko – a dance showing off dancing skills and good balance on top of narrow benches

e. Alay – an offering dance to welcome special guests on special occasions

f. Binuyugan – a dance imitates the ladies fetching water and balancing the pots on their head

g. Itik-Itik – a dance imitating the movements of ducks

h. Ilocana A Nasudi – a dance of the old people from Ilocos

i. Maglalatik – a dance celebrating coconut harvest, featuring coconut shells attached to different bodyparts clicked to create the sounds and beats of the dance as the movements get faster and faster

j. Binasuan – a skill dance showing town maidens balancing wine glasses on their heads and the hands without spilling a drop as they twirl and roll on the floor

k. Salakot – a dance showcasing/featuring traditional beautifulPhilippine straw Coolie hats

l. Tinikling - the best known of all Philippine Dances. Dancers hop in and out of fast clapping bamboo poles, imitating the movements of the tikling birds

The World Reknown Tinikling
I hope you have a good idea now of the diversity and richness of the folk dances in the Philippines

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Have you Eaten a Mangosteen-Queen of Fruits?

The Mangosteen-Queen of Fruits

The mangosteen is not related at all to the popular mango fruits. In the Philippines It is not as popular as mangoes except probably in Davao, Mindanao. Sad to say, I have lived in the Philippines until I was 25 years old, but have never tasted a mangosteen, although I have heard about its delicious taste. Here's a short video for your viewing pleasure.



The Purple Mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana), colloquially known simply as "the mangosteen", is a tropical evergreen tree believed to have originated in the Sunda Islands and the Moluccas of Indonesia. The tree grows from 7 to 25 m (20–80 ft) tall. The rind (exocarp) of the edible fruit is deep reddish purple when ripe. Botanically an aril, the fragrant edible flesh can be described as sweet and tangy, citrusy with peach flavor and texture.

There is a legend about Queen Victoria offering a reward of 100 pounds sterling to anyone who could deliver to her the fresh fruit. Although this legend can be traced to a 1930 publication by fruit explorer, David Fairchild, it is not substantiated by any known historical document yet is probably responsible for the uncommon designation of mangosteen as the "Queen of Fruit".

In his publication, "Hortus Veitchii", James Herbert Veitch says that he visited Java in 1892, "to eat the Mangosteen. It is necessary to eat the Mangosteen grown within three or four degrees of latitude of the equator to realize at all the attractive and curious properties of this fruit."

An ultra-tropical tree, the mangosteen must be grown in consistently warm conditions, as exposure to temperatures below 0°C (32°F) for prolonged periods will generally kill a mature plant. They are known to recover from brief cold spells rather well, often with damage only to young growth. Experienced horticulturists have grown this species outdoors, and brought them to fruit in extreme Southern Florida.

Due to ongoing restrictions on imports, mangosteen is not readily available in certain countries. Although available in Australia, for example, they are still rare in the produce sections of grocery stores in North America and Europe. Following export from its natural growing regions in Southeast Asia, the fresh fruit may be available seasonally in some local markets like those of Chinatowns. Mangosteen and its related products, such as juices and nutritional supplements, are legally imported into the United States, which had an import ban until 2007.

Mangosteens are readily available canned and frozen in Western countries. Without fumigation or irradiation as fresh fruit, mangosteens have historically been illegal for importation in commercial volumes into the United States due to fears that they harbor the Asian fruit fly, which would endanger U.S. crops. This situation, however, officially changed on July 23, 2007 when irradiated imports from Thailand were allowed upon USDA approval of irradiation, packing and shipping techniques. Freeze-dried and dehydrated mangosteen arils can also be found.

Since 2006, private small volume orders for fruits grown on Puerto Rico were sold to American gourmet restaurants who serve the aril pieces as a delicacy dessert. Beginning in 2007 for the first time, fresh mangosteens were sold from specialty produce stores in New York City for as high as $45 per pound, but, during 2009-10, wider availability and lower prices have become common in the United States and Canada.

Before ripening, the mangosteen shell is fibrous and firm, but becomes soft and easy to pry open when the fruit ripens. To open a mangosteen, the shell is usually scored first with a knife; one holds the fruit in both hands, prying gently along the score with the thumbs until the rind cracks. It is then easy to pull the halves apart along the crack and remove the fruit. Rarely in ripe fruits, the purple exocarp juice may stain skin or fabric. Here's a video of other unusual fruits of the tropics.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Papaya Trees in the Garden of Chateau Du Mer



I have about six varieties of papaya trees in my garden at Chateau Du Mer in Boac, Marinduque. Of the six varieties, I like the Solo variety imported from Hawaii. The fruits are small but sweet and firm. The other varieties yields bigger fruits but is not as sweet and firm. (see photo above)

Speaking of Papaya Fruits, I am proud to inform readers of this blog, that my doctoral thesis from the University of Illinois, Chicago, USA was on the Papaya Fruit. The title of my thesis was " Chromatographic Analysis of the Volatile Components of the Papaya Fruit". This was published by the Journal of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Vol 54, No 6, pages 891-894 dated June, 1965. The following is additional information about the Papaya from Wikipedia.

Originally from southern Mexico, particularly Chiapas and Veracruz, Central America and northern South America, the papaya is now cultivated in most tropical countries, such as Brazil, Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Indonesia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Philippines and Jamaica. In cultivation, it grows rapidly, fruiting within 3 years. It is, however, highly frost sensitive.

In the 1990s, the papaya ringspot virus threatened to wipe out Hawaii’s papaya industry completely. Two varieties of papaya, SunUp and Rainbow, that had been genetically modified to be resistant to the virus, were introduced into Hawaii.By 2010, 80% of Hawaiian papaya was genetically modified. Today there is still no conventional or organic method of controlling the ringspot virus. In 2004, non-genetically modified and organic papayas throughout Hawaii had experienced hybridization with the genetically modified varieties.

Papaya Fruit
Uses

Papaya can be used as a food, a cooking aid, and in medicine. The stem and bark are also used in rope production.

Gastronomy

The ripe fruit is usually eaten raw, without skin or seeds. The unripe green fruit of papaya can be eaten cooked, usually in curries, salads and stews. It has a relatively high amount of pectin, which can be used to make jellies.

Green papaya is used in Thai and Filipino cuisine, both raw and cooked.

The black seeds are edible and have a sharp, spicy taste. They are sometimes ground up and used as a substitute for black pepper. In some parts of Asia the young leaves of papaya are steamed and eaten like spinach. In parts of the world papaya leaves are made into tea as a preventative for malaria, though there is no real scientific evidence for the effectiveness of this treatment. The following is Papaya, raw Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)

Energy 163 kJ (39 kcal)
Carbohydrates 9.81 g
Sugars 5.90 g
Dietary fibre 1.8 g
Fat 0.14 g
Protein 0.61 g
Vitamin A equiv. 55 μg (6%)
- beta-carotene 276 μg (3%)
Thiamine (Vit. B1) 0.04 mg (3%)
Riboflavin (Vit. B2) 0.05 mg (3%)
Niacin (Vit. B3) 0.338 mg (2%)
Vitamin B6 0.1 mg (8%)
Vitamin C 61.8 mg (103%)
Calcium 24 mg (2%)
Iron 0.10 mg (1%)
Magnesium 10 mg (3%)
Phosphorus 5 mg (1%)
Potassium 257 mg (5%)
Sodium 3 mg (0%)
Percentages are relative to US recommendations for adults.

Cooking

Green papaya fruit and the tree's latex are both rich in an enzyme called papain, a protease which is useful in tenderizing meat and other proteins. Its ability to break down tough meat fibers was used for thousands of years by indigenous Americans. It is included as a component in powdered meat tenderizers.

Medicine

Papaya is marketed in tablet form to remedy digestive problems.

Papain is also applied topically (in countries where it grows) for the treatment of cuts, rashes, stings and burns. Papain ointment is commonly made from fermented papaya flesh, and is applied as a gel-like paste. Harrison Ford was treated for a ruptured disc incurred during filming of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom by papain injections.

Women in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and other countries have long used green papaya as a folk remedy for contraception and abortion. Enslaved women in the West Indies were noted for consuming papaya to prevent pregnancies and thus preventing their children from being born into slavery.[citation needed] Medical research in animals has confirmed the contraceptive and abortifacient capability of papaya, and also found that papaya seeds have contraceptive effects in adult male langur monkeys, possibly in adult male humans as well.[11] Unripe papaya is especially effective in large amounts or high doses. Ripe papaya is not teratogenic and will not cause miscarriage in small amounts. Phytochemicals in papaya may suppress the effects of progesterone.

Papaya is frequently used as a hair conditioner, but should be used in small amounts. Papaya releases a latex fluid when not quite ripe, which can cause irritation and provoke allergic reaction in some people. The papaya fruit, seeds, latex, and leaves also contains carpaine, an anthelmintic alkaloid (a drug that removes parasitic worms from the body), which can be dangerous in high doses.

It is speculated that unripe papayas may cause miscarriage due to latex content that may cause uterine contractions which may lead to a miscarriage. Papaya seed extracts in large doses have a contraceptive effect on rats and monkeys, but in small doses have no effect on the unborn animals.

Excessive consumption of papaya can cause carotenemia, the yellowing of soles and palms, which is otherwise harmless. However, a very large dose would need to be consumed; papaya contains about 6% of the level of beta carotene found in carrots (the most common cause of carotenemia) per 100g.

Medicinal potential

* The juice has an antiproliferative effect on in vitro liver cancer cells, probably due to its component of lycopene or immune system stimulation.[16]

* Papaya seed could be used as an antibacterial agent for Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus or Salmonella typhi, although further research is needed before advocating large-scale therapy.
* Papaya seed extract may be nephroprotective (protect the kidneys) in toxicity-induced kidney failure.

Now for a change of mood, here's the Papaya Song with Prisoners in the Manila Jail Dancing!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Lady Gaga's Meat Dress and the Snake Bite Commercial

Lady Gaga Meat Dress

These two items I found recently in the web are indeed weird, nutty and funny.
The meat dress was just last week, but the Reebook Snake Bite Commercial has been in the web since December, 2009.

Gaga's dress made of cheap meat

NEW YORK, Sept. 14 (UPI) -- New York butchers said the meat dress worn by singer Lady Gaga to the MTV Video Music Awards appeared to be all beef -- and not particularly expensive beef.

Los Angeles designer Franc Fernandez declined to explain how he made the raw meat dress, saying only that it took him two days to stitch, but Peter Cacioppo, 50, head butcher of New York's Ottomanelli Brothers, said the dress was clearly "all beef," the New York Daily News reported Tuesday.

"Her bodice looks like the outside of the rib. Over the shoulder looks like it does come from the shoulder," he said.

"There are no expensive cuts here, no real steaks. The best you've got is the flank steak on top of her head."

Cacioppo's nephew and fellow butcher, Mark Cacioppo, 30, said the dress appeared to be made from about $100 worth of meat. Now time for this funny commercial...

The Reebook Commercial-The Snake Bite


The Snake Bite Commercial

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Joke of the Day From Sandee-Comedy Plus

Photo from Fritzliess.com

Gynecologist's Assistant from Sandee Comedy Plus

A young guy goes to the Job Center in Charleston, W. Va., and sees a flyer advertising for a Gynecologist's Assistant. Interested, he wants to learn more. "Can you give me some more details?" he asks the clerk.

The clerk pulls up a file ad says, "The job entails getting ladies ready for the gynecologist. You have to help them out of their underwear, lay them down and carefully wash their private regions, then apply shaving foam and gently shave off any hair, then rub in soothing oils so they're ready for the gynecologist's examination. There's an annual salary of $55 thousand, but you're going to have to go to Charlotte, North Carolina. That's about 250 miles from here."

"Oh, is that where the job is?" the young man asks.

"No, sir: that's where the end of the line is right now."

Stolen from: Hale McKay of It Occurred To Me

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Lady Gaga Did Not Disappoint Her Fans


News from the Daily Contributor Today-September 13, 2010

Lady Gaga Sweeps MTV Video Music Awards

It was already clear that Lady Gaga would come to cast her large shadow at this year’s MTV Video Music Awards, the only question going into Sunday’s awards night was how many moonman the pop icon would take home. And she did not disappoint.

Gaga first took the stage to pick up the award for best video for a female artist for “Bad Romance.” She would climb the stage seven more times throughout the night as the controversial singer made everyone else fight for the crumbs. Gaga capped the night by taking the biggest prize for Video of the Year for “Bad Romance.” A teary eyed Gaga was a picture of happiness and relief as she accepted her final award. “I was so nervous tonight that I’d let my fans down,” she said.

The 24-year-old singer also bagged moonmen for Best Pop Video, Best Dance Music Video, Best Choreography, Best Direction, and Best Editing all for “Bad Romance,” as well as Best Collaboration with Beyonce for “Telephone.”

Gaga’s haul tied A-ha’s 1986 record for second-most wins at a single award, but it was two short of Peter Gabriel’s 10 trophies in 1987.

Eminem took two moonmen for “Not Afraid,” which won in the Male Video and Hip-Hop Video categories. Justin Bieber won as Best New Artist for “Baby” while 30 Seconds to Mars’ “Kings and Queens” bagged the moonman for Best Rock Video.


Lady Gaga and Beyonce Telephone Music Video

Monday, September 13, 2010

Battle of Paye and Pulang Lupa-Letter Captain Shileds to His Wife

Pulang Lupa Monument Getting Ready for the Annual Commemoration of the Battle of September 13, 1900

The following is a reprint from the article by Eli Obligacion from his Marinduque Rising Blog. I believe it is an important event in the history of the Filipino- American war that most Filipinos or Americans are not aware of. By reprinting it in my blog I hope more Americans will read about this historic event. The title of the article:
Pulang Lupa: Capt. Shields' letter to his beloved wife
The lives and deeds of their American counterparts, such as that of Capt. Devereux Shields also continue to be chronicled to this day by their descendants and historical researchers. Through Curt Shepard, an American resident in Marinduque who has taken profound interest in our local Marinduque history and the role played by our beloved province during the two-phases of the Philippine Revolution, we have been able to have access to and privileged to have a glimpse of the American experience then through letters and documents now faded with time.

The following letter was sent by Capt. Devereux Shields' granddaughter, Julia to Mr. Shepard on August 24, 2010. It was originally enclosed in a postmarked, stamped envelope and addressed to: Mrs. Devereux Shields, No. 617 N. Union Street, Natchez, Mississippi, U.S.A. The return address was Devereux Shields, Capt 29th Inf. U.S.V., Manila P.I. Across the top is written - Soldier's letter. Also enclosed was a pressed 4-leaf clover in a carefully folded holder.

"1st Reserve Hospital
Manila P.I. Oct 15th 1900

"My darling beloved precious wife,

I just got out of my captivity yesterday afternoon and was taken on board the U.S.S. Bennington at Buena Vista, Marinduque Island. I am perfectly well my darling & will cable you to that effect in the morning. I am in the agony of dispense in regard to you, oh my beloved, my life, if God has only spared you to me. I have prayed all day & night every hour that it would not make you suffer too much or injure your health.

"I was ambushed some 12 miles from Santa Cruz at 5:30 am on Sept 13 by the insurgent, it was in the mountains and they had 225 rifles and 2000 Bolo men. I had only 52 men, at 6am I was wounded in the left shoulder and after 8 hours hard & dreadful fighting, at 2pm, I received another wound through my neck which passed through and out of my mouth breaking the right jaw bone and tearing out five teeth, it disabled me entirely & I thought all was up with me for a while, I lay in the rice field bleeding & having lost about 3 quarts of blood from my other wound & my left arm useless I could only wait for them to take me. I gave orders to my company to move on & cut their way out but a short distance from me they were completely surrounded & having but little ammunition left, surrendered to 2500 of the enemy.

"I cannot write you of the dreadful suffering & hardships I have undergone during the month they have had me. I am perfectly safe now but cannot write because my neck is still so stiff & my left arm still pains me very much. The transport leaves in the morning & I have gotten Capt. Dowdy & Mrs. Sargent both to write to you. After I got on the Bennington yesterday afternoon Gen. Hare who now commands the forces operating on Marinduque sent me to Manila on the U.S.S. Villalobos, & I got here this evening.

"Would to God I could write more, but I cannot, you will know long before this reaches you that I am well & I hope by the time you get this letter I will be leaving here for home if not before as being wounded they will send me home for a rest. I will write to you a little every day so the next boat will take you many letters.

"Now God bless you & my boy oh I pray God my beloved, my life, my darling precious, my life's only thought & love that you are well, merciful God what will become of me if all this has injured you.

"God bless you my wife. Oh God has been so good in saving my life it must be that he has saved you to me.

"Your devoted beloved husband.
Devereux

"Many tender kisses to you my darling & some to my son. Give my love & kisses to my mother and all those that you & I love.

"Your husband
Devereux"

As regards the Devereux Shields persona, the following is an edited version of Capt. Shields' obituary that appeared in the Natchez News, March 26, 1910:

MARTIAL TASTES INHERITED. Captain Shields came of an heroic ancestry. Both his paternal and maternal ancestors had fought their country’s battles on sea and on shore. His father, Lieutenant Commander Wilmer Shields, served for seventeen years in the United States Navy. His grandfather, Richard Watts Ashton, ran away from school at the age of thirteen, impelled to this act by his military instincts. Ashton served during the War of 1812 with distinction and afterward entered West Point where he graduated and served as Lieutenant of Marines for a number of years. His paternal grandfather, Thos. Shields, of the navy, is mentioned in Cooper’ s Naval History for conspicuous gallantry under fire and valuable services rendered his country on the Great Lakes [instead of ‘on the Great Lakes’ should have said ‘in the Battle of New Orleans,] during the War of 1812.

RECEIVES COMMISSION: When the long list of atrocities committed by Spanish governors in Cuba became such as was viewed with disgust by civilized nations and the tragedy of the Maine Precipitated war between Spain and the United States, Colonel Shields immediately proffered his services to the government and was given a commission of Lieutenant Colonel in the Second Mississippi United States Volunteer Regiment. He had no opportunity, however, during the brief struggle which resulted in the overthrow of Spanish dominion in the island of Cuba, of testing in actual warfare the stores of military knowledge, the possession of which had gained for him his commission.

SAILS FOR MANILA: Some months after the conclusion of the Spanish War the United States government issued a call for Volunteers for service in the Philippine Islands, where the noted insurgent Aguinaldo was conducting a species of guerrilla warfare, and endangering the lives of Americans and other Caucasian races in the islands. Capt. Shields immediately responded to the call and applied for a commission. Upon the recommendation of many officers of high rank who had been impressed by the profound knowledge of military strategy shown by the young soldier during his encampment at Jacksonville, he was given a commission as captain in the twenty-ninth regiment, U.S.A. He received the commission on the fifth of July 1899, and on the fifth of October his regiment sailed from San Francisco on board the transport Zelandia, arriving in the Philippines just in time to participate in the battle of San Mateo in which Gen. Lawton was killed.

SENT TO MARINDUQUE: On June 1, 1900 he was detailed with his company to take charge of the island of Marinduque, one of the most turbulent of the islands of the Philippine archipelago. Marinduque is a small island 200 miles south of Manila and its inhabitants were noted for the resolution with which they opposed American occupation. On this island he remained up to the time of the engagement in which he was captured in which he received wounds [which made necessary] his return to Natchez.

THE FATAL EXPEDITION: Shortly before noon on the eleventh of September Captain Shields and his men left Santa Cruz, Marinduque, on board the gunboat Villabois, intending to return overland to Santa Cruz. At about three o’clock in the afternoon of the same day the men and their gallant commanding officer reached their destination, Torrijos. Landing without opposition the detachment went into quarters for the night. On the following day Captain Shields made a reconnoitering sortie in a westerly direction and about five miles from Torrijos came upon a rebel garrison. The fire of the Americans forced the enemy to flight, the fleet-footed Filipinos dispersing into the underbrush where it was impossible for the Americans to pursue them. Among the papers left by the fugitive garrison Captain Shields found letters from two prisoners. Nothing better illustrates the noble character of Captain Shields than the incident that followed, for it was in the endeavor to rescue these two prisoners that Captain Shields so nearly lost his life and was captured.

THE AMBUSCADE: The company was ambushed that afternoon. Seemingly from every point of the compass came a hurricane of lead from myriads of unseen enemies. In good order the detachment deployed in a circle and commenced a heroic defense. The enemy proved stubborn, advancing in hosts upon the small but intrepid band of Americans. Hundreds of the raging Filipinos, banishing their weapons with yells of rage, swarmed out of the ambuscade. The hundreds developed into thousands until a conservative estimate of their number placed it at about two thousand five hundred men. Surrounded by merciless foes, out numbered fifty to one, the undaunted Americans, inspired by the fearless conduct of their commander kept their foes at bay for over eight hours, their ammunition supply, small to begin with, running lower and lower.

SHIELDS WOUNDED: Early in the battle Captain Shields received a wound in the shoulder but rallied and bravely urged on his command. Shortly before the ammunition was entirely exhausted he received a terrible wound in the neck which incapacitated him from further participation in the hopeless struggle. The command devolved upon Sergeant Winn who gallantly carried on the futile struggle against overwhelming odds. Captain Shields’ second wound came near to inflicting instant death. The ball entered the back of the neck nearly grazing the spinal column, passed through the throat and mouth knocking out four teeth, and breaking the jaw bone passed out through the cheek. The gallant officer fell partly in a small stream and his life was probably due to this circumstance; the cold water partly resuscitated him, restoring him to consciousness.

WEEKS OF SUFFERING: The capture of Captain Shields and his men was followed by four weeks of suffering such as could only be appreciated by men who have gone through similar experiences. Marched relentlessly over steep cliffs, down valleys, through underbrush and almost impenetrable jungles they were shown no mercy by their barbarous captors. Night and day they were compelled to march, strong and wounded alike, with no food other than the small quantities of rice doled out to them at irregular intervals.

RESCUED: When they were finally rescued by the regiment sent to search for them they were almost dead with fatigue and hunger, so thin and emaciated as hardly to be recognized by their intimate friends. The sufferings of the wounded during captivity would have been unendurable but for the devoted and unintermitting attentions of the hospital corps man who formed a member of the attachment and whose devotion to Captain Shields during his long weakness is one of the brightest incidents of the Philippine War.

HIS RECEPTION: The reception given Captain Shields upon his return to Natchez was the greatest ever tendered a man by this city. The citizens of Natchez, in a body, assembled in the Temple Opera House and about its doors awaiting to welcome the returning hero and to congratulate him upon his return to life and health".

ReLiving the Battle of Pulang Lupa

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Have you Eaten a Durian-King of Fruits?


I have never tasted the fresh durian fruit directly from the market. But I love the fresh frozen fruit that has been imported to US and sold in Oriental Grocery Stores. It is very expensive here in US. But the one I really love are the durian candies.
To some the statement that the fruit smells like hell but taste like heaven is probably true. To others this is not true as seen in the following video. This video was made by Jawz. Jawz is Jonathan Watson-a 19 year old American from South Carolina now residing in Davao, Philippines. He is one of Bob's Martin writers in his internet magazine, Live in the Philippines. Interesting video indeed!

If this is your first time to hear about the durian fruit, here is some information from Wikipedia.

The durian (pronounced /ˈdʊəriən/)is the fruit of several tree species belonging to the genus Durio and the Malvaceae family (although some taxonomists place Durio in a distinct family, Durionaceae. Widely known and revered in southeast Asia as the "king of fruits", the durian is distinctive for its large size, unique odour, and formidable thorn-covered husk. The fruit can grow as large as 30 centimetres (12 in) long and 15 centimetres (6 in) in diameter, and it typically weighs one to three kilograms (2 to 7 lb). Its shape ranges from oblong to round, the colour of its husk green to brown, and its flesh pale yellow to red, depending on the species.

The edible flesh emits a distinctive odour, strong and penetrating even when the husk is intact. Some people regard the durian as fragrant; others find the aroma overpowering and offensive. The smell evokes reactions from deep appreciation to intense disgust and has been described variously as almonds, rotten onions, turpentine and gym socks. The odour has led to the fruit's banishment from certain hotels and public transportation in southeast Asia.

The durian, native to Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia, has been known to the Western world for about 600 years. The 19th-century British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace famously described its flesh as "a rich custard highly flavoured with almonds". The flesh can be consumed at various stages of ripeness, and it is used to flavour a wide variety of savoury and sweet edibles in Southeast Asian cuisines. The seeds can also be eaten when cooked.

There are 30 recognised Durio species, at least nine of which produce edible fruit. Durio zibethinus is the only species available in the international market: other species are sold in their local regions. There are hundreds of durian cultivars; many consumers express preferences for specific cultivars, which fetch higher prices in the market.
Here's another video about eating durian.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Charice Covers Lady Gaga in "Poker Face"


Besides Lady Gaga, my other favorite singer is Charice Pempengco. In this video, she tries to imitate Lady Gaga(Accapella). She did a good job mimicking Lady Gaga even without a musical instrument as background.
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In case you have not heard about Charice (no TV in your House) here is a write up about her sudden rise to fame from Wikipedia.

"Charmaine Clarice Relucio Pempengco (born May 10, 1992), better known as Charice, is a Filipina singer and actress who rose to popularity through YouTube. Dubbed by Oprah Winfrey as the Most Talented Girl in the World, she is the first Asian artist in history to land in the Top 10 of the Billboard 200 album chart.

Pempengco was born in San Pedro, Laguna, Philippines. Raised by a single mother, she helped support the family by joining amateur singing contests at age seven, from town fiestas in various provinces to singing competitions on TV. She is said to have joined almost a hundred singing contests.

In 2005, Pempengco joined Little Big Star, a talent show in the Philippines loosely patterned after American Idol. Eliminated after her first performance, she was later called back as a wild card contender and eventually became a finalist. Although she was a consistent top scorer in the final rounds, she only finished in third place based on text voting.

Pempengco made minor appearances on local television shows and commercials, but essentially had fallen off the radar after her stint at Little Big Star. It was not until 2007 that she gained worldwide recognition after an avid supporter started posting a series of her performance videos on YouTube under the username FalseVoice. These videos received millions of hits making Pempengco an internet phenomenon.

In June 2007, Ten Songs/Productions, a music publishing company in Sweden, invited Pempengco to a demo-recording after producers saw her Little Big Star videos. She recorded seven songs - six covers and an original song entitled "Amazing".

For being one of the finalists of Little Big Star, she was invited to the South Korean talent show Star King. On its October 13, 2007 edition, she sang "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" and a duet with Kyuhyun, from Super Junior.

After watching her Star King performance on YouTube, Ellen DeGeneres extended an on-air invitation to Pempengco to guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. She flew to the United States for the first time and performed two songs on the December 19, 2007 episode of the show - "I Will Always Love You" and "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going".

Following her American debut on Ellen, she made a second appearance on Star King as the "Most Requested Foreign Act" of the show. On its December 28 edition, she performed Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive" and sang a duet with singer Lena Park.

In January 2008, she was invited to the Malacañang Palace where she performed for Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. She returned to the international scene when she guested on the April 8 episode of The Paul O'Grady Show in London, England.

Her self-titled Philippine debut album Charice was released in May 2008. The mini album, consisting of six songs and six backing tracks, was awarded gold certification in the Philippines in October 2008. The album eventually achieved platinum status in 2009.

Pempengco appeared on the May 12 edition of The Oprah Winfrey Show in an episode entitled the "World's Smartest Kids", where she performed Whitney Houston's I Have Nothing. After the show, Oprah Winfrey contacted David Foster to see what the legendary music producer could do for Pempengco. She performed with Foster for the first time as one of the entertainers on the May 17 opening of the MGM Grand at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Ledyard, Connecticut.

She made her debut on the international concert stage in Foster's May 23 tribute concert, Hitman: David Foster and Friends, at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. She performed a medley of songs from The Bodyguard as well as her standard, "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going". A CD/DVD of the concert, including Pempengco's The Bodyguard medley, was released on November 11, 2008. The show was aired several times on PBS and other public television networks starting in December 2008 under the Great Performances banner.

One of the singers at the concert was Pempengco's idol, Andrea Bocelli. Bocelli subsequently expressed interest in performing a duet with her and personally invited her to be a guest on his birthday concert "The Cinema Tribute" held on July 20 at the Teatro del Silenzio in his hometown of Lajatico, Tuscany, Italy. Aside from her solo performance, she sang a duet of "The Prayer" with the famous tenor in front of more than 8,000 people.

She was invited to perform for the Feyenoord's Centennial Anniversary in the Netherlands held on September 26. Before a crowd of about 50,000 football (soccer) fans, she sang the team's anthem, "You'll Never Walk Alone."

When she guested on the "Dreams Come True" episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show on September 9, Oprah referred to her as "The Most Talented Girl in the World." She sang Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On" with David Foster on piano, after which Oprah surprised her with an appearance by Celine Dion via satellite, who invited her to sing a special duet at New York City's Madison Square Garden as part of Dion's Taking Chances Tour.

She performed her promised duet with Celine Dion on September 15. They sang "Because You Loved Me," dedicated to Pempengco's mother. The performance received rave reviews in The New York Post and The New York Times. The duet was eventually featured on the September 19 episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show. She would then perform at the Andre Agassi Grand Slam for Children Benefit Concert at the Wynn Las Vegas casino resort.

In November, she and David Foster guested on Good Morning America to promote Foster's tribute album, Hitman: David Foster and Friends. She performed The Bodyguard medley and "I Will Survive."

In January 2009, Pempengco performed at two US presidential pre-inaugural events in Washington, D.C., namely the Martin Luther King Jr "Realizing The Dream" gala at the Hyatt Regency Hotel and at the "Pearl Presidential Inaugural Gala" at the Mandarin Hotel.In February, she performed at two post-Oscar award events: Oscar Night at Mr. Chow's and Oprah's Oscar After Party held in Kodak Theatre. She debuted a new original song entitled "Fingerprint" composed by Robbie Nevil and produced by David Foster.

In April, she appeared in the season premiere of Ti lascio una canzone, an Italian musical variety show televised from Teatro Ariston in the city of Sanremo. She performed "I Will Always Love You", "I Have Nothing", "The Prayer", and "Listen". Later that same month, she would go on to sing "The Star-Spangled Banner" in front of 57,000 baseball fans during the Los Angeles Dodgers 52nd season home opener at Dodger Stadium.

In May, she released her Philippine second album entitled My Inspiration. The album consisted of 12 tracks, including "Always You" and a cover of Helen Reddy's "You and Me Against the World" performed as a duet with her mother. The album was certified gold in the Philippines within two months after release, and then platinum in December 2009. Also in May, she would again perform at a David Foster and Friends concert held at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.

On the May 18 episode "Finale: Oprah's Search for the World's Most Talented Kids" of The Oprah Winfrey Show, she debuted her first internationally released single "Note to God", written by Diane Warren and produced by David Foster. The single was made available for digital download on the same day and debuted at #24 on Billboard's Hot Digital Songs chart, #44 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart, #9 on the Hot Canadian Digital Singles chart and #35 on the Canadian Hot 100 chart. Later that same month, she was again invited to sing at the Ti lascio una canzone show as a special guest.

She staged her first major concert called: Charice: The Journey Begins on June 27 at the SMX Convention Center, SM Mall of Asia, Philippines to a sold-out crowd. Her guests included Christian Bautista, Kuh Ledesma and Little Big Star finalists.

Pempengco contributed to two Christmas albums in 2009. The first as David Archuleta's duet partner for the song "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" in his Christmas album entitled Christmas from the Heart. The second is a compilation Christmas album entitled A Very Special Christmas Volume 7 in which she contributed her own rendition of "The Christmas Song". She was one of the headlining acts in the David Foster and Friends 10-City North American Tour that ran during the fall of 2009.

She made a cameo appearance in her first feature film, Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, released in North America on December 23. She is also part of the official movie soundtrack with her rendition of "No One" by Alicia Keys accompanied by The Chipettes. Later in the month, she appeared on Singapore Idol's grand finale episode as a guest performer, where she performed two of her signature songs, The Bodyguard medley and "Note to God".

On January 23, 2010, she appeared on Io Canto, a popular children's singing competition in Italy. She performed her standards plus an Italian favorite entitled "Adagio", made popular by Lara Fabian. On January 31, she was one of the featured musical acts on a NBC Sports taped coverage of Silk Soy Milk Skate for the Heart, a show designed to raise awareness of heart disease. She performed "Note to God" and debuted two new songs included in her debut album, "In This Song" and "Breathe Out" (later retitled as "Breathe You Out").

The album version and club remixes of her second single, "Pyramid" (featuring Iyaz), from her international debut album were released on February 23, 2010 and March 2, 2010. The Pyramid Remixes EP debuted at #46 on the Billboard Dance/Club play songs charts and quickly soared to #1 spot.

Her self-titled international debut album with Reprise Records was released on May 11, 2010. On its first week, the album reached #8 on the Billboard 200 Album Chart, making her the first Asian to enter the Top 10. On the same day as part of her album launching, she again made a guest appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show along with another YouTube-discovered singer Justin Bieber.

On June 22, Pempengco herself confirmed that she will join the cast of the hit US television series Glee on its second season. As a recurring character, she will reportedly play a foreign exchange student from the Philippines with astounding vocals who will present serious competition against lead character Rachel Berry (played by Lea Michele).

She released her second single entitled "Crescent Moon" in Japan on June 23. The single is an English rendition of the Japanese song "Mikazuki" by Ayaka".

She is another Filipina, we can be proud of. Congratulations Charice on your achievements. I could see a bright future for you!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Flora and Fauna of Bohol-Province of the Catague Clan

The King Eagle

There is a town named Catague in Bohol, Philippines. Thus I have a great interest in the island. My father's named was originally spell with a "C", but when he was in high school he changed it to start with a "K". So, I believe, I have a lot of relatives in Bohol, that I have never meet or will never meet in my life time. If your name is Catague or Katague in Bohol, please get in touch with me via this blog.

Bohol is an island province in the Philippines and its 10th largest island. It is located in the Central Visayas region and has a population of 1,137,000 (2000 census) with an area of 4,117.3 km. The island has unique flora and fauna worthy of discussing in this blog.

The Philippines supports a rich and varied flora with close botanical connections to Indonesia and mainland Southeast Asia. Forests cover almost one-half of the land area and are typically tropical, with the dominant family, Dipterocarpaceae, representing 75% of the stands. The forest also has vines, epiphytes, and climbers. Open grasslands, ranging up to 2.4 m (8 ft) in height, occupy one-fourth of the land area; they are man- made, the aftermath of the slash-and-burn agricultural system, and most contain tropical savanna grasses that are non nutritious and difficult to eradicate. The diverse flora includes 8,000 species of flowering plants, 1,000 kinds of ferns, and 800 species of orchids.

Seventy to eighty percent of non-flying mammals in the Philippines are found nowhere else in the world. Common mammals include the wild hog, deer, wild carabao, monkey, civet cat, and various rodents. There are about 196 breeding species of birds, among the more numerous being the megapodes (turkey-like wildfowl), button quail, jungle fowl, peacock pheasant, dove, pigeon, parrot, and hornbill. Reptilian life is represented by 190 species; there are crocodiles and the larger snakes include the python and several varieties of cobra. Of course Bohol is famous for its TARSIER, the smallest primate( monkey) in the world.

The fauna on Bohol is almost identical to that on Mindanao, Samar, and Leyte, but not that on nearby Negros. Scientists believe that the floral and faunal biodiversity unique to the Philippines is caused by the Ice Age. They also believe that the country has the most severely endangered plant and animal communities on earth.

Recently three unique flying animals/birds,attracted my attention, These are the King Eagle, a rail and a flying fox

The King Eagle-It is the largest eagle in the world. The King Eagle (Haring Ibon) tops in 5 of the 7 external measurements, namely, total length, bill gape, culmen, bill height and tarsus. The Harpy tops in 1 out of 7 measurements, namely the talon. In the wing measurement or wing chord, Haring Ibon is only second but Harpy Eagle is fifth.
Calayan Rail
Calayan Rail: New bird discovered in Babuyan Islands- A new bird species, believed to be found nowhere else in the world, has been discovered on the remote island of Calayan, 70 km north of Luzon. The bird will be named the ‘Calayan Rail’ (Gallirallus calayanensis), after the island on which it was found. Calayan is the largest island in the Babuyan Island group that lies between Batanes and Luzon.

Flying Foxes of the Philippines-
The Mindoro Pallid Flying Fox (Pteropus sp. A) is yet undescribed, but it could possibly be the smallest flying fox in the Philippines. It has been found in Mindoro, in the Anahawin River in Mts. Iglit-Baco National Park, and also in the lowland forest of Tandakan, Mt. Siburan in Sablayan, an area made up of drastic and gradual slopes with riverines in between, near a kaingin area, and in bamboo vegetation. All areas were predominated by trees of the family Dipterocapaceae.

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