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!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Another Case of a Battered Husband in the Philippines



In my last posting about battered husbands, I cited two cases that had come to my attention last year. One case was here in the US( a coworker) and the other case was in the Philippines(a relative) The article dated 11/12/12 can be found at www.squidoo.com/abused-against-men-the-battered-husband.htm

This week I learned of another battered husband case in the Philippines. The battered husband is a close kin of my wife. For the purpose of this article, let me call the husband Benjamin and his wife Lola. Relatives and friends of Benjamin oftentimes just call him Benjie while Lola has another name Bu-angit( crazy in Ilonggo).

Benjie's family are rich landowners in Mindoro. When Benjie's parents died, the property were divided into the 7 siblings. But Bu-angit was later able to claim and usurp portions of land supposed to be inherited by one of the sisters of Benjie. The story of Benjie and Lola is a classic tale of greed, indifference, envy and marital discord of a well to do Filipino family.

I have met Benjie and Lola and have interactions with them several times during their married life. Lola has a temper, so I was sure that Benjamin was a victim of verbal abuses. Lola several years ago came to visit relatives here in US. On her way home to the Philippines, she had a temper tantrum in the airport. It took a while for her to calm down.

Today, I was surprised to learn that Benjamin was also a victim of physical abuse. Benjamin and Lola have four adults children and several young grandchildren. Both hailed from Mindoro(neighboring island of Marinduque), but decided to reside in Quezon City after their college graduations. Benjamin was an engineer and a business executive before his retirement. Lola was a full time housekeeper and occasionally teaches piano. We know of several friends of the couple and heard of incidents of Lola's temper tantrums. Lola is also known for her erratic behavior during full moon. We did not however have much contact with Benjamin and Lola for the last 5 years, not until last week when Benjamin died of heart attack at the age of 71. We were also informed that a week before Benjie died he was scheduled for heart by-pass surgery. For unknown reasons, the surgery was cancelled. It is rumored that Lola convinced Benjie not to have surgery, because of the costs of the surgery. I feel this is not really the reason, since the couple are very wealthy. They owned lands and two houses in Mindoro as well as beach houses in Batangas and Marinduque and has a good business in Quezon City.

Benjamin had several relatives residing in the US. Last week, a relative( Gilda) flew to the Philippines just to attend for his funeral and cremation services. It was at this time that she learned of Benjie's suffering as a victim of Lola's verbal and physical abuse. The story was relayed to Gilda by the personal caretaker of Benjamin.

The story of Benjie's abuse was relayed by Gilda to my wife and I am writing this story. This is a true story. But to protect the family and privacy of both the late Benjamin and Lola, the names and places in this article are fictitious but the story of Benjamin as a battered husband is true and not a product of my wild and vivid imagination.

Again, as I wrote in my first article on this subject, battered husband cases are not as common as the battered wife cases. But this story confirms that there are battered husbands all around the world, but are too ashamed to seek help when they are still alive. In the case of Benjamin, his case was only known after his death last week. May Benjamin's soul rest in Peace, Amen.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Travel Woes on Winter in Northern California

Woes of Air Travel on Winter Time

Today, I encountered our first canceled flight from Sacramento to San Francisco with connecting flights to Tokyo and then Manila. It was not a United Airline mechanical problem but a weather related problem called the tule Fog of the California Central Valley. Our UA flight was scheduled to depart at 8.06 AM with connecting flight from San Francisco to Tokyo scheduled to depart at 11.00 AM. It was supposed to be only a 40 minute flight with plenty of time for connection to an International flight.

We left the house at 5:30AM and by 6:45AM we have check in was in the gate ready for departure. At 7:00 AM the airline announced the flight has been canceled due to weather problems and we we were told to go back to the check in counter. There were only 4 passengers affected by the cancellation. By the time we were served for a rescheduling it was 7:45AM, since the lines were long. Several UA flights to other destination that day were also canceled.

I asked the UA clerk if the airline can provide either a bus or taxi service from Sacramento to San Francisco. She said no, since the cancellation is due to weather not a mechanical problem. She indicated however there are private taxis for hire outside, but you have to pay an additional $150 for the service. One passenger, a Japanese passenger took the clerk's advise. I hope she makes her connecting flight in San Francisco. She will have only about 30 minutes to spare for her 11AM connection from SFO to Tokyo. The normal driving time from Sacramento to San Francisco is about 2.5 hours without traffic. I have a feeling though with fog and rush hour traffic in Highway 80, it will take at least 3 to 3.5 hours. I am praying and hoping she gets her connection.

The task of rescheduling and re ticketing took more than one hour. At first the clerk informed us, we could possibly leave the next day. She spent a lot of time waiting while the computer was on, and talking to the connecting airlines representatives. In the meantime, I called my son to go back to airport and pick us up. After two hours of waiting, our tickets were reissued and our baggage returned. However, our new schedule was not tomorrow but the day after, a two days lay off. She said the flight for the next day was full. And instead of our stop over in Tokyo, it will be in Guam. This will be the first time we will have a stop over in Guam. Let us hope no problems will occur on this new itinerary.

There is a lot of inconvenience on rescheduling. First we have to inform and revised our hotel reservation in Manila. Second we have to tell relatives of the change of schedule and cancel our appointments with them. Last, our plan to stay in Manila for 3 days to do some shopping and see relatives have to be postponed. Luckily our flight from Manila to Marinduque was scheduled for the 13th of January, so we do not need to change that. Otherwise it will be a lot of trouble and possibly additional fares.

I am not really blaming United Airlines. But the check in clerk could have informed us earlier of the availability of taxi service and perhaps reschedule us the following day not the day after tomorrow. Again, this was our first time to experience a cancellation of a trip due to weather, because in the previous years we flew to the Philippines in early December, thus no fog yet. This year, the January fog of Northern California did its havoc in our travel plans.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Some of My Favorite Sunset Photos

Taken from the Balcony of the Beach House

The following are some of the sunset photos I have in my collections taken in Western Marinduque. Most of the photos were taken very close to the Chateau Du Mer Beach House in Amoingon in Boac.





















Do you have a favorite photo? I really love sunsets! Sunset time is my favorite time of the day in Marinduque.

Monday, January 7, 2013

New Year's Resolutions, Predictions and Wishes

The Crystal
Ball for New Year Resolutions, Predictions and Wishes

This is the time of the year when a lot of us makes our new year resolutions, predictions and wishes for the coming year. Among the most vcommon and popular new year resolutions are losing weight, quit smoking and other bad habits and possibly exercise more and work harder. The above items are not in my list, since luckily I do not have a weight problem, do not smoke or have any bad habits and is too lazy to exercise. How about you my readers, do you have a New Year resolution you want to share?

With regards to predictions, there are several articles in the web listing economic, political and religious predictions. Some of the predictions, I felt were very possible. However, one prediction, that I believe was way off, but if it will come true will be certainly welcome by me and the rest of the Philippines. The prediction is that the new Filipino Cardinal Tagle will become Pope this year.

One reason why I feel this will not happen is the fact that Pope Benedict still appears very healthy. The other reason is that Tagle is not a 70 year old cardinal or older. The chance that a cardinal younger than 70 will be elected Pope is nil, I believe.

Of course predictions about the economy dominates the web. The prediction that the Philippines economy will increase by more than 5% in 2013 appear very possible. In addition, the prediction about the US economy of remaining the same is also very probable. Another prediction about the weather, typhoons, earthquakes, hurricanes and other calamities appeared that the worst is not over. Luckily to my delight I have not read any predictions of the end of the world in 2013.

Lastly, what are my wishes for 2013? . I wish for continuous good health, wisdom to continue writing and the patience and grace of getting old. My other wish is that the Philippines will have a peaceful, and orderly elections this coming May. My last wish is to see The SF 49'niners win the Super Bowl with Kaepernick as the quarterback.

Do you have a wish for 2013 you want to share?

Sunday, January 6, 2013

My Favorite Quotes on Death and Dying



Two deaths of a kin and an acquaintance this week, reminds me that all of us will eventually die. The time of dying is oftentimes unexpected . Some of us are ready to die but others are not. So my dear readers are you ready to die? The following are 10 quotes that I can identify based on my life experiences.

1. “Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It's the transition that's troublesome.”
― Isaac Asimov

2. “Death never comes at the right time, despite what mortals believe. Death always comes like a thief.”
― Christopher Pike, The Last Vampire

3. “Be calm. God awaits you at the door.”
― Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez, Love in the Time of Cholera

4. “I don't want my life to be defined by what is etched on a tombstone. I want it to be defined in what is etched in the lives and hearts of those I've touched.”
― Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

5. “We are so afraid of the idea of having to die… that we always try to find excuses for the dead, as if we were asking beforehand to be excused when it is our turn…”
― José Saramago, Blindness

6. “The old man smiled. 'I shall not die of a cold, my son. I shall die of having lived.”
― Willa Cather, Death Comes for the Archbishop

7. “This was how the world ended. Not with a bang, but with a whimper.”
― Andrea Speed, Bloodlines

8. “We are the dead. Our only true life is in the future. We shall take part in it as handfuls of dust and splinters of bone. But how far away that future may be, there is no knowing.”
― George Orwell, 1984

9. “Memories are of the ethereal, and not the material world, that is how I know I am forever.”
― Michael Poeltl

10. “Death is not a tragedy to the one who dies; to have wasted the life before that death, that is the tragedy.”
― Orson Scott Card, Shadow of the Hegemon

Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Presidential Inauguration Festivities of 2013

The 2009 Inaugural Ball

My wife and I will not be able to attend this year but my daughter and grand daughter will be attending the Presidential inauguration festivities this coming 3rd week of January. They will be able to attend the Parade, the swearing in and two of the many inaugural Balls scheduled for this historic event.

The Presidential Inauguration will be held in Washington DC on Monday, January 21, 2013. A week of festivities will include the Presidential Swearing-in Ceremony, Inaugural Address, Inaugural Parade and numerous inaugural balls and galas honoring the elected President of the United States.

The official theme for the 2013 inauguration is “Faith in America’s Future,” commemorating the United States’ perseverance and unity, marking the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and the placement of the Statue of Freedom atop the Capitol Dome in 1863.

Here's an overview of the 2013 Inauguration Schedule from dc. whereabouts.com

Saturday, January 19 - National Day of Service. President Obama will ask Americans across the country to organize and participate in service projects in their communities to honor our shared values and celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The President, Vice President and their families will participate in service projects in the Washington, DC area.

Sunday, January 20 - The President will participate in a small private swearing-in ceremony.

Monday, January 21 – Inauguration Day. Swearing-in Ceremony, Inaugural Parade, and official Inaugural Balls.

Tuesday, January 22 - Inaugural National Prayer Service, 10:30 a.m. Washington National Cathedral. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, along with dignitaries and Americans of diverse faiths will attend the service which will include prayer, readings and musical performances. The event is by invitation only and will be webcast live at www.nationalcathedral.org.

Inauguration Swearing-in Ceremony
January 21, 2013 - The oath of office will be administered on the steps of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. Following the oath of office, the President will give his inaugural address, setting out his vision for America and goals for the nation. BROADCAST LIVE (time to be announced)

TICKETS: Each Senator and Representative receives a limited quantity of free tickets that they may distribute to the public at their discretion. The public should be aware that no website or other ticket outlet actually has inaugural swearing-in tickets to sell, regardless of what they may claim.

Time and Attending Information to Be Announced. Tickets are not required to watch the swearing-in ceremony on large screens that will be set up along the National Mall. .

Presidential Inauguration Parade
January 21, 2013, 2:30 p.m. Tickets are not required.

Location: Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC. Viewing stands and bleachers will extend from 3rd to 17th Streets.

The presidential inaugural parade includes members from all branches of the armed forces of the United States. Since 1789, the U.S. armed forces have participated in this important American tradition honoring our commander in chief. During the 10-day inaugural period from January 15 to January 24, 2013, armed forces personnel will provide ceremonial support with musical units, marching bands, color guards, salute batteries and honor cordons.

Friday, January 4, 2013

My Love and Hate for American Football



Having been born and raised in the Philippines until I was 23 years old, the game called American Football was not in my vocabulary when I was a teenager. It was only in 1960 when I attended graduate school at the University of Illinois that I learned what the game is all about. To me it is a very complicated game, compared to basketball or baseball the sports that I am familiar with. However, it was not after I finished my graduate studies, that I learned to enjoy this game. At first it was the college football, followed by the professional football( NFL) and later on the high school football games that I followed. I started following high school games when my youngest son started to play in the Pee Wee league (Grades 7 to 8) and then later on the Junior Varsity team( Grades 9 to 10). After the kids went to college, my wife and I lost interest in both the high school and college games. The only exception was the annual rivalry between the UC Berkeley Team( The Bears) versus Standford, known as the Big Game. This was due to the fact that our youngest daughter was a cheer leader for UC Berkeley. It was only in the 1980 to 1990 when we move to the San Francisco Bay Area that my wife and I became avid fans of the SF 49's team. The names Joe Montana and Steve Young are names of SF quarterbacks that will always linger in our memories.

Joe Montana was the SF quarterback that made me love the game of American Football. Montana started his NFL career in 1979 with San Francisco, where he played for the next 14 seasons. Traded before the 1993 season, he spent his final two years in the league with Kansas City. While a member of the 49ers, Montana started in four Super Bowl games and won all of them. Montana was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2000, his first year of eligibility.

In 1989, and again in 1990, the Associated Press named Montana the NFL Most Valuable Player (MVP), and Sports Illustrated magazine named Montana the 1990 "Sportsman of the Year". Four years earlier, in 1986, Montana won the AP NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award. Montana was elected to eight Pro Bowls, as well as being voted 1st team All-Pro by the AP in 1987, 1989, and 1990. Montana had the highest passer rating in the National Football Conference (NFC) five times (1981, 1984, 1985, 1987, and 1989); and, in both 1987 and 1989, Montana had the highest passer rating in the entire NFL.

Noted for his ability to remain calm under pressure, Montana helped his teams to 31 fourth quarter come-from-behind wins. In the closing moments of the 1981 NFC Championship Game and Super Bowl XXIII, Montana threw game-winning touchdown passes. The touchdown at the end of the championship game was so memorable that sports journalists, fans, and many others, refer to the play simply as "The Catch". The touchdown in the closing moments of Super Bowl XXIII came at the end of a 92-yard drive.

The 49ers retired the number 16, the jersey number Montana wore while with the team. In 1993, Montana was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs and led the franchise to its first AFC Championship Game in January 1994. In 1994, Montana earned a spot on the NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team; he is also a member of the NFL 1980s All-Decade Team. In 1999, editors at The Sporting News ranked Montana third on their list of Football's 100 Greatest Players. Also in 1999, ESPN named Montana the 25th greatest athlete of the 20th century. In 2006, Sports Illustrated rated him the number one clutch quarterback of all-time. Montana was replaced by Steve Young.

From 1990 to 2002 we resided in the Washington DC area. Thus we rooted for the Washington Red Skins, but occasionally we still watch a 49'ers game. My wife and I lost interest in professional football games from 2003 to 2011 due to our other activities ( medical mission work in Marinduque, Philippines).

This year we are again rooting for the Niners and its new quarterback Colin Kaepernick from Turlock. For those of you who are not American citizens and have no idea what American football is, here a short information from Wikipedia.

American football, known in the United States simply as football, is a sport played between two teams of eleven with the objective of scoring points by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone by running with it or throwing it to a teammate. Points can be scored by carrying the ball over the opponent's goal line or catching a pass thrown over that goal line (6 points), kicking the ball through the opponent's goal posts (3 points), or tackling an opposing ball carrier (2 points) in his own end zone.

In the United States, the major forms are high school football, college football and professional football( NFL). Each of these are played under slightly different rules. High school football is governed by the National Federation of State High School Associations and college football by the National Collegiate Athletic Association. The highest level league for professional football is the National Football League.

American football is closely related to Canadian football but with some differences in rules and the field. Both sports can be traced to early versions of association and rugby football. It is also a contact sports, but totally different than soccer football popular all over the world. Here's a video, a typical reaction of a soccer football enthusiast from the other parts of the world ( Europe or South America).

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Do You Have a Recipe for Left-over Ham?

Honey Baked Ham/Potato Casserole

In my last week posting, I discussed my experience in how I spent about 2 hours in line just to purchase a spiral honey baked ham for our Christmas dinner, known in the Philippines as the Noche Buena. In that post, I expressed my feeling of frustration as well as of not being appreciated when my wife indicated that my purchase of a 4.5 lb ham was not adequate for our nine guests. My wife felt, I should have purchased at least a 6 lb ham or bigger.

My decision to buy a smaller ham was based on my experience that besides the ham we will have other several dishes in the Noche Buena menu, so that there will be lots of leftover ham. My estimate was correct. We have about 2 lbs of ham leftover. It is getting stale in the refrigerator, unless we used if for another recipe.

Today, I am getting sick of looking at the ham, so I suggested to my wife to prepare another dish that is not only simple but also delicious. Here's my wife simple recipe she called her Honey Baked Ham and Potato Casserole

6 big potatoes
2 medium sized unions
1 bunch parsley
1 quart sour cream
1 cup of milk
1.0 lb of honey baked ham( other brand of ham may be used)
0.5 cup Flour flavored with garlic salt and ground black pepper

Peel the potatoes and sliced it to about 0.5 inch thick. Slice the unions. Shred the parsley. Chop the honey baked ham into small slices. Grease the pyrex dish with cooking oil. Layered the dish first with the sliced potatoes, then the ham, then the onions, sour cream and parsley. Sprinkle this layer with flavored flour. Repeat the layering and flavoring process until the dish is almost full. The top layer should be another slice of potatoes To the top of the dish pour about 1 cup of milk. Cover the pyrex dish. Baked in the oven for about an hour at 350 degrees Use a cuisinart in all your slicing activities, to make cooking easier for you..

My wife tells me, she has a few other recipes for leftover hams, but the recipes are more complicated and required more ingredients and longer time to prepare, such as a ham quiche or souffle

Do you have a recipe for left over hams, you want to share?. I will appreciate it very much, if you do. Bon Apetit during your New Years Day Feast and Celebration!



Note: In the Philippines as well as in other parts of the world you need to have 12 pieces each of round fruits that must be on the dinner table at the stroke of midnight if you want to be lucky and prosperous for the coming year.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Tournament of the Roses Parade

One of the many floats of the Parade-Photo by Ditas. Was Jesus in the Parade?

My daughter and grand daughter spent their New Years weekend in Southern California this year. They were able to see the Rose Parade. For us, we are happy to watch it in TV. If you are not familiar with this event on New Years day, here's a short information from Wikipedia.

The Rose Parade, officially the Tournament of Roses Parade, is "America's New Year Celebration" held in Pasadena, California, a festival of flower-covered floats, marching bands, equestrians and the Rose Bowl college football game on New Year's Day (but moved to Monday if New Year's Day falls on a Sunday), produced by the non-profit Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association.

Another photo taken
by Ditas.

Originally started on January 1, 1890, the Rose Parade is watched in person by hundreds of thousands of spectators on the parade route, and is broadcast on multiple television networks in the United States. It is seen by millions more on television worldwide in more than 200 international territories and countries. The parade is held in the same day as The Rose Bowl college football game. The football game was added in 1902 to help fund the cost of staging the parade. Standford is the Rose Ball winner this year. Here's a short video of last year parade.



The Rose Parade reminds me of the Philippines Flower Festival held in Baguio City, summer capital of the Philippines for the whole month of February also known as the
Panagbenga Festival The term Panagbenga is of Malayo-Polynesian origin, meaning "season of blooming". The festival, was created as a tribute to the city's flowers and as a way to rise up from the devastation of the 1990 Luzon earthquake. The festival includes floats that are decorated with flowers unlike those used in Pasadena's Rose Parade. The festival also includes street dancing, presented by dancers clad in flower-inspired costumes, that is inspired by the Bendian, an Ibaloi dance of celebration that came from the Cordillera region.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Filipino Traditions/Superstition on New Year

Twelve kinds of round fruits should be in your table by midnight to bring good luck and prosperity to the Household

When I was growing up in the Philippines, my parents will tell us kids that on New Years Eve, we should do the following for good luck. Doing these things will help insure that the coming year will be a happy and prosperous one. Many of these traditions/superstition are of Chinese influence, I believe.

1. Turn on all lights so that the coming year will be bright.

2. Make as much noise as you can to scare away evil spirits.

3. Debts must be paid off. Fill you wallet with fresh peso bills.

4. Open all doors, windows, cabinets and drawers to let good fortune in.

5. Scatter coins around the house, on tabletops.... inside drawers...

6. Clean everything including your body by taking a long bath, the closets and the whole house.

7. Wear polka-dots, preferably black and white. Anything round signifies prosperity.

8. Jump twelve times at midnight to increase your height. (Observed by Filipino children.)

There are five things related to food that we must do for good luck as follows:

1. Prepare 12 round fruits, one for each month of the coming new year ( see photo above).

2. Have a very round grape in your mouth at the stroke of midnight.

3. Eat a native delicacy made from sticky rice to make good fortune stick in the new year.

4. Eat long noodles (pancit) for long life ( definitely of Chinese origin). We should eat pancit also during our birthday.

5. Don't eat any chicken or fish. They are associated with the scarcity of food.

Then on New Years Day we should not clean anything, otherwise we might sweep away the good fortune. In addition we should not spend money at all. Our being thrifty that day will help us manage our money very well for the whole year. Do you have any New Years Eve tradition in your family? Please share!

Happy 2013 to All of You, my dear readers and FaceBook Friends!

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