Planning to Visit the Philippines Soon?

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

Friday, May 31, 2013

The Beauty and Symmetry of Mathematics


I received the following (via e-mail) from a friend in the Philippines. It is now circulating in the social media, but I found this fascinating, so I am sharing it with you. The title of the e-mail is Beauty of Mathematics !

1 x 8 + 1 = 9
12 x 8 + 2 = 98
123 x 8 + 3 = 987
1234 x 8 + 4 = 9876
12345 x 8 + 5 = 98765
123456 x 8 + 6 = 987654
1234567 x 8 + 7 = 9876543
12345678 x 8 + 8 = 98765432
123456789 x 8 + 9 = 987654321

1 x 9 + 2 = 11
12 x 9 + 3 = 111
123 x 9 + 4 = 1111
1234 x 9 + 5 = 11111
12345 x 9 + 6 = 111111
123456 x 9 + 7 = 1111111
1234567 x 9 + 8 = 11111111
12345678 x 9 + 9 = 111111111
123456789 x 9 +10= 1111111111

9 x 9 + 7 = 88
98 x 9 + 6 = 888
987 x 9 + 5 = 8888
9876 x 9 + 4 = 88888
98765 x 9 + 3 = 888888
987654 x 9 + 2 = 8888888
9876543 x 9 + 1 = 88888888
98765432 x 9 + 0 = 888888888

Brilliant, isn't it? And look at this symmetry:

1 x 1 = 1
11 x 11 = 121
111 x 111 = 12321
1111 x 1111 = 1234321
11111 x 11111 = 123454321
111111 x 111111 = 12345654321
1111111 x 1111111 = 1234567654321
11111111 x 11111111 = 123456787654321
111111111 x 111111111 = 12345678987654321

Now, take a look at this...101% From a strictly mathematical viewpoint: What Equals 100%? What does it mean to give MORE than 100%?

Ever wonder about those people who say they are giving more than 100%? We have all been in situations where someone wants you to
GIVE OVER 100%. How about ACHIEVING 101%? What equals 100% in life? Here's a little mathematical formula that might help
answer these questions:

If:

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Is represented as:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26.


If:

H-A-R-D-W-O- R- K

8+1+18+4+23+ 15+18+11 = 98%

And:

K-N-O-W-L-E- D-G-E

11+14+15+23+ 12+5+4+7+ 5 = 96%

But:

A-T-T-I-T-U- D-E

1+20+20+9+20+ 21+4+5 = 100%

THEN, look how far the love of God will take you:

L-O-V-E-O-F- G-O-D

12+15+22+5+15+ 6+7+15+4 = 101%

Therefore, one can conclude with mathematical certainty that: While Hard Work and Knowledge will get you close, and Attitude will get you there, It's the Love of God that will put you over the top!



It's up to you if you share this with your friends & loved ones just the way I did.. Have a nice day & God bless you all the time!! Have a Complete life!!!...


Thursday, May 30, 2013

Building a Retirement House in Marinduque-An Update


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

1. What kind of a house do you want, that is either it will be constructed with native materials (nipa/bamboo/coco lumber) or with cement, hollow blocks and metal roofing

2. How big will the house be in terms of area, that is square footage or square meters

3. What kind of fixtures you want installed, such as plumbing, doors, windows, garage, balconies, fans, air conditioning, attics etc...

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

I can give a decent estimate based on our retirement house built in 1996. If you want to build a similar house, 2700 sq ft, 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, two balconies and a one car garage with cement, metal roofing, air conditioning and marble floors, my estimate will be around 5 to 6 million pesos.

So based on today's exchange rate of 1 to 40, it will cost you around $125,000 to $150,000 in US dollars. This is cheap if you compare it to the standard 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom house here in Northern California. Here in Fair Oaks, CA the standard house (3BD,2B) in a decent neighborhood sells for an average of $250,000 to $450,000. If it is high class subdivision, it will cost you about 20% more.

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

If you already owned a beach front lot in Marinduque, here are a few tips you need to know before building. Because of the salty ocean breezes especially on Habagat season (rainy- southwest winds), it is recommended that you build your house with stainless materials if possible. Double paint the outside and de-rusts annually. High maintenance expense is what you get for an ocean view and fresh ocean air during the amihan season (gentle Northeast winds) during summer.

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

1. Hire a professional architect ( Research the type of architecture for your dream house). Visit local homes for ideas.

2. The estimate of the architect is normally low, so that your property tax will also be low.

3. Multiply by 2 the architect estimate. That will be your decent estimated cost until the house is finished.

4. Allot about 15 to 25% for furniture's, appliances, landscaping and caretaker expenses and fencing( highly recommenced).

5. If you can not personally supervise the construction, ask a relative or someone you can trust with finances to supervise during construction.

If you are really serious in constructing your dream house, let me know. I have 15 years of experience building three houses and one Conference Hall at the Chateau Du Mer Compound in Marinduque. I will be glad to give you ideas and free advice and tips( no consultation fees). Have Fun and Enjoy the planning, constructing, landscaping and eventually moving to your dream retirement house in Marinduque or anywhere else in the rural Philippines. Here's a short video if you plan on visiting the Philippines soon.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Mahjong is My Tile Game-What is Yours?

A Mahjong Set

Have you heard of a tile game called Mahjong? I learned this tile game when I was a child. It is mostly a game of luck, once you learned the basics of the game. This tile game is similar to the card game, gin rummy, but played with tiles. It is a game that most Filipina housewives are addicted to. I am sure if you reside in the Philippines or Hongkong, this game must be very familiar to you. You may be even addicted to it.

My mother taught me as well as my brothers and sisters how to play mahjong when we were growing up in the Philippines. We have two mahjong sets in the house. The cheap one was made of plastic which we used quite often and the expensive one made of ivory. The one made of ivory, we only used on special occasion when we celebrate birthdays, weddings and other special events when I was growing up in the Philippines.

According to my mother, I started playing mahjong very well when I was only 5 years old. It is a game of luck with a little skill involve once you learn the basics. I also learned how to play a card game called "Pangingue" in the Philippines, probably similar to pinochle, but different from gin rummy. Mahjong can be played on line or you can buy a disk and play it in your computer.

I have a disk (Hongkong mahjong) in my computer, but it has been a while since I played this game. Mahjong like any gambling game is very addictive. I have close relatives in the Philippines that died of tubercolosis(TV) because they play mahjong almost all day and do nothing else. Unbelievable, but true.

Mahjong rules and specifics varies from region to region in the Philippines, but it is still a favorite past time of the middle class in the Philippines. A lot of Filipina housewives are addicted to mahjong. Besides mahjong there are two card games popular in Marinduque and other parts of the Philippines are PIKWA and TONG-IT. A number of housewives in my neighborhood in Amoingon, Boac, Marinduque play Tong-it every afternoon, both for recreation and a little gambling activity. We play Tong-it during a party break as a family game but no betting involved, when we are in Marinduque.

For rules and instruction how to play Mahjong read Wikipedia or ask a friend or relative for a demonstration. Once you learned the game, be careful it could be very, very addictive. But again, it is an excellent way to get rid of your boredom and the long, long hot summer in the Philippines.


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Tornado Season in the Midwest


Yesterday, President Barack Obama called the destruction of the last week's tornado wrought in Moore, Oklahoma, "hard to comprehend" and vowed to provide long-term federal help in rebuilding.

Last week tornado was rated at the top of a five-step scale used to measure the destructive power of twisters. It killed 24 people - including seven children at the school site THAT President Obama visited yesterday. It ripped a 17-mile-long (27-km-long) corridor of destruction through the suburb of Oklahoma City, flattening entire blocks of homes, two schools and a hospital causing billions of damages to property.

Tornadoes are indeed very scary and destructive, similar to hurricanes and earthquakes. Have you seen or heard a tornado so close that you thought you will die? Or just far enough to scare you? My family and I have seen and heard a tornado when we were still living in Kansas City in the 1980's. It was close enough, we all have to run for cover in the basement. Luckily, it was a small and weak tornado (probably a f0 or f1) in the FUJITA scale. It dissipated fast enough in the opposite direction where our house was located. It did topple a couple of trees in the backyard of our next-door neighbor though. It was still scary since one will never know if it is your house that will be in its direct path.

A tornado (often referred to as a twister or, erroneously, a cyclone) is a violent, dangerous, rotating column of air that is in contact with both the surface of the earth and a cumulonimbus cloud or, in rare cases, the base of a cumulus cloud.

Tornadoes come in many shapes and sizes, but are typically in the form of a visible condensation funnel, whose narrow end touches the earth and is often encircled by a cloud of debris and dust. Most tornadoes have wind speeds less than 110 miles per hour (177 km/h), are approximately 250 feet (80 m) across, and travel a few miles (several kilometers) before dissipating. The most extreme can attain wind speeds of more than 300 mph (480 km/h), stretch more than two miles (3 km) across, and stay on the ground for dozens of miles (more than 100 km).

Tornadoes have been observed on every continent except Antarctica. However, the vast majority of tornadoes in the world occur in the Tornado Alley ( Midwest) region of the United States, although they can occur nearly anywhere in North America. They also occasionally occur in south-central and eastern Asia, the Philippines, northern and east-central South America, Southern Africa, northwestern and southeast Europe, western and southeastern Australia, and New Zealand. Tornadoes can be detected before or as they occur through the use of Pulse-Doppler radar by recognizing patterns in velocity and reflectivity data, such as hook echoes, as well as by the efforts of storm spotters.

There are several different scales for rating the strength of tornadoes. The Fujita (F)scale rates tornadoes by damage caused, and has been replaced in some countries by the updated Enhanced Fujita Scale(EF). An F0 or EF0 tornado, the weakest category, damages trees, but not substantial structures. An F5 or EF5 tornado, the strongest category, rips buildings off their foundations and can deform large skyscrapers.

There are people who loved chasing tornadoes, but not me. A F0 tornado I experienced in Kansas City 25 years ago is enough to scare me for life.


Monday, May 27, 2013

An Unexpected Help from a Stranger


Bright Future for Philippines' Younger Generation

During the first leg of our trip home (Boac to Manila) from the Philippines to Northern California, I experienced an act of kindness and thoughfulness that was not expected. This act of kindness that is unexpected is an omen that there is a bright future for the Philippines' younger generation.

Last April, Macrine ( my spouse of 56 years) and I were on our way to Manila from Boac, Marinduque for our first plane ride on our way back to Northern California. On this trip, I experienced an act of kindness from a complete stranger. It came from a handsome teenager from Manila. This act of kindness is an omen that if majority of the the filipino youth think and act this way, there is a bright future for the filipino younger generation.

I was carrying two hand carries boarding a Zest Air plane bound for Manila. Suddenly, a young man rushes in front of me and volunteered to carry one of my hand carry bags up to my seat in the plane. I was sort of shocked, since this was not expected. I gave him a look of surprise but gave him a thank you smile and appreciation of his thoughfulness.

Perhaps, you are wondering why I had two "hand carry" bags. The reason why I have two hand carries is that Macrine is now using a quad cane and is not able to carry her own hand carry. She refused to use a wheel chair in boarding the plane, since it was just a short walk from the boarding gate to the plane.

The volunteer was a young and good-looking teenager named Carlo Yu. He is a student of De La Salle University in Manila. He is traveling with his mother and an older sister, returning to Manila after a three day vacation at the world-renown 5-star beach resort, Bellarocca Resort and Spa in Buenavista.

Thirty minutes later when we arrived in Manila, he and his sister again helped me picked up and load my three suitcases in my cart for check out.

Indeed what a kind and thoughtful young man. If most of the Filipino teenagers are like Carlo, there is indeed a bright future for the Filipino younger generation. Thank you again Carlo for your kindness. Perhaps someday our path will cross again, then I will have another chance to say thank you. Hep, Hep, Hurrah! for the Filipino Youth!


Sunday, May 26, 2013

My Favorite Three Books and Dan Brown's Inferno


What are your three Favorite Books? Mine are listed below!

Three of my favorite books are: Playing with Water by James Hamilton-Paterson, Cloyne Court by Dodie Katague and World as seen Under the Lens of a Scientist by Vithal Shetty. Playing with Water is about Marinduque-My Second Home. Cloyne Court was written by my oldest son on his memoirs while a student at the University of California, Berkeley in the late 1970's. Dr. Shetty's book is his biography discussing his life from the slums of Mumbai to his life as a scientist at the National Institute of Health and in the Food and Drug Administration in Maryland.

I am not an avid book reader, since I spend too much of my free time watching television and blogging. But once I started reading a good book, I will not stop until I finished it. Depending on the size of the book these could range from 1 day to 3 days. Three of my favorite books are:

1. "Playing with Water" by James Hamilton-Paterson

James Hamilton-Paterson is a British poet and novelist. He is known to be one of the most reclusive of British literary exiles who shares his time between Austria, Italy and extensive periods over the last 30 years in the Philippines. He is generally known as a commentator on the Philippine scene, where he has lived on and off. His novels on the Philippines includes "Ghosts of Manila", and "America's Boy" (1998), the latter setting the Marcos regime into the geopolitical context of the time.

One of his books, "Playing with Water", sold more than 4 million copies, described in a book review by New York Times as "a work of such genuine commitment, balanced perception and responsive passion that it will certainly be condemned to become a classic.

I have read this book a few years ago. I had almost forgotten this book, until last month when a fellow blogger from Marinduque posted an article about this book. It triggered pleasant memories of Marinduque. I love this book so much, I read some chapters twice. It is one of the best books, I have read about my island Paradise and my retirement home of Marinduque. It was written and published in the late 1990s but the lessons one can learn from this book are still applicable today. Here's one review of the book:

"Go read this book, it's good!," By A. N. Teodoro III (River Edge, NJ, USA) - This review is from: Playing with Water: Passion and Solitude on a Philippine Island (Twentieth Century Lives)

"I read this book so many years ago, but I can still remember how good it is. This book is not only about the underwater world but also about the goings-on in a typical barrio in the Philippines. It has a socio-economic aspect to it that I found quite realistic, having been born and raised in that very same third world country. It amazed and pleased me that a foreigner like Hamilton-Paterson could, quite accurately, capture the very essence of Filipino rural society-like the old woman who he suspects isn't so aloof and taciturn as she seems and the children of the barrio who frolic in the water and in their humble amusements, oblivious of the shortcomings of a third world upbringing. The book is an unusual stew of underwater adventure and an unpatronizing account of a life among barrio folk".

2. "Cloyne Court", by Dodie Katague

This book was written by my oldest son in 2009. As his father, who loves blogging, I am really proud of his writing accomplishments, considering this is not his primary job. Below are several reviews of his book as published by www.virtualauthorbooktours.com. I hope you have time to read his book, Cloyne Court.

"In 1977, when 18-year-old Berkeley college student, Derek moved into the student residence co-op, Cloyne Court, sight unseen, little did he know he would learn about life, love, sex, drugs, music, alcohol and co-ed showers-all on the first day.

Located one block North of the University of California, Berkeley campus, this real and notorious student-run house has provided an alternative, counter-culture, hedonistic, raucous, and unique living experience for the "Clones", as the students call themselves, who choose to live here each year, despite the public and parents calling for a permanent shut down of this enduring and historic building.

Based on his journals and memories of his college days at this real-life "Animal House", author Dodie Katague weaves true events of life at Cloyne Court co-op into a zany, wild, and nostalgic story about the carefree time of every college student's life.

"Sure to entertain any of those who enjoy a good story of the world of the fraternities and sororities, "Cloyne Court" is a fine memoir and a read well worth considering."

~Midwest Book Review.

"I wish I had as much fun as Derek did in college, I recommend this book for anyone that has gone to college, or plans to go to college, or thought about going to college. Also for anyone who knows someone who went to college, because that buttoned up shirt wearing respectable man might have some stories to tell"

~Genoa Dillon, Amazon Reviewer

3. World as Seen Under the Lens of a Scientist, by Vithal Shetty


I have read some parts of the draft of this book and heard and witnessed in person portions of Dr Shetty's life and achievements, but it was only the other day that I was able to purchase the published book. It is an inspiring story, typical of a rags to riches story, but it is different because I know this scientist personally and had to supervise his work as a Review Chemist in FDA. Here's a press release and summary of the book published in March 2009 by Xlibris.

"Long before he arrived in America, Dr. B. Vithal Shetty experienced racial arrogance and discrimination. Even though he got admitted to the University of Pennsylvania, he had trouble finding a place to live and decency as white people disrespected him for his ethnicity. Along the way, he made constant adjustments in order to move his life forward while striving to earn respect through his close friendship with African Americans. Eventually, the author finally achieved redemption when he became an internationally renowned drug discovery sterling scientist. An engaging look back at Dr. Shetty's life begins with the release of his new book World As Seen Under the Lens of A Scientist: Negro Zero To American Hero Who Changed United States From American Hypocrisy To Greatest Democracy".

Dr. Vithal Shetty was one of the Chemistry Reviewers under my supervision during my employment with USFDA from 1990 to 2002. Dr Shetty is also the discoverer of Metolazone (a drug for treatment of high blood pressure). He is also currently working on drugs for the cure for HIV/AIDS. I wrote a brief article on Dr. Shetty's work and accomplishments titled "Chemistry Reviewer Still in the Lab" when he was still under my supervision as a chemistry reviewer. It was published in News Along the Pike, an FDA Newsletter before my retirement in 2002. Dr. Shetty's autobiography is an inspiring one. He came from the slums of Mumbai, India and encountered discrimination in 1950s in the US. Today he is an accomplished scientist in the United States with more than 200 patents in his name.

I believe that someday he may win a Nobel Prize either in Chemistry or Medicine, if his research on HIV/AIDS drugs becomes successful.

Note: In my wish list is Dan Brown new book, Inferno. I am anxious to read his description of Manila as the Gates of Hell. The book is fiction. So you Pinoys do not get upset that Dan Brown describes Manila as the Gates of Hell, due to pollution, extreme poverty, prostitution and a mecca for sex trade of children and minors.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

I am Proud to be a Senior Citizen


I received the following posting from a friend in the Philippines recently. A must read if you are over 65. Enjoy!

Senior citizens are constantly being criticized for every conceivable deficiency of the modern world,real or imaginary.We know we take responsibility for all we have done and do not blame others.

HOWEVER, upon reflection, we would like to point out that it was NOT the senior citizens who took:

The melody out of music, The pride out of appearance, The courtesy out of driving, The romance out of love, The commitment out of marriage, The responsibility out of parenthood, The togetherness out of the family, The learning out of education, The service out of patriotism, The Golden Rule from rulers, The nativity scene out of cities, The civility out of behavior, The refinement out of language, The dedication out of employment, The prudence out of spending, The ambition out of achievement, and God out of government and school.

And we certainly are NOT the ones who eliminated patience and tolerance from personal relationships and interactions with others!!

And, we do understand the meaning of patriotism, and remember those who have fought and died for our country. Does anyone under the age of 50 know the lyrics to the Star Spangled Banner? Just look at the Seniors with tears in their eyes and pride in their hearts as they stand at attention with their hand over their hearts!

YES, I'M A SENIOR CITIZEN!

I'm the life of the party...... even if it lasts until 8 p.m. I'm very good at opening childproof caps.... with a hammer. I'm usually interested in going home before I get to where I am going..I'm awake many hours before my body allows me to get up.. I'm smiling all the time because I can't hear a thing you're saying. I'm very good at telling stories; over and over and over and over... I'm aware that other people's grandchildren are not nearly as cute as mine. I'm so cared for -- long term care, eye care, private care, dental care.

I'm not really grouchy, I just don't like traffic, waiting in long lines, crowds, lawyers, unruly kids, barking dogs, politicians and a few other things I can't seem to remember right now.

I'm sure everything I can't find is in a safe secure place, somewhere..

I'm wrinkled, saggy, lumpy, and that's just my left leg.

I'm having trouble remembering simple words like.....

I'm beginning to realizing that aging is not for wimps.

I'm sure they are making adults much younger these days, and when did they let kids become policemen? I'm wondering, if you're only as old as you feel, how could I be alive at 150? I'm a walking storeroom of facts..... I've just lost the key to the storeroom door.

Yes, I'm a SENIOR CITIZEN and I think I am having the time of my life!

Now if I could only remember who sent this to me, I wouldn't send it back to them, but I would send it to many more too! Now- Have I already sent this to you???????

If so, I'll try not to do it again (for a while.)

Friday, May 24, 2013

A Parody-I Left My Heart in Marinduque


The beach in Amoingon, Boac in front of the Chateau Du Mer Beach Resort

I have always wanted to write a song about "Leaving my Heart in Marinduque"—a parody of the signature song of Tony Bennett, I left My Heart in San Francisco. My sincere apologies to George Cory and Douglas Cross who wrote, I left My Heart in San Francisco in 1954. This song should be sung to the tune of the famous song in honor of the city by the Bay (San Francisco, California).

Here it is, I hope you like it:

The loveliness of Fair Oaks seems somehow sadly gay

The glory that was Boac is another day!

I've been terribly alone and forgotten in Sacramento

I'm going home to my town by the sea.

I left my heart in Marinduque

Near by the beach it beckons me

To be where the Moriones are

Come, visit wherever you are

The morning sun rise by the sea

I don't care!

My love waits at Chateau Du Mer

Near the blue and calmy sea

When I come home to you, Marinduque

Chateau Du Mer will welcome me!

Note: Fair Oaks (an eastern suburb of Sacramento-the capital city of the State of California), California is our first home but Chateau Du Mer, Boac, Marinduque, Philippines is our second home. Boac is the capital town of the province of Marinduque.

My wife and I called ourselves snowbirds, because in winter time, we fly to tropical Philippines to get away from the winter chills of Northern California. We owned a small beach resort in Marinduque, we named Chateau Du Mer ( House of the Sea).

Marinduque is a small island province in the Philiipines. It is the heart and geographic center of the Philippines. Marinduque is also known for its Morions and the Moriones Festival during Holy Week.

Marinduque had been having bad press here in US and in the social media this election because of the congressional battle between Regina Reyes and Lord Allan Velasco. Reyes won by about 3000 votes. She was however disqualified by the Commission on Election because she is an American Citizen. There were two premature proclamations of Gina Reyes which were protested by Velasco, because of the citizenship issue and lies on her certificate of Candidacy as well as the incomplete official results at the time of proclamation.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

marinduque rising: Prof. Winnie's view on proclamations and dynasties...

marinduque rising: Prof. Winnie's view on proclamations and dynasties...: Of proclamations and dynasties By   Solita Collas-Monsod Repost from Philippine Daily Inquirer An ego as big as all outdoors. And a...

This is an interesting  article on the recent election in the Philippines and on the Political Dynasties. Are political dynasties good or bad for the Philippines? I would say, very, very bad.... Do you agree? This article also reminded me of the Reyes-Velasco fight for Congress in Maribduque.

Here's a video of the true to life moro-moro on the Reyes-Velasco fight for Congress.


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Marinduque International-Next Medical Mission, January, 2014

Macrine and the Pharmacy Section Volunteers, Marinduque International, Inc Medical Mission, 2011

Our last medical and dental mission to the province of Marinduque was held on February, 2011. The next mission is scheduled for last week of January, 2014. You are welcome to join us. For details, visit the website, www.marinduqueinternational.org

The previous Medical Mission of Love in 2011 was not different from the other previous past missions that Macrine( my spouse) and I had attended since 1998. More than six thousand of the poor and the needy from the distant barangays in the province of Marinduque lined patiently from 4 to 6 hours just to see A PHYSICIAN and obtained free medicines ( cough syrup, multivitamens, pain medications, anti-acids and maybe antibiotics) for their aches and pains true or imagined.

At the end of the day in each f the six towns, there were always about 200 to 300 more patients that have to be sent home since we do not have enough physician volunteers. This is the same case in our HOSPITAL operations. Last year's mission we had only 3 surgeons and 1 anesthesiologist. Thus we have to send a lot of patients home along with their disappointment and hopes that maybe in our next mission, they can be accommodated.

An example was the hospital case that touched my heart and that made me mad: A patient was already in the operating table after the preliminary tests had been done the day before was sent home because of one basic instrument not available. I heard from the surgeon who stayed at Chateau Du Mer, that instrument he needed for the operation is a basic instrument, but the hospital does not have one. So where is the priority of our provincial and health officials?

In the town of Buenavista, I helped in the repacking area section of the Pharmacy Department. At about 2PM, there were still about 200 to 300 patients waiting in line. The patients were told to go home, since there was already 200 in line and our physicians will not be able to see them. However, about 100 did not go home in the hope that multi-vitamens and cough syrup, and Paracetamol will still be given to them at the end of the day.

One middle-aged woman with her 2 kids ( Ages 3 and 5 )started begging to the two of us working in the repackaging area very closed to the lines. She said her 2 kids are coughing and had fever and asked us if we can give her Paracetamol and cough syrup. I looked at her and the two kids and my heart melted and I shed a tear or two.

I stood up, talked to the Pharmacist-in-Charge that day and she told me "NO". She told me that If the others in line saw me giving the drugs only to her, if might cause a RIOT. I whispered to the woman to wait until closing time. By 4:30PM there were still 10 patients waiting. At around 5:00PM there were still a couple of patients hanging around.

But, I called the woman aside, give her a bottle of Paracetamol;, cough syrup and multi-vitamens along with the usual instructions. She thanked me and gave me a SMILE that still lingers in my mind today. During this mission, my heart melted and I cried again!


Monday, May 20, 2013

My Chronological versus my Mental Age


Today I feel that my mind is still in my 40's but my body tells me I am over 75. Actually, I am 78 years old and 5 months as of today.

Aging is a natural process. But with a good diet and exercise, the aging process can be slowed down, I believe.

Last March, while I was still in Marinduque, I did " hands-on gardening" such as weeding, fertilizing and watering my plants. After 30 minutes of actual gardening that is fertilizing my more than 50 potted plants, my back started to ache. I had a hard time standing up. It ached so much that I have to take a pain killer( Celebrex).

This tells me I should do only gardening by mouth. I have one permanent gardener and two temporary helpers, especially if there is an event in the resort. However, there are times I like to do "hands-on" gardening since I really enjoy gardening and it is also my exercise.

However with regards to my mind, I still have a good memory. I could still remember the unit prices of all building materials, such as cement, tiles, hinges, hollow blocks etc., that I purchased last year. I STILL play duplicate bridge and still remember almost all the 52 cards based on the bidding. For those of you who do not play duplicate bridge, you only see 26 cards. The other half is hidden, but based on the bidding, and of your memory of how the bidding went and the discarded cards, you actually can guess the location of all the 52 cards. I am proud to say, my memory is still good.

But I noticed that my memory is not as good as when I was in high school. In high school, my teacher in world history wanted to give me 100, since all my tests were all 100, but the highest grade he could legally gave me was only 95. I had a photographic memory then. But today, that photographic memory is gone.

So my dear readers, can you tell me where to find the fountain of youth? Do you have a formula or a lifestyle that slow down the aging process? Do you believe that a good diet and daily exercises can slow down the aging process? I will be posting an article on the ten items I do rigorously to stay fit and healthy in the next couple of days. Watch for it and have a Good Day.


Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Top Ten Tourist Attractions in the US


The following are the top ten tourist attractions in the United States. How many have you visited?

1. Times Square, New York City: 37.6 million visitors

This Manhattan crossroads of commerce retains the top spot on our list, thanks to increased visitation to the Big Apple in 2008 despite the economic turn down. According to the Times Square Alliance, "80% of visitors to NYC make it a point to visit Times Square." Total NYC visit last year was 47 million, giving us an estimate of 37.6 million travelers through the "Crossroads of the World." Sources: Forbes Traveler estimate based on figures from The Times Square Alliance and NYC & Company.

2. The Las Vegas Strip, Nevada: 30 Million visitors

The "Neon Trail" that comprises the heart of Sin City is also part of the federal government's National Scenic Byways Program, which designates roads based on "archaeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational and scenic qualities." Hard to say which of these qualities best describes Vegas, but we can disqualify "natural." Last year, total visitors to Las Vegas numbered 37.5 million; a poll by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority found that an average of 80% of visitors had either stayed overnight or gambled on the Strip, giving us our visitor estimate of 30 million. Source: Forbes Traveler estimate based on figures from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

3. National Mall and Memorial Parks, Washington, D.C.: 25 million visitors

Many of the nation's iconic public landmarks are found in the 1,000-plus acres of the National Mall and Memorial Parks, including the Washington, Lincoln, and Jefferson Memorials, and the Korean and Vietnam War Veterans Memorials. The Smithsonian Institution's 19 museums are also adjacent to The Mall; last year, the network of free museums drew more than 25 million visits. Source: U.S. Department of the Interior, The Trust for the National Mall, Press room of the Smithsonian Institution

4. Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Boston: 20 Million visitors

Built in 1742 by Peter Faneuil, a wealthy Boston merchant, Faneuil Hall served as a commercial center of the city for centuries and a site for famous orations, like Samuel Adams' independence-rallying speech to colonists. Faneuil also includes the restored 19th-century Quincy Market. Today, shoppers account for a large share of visitors, and while we've excluded shopping-only malls (like Minnesota's Mall of America) from this list, Faneuil's historic significance vaults it to the status of cultural attraction. Source: Faneuil Hall Marketplace

5. Disney World's Magic Kingdom, Lake Buena Vista, Fla.: 17.1 million visitors

The Magic Kingdom is the most popular of Disney's Florida attractions, followed by Epcot, Disney Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom, and we've used it as a watermark for traffic to Disney Florida's multiple theme-park complex. Magic Kingdom Park includes beloved rides like Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Country Bear Jamboree. Source: TEA/ERA Theme Park Attendance Report 2007

6. Disneyland Park, Anaheim, Calif.: 14.9 million visitors

With nearly 15 million visitors in 2007, the original Disney Park in Anaheim, California has been a stalwart American tourist attraction since its opening in 1955.Its well-known rides range from Space Mountain to the Pirates of the Caribbean. Source: TEA/ERA Theme Park Attendance Report 2007

7. Fisherman's Wharf/Golden Gate Recreation Area,San Francisco:14.1 million visitors

The city by the Bay received approximately 16.1 million visitors in 2007 (the latest data available), and Fisherman's Wharf is its top visitor attraction (visitor estimates for Fisherman's Wharf range from 12 million to 15 million). The Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which includes the famous gold bridge along with numerous other spaces throughout the Bay Area, drew 14.6 million visitors in 2008. It's hard to know the overlap between tourists at the wharf, nearby bridge and other areas in the National Recreation Area. We've averaged the figures to arrive at our 14million estimate. Sources: National Park Service 2008 Annual Recreation Visits Report, Fisherman's Wharf Merchants Association, City and County of San Francisco, San Francisco Chronicle.

8. Niagara Falls, N.Y.: 12 million visitors

The Falls, which straddle the U.S.-Canada border, have been a tourist mecca since the mid-19th century. The thundering waters are visible from observation towers, by boat and from various hiking trails and, on the Canadian side, from the Whirlpool Aero Car, an antique cable car. With statistics from the Niagara Falls Tourism Bureau and Niagara Falls Bridge Commission, visitors are approximated at 12 million a year. Source: Niagara Falls Tourism (Visitor and Convention Bureau) and Niagara Falls Bridge Commission

9. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tenn./N.C.: 9.04 million visitors

America's most visited national park is neither the Grand Canyon nor Yosemite. With more than 800 miles of protected trails, this natural wonder hosted approximately 9 million hikers, birders and drivers last year. Source: National Park Service 2008 Annual Recreation Visits Report

10. Navy Pier, Chicago: 8.6 million visitors

Opened in 1916, this Chicago landmark on the shore of Lake Michigan has served as a campus and military training facility. Today it hosts 50 acres of shops, restaurants and exposition facilities. The Chicago Shakespeare Theater and the Chicago Children's Museum are here, along with a full calendar of nighttime fireworks shows. Source: Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority

Personal Note: Macrine and I had visited all the 10 spots. We have been to Disneyland Park, Anaheim three times, two times at the Niagara Falls, Times Square and Navy Pier. We have visited the National Mall Washington, DC more than 30 times since we have resided in Maryland for 12 years. Oh yes, we have been to Fisherman's Wharf and Golden Gate Recreation Area perhaps as many as 25 times. Last, but least the Las Vegas Strip, we visited it more than 10 times since 1960.


If I have to choose only one of the spots, which one would I visit today? I love all of the ten spots, but Niagara Falls will be my number one choice! Although not listed in the top ten tourist attractions, I highly recommend, the Grand Canyon National Park as another place to visit and enjoy during your summer vacation.

Friday, May 17, 2013

My Favorite Inspirational Quotes and Video


Sunset from the Balcony of Chateau Du Mer Beach House, Boac, Marinduque, Philippines with Macrine and Miko,(my pet dog) in the background.

I always believe in the 6P's of Life. In order to succeed, one must always practice the 6P's: Patience, Perseverance, Prayers, Preparation, Persistence and Perspiration. I have written an article dated 5/09/09 in my autobiography at http://theintellectualmigrant.blogspot.com, Chapter 3, about the three failures in my life that inspired me to success. I AM INVITING YOU TO READ IT.

The following video is a good example of an inspirational video. Let me know if this video inspires you to succeed or at least gave you a positive attitude in life.



The following are some of my favorite quotes shared in Facebook and Twitter Pages.

1. “Just know, when you truly want success, you’ll never give up on it. No matter how bad the situation may get.” - Unknown

2. “Accept responsibility for your life. Know that it is you who will get you where you want to go, no one else.” – Les Brown

3. “I don’t regret the things I’ve done, I regret the things I didn’t do when I had the chance.” – Unknown

4.“Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.” - Joshua J. Marine

5. “Its hard to wait around for something you know might never happen; but its harder to give up when you know its everything you want.” – Unknown

6.“One of the most important keys to Success is having the discipline to do what you know you should do, even when you dont feel like doing it.” - Unknown

7. “Good things come to those who wait… greater things come to those who get off their ass and do anything to make it happen.” - Unknown

8. “Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, or worn. It is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace & gratitude.” - Denis Waitley

9. “In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.” – Bill Cosby

10. Dont be afraid to stand for what you believe in, even if that means standing alone.. - Unknown

11. “The best revenge is massive success.” – Frank Sinatra

12. “Forget all the reasons it won’t work and believe the one reason that it will.” - Unknown

13. “Build your own dreams, or someone else will hire you to build theirs.” – Farrah Gray

14.“The only thing that stands between you and your dream is the will to try and the belief that it is actually possible.” – Joel Brown

15. “Self confidence is the most attractive quality a person can have. how can anyone see how awesome you are if you can’t see it yourself?” – Unknown

16. “Being happy doesn’t mean that everything is perfect. it means that you’ve decided to look beyond the imperfections.” - Unknown

Do you have a favorite inspirational quotes that you can share? For more quotes, visit www.addicted2success.com

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Senior Citizen's Alphabet



A senior friend from the Philippines send me this article. My friend do not know the author, but we both can identify with the article as senior citizens.

Seniors' Alphabet


A for arthritis, B for bad back, C is for chest pains. Perhaps cardiac?

D is for dental decay and decline, E is for eyesight--can't read that top line.

F is for fissures and fluid retention, G is for gas (which I'd rather not mention.)

H high blood pressure (I'd rather have low,) I for incisions with scars you can show.

J is for joints, that now fail to flex, L for libido--what happened to sex?

Wait! I forgot about K! K is for my knees that crack when they're bent, (Please forgive me, my Memory ain't worth a cent.)

N for neurosis, pinched nerves and stiff neck, 0 is for osteo- and all bones that crack.

P for prescriptions, I have quite a few. Give me another pill; I'll be good as new!

Q is for queasiness. Fatal or flu? R is for reflux--one meal turns into two

S is for sleepless nights, counting my fears, T for tinnitus--! hear bells in my ears.

U is for urinary: difficulties with flow, V is for vertigo, that's "dizzy", you know.

W is worry, now what's going 'round? X is for X ray--and what might be found.

Y for another year I've left behind, Z is for zest that I still have my mind.

How many of the alphabets, can you relate to? If none, you are still not a senior citizen, but your time will come.


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Time for Some Senior Citizen's Humor


Image from oldtarf.blogspot.com

I read this from a FaceBook friend wall just recently. It made me laugh so I am reposting it in this blog. Enjoy!

If my body was a car, I would be thinking of trading it in for a newer model.
I've got bumps, dents, scratches and my paint job is getting dull. My headlights are out of focus. My traction is not as graceful as it once was. My whitewalls are stained with varicose veins. It takes me hours to reach maximum speed.

But the worst is...every time I sneeze, cough, or sputter either my radiator leaks or my exhaust backfires...!!! Repost if this made you laugh like me.....;

Saturday, May 11, 2013

My Favorite Acrostic Poem for Mothers Day

It is now Mother's Day in the Philippines. Since about 30% of my readers reside in the Philippines, I decided to post this article now in honor to all Mothers of the World.

There are hundreds of poems in the web about Mothers and Motherhood. But the following acrostic poem is my favorite. My own mother passed away several decades ago, but I will always remember all the things she had taught me such as being frugal and be responsible for my actions. To all my readers, Happy Mothers' Day and enjoy the following poem.

M - O - T - H - E - R

"M" is for the million things she gave me,
"O" means only that she's growing old,
"T" is for the tears she shed to save me,
"H" is for her heart of purest gold;
"E" is for her eyes, with love-light shining,
"R" means right, and right she'll always be,

Put them all together, they spell "MOTHER,"

A word that means the world to me. Howard Johnson (c. 1915)

For more mother's day poem, visit www.mothersdaycelebration.com

Today, I like also to remember my Mother by revisiting and posting an excerpt from an article Tribute to My Parents, in my autobiography, http://davidbkatague.blogspot.com

"My mother, Paz Barrido Balleza and family are big landowners in Barotac Viejo and the neighboring towns of Banate and Ajuy. The Balleza family were considered rich at that time. She was born on January 14, 1909 and is the youngest of three children, the only girl with two older brothers, Modesto, Jr (lawyer) and Jose who are much older than her. My mother’s parents both died, when she was only in high school. So, she was under the care of her oldest brother, Modesto. At that time, Modesto Balleza family had a big house in Iloilo City, just across the street from St. Paul Hospital and one block from Assumption College-an exclusive and private school for girls.

My mother went to high school at Assumption College until she was a junior. In her senior year, she met my father, fell in love with him, stopped school and got married. My mother with tears in her eyes told me that the reason she married without finishing high school was to get away from the control of her oldest brother. When their parents died, there was no will. Thus, the Balleza properties (rice and corn lands, coconut plantations, fish ponds) were all under the control of her two brothers.

The division of property according to my mother was very unfair. The brothers claimed the best rice lands to themselves. What was left for her to inherit were the properties in the distant barrios, rice land with no irrigation, except for one parcel of rice land (20 hectares) near the town. Of course, she did not receive one-third share of their parents' properties. When she married, control of her properties was given to her. My Dad then helped her manage the rice lands and other properties.

My mother was very frugal. She would not leave a morsel of rice on her plate. I remember her saying, “If you do not finish your food, God will punish you”. So even today, I always have a clean plate after lunch or dinner. My mother had a strict budget and allocated 10% of the farm income into her savings. By the time, I was in college, they had enough savings to purchase a commercial property in Iloilo City. With the back pay that my father received having served as a Dental Officer in the Philippine-American Army from 1941-1945, they were able to build a commercial building at Iznart street, just across the YMCA building, etc...". For the whole article, you are welcome to read my blog dated 12/15/11 as indicated above.
The David Jamili Katague Family, Barotac Viejo, Iloilo, Philippines, 1956 My Mother Front Row on the Right. I am in the Back Row, First from the Left.

How about you? Do you have pleasant memories of your Mother? I will be delighted to hear from you!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

A Milestone in My Blogging Activities



Today, I have reached a new milestone in my writing activities. I have attained close to 800, 000 Page Views in my blogs.

I have ten blog sites. However only five are widely read. I started blogging in the summer of 2009.

I am proud to announce that as of today, I have reached my goal to have at least half a million viewers. As for the record here are the stats from my five sites totaling 796, 262. I hope to reach over a million readers* by the end of summer. Please help me attain my goal by continuing to read my blogs:

1. Life in US and in the Philippines, http://lifeinus1960present.blogspot.com 192, 759
2. Marinduque Awaits You, http://marinduqueawaitsyou.blogspot.com 189, 937
3. Marinduque, Paradise Island , http://marinduquemyislandparadise.blogspot.com 168, 763
4. Chateau Du Mer Beach Resort, http://chateaudumer.blogspot.com 126, 687
5. The Intellectual Migrant-Autobiography, http://theintelectualmigrant.blogspot.com 117, 946

The ten most popular articles ( title, date posted and page views are:

1. Boracay and the Regency Hotel ( 1/16/11), 16,588
2. Death Valley National Park( 2/1/10), 15,975
3. Chapter 4, My College Years ( 5/09/09), 12,033
4. Singkil and Tinikling Folk Dances ( 1/26/09), 11,911
5. Have You Eaten a Durian? (9/12/10), 10, 456
6. Lagen Island, El Nido Resort (11/23/10), 7,921
7. Cloyne Court, Excerpt 10 (9/22/11), 7,008
8. Japanese-American War in PHL ( 10/10/10), 6,821
9. Chapter 1, Childhood Memories ( 5/09/09), 6,160
10. Bellarocca Resort and Spa, MRQ ( 5/20/09), 5,946

* Actually I had attained very close to one million viewers today, If I include my 5 other blogs as follows:

1. Where the Heck is Marinduque, http://planningtovisitthephilippines.blogspot.com, 63,125 page views
2. Why Retire in the PHL, http://whyretireinthephilippines.blogspot.com, 46,197
3. I left My Heart in MRQ, http://marinduqueonmymind.blogspot.com, 45,088
4. Amazing and Sexy Images in the Internet, http://amazingimagesintheinternet.blogspot.com, 9,344 (started on 8/12)
5. My Autobiography-David Balleza Katague, http://davidbkatague.blogspot.com, 4,005 ( started on 12/12)

The total page views of the above five blogs is 167,754. If I add this to the 796,262 page views above. the total is 964,916, very close to 1 million views.

Please help support my blogs by also clicking on the ads. Thank you my dear readers! Good Day or Nite to All!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Today is our 56th Wedding Anniversary-Our Love Story Revisited



Today is our 56th wedding anniversary. We are old in chronological age but very young in spirit. My wife, Macrine and I have four adult children ranging in ages from 48 to 55 years old. We have six grand children ranging in ages from 10 to 22 years old. No grand celebration today, just a lobster and steak dinner and our regular weekly Casino escapade.

Our love story started in the early 1950's at the University of the Philippines, in Diliman, Quezon City. I was introduced to my wife via her uncle, the late Reverend Father Constantino Nieva. At that time, Fr Tino ( that's how we called him when he was still alive) was a law student and the President of the University of the Philippines Student Action (UPSCA). UPSCA was a student organization with both social and religious goals under the guidance of the Late Reverend Father John P. Delaney, a Jesuit priest and Chaplain of the University for Roman Catholic residents of the UP campus. Macrine and I love music. We joined the UPSCA choir and our friendship developed into true love. In 1955 when I graduated from the University, Macrine and I had separated, since she transferred to another university.

However the next year during my 22nd birthday, she surprised me with a birthday cake, that she baked from scratch. It was an orange-chiffon cake, the best tasting cake I have ever tasted. We got together again that day. On May 8, 1957 we got married in Boac, Marinduque, her hometown. It was a 3-day celebration. The whole town were invited. Two water buffaloes, 10 baby pigs and 100 chickens were slaughtered for the occasion. We settled at our new home in Quezon City, a gift from both our parents.

I was then teaching Chemistry at the University of the Philippines- my Alma mater. In 1959, I received a positive response from my application for scholarship to do graduate studies in Chemistry to the United States. This stage in our married life is discussed in an article I wrote in my blog as follows:

“A year later, we were joyful to find out that my wife was in the family way with our oldest son. With all the blessings and major events transpiring in my life, I had completely forgotten about my personal vow to do graduate schoolwork in the US. One day I was surprised to receive a notice of an acceptance for a full teaching assistantship and scholarship. It was from one of the applications I sent out before we got married. The comfort and serenity of our married life was about to be shaken. I enthusiastically shared this good news with my wife, who wasn't too glad to hear about it. The thought of me leaving her alone with a child on the way, to go halfway around the world, distressed her. We had several long and unproductive discussions regarding this favorable opportunity. I had to postpone my trip a few times to appease her. I was torn between choosing my ambition to do graduate studies in the US alone, or staying with my wife in the Philippines.

I had to make a tough decision before the graduate school offer expired. In retrospect, I was thankful to and appreciative of my late father-in-law who intervened on my behalf. If not, I would have been stuck in the Philippines teaching Chemistry at the university, and would have never seen the fulfillment of my ambition. I was not aware that he had advised my wife to reconsider her decision, and let me go freely to pursue my dreams. My wife later on informed me that without her father's advice, she would not have given me her full consent to leave her and pursue my studies. She was not aware of the importance of my personal vow to do better in life, in light of failing to obtain my Latin Honors in college. Inasmuch as my wife was anxious with our impending separation, I was deeply saddened to leave her alone, but excited to go and fulfill my dreams. I went ahead to the US for my graduate studies, but I was totally unprepared for what was in store for me. It was my first trip away from my homeland, family and friends. I was going to live and study in the American Midwest, and I had to adjust to the western lifestyle, culture and cold winter weather without any friends or relatives to comfort me.

During my first year in the US, the reality of living alone and studying in a foreign land negatively affected my drive and ambition. I was tempted twice to nearly quit school, leave the US and return to my family to the Philippines. Graduate schoolwork while teaching Chemistry was tough and demanding. I was miserably homesick, lonely and missed my wife very badly, especially during the Holidays and Christmas. Moreover, the winters of Chicago were harsh, and can feel gloomy and depressing. It was difficult to tolerate the cold weather. I was accustomed to the tropical climate of the Philippines. In Chicago, I oftentimes asked myself what the heck I was doing in the US, with tears running down my face, and almost freezing on my cheeks and nose because of the frigid temperature. I could be happier and warm in my homeland, and be together with my cherished family.

The promise I made to fulfill my ambition, which was triggered by the one point I missed at the final examination in my Differential Calculus class, kept me going. I did my best with my work and studies. I never again considered quitting, and I was determined to finish what I had started. I finally made it, and I completed my Doctorate degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry from the University of Illinois in 1964. A year after I left the Philippines, my wife and our first baby, whose birth I did not witness, joined me in Chicago, Illinois. Their presence provided me with inspiration and encouragement to fulfill my ambition”.

The day after my Ph. D graduation was the start of my 25 years of professional career working for four private companies here in the US and then for another productive 12 years for the Food and Drug Administration(FDA). In 2002, I retired from FDA and started building our beach resort and retirement home in Boac, Marinduque, Philippines.

Our Wedding Day, May 8, 1957. From Left to Right: Dr David Jamili Katague( my DAD), Mrs Elena Nieva Jambalos ( Macrine's MOM), ME, Macrine, Mrs Paz Balleza Katague ( my MOM) and Mr Bernardo Jambalos, Jr ( Macrine's DAD)

Two years ago, I wrote an article in one of my blogs on my secret of a lasting marriage. An excerpt of that article is as follows:

“Several of our friends and relatives often ask me what one has to do for a lasting marriage. In other words is there a formula or secret for a lasting marriage? The question has no specific answer and may vary from one couple to another. However, I do believe that the couple must really be in love with each other unconditionally. So, when do you know that both husband and wife have attained unconditional love? You are truly in love with your partner when you have totally accepted her or his faults, weaknesses and flaws. There is no perfect human being, so once you have attained this outlook in your married life, your are indeed truly in love with your partner. Do I have a secret formula for a lasting and happy marriage? I have no secret except that there should always be an open communication between you and your partner. In the case of my wife of 56 years, Macrine Nieva Jambalos, I have accepted her flaws and she has accepted my flaws and weaknesses. In addition, both of us have recognized our strengths as well as our gifts and different personalities.

Again there is no perfect human being, and no perfect husband or wife. Our communication skills are perfect, we even think of the same things at the same time. A couple of days ago, when both of us were sitting in the patio just relaxing, all of a sudden I asked her about our grand daughter. Macrine was so surprise because at that moment she was thinking of exactly of the same subject. She asked me if I was reading her mind. Couples who have been married for a long time have usually the same likes and dislikes. But this is not a guarantee of a long lasting marriage. Sometimes, it is better to have different things to do, perhaps even a different hobby so as not to suffocate each other every minute of your daily life”. This is my love story- 56 years of patience, love, give and take and true communication.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Do You Agree or Disagree?



The following quotes attracted my attention recently.

1. Most Marriages are made in heaven.

2. If a man is still single when he turns 35, he is either gay or a really smart man.

3. There are as many battered husbands as battered wives in the US.

4. Money is the best source of happiness.

4. All of us are bisexual, since there is no one who is 100% hetero or homo sexual.

I will be glad to hear of your opinion. Do you agree or disagree?


Sunday, May 5, 2013

Cinco de Mayo-5th of May Celebration and Sale


Today is the 5th of May-There will be sales in department stores, a few days ahead of sales advertised for this coming Mother's Day. There will be parades, picnics and mariachi music and programs in all of the Mexican-American communities all over the US. Ever since my family resided in US in 1960, we have always heard of the Cinco de Mayo Celebration in the cities that we have resided in the East Coast, Midwest and of course the West Coast where there are a large Mexican-Americans populations. It is similar to the celebration of Labor Day or for that matter a celebration of Spring. So what exactly is the Cinco de Mayo Festival?

Cinco de Mayo—or the fifth of May—commemorates the Mexican army's 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War (1861-1867). A relatively minor holiday in Mexico, in the United States Cinco de Mayo has evolved into a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage, particularly in areas with large Mexican-American populations. Cinco de Mayo traditions include parades, mariachi music performances and street festivals in cities and towns across Mexico and the United States. It is not celebrating the Independence of Mexico, which is celebrated on September 16.

On the subject of sales in the Department Stores: The other day my coffee percolator just died. It was only three years old. It was a gift from Gevalia Coffee. I immediately went shopping for a replacement. I was looking for a similar design and it has to be white. Why white? All our other appliances in the kitchen are white, so any other color will not be acceptable. It will stick like a sore thumb in the kitchen décor. I can not believe that in the three department stores ( Macy, Penney, Sears), 99% of the coffee makers in display are either black or stainless steel. Only one or two brands are in white. I saw one brand that I like at JC Penney. The price was $70. However the sales lady whisper to me that if I purchase this during the Cinco de Mayo sale, it will cost me only $40. Since it is only a matter of two days wait, I decided to forgo my brewed coffee and just enjoy Instant coffee during this interim period. If you enjoyed freshly brewed coffee, there is no comparison to Instant Coffee. But for $30 savings I can wait for 2 days.

So my dear readers enjoy the spring-like weather, whether your are celebrating Cinco de Mayo or not, wherever you are!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Playing with Words and Palindromes



I am bored today. So I decided to search for palindromes and play rearranging some words. For a start, dormitory can be rearrange to Dirty Room, Election Results to Lies,let's recount, The Morse Code to Here Come Dots, George Bush to He bugs Gore and Slot Machines to Cash lost in me. Can you add other examples?

The following words are palindromes

1. civic, dewed, deified, dad, mom, hannah, repaper, kayak, minim, madam, level, racecar, radar, redder, bob, pop, tot, refer, reviver, rotator, stats, solos, tenet, testset, and Wassamassaw. Can you add words to this list?

The following are well known palindrome sentences or phrases:

2. A man, a plan, a canal: Panama.

3. A dog, a plan, a canal: Pagoda.

4. Desserts, I stressed!

5. Drab as a fool, aloof as a bard.

6. Live not on Evil.

7. Madam, I'm Adam.

8. Never odd or even.

10. No lemon, no melon.

11 Was it a car or a cat I saw?

12 "Not New York." Roy went on.

13. Not so, Boston.

Any addition will be appreciated. Have a Fun Day!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Month of May in the Philippines


Today is the start of the May Flowers Festival or the Flores de Mayo Festival in the Philippines. This Festival lasting for the whole month is in honor of Mary, the Virgin Mother. This is celebrated in all the towns in the Roman Catholic parish churches in the Philippines. However, the celebration of this Festival that I will always remember are the celebrations in my hometown in Iloilo when I was growing up and the one in Marinduque a few years ago when my mother-in-law was the Hermana. The Hermana was the over-all chairperson for the whole month of festivities which included a daily offering of flowers to the Virgin Mary along with the recitation of the Rosary. The month is culminated with a Parade and Dance participated by the whole town. During the Gala Dance, the Rigodon de Honor is danced by the prominent officials and matrons of the town.

The Santacruzan refers to the pageant on the last day of Flores de Mayo, held in honor of Reyna Elena and Constantine finding the True Cross in Jerusalem.

The following video reminds me of my childhood years in Barotac Viejo, Iloilo when My late mother was also very active with our local parish church.


The Sagala A Sagala is a religio-historical beauty pageant held in many cities, towns, and even in small communities throughout the Philippines during the month of May. One of the most colorful aspects of this festival, the pageant depicts the finding of the Holy Cross by Queen Helena, mother of Constantine the Great. Many movie and television personalities participate in the events and are featured in major sagala. This festival was introduced by the Spaniards and has since become part of Filipino traditions identified with youth, love, and romance. Prior to the Santacruzan, a novena is held in honor of the Holy Cross.

The procession itself commemorates the search of the Holy Cross by Reyna Elena and her son, the newly-converted emperor Constantine. After the Holy Cross was found in Jerusalem and brought back to Constantinople, there was a joyful celebration for thanksgiving.
Reyna Elena
Reyna Eléna (Queen Helena) - the last member of the procession, she represents Helena of Constantinople who found the True Cross; this is alluded to by her attribute, a small cross or crucifix that she carries in her arms. This considerably prestigious role is usually awarded to the most beautiful girl participating in the pageant. In some communities, the identity of the woman who will portray the Reyna Eléna is kept a secret until the day of the procession. Constantíno - the escort of Reyna Eléna; traditionally a young boy representing the Emperor Constantine.

The procession is accompanied by the steady beat of the rondalla, playing and singing the Hail Mary ("Dios Te Salve"). The devotees walking with the procession hold lighted candles in their hands and sing the prayer as they go along.

After the procession, there is a pabítin that serves as a culminating activity for all the children to enjoy. A Pabítin is a square trellis to which goodies (candies, fruits, small trinkets, etc.) are tied with strings. This trellis in turn is tied to a rope and is suspended on a strong branch or pole. Children then gather under the trellis as the it is slowly lowered. They then jump as high as they can to try to pick the goodies while someone jerks it up and down repeatedly until all the goodies are gone. It is customary for males attending the Santa Cruzan wear the traditional Barong Tagalog and that the females wear any Filipiniana-inspired dress. Pabitin is similar to the Mexican celebration of the Pinata.

This year celebration of the Flores de Mayo in the Philippines will probably be not as festive and peaceful because of the election on May 13. I just hope there will be no killings, murder and goons activities related to the election. But realizing the history of the elections in the Philippines dominated by family dynasties, vote buying, corrupt and greedy politicians, it will be a miracle if no killings will occur this month. I am praying and hoping for a peaceful election this year particularly in my second home-the beautiful and scenic island of Marinduque.

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