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, February 25, 2016

Things that I will always Remember at Chateau Du Mer


Two more days prior to our return to US. This year sojourn was brief. However, I have accomplished most of the projects and Improvements I had plan since our arrival early last January. Below is an article I wrote several years ago on the 15 things I will always remember here at CDM.



1. The chirping songs and cacophony of sounds of the birds(Mayas)as they fly from tree to tree looking for worms




2. Native fishes and tilapias thriving well on my creek that meanders to the ocean



3. Sunset and coral reefs at low tide seen from the balcony of the beach house



4. A Reflection of an almost full moon as seen from the balcony of the beach house



5. Thousands of fireflies illuminating the firefly tree on a moonless night, just like a Chistmas tree with flickering miniature lights



6. Monitor Lizard ( bayawak) looking for chicken or duck eggs. He looks scary, but actually harmless,unlike the Komodo dragons of Indonesia



7. A native hawk (lawin) diving from the sky for young chicks. This lawin is on a cage to do no harm to your chickens for the moment



8. Coconut rats feasting on young coconuts ( one coconut almost hit me on the head). Watch out for your head, specially on a windy day



9. Blue starfish and corals seen only a few meters from my back yard



10. Bougainvillas and orchids blooming in my front yard



11. A sunset that takes your breathe away ( notice the two swimmers also enjoying the sunset)




12. A papaya tree with ripe fruits ( not yet seen by the fruit bats)



13. Mangoes loaded with fruits almost touching the ground because of its weight



14. Bananas and avocado trees loaded with fruits( no picture of avocados)



15. The scream of an alley cat on “Heat” at midnight ( photo taken from the web), and last, but not least


16. The crowing of the rooster at 4:00AM everyday morning before dawn, a reliable alarm clock if you want to wake up that early



There are few things unique and different here in Boac, but it is just too long to list it. Good day to ALL!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Afterglows in the Sunset of Our Lives-2016 Update

Photo taken at the Nieva Family Reunion, Feb 6, 2016 at the Dusit Hotel in Makati, Philippines
Next month on March 26 will be Macrine's 80th Birthday. We had plans of celebrating it here at the Chateau Du Mer. However, events the past week made it impossible for us not to return to US ASAP. The following is an article I wrote in my blogs a couple of years ago and updated today.


The other day, I took a photograph of a sunset and its afterglow( see photo above) from the west balcony of our retirement home in Boac, Marinduque, Philippines. Looking at the photo reminded me of both Macrine's and my professional life in the US. Macrine retired as Manager, Quality Assurance Nurse from one of Maryland's Home Health Nursing Company.

I retired from FDA as a chemistry Team Leader in the Center of New Drugs, Silver Spring, MD. Both of us had satisfying careers( I had received several awards, letters of commendation and appreciation, and an EEO award). So when we retired in the early 2000, we often ask ourselves, if this is all that we can contribute to society and the community.

Since retirement is often called " the sunset of your life" stage, are there afterglows in our lives that we can be proud of. Yes, indeed! The following are examples of the afterglows in the sunset of our lives.

Five years ago, Macrine received a letter of Appreciation and Thanks from Governor Carmencita Reyes because of her involvement in MI, Inc Medical Mission Of Love, 2006. Macrine was president and over-all chairperson of the medical mission in Marinduque that year. Here's an excerpt from C Reyes letter of Thanks.

Dear Mrs. Katague,

I would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude for all the assistances extended by MI, Inc. Your association is one of our full-time partners in the delivery of health services particularly in the conduct of medical/surgical missions which benefited hundreds of Marinduquenos. Thank you so much for the support and assistance extended to our administration and to the people of Marinduque. Mabuhay Kayo!

About three years ago, Macrine and I received a Letter of Thanks and Appreciation from then Governor Antonio Carrion in our efforts to promote tourism in the island not only during Easter but also whole year round. The letter mentioned several of my blogs and articles that proclaimed my love for the province and encouraging other Balikbayans to build retirement homes in the island.

In 2009, my dream as a "citizen journalist" was attained when two of my articles was accepted for publication in HULIQ News. The first article was about Marinduque as the Ecotourism capital of the Philippines. The second was on the revival of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant in Morong, Bataan.

Last but not least: Just recently two of my thousands of readers of my blogs commented: " I have been reading your various blogspots and websites for about one week now. They are all well written and great reading. What I have been reading and following intently in your blog is your life story, very interesting indeed. Please keep on writing and thanks for opening yourself up in your blogs."

A second reader also commented: I have been following your blog for quite sometime. I learned a lot about Marinduque and the Philippines. I specially enjoyed reading your childhood experiences during the Japanense-American War. Your contribution as an FDA employee to the burnt victims of the bombing in New York and the Pentagon is indeed commendable and worthy of an award. Keep writing !

Will there be afterglows in the future? I hope so. I would like to hear that our oldest grandson ( now 24) got married and gave us a great grandchild.( that Macrine and I can pamper whenever we want to.) In addition, we would like to hear the news that our youngest granddaughter( now 13) had graduated from college and that both Macrine and myself are still healthy to attend her graduation.

Lastly, Macrine and I thanks the Lord for the past, present and future afterglows in the sunset of our lives.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Flowers and Fruit Trees in My Garden, 2016

1. Flowers of the Ylang-Ylang


2. Mango Fruit starts to ripen on the tree




3. Papaya Tree loaded with ripe and green Fruits




4. Green Mangoes almost touching the Ground




5. Young Guava Fruits




6. Avocados Galore


7. Orchids in a Rainbow of Colors


8. A Purple One( not as dark as my Princess Mikasa variety)


9. An ordinary terrestial orchid


10. Heleconias


11. White and Purple Bougainvillas


12. Bird of Paradise on my Side Yard


In my website http://chateaudumer.blogspot.com, I described in detail the orchids, bougainvillas, bird of paradise, hibiscus and tropical shrubs that highlighted the 5 acres of landscape property of the Chateau Du Mer Beach Resort and Conference Center in Amoingon, Boac, Marinduque, Philippines. Besides the ornamentals, evergreens and blooming shrubs, I also planted mango, papaya, guava, rambutan, avocado , santol, duhat, cashew, jackfruit, tamarind and lanzones fruit trees. I also planted several varieties of citrus trees, pomelo,lucban, kalamansi, native oranges and lemon trees.

When typhoon Reming hit Marinduque Island in 2006, ten coconut trees, two mango trees as well as a dozen papayas were uprooted. I replaced them by the dwarf and semi-dwarf varieties. Today, the dwarf coconuts and fruit trees are doing well under the full time care of our gardener, Edwin Laririt and wife Cecille. The above pictures are some of the photographs I have in my collection. Enjoy the photographs. My mouth is salivating now just looking at the mango, papaya and lanzones fruits. Drop by Chateau Du Mer to enjoy my flower garden and fruit orchard when you visit Marinduque- my island paradise and heaven on earth.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Renewing My California Driver's License

Chateau Du Mer Main House, Amoingon, Boac, Marinduque, Philippines

Last year on December 20, my 81st birthday, my California Driver's License expired. Three days prior to the expiration date, I visited the California Carmichael Branch which was the nearest from our residence. I was required to take the theoretical test, a Vision test and a Practical Driving test both on the Freeway and local roadway.

I passed the theoretical test but failed on my vision test. Because of the cataract on my left eye.I was given a form to be filled by my optometrist and submit it to the DMV before I could take the practical driving test. I was given a temporary driving license good up to 90 days.

Since it was the Christmas Holidays, it was not until the first week of January 2016 that I had the time to take my Practical Driving test.

I failed the practical test, because I was not turning my head when I turned left or right and just depending on my signal lights. I had other minor driving errors-turning wide on curves etc...

I was told to make another on-line appointment for a second practical test. Since my only free days were Wednesday and Thursday ( these are the two days, that my son is not working so he could watch and take care of my wife who has Parkinson Disease). I was able to make an appointment for the test, one day prior to our departure to the Philippines for our vacation.

That day for the second practical driving test was nerve-racking. If I failed there will be no one to buy our groceries or drive my wife to her doctor's appointment. Luckily I passed the test. However because of my age and vision problem, I was only given a one year extension instead of five with a restriction of not driving in the Freeways and at night time. I was happy. The next day we flew to the Philippines for our 90 day vacation.

We are here now in My Island and Seaside Garden Paradise-Chateau Du Mer Beach Resort and Conference Center, Boac, Marinduque. Since our arrival. My wife and I had attended a successful Family Reunion. Most important of all I had just a successful left eye cataract surgery with the Asian Eye Institute here in Manila.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

30. Places in the US that Macrine and I had Visited-Seattle, Washington

The Space Needle
I attended another American Chemical Society (ACS) Meeting in the early 1990's. The main guest speaker was Bill Gates of Microsoft. His topic was of course the Future of Computers. It was a standing room only session and this meeting was one of the most informative meeting that ACS has sponsored for it members. I stayed in a
Victorian downtown hotel (Mayflower Park Hotel) adjacent to a shopping mall(West Lake Center) and of course StarBucks. I eat lunch at the revolving restaurant at the Space Needle and viewed the salmon runs ( Ballard and Chittenden Locks) facilities, went to the fish market(Pike Place) and did a little souvenir shopping in the adjacent mall to my hotel.
Salmon Jumping Upstream to Spawn and Die

Do you know that Seattle is the headquarters of StarBucks and Bill Gates(the riches man in the world) resides in a multi-million mansion in the Seattle suburb of Medina?

Here's a description of Gates residence in Medina, Washington. The world's richest man and family lives in the exclusive suburb of Medina, Washington, in a huge earth-sheltered residence in the side of a hill overlooking Lake Washington. The residence encompasses more than 66,000 square feet which is equal to 1.5 acres.The major rooms include 7 bedrooms, 24 bathrooms, six kitchens, and six fireplaces. The address of the mansion is 1835 73rd Ave NE, Medina, WA 98039.

The Residence is a very modern, 21st century residence in the "Pacific lodge" style, with advanced electronic systems everywhere & great interior design. In one respect though it is more like an 18th or 19th century mansion, It has a large private library with a domed reading room. While it does have a classic flavour, It has many unique qualities. Among the many genius marvels that are integrated into the home for the latest in modern conveniences are revolving works of art.

The floors are pressure sensitive, at any given time family member or security can know who is in the residence by the weight of their footsteps. Lights would automatically come on when you came in. Speakers would be hidden beneath the wallpaper to allow music to follow you from room to room. Portable touch pads would control everything from the TV sets to the temperature and the lights, which would brighten or dim to fit the occasion or to match the outdoor light.

Visitors to the residence are surveyed and given a microchip upon entrance. This small chip sends signals throughout the home, and a given room's temperature and other conditions will change according to preset user preferences. In 2009, property taxes on the home were reported to be US $1.063 million on a total assessed value of US$147.5 million.
Bill Gates Home of the Future
Inside this luxury home plan you will find Swimming pool size 17 × 60 foot (5.1 × 18.2 metre). The 17-by-60-foot swimming pool has an underwater music system and a floor painted in a fossil motif. Swimmers can dive under a glass wall and emerge outdoors by a terrace. Locker room off the pool has four showers and two baths.

Towering Douglas fir beams support the stainless-steel roof and are surrounded by walls of glass, concrete, and stone. While much of the residence is buried into the hillside, windows on the lakefront side provide views of Seattle to the west. There are 84 steps down from the entrance to the ground floor. The vertigo-inclined can take an elevator.

The Theater with apx 20 seat, Size: 1,500 ft. The 20-seat art deco theater is outfitted with plush chairs, couches, and a popcorn machine. The Screen is HDTV capable. The Library, Size: 2,100 sq. ft. The ornate, paneled library has a domed reading room with oculus (light well), fireplace, and two secret pivoting bookcases, one containing a bar. It's the fitting home for Leonardo da Vinci's 16th-century notebook, the Codex Leicester, which Gates bought for $30.8 million.
Aerial View of Bill Gates Residence in Medina, WA
The Formal dining room, Size: 1,000 sq. ft. Up to 24 guests can dine by the fireplace while enjoying the sweeping view from the third level. Nearby commercial-grade kitchen is 39 feet by 23 feet. The Reception hall capacity more than 150 people at a time,Size: 2,300 sq. ft.

Partly below ground, the reception hall can seat 150 people for a sit-down dinner or hold 200 for a cocktail party. A 6-foot-wide fireplace, faced in limestone, commands one wall. Another wall is dominated by a 22-foot-wide video display made up of 24 rear-projection television monitors, each with a 40-inch screen. A second commercial-grade kitchen serves the reception hall.

The Exercise room, Size: 2,500 sq. ft.It includes sauna, steam room, separate men's and women's lockers, and a trampoline room with a 20-foot ceiling.

According to the National Association of Home Builders, the median American residence size is slightly more than 2,000 square feet. Microsoft founder residence is more than 30 times that size. Inside the Garage, you'll find a 1999 Porsche 911 Convertible and 1988 Porsche 959 Coupe. Steven Ballmer drives a 1998 Lincoln Continental. In fact, due to the 959’s questionable emissions and unknown crash ratings, it took a federal law signed by President Clinton to legally drive his 959 on American roads.

Its every One's Curiosity to know how world's richest man lives, Having net worth over 57 Billion Dollars.

I would not mind residing in a residence similar to Bill Gates. Just wait, If I win the Lotto, I will built one better than the Gates residence in Boac, Marinduque, Philippines.

Here are two videos on some tourists attraction in the Seattle area.



Note: This is No.30, last of the series of articles on places that Macrine and I had visited in the US since 1960. I hope you enjoy this travel series. Part 2 will be places that we have visited outside the US.

Link within

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