Welcome to My Site

If this is your first visit, welcome! This site is devoted to my life experiences as a Filipino-American who immigrated from the Philippines to the United States in 1960. I came to the US as a graduate student when I was 26 years old. I am now in my late-70's and thanks God for his blessings, I have four successful and professional children and six grandchildren here in the US. My wife and I had been enjoying the snow bird lifestyle between US and Philippines after my retirement from USFDA in 2002. Please do not forget to read the latest national and International News in this site as well as clicking on my ads below. I have also posted some of my favorite Filipino and American dishes and recipes in this site. Some of the photos and videos in this site, I do not own. However, I have no intention on infringing on your copyrights. Cheers!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

A Filipino Kundiman-The Maya

The following song reminds me of my high school years in the Philippines.


Kundiman is a genre of traditional Filipino love songs. The lyrics of the Kundiman are written in Tagalog or other dialects of the Philippines. The melody is characterized by a smooth, flowing and gentle rhythm with dramatic intervals. Kundiman was the traditional means of serenade in the Philippines.

The Kundiman came around to be an art song at the end of the nineteenth century and by the early part of the twentieth century. Its musical structure was formalized by Filipino composers such as Francisco Santiago and Nicanor Abelardo

Santiago and Abelardo sought poetry for their lyrics, blending verse and music in equal parts.

Scholars and historians believed that the Kundiman originated from the Visayas . Dr. Francisco Santiago was considered to be the "Father of the Kundiman Art Song".

Do you know of other Kundiman songs? Do you have a favorite?

Monday, January 26, 2015

Have You heard of Socotra Island?

Dragon Blood Trees of Socotra Island

Recently, I was reading an article about the Dragon Blood tree from Socotra Island. To my amazement, this is the first time that have heard of the tree and also of the island. I did some Internet search and here are two videos I found with a short description of the island from Wikipedia, Enjoy!




Socotra (Arabic: سُقُطْرَى‎ Suquṭra), also spelled Soqotra, is a small archipelago of four islands in the Indian Ocean.

The largest island, also called Socotra, is about 95% of the landmass of the archipelago. It lies some 240 kilometres (150 mi) east of the Horn of Africa and 380 kilometres (240 mi) south of the Arabian Peninsula. The island is very isolated and a third of its plant life is found nowhere else on the planet. It has been described as "the most alien-looking place on Earth". The island measures 132 kilometres (82 mi) in length and 49.7 kilometres (30.9 mi) in width.

Socotra is part of Yemen. It had long been a part of the 'Adan Governorate. In 2004 it became attached to the Hadhramaut Governorate, which is much closer to the island than 'Adan (although the nearest governorate was the Al Mahrah Governorate). In 2013, the archipelago became its own governorate.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Violin Music and Stunning Photography with Sarah Chang

Have you heard of Sarah Chang? She is one of my favorite violinist. You must see this video, if you like violin music.

Sarah Chang is recognized as one of the world’s great violinists. Since her debut with the New York Philharmonic at the age of 8 she has performed with the greatest orchestras, conductors and accompanists internationally in a career spanning more than two decades. Ms. Chang tours extensively throughout the year. Recent and future highlights include performances with the BBC Scottish Symphony, Barcelona Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony, Houston Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, New Jersey Symphony, Ravinia Festival and Aspen Music Festival.

In the coming months Ms. Chang will perform with the orchestras of Melbourne, Adelaide, West Australia and Queensland, as well as the Auckland Philharmonia, Malaysian Philharmonic, Singapore Symphony and City of Hong Kong Chamber Orchestra. Ms. Chang’s most recent recording for EMI Classics, performances of Brahms and Bruch violin concertos with Kurt Masur and the Dresdner Philharmonic was received to excellent critical and popular acclaim and was her 20th album for the label. Her 2007 recording of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons attracted international commendation, with BBC Music Magazine stating: “She has never made a finer recording.” She has also recorded Prokofiev Violin Concerto No.1 and Shostakovich Violin Concerto No.1 live

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

I Love You California


My family have been residing in California since the 1970's with 12 years in Maryland in between but to be frank with you, this is the first time I heard of the song. Thus I posting it with dedication to All Californians, young and old. Enjoy!

I love You California
Written by F. B. Silverwood
Composed by A. F. Frankenstein

I love you, California, you're the greatest state of all
I love you in the winter, summer, spring, and in the fall.
I love your fertile valleys; your dear mountains I adore,
I love your grand old ocean and I love her rugged shore.

chorus

I love your redwood forests - love your fields of yellow grain,
I love your summer breezes, and I love your winter rain,
I love you, land of flowers; land of honey, fruit and wine,
I love you, California; you have won this heart of mine.

chorus

I love your old gray Missions - love your vineyards stretching far,
I love you, California, with your Golden Gate ajar,
I love your purple sunsets, love your skies of azure blue,
I love you, California; I just can't help loving you.

chorus

I love you, Catalina - you are very dear to me,
I love you, Tamalpais, and I love Yosemite,
I love you, Land of Sunshine, half your beauties are untold,
I loved you in my childhood, and I'll love you when I'm old.

chorus

When the snow crowned Golden Sierras
Keep their watch o'er the valleys bloom.
It is there I would be in our land by the sea,
Ev'ry breeze bearing rich perfume,
It is here nature gives of her rarest,
It is Home Sweet Home to me.
And I know when I die I shall breathe my last sigh
For my sunny California.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

My Three Favorite Classical Music Titled Romance

During the clean-up process of my old files. my wife decided to help. She requested I play in my PC the classical piece titled Romance. Since I know at least 3 pieces with Romance in their tile, I asked which one. She wanted Anton Rubinstein music.

Anton Rubinstein piano rendition of Romance is my wife's favorite, since she studied this piano music when she was in high school. My favorite is Shostakovich Romance from the Gadfly, since this was the first violin music I studied in my music appreciation class in college. The Spanish romance guitar piece is both my wife and my favorite also because it reminded us of our childhood years in the Philippines. Enjoy!






Thursday, January 15, 2015

Rigodon de Honor-Philippines Quadrille Folk Dance

I was talking to my neighbor the other day about dance and music in the Philippines. She asked me if I have heard of the dance Rigodon de Honor. I told her Macrine and I did participate in the dance in 2001. I told her I have written a short article about the dance on my blog that I reposting today.

The Grand Entrance and Parade of Participants- Note my matching Barong to Macrine's Terno! Macrine did not used the matching removable butterfly sleeves bolero, since it was a very warm evening.

About thirteen years ago, Macrine and I had the honor to be invited to participate at the Rigodon De Honor dance at the Grand Ball of the May Flower Festival in Boac, Marinduque, Philippines.
Right in the middle of the Dance Promenade

The Rigodon de Honor is an elegant dance which was brought to the Philippines by the Filipinos who returned from their travels abroad during the Spanish era. This dance takes its name from its opening performances at formal affairs such as the President's Inaugural Ball and other Festivals in Philippines and also in other parts of the world. In Marinduque, members of the provincial government, including the Governor and his wife, legislative officials, and other prominent members of the town are usually invited to participate in the Rigodon. Traditionally, a ballroom waltz dance would follow the Rigodon. This particular dance is a form of quadrille which is a historic dance performed usually by four couples in a square formation.

In Marinduque, it is an honor to be invited to participate in the dance. It meant you belong to the high society of the town and recognized as a leader in the community. Macrine and I were invited to dance at the Grand Ball of the May Flower Festival in Boac in May, 2001. At that time Macrine was the President of Marinduque International Inc-a non-profit worldwide organization based in US and Canada whose main goals is to conduct medical mission to the needy in Marinduque every other year. At that time, I also served as acting Treasurer of the organization. For the whole month of May, we (sixteen couples) practiced almost everyday. Near the end of the dance, a part called the CADENA ( it means chain) had to be performed perfectly, otherwise confusion and mayhem could ruined the dance.
As I mentioned above, to be invited to participate in the Rigodon is considered as the subtle way of "branding" certain members of the community to specific social ranks. Usually performed as a party opener, the Rigodon starts off by calling the names of the participants; first the rich and influential who will compose the cabezera or headline followed by the not so popular and lesser ranking dancers who will then form the costados or sideline. The Cabezera's will start the dance movement and then followed by the costados. What a way to brand and assign social ranks in the community!

The following video as danced by the young men and women of the Philippines is an excellent visual description of the dance, costumes and music. Enjoy
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