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 . 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!

Monday, November 23, 2015

My Great, Great Grand Parents from My Father's Side

My Father: Dr David Jamili Javellana K(C)atague, 1944. Photo as a Dental Officer during the Japanese-American War in the Philippines, 1941-1945

Last week I learned that my great, great grandparents on my Father's side of the family were Don Manuel Javellana and Dona Gertrudis Lopes prominent natives of Jaro, Iloilo, Philippines.

Their youngest daughter, Marcelina Javellana married Victoriano Catague ( my great grand parents).

Marcelina and Victoriano had 7 children. Their oldest son Roberto married Consolacion Goles Jamili.

Roberto and Consolacion had 3 boys. The second boy was named David and happened to be my Father.

For details. visit Nereo Lujian's blog at:


Addendum: My grandmother Consolacion Golez Jamili first husband was Roberto Catague, oldest son of Marcelina Javellana and Victoriano Catague. They have 3 boys, Guillermo, David(my dad) and Julio.THE THREE brothers changed the spelling of their last name from Catague to Katague when my dad was in elementary school. When Roberto died my grand ma married his younger brother, Ruperto, Consolacion and Ruberto had 7 or nine children. They resided in Binalbagan, Neg Occ. I had in one occasion visited them when I was in elementary school. I can not remember their names, but the youngest girl was named Adela, Adela married a Guillergan,and had a son named Roberto a major in the Philippine Army. They settled in Oton, Iloilo and had a stall in the public market. Macrine and I visited them in their stall in Oton in the mid 1970's.

It so exciting to learn about my ancestry. On my mother's side of the Family, there is a FaceBook page named the Balleza Clan.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

18. Places in the US that Macrine and I had Visited-the Outer Banks, North Carolina

Macrine and I spent a weekend in Nags Heads, North Carolina in the mid 1990's. A couple friend from Washington,D.C. invited us to their summer home one weekend. We drove all the way to the Cape Hatteras Light House and on the way we passed by Virginia Beach. We also visited the Wright Brothers museum and also the Graveyard of the Atlantic museum. It was a fun sight seeing trip although it took us about six hours drive from our house in Colesville, Maryland. The weather was perfect since there was no hurricane warning at the time of our visit.
The Outer Banks (also known as OBX) is a 200-mile (320-km) long string of narrow barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina, beginning in the southeastern corner of Virginia Beach on the east coast of the United States. They cover approximately half the northern North Carolina coastline, separating the Currituck Sound, Albemarle Sound, and Pamlico Sound from the Atlantic Ocean.
The Outer Banks is a major tourist destination and is known for its temperate climate and wide expanse of open beachfront. The Cape Hatteras National Seashore has four campgrounds where visitors may camp.

The Wright brothers' first flight in a powered, heavier-than-air vehicle took place on the Outer Banks on December 17, 1903, at Kill Devil Hills near the seafront town of Kitty Hawk. The Wright Brothers National Monument commemorates the historic flights, and First Flight Airport is a small, general-aviation airfield located there.
Cape Hatteras Lighthouse
The treacherous seas off the Outer Banks and the large number of shipwrecks that have occurred there have given these seas the nickname Graveyard of the Atlantic. The Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum is located in Hatteras Village near the United States Coast Guard facility and Hatteras ferry.

The Outer Banks is a series of islands: from north to south — Bodie Island, Roanoke Island, Hatteras Island, and Ocracoke Island. The Outer Banks is considered to be the areas of coastal Currituck County, Dare County, and Hyde County. Some consider the Outer Banks to stretch as far south as Cape Lookout including portions of Carteret County. Areas south of Cape Lookout in Carteret County are considered the Crystal Coast, which for tourism purposes has been coined the "Southern Outer Banks", but geographically is generally not considered part of the Outer Banks. The northern part of the Outer Banks, from Oregon Inlet northward, is usually considered part of the North American mainland, although it is technically separated by the Intra Coastal Waterway, which passes through the Great Dismal Swamp occupying much of the mainland west of the Outer Banks. Road access to the northern Outer Banks ends in Corolla, North Carolina, with communities such as Carova Beach accessible only by four-wheel drive vehicles. North Carolina State Highway 12 links most of the popular Outer Banks communities. The easternmost point is Cape Point at Cape Hatteras on Hatteras Island, site of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.
Typical Vacation House in Nags Head, North Carolina

The Outer Banks is not anchored to offshore coral reefs like some other barrier islands and as a consequence often suffers significant beach erosion during major storms. In fact, its location jutting out into the Atlantic makes it the most hurricane-prone area north of Florida, for both land falling storms and brushing storms offshore. Hatteras Island was cut in half on September 18, 2003, when Hurricane Isabel washed a 3,000 foot (900 m) wide and 30 foot (9 m) deep channel called Isabel Inlet through the community of Hatteras Village on the southern end of the island. The tear was subsequently repaired and restored by sand dredging by the Army Corps of Engineers.

Note: This is No. 18 ( Part 1) of a series of articles on places that the Katague Family had visited or resided in US since 1960.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

17. Places in the US that Macrine and I had Visited-Miami Beach, Florida

Miami South Beach on a typical Winter Day
Macrine and I had been to Miami Beach twice in the early 1980's during the American Chemical Society Meeting. We stayed at the well-known Fontainebleau Hotel. One evening there was a dance contest. We participated and won 3rd place in the CHA CHA. We also toured the Deco District and South Beach described in detail below.

Miami Beach is a city in Miami-Dade County, Florida, United States. The city was incorporated on March 26, 1915. It is located on a barrier island between Biscayne Bay and the Atlantic Ocean; the Bay separates Miami Beach from the city of Miami, Florida. The city is often referred to under the umbrella term of "Miami", despite being a distinct municipality. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 87,933. 55.5% of the population was foreign born. A 2005 population estimate for the city was 87,925. Miami Beach has been one of America's pre-eminent beach resorts for almost a century.

The Fontainebleau Hotel and Resort

In 1979 Miami Beach's Art Deco Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Art Deco District is the largest collection of Art Deco architecture in the world and comprises hundreds of hotels, apartments and other structures erected between 1923 and 1943. Mediterranean, Streamline Moderne and Art Deco are all represented in the District. The Historic District is bounded by the Atlantic Ocean on the East, Lenox Court on the West, 6th Street on the South and Dade Boulevard along the Collins Canal to the North. The movement to preserve the Art Deco District's architectural heritage was led by former interior designer Barbara Capitman, who now has a street in the District named in her honor.

Image and cultural depictions

South Beach (also known as SoBe, or simply The Beach, the area from 1st street to about 25th street) is one of the more popular areas of Miami Beach. Topless sunbathing is legal on certain designated areas of the beach. Before the TV show Miami Vice helped make the area popular, SoBe was under urban blight, with vacant buildings and a high crime rate. Today, it is considered one of the richest commercial areas on the beach, yet poverty and crime still remain in some places near the area. Miami Beach, particularly Ocean Drive of what is now the Art Deco District, was also featured prominently in the 1983 feature film Scarface and The Birdcage. The New World Symphony Orchestra is based in Miami Beach, Florida, under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas.

Lincoln Road, running east-west between 16th and 17th Streets, is a nationally known spot for great outdoor dining, bicycling, rollerblading and shopping and features and galleries of well known designers, artists and photographers such as Romero Britto, Peter Lik, and Jonathan Adler.

Jewish population

Miami Beach is home to a number of Orthodox Jewish communities with a network of well-established synagogues and yeshivas, in addition to a liberal Jewish community containing such famous synagogues as Temple Emanu-El (Miami Beach, Florida) and Cuban Hebrew Congregation. It is also a magnet for Jewish families, retirees, and particularly snowbirds when the cold winter sets in to the north. They range from the Modern Orthodox to the Haredi and Hasidic – including many rebbes who vacation there during the North American winter.

There are a number of kosher restaurants and even kollels for post-graduate Talmudic scholars, such as the Miami Beach Community Kollel. Miami Beach had roughly 60,000 people in Jewish households, 62 percent of the total population, in 1982, but only 16,500, or 19 percent of the population, in 2004, said Ira Sheskin, a demographer at the University of Miami who conducts surveys once a decade. Miami Beach is home to the Holocaust Memorial on Miami Beach.

LGBT Community

The gay community in Miami Beach has dramatically deteriorated over the years. By 2010, most LGBT populations moved up north into Broward County.[9] Random anti-gay attacks and Miami Beach Police brutality against gay men are the most recent evident factors attributing to the exodus of LGBT culture, residents, and tourists. Ironically a new gay friendly mayor, Matti Herrera Bower, came together with increased corruption and homophobia in the city's police department. Also, since the new mayor took office in 2007, an ordinance to close parks and beaches where gay men congregate was executed, which led to an ongoing harassment of single men in general. As a result, Miami Beach male tourists regardless of sexual orientation have been increasingly becoming targets for the Miami Beach Police Department, resulting in wrongful arrests and deaths. In 2005, a local gay friendly radio station, Party 93.1 FM changed its format from dance to rock. As a result, Issues Over the Rainbow, South Florida's only gay-oriented FM talk show was cancelled. Gone along with the show – the station's sponsorships of the Miami Gay & Lesbian Film Festival; Care Resource's annual White Party gala to fight AIDS; and Winter Party, a five-day fundraiser in early March that benefits South Florida gay charities. In February 2010, ACLU announced that it will sue the City of Miami Beach for an ongoing targeting and arrests of gay men in public. According to the ACLU, Miami Beach has a history of arresting gay men for simply looking "too gay".

Other Information

According to the Morgan Quitno Awards, Miami Beach is one of the most dangerous small cities (population between 75,000 and 99,999) in the country. Each December, The city plays host to the major contemporary art exhibition Art Basel Miami Beach. In November 2007 and 2009, a multi-media art festival ("Sleepless Night") was held based on Nuit Blanche.[

Climate-Similar to the Philippines

It has a tropical monsoon climate with hot humid summers and warm winters like the Philippines. There is a marked wet season during the summer months, with dry winters that feature much lower humidity. Miami Beach is one of only a handful of U.S. locales that has never recorded snow or snow flurries in recorded weather history.

Miami Beach's location on the Atlantic Ocean, near its confluence with the Gulf of Mexico make it extraordinarily vulnerable to hurricanes and tropical storms. Despite only experiencing one direct hit from a major hurricane in recorded weather history, (Hurricane Cleo in 1964), the area has seen indirect contact from hurricanes Betsy (1965), Andrew (1992), Irene (1999), Michelle (2001), Katrina (2005), and Wilma (2005). Miami's Beach reminds me of the Philippines.

Note: This No.17 (Part 1) of a series of articles on places that the Katague Family had visited or resided in the US since 1960.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

16. Places in the US that Macrine and I had Visited-Disney World, Orlando, Florida

We visited Disney World in Orlando, Florida in the Late 1980's during an American Chemical Society Meeting for a whole day. It was not enough!

Magic Kingdom theme park, one of 4 Theme Parks in Walt Disney World Resort, captures the enchantment of fairy tales with exciting entertainment, classic attractions, backstage tours and beloved Disney Characters. It is similar to Disney Land in Anaheim, CA but there is more walking to see all the attraction and rides. You better wear walking shoes.

It is designed like a wheel with the hub in front of Cinderella Castle, with pathways spoke out across the 107 acres of Magic Kingdom theme park that leads to following 7 whimsical lands:

•Main Street, U.S.A.® area
•Adventureland® area
•Frontierland® area
•Liberty Square
•Fantasyland® area
•Mickey's Toontown® Fair area
•Tomorrowland® area

The fireworks in Disney World is comparable to the Fireworks during July 4th in the Mall in Washington, D.C. ( we have seen the Mall Fireworks almost every year when we were still residing in Colesville, MD)

Note: This No.16 (Part 1) of a series of articles on the places that the Katague family had resided or visited in the US since 1960.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

15. Places in the US that Macrine and I had Visited-Sequoia/King's Canyon National Parks and Fresno, California

General Sherman Tree

In the mid 1970's, while still residing in Modesto, the David Katague Family visited Sequoia and the adjacent King's Canyon National Parks. We saw the giant trees including the General Sherman tree- the largest tree on Earth. On our way back we stopped in downtown Fresno to tour the Forestier Underground Gardens. I enjoyed this tour very much since I am an avid gardener. If you have not visited Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park and you live in the Central Valley of California, you are missing some wonders of nature and I suggest put it in your schedule on your next summer vacation.

Sequoia National Park is a national park in the southern Sierra Nevada, east of Visalia, California, in the United States of America. It was established on September 25, 1890. The park spans 404,051 acres (1,635 km2). Encompassing a vertical relief of nearly 13,000 feet (4,000 m), the park contains among its natural resources the highest point in the contiguous 48 United States, Mount Whitney, at 14,505 feet (4,421 m) above sea level. The park is south of and contiguous with Kings Canyon National Park; the two are administered by the National Park Service together.

The park is famous for its Giant Sequoia trees, including the General Sherman tree, the largest tree on Earth. The General Sherman tree grows in the Giant Forest, which contains five out of the ten largest trees in the world, in terms of wood volume. The Giant Forest is connected by the park's Generals Highway to Kings Canyon National Park's General Grant Grove, home to the General Grant tree among other sequoias. The park's Giant Sequoia forests are part of 202,430 acres (81,921 ha) of old-growth forests shared by Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Indeed, the parks preserve a landscape that still resembles the southern Sierra Nevada before Euro-American settlement.

Kings Canyon National Park is a U.S. National Park in the southern Sierra Nevada, east of Fresno, California. The park was established in 1940 and covers 462,901 acres (187,329 ha). It incorporated General Grant National Park, established in 1890 to protect the General Grant Grove of Giant Sequoias. The park is north of and contiguous with the Sequoia National Park

Forestiere Underground Gardens in Fresno

FORESTIERE patterned his underground world after the ancient catacombs of his native land. The Roman arches dominate the underground landscape while the stonework provides stability and beauty. But unlike the dark catacombs that protected the remnants of the lifeless, Forestiere designed well-lit courtyards and grottos to bring forth the radiance and vitality of life. This network of rooms, grottos, and passageways once honeycombed almost 10 acres, and numbered nearly 100.

FORESTIERE preferred his cool underground lifestyle to that lived by most people of his time—above ground in hot, wooden, “sweat boxes.” His unique home included a parlor with fireplace, a summer and a winter bedroom, a courtyard with a bath and a fish pond, and a kitchen with all the conveniences of his era. This earthen home was
his friend and protector from all types of inclement weather.

Amazing Underground Sights and Wonders

It has been said that “Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.” Every twist and turn throughout this delightful underground maze brings a new beauty to behold. The stonework, the scallop-shaped seats carved into the walls and passageways, and the lush greenery of trees/ grapevines growing beneath the ground proclaim Forestiere’s
love for life, nature, and the divine Creator of it all.

ESCAPING the intense Fresno heat is as easy as descending a flight of stairs. Step down into the cool, welcoming arms of nature-shaded rooms and courtyards. Amazingly, the underground climates here (micro-climates) change depending on the location. Temperatures can range anywhere from 10 to 20 degrees from above ground, or just a couple of degrees from one spot to another. This photo shows a citrus tree (once bearing 7 varieties of citrus) growing at a second underground level (about 22 feet down). The different levels also affect the timing of tree blossom appearance and protect them from frost.

Note: This is No.15 ( Part 1) of a series of articles on places that the Katague family had visited or resided in US since 1960.

Friday, November 6, 2015

14. Places in the US that Macrine and I had Visited-Highway 1 from San Francisco to Mendocino, California

The Rugged Mendocino Coast
In the late 1980's Macrine and I (no kids this time) drove Highway 1 from San Francisco to Mendocino just for one time to celebrate a wedding anniversary. On our way we stopped at St Orres in Gualala along Highway 1 for lunch. We stayed overnight at the Victorian Mendocino Hotel that was constructed in 1878 and restored in 1975. The Hotel had 51 deluxe accommodations. It is luxurious, and romantic. There are garden suites and cottages situated on two acres of botanical gardens with fireplaces. Italian marble vanities, private balconies and spectacular ocean or garden views are featured in some rooms. Antiques, fine art, down comforters, stained glass and Oriental carpets, are some of the luxuries provided by the Hotel.
St Orres at Gualala, California
St. Orres is a combination 4-star restaurant with dramatic dining room setting, lodge, and series of cottages located on the Mendocino coast about 3 hours north of San Francisco.
Stinson Beach Near Muir Woods
I loved to drive the kids and Macrine to Point Reyes National Park almost once a month during the summer months. We purchased fresh oysters at Point Reyes and swam in Stinson Beach and Bolinas Bay (away from the Nude Beach because we have small children at that time). We also drove around the Muir Woods National Park, Mt Tamalpais and around Marin County and back to Pinole, Contra Costa County where we resided.
Muir Woods National Park
We ate lunch at Sausalito and Tiburon every now then. We went to Bodega Bay a couple of times just for sight seeing. We drove to Santa Rosa, Guerneville, Napa, Geyservile, Glenn Ellen and surrounding areas. I was young and adventurous at that time and I really did not mind driving just for sightseeing. The kids love it. Today, I hate to drive especially at night. What 40 years of time passing by can do to the human body and spirit.
Point Reyes National Seashores

Note: This is No.14 of 30 articles on the places that the Katague Family had visited or resided in US since 1960.
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