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!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Don Manuel Javellana and Dona Gertrudis Lopez were my Great, Great Grand Parents

The David Jamili K(Catague) Family, Barotac Viejo, Iloilo, 1955

I have enjoyed tracing my roots down to my great, great Grand Parents, Don Manuel Javellana and Dona Gertrudis Lopez. Most of the information of my ancestral roots I have read from the blog, www.javellana.wordpress.com. Most of the information in the blog regarding my ancestry were confirmed by several living relatives in the Philippines about two years ago. Other detailed information about my roots were verbally communicated to me by my father during my childhood years in Barotac Viejo, Iloilo, Philippines.

I am so proud that in my veins are the blood and genes of the Javellanas and Lopezes from Jaro, Iloilo, Philippines. In this post, I am also discussing the origin of the Javellana and Lopez surnames.

Hello Readers:
My name is David Balleza K(C)atague, Jr. I was born in Jaro, Iloilo, Philippines on December 20, 1934. My Father was David Jamili K(Catague) and my mother was Paz Barrido Balleza.

My Father's father ( my grand father) was Roberto Catague( married to Consolacion Golez Jamili). Roberto was the oldest son of Marcelina Javellana who was married to Victoriano Catague. Roberto died when my father was still young. His mother remarried Ruperto, the younger brother of Roberto. Consolacion and Ruperto had eleven other children.

My father had two other brothers, Guillermo and Julio. The three brothers changed the spelling of their last name from Catague to Katague when my father was still in elementary school. My father was raised and sent to dental school by his rich aunt from Leganes, Iloilo. His reason was that he wanted his surname to be in the middle of the alphabet, because he does not want to be called early in class by a demanding teacher, who asked questions by alphabetical order. Strange reason but I believe this was true.

Marcelina Lopez Javellana was the youngest daughter of Don Manuel Javellana and Dona Gertrudis Lopez. Marcelina was also the youngest sister of Don Cristino Javellana, known as Capitan Tinong who was very active in the political and religious life and activities during his time( 1890's) in Jaro, Iloilo, Philippines ( www.javellana.wordpress.com)

Cristino Javellana was the sixth of the nine children of Don Manuel Javellana and Doña Gertrudis Lopez. His other siblings besides Marcelina were Escolastica (married to Geronimo Jiz de Ortega), Petra (married to Sixto Golez), Quintana (born 1840), Narcisa (born 1842, married to Simon Grecia), Inocencia (born 1849, married to Juancho Jamora), Mariano (born 1851, married to Crispina Gamboa), Florentina, Cristeta, and Carmen (married to Miguel Jayme y Lopez).

The origin of the surname Javellana according to Wikipedia is:

is a family surname from the Philippines(1850s) who originated from Jaro, Iloilo City in the Visayas. The original name of the Family was "Kim Byong" and is of Chinese descent. Due to a mandate by the Spanish Government, ordered by Spanish Governor General D. Narciso Claveria (November 21, 1849) for the natives of the Philippines to adapt the Spanish naming system, they and a number of Chinese and Filipino families were forced to adapt new names.

The name they chose was derived from Avellana, the Common Hazel (Corylus avellana), which was further derived from the town of Avelino in Italy. The appended letter "J" to the name was in deference to their hometown, Jaro.

Corylus avellana, commonly called European filbert, European hazel or cobnut, is a deciduous, thicket-forming, multi-trunked, suckering shrub that typically grows to 12-20’ tall. It is native to Europe, western Asia and northern Africa where it is typically found growing in rich thickets, woodland borders, wooded slopes, hedgerows, clearings and along streams.
Javellana Coat of Arms
On the other hand, the name Lopez is indeed a surname of Spanish origin.
Lopez Coat of Arms
The Lopez surname was originally a patronymic, meaning "Son of Lope", Lope itself being a Spanish given name deriving from Latin lupus, meaning "wolf". The surname is first attested in Old Castile in the heart of Spain, where the name originated in Visigothic times; however, the name is not of Germanic origin. Its Portuguese equivalent is Lopes, its Italian equivalent is Lupo, its French equivalent is Loup (or Leu), its Romanian equivalent is Lupu or Lupescu and its Valencian equivalent is Llopis. López is the most common Spanish surname in the United Kingdom as well as in the Philippines.

The most well known Lopez in the Philippines was Fernando. He married another Javellana ( Mariquit). I remember my father mentioned when I was a teenager that both Fernando and his wife Mariquit were our relatives. For those of you who have not heard of Fernando Lopez ( I was a recipient of the Fernando Lopez scholarship during my sophomore year at University of the Philippines Iloilo in 1952-1953), here's his short biography from Wikipedia.

Fernando Hofileña Lopez, Sr.,a Filipino statesman was born on April 13, 1904 and died on May 26, 1993. He was a member of the influential Lopez Family of Iloilo. Fernando Lopez served as Vice President of the Philippines for three terms – under Elpidio Quirino (1949–1953) for the Liberals and Ferdinand Marcos (1965–1969 and 1969–1972) for the Nacionalistas and also the chairman of ABS-CBN Corporation from 1986 to his death 1993.

Lopez was born in Iloilo City, Iloilo. His parents were Benito Lopez and Presentacion Hofileña. He was the younger brother of Eugenio Lopez, Sr. The Lopez family was very influential and the richest family in the province.

Lopez studied high school at San Juan de Letran College, finishing in 1921. He then studied law in the University of Santo Tomas, earning his Bachelor of Laws degree in 1925. After passing the bar examinations, he did not go into private practice, but helped his older brother manage the family business.

In 1945, with no prior political experience, Lopez was picked by President Sergio Osmeña to be mayor of Iloilo City. In 1947, he ran for Senator and won the election.

Lopez was one of the founders of University of Iloilo and the FEATI University in Manila. He is a descendant of Graciano Lopez-Jaena of Iloilo. And who is Graciano Lopez-Jaena? Here's some information from Wikipedia.

Graciano López Jaena was born on December 18, 1856 and died on January 20, 1896. He was a journalist, orator, revolutionary, and national hero from Iloilo, Philippines, who is well known for his newspaper, La Solidaridad.

Philippine historians regard López Jaena, along with Marcelo H. del Pilar and José Rizal, as the triumvirate of Filipino propagandists. Of these three illustrados, López Jaena was the first to arrive in Spain and may have begun the Propaganda Movement, which was a movement based in Spain that advocated the reform of the then-Spanish colony of the Philippines and which eventually led to the armed Philippine Revolution that begun in Manila in 1896. The Propaganda Movement was a key step towards a Philippine national identity.

Note: I am dedicating this article to my six grand children: Ian Katague King, Elaine Katague King, Philip Winchester Katague, Alix Katague, Marina Katague and Carenna Katague Thompson. Remember the saying that if you know your past you will have a clear direction to see your future.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Time for Some Cool Bandurria Music and Philippine Folk Dances

It had been 3 digits temperature here in Northern California the last couple of days. No cooling off is expected in the next 4 days. So, It is time for some cool bandurria music and some Pinoy Folk dances.
Philippine National Folk Dance

Have you heard of bandurria? The bandurria is a plucked chordophone from Spain, similar to the mandolin, primarily used in Spanish folk music, but also found in countries that were once colonies of Spain.

Prior to the 18th century, the bandurria had a round back, similar or related to the mandore. It had become a flat-backed instrument by the 18th century, with five double courses of strings, tuned in fourths. The original bandurrias of the Medieval period had three strings. During the Renaissance they gained a fourth string. During the Baroque period the bandurria had 10 strings.

The modern bandurria has 12 strings (6 pairs). The strings are tuned in unison pairs, going up in fourths from the low G#. The lowest four strings are a major-third above those of a standard guitar and the highest two strings are a fourth above a standard guitar, i.e. G♯, c♯, f♯, b, e and a( From Wikipedia).

Here's a collection of Philippine Folk Dance music with the Bandurria ( Rondalla) music with Amorsolo's Paintings in the background. Enjoy!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Zion David Katague is Now Two Months Old

Zion David Katague-2 Months Old. Zion is the grand son of my brother, Dolce Ruben Balleza Katague from Bacolod City, Negros Occidental, Philippines. Read the following blog on the five living David Katague's on Planet Earth.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

My Five Favorite National Parks

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Last Monday was officially the start of the Summer Season here in Northern California. The temperature is near 3 digits as expected the last couple of days and my air conditioner is continuously humming. Yesterday, The First family were in the news visiting Yosemite National Park-one of my favorite park. These two events reminded me of an article I wrote in 2009 about the US National Parks that Macrine and I had visited since 1960.

Macrine and I have visited several parks in the US but the following five national parks are our favorite.

1. ARCHES: The park is known for its natural arches. There are more than 2000 ranging in size from a three foot opening up to the Landscape Arch which measures 306 feet from base to base. It lies near the heart of the desert called the Colorado Plateau, in the State of Utah. Towering spires, fins and balanced rocks complement the arches, creating a remarkable assortment of land forms in a small area. You can bike, hike or drive an 18 mile scenic road from the entrance to the north point of the Park. There are three picnic areas along the way. The two most famous arch are the Delicate and Skyline Arches.

2. BRYCE CANYON: The park is famous for its unique geology, consisting of a series of horseshoe-shaped amphitheaters carved from the eastern edge of the Paunsaugunt Plateau of Southern Utah. The erosional force of frost-wedging and the dissolving power of rainwater have shaped the colorful limestone into bizarre shapes including slot canyons, windows, fins and spires called “Hoodoos”.
The park was named after the Mormon pioneer Ebenezer Bryce and it become a national park in 1924.

My wife and I visited this park just after my retirement from FDA in 2002. This visit was one of the best vacation we had since my retirement. Tinted with colors ranging from light brown to dark red, these whimsically arranged rocks, creates a wondrous landscape of mazes. A 45 minute walk from Inspiration to Sunset Point was the highlight of our visit. Ponderosa pines, high elevation meadows, and fir-spruce forest border the rim of the canyon and abound with wild life. Several scenic points offer a panoramic view of three states and about 200 miles of visibility. We did not stay overnight, but our guide tour and driver, informed us that the lack of large light sources nearby, creates unparalleled opportunities for for stargazing at night.

3. GRAND CANYON: This park is the only natural wonder of the US, that made it to the final 28 natural Wonders of the world as announced by the new 7 natural wonders of the world organization.
Macrine and I have visited this park and we agree with the 7 new natural wonder judges that Grand Canyon should be one of the top 28 finalists in this worldwide contest. I am even hoping that it will be voted one of the 7 new natural wonder of the world.

The Grand Canyon is more than a great chasm carved over million of years ago through the rocks of the Colorado Plateau. It is more than an awe-inspiring view. It is more than a pleasuring ground for those who explore its roads, hike its trails or float in the currents of the turbulent Colorado River.

The Canyon is a gift of nature that transcends what we experience in life. Its beauty and size humbles us. Its timelessness provokes a comparison to our short existence in this universe. Visiting the place makes me feel calmed and relaxed , as I gazed in amazement the beauty and splendor of this National Park. The park can be enjoyed whole year round.

4. YOSEMITE: Macrine and I have visited this park a number of times about two decades ago, when my family was still residing in the Stanislaus County, Modesto, California. The park embraces a spectacular tract of mountain and valley scenery of the Sierra Nevada. It was made into a national park in 1890. The park has a number of waterfalls, meadows, forests that include groves of giant sequoias, the world largest living trees.

The park highlights include the Yosemite valley, high cliffs, and waterfalls. There is the historic Wawona Hotel( famous for its Christmas Dinners and Decorations), the Mariposa Grove, which contains hundreds of giant sequoias, Glacier Point, Tuolumne Meadows and a large sub-alpine meadow surrounded by mountain peaks and Hetch-Hetchy- a reservoir in a valley considered a twin of Yosemite Valley. Ninety Five percent of the park area is designated as wilderness areas that provides opportunities for solitude and relaxation. There are over 800 miles of trails for hiking and backpacking. There is some trout fishing in the streams that my family enjoyed during one of our visits several years ago. Our first visit to the park in the early 1970's was my first experience in camping. One night, our camp site and garbage can was visited by the bears - an experience my kids will never forget. The visit of the bears was the highlight of our trip to Yosemite at that time. The classic beauty and fascinating ecosystems of the Sierra Nevada Mountain range are well represented in the wilderness of Yomesite National Park. I consider this park very friendly to families with small children.

5. ZION NATIONAL PARK: This is another park that my wife and I just visited after my retirement. The park is home to narrow canyons, overlooks, emerald pools, a petrified forest, a desert swamp, springs and waterfalls, hanging gardens, wild flowers and wildlife .It is located in Southwest Utah near the Arizona border. Zion is part of the Southwest “ Grand Circle” of national parks, monuments, historical areas and recreation areas. It is also a wilderness preserve which includes the world largest arch-KOLOB ARCH, spanning 310 feet. The park has high plateaus, a maze of narrow, deep, sandstones canyons and striking rock towers and mesas. The North Fork of the Virgin River has carved a spectacular gorge with canyon walls that rises to 2000-3000 feet above the canyon floor in most places. My wife and I just spent just 90 minutes touring the canyon by the Park's bus. We did not have the time to hike or at least stay overnight. We wish we have more time to enjoy the wild life flora and fauna of the park. According to the park's guides, the Park is home to many mammals and critters such as the collared lizard, Gambel's quail and sometimes even a golden eagle.

Other parks that we have visited are as follows: The Redwood National Park, the Muir Woods National Monument, The Point Reyes National Seashore, The Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park, The Hawaiian Volcano National Park (photo above), Shenandoah Mountains, and the Blue Ridge Mountain and its famous Skyline Drive in Virginia, and the Luray Caverns in West Virginia. For description of these parks, visit the National Park Service site at www.nps.gov/parks.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Food for Thoughts on Father's Day Today

This year all my four children(The 4 D's) did not forget me today. My oldest son sent me a Fathers' day Card three days ago and will probably call me later this evening for his annual greetings. My other two daughters are here now preparing lunch. My oldest daughter arrived at 10:30AM bringing Italian Pasta and Green Salad. My youngest daughter and grand daughter arrived shortly with appetizers and my favorite dessert-Cheese Cake.

My youngest son who lives with us and helped me take care of his Mom enhanced/fixed my computer ( faster with more memory and-Windows 10) charging me only $250 for the parts. His labor for fours hours was free and told me it is his Fathers Day Gift to me. My oldest daughter also gave me a Red Lobster gift card, I can use any time. Thanks to all of You my 4 D's. To my oldest son, Happy Fathers Day to you also.

I am attaching a video ( Daddy Day Trio)for your enjoyment. Two other videos that I loved in this set are Katherine McPhee and Chris Mann's duet of the Prayer and the Three Tenors of Pavarotti, Domingo and Carreras singing "I Did it My Way" with Frank Sinatra in the audience.

Fathers' Day reminds me of the responsibility of Parenthood. I found the following quotes timeless and applicable to all Fathers and Mothers of Today and of the future.

1. Marriage is an institution, but who wants to live in an institution.

2. The trouble with most average American is that they expect their children to be above average.

3. The best inheritance a parent can give his children is a few minutes of his time each day.

4. A mother of 13 children was asked "how in the world can you have time for 13 children" she replied, "when I had only one child, it took all my time, what more can 13 do?

5. A Chicago psychologist lists these rules for parents to insure their child happiness
Avoid favoritism, do not compare one child to another
Don't be too dominating; don't impose your own ambitions or hobbies
Don't be upset at what your neighbor's children accomplish
Don't remind yourself constantly that you worked harder or had fewer privileges.

6. The fear of depriving our children has produced the most "gifted" generation of children in our history. We shower them with gifts to prove our love, with the inevitable result that the gift of love has degenerated into a love of gifts. Are we offering things as parent substitutes? Are we offering presents instead of our presence? Are we giving things because we are reluctant to give time or self or our heart?

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Brokeback Mountain-Support Your LGBT Community

The Orlando Massacre this week reminded me that homophobia and the hatred for the LGBT community exist in this world. In support of the LBGT community, I am reposting this Movie-an award winning film and as the critic says the best romantic movie ever made during the last decade. So, here it is even if you have seen it before. Watch it again to show your support to your LGBT community.


Brokeback Mountain is a 2005 American romantic drama film directed by Ang Lee. Adapted from the 1997 short story of the same name by Annie Proulx, the screenplay was written by Diana Ossana and Larry McMurtry. The film stars Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal, Anne Hathaway and Michelle Williams, and depicts the complex emotional and sexual relationship between Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist in the American West from 1963 to 1983.

Brokeback Mountain was a commercial and critical success. It won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, Best Picture and Best Director at the British Academy Film Awards, Golden Globe Awards, Producers Guild of America Awards, Critics' Choice Movie Awards, and Independent Spirit Awards, among others. The film was nominated for eight Academy Awards, the most nominations at the 78th Academy Awards, where it won three: Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Original Score, while losing Best Picture.
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