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, July 27, 2015

Ancestral Roots of the Nieva Clan of Marinduque-Chapter 3

This is the continuation of Rene's Nieva article on the ancestral roots of the Nieva clan from Marinduque. Chapter 2 was posted on July 13, 2015. Enjoy!

CAMALIG: ROOTS OF THE NIEVAS : In 1579, ten years after the first group of Spaniards led by Captain Luis Enriquez de Guzman and including Augustinian priests arrived in Camalig and started colonizing and Christianizing the residents, a Spanish galleon led by shipmaster Mateo de Saz and Captain Martin de Goiti also came to thesettlement. They formally took it over as a Spanish colony, one of the earliest places in the Philippines to be brought under the Spanish flag. They were accompanied by Franciscan missionaries Father Pablo de Jesus and Fr. Bartolome Ruiz who continued the colonization drive initiated by the Augustinians.

Camalig and the rest of nearby settlements that would eventually comprise the province of Albay always had abundant natural resources and a thriving agricultural industry consisting of coconut, rice, sugar and abaca plantations. This was because they were close to Mayon Volcano, which through regular eruptions throughout the ages has deposited rocks that have decomposed and weathered into rich soil.

Not content with being just farmers, albeit prosperous ones, the more adventurous and enterprising residents of Albay including the Nievas of Camalig engaged in trading in these farm product and putting up plantations elsewhere during the Spanish era. This brought them westward to provinces in the Southern Tagalog region including Batangas, Laguna, Tayabas (the former name of Quezon), Marinduque (formerly part of Tayabas) and Mindoro.They eventually settled in these provinces, growing further in wealth and political over the three centuries of Spanish rule. They became members of the Illustrado class that was considered just below the governing Spanish overlords.

Further proof that the Nievas were originally from Camalig was when sometime in late 1990s. I met a Manila congressmen, Ernesto "Banzai" Nieva. Intrigued by the similarity in our surname, I asked him if he was a native of Tondo, which he represented in Congress. He said his family moved to Tondo from Laguna when he was young but as far as he knew his forebears were originally from Camalig. He was then being groomed by the Liberal Party in Manila (led at the time by his ally and my Ateneo classmate Lito Atienza) for either Vice Mayor or Mayor. But unfortunately he died quite young (only in his late 40s or early 50s at most).

Not all the Nievas have left Camalig for parts beyond though. To this day, there are still residents of town who carry the Nieva surname. One time, while on a tour of the Bicol region with some friends, we passed by Camalig on the way to Legazpi and I saw houses with signs on which were written Attorney this or Doctor that. My research also showed that Nievas have occupied local government positions over the years or owned businesses such as gaming cock farms and the like.

I've also seen photos of some Nievas in Camalig over the Internet and noticed that they were invariably good-looking, which must prove that this must have been a common Nieva family. Said good looks have been bolstered and further enhanced through intermarriages with men and women from other races like the Spaniards, the Chinese, and even the French.

Personal Note: I have met more than a hundred of Macrine's relatives here in the US and in the Philippines . They are not only good looking, smart but also humble. Most of them have accomplished lives and successful financially. Of course, there are a few exceptions. If you are following this series, do you know the ancestry of your surname? I will be glad to hear from you.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Ditas Katague Selected as Chair of NAC

I am proud to announce that effective August 1, 2015 my daughter Ditas Katague has been selected as Chair of the National Advisory Committee (NAC) on Racial, Ethnic and Other Populations for the Bureau of Census. The following is the E-mail from John H Thompson, Director of the Federal Bureau of Census Agency. I am a very proud Papa once again. Please join me in congratulating Ditas on her new role and achievement in her professional career.

Subject: New NAC Chair Announcement

Dear NAC Members:

I am pleased to announce the selection of Ditas Katague, Chief of Staff, Office of Commissioner Catherine J.K. Sandoval, California Public Utilities Commissioner (CPUC), as the Chair of the National Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic, and Other Populations, effective August 1, 2015. Ditas is stepping into her new role with a wealth of knowledge and experience, including outreach and communications. Ditas has been a member of NAC since its inception in 2012.

Ditas has more than 20 years of experience at federal, state and local government agencies as well as in private and non-profit sectors. Prior to coming to the CPUC, Ditas was Chief Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Corporations. She also served in the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research as Director of Census 2010 and is an expert in civic engagement and public participation. She was also Assistant Secretary for Transportation at the California Business, Transportation and Housing Agency. In 1999-2000, Ditas served as Chief Deputy Director for the Governor's "California, You Count!" statewide multi-lingual outreach campaign to ensure a complete count during Census 2000.

In the private sector, she was First Vice President, State and Local Government Affairs for Countrywide Financial where she managed and maintained legislative coverage and activities in the top tier western states (20 states), analyzed state and local laws and regulations that impact the corporation’s priority business objectives. Ditas was also a manager for Deloitte Consulting’s Public Sector practice in New Jersey and Sacramento where she provided project management, business process improvement, reorganization and transition management, change leadership, and communications and public relations consulting services.

In the non-profit sector, Ditas was the Program Director for the non-profit California Telemedicine & eHealth Center.

Ditas has a B.A. in Social Sciences and Practice of Art (double major) from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Masters in Public Administration (Intergovernmental Management and Organization Development) from the University of Southern California School of Policy, Planning and Development.

Please join me in congratulating Ditas in her new role as the Chair of National Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic, and Other Populations.

John H Thompson, Director, Bureau of Census, Washington, D.C.

Facts about the NAC:

The National Advisory Committee (NAC) considers topics such as hard to reach populations, race and ethnicity, language, aging populations, American Indian and Alaska Native tribal considerations, new immigrant populations, populations affected by natural disasters, highly mobile and migrant populations, complex households, rural populations, and population segments with limited access to technology. The Committee also advises on data privacy and confidentiality, among other issues.

In the mid-1970s, NAC began advising the Census Bureau. During the 2010 Census, five separate committees advised the bureau on decennial issues: the African American, American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN), Asian, Hispanic, and Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander (NHOPI) Advisory Committees.

In 2012, the Secretary of Commerce
re-chartered the NAC as the Census Bureau National Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic, and Other Populations. The committee, known as NAC, consists of up to 32 members appointed by the Director of the Census Bureau. NAC is an important channel of communication between the Census Bureau and race, ethnic, and other communities, focusing “on the identification of new strategies for improved census operations, survey and data collection methods, including identifying cost-efficient ways to increase census participation” and reduce the undercount.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Aging Gracefully-21 Rules to Follow

Celebrating My 80th Birthday with Relatives and Neighbors, December 20, 2014

I received the following article in my E-mail from a friend in the Philippines just recently. I like to share this with all senior citizens of the world.

Some of us have reached our golden years, and some of us have not. But these suggestions should be read by everyone. They have been collected from many a
senior, each with his or her own piece of advice. Some you know, some may surprise you, and some will remind you of what's important. So read well, share with your loved ones, and have a great day and a great life!
It's time to use the money you saved up.
Use it and enjoy it. Don't just keep it for those who may have no notion of the sacrifices you made to get it. Remember there is nothing more dangerous than a son or daughter-in-law with big ideas for your hard earned capital. WARNING: This is also a bad time for an investment, even if it seems wonderful or fool-proof. They only bring problems and worries. This is a time for you to enjoy some peace and quiet.
Stop worrying about the financial situation of your children and grandchildren,
and don't feel bad spending your money on yourself. You've taken care of them for many years, and you've taught them what you could. You gave them an education, food, shelter and support. The responsibility is now theirs to earn their own money.
Keep a healthy life without great physical effort
. Do moderate exercise (like walking every day), eat well and get your sleep. It's easy to become sick but takes longer to recover, and it gets harder to remain healthy. That is why you need to keep yourself in good shape and be aware of your medical and physical needs.
Keep in touch with your doctor, get tested even when you're feeling well. Stay informed.
Always buy the best, most beautiful items for your significant other. The key goal is to enjoy your money with your partner.
One day one of you will miss the other, and the money will not provide any comfort then. Enjoy it together.
Don't stress over the little things.
You've already overcome so much in your life. You have good memories and bad ones, but the important thing is the present. Don't let the past drag you down and don't let the future frighten you. Feel good in the now. Small issues will soon be forgotten.
Regardless of age, ALWAYS KEEP LOVE ALIVE.
Love your partner, love life, love your family, love your neighbor and remember: "A man is not old as long as he has intelligence and affection."
Be proud, both inside and out.
Don't stop going to your hair salon or barber. Do your nails, go to the dermatologist and the dentist, keep your perfumes and creams well stocked. When you are well-maintained on the outside, it seeps in,
making you feel proud and strong.
Don't lose sight of fashion trends for your age, but keep your own sense of style.
There's nothing worse than an older person trying to wear the current fashion among youngsters. You've developed your own sense of what looks good on you.... keep it and be proud of it. It's part of who you are.
ALWAYS stay up-to-date.
Read newspapers, watch the news. Go online and read what people are saying. Make sure you have an active email account and try to use some of those social networks. You'll be surprised which old friends you'll meet. Keeping in touch with what is going on and with the people you know is important at any age.
Respect the younger generation and their opinions.
They may not have the same ideals as you, but they are the future, and will take the world in their direction. Give advice, not criticism, and try to remind them of yesterday's wisdom that still applies today.
Never use the phrase: "In my time"...
Your time is now. As long as you're alive, you are part of this time. You may have been younger, but you are still you now, having fun and enjoying life.
Some people embrace their golden years, while others become bitter and surly.
Life is too short to waste your days on the latter. Spend your time with positive, cheerful people. It'll rub off on you and your days will seem that much better. Spending your time with bitter people will make you older and harder to be around.
Do not surrender to the temptation of living with your children or grandchildren (if you have a financial choice, that is).
Sure, being surrounded by family sounds great, but we all need our privacy. They need theirs and you need yours. If you've lost your partner (our deepest condolences), then find a person to move in with you and help out. Even then, do so only if you feel you really need the help or do not want to live alone.
Don't abandon your hobbies. If you don't have any, make new ones. You can travel, hike, cook, read, dance
. You can adopt a cat or a dog, grow a garden, play cards, checkers, chess, dominoes, golf. You can paint, volunteer at an NGO or just collect certain items. Find something you like and spend some real time having fun with it.
Even if you don't feel like it, try to accept invitations. Baptisms, graduations, birthdays, weddings, conferences. Try to go.
Get out of the house, meet people you haven't seen in a while. Experience something new (or something old) but don't get upset when you're not invited. Some events are limited by resources, and not everyone can be hosted. The important thing is to leave the house from time to time. Go to museums, go walk through a field. Get out there.
Be a conversationalist.
Talk less and listen more. Some people go on and on about the past, not caring if their listeners are really interested. That's a great way of reducing their desire to speak with you. Listen first and answer questions, but don't go off into long stories unless asked to. Speak in courteous tones and try not to complain or criticize too much unless you really need to. Try to accept situations as they are. Everyone is going through the same things, and people have a low tolerance for hearing complaints. Always find some good things to say as well.
Pain and discomfort go hand in hand with getting older.
Try not to dwell on them but accept them as a part of the cycle of life we're all going through. Try to minimize them in your mind. They are not who you are, they are something that life added to you. If they become your entire focus, you lose sight of the person you used to be.
If you've been offended by someone ... forgive them.
If you've offended someone ... apologize. Don't drag around resentment with you. It only serves to make you sad and bitter. It doesn't matter who was right. Someone once said: "Holding a grudge is like taking poison and expecting the other person to die." Don't take that poison. Forgive, forget and move on with your life.
If you have a strong belief, savor it.
But don't waste your time trying to convince others. They will make their own choices no matter what you tell them, and it will only bring you frustration. Live your faith and set an example. Live true to your beliefs and let that memory sway them.
Laugh. Laugh A LOT.
Laugh at everything. Remember, you are one of the lucky ones. You managed to have a life, a long one. Many never get to this age, never get to experience a full life. But you did. So what's not to laugh about? Find the humor in your situation.
Take no notice of what others say about you and even less notice of what they might be thinking.
They'll do it anyway, and you should have pride in yourself and what you've achieved. Let them talk and don't worry. They have no idea about your history, your memories and the life you've lived so far. There's still much to be written, so get busy writing and don't waste time thinking about what others might think. Now is the time to be at rest, at peace and as happy as you can be!

AND REMEMBER: "Life is too short to drink bad wine."

Personal Note: I have a hard time following Rule #1. Having been raised by a mother who believed always save for the rainy days. But for most seniors the rainy days are over. Now is time to enjoy whatever financial blessings you have attained and had worked for years.

Following Rule #1, I would not feel guilty going to the Casinos and the Buffet Dinner every week. At my age you will never know when that day of being mortal will come. Speaking of Casinos, the other day was my lucky day. It was my first time in two years to win over $500 playing the SLOTS!

Lastly, if you are a senior citizen, what rules are you following and which ones are you having a hard time following. I love to hear of your opinion.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Book Review: Being Mortal by Atul Gawande

Last week, my beloved sister in law (Charro) sent me a surprise gift, a book, Being Mortal by Atul Gawande. Charro is from Palo Alto, CA and is a nurse oncologist. She works at Stanford University Hospital doing cancer research.

I read the cover page of the book and it sounds very interesting being a senior citizen. However, when I opened the first chapter, the font of the book is small, I could hardly read it. So I did an Internet search and here's an excerpt from the review of SHERI FINK dated NOV. 6, 2014, published in the New York Times. I recommend this book to all senior citizens of the world. Thanks again for your gift, Charro.

"It began with a tingle in the surgeon’s fingers and a pain in his neck. A couple of years later, he learned he had a tumor inside his spinal cord. That was when the difficult choices began. Should he have it removed right away in a risky operation, as his doctor recommended? Or should he take time to consider this question: At what point would the expanding tumor cause debility bad enough to justify the risk of greater debility or even death in trying to fight it?

The surgeon in the story is the father of Atul Gawande, who is also a surgeon as well as a writer for The New Yorker. His new book, “Being Mortal,” is a personal meditation on how we can better live with age-related frailty, serious illness and approaching death.

Medical professionals are the ones who are largely in control of how we spend our “waning days,” he writes, yet they are focused on disease, not on living. “Medicine has been slow to confront the very ­changes that it has been responsible for — or to apply the knowledge we have about how to make old age better.” The experts quoted here argue that doctors should not only treat disease but also concern themselves with people’s functional abilities, and that most medical trainees should learn about geriatrics.

In the first part of the book, Gawande explores different models of senior living — from multigenerational households to newfangled nursing homes. In the latter part, which is shorter, he shifts somewhat abruptly to end-of-life medicine, promoting hospice as a model of care. The two sections are anchored by two of Gawan­de’s most memorable New Yorker essays, which make up two of the book’s eight chapters — “Things Fall Apart” and “Letting Go.” Around them are rich stories from his own family.

“Being Mortal” is a valuable contribution to the growing literature on aging, death and dying. It contains unsparing descriptions of bodily aging and the way it often takes us by surprise. Gawande is a gifted storyteller, and there are some stirring, even tear-inducing passages here. The writing can be evocative. In a home for the aged in a New Delhi slum, mattresses are “pushed up against one another like a large sheet of postage stamps.”

The stories give a dignified voice to older people in the process of losing their independence. We see the world from their perspective, not just those of their physicians and worried family members.

One of his most provocative arguments is that hard-won health and safety reporting requirements for elder care facilities might satisfy family members, but ignore what really matters to the residents in question. Despite the popularity of the term assisted living, “we have no good metrics for a place’s success in assisting people to live,” Gawande argues. A life of safety isn’t the life most people really want for themselves.

Gawande searches for models of care that promote frail people’s ability to live a meaningful life, by imbuing them with cause or promoting their ability “to keep shaping the story of their life in the world.” The reader may wonder if everyone in these innovative senior communities is as satisfied as the individuals Gawande profiles. Given that there is little data to back up the anecdotes, it’s hard to know if there are real solutions here. There is also relatively little exploration of the options for people with dementia.

In the last part of the book, Gawande argues against the treatment-at-all-costs model that once prevailed in medicine. “People with serious illness have priorities besides simply prolonging their lives,” he writes. “If your problem is fixable, we know just what to do. But if it’s not? The fact that we have had no adequate answers to this question is troubling and has caused callousness, inhumanity and extraordinary suffering.”

Gawande is swayed by the paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould’s essay “The Median Isn’t the Message.” After receiving a cancer diagnosis with a median survival of only eight months, Gould observed that some patients survived well beyond the eight month median. He became one of them, living some 20 years after experimental treatment, and dying from an unrelated cancer.

Gawande uses his father’s powerful story to explore the concept of shared ­decision-making in medicine — the idea that the ideal modern doctor should be neither paternalistic nor informative but rather interpretive, helping patients determine their priorities and achieve them. He shares lessons he learned from a palliative care doctor who advises him to “ask, tell, ask” during a difficult discussion about a patient’s prognosis: Ask what patients want to hear, tell them and then ask what they understand.

Gawande identifies no perfect solutions to the problems inherent in bodily decline. He is just asking us to commit ourselves to creating better options and making choices with the goal of a purposeful life in mind ".

About the Author: Atul Gawande has been a staff writer for The New Yorker since 1998. He is the author of three best-selling books: “Complications,” a finalist for the National Book Award; “Better,” selected by Amazon.com as one of the ten best books of 2007; and “The Checklist Manifesto.” His latest book is “Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End.” He has won the Lewis Thomas Prize for Writing about Science, a MacArthur fellowship, and two National Magazine Awards. He is also a surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, in Boston, and a professor in the department of health policy and management at Harvard School of Public Health and in the department of surgery at Harvard Medical School. He is the executive director of Ariadne Labs, a joint center for health-systems innovation, and the chairman of Lifebox, a nonprofit organization making surgery safer globally.

Personal Note: Last week I cancelled an elective surgery-Kidney stones removal( lithotripsy) scheduled for next month. After talking to my urologist, I decided that the risk of surgery will be worse that the benefits I will receive from the surgery since currently I am feeling well and the stones are not giving me any problem. The surgery does not guarantee all the stones will all be removed and the post surgery may even cause serious pains due to a uretheral stent that may be used. So far as for now no surgery. Hopefully I will not have any kidneys stones attack in the future.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

First Page of My Google Search for BALLEZA CLAN

Balleza Land Donation to the Barotac Viejo National High School-Me and my youngest sister, Amor

My last two postings listed the first page on my Google search of my surname(KATAGUE) and the phrase NIEVA CLAN. The Nieva surname is the maternal family name of my wife from Marinduque. On the other hand Balleza is my maternal surname originally from Barotac Viejo, Iloilo, Philippines. The following is the first page of my google search for the phrase BALLEZA CLAN

Balleza Clan - Geni.com
Geni Project: Balleza Clan. This is the family tree of the Balleza Clan at Barotac Viejo and includes all who can trace their roots to a Bal

Genealogy of the Balleza and K(C)atague Surnames
About a month ago, I joined a group in Facebook called the Balleza clan. It is fun to know that I have hundreds of relatives all over the world who traced ...

Rating is available when the video has been rented. LA SOSPECHA

Marinduque Awaits You: Genealogy of the Balleza and K(C ...
If this is your first time in this site, welcome. It has been my dream that my province, Marinduque, Philippines becomes a world tourist destination not ...

Photos and Documents for Balleza Clan
View celebrity and historical profiles and see if you're related. Create a family tree, discover your ancestors, and more at Geni.com.

(6.57MB) La Grande Balleza.mp3 Download (320Kbps)
How to download free mp3 (6.57MB) La Grande Balleza free mp3 Download, free Download zippy La Grande Balleza mp3 lagu. Click Play to listen music and start download ...

Genealogy of the Balleza and K(C)atague Surnames
If this is your first time in my site, welcome! Chateau Du Mer is a beach resort with a beach house and conference Hall. The beach house could now ...

Genealogy of the Balleza and K(C)atague Surnames
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 ...

Me enamoré.......ORQUESTA CLAN COMBO - YouTube
rincÓn venezolano....

Life in the United States and the Philippines: 1960 to the ...
Welcome to Las Vegas, Nevada- the Gambling Capital of US and the City that never sleeps! So, what has this city have to do with this site. The answer is none.

If you want to know more of the genealogy of your surname, searched for ancestry instead of clan. There are three popular search engines, Google, Yahoo and Bing.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

First Page of My Google Search of NIEVA CLAN

Calixto Nieva and Epifania Morente-the ancestral couple of the Nieva clan of Marinduque in the Philippines

Have you ever googled yourself or surnames of relatives and friends? In my recent posting I googled search my name and then just my surname. I was surprise of the information I found about myself and family in the Web.

This posting is the first page of my googled search for NIEVA CLAN. Two informative articles are the List of political families in Marinduque and the Genealogy of the Montilla-Sarmiento clan

151,000 results: Includes the latest article( 3rd in the list below), Chapter 2 written by Rene Nieva and reposted in my blog

The Nieva Clan of Marinduque-Chapter 1
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 ...

Updates of the Geneology of the Nieva Clan-Macrine's Maternal
Welcome to Las Vegas, Nevada- the Gambling Capital of US and the City that never sleeps! So, what has this city have to do with this site. The answer is none.

The Ancestry of the Nieva Clan of Marinduque-Chapter 2

The first chapter on the ancestry of the Nieva clan of Marinduque by Rene Nieva was posted in my blogs about five months ago(2/6/15). Today I am posting ...

Life in the United States and the Philippines: 1960 to the ...
Genealogy of the Nieva Clan-Macrine's Maternal Side of the Family. It is summer time and time for family reunions.

About Our Family Research: I started doing a page about the Montilla Clan of Butuan City. But I've lost all my files or better yet left them in Butuan.

Latest Update on the Nieva Ancestry from Marinduque
I found the following comment very relevant to my blog on the Nieva ancestry from Marinduque-the ancestral ... hundred members of the Nieva clan, ...

List of political families in Marinduque - Wikipedia, the ...
List of political families in Marinduque. From Wikipedia, ... 9 Nieva Family ... The Reyes family is the most prominent political clan in the province of Marinduque.

Where the Heck is Marinduque?: Latest Update of the Nieva ...
The rest is my article on the Nieva ancestry from Marinduque, dated May 21, ... there should be more than seven hundred members of the Nieva clan, ...

Latest Update of the Nieva Ancestry of Marinduque-the Cleric ...
Latest Update of the Nieva Ancestry of Marinduque-the Cleric Connection ... there should be more than seven hundred members of the Nieva clan, ...

(6.57MB) Nieva Complicated.mp3 Download (320Kbps)
Found! Nieva Complicated.mp3 | 320kbps | (6.57MB) | Download Free | Play | Cut ringtone or audio sample of Nieva Complicated song online

marinduque rising: When good men die...
Quick news, photos, videos, culture, tourism, history and all that there is on the island of Marinduque, Philippines. "VIVA MARINDUQUE!" www.marinduquegov ...
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