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!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

My Favorite TED Talks

I was watching 60 Minutes last Sunday and TED Talks was featured. I have viewed more than a dozen of TED Talks the last couple of years and I enjoyed all of the talks. But one of my favorite is the following video on a subject that have touched my life {neurological disorders(personal) and new drug discovery( professional)}.

Here's a short information on TED Talks from Wikipedia in case you are not familiar with this organization.

TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is a global set of conferences run by the private non-profit Sapling Foundation, under the slogan "Ideas Worth Spreading". TED was founded in 1984 as a one-off event; the annual conference series began in 1990. TED's early emphasis was technology and design, consistent with its Silicon Valley origins, but it has since broadened its focus to include talks on many scientific, cultural and academic topics.

The main TED conference is held annually in Vancouver, Canada, and its companion TEDActive is held in Whistler, British Columbia. Prior to 2014, the two conferences were held in Long Beach and Palm Springs, California, respectively. TED events are also held throughout North America and in Europe and Asia, offering live streaming of the talks. They address a wide range of topics within the research and practice of science and culture, often through storytelling. The speakers are given a maximum of 18 minutes to present their ideas in the most innovative and engaging ways they can. Past speakers include Bill Clinton, Jane Goodall, Al Gore, Gordon Brown, Richard Dawkins, Richard Stallman, Bill Gates, Bono, Mike Rowe, Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, and many Nobel Prize winners. TED's current curator is the British former computer journalist and magazine publisher Chris Anderson.

There are three other Ted Talks that I like, Bill Gates, The Next Outbreak( Ebola), Monica Lewinsky, The Price of Shame (public shaming) and Geena Rocero, Why I must Come Out( transgender and gender identity). How about you? Do you have a favorite TED Talks subject and video. Would you like to share it with my readers?

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Blue Birds and a Mallard Duck in my Backyard-Praying for Rain

Today is another beautiful spring day here in Northern California but still a rainless day. The temperature this morning is in the mid 60's, but it is predicted to reach in the low 80's by mid afternoon. Yesterday there were six bluebirds frolicking in my backyard and one male mallard duck enjoying himself in the pool(see Photo)

I feed the blue birds bread crumbs and discourage the mallard duck in overstaying in the pool, because I do not like to clean his poo poo. I believe the ducks are in their way to the North for their spring break during their annual migration. The bluebirds are annual residents in my backyard and this summer will build their nests and raised baby birds in the shrubs and trees in my backyard. On winter time the blue birds disappears probably moving South for warm weather.

Our backyard pool where the mallard duck likes to swim and the blue birds like to frolick back and forth from their nest on the shrubs around.

The whole state of California desperately need rain. I have stopped watering my yard to conserve water but this is not enough. We need rain and so hopefully this video may be of help. Please pray for rain!

As of today, rain is predicted for this coming Saturday. The rain dance above must have work.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Dinner for Four from Your HoneyBaked Ham Store

In my recent posting, I discussed that ordering dinners and meals from restaurants is not new to me. However, last week was my first time to order a family meal from the HoneyBaked Ham store near us.

I have been ordering for the last 5 years just ham, or turkey from the store. I have not tasted the side dishes that you can order for the family meals. The store offers 10 side dishes to accompany your meals. You can order one or ten side dishes if you desire. The meals can be ordered for 2, 4 or 8 persons without reservations. If you plan a party with more than 10 persons, it is recommended that you call ahead for reservation.

Last week, I ordered a family meal of ham and roast beef( tri-tip) for 4 with four side dishes. I selected the cranberry salad, pecan stuffing, mash potatoes and baked beans. The meal cost me only $34.99. The side dishes I ordered were delicious specially the cranberry salad. We happened to have a guest, a new-found relative from the Lodi-Stockton area for the occasion.

The other side dishes available are spinach Alfredo, creamy corn, gravy, potato salad, cheese potatoes or yam souffle.

The store also sells more than a dozen sandwiches for only $5.99. My favorite sandwich is the HoneyBaked Ham Hawaiian. It consists of the ham, Swiss cheese, champagne mustard and pineapple ginger chutney. Their best seller according to the store manager is their Honeybaked Ham Classic consisting of the ham, Swiss Cheese, lettuce, tomato, tangy Mayo and Rich Hickory Honey Mustard. Bread choices are croissant, multi-grain, marble rye, sweet white, sourdough or Hawaiian roll.

Besides the Ham, I have ordered the smoked and oven-roasted Turkey Breast. I like the smoked turkey breast better than the oven-roasted. The store also offers Barbecue Baby Back Ribs, but as of today I have not tasted the Ribs. I plan on ordering the ribs the next time I do not feel cooking our dinner.

So if you are lazy to cook with or without company, buying your meals from the Honeybaked Ham store is another alternative you can do besides ordering meals from regular restaurants such as Olive Garden, Red Lobster, El Tapcio ,El Torrito or from Chinese or Filipino restaurants in your area. Bon Apetit!.

Note: Of course if you want to save a little money and do not count your calories, the other alternative is to buy your meals from the fast restaurants chain, MCdonald, Carl Jr. Kentucky Fried Chicken, Burger KIng, etc,,,

Monday, April 20, 2015

A Guest Article-Chasing the Wind

I was reading my FB page the other day and find this article worthy of sharing. I do have permission from the author to repost excerpts of his article. The author is a relative who belongs to the Balleza clan with ancestral roots from Barotac Viejo, Iloilo, Philippines.

Barotac Viejo is a small town in Iloilo, Philippines where I finished my elementary and high school years. If curious please read my blog, Where the Heck is Barotac Viejo, Iloilo? in this site, dated December 18, 2014. http://davidbkatague.blogspot.com

"CHASING THE WIND" by Alfredo(Toto) Balleza Brilliantes

I want to share my life perspective to you my friends.

I came from humble beginning with nothing but my desire to succeed. Armed with intelligence and perseverance, I go through this competitive material world to get what I want not what I need to enjoy life.

I did not know then the difference between "want “and “need", neither the difference between "enjoyment” and “happiness".

In my pursuit of what I “want” and “enjoyment” , I traveled through life like I am traveling thru the far horizon in the desert and because of the heat of the sun I did not see the beauty of the surroundings. I did not see the beautiful creatures that I encountered along the way and breathe taking beauty of the landscape. Just like the heat of life that we experience on the way to attain what we want and enjoy in this secular and material world.

I labored to gain knowledge and equip myself to lead others, to have commanding position and have economic advantage from others.

I labored to be recognized, to be popular and stand above my peers.
I labored to get the best of material things; top of its class, i.e., watches, camera, cars and big houses and nice pieces of furniture.

Before, I said that if I can get the Nikon camera I will be happy. If I get that Rolex watch, I will be happy. Same with the big top of the line SUV and nice big house, I will be happy. I got all those, it made me proud and feel that enjoyment of fulfillment. Not realizing that s soon as you attain what you what you want, here is another one lining up. I realize later that there is no end of wanting. All of these are vanity.

I have learned throughout the years that everything is "meaningless". All of knowledge, material, position and power that you got would be nothing. You leave all this behind when you die. All our labor is like chasing the wind.

We should not learn from experience but rather from the written word of God.

I hope it is not too late for me to find the true happiness. I replaced my Rolex watch on my wrist with a rosary bracelet. You do the same you will have peace. Believing in God, in the family and in good friend are the real happiness in life.


Some of the Comments from his FB friends:

What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? - a verse from Matthew

True happiness is not found in any other reward than that united in God., walk with faith in Him, rejoice the beauties of nature and all His wonderful creation and cherish His most greatest love gift, our family ..... - what more can the heart of man desire??

No matter who you are, what you are in this world. You should find the purpose of GOD why he create you... Every single living things are had their purpose... If you find it... Real happiness will blossom deep inside your heart...

My Comment: Yes, indeed I could relate and identify with this article. It reminded me of the following video.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

I Got Lucky at the Casino Last Week

Last week, I got lucky and won $300 during our weekly trip to the Casino. I played in the new slots-named Wonder Woman and hit the bonus round several times with a 1.00 dollar bet each time. At one time I decided to hit the $5 button maximum bet and bingo I hit the mini bonus of $110. After that I quit and went to another slot machine. The videos below speak for itself.

Enjoy playing the slots but please do not get addicted. Learn how to quit and have a budget. Also enjoy the reasonable food in the restaurants and have a FUN Day in the Casinos! Do not gamble money you can not afford. Do not go to the Casino with the hope you will get rich. Learn how to play the one-armed bandit to just get even by reading strategies published in the Internet and last but not least have FUN!

This new slot machine is manufactured by Wagerworks, Inc.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Feeling Very Rich Today-Income Tax Day

Macrine, Ditas, David III and Me- Photo Taken during Ditas 50th Birthday Party. Note at the two of Ditas paintings in the background.

Macrine and I woke up this morning very happy and feeling very rich. For this we thank Thee Lord!

Very Rich not in the sense of dollars or pesos, but because we are still Alive today and enjoying life! As a member of the octogenarian club, you will never know when I will conked out in this planet Earth. It could be days or months and perhaps years if I am lucky, but for today, Macrine and I will enjoy life to the fullest.

To those of you who have been following my blogs and FaceBook chatter, you probably know that Macrine has been diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease about two years ago. With Parkinson your quality of life varies. There are days when Macrine could hardly walk in the morning, and there are days when she is ready to go to the Casino or a trip to the Philippines.

Her symptoms are controlled by medications, but the side effects of her medications are unpredictable.

Therefore, today when she told me she felt rich and happy I was ecstatic. I ask her then that we celebrate the day.

So our morning started with me cooking her favorite breakfast of scramble eggs, fried rice and spiced Portuguese sardines. Our lunch was just a simple chicken salad sandwich with leche flan( milk custard)and buko pandan ice cream from the Pinoy grocery store as our desserts.

What will we have for dinner for the finale of the day? I remember on her recent birthday David and I took her out to Red Lobster. She was so happy that day, I will never forget the smile in her face after the delicious lobster meal.

At about 3PM after her medication, Macrine was getting tired. I decided to call Red Lobster, if they have Take Out Service. Indeed they have. So I ordered our dinner via phone. In 20 to 30 minutes, it will be ready for pick up and no waiting.

Ordering dinner in the restaurants is not new to me. Sometimes I feel lazy cooking. Five days during the week, there are only the two of us, since David works in the afternoon shift. Cooking for two is not that easy and economical. So ordering our meals from nearby restaurants make sense. I have ordered dinner meals from Olive Garden (Italian), El Tapacio (Mexican), Sechuan Garden(Chinese), Pho I( Vietnamese) and from Fish and Chips. Today however was my first Take Out Dinner from Red Lobster.

I expect this order to be more costly and expensive compared to the other restaurants. But today I am feeling very rich and I assure myself that we can not take our money when we die, so why not spend it and enjoy it.

Here's what I ordered:

The Lobster Dream Delight Menu which consisted of two Main lobster Tails and a Pasta with Shrimps. The side dishes are wild Rice and broccoli. With the dinner includes a garden salad and 4 dinner rolls. Besides the main dish, I ordered a Bisque Lobster soup( bowl) and for dessert we have Cheese cake with fresh strawberries topping. This was the exact menu that Macrine like during her Birthday dinner last month.

The dinner cost me $48 plus $2 tip to the bartender ( place where I pick up the to go order). After dinner Macrine informed me again, she feel very rich today. I said we will not go to the poor house as long as we do not do this every day. This amount is about double the amount I pay when we order from other restaurants mentioned in the previous paragraph. This amount may be too much for my poor relatives in the Philippines. However, to most of our well to do friends and relatives in the Philippines and here is the US, this is peanuts.

Good Day or Night to All. I hope you feel rich today and celebrate LIFE. Life is short and as they say you can not take your money with you when you die, so spend it while you can.

One final note, speaking of money, today when I checked my Google Adsense account in my blogs I earned 0.53 cents and in my Hubpages account I earned 0.06 cents. Wow, I feel really very rich today, indeed!
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