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 early-80'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, May 9, 2009

Dedication and Memories of my Parents


Photo taken during my niece wedding(D'Wanie Katague Gregorio,M.D.) and also my 74th Birthday. Note that Macrine's gown was designed and tailored by Rudy Diego-one of Manila's well-known couturier.

I am writing this autobiography for the benefit of my four children and six grandchildren here in California, United States of America. My children are:
Dodie( Diosdado), B.A. (Geography) UC Berkeley, JD (Law) UC Davis, CA (Married, Ruth Carver)
Dinah King, B.A. (Sac State U), M.A (Paralegal) St Mary, Moraga, CA(Married, David King)
David Ernst, B.S. Agricultural Economics UC Davis, CA, M.A, Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon U, Pittsburgh, PA (Single)
Ditas Macrine, B.A Double Major Communications/Arts, UC Berkeley,CA, M.A. Government Relations, USC, Los Angeles, CA and Washington, D.C.(Married, Nick Thompson)

My grandchildren and their ages as of this write up:
Ian Katague King Age 18
Elaine Katague King Age 15
Philip Winchester Katague Age 15
Alexandra ( Alix) Katague Age 14
Marina Katague Age 11
Carenna Katague Thompson Age 6

Special dedication to Ian, Elaine and Carenna for their tolerance and patience during their hectic trip from US to Marinduque, just to attend our golden wedding anniversary celebration. I hope the memories of that trip will never be forgotten in their memory and that they will have favorable remembrances of the Philippines.
( For details of our golden wedding anniversary celebrations see Chapter 14)

I also dedicate this blog to all my brothers and sisters and their husbands and wives ("in-laws)" in the Philippines, Australia, United States and Canada. Also to my nieces and nephews all over the world in Iran, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, England and the United States, and also to all my sister-in-laws in the Philippines and United States.

In addition, I also dedicate this blog to all members and friends of Marinduque International,Inc. especially those members and nonmembers who had participated in the past several medical missions to Marinduque, Philippines. I am sure that those of you who had participated in the past medical missions believed in my favorite quotation." The time you have touch the lives of others is the time that you have really live".

Moreover, I also dedicate this blog to my colleagues and friends at the Food and Drug Administration(FDA), Division of Anti-Infective Drug Products ( New Drugs), Silver Spring, MD specifically, Maureen Dillon Parker, Suresh Pagay, Milton Sloan, Andrew Yu and Vithal Shetty and several others that I will not be able to mention (you know who you are) because it will take at least two pages to mention your names. My 12 years career at FDA was the most challenging, productive and satisfying experience in my professional life. As a GS-14-expert on antimalarial drug products, I feel that I have contributed reducing the incidence of this disease not only in the Philippines but also world wide. (see Chapter 11 for details). My million thanks to Dr. Wilson (Tony) De Camp( my former supervisor) for selecting me out of the numerous applicants for a review chemist position in 1990 during a Job Fair in San Francisco and believing in my abilities to be a good review chemist and later a team leader ( first-line supervisor) in FDA.
Dave and Macrine-Photo by Agnes Apeles taken on August 22, 2009 during MI, Inc Dinner Dance & Reunion in Buena Park, California.

Last, but not least to my beloved wife of 52 years, Mrs Macrine Nieva Jambalos Katague, whose understanding, devotion, patience and love made this all possible.

This autobiography is divided into three time frames and posted in 17 chapters as follows:
Chapter 1 to 5: Life in the Philippines-1934 to 1959(Elementary, High School and College Years)
Chapter 6 to 11: Life in the United States-1960 to 2002 (Post Graduate and Professional Career Years)
Chapter 12 to 17: Life in the US and Philippines- 2002 to the Present( Retirement Years and Beyond)

I hope that my grand children will be inspired after reading this autobiography to do their best to achieve a successful and happy life, similar if not better than what I have experienced here in US and in the Philippines with my beloved wife of 52 years, Macrine Nieva Jambalos of Boac, Marinduque, Philippines.

To other readers who may also be inspired by my experiences, I salute you! I know that there is one individual not related to me who indicated that without my knowledge I had been his role model during his childhood and formative years in the Philippines. At present, he is a Professor at the University of the Philippines in Iloilo. He obtained his Ph.D. degree in Oceanography from the University of Hawaii.
University of the Philippines Visayas, at Miagao, Iloilo

Several years ago, while visiting my hometown in Iloilo, I asked my sister who was still residing there at that time, if she knows of any Ph.D. graduate from our town besides myself. She said there was a recent Ph.D. graduate from our town who is now teaching at the University of the Philippines in Miagao. So, I ask her if I could met this guy and my sister said, let us look for him at the university right now. We immediately drove back to the city and then to Miagao. We went directly to the Administration Office and they gave us directions to his office and classroom. He was not there, but his secretary said he is at home on sick leave. We ask the secretary to call him and ask if we could visit him. To make the story short, we met him at his residence and start introducing ourselves.

The moment, I saw him I feel very close to the guy, even though this is the first time I've seen this guy. He was very friendly in spite of his cold. After 5 minutes of preliminary talk, he blurted out. He said, "I have been wanting to meet you also in person all these years. Without you knowing, you have been my role model during my childhood years and your story has been my inspiration". I was shocked and surprised. Then he explained that his grandmother that raised him has been brainwashing him with my life story in the US. His grandmother told him, he must also study for his Ph.D abroad. He said yes, without even knowing what is the meaning of Ph.D. It turned out that my mother and his grandmother were good friends and my mother has been informing his grandmother all the details of my life and graduate work at the University of Illinois in Chicago. I hope others who read my autobiography will also be inspired to work hard to the best of their ability to fulfill their dreams.

Allow me to end this introduction to quote my "Philosophy in Life".
"Where there is God and Love, there must be Faith,
And where there is Faith, there is Peace indeed!
Where there is Peace, there must be God, and where there is God,
There is no Need! Where there is no Need, there is Paradise
In Paradise, there is bliss, contentment and delight!"

(Note: The list of the 17 chapters and titles are on the right side of this page under the Archive section. Happy Reading!)

The David B Katague Clan, November, 2007


Here is my latest posting on Memories of My Parents dated 7/15/2009


David Jamili Katague Family taken in front of their Residence in Barotac Viejo, Iloilo in 1956.
Front Row(Left to Right): Papa David, Efren, Amor, Ruben and Mama Pacing
Back Row( Left to Right); Me, Myrla, Agnes and Erico


My father, Dr. David Jamili Katague, D.D.S. was born in Guimaras, Iloilo on December 29,1905. He was the middle son of three brothers, Julio ( the youngest) and an older brother (I forgot his name). His parents were poor, but have a small property in Guimaras and Binalbagan, Negros Occidental. My father was very smart. Since his own parents can not afford to sent him to college, a rich aunt from Leganes, Iloilo adopted him. He was sent to Iloilo High School in La Paz, where he graduated salutatorian of his class. His childhood friend, Atty. Paciano Villavieja was the valedictorian. He was a freshman in high school when the three brothers of Guimaras,Iloilo change the first letter of their last name from a "C" to a "K".

He did not tell me much of his college days, but he finished dentistry(Doctor of Dental Surgery) at the University of the Philippines,Manila in 1929. That same year he passed the dental board examination( # 2 nationwide) and married my mother, Paz Barrido Balleza of Barotac Viejo, Iloilo. They resided in Jaro and built a two-story house in Arguelles Street. My father had a dental office in the first floor of their residence. After five years of marriage, they were still childless, so they adopted a son, named him Rodolfo. A year later (1934), I was born on December 20. I grew up in Arguelles street until 1941, when the Japanese-American War started in the Philippines, then we moved to Barotac Viejo where I finished high school in 1951.

My father's childhood years was very normal for that time. When he was in high school his father died and his mother remarried the younger brother of his Dad, so his mother's name was still Mrs. Catague. This second marriage produced nine children, three girls and six boys. The family resided in Binalbagan, Negros Occidental. I had two occasions in my childhood years visit relatives in Binalbagan.

My father was a people person. I remember during our monthly shopping trip for supplies in Iloilo City, that he would greet and smile to every person we met along Iznart and JM Basa Streets. On one occasion, he greeted a person with enthusiasm as if they were long time friends. Afterward, I asked him who the person was and he said he does not even know his name. He treated men, women, young and old alike. I told him he would be a good politician. He could also draw freehand. His sketches and freehand drawing were beautiful. I know now that my children and grandchildren talents of drawing, sketching and painting is from his genes, since I have no ability at all to draw, paint or sketch.

My mother on the other hand was very reserved. However, although she had not finished high school, she was good in mathematics. She could add and multiply in her head. One day, a vendor came to the house and was selling some farm products. She ask for the price and the vendor said 3 for 1 peso. Without blinking and hesitation, she said here is 8 pesos give me two dozens. I was amazed in how fast she could compute in her head ratio and proportion problems.

The marriage of my parents resulted in seven children. I am the oldest(chemist and Citizen journalist), followed by Erico(lawyer), Myrla (education), Agnes(dentist), Efren (engineer), Ruben ( accountant) and Amor(chemist). Agnes is now in Maryland. Myrla resides in Toronto. Efren resides in Sydney, Australia. Ruben is in Bacolod and Amor and Erico are still in Iloilo. All of them are married and have several children and grandchildren.

My mother, Paz Barrido Balleza family are big landowners in Barotac Viejo and the neighboring towns of Banate and Ajuy. The Balleza family were considered rich at that time. She was born on January 14,1909 and is the youngest of three children, the only girl with two older brothers, Modesto, Jr ( lawyer) and Jose who are much, much older than her. My mother's parents both died, when she was only in high school. So, she was under the care of her oldest brother, Modesto. At that time, Modesto Balleza family has a big house in Iloilo City, just across the street from St. Paul Hospital and one block from Assumption College-an exclusive school for girls. My mother went to high school at Assumption College until she was a junior. In her senior year, she met my father, falls in love with him, stopped school and got married. My mother with tears in her eyes told me, that the reason she married without finishing high school, was to get away from the control of his oldest brother. When their parents died, there was no Will. Thus, the properties ( rice lands, coconut lands, fish ponds ) were all under the control of her two brothers. The division of property according to my mother was very unfair. The brothers claimed the best rice lands to themselves. What was left for her to inherit were the properties in the distant barrios, rice land with no irrigation, except for one parcel of rice land( 20 hectares) near the town. Of course, she did not received one-third share of their parents properties. When she married, control of her properties was given to her. My Dad then help her manage the rice lands and other properties. I remember, we have more than 20 tenants come to the house in Barotac Viejo, almost every week during the planting and harvest season, besides the encarcado ( the overseer) of my mother's properties. At the side of our house, we built another house to store the rice harvests, so that we can sell the rice when prices are high because it is off season. The proceeds from the rice harvests were the one that send all seven of us to college. The income of my father as a dentist was just enough for our daily expenses. His dental patients oftentimes had no cash. In exchange for his dental services, they would bring chickens, eggs and vegetables and other farm products. Later, my father decided to quit his dental practice and spend full time in managing my Mom's rice land, fish ponds and other properties.

My mother was very frugal. She would not leave a morsel of rice in her plate. I remember her say, "If you do not finish your food, God will punish you". So even today, I always have a clean plate after lunch or dinner. My mother had a strict budget and allocates 10% of the farm income into her savings. By the time, I was in college, they have enough savings to purchase a commercial property in Iloilo City. With the back pay, that my father received having served as a Dental Officer in the Philippine-American Army from 1941-1945, they were able to build a commercial building at Iznart street, just across the YMCA building and very close to the provincial capitol. The building we called “KATAGUE BUILDING”. When my father died in the early 1970's, the building was not properly maintained. In the late 1980's, my mother died. The seven of us decided to sell the building and land. The land was valued more than the building, because of its location. The new owner demolished the “Katague” building, built a bigger building and is now a school and a bank office in the first floor. When my parents died, they have a "Will" allocating the lands to the seven of us. As the oldest child, I inherited the best of the rice land, the 20 hectares of rice land near the town with irrigation. At about this time, the Agrarian Reform Program was in full implementation. My inherited rice land was the first one reformed. Since,I was residing in the US at that time, I was not able to do anything. Today, the 20 hectares are now owned by my parents former tenants. I have not received a single peso from the Philippine Government. The only land left for me was a 7-hectare upland parcel planted with corn and beans. My sister in Iloilo is now managing it for me. The rental income is barely enough to pay for the annual taxes. Ten years ago, I visited the rice land that was land reformed. I cried when I remember the history of this particular piece of land. Of the ten tenants that benefited from this program, only one approached me and acknowledged his gratitude. He told me, he was able to send all his children to college from the proceeds of my inheritance. As a matter of fact his oldest daughter after graduation from college married a US navy man and now resides in Northern California, only about 40 miles from us. So, this is a segment of my parents life experiences, as I recall it today. To my children, grandchildren and relatives, I hope you find my parents' life-story informative.
Amor (Knitz), Macrine and I visiting the tomb of our parents in Barotac Viejo, Iloilo on December 18, 2008. The tomb has been renovated and improved with contributions from Agnes, Efren, Amor and myself about five years ago.
Note: My mother was also generous. She donated a parcel of her inheritance of more than 14,700 square meters to the local high school (Barotac Viejo National High School). Her brother, Jose also donated the biggest portion of land for the school. Below is the "sign" in front of the high school acknowledging the donation. Macrine took this photo of Knitz and I at the entrance of the high school. During my time, this high school was not named as a national high school.

(Note: A short genealogy of the Balleza and K(C)atague surnames is posted on my blog, http://lifeinus1960present.blogspot.com dated 6/28/09)

Chapter 1: Childhood Memories of the Japanese-American War in the Philippines, 1941-1945


General MacArthur Returns Memorial, Leyte Island, October,1944
I am writing this blog for the benefit of my children and grand children and the new generations of Filipinos who have no knowledge or memory of the Japanese invasion of the Philippines. It was 13 days before my 7th birthday when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, Hawaii in the morning, Sunday , December 7, 1941. That same day in the evening, Japanese planes had taken off to attack several targets in the Philippines. The Japanese had planned six landings: Bataan, Aparri, Vigan, Legaspi, Davao and Jolo Island. For the sake of clarity in this narrative, here are the important dates of that war:

December 7, 1941 Sunday Morning Bombing of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

December 7-22, 1941 Start of Bombing of the Philippines and Japanese landed in several places in the island.

April 9, 1942 The Fall of Bataan and the Death March

May, 1942 The Fall of Corregidor and General MacArthur fled to Australia

October 1944 General MacArthur landed in Leyte " I Shall Return"

September, 1945 Japanese Surrender

July 4, 1946 Philippines Independence from US

When Japan started bombing the Philippines, I was in 2nd grade at the Jaro Elementary School,Iloilo. When my family heard of the bombings, we all panic and decided we moved from the city of Jaro, a most likely bombing target to our farm in Barotac Viejo, least likely target for bombing and Japanese occupation. Barotac Viejo, my mother's ancestral town is a small town about 60 Km North of Jaro, Iloilo City.
I remember every one in my family was in chaotic mood and within a couple of days we packed all the essentials we could take and the rest of our household goods we left behind at our residence in Arguelles Street. I remember clearly my mother ordered all her china and sterling silver buried at the backyard of our house. We left all the furnitures and household goods that were heavy and cumbersome.

( Later we found out, our house was bombed and all the china and silver were stolen)
The house was 80% demolished and all the furnitures were either destroyed or stolen.

So for a while we settled in a small farm house of one of our tenants in one of the distant barrios of the town. As war progressed and we heard Japanese forces have penetrated most of the big cities in the Philippines and are starting to occupy even small towns, my father who was a captain and dental officer for newly organized Philippine Guerrillas- a resistant movement, decided to move to the jungle in the interior of Panay Island. I remember we walked for 3 days in the jungles, creeks and mountains just following a small path. My parent's tenants create a path for us with their bolos or machetes. We found a hidden valley with a creek with crystal clear water. Our tenants started building a bamboo and nipa hut, an out-door kitchen and a dining area. Using a bamboo sledge and a water Buffalo, our tenants brought us about 20 sacks of rice, salt, sugar and a few spices. In the jungle we started to clear areas where we could plant vegetables, corn and sweet potatoes. We also started to raise chickens and ducks for eggs, pigs for protein and goats for our milk.

One of the most traumatic experience, I had was the night our tenant helper killed a python about 30 ft long. It was in the middle of the night, and it was very dark. Suddenly, we heard our two pigs squealing with fear. My father instructed our helper to investigate the pig pen area. With just a kerosene lamp our tenant could actually see the python strangling one of the smaller pig. Our tenant helper then started attacking the python with his machete and a big log. After about 10 minutes of struggle, our tenant was able to kill the python but our small pig was dead. The incident was a blessing in disguise, since that whole week we had protein in our diet. Our tenant after the incident commented in the local dialect( Napatay ko an man-og sa hadlok) translated literally as "I killed the python with Fear". This incident confirmed that the jungles of Panay island are filled with pythons, mosquitoes and other wild animals ( pigs and deer).

My pets were the chickens and the goats. One of the chicks, I raised personally and even slept with me. He got attached to me ( fingerprint) and kept following me where ever I go. That chicken believe I am her mother. My mother tolerated it, since there were no other kids in the jungle except my younger brother. To keep us from being bored, my father home schooled us ( me and my brother as well as two of my older cousins). Every day for almost 4 hours, we were taught arithmetic, spelling and history. We were lucky to have brought with us a few books in Philippine and US history. Every now and then our tenants would bring us additional supply of rice and tell us news of the extent of the Japanese occupation.
Filipino-American Guerillas-a resistant movement against the Japanese, 1942-1945 Photo from ibiblio.org

Late in the war when the Japanese war atrocities appeared to stop, we decided to move from the jungle to a seaside village and stayed at the house of one of our tenants. My father instructed us not to talk to any stranger, and if asked what our names, we do not give Katague as our name but Katigbak. Rumors have circulated that the Japanese have commandeered a list of all guerrillas, and my father's name is in that list. There were a few natives that work as spies for the Japanese- known then as collaborators. One day, we saw a platoon of Japanese soldiers in uniform complete with guns and bayonets passed by our village. The whole village was agog with excitement. My brother and I also watched hiding in the bushes. I was trembling with fear that one soldier will see us. Fortunately, the soldiers continued their march to next village. That incident of actually seeing Japanese soldiers was one of the highlights of my experiences during this Japanese war.
Japanese soldiers killing Filipino civilians and raping the women.

A scary and frightening incident occurred to my mother's relatives at the time when were hiding in the jungle. My mom's cousins family of 30 individuals ( children, cousins, aunts, brothers and sisters) were also hiding in the jungle on a mountain ridge next to us. We heard that they were all killed by the Japanese soldiers who were able to penetrate their hideouts with help of spies collaborating with the Japanese. Only one member of the clan was spared. She was handicapped and in a wheel chair. During the massacre, she fell on the creek and was mistaken for dead and was left alone to tell the story.

When I was in graduate school, I was often asked by friends if I harbor resentment to the Japanese because of the atrocities they have committed. My answer is a resounding no. My family never did experience a personal attacked by the Japanese. However, my mother in law has never forgiven the Japanese for killing her sister who was a nurse in the Philippine Army. One of my classmates in Illinois, whose father was killed by the Japanese will not seat in the same table in the school cafeteria with other Japanese students.

When General MacArthur landed in Leyte, that was the happiest day to all Filipinos. The Japanese started to retreat and peace in the Philippines was welcome with excitement. The schools were planning to reopen, so from the sea village we move to another barrio much closer to town. In that barrio, we built a much bigger house. In the back of the house, there was a hill. On a clear day you could see the next island of Negros. It was also an observation hill for us. We could watch Japanese and American planes "dog fight" during a clear day. My brother and I actually saw two planes attacking each other and one plane blown to pieces and burning as it falls from the sky to the sea between Panay and Negros Islands. What a thrill! We assume, it is a Japanese plane since the Americans are winning all the battles at this stage of the war.
Me and Eric, my younger brother-This picture was taken on my 11th birthday, December 20,1945.
When schools reopened, we were required to take a test, to see what grade level is our current knowledge. I passed the test for a 4th grade level, although I was only in second grade before the war. So, I completed six grades in only four years. I was two years younger than most of my classmates. This was the result of my father's drilling us every day with arithmetic, spelling and history while we were hiding from the Japanese in the jungle.

On July 4, 1946 the Philippines was granted independence by the US. In 1947, I was freshman in our local high school. In 1951, I graduated valedictorian of our high school class, then later enrolled at the University of the Philippines. In 1955, I graduated with a Bachelors degree in Chemistry. A year later I passed the Board Examination for Chemists, 3rd place nationwide. In May, 1957, I married the former Macrina Nieva Jambalos from Boac, Marinduque. We are still married and yesterday was our 52nd wedding anniversary.

Our Wedding Day, May 8,1957(I look so thin, my friends call me Pancit-local name for rice noddles)

Note: I was born in Jaro, Iloilo on December 20, 1934. I was a sickly child having had polio until I was two years old. Luckily, I recovered only with a slight limp on my left foot. My parents informed me that I was a precocious child since I started reading local magazines when I was only three years old. By the time I was 5 years old, I mastered playing mahjong and pangingue ( a card game similar to gin rummy) with adults in the neighborhood. I remember clearly, that we live in big house at Arguelles Street where my father has his dental office. The front yard has several plumeria trees( kalachochee)and a big mango tree at the back. I was 7 years old when the American- Japanese war started with the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
Picture of Me(left) and my younger brother, Erico taken on April 2, 1937 in Arguelles Street, Jaro, Iloilo. I was a shy boy, very dependent on my yaya( nanny) at that time according to my Mom.

Chapter 2: Memories of Romblon


In late 1945, just after the end of American-Japanese War in the Philippines, my father who was a captain and dental officer for the Philippine-US army took me and my Mom for a month to Romblon Province. He was in-charged of all the dental needs of army personnel in the whole island of Panay as well as in Romblon. I remember we took a PT boat owned by the US navy from Iloilo to Romblon. I was only about 11 years old that time, but very knowledgeable of US history. One of my hobbies was to read US history. I have memorized all the 48 capitals of US states( yes,at that time there are only 48 states in US). My father's dental assistant was a white sergeant from Oklahoma City. He used to quiz me of my knowledge of the capital city of all the US states. If I get it right he gave me chocolates and cookies as a prize. There came a time when he ran out of chocolates, since I have never made a mistake. One capital I almost made a mistake was the capital of California. Most people think at that time the capital city is either LA or San Francisco. Even today, there are still a lot of Filipinos that do not know that Sacramento is the capital of California. The same thing with the capital of Illinois. Most Filipinos at that time believe it is Chicago( the biggest and most populated city in Illinois).

Back to my memories of Romblon. As we enter the harbor, the picturesque view of the mountain so close( all white with marble) almost took my breathe away. It was so beautiful that until today, it is still vivid in my memory. I have not been to Romblon since then, so I do not know if the view is still the same. Anyway we stayed in Romblom Island for 2 weeks. Every day my father took me to his dental office. All of his patients talked to me about their lives and towns/cities in US. That was the beginning of my life-long dream to visit and live in US someday. I did accomplished that dream, having studied, lived, worked and raised a family here in US since 1960.

After two weeks in Romblon Island, my father's assignment was one week each at the two other big islands of the province, Tablas and Sibuyan Islands. The trip to Tablas Island from Romblon took only about 30 minutes by PT boat. I remember, it was so fast, that we arrived about one hour early at the port of Badajoz ( now known as the town of San Agustin). The PT boat went back to Romblon and we waited by the side of the sea under a coconut tree for a jeep from Odiongan, capital town of Tablas Island.
We were hungry and thirsty, but there was no store (tiange) or restaurant in the area. We saw a several residents in the several nearby houses, staring at us, but no one said hello or even offer us a glass of water. As I remember these memories, I felt that if this incident happened in Marinduque, at least one person will probably offer us a glass of water and perhaps even invite us to wait in their house instead of outside under the sun ( luckily there were a few coconut trees providing us with shade). My father explained later why the town was called Badajoz. He said it means "bad hosts". I am glad the town is now called San Agustin.

Our week stay in Odiongan, Tablas and later in Cajidiocan, Sibuyan went pretty fast. Before I realized,it was time for me to go home to Iloilo and back to school.
Sibuyan Island and Mt Guiting-Guiting in the background
My memories of Odiongan and Cajidiocan - it was the most rural place on earth and the roads were bad. It felt like driving in the craters of the moon. Does any one knows what the road conditions now in the Tablas and Sibuyan Islands?
If any one is from Romblon reading this blog, I will appreciate if you let me know what is going on in Romblon today. Someday, I will visit the province again, to see if that harbor view of the marble mountain is still the same.

Chapter 3: You have to Fail in order to Succeed



It's just like saying you have to Fall before you can Stand! Really true! I will give three examples to illustrate how true is the above statement and how it affected my life today.

The first incident to support the above statement occurred in my elementary school days. When I did not received the first honor award ( I got 2nd honor award) during my graduation both my parents and I were very disappointed. My parents even contemplated filing an official complaint to the school principal and my teacher of what they believe was a nepotism case since the valedictorian was related to the teacher and principal. However, I convince my parents not to do it. I told them, I will work harder in high school to be number #1, to show the teacher and principal they made a mistake in the selection process. The whole four years of high school, I competed with the five top five honor students from our elementary schools days. Needless to say, I graduated validectorian(#1) of our high school class. My classmate who was #1 in our elementary school days got the salutatorian award ( 2nd place). I was happy and felt vindicated. My teacher in the elementary school congratulated me but without looking straight into my eye, when my parents invited her to my high school graduation party at our house.

My high school years were not all pleasant memories. There was an incident that occurred in my junior year, that I had repressed in my memory, until I read the other day of a teenage boy who committed suicide because he was bullied in school.

There was a bully in school who was very manipulative. This individual
constantly harassed and annoyed me. He coerced me into doing an unacceptable
act repeatedly by threatening my reputation and safety. As a child, I was
afraid to bring it to anyone's attention. My predicament finally ended when
this bully was pulled out of school by his parents. I was relieved to get this
off my chest by confession to a priest. I got over this harrowing experience by
forgiving the bully.

The second incident was during my graduation with my Bachelor degree in Chemistry in(UP) University of the Philippines in Diliman,Quezon City. When I missed graduating cum laude,(with Honor) by just 0.24 points, I told myself I will pursue my Ph.D. in the United States to show my professor in Differential Calculus who gave me a "4.0" (condition) grade when I received only 69% in the final exam( I missed 1 point to get a C). I took a retest and passed it with flying colors. In my chemistry class, there were only 15 of us and only one graduated cum laude. That show how hard it was to graduate with honor in chemistry at that time. That grade of "4" certainly did deflate my ego and self-esteem, but two years later, I redeemed my self-esteem and inflated my ego by passing the Board Examination for Chemists taking 3rd place nation-wide.

Let me explained the grading system at that time, since I am not sure if it is still the same today.. In 1955 when I graduated in UP, the grading system was from 1 to 5 with 1.0 as excellent (A), 2.0(B). 3(C) (Passing). 4(D) Conditioned and 5( Failure). To graduate with honors, the average of your four years of grades are considered except physical education and ROTC ( Reserved Officers Training Corp). The scale for the following honors: Average for four years of 1.00 to 1.20 is summa cum laude ( with highest honors); 1.21 to 1.45 is magna cum laude ( with high honors) and from 1.46 to 1.75 ( with honor) is cum laude.

My four years average including the “4.0" that I got from Differential Calculus was included in the calculation (not my passing grade of 3.0 after a retest the next day) turned out to be 1.99 ( not high enough for honor). But if you calculate my four year average with the 3.0 that I got after the retest, my four year average turned out to be 1.74 enough to receive the cum laude ( with honor) award.

When I found this out, I was so furious, I wished my calculus professor be run over by a car or misfortune falls on her every day of her life. When I saw her in the hallway,I gave her a stare of hate (like an arrow that pierced her heart that did not stop bleeding until she died ).However, at the end of the semester, I was able to forgave her after talking(in a confession) with Rev Fr. John Delaney, my Jesuit counselor of the University of the Philippines Student Catholic Action. (UPSCA) at that time. I had to forget the incident, otherwise I will not be able to receive communion during mass.

But I vowed to the whole world, I will obtain a Doctorate Degree in the United States to show to my Professor in Differential Calculus of what she did to my “ego” (with the 1% score that I missed during my final exam.) Looking back, I think I should thank her for what she did, because there were numerous times during my first year in Graduate School, that I wanted to quit. But once I remember the incident( my determination to finish my doctorate degree )reminded me of the personal vow I made to myself a few years earlier.

The third incident is a culmination of my twenty-two years of experience working for private industries here in US. I lost my first job in industry on my own free will. I wanted to receive a 20% raise in income as well as move to a warmer climate. The second private industry job that I lost was due to the company moving and closing their agricultural research division and also consolidating their research facility in one location to save money. I lost my 3rd job in private industry, because the firm wanted to save money and also wanted to get out of the pesticide business. The 4th job loss,I had in the private industry was the most heart-breaking episode in my career. I had only one day of warning. After working for the firm for twelve years with good performance, it took management only one day, to tell me, we do not need you any more, good bye and look for another job. That feeling of anger,loss of ego, shock and envy (for those who were not fired) was indescribable and humiliating. I vowed I will never worked for a private firm again in my lifetime. My determination to work for the Federal Government was achieved, when I worked for the Food and Drug Administration in the Fall of 1990. This decision was the best move,I have ever made in my career. My twelve years in FDA was filled with purpose, awards, accomplishments and personal growth . Our life in the suburb of Washington, DC was filled with civic involvements, social activities, humanitarian projects, pleasant memories, cultural projects, and even a private tour of the WHITE HOUSE. Receiving Christmas cards from the White House for four years (CLINTON) was the ultimate fulfillment of a Filipino student who immigrated to the US in 1960, raised a family of four professional children, had achieved in his lifetime. I could never have worked for FDA, had any one of the four private firms not failed me, or had retained me as an employee.

If you have experiences that illustrate “that you have to Fail in order to Succeed”, please feel free to comment.

Chapter 4: My College Years: 1951-1955 / Epilogue after 55 Years


The Oblation Run* ( photo from paradise_philippines.com)
My first two years was in UPIC ( University of the Philippines, Iloilo College). At that time, it was only a two year institution. I started as Pre-Med as requested by my mother. My mom always dreamed of having a physician in the family. I made good grades, "A"s and "B"s (1.0 and 2.0) in all my subjects, and obtained college and university scholarships during my first year. On my second year,I was awarded the Fernando Lopez Scholarship of free tuition fees for the whole year. The award was given to the student with the highest grade point average in the whole school. If there is a tie, the student with the most extracurricular activities wins the award. I was also elected President of the University of the Philippines Student Catholic Action( UPSCA), Iloilo Chapter. With this activity, I corresponded with the President of UPSCA Diliman, campus. At that time the president was Constantino Nieva, a law student from Marinduque. Later, he was ordained as a priest and studied in Rome, Italy for his Ph.D in Theology. Fr Nieva ( we call him Tito Tino, now) is the uncle of my wife, Macrine Nieva Jambalos Katague.

Life in UPIC went by very fast. In the Fall of 1953, I transferred to UP Diliman, College of Liberal Arts and decided to change my major to Chemistry. This change was inspired by my chemistry professor in UPIC. The fact that I hate the sight of blood, in my Zoology class dissecting frogs, made this change easy.

"There goes my mother's dream". ( Note: it was only about 5 years ago, when my niece, D'Wanie Katague Gregorio finished her MD degree, that my mother's dream was finally fulfilled)

In Diliman, I resumed my active participation with UPSCA, becoming a member of the UPSCA Student Council representing my college. Our spiritual adviser was the late Fr. John Delaney, a Jesuit priest. The rivalry between the UPSCANS and the FRATS /SORORITIES was the most published and talked topic during that time. This topic alone will consumed several pages in this article, so I am not discussing it. But this episode in my college life had been documented already in my college memoirs album. Needless to say, the UPSCANS dominated student politics for years and until the death of Fr. John Delaney.

A circular chapel( Chapel of the Holy Sacrifice) in the Diliman campus was one of Fr. Delaney's project. During the ground breaking for the chapel, the names of one thousand (1000) students, faculty members and their families who went to mass and communion everyday for one year were buried in the church foundation. What an honor that my name was one of the one thousand names included in the church foundation.

It was Fr. Tino who first introduced me to his niece, Macrine Nieva Jambalos. That year, I also joined the "Chemical Society". As a neophyte, one of my task was to look for Macrine. I was not able to do it. At the same time, one member of the Chemical Society who resided in the same dormitory with Macrine knew that she was also looking for me. So we were playing "HIDE and SEEK'. Finally, Macrine and I met in the sacristy of the old chapel and the rest is history. Our college romance is too long to be included in this article. Someday, I will write a short version of our story for the sake of our four children and six grandchildren.

In 1955, I graduated with my B.S.in Chemistry degree. I had written an article regarding my graduation( the 1 point I missed in the final examination, that change my outlook in life) in another posting.

The Oblation Run, UPLB( photo from photobucket.com)

The two pictures above are the "OBLATION RUN", an annual activity that had been attracting nationwide visitors and the press in UP. There was no Oblation Run during my college years. The photo is from the web, by photobucket.com (pinoyblogosphere).
The first photo was in the Diliman campus. The second photo was the run in the Los Banos Campus,in 2004.

* Historical Notes about the Oblation Run from Wikipedia

The Oblation Run is an annual tradition of the members of the Alpha Phi Omega, one of the prominent U.P. fraternities. Members of the fraternity run around the campus naked (a concept known as streaking) to protest their sentiments about a current political or economic situation. The run started in 1977 to protest the banning of the movie, “Hubad na Bayani,” which depicted human rights abuses in the martial law era.

Contrary to popular belief, neophytes are forbidden to run. "All those who run are full-fledged members who have volunteered" are allowed to run, explains Ojie Santillan, the fraternity's Auxiliary Chancellor. "There is a misconception that the Oblation Run is something our neophytes have to undergo as part of their initiation. That’s not true. We never allow our applicants to join.(the Oblation Run)" Today, the Oblation Run is held on or about December 16th, in honor of the international founding of Alpha Phi Omega.

"The Great Centennial Run"
Exactly, on UP's 100th anniversary day, and in the “UP Oblation Run," 100 UP-based Alpha Phi Omega (APO) Fraternity and several UP alumni on June 18, at 11:00 a.m., ran naked along the University of the Philippines (UP) campus to commemorate the centennial anniversary. They sprinted from the Vinzon’s Hall and stopped at Palma Hall, for short photo opportunity. Jejomar Binay, alumnus and former prime chancellor of APO fraternity led the event. Runners called "Scholars of the People" carried placards, "Serve the People," to petition for the state subsidies to their education.

The History of the Sculpture from Wikpedia:

The idea for the Oblation was first conceived during presidency of Rafael Palma, who was the one to commission Tolentino to make the sculpture. Palma requested that the statue would be based on the second verse of Jose Rizal's Mi Ultimo Adios;

"In fields of battle, deliriously fighting,
Others give you their lives, without doubt, without regret;
Where there’s cypress, laurel or lily,
On a plank or open field, in combat or cruel martyrdom,
If the home or country asks, it's all the same--it matters not".

The concrete sculpture painted to look like bronze, measures 3.5 meters in height, symbolizing the 350 years of Spanish rule in the Philippines. The sculpture is replete with references of selfless dedication and service to the nation, and as Tolentino himself describes it;

"The completely nude figure of a young man with outstretched arms and open hands, with tilted head, closed eyes and parted lips murmuring a prayer, with breast forward in the act of offering himself, is my interpretation of that sublime stanza. It symbolizes all the unknown heroes who fell during the night. The statue stands on a rustic base, a stylized rugged shape of the Philippine archipelago, lined with big and small hard rocks, each of which represents an island. The “katakataka” (wonder plant) whose roots are tightly implanted on Philippine soil, is the link that binds the symbolized figure to the allegorical Philippine Group. “Katakataka” is really a wonder plant. It is called siempre vivo (always alive) in Spanish. A leaf or a piece of it thrown anywhere will sprout into a young plant. Hence, it symbolizes the deep-rooted patriotism in the heart of our heroes. Such patriotism continually and forever grows anywhere in the Philippines".

Originally, the statue was completely naked, but, as morality was prevailing at that time, it was modified by former U.P. President Jorge Bocobo with the addition of a fig leaf to cover the genitals. The sculpture was funded by the UP students of 1935-1936, and was presided by Potenciano Illusorio and Jose B. Laurel, Jr., presidents of the student council during the first and second semester respectively and was dedicated on March 1939 at the University's Manila campus where it stayed until February 1949, when the main administrative offices of the university moved to the new Diliman campus in Quezon City. The transfer of the Oblation to its new home served as the highlight of the move from Manila, which is historically referred to as the Exodus. The sculpture in front of the Quezon Hall at Diliman was installed facing west, purportedly a tribute to the American roots of the university. Today, that sculpture is only a bronze replica (which was recast from the original in Italy, in 1950, under the supervision of Tolentino himself) dedicated on UP's Golden Jubilee on November 29, 1958. The original sculpture is being kept at the Main Library (Gonzalez Hall), the former site of the UP College of Fine Arts, where Tolentino taught.

Several replicas of the Oblation were made for campuses of the University of the Philippines, some by national artist, Napoleon Abueva. 2005 national artist nominee Glenn Bautista,likewise, did his celebrated version of the Oblation in pen and ink as part of his school plates at the UP College of Fine Art under Professor Rebilion. The sculpture was registered at the Intellectual Property Office in the year 2004. Being the main symbol of the university, the Oblation is the centerpiece of many UP-related logos, like those of the Philippine Collegian and other student publications, the UP Cooperative, and the UP centennial emblem.

******************************************************************************
*EPILOGUE After 50 Years- Actually 55 years as of Today-October 4, 2010


The first circular church and first thin-shell concrete dome in the Philippines

The following article by Paulo Alcazaren( City Sense, STAR) written about five years ago brought pleasant memories of my college years and my first job as an Instructor in Chemistry at the University of the Philippines, Department of Chemistry ( 1952-1957).

December 20, 1955 ( also my 21st birthday) was the date when the first mass was held and the blessing of the chapel by Archbishop Rufino Santos. It was attended by an overflowing crowd of UP students and faculty members including most of the "1000" whose names were in the chapel foundation.

I am proud to remember, that my name is one of the 1000 names buried in the Foundation of the Chapel for completing the requirement of daily mass and communion for one year and pledging 5% of my student allowance to the building fund.

This article also reminded me of the war and struggle to control student government and campus life between the UPSCANS and the Fraternities/ Sororities. I was an UPSCAN then and one of the faithful apostles of Fr. John Patrick Delaney. Fr. John has a lot of influence on my life from that time and even today. His words of wisdom, charisma and encouragement still rings in my 76 years old body. I love you, Fr. John! May you rest in Peace eternally!

Here's an excerpt from Paulo Alcazaren article published in the Star dated December 21, 2005.

CHAPEL OF SACRIFICE

UP, DILIMAN, December 21, 2005 (STAR) CITY SENSE By Paulo Alcazaren - My first memory of the University of the Philippines was in 1965. My father had bought me a toy rocket ship and we launched it from one of the many open green spaces set within the lush campus landscape. I thought at the time that it was cool that we were the first to bring the space age to the UP. I was wrong. I found out later that it had come much earlier – in 1955 – with the completion of the Chapel of the Holy Sacrifice, affectionately known as Diliman’s "flying saucer."

Less than 10 years after that rocket launch, I found myself enrolled at the UP and painting that domed chapel in watercolor for a class in architectural rendering. That prompted my first visit and the experience was profound. I had never been in a circular church before and it felt strange to see the altar in the center. Nevertheless, I was drawn to it. Despite its small scale (only a hundred feet across), the space had an impact and a focus few structures here could match then, and that holds true even today.

The interior space was enhanced with artwork – a two-sided crucifix above showing the tortured, then the risen Lord, an abstracted river of life in a terrazzo-patterned floor below and 15 striking murals (Stations of the Cross) between the dome’s 32 columns – and added to the whole effect of embracing the visitor spatially and spiritually. The chapel was wonderfully open, blending the interior with the green outside. Finally, the setting – a simple, green lawn rising gently from the road – completed the postcard-pretty scene.

A Priest, Four Artists & Two Engineers

Fr. John Delaney, the controversial but charismatic Jesuit chaplain assigned to the campus, orchestrated the project. National Artist for Architecture Leandro Locsin cut his teeth designing it. Dean Alfredo Juinio of the UP College of Engineering came up with the innovative thin-shell approach which a young David Consunji implemented to perfection using the simplest of machinery and lots of guts.

Finally, three cutting-edge artists – Napoleon Abueva, Arturo Luz and Vincente Manansala – created the crucifix, floor and murals respectively, which started them on the road to national artist status. (Another national artist, in music this time, Jose Maceda, would premier his concert "Pagsamba" there in 1968 and repeat it regularly in the same venue.) One renowned religious leader, four national artists and two giants in Philippine engineering and construction make for a really special structure …and a compelling story of how it got built.

The UP transferred to Diliman in 1949. It was meant to do so in 1942 as part of a massive transfer of civic structures that included a new capitol complex at the elliptical circle. The war intervened. Immediately after, the future campus was commandeered by the American Armed Forces as their headquarters. The two Juan Arellano-designed structures built in 1941 meant for the colleges of law and education became military offices. Around it rose dozens of quonset huts and a chapel of wood, galvanized iron roofing, bamboo and sawali that had a distinctive vernacular-inspired roof (my suspicion is that it was also Arellano-designed because of some references in the literature to his experimentation in pitch-roofed silhouettes for the state university’s architecture).

Unstable Architecture And A Troubled Up

That chapel deteriorated into stables towards the end of the UP’s military term. It was in shambles when Fr. Delaney found it but he quickly went to work to clean it up, aided by an ever growing flock of students, faculty and residents. After the patch-up, the UP chapel became the religious center of the campus. In the early ‘50s it was shared with the Protestant and Aglipayan congregations reflecting the open spirit of community in UP then.

The growing population of students and residents in the 493-hectare campus, however, took its toll and Fr. Delaney, as well as the Protestant church leaders, finally decided it was time to build new and separate chapels. Under UP president Vidal Tan, the campus also accommodated requests and allocated parcels in the non-academic north section of the university for both.

Those were trying years for Delaney, president Tan and the university. Issues of academic freedom, the threat of sectarianism (fueled by Fr. Delany’s extremely pro-active involvement in campus life and the growing political clout of the Delaney-mentored UP Student Catholic Action organization), and fraternity and sorority violence (which the chaplain tried his best to solve) made for a more complicated narrative, whose total complexion colored the entire decade.

It was in the middle of this maelstrom that the idea for the "saucer" started. In May 1954 the Protestant chapel was first to start construction. The modern structure, by university architect Cesar Concio, was completed a year later. The Protestant Chapel of the Risen Lord was funded by donations from America. The Catholic congregation was not so lucky and had to scrounge and scrape, egged on by the tireless Fr. Delaney to "give till it hurt." Fr. Delaney also did not want to sell out to corporate sponsorship or be beholden to endowments from the rich. Almost all of the P150,000 it took (remember, the peso was 2:1 back then) was raised by the UP congregation. Students missed their lunches and faculty donated portions of their salary to the fund. No wonder the chapel was named The Chapel of the Holy Sacrifice!

Financially Contrite But Creative

It was more than sacrifice that added to the value of the chapel, it was the creative resource and risk Fr. Delaney took in the team that he selected to build it. He probably also felt the pressure to deliver to his flock a structure as modern as the neighboring Protestant Chapel. The saddle-shaped structure cut a handsome sight and his congregation would settle for no less.

During dinner one night at the home of the Abuevas, he met a 26-year-old architect whose only experience after college was to spend a year designing a radical circular chapel for a sugar magnate in Negros. It was supposed to be a gift to the Don Bosco fathers and meant to symbolize unity and openness. The chapel was never built but Fr. Delaney had almost identical requirements. The loss of the Bosconians (a congregation to which I belong) was UP’s gain.

Fr. Delaney wanted a simple but strong building that would be open to the light, air and space that UP had plenty of back then. He also wanted to maximize the potential of the site allocated by the university, an elevated platform rising slightly above and across the university infirmary and the Protestant chapel.

With the previous client’s permission, Locsin adapted the original design to fit the site. Fr. Delaney then roped in Dean Juinio for the structural design and Jose Segovia for the electrical design. The contractor was a young maverick named David Consunji, the founder of today’s construction powerhouse DMCI. The dean worked hard at fulfilling the requirements to create a dome to float above a thousand worshippers lightly and at the least cost. His answer: a thin shell nine inches at the base and diminishing to only three inches at the top.

When It Rained, They Poured

This type of roof had never been built in the country. It took the ingenuity of Consunji to construct it within the constraints of the meager budget and the lack of equipment needed to pour the shell within the 18-hour window Juinio set. The solution was ingenious and daring – four construction towers and a continuous ramp circling the structure allowed ordinary concrete mixers (churning out high-strength concrete) to supply a squad of workers in buggies rotating to pour the concrete.


The pour date was Aug. 25, 1955. It started to drizzle in the early morning and threatened to wreck the operation (the water would dilute the mix and weaken the concrete). But Fr. Delaney held a prayer vigil with UPSCANs taking turns asking for divine intervention. They got it as the site remained totally dry even as other parts of the large campus were drenched, even the University Theater, where the Nobel Prize winner for literature, William Faulkner, delivered a lecture.

With the dome completed, Locsin and Delaney sought the artists needed to furnish and embellish the structure. They were all given complete artistic freedom (so long as they stayed within the budget). Abueva hung his heavy wooden cross from the oculus (above which Locsin put the chapel’s bells). Luz integrated the symbolism of nature in the "river of life" into the terrazzo floor that connected the interior spaces with the circular lanai, which in turn was the smooth transition to the simple lawn outside. Manansala added color literally to the chapel with his murals of the Way of the Cross (with a 15th panel showing the Risen Lord – an attempt to relate to the neighboring Protestant chapel, perhaps?).

The Chapel And Up’s Current Malaise

At four in the morning on Dec. 20, 1955 the chapel was blessed by Archbishop Rufino J. Santos. Fr. Delaney said the first mass (also the first Christmas mass) to an overflowing crowd. In his sermon, he thanked all those who made sacrifices to see that the chapel would be completed. The mood of the congregation was joyous and it spilled over to January only to be dashed by the news of Delaney’s death from a stroke. The sacrifices and trials he faced in the last few years had taken its toll. His body was brought from the Ateneo to the new chapel for the requiem mass, starting a tradition of honoring those of UP who had made a difference.

The new chapel and the loss of their mentor only spurred UPSCANs to carry on their perceived mission of shaping campus life. In the years that followed they took political control of the student council stirring up a hornet’s nest of trouble that ended in the suspension of student political life in UP until a decision by the Supreme Court in the early ‘60s.

The story of the chapel and the university by then was moving at a breakneck speed towards more tumult from the left, right and center (literally). Martial law followed with the neutering of the university’s fustiness's. People Power followed and the UP’s gentle decline caused by financial woes, the indifference of government, physical deterioration of facilities and an inability to maximize its potential and pull itself out of the morass of internal strife and political issues that date back to those unresolved in the 1950s.

A Chapel Choked

I visited the chapel recently and was glad to see that the work of Locsin, Juinio, Consunji, Abueva, Luz and Manansala has stood the test of time. The ceiling is flaking a bit but most of the interiors, artwork and furnishing have stood up well despite five decades of service. The feeling inside is still magnificent and clearly the structure should be declared a national treasure.

I was appalled, however, at the condition of its gardens and the surrounding landscape. The chapel cannot now be appreciated as it was originally intended – a structure that was open and barrier-free. Gone are the visual connections to other buildings and the transparency and friendliness of the 1950s setting. The place has been eaten by the virus of horror vacuii – the fear of empty spaces that politicians with their city halls and parish priests with their churches perennially suffer from. Moreover the circulation of air is compromised because the structure is choked by so much extraneous material.

The chapel’s formerly simple and elegant grounds have been cut up into numerous odd-shaped parcels and "decorated" with themes, awkward fountains, "decorative" odds and ends (although the statuary isn’t bad) along with an over-busy landscaping that obviously cannot be constantly maintained.

I was told that a previous parish priest run amok and turned the grounds into a succession of follies that pushed the bounds of aesthetics and gives meaning to the word "ugly." I would gladly go on a starvation vigil to have all of it removed and the chapel given back its proper and distinguished setting, however humble it may be.

The rest of the campus’ balkanized landscape suffers similar fate. Colleges cage themselves in or surround their buildings with parking lots that are pedestrian-unfriendly. The architecture of new buildings seldom relate to their surroundings while lack of funds is evident in the lack of maintenance for almost every corner of the university. Gone are the days when UP Diliman carried an image of idyllic pursuit of scholarship. Today’s students pursue the next class across unsheltered narrow sidewalks and unsafe stretches of overgrown cogon.

The space age has come and gone for UP. Vestiges of its former glory are seen in structures like the chapel but just barely. The campus seems to have been sacrificed by the gods of macroeconomics at the altar of national belt-tightening. It may also be abandoned by Delaney’s God soon if we do not make the real sacrifices needed to ensure a rational, open-minded, non-sectarian, politics-free and aesthetically-abled future for the university.

Personal Note: In 2009, my wife and I attended mass in the chapel during our annual vacation to the Philippines from US. I was also shock of the appearance and landscaping of the sorounding area, I started to cry, hiding my tears from wife.

My wife and I have pleasant memories of our participation in the UPSCA choir for three years under the leadership of the Late Professor Antonio Molina. I first met my wife in the old UP Chapel, through her uncle Fr. Constantino Nieva, who was President of UPSCA in 1952. In 1957, we got married and the decoration of our wedding cake was a 1:1000 miniature scale of the Chapel.


Now for short article on UPSCA:

The UP Student Catholic Action (UPSCA) is a non-stock and non-profit student organization duly recognized by the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City. Primarily, as a religious organization, it provides individuals a formation rooted on the Catholic faith. It seeks to develop socially aware members who will become agents of social change. It aims to nurture a sense of family among members, encourage academic excellence, and direct collective energies towards active involvement in community and society.

UPSCA traces its roots to 1936, when Father Edward J. McCarthy of the Society of St. Columban organized a Student Catholic Action in UP as an offshoot of the Scholastic Philosophy Club. Since 1936, UPSCA has dared to respond to the different challenges in Philippine society and to stand by its principles, in the light of its vision of forming a truly Filipino Christian community. On the year 2011, UPSCA will be celebrating its 75th anniversary.

Here's the latest information on the Chapel of Holy Sacrifice from Wikipedia.

The Parish of the Holy Sacrifice, also the Church of the Holy Sacrifice, is the landmark Catholic chapel in the University of the Philippines, Diliman. It belongs to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Cubao and its present parish priest is Rev. Fr. Raymond Joseph Arre. Known for its architectural design, the church is recognized as a National Historical Landmark and a Cultural Treasure by the National Historical Institute and the National Museum respectively. It was designed by the late National Artist for Architecture, Leandro Locsin, which was only one of the five national artists who collaborated on the project. Alfredo Juinio served as the structural engineer for the project. The church is adjacent to the U.P. Health Service Building and the U.P. Shopping Center, and is serviced by all of the university's jeepney routes.

In 1955, then University of the Philippines, Diliman Catholic Chaplain, Fr. John Delaney, S.J. commissioned Locsin to design a chapel that is open and can easily accommodate 1,000 people. The Church of Holy Sacrifice is the first round chapel in the Philippines with the altar in the middle, and the first to have a thin shell concrete dome. The floor of the church was designed by Arturo Luz, the Stations of the Cross by Vicente Manansala and Ang Kiukok, and the double-sided crucifix and altar base by Napoleon Abueva, all of whom are now National Artists.

Being a pioneering building, it almost suffered a setback during the construction of the dome when the weather suddenly changed as the concrete was being poured. If it had rained, the concrete would have not settled, and the whole project would have been in jeopardy.

The first mass in the church was celebrated on December 20, 1955. Since then, there have been modifications to the church and its surroundings. The gigantic dome, which used to be white, is now green. The altar base was also changed from wood to marble, still by Napoleon Abueva. Perhaps the most significant change is that the church is now fenced off, and the once open grounds that surrounded the church are now landscaped.

On January 12, 2005, the church was recognized as a National Historical Landmark and a Cultural Treasure by the National Historical Institute and the National Museum, respectively. During the recognition ceremony, National Historical Institute Chairman Ambeth R. Ocampo lauded the church as a “masterpiece of Filipino artistry and ingenuity”. Currently, the parish is spearheading a project that aims to restore the dome of the historic church. This is the first circular church and the first thin-shell concrete dome in the Philippines.

Architecture

The dome of the church is supported by pillars located at the sides of the church, so that there are no supports to block the space inside. The unique design of the dome allows natural lighting and ventilation. At the middle of the dome is a circular skylight, which supports the triangular bell tower. The bell tower, then extends to the interior, supporting the crucifix. The arrangement of the interior of the church is concentric, with the altar in the middle.

Chapter 5: Could One Point you missed in a Test Change Your Life?


It did in my life and career! This is a true incident in my life. I don't think I have told anyone about it. I may have hinted it to my wife of 52 years,but I don't think she knew all the details. So here is my story. I have describe a summary of this episode in my other posting “ You Have to Fail in order to Succeed “

This episode in my life occurred when I was in 3rd year college at the University of the Philippines, Diliman. Q.C., pursuing a bachelor's degree in Chemistry. One of the subjects, required for the degree was Differential Calculus. I took this course with the engineering students instead with my chemistry classmates , because of some schedule conflict with my other elective courses. To make the story short, on the final examination for this course, I scored only 69% less than 1% for a passing grade of “C”. I was given a “Condition” and have to take a retest to pass the course. The next day, I took the retest and passed it with flying colors with a grade of 75%. So what is the big deal? I passed, how did this affect my life and career? Because of the “Condition” grade that I obtained, I was not qualified to graduate with HONOR (CUM LAUDE), even though my grade point average for the four years qualified me for that honor. ( the details of the grading point system in UP at that time was discussed in detail in my previous post).

The fact that I did not graduate with HONOR although I have the grade point average devastated my ego, and my self-esteem. In my class of 20 original freshmen, only 15 graduated in four years and only one graduated Cum Laude. This shows how hard and difficult it was to graduate with honors at that time.

With my ego deflated, I made a personal vow, that no matter what, I will pursue graduate studies in the US to show to my professor and the whole world of my capabilities and to redeem my self-esteem. My ego and self-esteem went back to normal levels when a year later, I passed the Board Examination for Chemists, scoring 3rd place nationwide.

After graduation I was hired by my Alma Mater (UP) as Instructor in Chemistry. Two years later, I got married and have settled down in our home in Quezon City, a gift from my parents and my wife's parents. A year later, my wife was pregnant with our oldest son. I had completely forgotten my personal vow to do graduate work in US. I was very happy with my job in UP and enjoyed teaching.

One day, I received an acceptance for a full teaching assistantship /scholarship from the US, from one of several applications, I sent before, I got married. I have to decide. It took a lot of discussions with my wife and myself. Is my burning ambition my number #1 priority or my family and future child in my wife's womb? I can not decide, but thanks to my late father-in-law, I would have been stuck in the Philippines teaching at the university. I did not know that my father-in-law had advised my wife “To let me Go”. My wife later informed me, that without her father's advise she would not have given me her consent to leave her for my burning ambition. ( My wife did not know of my personal vow at that time)

So with a sad heart to leave my family, but with excitement to fulfill my dreams , I went to the US for graduate study. During my first year in the US, I was tempted twice to quit and return to the Philippines. I was very lonely especially on Holidays and Christmas, plus the winters of Chicago was bad for my body, that was accustomed to the tropical climate of the Philippines . I oftentimes ask myself, What in the “Heck”, am I doing here with tears in my eyes almost freezing in my face and my nose frozen because of the frigid temperatures of Chicago.

But my vow and burning ambition triggered by the 1 point I missed at the final exam in my Differential Calculus class kept me going, until I completed my Ph.D. Degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry in 1964. The rest of the story is history.

If you have a similar experience that could have change your life, please let me know.

Chapter 6: A Christmas Story-The Ugly Americans*


Early Fall in the Foothills of Eastern Sacramento County

Is it too early to talk about Christmas? Tomorrow is Halloween, but the nights are getting colder here in Fair Oaks. The trees in the surrounding area of Eastern Sacramento are starting to turn dark yellow, orange, red and gold. With Fall season in full swing, I can not help myself thinking about Christmas. I can not think of any article in the past that I have written, that is more appropriate than this article I wrote for our employees newspaper at Stauffer Chemicals, Richmond, California in 1983. I titled it : A Gift from the Ugly Americans-A true story. Here's the full article as published in the Stauffer News, Christmas Edition, Vol.14, 1983, page 11.

December, 1959. It was my first year as a graduate student at the University of Illinois, Chicago. As a foreign student from the Philippines, away from home, wife and family, I was lonely, homesick and almost ready to quit school. However, my burning ambition to get a Ph.D. in Chemistry and not to be labeled a quitter, forced me to hang on for another year.

All my co-graduate student assistants realized how much I missed my newly wedded wife. They had been inviting me to their homes on weekend and holidays. I wrote to my wife almost every week, but how I wished I could afford to talk to her via overseas call, even just for 10 minutes. My stipend as a graduate assistant of $190 a month was barely enough to pay for my room and board and an overseas call was beyond my means.

Realizing my need, ten of my classmates arranged to pay for a call as a surprise Christmas gift to me. They organized a potluck party in one of the assistant's apartment and called the Philippine operator ahead to arrange for an open line to my wife. In the middle of the party, I was told I had a telephone call. What a big surprise to hear my wife's voice after one year of separation. I was dumbfounded.

I stuttered like a three year old kid as tears streamed down my face-tears of happiness and appreciation of what the group had done- the best Christmas present I have ever received. I will never forget that act of kindness and thoughtfulness from people I once called the "Ugly Americans"**. With that surprise gift, my preconceived ideas that most Americans were clones of Lederer and Burdick's characters went down the drain. Gone were my impressions that Americans were imperialists or colonial pigs, selfish and heartless people.

Today, we have lived in this country for 24 years, and pledged citizenship in 1972. From the beginning of our time here, we have made it a family tradition to invite foreign students into our home every Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. This is our way of saying "thank you", to the ten "Beautiful Americans" who gave $2.00 each to pay for the telephone call so that a poor and homesick student could enjoy the spirit of Christmas.

Christmas Lantern(Parol) made of Mother of Pearl -a symbol of the Christmas spirit in the Philippines

Note: William Roberts, Manager Employee Communications of Stauffer wrote me a personal note as follows:

Dr. Katague: Your story has been chosen to be published in the 1983 issue of the Stauffer News. It gives me great pleasure to tell you that you will received shortly in the mail a $75 U.S. Savings Bond to thank you for sharing your memories with us.


*The term could now be changed to " Beautiful Americans ".

**The Ugly American is the title of a 1958 political novel by Eugene Burdick and William Lederer. The novel became a bestseller, was influential at the time, and is still in print. After the book had gained wide readership, the term "Ugly Americans" came to be used to refer to the "loud and ostentatious" type of visitors in another country, rather than the "plain looking folks, who are not afraid to get their hands dirty like Homer Atkins" to whom the book itself referred"(source Wikipedia).

Chapter 7: Life in Chicago and Kansas City in the 1960's


Christian Family Movement Logo (CFM)
In 1959-1960 I went to the US to accept a teaching assistantship and tuition scholarship at the University of Illinois in Chicago, after teaching chemistry at the University of the Philippines for four years. I went ahead and left my wife and oldest son in the Philippines. That first year was the loneliest time of my life. Not only did I had to adjust to the cold winters of Chicago, but also did missed my family especially on Holidays and during the Christmas season. Fortunately, I had some "ugly Americans" classmates. Ten of them, gave me the best Christmas present in my life at that time. My ten classmates contributed enough money to pay for a long distance international call from Chicago to the Philippines. They pre-arranged the call so that it would coincide during our Christmas party. One of my classmates, Dr. Lee Gardella of Chicago was the mastermind of this surprise. He requested his mother who at that time was working for the local telephone company, to arrange this call without me knowing it. They wanted to surprise me. Boy, was I surprise when at the middle of the party, they called me, I had a telephone call. Tears flowed in my eyes and my heart pumped with joy as I heard my wife's voice from the Philippines. As a graduate student I was very poor. I did not have enough money to call my wife. Although my tuition is free, my stipend of $190 a month was barely enough to support me. I was paying already $89 for my apartment and the rest for food and incidentals. I wrote an essay about this surprise gift while I was working for Stauffer Chemicals in Richmond, California . The essay won a $75 award as one of the top ten Christmas story from its employees. I titled the essay A Christmas Story- The Ugly Americans".


The book (bestseller in 1960) that inspired me to write, Christmas Story

In 1964, I graduated with a Ph.D. degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry. My first job was with Chemagro Corporation located in Kansas City, Missouri. My wife and I at that time had already three children, two of them courtesy of U. Illinois hospital. My oldest son, was born in the Philippines. Our youngest daughter was born in 1965 in North Kansas City Hospital,a year later.

I had another true story on the birth of our son- third child in 1962. In order to save money, I moved the family from the University apartments to a student housing subsidized by the state. The housing was about five miles from the university.

One night while Macrine was preparing thanksgiving dinner, she started labor pains. I was so excited,I did not realized I was driving about 70 miles in a 40 miles speed zone. So there goes the police car with the blinking lights and loudspeaker. I stopped by the side of the road, blurted to the police " I am going to have a baby". The policeman looked at me and answered back," No you are not! your wife is ! Come follow me to the hospital". So we have a police car with his blinking lights and siren escorting us to the emergency room of the University Of Illinois Hospital.

Our community involvement were with the Catholic Church, the local country club and with the CFM ( Christian Family Movement) in the Kansas City Diocese.
OR FILIPINOS EITHER
We have our first discrimination experience, the first time we joined a country club near us. Macrine and the kids would swim at the country club twice a week. The first day, they were there, she overheard the conversation from two middle-aged ladies. She heard, a comment of the first lady to her friend, "look we are getting invaded by blacks already". Macrine look around, there were no black families around; she and the kids were the only colored ( brown) relaxing and swimming in the pool area. Needless to say, the second year, after we become more active and known to the community, I was elected by the members of the club as treasurer for two years. I was handling the payroll of three employees and collecting the membership fees of the 300 members. The cure for discrimination is education and ignorance is the mother of discrimination.

Macrine and I organized the first ecumenical CFM group in the Kansas City Diocese. CFM was founded by Pat and Patty Crowley of Wheaton, Illinois. While we were in Chicago, we were very fortunate to be invited to their home along with other foreign students studying in the Chicago area. These social events were welcome by us, because we meet other students from other parts of the world; we have a lot things in common to talk about. Thus, after graduation, we made it a point to get involve with the local CFM group. We wrote the Crowley's of our impressions of America as students. It was published in the ACT MAGAZINE dated May, 1968 as follows:
Simple Gifts is the book that chronicles the lives of Pat and Patty Crowley. They had a big influence in our lives while I was a graduate student at the University of Illinois.
" Not long ago we received an interesting letter from Dave and Macrine Katague. In the early part of this decade they spent four years as graduate students at the University of Illinois in Chicago. As native of the Philippines, they were in a strange city and a strange land. They would not have learned very much about it, had it not been for the hospitality extended by CFM groups as well as Executive Secretary Couple Pat and Patty Crowley. Reflecting upon their past experiences, Dave and Macrine Katague wonder about the attitudes of those who spent times in the States, but did not learn to know the people of our country." They write:

Our Impression of America

" During our first year in Chicago, we never received an invitation to participate in the hospitality program. Our name was probably buried in the list of foreign students or perhaps our foreign student adviser was sleeping in her job. During these first year of adjustments to the American way of life, we formed a very wrong impression of Americans. Asides from our daily contacts with fellow students in the school rooms or dormitories, our only other social contacts were people in the streets, subways, buses, department stores, supermarkets and other public places. These were all artificial contacts, giving us an impression that Americans are unfriendly, artificial, insincere, apathetic,intolerant and above all ignorant.The latter adjective was quite true, since the ordinary or typical American does not have the vaguest idea where the Philippines, Japan or even Puerto Rico is located in the map.

" However, in our second year, we began receiving invitation to spend a weekend in suburban homes as well as dinner nvitations in city homes. At first, we were reluctant to accept the invitation, however with our adventurous spirit, we said yes.
From then on, "we have the whole world in our hands". We are thankful to CFM, the YWCA and the Hospitality Center of Chicago for making our stay filled with pleasant memories.

"On the other hand what impressions could we have brought back to the Philippines, if our stay was limited to one or two years ( true for exchange visitors). How many visitors and exchange scholars brought home with them the wrong impressions and attitude towards the American people in general? I knew there were a few foreign students in the dormitories who were disillusioned about the United States. One of them was a former dorm mate from Chile. He received an invitation, but never did conquer his apprehension of accepting one.

" At present as couple leader of the first interfaith group in our diocese, we will do our very best to reciprocate, promote, and encourage hospitality programs to foreign students and scholars in our area. We believe that opening our homes and our hearts on weekends and holidays, is one of the best ways of promoting world peace and understanding. Let us then make it possible for foreign students and scholars get the true picture of America and its people. Let us give them the opportunity to share with us our way of life. Let us get busy as a group or perhaps join other groups in order that we can show to the future leaders of the world, how sincere, friendly and aware we are of other human beings in other parts of the world. This is one of the many ways we could be more Christlike, we believe".
This letter was published by CFM in their monthly magazine, ACT, for all their members worldwide.
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