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)

4 comments:

christups said...

Congratulations. Well written. I was born in Barotac Viejo but I grew up in Mindanao. I happen to know your sister Myrla, I met her here in Toronto.

David B Katague said...

Thank You for your comments, Christups. If you see my sister, Myrla in Totonto, give her my regards. I heard she just have an angioplasty recently. If you were born in Barotac Viejo, we could be related. Have a Good Day!

Anonymous said...

What happened to Rodolfo, the adopted child of your parents the year before you were born? How come he's not in the family picture and nothing was mentioned about him thereafter on your autobiography?



Rafael Marquez

David B Katague said...

Hi Rafael, Rodolfo( now deceased), our adopted brother after finishing high school got married and moved to Olongapo, Zambales. He worked at the US Naval Base at that time. He had two daughters and a son. His younger daughter married a US serviceman and now residing here in the US.

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