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
Chapter 10: The Pinole, California Years, 1974-1990
My Picture was used by Stauffer Chemicals to advertise the Richmond Research Facility. Part of the wordings in the brochure reads, "At our Richmond Research facility, more than 300 scientists helped develop new agricultural products for the growing hungry world-products which help nature improve the yield and quality of vegetables, fruits and grains. Stauffer Chemical Company is a pioneer in products for agriculture. Over the years, company researchers have developed a remarkable number of successful farm products. But more importantly, the measure of our work at Stauffer is how well we improve the quality of your life....and that of our neighbors and around the world."
When Shell Development Company closed in Modesto, I was forced to look for another job. At that time job was plentiful for those who have doctorate degrees. I have several offers both from the Federal government and private industry. During this interval of my professional life, I did seriously considered working for the federal government because of stability concerns. However, compared to private industry, the wages offered by the government was about 10% less than the corresponding salary in private industry at that time. Since my family is on the stage when I will need extra money for their education, I chose to work for Stauffer Chemicals in Richmond , California. I started as a Research Chemist and after 10 years (1984) reached the position of Principal Research Chemist. This is the highest technical position ( without supervisory duties) attainable in the company. In 1986, a mass of layoffs occurred at Stauffer Chemicals. The company was getting out of the pesticide business. I was one of 60 employees relieve of our duties after just one day of notice. I just can not described the feeling of being laid off after 12 years of service and good performance. You feel betrayed and unappreciated, and envious of the other employees not fired. How I wish I took the Federal job offered to me at the time when I accepted the position at Stauffer. But they say “No crying over spilled milk”.
The Chevron Chemical Company in Richmond. I was hired in their Ortho Research Division also in Richmond, CA.
After recovering from the shock of getting laid off (with 90 days severance pay),I started contacting my network of friends including friends in church, and in the community. A week later, I have a job offer from Chevron Chemical Company also in Richmond. I guess, GOD was guiding me. My new supervisor is a friend I met at our church. We both are parish council members and also Eucharistic ministers for the St. Joseph Catholic Church. This is an example, that developing a network of friends is very important. You never know when your network of friends could help you. My youngest daughter had learned from my experience. The last two jobs she had were through her network of contacts both in private industry and in the state government.
The twelve years we resided in Pinole were filled with community involvement for both Macrine, the children and myself. In 1976, I started taking night classes( one subject every semester) at the UC Berkeley, Extension Division. In 1980, I graduated with a Master's Certificate in Business Administration.
Macrine and I also got involved with the Filipino-American Association of Contra Costa County
One of our activities was published in the local paper, The Independent and Gazette, dated July 21, 1976. An excerpt of the article is as follows:
“A Filipino dinner, fashion show and program of community singing and folk dancing will be hosted for the public by the Filipino-Americans of Contra Costa, Inc. Donations is $4 per person and proceeds will go to St. Joseph Catholic School. Prior to the dinner, there will be a 5:30 PM mass. Part of the mass will be in Tagalog, the filipino national language. Dr and Mrs David Katague of Pinole and Mrs Oty Balagot are in charge of the liturgy. Mrs. Macrine Katague will sing “ Ave Maria”.
Menu for the dinner is lechon (roasted pig), chicken adobo, lumpia ( the filipino version of the Chinese eggroll), pancit ( similar to Chinese Chow mein). There will also be salad and dessert.
Filipino folk dances will include the “ Pandango Sa Ilaw ( Dance of Lights), performed by Dr. and Mrs David Katague. Other folk dances will be performed by various members of the association.
Loreto C. “Al” Almazol is general chairman of the Filipino Night and Gus Gutierrez, president of the Filipino-Americans of Contra Costa County, is in charge of decorating the Hall. Assisting him will be Mrs Macrine Katague, Mrs Connie Refre and Mrs Betty Almazol.”
The article had three photographs of Filipina dresses to be modeled and picture of the Katague's dancing the Dance of the Lights.
One of our other community involvement that was published in the West County Times, dated October 11, 1978 was a fund raising party for our local Children's Hospital Fund. An excerpt of the gala event titled “ Evening in Paris at Hilltop Mall” is as follows:
Pre-event parties are being planned throughout the East Bay in anticipation of "You..and... The Night and the Music”, the grand evening of dancing and entertainment being planned by the Hemlock Branch of Children's Hospital this Saturday from 9:00 PM to 1:00 AM at the Hilltop Mall.
Mr. and Mrs Jeffrey Blumenfeld of Orinda, owners of Jerri B's , will entertain a group in their home before the night's festivities begin. Mrs. Blumenfeld is a director in the Hilltop Merchants Association.
Another lively group promises to be those arriving from Mr and Mrs Steven Johnson's pre-party in the Napa Valley. Home-made Won-Ton soup will be the menu at Dr. and Mrs. David Katague's of Pinole.
Other hosts and hostesses welcoming guests for the evening of merrymaking will be Mr. And Mrs Ron Jeha of El Sobrante, Mr. And Mrs. David Waterworth, Mr. And Mrs. John Benone, all of Pinole. Mr and Mrs Len Stalhandske will travel from Portland, Oregon to attend the event.
This article in the same subject was published in the Independent and Gazette, September 27, 1978.
The title of the article, CHAMPAGNE KICKOFF TO HEMLOCK GALA
Hemlock Branch that rising star among fund raising auxiliaries of Children's Hospital Medical Center, will hold its champagne kickoff for “You.....the Night and the Music” and has been themed “ An Evening in Paris” this coming October 14.. About 2,000 guests are expected at the spectacular evening of dancing, entertainment and hearty feast of hors d'oeuvres catered by Narsai's of Berkeley.
The party is expected to raise over $10,000 for CHMC, topping by $2000 proceeds from the same event, launched for the first time last year. From 9:00 PM to 1:00 AM, guests may dance to Ernie
Heckscher's Fairmont Hotel orchestra, imbibe at our no-host cocktail bars, disco with “Disco Don”, and enjoy such hors d'oeuvres as prime rib sandwiches, crab puffs, teriyaki chicken, pate and eggplant with caviar wrapped in pita bread.
Chairmen Mrs Goy Fuller and Mrs. Albert Toretta, both of Pinole, said there will be a complete theatrical production featuring French songs, mime and Can Can dancing. Tickets ( $17.50 per person) may be obtained by sending checks, payable to Children's Hospital Branches, Inc or to Mrs....etc.......
The article has a photo of Mrs amd Mrs Albert Torretta and Dr.and Mrs. David Katague toasting champagne.
Dave and Macrine were also involved with the University of the Philippines Alumni Association,(UPAA) Berkeley Chapter. I was elected president of the association ,1989-1990. An article was published in the Philippine News dated June 6, 1989. The article was titled
UP ALUMNI SPONSOR KULINTANG ARTS CENTER
Berkeley, Ca- Dr. Dave Katague, president of the University of the Philippines Alumni Association, Berkeley Chapter, announced the opening of the Mindanao Exhibit of the Philippine Kulintang Center on June 4, at 3:00 PM at the 5th floor of the Philippine Consulate Building, 447 Sutter St in San Francisco.
Some of the interesting pieces on the exhibit will be the “ULOL” or canopy under which weddings and other joyous occasions are held; the intricate and geometrically designed “pis” and the “banig” or mat woven by the Tausugs of Jolo. Highlights of the afternoon's program will be the performance of ethno
musicologist , Danongan Kalanduyan on the kulintang (musical instrument) accompanied by Musiban Guiabar on the dabakan (drum). The article contained four photos of the exhibits, myself and other officers.
On September 5, 1989 the Philippine News published an article on my induction as president of the UPAA. In the article is a photograph of the incoming officers. A Hawaiian Luau held in my rambling house in Silvercrest Street was the setting of the induction ceremony. An excerpt of the article titled
HAWAIIAN SETTING FOR UP ALUMNI CHAPTER INDUCTION
Pinole, California—In colorful Hawaiian setting, the new officers and board members of the University of the Philippines Alumni Association , Berkeley Chapter will be inducted on September 9, at 4 o'clock in the afternoon.
Consul Teresita V. Marzan of the San Francisco Philippine Consulate will be inducting officer of the affair which will be held at the lovely garden of the residence of incoming president Dave Katague, at 2638 Silvercrest , in Pinole.
Serving for the calendar year 1989-1990 are the following:
President: Dave Katague
Vice President: Charito Rosete
Secretary: Norma Villarente
Treasurer: Andrea Las Pinas
Auditor: Edna Victorino
Parliamentarian: Cleotilde Balagot
Appointed members of the board are: Minda Azarcon, membership chairperson, Charito Rosete, program/protocol officer, Norie Villa and Cora Yabut, Public and Press Relation Officers in charge of Newsletter. The permanent board of advisers are: Dr. Mellie L Lopez, founder, Atty Juan G. Collas, Jr, legal counsel of the UP Foundation and past president, Cleotilde Balagot.
Sometime in the middle of May, 1990, I donated several volumes of technical journals from the duplicate copies from Stauffer Chemical library that were about to be burned and discarded. I was able to salvage several volumes of hard bound copies of Journal of Chromatography, 1971-1976. Also included in my donation were dozens of volumes of hardbound copies of BioChemistry ,1969-1984. The value of the donation was about $1500. Shipping was arranged through the Commission on Filipinos Overseas ( CFO). On May 23, 1990, I received a thank you letter from Alfredo Perdon, Executive Director of CFO,as follows:
Dear Dr. Katague:
The Commission on Filipino Overseas acknowledge with thanks the donation of five boxes of technical journals to the Institute of Chemistry, University of the Philippines.
Your donation is a manifestation of the willingness of Filipino overseas to be actively involved in the development efforts of the country. Such participation through the Commission's “ Lingkod sa Kapwa Pilipino” or “ Linkapil” likewise serves to strengthen the linkages between Filipinos overseas and their countrymen.
Needless to say, these books will be a most welcome addition to the journal collection of the UP College of Science Library and will certainly be useful to the thousands of students in the said university. Best Regards and thanks you again for your donation.”
In January, 1986, I participated in the United Nations Development Program at the University of the Philippines in Diliman. The program was for two weeks of consultancy ( lecture and management of research) at the U.P. Natural Sciences Research Institute( NSRI). My round trip fare was paid by UN and I also received a substantial amount of per diem during my consultancy period of two weeks. It was satisfying to give at least two weeks of my "Know-How" to my Alma Mater. The program at that time was called TOKTEN ( Transfer of Know-How through Expatriate Nationals). Today, it is called Balik scientist program. The program helps in the alleviation of "Brain Drain" from 3rd world countries like the Philippines. This experience made me feel good, because I have given back to my alma mater, even just two weeks of my time in the field of pesticide research and analytical residues method development.
During this time, we were not only active in the community but also in the parish school (where our three younger children were attending),as well as our church. I was elected to the Parish Council representing the Filipino-American parishioners. Macrine and I joined the choir and were also Eucharistic ministers.
In early 1990 Chevron Chemicals announced the closing of the Agricultural Division. The company gave us six months to look for another job. This time I swear, I will never work in private industry. I have two choices, work for the State or the Federal government.
On the first week of May, I received an offer to work for the Food and Drug Administration as a Review Chemist, Center for New Drugs, Division Of Anti-Infective Drugs in Rockville, Maryland.
On May 22, 1990, I received a farewell note from our parish priest, Rev Fr. Paddy Bishop and all the members of the St. Joseph Parish Council. The letter made me shed a tear or two. It reads:
It is always difficult and emotional to bid adieu to a friend and fellow laborer in the “vineyards”. In your case, it is doubly hard for you have been such an active participant in the affairs of the Parish of St Joseph.
The Council will miss you. You have been a source of ideas and suggestions vital to the functioning of a body such as this. We were gratified when you made a commitment to serve the council. We are sad you are leaving us.
You and Macrine have been pillars in our community. We shudder as we contemplate our ministries without you. At the same time, we share in the excitement of your new job and home and surroundings. Our prayers will go with you as you begin this new phase of you journey.
St. Joseph Catholic Church, Pinole, California
We thank you for all of your contributions, and send you forth with our prayers and hopes for the future. We are confident that you are much loved; by each of us, by the parish family, and by our Lord and brother Jesus Christ.
Signed by Fr. Bishop, Fr Morrison and and twelve Parish Council members. One of the parish council member is Jim Leary, my supervisor at Chevron and the one who hired me without hesitation, when I was laid off at Stauffer Chemicals in 1986.
Life in Pinole would not be complete, If I do not write about our tennis activities as related to our 25th Wedding Anniversary in 1982. As part of our community activities, Macrine and I played tennis almost everyday after work. On weekends. I also played double with the men's team at Contra Costa College. So, as one of my silver wedding anniversary gift to Macrine, we decided to attend a 3-day tennis academy package at Rancho Bernardo Inn in San Diego. The five star resort is home of one of the best tennis academy in California at that time. For the three days, we played tennis 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the afternoon. In between tennis we had gourmet meals and entertainment at night. The cost of the tennis package was very expensive, comparable to the cost of playing golf and staying at Bellarocca Resort here in Marinduque today. But the cost of the trip was not my concern, since it was my Silver Wedding Anniversary gift to both Macrine and myself. An incident at the resort is why I am mentioning this trip. As soon as we check in, Macrine stayed at the front office to smoke, while I carried our luggage to our room. On my way to our room, an elderly white couple approached me and requested that I also helped them with their luggage as soon as I finished what I was doing. I gave them a surprise stare and blurted out, "I am just checking in myself, and sorry, I do not worked here". They apologized profusely. Later on, I realized why I had been mistaken for a porter. About 90% of the resort porters, janitors and maintenance workers were either Filipinos or Mexicans. This incident is an example of how people judged you with the color of your skin and not what you had accomplished or what is in your head.
Our life in US would not be complete if I do not discuss our experiences purchasing a vacation time share in Lake Tahoe. Some time in the mid 1990's, Macrine and I purchased a time share at the Five Star, Ridge Resort in Lake Tahoe, Nevada. The resort is located at an elevation of 7342 feet above sea level. On the east side of the 8th floor of our 2 bedroom condo unit, you have a view of Lake Tahoe and on the west side the small town of Minden , Nevada. We purchased this time share not intentionally, but we were persuaded by the high pressure sale pitches of the aggressive sale personnel. They offered us a free dinner for two by just attending their one hour sales presentation and tour of the resort facilities. At that time most of the resorts time sharing program had no options for exchanges to other resorts. But the Ridge has that flexibility, so we signed up for a 2-bedroom unit for one week every year. We could exchange this to other five star resorts all over the world as long as they participate in the Interval International (II)Time Share Exchange Program. Since our purchase, we have exchanged our time share in Marbella, Spain, Cancun, Mexico. Puerto Rico, Aruba, Las Vegas, Nevada, Maui, Kawaii and the big Island of Hawaii. We had a grand time and fantastic vacations staying in five star resorts/hotel equivalent to The Ridge at the above places. Time sharing is not for everybody. You do need a lot of patience to avail yourself with the exchange program via International Interval.
My next entry will be our life in Maryland and my professional career with the FOOD and DRUG ADMINISTRATION- the Federal job, that I have wanted for a long, long time.