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!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Are You a Filipino-American or an American with Filipino Heritage?

Last week news on the bus killings of Hongkong tourists in Manila put the Philippines international image to zero. However, today, I will concentrate on positive news that will make you proud as a Filipino-American or an American with Filipino Heritage.

There is a big difference on the two terms above. A Filipino-American is just like me. I was born and grew up in the Philippines until I was 26 years old. I then immigrated to US in 1960 and became a US citizen in 1972. On the other hand three of my children were all born and raised here in US. They call themselves American with Filipino heritage, although outside they are brown just like most Filipinos. When my kids were in high school, their friends teased them and called them "coconuts". Do you know why? Their friends told them because they are white inside but brown outside. My oldest son came to US when he was only 18 months old. Then he become a citizen also at the time of my wife and my naturalization. He does not know much about the Philippines, since he has been raised in American soil since he was a baby. So is he Filipino-American or an American with Filipino heritage. I think he could be both. What do you think?

Back to the main topic of this article that will make you proud whether you are Filipino-American or An American with Filipino heritage. The following is Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announcement of the appointment of Tani Cantil-Sakauye to be the chief justice of the California Supreme Court. The appointment is a historic event. Here's an excerpt from the Governor speech for your reading pleasure.

" Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye has a long and distinguished history of public service. She began her career in the Sacramento County District Attorney's Office prosecuting and putting away violent criminals. In the 1990s, because she did such a great job there, Governor Deukmejian appointed her to the Sacramento Municipal Court. There again she did such a great job that seven years later Governor Wilson elevated her to the Superior Court and there she created and presided over the first court in Sacramento dedicated solely to domestic violence. And as I mentioned earlier, since 2005 she has served honorably on the Court of Appeals Third Appellate District.

"Every time that I meet Justice Cantil-Sakauye, I'm impressed by her incredible passion, her incredible passion for the law. She reveres the law and she knows that the role of the judiciary is not to create law but to independently and to fairly interpret and administer the law.

But Justice Cantil-Sakauye is much more than just a fine and widely admired jurist. She is also the living, breathing example of the American Dream. She came from humble beginnings, the daughter of parents who instilled in her the values of hard work and perseverance and the belief that in America, with that hard work and perseverance, you can achieve about anything. She even waited on tables to help put herself through college and then later on through law school. What an inspiring example to all our young people in America and especially to young Filipino boys and girls. Let's give her a big hand for the great, great work. "

My congratulations to Tani Cantil Sakauye for her achievements. An inspiration to all Filipino-Americans especially our American women with Filipino roots or heritage!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Time for Joke of the Week- Answered Prayers

From Sandee Comedy Plus. I hope this one will give you a smile, particularly if you have a "bad" day.

"The pastor asked if anyone in the congregation would like to express praise for answered prayers.

Suzie Smith stood and walked to the podium. She said, “I have a praise. Two months ago, my husband, Tom, had a terrible bicycle wreck and his scrotum was completely crushed. The pain was excruciating and the doctors didn’t know if they could help him.”

You could hear a muffled gasp from the men in the congregation as they imagine the pain that poor Tom must have experienced.

“Tom was unable to hold me or the children,” she went on, “And every move caused him terrible pain.” We prayed as the doctors performed a delicate operation, and it turned out they were able to piece together the crushed remnants of Tom’s scrotum, and wrap wire around it to hold it in place.”

Again, the men in the congregation cringed and squirmed uncomfortably as they imagined the horrible surgery performed on Tom.

“Now,” she announced in a quivering voice, “Thank the Lord, Tom is out of the hospital and the doctors say that with time, his scrotum should recover completely.”

All the men sighed with unified relief.

The pastor rose and tentatively asked if anyone else had something to say.

One man stood up and walked slowly to the podium. He said, “I’m Tom Smith.”

The entire congregation held its breath.

“I just want to tell my wife the word is 'sternum.'”

Saturday, August 28, 2010

List of Hypertension Drugs-Old and New

I have high blood pressure since I was 40 years old. Thanks God with medication and a healthy life style, I am still around to write this blog. As a retired Chemist involved in the development of new drugs from FDA, I still have an undiminished interest on new drug development specially in the field of hypertension drugs. The following article is written by Richard N. Fogoros, M.D., of About.com Guide and updated updated March 01, 2010.

"The following is a list of the most common drugs and drug combinations used to treat hypertension (high blood pressure). With so many approved drugs to choose from, settling on the "best" drug(s) for you will take careful collaboration between you and your doctor.

* Here are the things you and your doctor should consider when choosing the "best" drug(s) to treat your hypertension.

In this list, the (G) indicates that a generic form of the drug is available.


Diuretics ("water pills") increase the amount of sodium and water excreted into the urine by the kidneys. It is thought that they lower blood pressure mainly by reducing the volume of fluid in the blood vessels.

Diuretics commonly used for hypertension:

* Acetazolamide (G) - Diamox
* Chlorthalidone (G) - Thalitone
* Hydrochlorothiazide (G) - HydroDiuril, also sold as Microzide and Esidrix
* Indapamide (G) - Lozol
* Metolazone (G) - Zaroxolyn, also sold as Mykrox

Diuretics less commonly used for hypertension:

* Amiloride hydrochloride (G) - Midamor
* Bumetanide (G) - Bumex
* Ethacrynic acid - Edecrin
* Furosemide (G) - Lasix
* Spironolactone (G) - Aldactone
* Torsemide (G) - Demadex
* Triamterene (G) - Dyrenium


Beta blockers block the effect of adrenaline on the cardiovascular system, slow the heart rate, and reduce stress on the heart and the arteries.

* Acebutolol (G) - Sectral
* Atenolol (G) - Tenormin
* Betaxolol (G) - Kerlone
* Bisoprolol (G) - Zebeta, also sold as Ziac
* Carteolol (G) - Cartrol
* Carvedilol (G) - Coreg
* Labetalol (G)- Normodyne, also sold as Trandate
* Metoprolol (G)- Lopressor, also sold as Toprol
* Nadolol (G) - Corgard
* Penbutolol - Levatol
* Propranolol (G) - Inderal, Inderal LA
* Timolol (G) - Blocadren

Calcium Channel Blockers

Calcium channel blockers can reduce blood pressure by dilating the arteries and, in some cases, reducing the force of the heart's contractions.

* Amlodipine (G) - Norvasc, also sold as Caduet and Lotrel
* Diltiazem (G) - Cardizem, also sold as Dilacor and Tiazac
* Felodipine (G) - Plendil
* Isradipine (G) - DynaCirc
* Nicardipine (G) - Cardene
* Nifedipine (G) - Procardia XL, also sold as Adalat
* Nisoldipine - Sular
* Verapamil hydrochloride - Isoptin, also sold as Calan, Verelan, and Covera

Angiotensin Converting Enzyme Inhibitors

The angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (the "ACE inhibitors") can lower blood pressure by dilating the arteries.

* Benazepril (G) - Lotensin
* Captopril (G) - Capoten
* Enalapril (G) - Vasotec, also sold as Vaseretic
* Fosinopril (G) - Monopril
* Lisinopril (G) - Prinivil, also sold as Zestril
* Moexipril (G) - Univasc
* Quinapril (G) - Accupril
* Ramipril (G) - Altace
* Trandolapril (G) - Mavik

Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers

The angiotensin II receptor blockers (the "ARBs") also reduce blood pressure by dilating the arteries.

* Candesartan - Atacand
* Irbesartan - Avapro
* Losartan - Cozaar
* Telmisartan - Micardis
* Valsartan - Diovan

Other, Less Commonly Used Hypertension Drugs

* Clonidine (G) - Catapres
* Doxazosin (G) - Cardura
* Guanabenz (G) - Wytensin
* Guanfacine (G) - Tenex
* Hydralazine hydrochloride (G) - Apresoline
* Methyldopa (G) - Aldomet
* Prazosin (G) - Minipress
* Reserpine (G) - Serpasil
* Terazosin (G) - Hytrin

Combination Drugs For Hypertension

* Amiloride and hydrochlorothiazide - Moduretic
* Amlodipine and benazepril - Lotrel
* Atenolol and chlorthalidone - Tenoretic
* Benazepril and hydrochlorothiazide - Lotensin HCT
* Bisoprolol and hydrochlorothiazide - Ziac
* Captopril and hydrochlorothiazide - Capozide
* Enalapril and hydrochlorothiazide - Vaseretic
* Felodipine and enalapril - Lexxel
* Hydralazine and hydrochlorothiazide - Apresazide
* Lisinopril and hydrochlorothiazide - Prinzide, also sold as Zestoretic
* Losartan and hydrochlorothiazide - Hyzaar
* Methyldopa and hydrochlorothiazide - Aldoril
* Metoprolol and hydrochlorothiazide - Lopressor HCT
* Nadolol and bendroflumethiazide - Corzide
* Propranolol and hydrochlorothiazide - Inderide
* Spironolactone and hydrochlorothiazide - Aldactazide
* Triamterene and hydrochlorothiazide - Dyazide, also sold as Maxide
* Verapamil extended release) and trandolapril - Tarka

I have tried diuretics,calcium channel blockers and beta blockers but my personal preference are the combination drugs. Again, consult your doctor for the right drug single or combination for your needs. Watch out for your diet, everything in moderation, exercise a little bit, avoid stress and hopefully you will live longer in spite of your high blood pressure.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Twenty Most Beautiful Places in the World

The Niagara Falls at Night as viewed from the Canadian Side
Here's a video of the 20 most beautiful places in the world. Of the 20 listed, I have only visited two of them, the Grand Canyon and Niagara Falls both in North America. The other two places in my wish list in my younger days are Machu Picchu of Peru and the Great Wall of China. However, in my retiring years, I will be happy to enjoy these places in front of my computer. How about you? Have you visited any of the 20 places listed in this video? If you are young and healthy, but no money, then work harder to save and see the places listed in person before you are too old to travel. However, today just enjoy this video with me. Comments?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Statins-the right cholesterol-lowering drugs for You?

The following article written by the Mayo Clinic Staff attracted my attention today. Currently, I am on statin therapy (Lovastatin). However, lately. I have been experiencing muscle and joint pains- the most common side effects of Statins. I am thinking of quitting taking statins, but instead take fish oil capsules as suggested by a physician friend in the Philippines. If you are under statins therapy, are you also experiencing minor muscle and joint pains? I will be glad to hear from you!

"Statins are drugs that can lower your cholesterol. They work by blocking a substance your body needs to make cholesterol. Statins may also help your body reabsorb cholesterol that has built up in plaques on your artery walls, preventing further blockage in your blood vessels and heart attacks.

Statins include well-known medications such as atorvastatin (Lipitor), simvastatin (Zocor), lovastatin (Mevacor), pravastatin (Pravachol), rosuvastatin (Crestor) and others. Lower cost generic versions of many statin medications are available.

Already shown to be effective in lowering cholesterol, statins may have other potential benefits. But doctors are far from knowing everything about statins. Are they right for everybody with high cholesterol? What happens when you take a statin for decades? Can statins help prevent other diseases?
Should you be on a statin?

Whether you need to be on a statin depends on your cholesterol level along with your other risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

High cholesterol
If you have high cholesterol, meaning your total cholesterol level is 240 milligrams per deciliter, or mg/dL, (6.22 millimoles per liter, or mmol/L) or higher, or your "bad" cholesterol (LDL) level is 130 mg/dL (3.68 mmol/L) or higher, your doctor may recommend you begin to take a statin. But the numbers alone won't tell you or your doctor the whole story.

If the only risk factor you have is high cholesterol, you may not need medication because your risk of heart attack and stroke could otherwise be low. High cholesterol is only one of a number of risk factors for heart attack and stroke.

Other risk factors
Before you're prescribed a statin, your cholesterol level is considered along with other risk factors for cardiovascular disease, including:

* Family history of high cholesterol or cardiovascular disease
* Inactive (sedentary) lifestyle
* High blood pressure
* Age older than 55 if you're a man, or older than 65 if you're a woman
* Poor general health
* Having diabetes
* Overweight or obesity
* Smoking
* Narrowing of the arteries in your neck, arms or legs (peripheral artery disease)

If your doctor decides you should take a statin, you and your doctor will have to decide what dose to take. Statins come in varied doses — from as low as 5 milligrams to as much as 80 milligrams, depending on the medication. If you need to decrease your LDL cholesterol significantly — by 50 percent or more — it's likely you'll be prescribed a higher dose of statins. If your LDL cholesterol isn't as high, you'll likely need a lower dose. Talk to your doctor if you have concerns about the amount of statins you're taking.
Lifestyle is still key for lowering cholesterol

Lifestyle changes are essential for reducing your risk of heart disease, whether you take a statin or not. Lifestyle changes you should consider making include:

* Quitting smoking
* Eating a healthy diet that's low in fat, cholesterol and salt
* Exercising 30 minutes a day on most days of the week
* Managing stress

If you're following the recommended lifestyle behaviors but your cholesterol — particularly your low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or "bad") cholesterol — remains high, statins might be an option for you. Risk factors for heart disease and stroke are:

* High cholesterol
* High blood pressure
* Diabetes
* Being overweight or obese
* Family history of heart disease
* Not exercising
* Heavy alcohol use
* Poor stress and anger management
* Older age
* Smoking
* Narrowing of the arteries in your neck, arms or legs (peripheral artery disease)

Consider statins a lifelong commitment

You may think that once your cholesterol goes down, you can stop taking medication. But, if your cholesterol levels have decreased after you take a statin, you'll likely need to stay on it indefinitely. If you stop taking it, your cholesterol levels will probably go back up.

The exception may be if you make significant changes to your diet or lose a lot of weight. Substantial lifestyle changes may help you lower your cholesterol without continuing to take the medication, but don't make any changes to your lifestyle or medications without talking to your doctor first.
The side effects of statins

Although statins are well tolerated by most people, they do have side effects, some of which may go away as your body adjusts to the medication.

Common, less serious side effects

* Muscle and joint aches (most common)
* Nausea
* Diarrhea
* Constipation

Potentially serious side effects

* Liver damage. Occasionally, statin use causes an increase in liver enzymes. If the increase is only mild, you can continue to take the drug. If the increase is severe, you may need to stop taking it, which usually reverses the problem. If left unchecked, increased liver enzymes can lead to permanent liver damage. Certain other cholesterol-lowering drugs, such as gemfibrozil (Lopid) and niacin, increase the risk of liver problems even more in people who take statins. Because liver problems may develop without symptoms, people who take statins have a blood test six weeks after starting a statin medication to check their liver function. After that, your doctor may recommend yearly blood tests.
* Muscle problems. Statins may cause muscle pain and tenderness (statin myopathy). The higher the dose of statin you take, the more likely you are to have muscle pains. In severe cases, muscle cells can break down (rhabdomyolysis) and release a protein called myoglobin into the bloodstream. Myoglobin can damage your kidneys. Certain drugs when taken with statins can increase the risk of rhabdomyolysis. These include gemfibrozil, erythromycin (Erythrocin), antifungal medications, nefazodone, cyclosporine and niacin. If you take statins and have new muscle aching or tenderness, check with your doctor.

It's important to consider the effects of statins on other organs in your body, especially if you have health problems such as liver or kidney disease. Also, check whether statins interact with any other prescription or over-the-counter drugs or supplements you take.

Keep in mind that when you begin to take a statin, you'll most likely be on it for the rest of your life. Side effects are often minor, but if you experience them, you may want to talk to your doctor about decreasing your dose or trying a different statin. Don't stop taking a statin without talking to your doctor first".

Personal Note: A friend in Face BOOK who is a physician in the Philippines commented that a good alternative for statins are fish oil capsules. There are less bad side effects when taking fish oils.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Have you Heard of the Filipina Women Network, FWN?

Sample of Image You will see if you search for "Filipina" on Google or Yahoo

FWN is making news today. An article by Lito Gutierrez posted today on the Philippine Daily Inquirer attracted my attention. The title of the article is "Filipina Women's Network in US marks Glass-Ceiling Breakthroughs". I heard of FWN from from my daughter, Ditas,several years ago. Ditas is currently the Deputy Commissioner for the Department of Corporation, State of California and I believe still an active member of FWN(or FAWN ?)

The other reason why this article excited me is the fact that I am also an advocate for improving the on-line image of the word "Filipina". I have written blogs on how to improve the Filipina image on line, because as a Filipino-American, I very proud of the accomplishments of all Filipinas in the US in all field of endeavors and including my daughter's own accomplishment in the State of California.

Here's is the news article for your information and reading pleasure:

"SAN FRANCISCO, California, United States—Organization-image specialist Marily Mondejar was doing a pretty good job consulting for a mayoral candidate here several years ago.

Her team had been tasked to dig up dirt on the incumbent administration. One of the sitting mayor’s appointees had allegedly signed a construction contract for a crony. The media had a feeding frenzy that threatened to topple the Hizzoner.

“The name of the official sounded foreign,” she says, recalling the episode. “After further research, I found out she was a Filipina and I began to wonder why she was being hung out to dry.”

The mayor would be re-elected, but at the cost of the job of this Filipina official. Mondejar was appalled, not because her candidate lost, but because she felt the official had been thrown under the bus to redeem the re-electionist’s image. She named the official but requested anonymity for her.

“Very few came to her defense,” Mondejar says.

A support group

Thus, it became the mission of the Filipina Women’s Network (FWN), a volunteer, non-profit organization to “level the professional and business playing field for Filipinas across America.”

FWN was conceived in 2001 over lunch organized by Cora Tellez, then chief executive officer of one of America’s biggest health-care providers, Healthnet. Many in her circle of friends were in management positions themselves—Mondejar, who had taken on image consultancy work for a giant Mexican cement maker, and Virna Tintiangco, then a college student.

Tintiangco was FWN’s first president but when she moved to Oregon in 2003, Mondejar took over.

“We want to open doors,” says Mondejar, 59. “We want to let America know that Filipinas have the skills to compete at all levels in all areas.” She enlisted Filipinas who had proven their mettle in the upper reaches of the different branches of government as well as the private sector.

Successful women

Today FWN has some 800 active members. Its success can also be gleaned in the names of more than 400 people who have signified their intention to attend the 7th Filipina Leadership Summit in Las Vegas in October. Among them: former White House physician, retired Rear Admiral Connie Mariano; California Appeals Court Judge Tani Gorre Cantil-Sakauye, who has been nominated by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to be chief justice of the state Supreme Court; California Lieutenant Governor Mona Pasquil; Nevada Judge Cheryl Moss; Davis, California Mayor Dr. Ruth Asmundson; and information technology tycoon Zeny Cunanan.

Over the years, FWN has been associated with such social issues as domestic violence.

Mondejar said major impediments for women seeking to move their careers forward are issues at home, particularly violence inflicted by spouses or partners.

It is an issue close to Mondejar’s heart, having herself been a victim of domestic violence. In fact, the reason she came to America in 1981 was to seek a divorce from her abusive husband. Her tale of woe is typical. When she told her friends about what her husband was doing to her, she would be told: “It is your fate,” and “Try not to make him angry.”

Marily’s own struggle

She initially brought her two sons to the US, but since she could not afford to support them yet, she brought them back home to live with her mother for a few years or until she became financially stable. She recalls the pain the divorce inflicted on her children, one of whom blamed her for not sticking it out. She says it took some doing to make them understand. Now she says she has “a great relationship” with them.

In California, Mondejar found her feet. She got bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Humanities, and is finishing her thesis for a doctorate in Organizational Psychology. After 13 years as an image builder for the cement company, she eventually resigned to run FWN as a full-time career.

It is important for women, Mondejar says, to understand the cycle of domestic violence. “It took me years to understand that,” she adds. “I kept getting into abusive situations and did not know how to break the cycle and seek help.”

FWN has also become known for its women’s rights activities as part of its business networking agenda. Its most popular program is its adoption of “The Vagina Monologues,” the off-Broadway stage phenomenon going into its 15th year, whose theme—the vagina as a tool for female empowerment—has become a rallying point of women the world over. It has been translated into 45 languages and when its Tagalog version, “Usapang Puki,” was staged in Manila in 2002, church groups raised a howl, which helped ensure its success, she said.

FWN will present it again during its Vegas summit in October, which is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

FWN itself does not provide logistical support for abuse victims. What it offers is education and moral support.

For instance, FWN members were at the murder trial of William Corpuz, who was convicted by a jury of murder for slitting his wife’s throat.

Mondejar says she is also mobilizing her members to support the confirmation of Cantil Sakauye, who would, if elected in November, be the first Asian-American Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court. Sakauye is an FWN member.

Not mail-order brides

Despite the number of high-caliber women in FWN’s roster, Mondejar acknowledges that Filipinas have a long way to go in breaking the glass ceiling.

Google “Filipina” and most of the 3.77 million results are links to matchmaking, dating, and adult-entertainment sites.

“Initially, American men thought we were some kind of mail-order-bride organization and we would get requests to meet Filipina women,” Mondejar says. In fact, she adds, “many mail-order-bride and matchmaking groups still link to our website and we would have to back-trace them and remove their links.”

This was why FWN launched its “Shaping the Filipina image” campaign, which, she says, is just another step to create a positive image and open up leadership opportunities for Filipinas in the US.

100 Most Influential Pinays

During the Vegas gathering, Mondejar says she will push FWN’s “womentoring” and leadership program, and the selection of the “100 Most Influential Filipinas in the US.”

She hopes each of the 200 “most influential” Filipino women selected in 2007 and 2009 would take at least one Filipina under her wing and teach her what it takes to make it in the American workplace.

“Can you imagine?” she says rhetorically. “By 2012 (in time for a planned Pinay Power reunion) we’d have 600 more successful Filipinas after the final FWN 100 are selected next year.”

To be sure, FWN faces many challenges. For one, “funding and keeping the FWN mission alive,” she says.

But she draws her energy from FWN’s members and what they have so far achieved. She still remembers the first summit in 2001 when she was selling the idea to a group of women in San Francisco. After her spiel, one of them stood up, saying: “I’m in. I want to be part of this group. I have never been in the same room with so many accomplished women. Here’s my check!”

Then just about everybody else took out their check books and signed up.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Miss Saigon Show in London and Lea Salonga

Sun and Moon Scene
The other day, I received an e-mail from a Face Book friend complaining that the tickets for Cats with Lea Salonga singing the song Memories in Manila cost P5000 pesos each equivalent to a little more than $100. I told her that the price is worth it just to see Lea Salonga performed live and in person. Her letter reminded me that way back in 1990, Macrine and I paid to see Miss Saigon in London, the ticket price of $110 each. It was expensive then, but the seats were in front and it was the only two available seats at the time slot that we are free. The show was worth it. Macrine and I cried like babies at the end of the show. The finale was a tear jerking scene. I am now crying as I can still remember the scene after all these years. It was one of the best live musical we have seen in our lives(see the original Finale Scene in the related video below).

Here's a short video of the highlights of Miss Saigon courtesy of You-Tube. If you are not familiar with the story of the show, I have attached a short description and history of the show from Wikipedia below.

"Miss Saigon is a West End musical by Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil, with lyrics by Boublil and Richard Maltby, Jr. It is loosely based on Giacomo Puccini's opera Madame Butterfly, and similarly tells the tragic tale of a doomed romance involving an Asian woman abandoned by her American lover. The setting of the plot is relocated to the 1970s Saigon during the Vietnam War, and Madame Butterfly's American Lieutenant and Japanese geisha coupling is replaced by a romance between an American GI and a Vietnamese bar girl.

The musical premiered at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, in London on September 20, 1989, closing after 4,264 performances, on October 30, 1999. It opened on Broadway at the Broadway Theatre in 1991 and subsequently played in many other cities and embarked on tours.

The musical represented Schönberg and Boublil's second major success, following Les Misérables in 1980. As of August 2010, Miss Saigon is still the 10th longest-running Broadway musical in musical theatre history.


The musical's inspiration was reportedly a photograph, inadvertently found by Schönberg in a magazine. The photo showed a Vietnamese mother leaving her child at a departure gate at Tan Son Nhat Air Base to board a plane headed for the United States where her father, an ex-GI, would be in a position to provide a much better life for the child. Schönberg considered this mother's actions for her child to be "The Ultimate Sacrifice," an idea central to the plot of Miss Saigon.

Highlights of the show include the evacuation of the last Americans in Saigon from the Embassy roof by helicopter while a crowd of abandoned Vietnamese scream in despair, the victory parade of the new communist regime and the frenzied night club scene at the time of defeat.

Many of the major European musicals on Broadway started in the 1980s, including Cats, The Phantom of the Opera, and Les Misérables and then included Miss Saigon into the 1990s.

West End

Miss Saigon premiered in the West End at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane on September 20, 1989 and closed after 4,264 performances on October 30, 1999. The director was Nicholas Hytner with musical staging by Bob Avian and scenic design by John Napier. In December 1994 the London production became the Theatre Royal's (Drury Lane) longest running musical, eclipsing the record set by My Fair Lady.

The original Kim was played by Lea Salonga, who became famous because of this role and won the Laurence Olivier Award and Tony Award. The original Engineer was portrayed by Jonathan Pryce who won a Tony Award for the role.

Lea Salonga and Ditas at Reception in honor of Former President Estrada, at the Marriot Hotel in Washington, D.C., 1999.
Here's another medly of songs that my granddaughter, Carenna, loves so much.Carenna could also sing these songs even if she is only 7 years old.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

If you are a Type 2 Diabetic, Read this Report!

My wife and I are type 2 Diabetic. Having work for new drugs development at FDA for a number of years, my interest in drugs has not diminished even though I have been retired from FDA since 2002. The following article is a reference for new, and old diabetic drugs for Type 2.

It was compiled by Debra Manzella, R.N., former About.com Guide and updated May 2, 2010.
If you are a type 2 Diabetic, this is a must read article for you.

"It's been an exciting time for diabetes treatment - in the past year or so, several brand new medications have been approved to treat type 2 diabetes. These are not just new meds, they're completely new categories of drugs. What does that mean? These new medications work in completely different ways than the standard medications.

But does that mean that science is giving up on the old stand-by drugs? No, it doesn't. The oldies-but-goodies still do a good job, and coupled with the new kids on the block, blood glucose levels can stay even closer to normal and tighter control may be easier to maintain.

New Classifications and Medicines

DPP-4 Inhibitors: These drugs block an enzyme (DPP-4) that normally deactivates a protein (GLP-1) that keeps insulin circulating in the blood. Slowing the deactivation process helps reduce sugar production, lowering blood glucose levels.

* Januvia (sitagliptin phosphate): The first of the DPP-4 inhibitors to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Januvia is an oral medication which is taken once a day, either alone with diet and exercise, or in combination with other oral diabetes medications.

Incretin Mimetics: These mimic the action of incretin hormones which help the body make more insulin. They also slow the rate of digestion so that glucose enters the blood more slowly. People on incretin mimetics feel full longer, which reduces food intake, which helps some people lose weight while on the medication.

* Byetta (exenatide): Byetta is an injectable medication that is used in combination with other oral diabetes medications. It is not an insulin and it does not take the place of insulin. It is used for type 2 diabetes only and cannot be given with insulin. Byetta comes in a pre-filled injector pen. The dose is 5 mcg. to start, twice a day within 60 minutes prior to your morning and evening meals. Your doctor may increase the dose to 10 mcg. based on your results.

Antihyperglycemic Synthetic Analogs: These are medications that are created as synthetic versions of human substances, in this case a human hormone called amylin, which is used by the pancreas to lower blood glucose levels.

* Symlin (pramlintide acetate): Symlin is an injectable medication which is used with insulin for tighter blood glucose control. Symlin can increase the risk of severe hypoglycemia, therefore patients who are put on Symlin are selected carefully and monitored closely by their healthcare providers.

Older Classifications and Medicines

Sulfonylureas: These medications are the oldest of the oral diabetes drugs, and until 1995 they were the only drugs available for managing type 2 diabetes. Sulfonylureas stimulate the pancreas to release more insulin into the blood stream. Hypoglycemia can be a side effect of these drugs. Sulfonylureas can also sometimes stop working after a few years.

There are several "generations" of this classification of medicines. Second and third generations are more widely prescribed today.

* First generation: Orinase, Tolinase and Diabinese
* Second generation: Glucotrol (glipizide), Glucotrol XL (extended-release glipizide), Micronase or Diabeta (glyburide)
* Third generation: Amaryl (glimepiride)

Biguanides: These lower the production of glucose that is made in the liver. It also makes the body more sensitive to insulin. Cholesterol levels may be lowered as well.

* Glucophage, Glucophage XR (metformin): There is very little risk of hypoglycemia when metformin is used alone. Lactic acidosis can be a rare but serious side effect.

Alpha-Glucosidase Inhibitors: These delay the conversion of carbohydrates into glucose during digestion. This prevents blood glucose levels from peaking too high.

* Precose (acarbose)
* Glyset (miglitol)

Thiazolidinediones: Sensitizes muscle and fat cells to accept insulin more easily.

* Avandia (rosiglitazone)
* Actos (pioglitazone)

As of May 21, 2007, the FDA has issued a safety alert regarding the possibility of heart attacks or other fatal cardiovascular events when taking Avandia. Please call your physician to discuss alternative medications for managing your diabetes.

* Avandia May Cause Risk of Heart Attack and Death
* Avandia Linked to Increased Heart Attacks

Meglitinides: These stimulate insulin production when there is glucose present in the blood. If blood sugar is low, the drug does not work as well.

* Prandin (repaglinide)
* Starlix (nateglitinide)

If you are not a chemist( I am a chemist), the above names of drugs are hard to pronounce and spell, but I hope after reading this article, you did learn a little knowledge how these drugs regulate blood sugar in your body.

Also remember drugs is not everything! Watch out for your diet, exercise a little bit and avoid stress if you want to live longer in spite of your diabetes.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Timely Joke-RE-Proposition 8 in California

Results of Proposition 8 being declared unconstitutional this Week in California.
From Sandee's Comedy Plus: Here's the joke of the week. The subject matter is very timely here in California Proposition 8 Fiasco that has dominated the news this week.

"A father watched his young daughter playing in the garden. He smiled as he reflected on how sweet and pure his little girl was. Tears formed in his eyes as he thought about her seeing the wonders of nature through such innocent eyes.

Suddenly she just stopped and stared at the ground. He went over to her to see what work of God had captured her attention. He noticed she was looking at two spiders mating.

"Daddy, what are those two spiders doing?," she asked.

"They're mating," her father replied.

"What do you call the spider on top," she asked.

"A Daddy Longlegs," her father answered.

"So, the other one is a Mommy Longlegs," the little girl asked.

As his heart soared with the joy of such a cute and innocent question he replied, "No dear. Both of them are Daddy Longlegs."

The little girl, looking a little puzzled, thought for a moment then lifted her foot and stomped them flat.

"Well she said, that may be okay in California, but we're not having any of that crap in Alberta."

Stolen from: Phil of Phils Phun

Monday, August 16, 2010

Joke of the Month-How's Your Golf Game?

I do not play golf. But my son and a lot of my Filipino-American friends are golf fanatics. I dedicate this joke to all golf enthusiasts all over the world. Bellarocca Resort in Marinduque has completed a beautiful 9-hole golf course in Buenavista for the enjoyment of their guests. Bellarocca Resort and Spa is a five star resort in the Philippines completed last year. From Sandee Comedy Plus:

Three guys are golfing with the club pro. First guy tees off and hits a dribbler about 60 yards. He turns to the pro and says, "What did I do wrong?"

The pro says, "Loft."

The next guy tees off and hits a duck hook into the woods. He asks the pro "What did I do wrong?"

The pro says, "Loft."

The third guy tees off and hits a slice into a pond. He asks the pro, "What did I do wrong?"

The pro says, "Loft."

As they're walking to their balls, the first guy finally speaks up. He says to the pro, "The three of us hit completely different tee shots and when we asked you what we did wrong you gave the same exact answer each time, what is 'loft?'

"The pro says, "Lack Of F#%king Talent."

View of Golf course at Bellarocca Resort- Marinduque, Philippines-Photo from tripadviser.es.com
Here's a video about playing a different kind of golf game-Hitting the Gong

Friday, August 13, 2010

Ten Basic things you have to know about Filipinos

I found the following video interesting and informative. In case you have never meet a filipino or filipina, this video will be a good start to learn more about Filipinos. There are now close to four million Filipino-Americans residing in US. I am a Filipino-American and I am proud to be a "PINOY". Like any race, there are good as well as bad filipinos. But in general, Filipinos are friendly and hospitable and easy to get along with.

Here's a short article on Filipino-Americans from Wikipedia.

"Filipino Americans are Americans of Filipino ancestry. Filipino Americans reside mainly in the continental United States and form significant populations in California, New Jersey, New York, Hawaii, Alaska, Guam, and Northern Marianas.

The earliest recorded presence of Filipinos in what is today the United States occurred in October 1587, when mariners under Spanish command landed in Morro Bay, California. The earliest permanent Filipino Americans to arrive in the New World landed in 1763, later creating settlements such as Saint Malo, Louisiana and Manila Village in Barataria Bay. These early settlements were composed of formerly pressed sailors escaping from the arduous duties aboard Spanish galleons and were "discovered" in America in 1883 by a Harper's Weekly journalist.

Significant immigration to the United States began with the need for agricultural laborers in the 1900s, with Filipinos settling primarily in what was then the Territory of Hawaii and California, after the Spanish-American War, which turned the Philippines into a territory of the United States. This immigration would slow to a trickle during the 1930s due to multiple factors, including the United States' recognition of independence of the Philippines on July 4, 1946. Filipino immigration to the United States would not see a resurgence until the late 1960s. Of the immigrants who arrived after the late 1960s, most settled in California, while others found a new home around U.S. Navy bases, major metropolitan areas, the West, and to a lesser extent the South. Some came looking for political freedom, but most arrived looking for employment and a better life for their families.

Personal Note: I went to US to pursue my Graduate Degree in Chemistry in 1960. I have no intention of residing in US, then. But after graduation with my Ph.D, I was offer a job that was hard to refuse and I see this as a big opportunity for a better life for my family. A year later, my wife and oldest son joined me in Chicago, Illinois. The rest of the story is history. ( For the rest of my story visit http://theintellectualmigrant.blogspot.com)

The Filipino American community is the second largest Asian American group in the United States. Filipino Americans are also the largest subgroup of Overseas Filipinos.

The U.S. Census Bureau reported that the 2007 American Community Survey, identified approximately 3.1 million persons as "Filipino alone or in any combination." The census also found that about 80% of the Filipino-American community are United States citizens. Also in 2007, the U.S. State Department estimated the size of the Filipino American community at 4 million or 1.5% of the United States population. There are no official records of Filipinos who hold dual citizenship.

Intermarriage among Filipinos is not uncommon, as they have the largest number of interracial marriages among Asian immigrant groups, as documented in California. It is also noted that 21.8% of Filipino Americans are multiracial, second among Asian Americans".

I hope you find the above article informative and erased your homophobic( just in case you have) attitudes toward Filipinos/Filipino-Americans due to ignorance. Here's a video of some famous Filipino celebrities( see Part 1 and 2). This list is just a sample of filipinos who are known worldwide.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Sexy Names of Places in the World-Towns with my Parents Surnames

Chocolate Hills, Bohol, Philippines
While surfing the web, I found the following names unusual, sexy and funny. There is no particular order in the list. I also listed two places that are both surnames of my father (C(K)atague) and mother(Balleza). My father's town is in the Philippines and my mother's town is in Mexico.( see below)

With regards to my wife's mother surname, NIEVA, there is a street named NIEVA in Makati, Philippines and a bridge, named NIEVA in Gasan, Marinduque, Philippines.

Sexy Names Indeed!

Sexmoan ( changed to Sasmuan in 1990), Pampanga, Philippines
Tinurian, Iloilo, Philippines ( it means a place for circumcision)
Landi, Santa Cruz, Marinduque, Philippines ( Landi' could mean flirt or whore)
Condom, Gers, France
Fucking, Austria
Bra, Italy
Pussy, France
Cockplay, Scotland
Agay, France
Pennis Wood, UK
Three Cocks, Wales
Blowhard, Australia
Dikshit, India
Titless, Switzerland
Long Dong, Guangxi, China
Weener, Germany
Cocktown, Wexford, Ireland
Onacock, Virginia, USA
Seman, Alabama, USA

Climax, Georgia, USA

More Unusual Names
Paradise, California, USA
Cool, California, USA
Manila, California, USA
Earth, Texas, USA
Jackpot, Nevada, USA
Truth or Consequence, New Mexico, USA
Happy, Texas, USA
New York, Cubao City, Philippines
San Francisco, Agusan del Sur, Philippines
Mexico, Pampanga, Philippines
Chocolate Hills, Bohol, Philippines

Personal Connections

Catague, Bohol, Philippines

Catague is my fathers' surname. When he was in high school he changed it to Katague.
Catague is a small town in Central Bohol, near the town of Sevilla. Any one knows the origin of the Catague name in Bohol, please let me know.

Balleza, Chihuahua, Mexico ( Balleza is my mother's maiden name)

Balleza is a town in Northern Mexico in the province of Chihuahua. The town is named after Fr. Mariano Balleza, a priest from Bilbao, Spain.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Latest News from the University of the Philippines Chemistry Alumni Foundation(UPCAF)

I am a Life Member of this Foundation. I graduated from UP with a B.S. Chemistry degree in 1955. This year is the Centennial Year of Chemistry in UP and for the first time members of the Board of Trustees held a meeting at the new Research Building for Chemistry just recently completed and furnished ( map above).

The construction of a National Science Complex in Diliman, Quezon City started a few years ago which included a new Teaching Building for Chemistry. It will be completed soon ( see update below). The first phase of government Funding was 200 million pesos and the second phase was 118 million pesos.

Last year, I had the opportunity to visit the construction site through the kindness of Renan Del Rosario, the current Chairman of the UPCAF Board of Trustees. Fund raising for furniture in the new building are undergoing. Last year, I donated to the Foundation 10,000 pesos ( about $200) through Renan. I felt good about this donation.. It is my way of saying thank you for the the educational benefits that I have received from the University of the Philippines. My college years in UP taught me perseverance, humbleness, goal setting, ambition and high hopes for the future. I had a grand time during my college years in Diliman.

All Chemistry alumni and their friends are encourage to donate for the furniture and other equipments needed in the new Teaching and Research Building. Please send your donation to UPCAF, Inc, Institute of Chemistry, College of Science, U.P., Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines, c/o Renan del Rosario.
Life membership to UPCAF is 3000 pesos for local or $ 70 for foreign membership.

The Institute of Chemistry (IC) is one of six degree-granting units of the UP College of Science and is designated by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) as a center of excellence in chemistry.

The IC started as the Department of Chemistry in 1910 and was eventually reorganized as an Institute in 1987. Today it is recognized as a leading institution of learning and research in chemistry in the Philippines.

With the completion of two new buildings within the Science Complex, the IC continues its commitment to education, research, and extension services and in producing the finest graduates in chemistry.

Update on IC New Buildings

The implementation of Phase 1 of the construction of the research building and part of the teaching building of IC has been underway since last May 2008. Construction of the research building is expected to finish by December 2009. Phase 2 of the project for the completion of the construction of the teaching building starts January 2010 and ends January 2011.

The Project Team led by IC and Architect Lisa Santos ensures that buildings construction are completed on schedule and within budget by holding weekly site coordination meetings with the building construction management and contractor and representatives of the UP Office of the Campus Architect

Monday, August 2, 2010

Joke of the Month-Reunion- Friends and Sons

Reposted From Sandee, Comedy Plus:

"Four friends, who hadn't seen each other in 30 years, reunited at a party. After several drinks, one of the men had to use the rest room. Those who remained talked about their kids.

The first guy said, "My son is my pride and joy. He started working at a successful company at the bottom of the barrel. He studied Economics and Business Administration and soon began to climb the corporate ladder and now he's the president of the company. He became so rich that he gave his best friend a top of the line Mercedes for his birthday."

The second guy said, "Darn, that's terrific! My son is also my pride and joy, he started working for a big airline, then went to flight school to become a pilot. Eventually he became a partner in the company, where he owns the majority of its assets. He's so rich that he gave his best friend a brand new jet for his birthday."

The third man said, "Well, that's terrific! My son studied in the best universities and became an engineer. Then he started his own construction company and is now a multimillionaire. He also gave away something very nice and expensive to his best friend for his birthday, A 30,000 square foot mansion."

The three friends congratulated each other just as the fourth returned from the restroom and asked, "What are all the congratulations for?"

One of the three said, "We were talking about the pride we feel for the successes of our sons. ...What about your son?"

The fourth man replied, "My son is gay and makes a living dancing as a stripper at a nightclub."

The three friends said, "What a shame... What a disappointment."

The fourth man replied, "No, I'm not ashamed. He's my son and I love him. And he hasn't done too bad either. His birthday was two weeks ago, and he received a beautiful 30,000 square foot mansion, a brand new jet and a top of the line Mercedes from his three boyfriends!"

Cheers and Have a Good Day to All! May your sons be as successful as you are, if not more!

Personal Note: I have two sons. I am indeed proud of their accomplishments. Both are solid citizens. It does not matter whether they are less or more successful than myself, as long as they are happy of their own lives. This also applies to my two daughters and their respective husbands. I love you all!
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