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, September 25, 2010

New York City-Most Populous City in US


I have been to New York City a number of times. My first visit was in 1960. I remember visiting the Empire State Building, Times Square, Central Park, and China Town. Since then, I have been to the city, to see a Broadway Play, attend a conference( American Chemical Society), visit relatives, a little shopping and sight seeing ( Statue of Liberty). My impression of New City is that it is a nice place to visit, but even if you gave me a million dollars, I will never live there! Here's a short video of the sights of the City via Frank Sinatra.

New York is the most populous city in the United States, and the center of the New York metropolitan area, which is one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. A leading global city, New York exerts a powerful influence over global commerce, finance, media, culture, art, fashion, research, education, and entertainment. As host of the United Nations Headquarters, it is also an important center for international affairs. The city is often referred to as New York City or the City of New York to distinguish it from the state of New York, of which it is a part.

Located on a large natural harbor on the Atlantic coast of the Northeastern United States, the city consists of five boroughs: The Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island. The city's 2009 estimated population approached 8.4 million, and with a land area of 305 square miles (790 km2). New York City is the most densely populated major city in the United States. The New York metropolitan area's population is also the nation's largest, estimated at 19.1 million people over 6,720 square miles (17,400 km2). Furthermore, the Combined Statistical Area containing the greater New York metropolitan area contained 22.2 million people as of 2009 Census estimates, also the largest in the United States.

New York was founded as a commercial trading post by the Dutch in 1624. The settlement was called New Amsterdam until 1664 when the colony came under English control. New York served as the capital of the United States from 1785 until 1790. It has been the country's largest city since 1790. As many as 800 languages are spoken in New York City, making it the most linguistically diverse city in the world.

Many districts and landmarks in the city have become well known to outsiders. The Statue of Liberty greeted millions of immigrants as they came to America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Times Square, iconified as "The Crossroads of the World", is the brightly illuminated hub of the Broadway theater district, one of the world's busiest pedestrian intersections, and a major center of the world's entertainment industry. Anchored by Wall Street, in Lower Manhattan, New York City vies with London as the financial capital of the world is home to the New York Stock Exchange, the world's largest stock exchange by market capitalization of its listed companies. The original Manhattan Chinatown attracts throngs of tourists to its bustling sidewalks and retail establishments. World-class schools and universities such as Columbia University and New York University also reside in New York City.

Additional Personal Note: Before September 11, 2001, Our daughter gave us a tour of her office in the World Trade Center. I was really impressed with the Twin Towers, so the bombing of the Twin Tower on 9/11/01, I consider a personal loss.
Twin Tower Of WTC (March, 2001)

This posting is part 1 of a series I am planning to write on cities that we have resided and visited in US. Future series(Part 2), will be cities that we have visited outside the US through our International Interval Exchange Vacation Program such as London, Rome, Marbella, Spain, Morrocco, Cancun, Mexico, San Juan, Puerto Rico and all the Hawaiian Islands.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Origin of the Filipino Race- Japanese-American War in the Philippines

Si Malakas at Maganda(The Strong and the Beautiful)
Sometime in the early 1970's, I was invited as a guest speaker by the Lions Club in Kansas City, Missouri. They requested that I talked about The Filipino-American War (1898-1902) and also the Japanese-American War(I941-1945). My knowledge of the first war was from books that I have read. However, I have personal knowledge of the second war having written an article about my childhood memories of that War( see video at bottom of this page).

In my speech class in college, I was taught that in giving a speech, start with a joke to put your audience and you at ease. Preferably your joke should be related to your topic. So this is my joke. Do you know the origin of the Filipino Race?

Evidently, when God created mankind, he molded the human form using clays and an oven. The first time, he was doing this, God was so excited that he took what he was baking too soon. The human clay was under cooked or underdone. So it was pale and white. That was the origin of the White Race. God was not happy, so he started to bake another human form. This time he got a telephone call from Satan. God was upset he forgot about what he was doing and the baking over done, the human form was overcooked, and turned black. This was the origin of the Negro Race. God then told himself. This time It will be perfect. I will watch it very carefully and will not be distracted by any calls. His baking was perfect. The human form was golden brown, and perfectly cooked. This was the origin of the Filipino race.

The following video summarizes the Invasion Of the Philippines by the Japanese as well as the destruction of Manila. Do not forget to view the related videos in this set. This is a must see video for all history enthusiasts and students.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Filoli Mansion and Gardens , Woodside, California

The Sunken Garden

If you live in Northern California and you love gardens, the Filoli Mansion and Gardens will be worth a visit. I love specially the rose gardens and the antique furnitures inside the mansion. It is about 25 miles south of San Francisco. Here's a video for your enjoyment.


Filoli is a country house set in 16 acres (6.5 ha) of formal gardens surrounded by 654 acres (265 ha) estate, located in Woodside, California, about 25 miles (40 km) south of San Francisco, at the southern end of Crystal Springs Lake, on the eastern slope of the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Filoli was built between 1915 and 1917 for William Bowers Bourn II and his wife, Agnes Moody Bourn. The principal designer, San Francisco architect Willis Polk, used a free Georgian style that incorporated the tiled roofs characteristic of California.] Polk had previously designed Bourn's houses in Grass Valley and on Webster Street in San Francisco. Bruce Porter was commissioned to collaborate with the Bourns in planning the gardens, which were laid out 1917-1922.


Filoli served as one of the Bourns' residences from 1917 to 1936. Mr. Bourn was president of the Spring Valley Water Company, which owned Crystal Springs Lake and the surrounding area. The name of the estate is an acronym formed by combining the first two letters from the key words of William Bourn's credo: "Fight for a just cause; Love your fellow man; Live a good life."

Following the deaths of William and Agnes Bourn in 1936, the estate was sold to Mr. and Mrs. William P. Roth, owners of the Matson Navigation Company, in 1937. The Roth family built Filoli's botanic gardens. In 1975, Mrs. Roth donated the estate in its entirety to the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The 16 acres (6.5 ha) of gardens are structured as a series of garden spaces that open one from another, providing long axial views, in which profuse naturalized plantings of hardy and annual plants contrast with lawns, paving, formal reflecting pools, framed in walls and clipped hedging (illustration, right) and punctuated by many narrowly columnar Irish yews, originally grown on the estate from cuttings. Filoli is an outstanding example of the Anglo-American gardening style that was pioneered at the end of the nineteenth century by Edwin Lutyens and Gertrude Jekyll in British gardens and exemplified in the U.S. by designs of Charles A. Platt and Beatrix Farrand.

Today, Filoli is open for public tours. Attractions include self-guided tours, guided tours, and nature hikes. The formal gardens include several areas, including the Wedding Place, especially designed for Berenice Roth's wedding. Lurline and Berenice both had their wedding receptions at Filoli, but Berenice's wedding is the only one that has ever taken place at Filoli. The largest gardens are working gardens for the production of cut flowers for the mansion and for the growing of some vegetables.

Filoli has served as the set for many Hollywood movies. Most famously, it is the mansion seen from the air in the opening credits of the television series Dynasty. The mansion's plush interiors were also featured in the first episodes of the series but were subsequently replicated on sound stages at the Fox Studios, Century City. However the entire mansion served as the setting for the 2006 CBS Television special Dynasty Reunion.

Among the many striking mature trees on the grounds are a row of immense Italian Stone Pines and scattered specimen native Coast Live Oaks over 250 years in age, the latter of which are the backdrop for Warren Beatty's outdoor scenes in Heaven Can Wait. The Filoli estate recently went through extensive rehabilitation and a new visitor center and café were built. San Francisco architecture firm, Architectural Resources Group designed the new visitor and education center as well as oversaw seismic strengthening of the historic main house. The new facility includes a 255 seat assembly room, main lobby orientation room, a café, offices and a catering kitchen.

Filoli was featured in Bob Vila's A&E Network production, Guide to Historic Homes of America, as well as in a November 1996 segment of A&E's America's Castles: Garden Estates, the latter being shown continuously at the visitor center.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Tour of Sacramento and the State Capitol

My two Sisters ( Myrla and Agnes) and Brother-in-law ( Dennis) and ME in front of the Capitol. This photo was taken in the summer of 2009. Agnes and Dennis are from Maryland and Myrla is from Toronto, Canada



The California State Capitol sits in Sacramento, California, at the west end of Capitol Park. The grounds are framed by L Street to the north, N Street to the south, 10th Street to the west, and 15th Street to the east. The Capitol houses the California State Legislature and the Office of the Governor of California. The building was constructed in the Neoclassical architectural style between 1861 and 1874 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as of 1973.

Exterior

The building is based on the distant Capitol in Washington D.C. The west facade ends in projecting bays, and a portico projects from the center of the building. At the base of the portico, seven granite archways brace and support the porch above. Eight fluted Corinthian columns line the portico. A cornice supports the pediment above that depicts Minerva surrounded by Education, Justice, and Mining.

Above the flat roof with balustrade rise two drums supporting a dome. The first drum consists of a colonnade of Corinthian columns; the second, Corinthian pilasters. Large arched windows line the drum walls. The dome rises 220 feet, matching the dome of the U.S. Capitol. This dome supports a lantern with a smaller dome capped with a bright gold ball.

Interior

The California Senate Chamber seats its forty members in a large chamber room enveloped in red, which is a nod to the British House of Lords, also the upper house of a bicameral legislature. The Chamber is entered through a second floor corridor. The red carpeting has a Victorian-era design. From the coffered ceiling hangs an electric reproduction of the original gas chandelier. A hand-carved dais caps off a recessed bay framed by Corinthian columns.

The Latin phrase "Senatoris est civitatis libertatem tueri" ["It is the duty of a Senator to protect the liberty of the people"] lines the cornice. A portrait of George Washington by Jane Stuart, the daughter of Gilbert Stuart, looks down from the wall above. The State Seal hangs above.

Gilded Corinthian columns support the gallery above, and dark red curtains that can be drawn for privacy are tied back along the columns. High arched windows run along the bottom below rectangular pane windows. Behind the rostrum, there are two chairs with red velvet cushions, reserved for the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the Assembly, but are never used.

The California Assembly Chamber is located at the opposite end of the Senate. Like the Senate, its green tones are based on British House of Commons, the lower house. The dais rests along a wall shaped like an "E", with the central projection housing the rostrum. Along the cornice appears a quotation from Abraham Lincoln in Latin: legislatorum est justas leges condere ("It is the duty of legislators to pass just laws").

2001 attack

On January 16, 2001, Michael Bowers, a semi-trailer truck driver with a criminal history, drove over a curb, up a short walk-way, and rammed his truck into the southern portico. The truck's fuel tank ignited, killing him and causing $15 million in damage to the Capitol.



If you are in the Sacramento area, a free tour of the capitol and it grounds is a good use of your time. Adjacent to the capitol is the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, A National Shrine, It is also a must see if you are Catholic.
Inside the Cathedral

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Be Proud you are a Filipino-The Filipino Today

The August 23 Hostage Drama of Hongkong Tourist Bus in Manila-Put the International Image of the Philippines to Zero

I received the following article from a friend in the Philippines today. As I read this article, my heart starts to hurt and I shed a tear or two. I am joining this author for forgiveness from the families of the Hongkong tourists who were killed by a crazy ex police man. The article is THE FILIPINO TODAY and written by Alex Lacson.

"After the August 23 hostage drama, there is just too much negativity about and against the Filipino. “It is difficult to be a Filipino these days”, says a friend who works in Hongkong. “Nakakahiya tayo”, “Only in the Philippines ” were some of the comments lawyer Trixie Cruz-Angeles received in her Facebook. There is this email supposedly written by a Dutch married to a Filipina, with 2 kids, making a litany of the supposed stupidity or idiocy of Filipinos in general. There was also this statement by Fermi Wong, founder of Unison HongKong, where she said – “Filipino maids have a very low status in our city”. Then there is this article from a certain Daniel Wagner of Huffington Post, wherein he said he sees nothing good in our country’s future.

Clearly, the hostage crisis has spawned another crisis – a crisis of faith in the Filipino, one that exists in the minds of a significant number of Filipinos and some quarters in the world. It is important for us Filipinos to take stock of ourselves as a people – of who we truly are as a people. It is important that we remind ourselves who the Filipino really is, before our young children believe all this negativity that they hear and read about the Filipino.

We have to protect and defend the Filipino in each one of us.The August 23 hostage fiasco is now part of us as Filipinos, it being part now of our country’s and world’s history. But that is not all that there is to the Filipino. Yes, we accept it as a failure on our part, a disappointment to HongKong , China and to the whole world.

But there is so much more about the Filipino.

In 1945, at the end of World War II, Hitler and his Nazi had killed more than 6 million Jews in Europe . But in 1939, when the Jews and their families were fleeing Europe at a time when several countries refused to open their doors to them, our Philippines did the highly risky and the unlikely –thru President Manuel L Quezon, we opened our country’s doors and our nation’s heart to the fleeing and persecuted Jews. Eventually, some 1,200 Jews and their families made it to Manila . Last 21 June 2010, or 70 years later, the first ever monument honoring Quezon and the Filipino nation for this “open door policy” was inaugurated on Israeli soil, at the 65-hectare Holocaust Memorial Park in Rishon LeZion, Israel.

The Filipino heart is one of history’s biggest, one of the world’s rare jewels, and one of humanity’s greatest treasures. In 2007,Baldomero M. Olivera, a Filipino, was chosen and awarded as the Scientist for the Year 2007 by Harvard University Foundation, for his work in neurotoxins which is produced by venomous cone snails commonly found in the tropical waters of Philippines . Olivera is a distinguished professor of biology at University of Utah , USA . The Scientist for the Year 2007 award was given to him in recognition to his outstanding contribution to science, particularly to molecular biology and groundbreaking work with conotoxins. The research conducted by Olivera’s group became the basis for the production of commercial drug called Prialt (generic name – Ziconotide), which is considered more effective than morphine and does not result in addiction.

The Filipino mind is one of the world’s best, one of humanity’s great assets. The Filipino is capable of greatness, of making great sacrifices for the greater good of the least of our people. Josette Biyois an example of this. Biyo has masteral and doctoral degress from one of the top universities in the Philippines – the De La Salle University (Taft, Manila ) – where she used to teach rich college students and was paid well for it. But Dr Biyo left all that and all the glamour of Manila , and chose to teach in a far-away public school in a rural area in the province, receiving the salary of less than US$ 300 a month. When asked why she did that, she replied “but who will teach our children?” In recognition of the rarity of her kind, the world-famous Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States honoured Dr Biyo a very rare honor – by naming a small and new-discovered planet in our galaxy as “Biyo”.

The Filipino is one of humanity’s best examples on the greatness of human spirit!
Efren Penaflorida was born to a father who worked as a tricycle driver and a mother who worked as laundrywoman. Through sheer determination and the help of other people, Penaflorida finished college. In 1997, Penaflorida and his friends formed a group that made pushcarts (kariton) and loaded them with books, pens, crayons, blackboard, clothes, jugs of water, and a Philippine flag. Then he and his group would go to the public cemetery, market and garbage dump sites in Cavite City – to teach street children with reading, math, basic literacy skills and values, to save them from illegal drugs and prevent them from joining gangs. Penaflorida and his group have been doing this for more than a decade. Last year, Penaflorida was chosen and awarded as CNN Hero for 2009. Efren Penaflorida is one of the great human beings alive today. And he is a Filipino!

Nestor Suplico is yet another example of the Filipino’s nobility of spirit. Suplico was a taxi driver In New York. On 17 July 2004, Suplico drove 43 miles from New York City to Connecticut , USA to return the US$80,000 worth of jewelry (rare black pearls) to his passenger who forgot it at the back seat of his taxi. When his passenger offered to give him a reward, Suplico even refused the reward. He just asked to be reimbursed for his taxi fuel for his travel to Connecticut . At the time, Suplico was just earning $80 a day as a taxi driver. What do you call that? That’s honesty in its purest sense. That is decency most sublime. And it occurred in New York , the Big Apple City , where all kinds of snakes and sinners abound, and a place where – according to American novelist Sydney Sheldon – angels no longer descend. No wonder all New York newspapers called him “ New York ’s Most Honest Taxi Driver”. The New York City Government also held a ceremony to officially acknowledge his noble deed. The Philippine Senate passed a Resolution for giving honors to the Filipino people and our country.

In Singapore , Filipina Marites Perez-Galam, 33, a mother of four, found a wallet in a public toilet near the restaurant where she works as the head waitress found a wallet containing 16,000 Singaporean dollars (US $11,000). Maritess immediately handed the wallet to the restaurant manager of Imperial Herbal restaurant where she worked located in Vivo City Mall. The manager in turn reported the lost money to the mall’s management. It took the Indonesian woman less than two hours to claim her lost wallet intended for her son’s ear surgery that she and her husband saved for the medical treatment. Maritess refused the reward offered by the grateful owner and said it was the right thing to do.

The Filipina, in features and physical beauty, is one of the world’s most beautiful creatures!Look at this list – Gemma Cruz became the first Filipina to win Miss International in 1964; Gloria Diaz won as Miss Universe in 1969; Aurora Pijuan won Miss International in 1970; Margie Moran won Miss Universe in 1973; Evangeline Pascual was 1st runner up in Miss World 1974; Melanie Marquez was Miss International in 1979; Ruffa Gutierrez was 2nd runner up in Miss World 1993; Charlene Gonzalez was Miss Universe finalist in 1994; Mirriam Quiambao was Miss Universe 1st runner up in 1999;and last week, Venus Raj was 4th runner up in Miss Universe pageant.

I can cite more great Filipinos like Ramon Magsaysay, Ninoy Aquino, Leah Salonga, Manny Pacquaio, Paeng Nepomuceno, Tony Meloto, Joey Velasco, Juan Luna and Jose Rizal. For truly, there are many more great Filipinos who define who we are as a people and as a nation – each one of them is part of each one of us, for they are Filipinos like us, for they are part of our history as a people.

What we see and hear of the Filipino today is not all that there is about the Filipino. I believe that the Filipino is higher and greater than all these that we see and hear about the Filipino. God has a beautiful story for us as a people. And the story that we see today is but a fleeting portion of that beautiful story that is yet to fully unfold before the eyes of our world.

So let’s rise as one people. Let’s pick up the pieces. Let’s ask for understanding and forgiveness for our failure. Let us also ask for space and time to correct our mistakes, so we can improve our system. To all of you my fellow Filipinos, let’s keep on building the Filipino great and respectable in the eyes of our world – one story, two stories, three stories at a time – by your story, by my story, by your child’s story, by your story of excellence at work, by another Filipino’s honesty in dealing with others, by another Pinoy’s example of extreme sacrifice, by the faith in God we Filipinos are known for.

Every Filipino, wherever he or she maybe in the world today, is part of the solution. Each one of us is part of the answer. Every one of us is part of the hope we seek for our country. The Filipino will not become a world-class citizen unless we are able to build a world-class homeland in our Philippines .

We are a beautiful people. Let no one in the world take that beauty away from you. Let no one in the world take away that beauty away from any of your children! We just have to learn – very soon – to build a beautiful country for ourselves, with an honest and competent government in our midst.

Mga kababayan, after reading this, I ask you to do two things. First, defend and protect the Filipino whenever you can, especially among your children. Fight all this negativity about the Filipino that is circulating in many parts of the world. Let us not allow this single incident define who the Filipino is, and who we are as a people. And second, demand for good leadership and good government from our leaders. Question both their actions and inaction; expose the follies of their policies and decisions. The only way we can perfect our system is by engaging it. The only way we can solve our problem, is by facing it, head on. We are all builders of the beauty and greatness of the Filipino. We are the architects of our nation’s success.

To all the people of HK and China, especially the relatives of the victims, my family and I deeply mourn with the loss of your loved ones. Every life is precious. My family and I humbly ask for your understanding and forgiveness.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Butchart Gardens, Victoria, Vancouver Island, B.C., Canada

Macrine in bottom of photo on the Left
Five years ago, my wife and I spent a day at the Butchart Gardens, outside the historic and beautiful city of Victoria in Vancouver Island, B.C., Canada. It was one day, our eyes and heart will always remember. The following video is an example of what you will see and hear if you visit Butchart Gardens- one of the most beautiful Garden in North America. If you are in the area, it is worth your time and money especially if you are a garden enthusiast. There is a minimal entrance fee and also for parking.

The Butchart Gardens is a group of floral display gardens in Brentwood Bay, British Columbia, Canada, near Victoria on Vancouver Island which receives more than a million visitors each year.
History

Robert Pim Butchart (1856–1943) began manufacturing Portland cement in 1888 near his birthplace of Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada. He and his wife Jennie Butchart (1866–1950) came to the west coast of Canada because of rich limestone deposits necessary for cement production. In 1904, they established their home near his quarry on Tod Inlet at the base of the Saanich Peninsula on Vancouver Island.

In 1907, 65 year old garden designer Isaburo Kishida of Yokohama came to Victoria, at the request of his son, to build a tea garden for Esquimalt Gorge Park. This garden was wildly popular and a place to be seen. Several prominent citizens, Jennie Butchart among them, commissioned Japanese gardens from Kishida for their estates. He returned to Japan in 1912.

In 1909, when the limestone quarry was exhausted, Jennie set about turning it into the Sunken Garden, which was completed in 1921. They named their home "Benvenuto" ("welcome" in Italian), and began to receive visitors to their gardens. In 1926, they replaced their tennis courts with an Italian garden and in 1929 they replaced their kitchen vegetable garden with a large rose garden to the design of Butler Sturtevant of Seattle. Samuel Maclure, who was consultant to the Butchart gardens, reflected the aesthetic of the English Arts and Crafts Movement.

In 1939, the Butcharts gave the Gardens to their grandson Ian Ross (1918–1997) on his 21st birthday. Ross was involved in the operation and promotion of the gardens until his death 58 years later.

In 1971, 1,953 miles (3,143 km) of underground wiring was laid to provide night illumination, to mark the 50th anniversary of The Gardens. In 1964, the ever -changing Ross Fountain was installed in the lower reservoir to celebrate the 60th anniversary. In 1994, the Canadian Heraldic Authority granted a coat of arms to the Butchart Gardens. In 2004, two 30-foot (9.1 m) totem poles were installed to mark the 100th anniversary, and The Gardens was designated as a national historic site.

Ownership of the Gardens remains within the Butchart family; the owner and managing director since 2001 is the Butchart's great-granddaughter Robin-Lee Clarke. The representation of the Butchart Gardens at the Canada exhibit at Epcot Centre in Orlando. In 1982 the Butchart Gardens was used as the inspiration for the gardens at the Canadian pavilion opened at Epcot Centre in Orlando Florida.

While Mrs. Butchart collected plants, Mr. Butchart collected ornamental birds from all over the world, having a parrot in the house, ducks in the Star Pond and peacocks on the front lawn. He built several elaborate birdhouses for the gardens and trained pigeons on the site of the present-day Begonia Bower.

Statuary


Several bronze statues are displayed in the gardens. One, of a wild boar, purchased on a Mediterranean trip in 1973, was cast in Florence, a replica of a 1620 bronze cast by Pietro Tacca. It is called "Tacca" in honour of the sculptor and, just as the original's, its snout is shiny from the many visitors rubbing it for luck.

Another, nearby in front of the residence, of a donkey and foal is by Sirio Tofanari. A fountain statue of three sturgeon, also by Tofanari, is installed near the Japanese garden. In 1993, "Circle of Doves", which Ann-Lee Ross gave her husband Ian in 1991 to commemorate their 50th wedding anniversary, was installed in front of the begonia bower. In the summer of 2008, The Gardens introduced the Jennie B, an electrically driven 12-passenger boat, which plys the local coastlines in the summer giving visitors an appreciation of the waterside history plus coastal aquatic plants and animals.

On December 1st, 2009 the Children's Pavilion and Rose Carousel were opened to the public. The Rose Carousel, crafted by Brass Ring Entertainment of Sun Valley, California is the only carousel on Vancouver Island. The menagerie includes thirty animals ranging from bears, to horses, to ostriches, to zebras and mirrors the world from which The Gardens draws its visitors. The designs were hand picked by Robin Clarke, The Gardens' owner and great grand daughter of Jennie Butchart, in consultation with an artist from North Carolina. The carvings were done by some of the few remaining carvers of carousel art. Each animal is carved from basswood and took many months to complete. There are also two chariots able to accommodate disabled persons. The Rose Carousel is housed within the 700 sq m (7,534 sq ft) Children’s Pavilion, which has a dome with a 23m (75 ft) clear span, a full-fronted glass façade and a roof planted with native plant species. The pavilion also has an event room for such things as children’s birthday parties.

Entertainment
Hector and Paz Sulit with Macrine( I was taking the picture) during our last visit at Butchart Garden

In the early days, weekly symphony concerts were hosted by Mr and Mrs. Butchart. These were often held for guests of the family, but later attracted a larger audience. More recently, in the Summer Season (July and August) and during the Winter Holiday Season they provide a wide range of local entertainment, from Jazz to classical music. Also, The Weeds, a band made up of staff members from The Gardens, sometimes plays during the Summer Season. In 1977, Ian Ross's son Christopher (1944–2000) introduced fireworks on summer Saturday evenings. During the Winter, lights and seasonal decorations adorn the gardens along with an ice-skating rink in the Waterwheel Square.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Papaya Trees in the Garden of Chateau Du Mer



I have about six varieties of papaya trees in my garden at Chateau Du Mer in Boac, Marinduque. Of the six varieties, I like the Solo variety imported from Hawaii. The fruits are small but sweet and firm. The other varieties yields bigger fruits but is not as sweet and firm. (see photo above)

Speaking of Papaya Fruits, I am proud to inform readers of this blog, that my doctoral thesis from the University of Illinois, Chicago, USA was on the Papaya Fruit. The title of my thesis was " Chromatographic Analysis of the Volatile Components of the Papaya Fruit". This was published by the Journal of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Vol 54, No 6, pages 891-894 dated June, 1965. The following is additional information about the Papaya from Wikipedia.

Originally from southern Mexico, particularly Chiapas and Veracruz, Central America and northern South America, the papaya is now cultivated in most tropical countries, such as Brazil, Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Indonesia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Philippines and Jamaica. In cultivation, it grows rapidly, fruiting within 3 years. It is, however, highly frost sensitive.

In the 1990s, the papaya ringspot virus threatened to wipe out Hawaii’s papaya industry completely. Two varieties of papaya, SunUp and Rainbow, that had been genetically modified to be resistant to the virus, were introduced into Hawaii.By 2010, 80% of Hawaiian papaya was genetically modified. Today there is still no conventional or organic method of controlling the ringspot virus. In 2004, non-genetically modified and organic papayas throughout Hawaii had experienced hybridization with the genetically modified varieties.

Papaya Fruit
Uses

Papaya can be used as a food, a cooking aid, and in medicine. The stem and bark are also used in rope production.

Gastronomy

The ripe fruit is usually eaten raw, without skin or seeds. The unripe green fruit of papaya can be eaten cooked, usually in curries, salads and stews. It has a relatively high amount of pectin, which can be used to make jellies.

Green papaya is used in Thai and Filipino cuisine, both raw and cooked.

The black seeds are edible and have a sharp, spicy taste. They are sometimes ground up and used as a substitute for black pepper. In some parts of Asia the young leaves of papaya are steamed and eaten like spinach. In parts of the world papaya leaves are made into tea as a preventative for malaria, though there is no real scientific evidence for the effectiveness of this treatment. The following is Papaya, raw Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)

Energy 163 kJ (39 kcal)
Carbohydrates 9.81 g
Sugars 5.90 g
Dietary fibre 1.8 g
Fat 0.14 g
Protein 0.61 g
Vitamin A equiv. 55 μg (6%)
- beta-carotene 276 μg (3%)
Thiamine (Vit. B1) 0.04 mg (3%)
Riboflavin (Vit. B2) 0.05 mg (3%)
Niacin (Vit. B3) 0.338 mg (2%)
Vitamin B6 0.1 mg (8%)
Vitamin C 61.8 mg (103%)
Calcium 24 mg (2%)
Iron 0.10 mg (1%)
Magnesium 10 mg (3%)
Phosphorus 5 mg (1%)
Potassium 257 mg (5%)
Sodium 3 mg (0%)
Percentages are relative to US recommendations for adults.

Cooking

Green papaya fruit and the tree's latex are both rich in an enzyme called papain, a protease which is useful in tenderizing meat and other proteins. Its ability to break down tough meat fibers was used for thousands of years by indigenous Americans. It is included as a component in powdered meat tenderizers.

Medicine

Papaya is marketed in tablet form to remedy digestive problems.

Papain is also applied topically (in countries where it grows) for the treatment of cuts, rashes, stings and burns. Papain ointment is commonly made from fermented papaya flesh, and is applied as a gel-like paste. Harrison Ford was treated for a ruptured disc incurred during filming of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom by papain injections.

Women in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and other countries have long used green papaya as a folk remedy for contraception and abortion. Enslaved women in the West Indies were noted for consuming papaya to prevent pregnancies and thus preventing their children from being born into slavery.[citation needed] Medical research in animals has confirmed the contraceptive and abortifacient capability of papaya, and also found that papaya seeds have contraceptive effects in adult male langur monkeys, possibly in adult male humans as well.[11] Unripe papaya is especially effective in large amounts or high doses. Ripe papaya is not teratogenic and will not cause miscarriage in small amounts. Phytochemicals in papaya may suppress the effects of progesterone.

Papaya is frequently used as a hair conditioner, but should be used in small amounts. Papaya releases a latex fluid when not quite ripe, which can cause irritation and provoke allergic reaction in some people. The papaya fruit, seeds, latex, and leaves also contains carpaine, an anthelmintic alkaloid (a drug that removes parasitic worms from the body), which can be dangerous in high doses.

It is speculated that unripe papayas may cause miscarriage due to latex content that may cause uterine contractions which may lead to a miscarriage. Papaya seed extracts in large doses have a contraceptive effect on rats and monkeys, but in small doses have no effect on the unborn animals.

Excessive consumption of papaya can cause carotenemia, the yellowing of soles and palms, which is otherwise harmless. However, a very large dose would need to be consumed; papaya contains about 6% of the level of beta carotene found in carrots (the most common cause of carotenemia) per 100g.

Medicinal potential

* The juice has an antiproliferative effect on in vitro liver cancer cells, probably due to its component of lycopene or immune system stimulation.[16]

* Papaya seed could be used as an antibacterial agent for Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus or Salmonella typhi, although further research is needed before advocating large-scale therapy.
* Papaya seed extract may be nephroprotective (protect the kidneys) in toxicity-induced kidney failure.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

University of the Philippines Student Catholic Action and the Chapel of Holy Sacrifice


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.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Ylang Ylang Trees in the Garden of Chateau Du Mer

The Ylang Ylang Tree

I have two mature trees of Ylang Ylang in my garden at Chateau Du Mer. The two trees along with six mango trees were planted after the completion of the construction of our retirement house in 1990. When the trees are in bloom, you can smell the fragrance of it flowers to as far as 50 meters and even farther if the wind direction is favorable. It is one fragrance, that I will never forget at Chateau Du Mer in Marinduque. Its reminds me of the perfume, Channel No.5.

On the subject of Ylang Ylang Oil,I am proud to inform readers of this blog that my Master's degree thesis was the Analysis of the Volatile Constituents of Ylang Ylang Oil by Gas Chromatography. This was published in the Journal of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Vol.52, No.3 252-258 dated March, 1963.

I believe not too many non-Filipinos have heard of this tree and it fragrant flowers. Here's a short information from Wikipedia for your reading pleasure.

Cananga odorata, commonly called Ylang-ylang (pronounced /ˈiːlæŋ ˈiːlæŋ/, EE-lang-EE-lang), cananga tree, ilang-ilang, kenanga (Indonesian), fragrant cananga, Macassar-oil plant or perfume tree), is a tree valued for its perfume. The essential oil derived from the flowers is used in aromatherapy and in the manufacture of perfumes.

Cananga odorata is a fast-growing tree of the custard-apple family, Annonaceae, that exceeds 5 m (15 ft) per year and attains an average height of 12 m (40 ft). It grows in full or partial sun, and prefers the acidic soils of its native rain forest habitat. The evergreen leaves are smooth and glossy, oval, pointed, with wavy margins, and 13–20 cm (5–8 in) long. The flower is drooping, long-stalked, with six narrow greenish yellow (rarely pink) petals, rather like a sea star in appearance, and yields a highly fragrant essential oil.

The Chemical Composition Typical chemical compositions of the various grades of Ylang ylang are reported as follows:

Constituents Linalool, geranyl acetate, caryophyllene, p-cresyl, methyl ether, methyl benzoate, other, sesquiterpenes.

Etymology

The name ylang-ylang is derived from Tagalog, either from the word ilang, meaning "wilderness", alluding to its natural habitat, or the word ilang-ilan, meaning "rare", suggestive of its exceptionally delicate scent. A more widely accepted translation is "flower of flowers". The plant is native to the Philippines and Indonesia and is commonly grown in Polynesia, Melanesia and Micronesia.

Characteristics

The fragrance of ylang-ylang is rich and deep with notes of rubber and custard, and bright with hints of jasmine and neroli. The essential oil of the flower is obtained through steam distillation of the flowers and separated into different grades (extra; 1; 2; 3) according to when the distillates are obtained. The main aromatic components of ylang-ylang oil are benzyl acetate, linalool, p-cresyl methyl ether, and methyl benzoate, responsible for its characteristic odor.

The essential oil of ylang-ylang is used in aromatherapy. It is believed to relieve high blood pressure, normalize sebum secretion for skin problems, and is considered to be an aphrodisiac. According to Margaret Mead, it was used as such by South Pacific natives such as the Solomons where she did much of her research. The oil from ylang-ylang is widely used in perfumery for oriental or floral themed perfumes (like Chanel No. 5). Ylang-ylang blends well with most floral, fruit and wood smells.

In Indonesia, ylang-ylang flowers are spread on the bed of newlywed couples. In the Philippines, its flowers, together with the flowers of the sampaguita, are strung into a necklace (lei) and worn by women and used to adorn religious images.

The Ylang Ylang Flowers
Uses

Medicinal uses

Ylang Ylang is a common ingredient in the herbal motion sickness remedy, MotionEaze.

Circulatory System: Ylang ylang is recommended for treating palpitations and reducing high blood pressure

Nervous System : Ylang ylang is known for its ability to slow down over-rapid breathing and over-rapid heart beat. These symptoms are usually associated with shock, anxiety and anger.

Reproductive System: Ylang ylang has proven beneficial for treating PMS, especially associated with extreme mood swings that occurs just before the onset of menstruation. For this purpose, Fischer-Rizzi recommends blending Ylang ylang with clary sage and neroli. This blend should be used in a bath, massage oil or in a vaporizer.

Skin care: Added to the skin care preparation, Ylang ylang oil is beneficial in softening and balancing the moisture of the skin. It is recommended in hair care to treat split ends. It can be used in a shampoo base of massaged into the tips of the hair after shampooing with a base oil such as apricot kernel or jojoba oil. Ylang ylang is recommended for dry and oily skin and is reputed to have a balancing action on sebum production.
Here's a short video about ylang-ylang oil extraction.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Georgia O'Keefe's Erotic and Sensual Flowers



Have your heard of Georgia O'Keefe? If not, here's her short bio from Wikipedia.

Georgia Totto O'Keeffe (November 15, 1887 – March 6, 1986) was an American artist. Born near Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, O'Keeffe was a major figure in American art from the 1920s. She received widespread recognition for her technical contributions, as well as for challenging the boundaries of modern American artistic style. She is chiefly known for paintings of flowers, rocks, shells, animal bones, and landscapes in which she synthesized abstraction and representation. Her paintings present crisply contoured forms that are replete with subtle tonal transitions of varying colors. She often transformed her subject matter into powerful abstract images. New York Times critic Jed Perl in 2004 described her paintings as both "bold and hermetic, immediately appealing and unnervingly impassive."

O'Keeffe played a central role in bringing an American art style to Europe at a time when the majority of influence flowed in the opposite direction. This feat enhanced her art-historical importance given that she was one of few women to have gained entry to this level of professional influence. She found artistic inspiration in the rural Southwest, particularly in New Mexico, where she settled late in life.








As an avid gardener, I have a few of these erotic and sensual flowers in my garden at Chateau Du Mer in Boac, Marinduque, Philippines.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sky Diver Almost Hit By Plane/Plane to Plane Sky Dive

Dinah Katague King on Her First Sky Dive

Dinah my oldest daughter dream of sky diving has been achieved recently ( see photo above). In my case, sky diving will just be a dream. I am too old and will probably not be able to do it. Thus, I will be just contented watching the following two videos I found recently in YouTube.

Sky Diver Almost Hit by Plane


Plane to Plane Sky Dive

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Excerpts from the Inspirational Talk of Dr. Randy Pausch-The Last Lecture



Today's news featured the widow of Dr Randy Pausch who died of pancreatic cancer about two years ago. The news reminded me of his original video-The Last Lecture about three years ago. The whole video is available in the web but it is too long. So, I think this 10 minute video from the Oprah Wimprey show will also inspire you and reminds you of his memory and will be an easy read. Viewing this video will not take too much of your time. Enjoy and be inspired!

Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams

On September 18, 2007, Carnegie Mellon professor and alumnus Randy Pausch delivered a one-of-a-kind last lecture that made the world stop and pay attention. It became an Internet sensation viewed by millions, an international media story, and a best-selling book that has been published in 35 languages. To this day, people everywhere continue to talk about Randy, share his message and put his life lessons into action in their own lives.

Randy died July 25, 2008, at the age of 47. May He Rest in Peace, Amen

Personal Note:In this video Randy said that after finishing his Ph.D.,his Mom introduced him to all their relatives and friends this way,"This is my son who is now a doctor, but he doesn't help people".

This reminded me of my wife's introduction to all our relatives and friends after I graduated with my Ph.D degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry from the University of Illinois in 1964. You may call my husband a doctor now, the kind that does not have a stethoscope". My wife informed me this is an easier way of trying to explain what my Ph.D.in Pharmaceutical Chemistry means to all our relatives and friends.

Monday, September 13, 2010

I am a Senior Citizen and I am Proud to be One


I received the following posting from a friend in the Philippines recently. A must read if you are over 50. Enjoy!

Senior citizens are constantly being criticized for every conceivable deficiency of the modern world,real or imaginary.We know we take responsibility for all we have done and do not blame others.

HOWEVER, upon reflection, we would like to point out that it was NOT the senior citizens who took:

The melody out of music,
The pride out of appearance,
The courtesy out of driving,
The romance out of love,
The commitment out of marriage,
The responsibility out of parenthood,
The togetherness out of the family,
The learning out of education,
The service out of patriotism,
The Golden Rule from rulers,
The nativity scene out of cities,
The civility out of behavior,
The refinement out of language,
The dedication out of employment,
The prudence out of spending.
The ambition out of achievement, or,
God out of government and school.

And we certainly are NOT the ones who eliminated patience and tolerance from personal relationships and interactions with others!!

And, we do understand the meaning of patriotism, and remember those who have fought and died for our country. Does anyone under the age of 50 know the lyrics to the Star Spangled Banner? Just look at the Seniors with tears in their eyes and pride in their hearts as they stand at attention with their hand over their hearts!

YES, I'M A SENIOR CITIZEN!

I'm the life of the party...... even if it lasts until 8 p.m.
I'm very good at opening childproof caps.... with a hammer.
I'm usually interested in going home before I get to where I am going..
I'm awake many hours before my body allows me to get up..
I'm smiling all the time because I can't hear a thing you're saying.
I'm very good at telling stories; over and over and over and over...
I'm aware that other people's grandchildren are not nearly as cute as mine.
I'm so cared for -- long term care, eye care, private care, dental care.

I'm not really grouchy, I just don't like traffic, waiting in long lines, crowds, lawyers, unruly kids, barking dogs, politicians and a few other things I can't seem to remember right now.

I'm sure everything I can't find is in a safe secure place, somewhere..

I'm wrinkled, saggy, lumpy, and that's just my left leg.

I'm having trouble remembering simple words like.....

I'm beginning to realizing that aging is not for wimps.

I'm sure they are making adults much younger these days, and when did they let kids become policemen? I'm wondering, if you're only as old as you feel, how could I be alive at 150? I'm a walking storeroom of facts..... I've just lost the key to the storeroom door.

Yes, I'm a SENIOR CITIZEN and I think I am having the time of my life!

Now if I could only remember who sent this to me, I wouldn't send it back to them, but I would send it to many more too! Now- Have I already sent this to you???????

If so, I'll try not to do it again (for a while.)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Today is National Grand Parents Day in US-September 12


I believe not to many Americans knew that the First Sunday after Labor Day is Grand Parents Day. Even my own six grand children are probably not aware of it. One of reasons why it is not as popular as Mothers or Fathers Day is connected to commercialism. Not too many people will buy gifts for their grandparents. Perhaps, they have no money and are till very young. The only way for your young grandchildren to know that today is Grandparents day is for your own children to tell their children about this day. As a grand parent, I am not expecting gifts, but a telephone call will be nice and appreciated. But If I do not received any phone calls or e-mail today, I will not be surprised.

Here's a short history of Grand Parents Day here in US from Wikipedia.

Marian McQuade of Oak Hill, West Virginia, has been recognized nationally by the United States Senate – in particular by Senators Jennings Randolph; and Robert Byrd – and by President Jimmy Carter, as the founder of National Grandparents Day. McQuade made it her goal to educate the youth in the community about the important contributions seniors have made throughout history. She also urged the youth to "adopt" a grandparent, not just for one day a year, but rather for a lifetime.

In 1973, Senator Jennings Randolph introduced a resolution to the Senate to make Grandparents Day a national holiday. West Virginia's Governor Arch Moore had proclaimed an annual Grandparents Day for the state, at the urging of of Marian McQuade. When Senator Randolph's resolution in the U.S. Senate died in committee, Marian McQuade organized supporters and began contacting governors, senators, and congressmen in all fifty states. She urged each state to proclaim their own Grandparents Day. Within three years, she had received Grandparents Day proclamations from forty-three states. She sent copies of the proclamations to Senator Randolph.

In February, 1977, Senator Randolph, with the concurrence of many other senators, introduced a Joint Resolution to the Senate requesting the President to "issue annually a proclamation designating the first Sunday of September after Labor Day of each year as 'National Grandparents Day'." Congress passed the legislation proclaiming the first Sunday after Labor Day as National Grandparents Day and, on August 3, 1978, then-President Jimmy Carter signed the proclamation. The statute cites the day's purpose as: "...to honor grandparents, to give grandparents an opportunity to show love for their children's children, and to help children become aware of strength, information, and guidance older people can offer".

Some people claim the origin of the holiday resides with the efforts of Hermine Beckett Hanna of North Syracuse, New York, recognizing seniors and their importance as early as 1961. On February 21, 1990, New York Congressman James T. Walsh recognized the efforts of Hermine Beckett Hanna in front of the U.S. House of Representatives, thanking her "for her important role in the establishment of Grandparents Day".

So to all Grand Children of the US, if you are old enough to call, Please Give your Grandparents a Call today. If you are lazy to call, I know you rather TEXT,correct?

Today, I did received a greeting in Face Book from my granddaughter Elaine Katague King. Thank you for your greetings and your Grandma and I also love you very much!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Remembering Septemper 11, Nine Years Ago

The Burning Twin Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City

Do you remember what were you doing on September 11, nine years ago? Today is the nine years anniversary of the most heinous and perverted crime in 21st century in the US- The terrorist bombing of the World Trade Center In New York and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.

Exactly nine years ago, I was still working for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). I remember clearly what I was doing and how I felt afterward that day. Depressed and frustrated that I can not do much of what happened that historic day.

That morning in September 11, 2001, The Office of New Drug Chemistry, Center of New Drugs had a joint meeting with representatives of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (PHARMA) at the Hilton Hotel in Gaithersburg, MD. At about 9:20AM, we received an announcement that the meeting is canceled and we can go home, since the World Trade Center in New York was burning. All of the attendees went to the hotel lobby and the TV was announcing the news. I felt sick, depressed but helpless to see the burning WTC building((see photo above). Later, I learned that the Pentagon in Washington DC was also bombed and another plane crashed in the field somewhere in Southern Pennsylvania. Later I also found out that this United Airline plane was intended for the White House. Had it not been for the courageous heroics of several passengers, the White House would have suffered the same fate as the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

The most heinous crime of the century produced thousands of burnt victims. Two drugs in my Division, Sulfamylon and Silvadene, approved for the treatment of burns were out of supply.

A chemistry manufacturing supplement has to be approved to manufacture more of these ointments in a new facility. This required a review by the chemist, an inspection of the facility by a field inspector, my approval as the chemistry team leader plus the paper work by the project manager. The drugs are needed immediately, so we have to do an expedited review of the manufacturing supplement. It took us only 12 hours to approve the new facility and the review of the chemistry, manufacturing and control submission. This review normally will take at least one month to three months depending on the availability of the field inspector and the schedule of the review chemist.

In December, 2001, the four members of my review team received a special cash award and recognition award from FDA management for our work on expediting review of two drugs, Sulfamylon and Silvadene.. Of my more than a dozen awards I had, this one was the most appreciated. I felt that I have done my job as a public servant and had helped the victims of the terrorist attack in a timely manner.

The photo above was the first picture I saw on television the morning of September 11, 2001. I will never forget that day as long as I live.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Time for Some Inspiring Choral Music from the Philippines

The UP Madrigal Singers

One of the extracurricular activities that Macrine and I participated during our students days at the University of the Philippines(UP) in Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines was joining the University of the Philippines Student Catholic Action (UPSCA) choir. For three years we practice twice a week with 300 other members of UPSCA in preparation for our annual concert. This was an activity that we love since both of us love to sing. Macrine is a better singer(soprano) than myself (baritone). But I compensate my mediocre singing with enthusiasm. I have never missed a practice in that three year period of our involvement with the UPSCA choir. In this video you will enjoy the beautiful rendition of the Prayer of St Francis by the UP Madrigal Singers-an international re known choir having won several awards in choral competitions all over the world during the last decade.

If this is your first time to hear about MADZ, here is a write up of the Group from Wikipedia.

The University of the Philippines Madrigal Singers (UPMS), also known as the Philippine Madrigal Singers or simply Madz, is one of the major cultural groups based in the University of the Philippines, Diliman. Its current conductor and musical director is Mark Anthony Carpio. They are the first choir in the world to win the European Grand Prix for Choral Singing twice (in 1997 and in 2007).

The Philippine Madrigal Singers (affectionately known as the "Madz") was founded in 1963 by National Artist for Music, Professor Andrea O. Veneracion. The Madz is mostly composed of students, faculty and alumni from the University of the Philippines. The group's trademark performance stance, singing in a semi-circle without a conductor, is instantly recognizable. A standard Madz performance clearly exhibits the seamless fusion of their musical virtuosity, technical proficiency and soulful singing. Their highly eclectic repertoire spans the breadth and length of vocal music: from Renaissance madrigals to the avant-garde, from Filipino and international folksongs to the latest pop hits, even from the most cerebral choral masterpieces to the most humorous of novelty numbers. This world-class choir can honestly sing anything with authenticity and professionalism while keeping their audience thoroughly entertained.

The group performs a variety of styles and forms but it specializes in the Madrigal, a polyphonic and challenging musical style popular during the Renaissance period where singers and guests would gather around the table during a banquet to sight-sing and make music together. This served as the inspiration for their unique style of singing - singing seated in a semi-circle without a conductor. As Philippine ambassador of culture and goodwill, the Madz has had the pleasure and privilege of giving command performances for royalty and heads of state. These include Pope Paul 6th, Pope John Paul II, Presidents Gerald Ford and Richard Nixon, Queen Sofia of Spain, King Juan Carlos de Bourbon and Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew.

This choral institution has produced more than 200 choral and vocal pedagogues from its ranks, actively and constantly shaping the local and international choral landscape. Madz alumni are much sought-after as singers, conductors, arrangers and music educators. Its corps of composers and musical arrangers continue to produce new compositions and choral settings of Philippine music, thus contributing to the global growth of choral literature.

As resident artists of the Cultural Center of the Philippines, outreach concerts have taken the Madz to far-flung areas seldom reached by most performing artists. Averaging two international concert tours per year, the Madz relentlessly engages in the promotion of Philippine music and the Filipino Artist globally.

Presently under the masterful leadership of Madz alumnus Mark Anthony A. Carpio, the Philippine Madrigal Singers continues to set new standards of excellence at a global level. Since their humble beginnings as a university-based chamber ensemble throughout their legendary rise as international choral champions, this 47-year old cultural icon known as the Philippine Madrigal Singers has irreversibly cemented its stature as one of world's best choirs for all time.
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