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!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

You have to Fail in order to Succeed!

Macrine and I during the Christmas White House Tour during the Clinton Years

Macrine and I- Christmas White Tour-1995
David and I- Christmas White Hour Tour-1995

You have to fail in order to succeed | ViewsHound

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I do not play games in Facebook. No Invitations, Please!

To all my Facebook Friends: I do not play any of the games in FB. Please do not send me any invitation, since it will just be ignored and you are wasting your time. As of today, I have over 100 invitations to play Farmville and other games.

I do however, enjoying reading and viewing links on current events, environmental issues, news about Marinduque, funny articles and videos, classical music, photography and any thing pertaining to blogging, gardening or photography.

Thank you so much for reading and commenting on my blogs and articles in ViewsHound. Your comments are highly appreciated.

The next time I received an invitation for games from anyone, I guarantee you will be in my "unfriend" and chopping list. Thanks again to all my more than 650 friends and hoping you will have a happy and safe Christmas Holidays.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Dymystifying Corruption in the Philippines Presidency

The following is a guest article from Isabel P. Ball, a member of Marinduque International, Inc. Isabel had been a columnist since 1996, appearing in various publications. She is a published author of a book titled "Tenacious Devotion: Conquest of a Purdah Belle". She is also a poet and screenplay writer. Last but not least she is an activist who desires improvement to our mother country, the Philippines.

The content in this article is her own and do not necessarily reflect my own views or any other individual or organization. This article was published by www.americanchronicle.com dated November 23, 2011.

Dymystifying corruption in the Philippine presidency

You and I, and the world are the witnesses to the political malaise characterizing the Philippine presidency.

A stark fact is that about every change of administration since Marcos, the Philippine government has been prosecuting Presidents for corruption.

Marcos, as Philippine President, has been dubbed as the greatest theft known in world record for corruptions he committed in his 20-years in power ostensibly by way of martial rule. Billions worth of assets in dollars were pilfered from the country´s coffers in behest to his cronies and family.

That had set a trend in wanton corruption among his political peers and predecessors in the presidency.

One incident with relevance to the Marinduquenos, Marcos had showed an overwhelming hospitality and had allowed the pristine forest, discovered to be so much fecund in minerals, to be mined by foreign mining companies with so much leverage.

His true motive ultimately surfaced when he clinched the major partnership with Marcopper. Historically, we can now point our fingers to that political machination as one big cause of our island´s environmental debacle.

Moral turpitude since took an upside turn, and corruption was becoming a vogue among the succeeding presidents, save for Cory Aquino.

Ramos, a military man, supposedly honed in military discipline and values did not escape controversies. The Amari Deal topped them all, and allegedly bagged him hefty dollars in sums.

Then, Estrada, a rogue politician, having hoodwinked the poor Filipinos turned as much corrupt as his predecessor, Marcos, in a brazen attempt to enrich himself and his families and friends. While in the position, he was like filling up an empty inexhaustible vessel, he was insatiable and his seeming octopus hands were dipping in everywhere it can to siphon of funds from tax funds and on illegal gambling of hweteng. If it wasn´t for Singson, a bosom friend of Estrada, turning a traitor to him over a row on preferential treatment, he might have left the treasury efficiently drained. The incoming President Arroyo put him in jail which was another ludicrous political episode of incarceration and ending in pardon.

Just when Filipinos have thought that corruption was to end and decency in the presidency would be restored, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, her administration was similarly marred in controversies that had involved her husband Mike, alleged to be the deal maker in the purloined purchase of helicopters for the PNP and in election frauds, to more upcoming charges and anticipated legal battles. Millions and millions in estimate could sum up to billions of pesos she has reportedly gotten for herself.

Like in the time of Estrada where the trial proceedings competed with the Filipino soap operas, Arroyo´s legal proceedings would again burn in the primetime TV. The glaring reports in the newspaper have made me to wonder what mindset, attitude and values these leaders might have in dominance to do such unprincipled act while in office. A short memory seems to have made them to repeat transgressions of their predecessors with impunity. Or what other psychological makeup could have driven them to jump into the same fray with so much audacity and seeming impudence to the consequence?

I would like to see the academe take interest into studying the underlying causes behind such truly a senseless behavior. Attempt to find and identify the phenomenon and to come up with some scientific explanation, and to make the roots of such blatant disregard of these leaders of the constitution and the people to emerge? Or, in the oddest of chances, the data might validate, for all to know, about my theory that Filipinos´ apathy and forgiving nature reflects their true nature to belie that propensity to commit illegal acts; thus, they condone and propagate corruption.

Ceaucescu of Romania and his wife, Elena, during the time of Marcos, was beheaded by the indignant citizenry for corruption, and that seemed to have straightened up the politicians in the country. Should equivalent form of punishment become the resolve of the Filipinos to end corruption in the Philippines for good? And this could apply in retroaction.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Is America an Atheist Nation?

Christmas White House Tour, Washington, D.C., 1995

I received the following from my e-mail today!

We now have to stand up for everything that is being taken away from us. It's done by stealth because we don't say anything.

Apparently the White House referred to Christmas Trees as Holiday Trees for the first time this year which prompted CBS presenter, Ben Stein, to present this piece which I would like to share with you. I think it applies just as much to many countries as it does to America .

The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary.

My confession:

I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejewelled trees, Christmas trees. I don't feel threatened. I don't feel discriminated against. That's what they are, Christmas trees.

It doesn't bother me a bit when people say, 'Merry Christmas' to me. I don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn't bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu . If people want a cr?che, it's just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.

I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from, that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution and I don't like it being shoved down my throat.

Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities and we aren't allowed to worship God ? I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities came from and where the America we knew went to.

In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it's not funny, it's intended to get you thinking.

Billy Graham's daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her 'How could God let something like this happen?' (regarding Hurricane Katrina).. Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said, 'I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we've been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?'

In light of recent events... terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O'Hare (she was murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she didn't want prayer in our schools, and we said OK. Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school. The Bible says thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbour as yourself. And we said OK.

Then Dr Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave, because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr Spock's son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he's talking about. And we said okay.

Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.

Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with 'WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.'

Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can send 'jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.

Are you laughing yet?

Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you're not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it.

Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us.

Pass it on if you think it has merit.

If not, then just discard it.... no one will know you did. But, if you discard this thought process, don't sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in.

My Best Regards, Honestly and respectfully,

Ben Stein

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Another Book Review of Cloyne Court by Dodie Katague

This book review was published in madmoosemama.blogspot.com dated Wednesday, November 23, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: Cloyne Court by Dodie Katague

Posted by Heavensent1 at 5:52 PM

Cloyne Court is a Literary Fiction.

It's the 1970's and Cloyne Court has just become a co-ed student co-op. Derek Marston has been attending college while living at home, that is, until the day a mysterious women tells him to go live at Cloyne Court.

Derek first arrives halfway through his freshman year; against his parents wishes. Derek is unsure as to what to expect and slowly becomes meshed into the framework of Cloyne Court and her politics.

It is in Cloyne Court that Derek learns Karate, falls in love and has his heart broken, makes great friendships and destroys others. Some of the people pass through his life briefly, some leaving lasting impressions and others who do not. It is here that Derek learns the merits on how to become an adult.

The life lessons that Cloyne Court teaches Derek puts him on his path in life; the people, the culture and the times helped shaped the building blocks that would become Derek's destiny.

I thought Cloyne Court was a well-written novel. I loved the nuances and the details that the author wrote, sharing with the reader the life of Derek. I enjoyed the 1970's history shared within the pages and the pop culture aspect that I felt as I read the passages.

Dodie Katague wrote with such a fervor that one couldn't help but be transported to the time, walking beside Derek as each life lesson unfolded. I loved the different characters found throughout the pages and how each of them interacted with Derek.

I thought this was a well-placed book in that the impressions shared and the dialogue written was very in the "times". You could feel the life coming into the students as the times began to change in a more liberal aspect. Sex, drugs and rock'n'roll were the hallmarks of this era and the author uses it to an agreeable advantage. The mind set of some people astounded me, as it often does when I read such things. I thought the book was delivered in a very entertaining way.

I would give Cloyne Court a four out of five stars, while I enjoyed it, I felt the direction was lacking. It was wonderful story of coming of age and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys period pieces with a bit of real life thrown in.

Cloyne Court

The Real Animal House: In 1946, the "real" all male "Animal House" was born when Cloyne Court become a student co-op. In the 50 & 60s, the "beasts" waged war with the Berkeley Chapter of Beta Theta Pi, an athletically-oriented fraternity. That feud ended when Cloyne's archenemies moved across campus. However, the real story begins when Cloyne Court went co-ed in 1972 with the arrival of sixty-two women. Katague's sexy, reveal-all creative memoir takes place in the late 70s, soon after the women moved in. All it takes is one kiss to transform animals into horny princes

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving Day to All

I received this in my e-mail yesterday. It is just too funny not to pass it around.

A month ago a new supermarket opened in our area.
It has an automatic water mister to keep the produce fresh.
Just before it goes on, you hear the sound of distant thunder and the smell of fresh

When you pass the milk cases, you hear cows mooing and you experience the scent of
fresh mowed hay.

In the meat department, there is the aroma of charcoal grilled steaks with onions.

When you approach the egg case, you hear hens cluck and cackle, and the air is
filled with the pleasing aroma of bacon and eggs frying.

The bread department features the tantalizing smell of fresh baked bread and

I don't buy toilet paper there anymore. HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Durian Fruit Good for your Libido?

Photo from buzzkey.blogspot.com

Health Benefits:

•Durian is extremely nutritious because it is rich in vitamin B, C and E and with high iron content. Eating durian is alleged to restore the health of ailing humans and animals.
•A preparation from its roots and leaves is prescribed by traditional doctors for fevers and jaundice.
•Decoctions of the leaves and fruits are applied to swellings and skin diseases.
•Durian fruit helps lower cholesterol.
•Durian is a strong blood cleanser.
•The ash of the burned rind is taken after childbirth.
•Durian contains high levels of the amino acid tryptophan, known to alleviate anxiety, depression, and insomnia, and create feelings of happiness, by raising levels of serotonin in the brain
•Durian contains high level of soft protein which makes it a good muscle builder.
•Durian has a reputation as a powerful aphrodisiac.
•Durian is recommended as a good source of raw fats.

■Durian fruit, like Banana, avocado and jack fruit, is rich in energy, minerals and vitamins.

■The fruit is made of soft, easily digestible flesh with simple sugars like fructose and sucrose and some amount of simple fats that when eaten replenishes energy and revitalizes the body instantly; can be used as supplement food in the treatment plan for underweight children. Although it contains a relatively high amount of fats among fruits, but it is free from cholesterol.

■Durian is rich in dietary fiber, which makes it a good bulk laxative. The fiber content helps to protect the colon mucous membrane by decreasing exposure time and as well as binding to cancer causing chemicals in the colon.

■Durian fruit is a good source of antioxidant vitamin-C (about 33% of RDA). Consumption of foods rich in vitamin C helps body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful free radicals.

■The fruit is an excellent source of many health benefiting B-complex groups of vitamins; a rare feature among fruits, such as niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), pyridoxine (vitamin B-6) and thiamin (vitamin B-1). These vitamins are essential in the sense that body requires them from external sources to replenish.

■It also contain good amount of minerals like manganese, copper, iron and magnesium. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase. Copper is required in the production of red blood cells. Iron is required for red blood cell formation.

■Fresh durian fruit is a very rich source of potassium. Potassium in an important electrolyte of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure.

■It also contains high levels of essential amino acid, tryptophan (also known as "nature's sleeping pill") which in the body metabolizes into serotonin and melatonin; these neuro-chemicals have an important functions like sleep induction and in the treatment of epilepsy.

Nutritive Value per 100 g

•Vitamin A: 20-30 I.U.
•Ascorbic Acid: 23.9-25.0 mg
•Vitamin E: "high"
•Calcium: 7.6-9.0 mg
•Phosphorus: 37.8-44.0 mg
•Potassium: 436 mg
•Thiamine: 0.24-0.352 mg
•Riboflavin: 0.20 mg
•Niacin0.6: 83-0.70 mg
•Iron: 0.73-1.0 mg
•Sugars(approx.) 12.0 g
•Protein: 2.5-2.8 g
•Fat: 5.33g
•Fiber: 3.8 g
•Total Carbohydrates: 30.4-34.1 g
•Calories: 144

Source: www.nutrition-and-you.com and www.len7288.hubpages.com

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Cloyne Court- Excerpt 25

Photo from Seattletimes.nwsource.com

Cloyne Court, Episode 25
By Dodie Katague
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Rated "R" by the Author.

A creative memoir about Cloyne Court in Berkeley, California in the late 1970s.

With the warning, student servers wearing thick hot pads on their hands came striding from the kitchen carrying steaming industrial steel platters of food and laid them at one end of each table.

At least, we had table service. In later years, the food would be placed on a serving table by the kitchen door and there would a massive stampede to the front of the line in a free for all. On days when the food was edible, latecomers and slowpokes would starve.

Fred Boduran, who was sitting closest to the food tray, touched it and scalded himself. “Shit, that’s still hot!” He stuck his hand in a plastic water pitcher to soothe his burns.

We should have felt sorry for him, but at dinnertime that was a sign of weakness and the rest of the hungry crowd grabbed, reached and elbowed for the serving spoon, but it sunk to the bottom of the goo.

A woman from the table next to us saw our dilemma. How were we going to retrieve the serving spoon without using our bare hands and contaminating the food?

She didn’t hesitate. She came to our platter, stuck both her hands into the food and searched until she found the serving spoon. She used the spoon and her cupped hand to scoop food onto her plate. When she was finished stealing our food, she handed me the wet spoon.

I scooped a chunk of meat onto my plate. The woman looked at my food. She saw that she had failed to dish up a meat patty from the potage. She eyed my plate as I scooped. I held my fork like a stabbing weapon in case she encroached onto my plate.

Sensing my threat, she stuck her hand back into the platter and pulled out what looked like a chicken patty and held it between her teeth as she walked back to her table.

I scooped more food onto my plate, passed the spoon and ate without waiting for the rest of the table to be served. So much for table manners. I abandoned manners and ‘grace’ before dinner as a matter of necessity. I was hungry, and I didn’t want to pray with these people even if it was a formality. I wouldn’t rediscover those rituals until I had my own family decades later.

I watched Miguel, the only Hispanic in the house. He bowed his head, said grace in silence and crossed himself to emphasize the quality of his devotion. I think he was asking God to protect him from the food he was about to eat.

I turned to Katy. Dan wasn’t paying attention to her as he talked to Polly and Miguel. “Katy, are you an engineering student also?” I assumed this because Dan, Miguel, and Polly were discussing digital phase-lock loops on an integrated circuit, brand-new inventions back then. Polly claimed Berkeley scientists invented it first. Dan wasn’t so sure. I had no idea what they were talking about and still don’t.

“No, but Dan is, and he’s really into it,” she said. “He studies all the time.”

“What about you?” I asked. “What are you studying?”

“Not sure yet,” she said. “I’m at Berkeley because Dan was my high school boyfriend. When we both were accepted to Cal, he asked me to come with him. I figured, why not?”

“Are you two sharing a room?”

“We’re bunkies, but only since the beginning of the quarter. What are you studying?”

“I’m premed because my parents want me to, but I’m also prelaw because it seems like the thing to be, but I’m interested in architecture, and I didn’t get accepted into UCLA film school.” Nothing like a wishy-washy answer to exude self-confidence.

“What is this supposed to be?” Alan said, scooping a grayish sauce and some solid chunks onto his plate.

“It’s supposed to be chicken patties in a cream sauce au gratin,” Miguel said.

“Mine tastes like blackened something.” Mike had scooped food from the burnt side of the serving platter. I had scooped from the opposite side and mine was lukewarm. The meat chunks were cold and gelatinous.

Alan spooned food into his mouth, chewed for a few seconds, then spit it out. “This isn’t meat! This is tofu!” He searched through the casserole with his fork prodding for anything resembling turkey or chicken. “This food is crap! How come there isn’t any meat?”

Everyone shrugged and kept on chewing.

Then, Peter, the food manager walked out of the kitchen with another steel container of slop. “Peter, what is this food?” Alan asked. “How come it doesn’t have any meat in it?”

“It’s vegetarian. Tofu instead of meat.”

“But this isn’t what Central Kitchen was making today. I was there this afternoon peeling potatoes for my work shift. I saw them defrosting the chicken patties. How come we didn’t get the same food all the other houses are getting?”

“You missed the last house meeting. The house voted to serve vegetarian meals one night a week instead of getting it from Central Kitchen. Tonight’s the night.”

“But what is it?”

“Ah, something tofu, bean sprout surprise.”

“But this is the second time this week we’ve had vegetarian. How come we aren’t getting any meat?”

“Remember the barbecue we had a few weeks ago? We used up our hamburger stock to do that little feast.”

“You mean, we’re eating badly because you can’t properly plan and budget a meal. What kind of food manager are you?”

“You elected me to be food manager. I’ll manage it as I see fit. If you don’t like it, go beat your meat.” I’m sure he meant it in a nourishing sort of way.
Cloyne Court was released in 2009 and is currently available to buy at a deep discount to "everyone" at Barnes & Noble.com. There's no telling how long Barnes & Noble will keep this discount where it is.


Monday, November 21, 2011

My Granddaughter has the Katague Genes for Art

Carenna's "Queen Cat"-award winning work of art

I have always admired and was amazed by my late father, Dr David Jamili Katague, talent in free hand drawing and sketching. When I was growing up, my father would draw free hand on any subject and would show it to me. His sketches were beautiful, but he was never serious of being a professional artist or have his works exhibited for public viewing. Freehand drawing was his hobby and he was very proud to show it to me his oldest son. He was hoping I will inherit his genes for art. I tried drawing at high school, but I realized I have no talent in art and completely forgot the subject until 30 years later when my youngest daughter, Ditas, graduated with honors at UC Berkeley with a double major in Arts and Communication. Ditas sculptures and paintings have been exhibited during her college years both in and out of the UC Berkeley campus. One of her sculptures won an award and was on display at the university campus for almost a year. Later on she branched into photography. She has sold a few of her works( paintings and photographs) in a public gallery here in Sacramento. But this was just her avocation and not a primary source of her income.

The subject of art has never been a popular activity in the Katague family, until my grand daughter Carenna, daughter of Ditas won a second place award for her drawing submitted to the California Exposition and State Fair Youth Art Competition last year. Carenna was only 7 years old then. The following is a photograph of the ward ceremony.
Carenna Receiving her Second Place Ribbon-July 17, 2010

Carenna "Queen Cat" drawing above won second place at the California Exposition and State Fair Youth Art Competition. She also received honorable mention for her Candyland drawing.

Yesterday, while baby sitting for Carenna, she asked me to give her a piece of paper and a pen. Below is one of her free hand sketch that she autographed and gave it to me as a present for babysitting for her. Carenna is now 8 years old. She also loves to sing and dance, besides drawing.
Carenna Animal Sketches,11-11-11
I am very proud of my granddaughter accomplishments in art. "Like Mother, Like Daughter" as the saying goes. Indeed, the artistic genes of my father had been transferred to his granddaughter and great granddaughter bypassing me( the first generation) in accordance with the law of genetics.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

My cousin's Memories of the Japanese-American War in the Philippines

Rape Victims during the Japanese-American War in the Philippines

My first article on this subject was published in ViewsHound last September 23.

The second one (part 2) was published on November 12, 2011(http://www.viewshound.com/contributors/articles/childhood-memories-of-the-japanese-american-war-in--2).

The first article was my childhood war time experiences in the island of Panay and the second article was my wife childhood recollection of the war in the provincial town of Boac, Marinduque, Philippines.

This third article is my cousin's story and memories of the war. She was 17 years old at that time. Her story was not directly communicated to me but via my mother.

In the summer of 1943, the Japanese had occupied the small town where my cousin resided with her adopted parents. My cousin, let us call her Linda (not her real time) was an abandoned child. Her mother was a native Filipina but her Dad was a Caucasian American. She was a beautiful teenager because of her mixed ancestry. Unlike the typical Filipina teenager, Linda was fair skinned in complexion that she inherited from her father. She was abandoned by her Dad when she was only 4 years old. Her poor mother was not able to financially support her, so she was given for adoption to the older sister of her mother. Linda's aunt and uncle were farmers and lived in the barrio about 10 Km from the main town of Barotac Viejo, Iloilo.

When the Japanese invaders occupied the town of Barotac Viejo, Linda's adopted family did not leave their farm. Once a week the family would walked to the market in town to buy their food supplies as well as sell some of their farm products (fresh vegetables, fruits, and chicken eggs).

One day, a platoon of Japanese soldiers saw Linda. They admired her beauty, snatched her from her parents and she disappeared for over an hour. Linda's parents were delirious with anxiety but were helpless and scared for Linda's life. About two hours later Linda joined her parents at the town market. She was in tears and told her parents, four Japanese soldiers had raped and assaulted her. She was told if she tells anyone what happened, they would kill her and also her family.

This incident was kept secret by the family because of fear of retribution from the Japanese. But rumors in the area spread that the Japanese soldiers have started to rape young girls and sometimes even older women. With this rumors circulating around, most of the young women in town would disguise themselves as older women in public so the Japanese soldiers will not be tempted to rape them. Other families forbid their daughters to leave the house and hid them in the barn and outside buildings when they heard that the Japanese soldiers are coming to their village.

Meanwhile in a related event in the next town, a few of the Japanese soldiers have cohabited with the local women.

My mother had a distant relative who was a rich widow in this town. Words have circulated that this widow had been seen entertaining a Japanese officer in her home. The widow had 5 children, four girls and one boy. In this town there were numerous natives who were friendly and cooperated with the Japanese.

They were called collaborators. Some acted as spies or as double agents (giving information to both the Japanese and the local guerrilla resistance forces hiding in the mountains).

The next year (1944), my mother distant relative gave birth to another girl. The baby looked more Japanese than Filipino. She did not hide this fact and she gave her youngest daughter the same love and attention as her older siblings. The Japanese officer was very kind to the family, giving them gifts and extra food.

By the end of the war her child was almost a year old, when the Japanese were defeated and surrendered to the Filipino-American forces that liberated the island. Today, this girl is now a grandmother and still feels very insecure of her looks. She looked very Japanese and has no physical resemblance to her other four sisters.

By pure coincidence, I met this lady a couple of years ago during a Filipino-American party in Southern California. She married a Japanese-American citizen who was in the Japanese-American interment camp during the war when he was a boy. They have three children and two beautiful grandchildren residing in the Los Angeles area.

Meanwhile, Linda grew up to be a very beautiful woman. She got married to a local guy and raised six children. Five years ago she died at the young age of 71. I have not talked to Linda personally, but I saw her one day visiting my mother. Her physical appearance and demeanor did not show that she was at one time a rape victim of the Japanese invaders.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Cloyne Court- Excerpts 23 and 24

Photo from motifake.com
Cloyne Court, Episode 23
By Dodie Katague
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
Rated "R" by the Author.

A creative memoir about Cloyne Court in Berkeley, California in the late 1970s.

I walked into the dining room at 6:01 p.m. I would not make that mistake again. The place was crammed tight, one hundred and fifty people seated elbow to elbow at every table like livestock in a feedlot. I saw my roommate, Alan, at a table with several men and two women. He waved. “Over here, Derek.” He pulled out a chair he’d saved.

I grabbed silverware and a plate from the side table near the entrance. The plate was still warm and moist as if it had just come from the dishwasher. Its surface was scarred with grayish linear knife gouges from years of abuse. The edge had a tiny hairline crack running from a chipped indent to the middle of the plate in the supposedly durable melamine composite material. It looked useable but the underside had some food encrusted on it. I grabbed another plate and checked my silverware carefully.

I also needed a cup, but there weren’t any. Instead, I found a tray of recycled screw-top glass jars in several sizes—the largest, a Mason jar used for canning. I looked around and saw people drinking from jars. I picked an eight-ounce size that looked like it once held strawberry jam.

As I was to discover later, the house bought new plastic cups each quarter, but they kept disappearing. Nobody knew where they went.

I made my way through the crowded room. Dinner had not yet been served. I sat in the empty chair and looked at the woman seated across from me. It was her! The woman I had noticed sitting on the window ledge at the women’s meeting. I hoped she remembered me.

“Hey everyone, this is Derek,” Alan said. “This is Miguel, Hadas, Mike, Fred, Polly, and Dan and Katy.”

Dan was sitting to Katy’s right across from me. Alan introduced them as a pair, Dan and Katy, as in Gilbert and Sullivan, Anthony and Cleopatra, The Captain and Tennille. The introduction was clear. She and Dan were a couple.

“I’m Katy Lord. I saw you at the meeting the other night.” She remembered me. I leaned toward her to hear better and looked at her eyes as she spoke. She had long russet-colored hair and some pinpoint freckles on her face. When she turned to talk to Dan, I could see she had a prominent nose. The way her eyes looked at me and her constant smile, made me feel comfortable around her. She was like the girl next door, who you wouldn’t give a second glance if you were looking for hotties. Not because she wasn’t pretty, but because she was familiar. Maybe that’s why she stood out among the women I had seen at the meeting.

Dan said, “That took a lot of guts to invade the women’s meeting like you did the other night.”

I blushed as the others at the table made comments of disbelief at the sheer gall of a man attending a women’s meeting.

Mike Zambrano was seated next to Dan. He was wearing a gray pullover hooded sweatshirt and wrinkled gray sweatpants. He looked and smelled as if he had jogged a few miles.

“Learn any lesbian secret techniques you want to share? I’d do anything to get into her pants.” Mike motioned with his head toward a table of women and pointed with his eyes at Joan, who had a striking resemblance to Stevie Nicks, the female singer for Fleetwood Mac. Also seated at the table was Carrie, who had told me to go fuck myself at the meeting, and her lover, Sonya, a butch-looking woman with short crew-style hair wearing a lumberjack shirt and army-surplus pants. The other women at their table were talking and laughing until a male student from an adjacent table asked for some water from the pitcher on their table. The women’s demeanor went from genial to indignant, as if an intruder had invaded their secret garden.

“How do you know she doesn’t like men?” I asked. I made assumptions about people based on their appearances and whom they associated with. I assumed Joan was lesbian, since she was sitting at a table with lesbians.

“Already tried.” He sighed. “I asked her out, but she said she wasn’t interested in men.”

“What exactly did she say?” I asked. “Perhaps she didn’t like you, rather than men in general.”

I hadn’t meant it as an insult. It was an observation. Maybe he wasn’t Joan’s type. Miguel, Hadas and Fred chuckled at my inadvertent put-down.

“Hey,” Mike said, “I met you two minutes ago, and you’re already insulting me. She doesn’t like men. Her exact words were, I’m not interested in penises with attitudes.”

I regretted my remark even more when Dan used the opportunity to razz him. “Didn’t she say she’s not interested in ‘small penises’ with attitudes?” He smiled.

Mike was only five feet tall. I think because of height, he was cocky to the point of being churlish and arrogant. He reminded me of a miniature toy terrier hanging out with the big dogs and first to bark and snarl to show his loyalty to the pack.

Dan wasn’t about to stop. “You’re too short,” he said. “She needs a man with a few more inches. I have ten she’d like.”

Cloyne Court, Episode 24
By Dodie Katague
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Rated "R" by the Author.

A creative memoir about Cloyne Court in Berkeley, California in the late 1970s.

Katy winced. I guess the last words you want to hear from your boyfriend is that he wants to play ‘hide the salami’ with another woman. She smiled like a Cheshire Cat and delivered her zinger. “I didn’t realize this was ten inches.” She held up her thumb and index finger apart the length of a pack of chewing gum.

The men at the table roared with laughter. If anyone would know about the actual size of Dan’s private parts, I guessed it would be her.

Dan glared at her in disapproval. Her smile vanished.

Polly was the other woman at our table, and she wasn’t smiling either. She was a rare commodity, a female engineering student at Cal. I think she was uncomfortable with the sex jokes. She saw Dan’s look at Katy and quickly changed the subject.

“Derek, are you into anti-establishment like sit-ins and nonviolent protests?” she asked. “There’s an antiapartheid rally next week at Sproul Plaza. I heard a bunch of students are going to take over Sproul Hall until the University stops doing business with companies that do business in South Africa.” She sipped from a can of Coca-Cola, which ironically did a hell of lot of business in South Africa. “I’m thinking about joining the sit-in. If you’re interested, you should talk to people at that table.”

I looked at a table at the far side of the room. The men and women there were dressed in black with red armbands. One was wearing a black beret. This was the table for the radical militant leftists. Most were members of the Revolutionary Student Brigade, but during meal times, they welcomed Trotskyites, Leninists, and some Maoists, who sat in the middle of the table to separate them from the members of The Spartacus Youth League, wearing yellow with a black-fist emblem, who sat at the other end of the table.

I looked around the room. I saw a table of residents wearing yarmulkes sitting at one table. I assumed it was the Jewish group. At another table were the vegetarians, who were already eating a rice dish. Their group cooked separately from the house kitchen. They set up menus and cooking schedules and sat by themselves eating their tofu and bean-sprout casseroles. They looked like a congenial group. I was to learn later, they had serious disagreements on whether eggs and milk were a violation of the vegetarian code.

The druggies sat a table across the dining room closest to the exit. They had glazed eyes or were staring into the distance or nodding off, their heads jerking up whenever they leaned too far, and some were twitching and shaking from the early symptoms of withdrawal. Fortunately, the house had a no smoking policy in the dining room. The potheads would have to wait until after dessert before lighting up.

The center table caught my attention the most. This table had six men and six women, regular looking people, slightly older, probably juniors and seniors, engaged in polite conversation. There were two empty chairs at the table, yet no one coming in late approached them.

“What’s so off-limits about that table?” I asked Katy. “No one else is sitting there.”

“That’s the committed couples table,” she said. “The couples there like hanging out with similar committed couples. It’s as near to married as you can be here.”

As far as I knew, there were no married couples living in the house. Sitting there were Casey and Lisa, Kimberly and Ren, Chet and Jenny and other couples I didn’t know.

“There are two empty chairs,” I said.

“Yeah, Dick Fine and Julia used to sit there, but they split. I knew it wouldn’t last. Dick isn’t that type of guy.”

“What do you mean?”

“Julia and Dick were together for two months,” Katy replied. “Almost a lifetime around here. When she and Dick started sitting at the couple’s table, she made sure everyone in the house knew about it. I think it was a signal to the other women to keep their hands off her boyfriend.”

Polly’s ears perked at the mention of the word ‘boyfriend’. She turned from the engineering discussion and joined the gossip. “I heard that the other men at the table didn’t want Dick sitting there anyway.”

“Why is that?” I asked.

“Because he’s slept with most of the women at the table before they coupled up with their current boyfriends. The men were too uncomfortable knowing their girlfriends had experienced Dick’s enormous appendage.”

Looking around the room, I realized the groups were like high school. The social stratification was still there. Nothing had changed. There were the geeks, the jocks and the stoners. Yet everything was different. Now there were political divisions, religious and ethnic groups, and sexual relationship groups. It was college level Social Skills 101.

I was a failure at social groups in high school. I hung out with my friends, and we were labeled misfits, geeks and nerds. Nothing had changed. That bothered me, because I did not know how others would categorize me. I wanted a dining table that I could call home.

There were, of course, groups of people who sat together because the seat was available at the table. Later, Alan told me he picked the table we would sit at nightly because it was nearest to the kitchen, and the food arrived first. Others at our table had also figured this out and in later years, there would be a rush to fill the eight seats at ‘my’ table.

It was now 6:20 and dinner had not yet been served. I was hungry and so was everyone else. Some students stomped their feet and banged their dinner plates on the table like a scene from a prison riot movie and our table joined in. Now I understood why the plates were chipped.

As the banging and drumming had a rhythmic beat, Mary Jewell, our resident music artist, began singing The Who’s Magic Bus to the beat of the pounding.

“I think we’d get our food faster if we drummed out Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk,” Miguel said.

“That song has been banned,” Polly said. “It’s USC’s theme song. We hate USC as much as we hate Stanford.”[1]

Peter, the kitchen manager, came out of the kitchen and stood on a chair. He knew why we were pounding the tables. We quieted to listen. We were that hungry. “Listen up, fuck heads, the fucking dinner is ready! The fucking serving trays are fucking hot! So fuck you very much!”


[1] Too bad this was 1977. Queen’s “We Will Rock You” would have been fun to do.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Macrine's Childhod Memories of the Japanese-American War in the Philippines

A Model T Ford, 1930 in Boac, commandered by the Japanese

My first article on this subject was published in Views Hound recently, and was my own personal war time experience. This new story is about the personal experience of my wife Macrine during the Second World War in the Philippines. In comparison to my adventure filled war time story, her experience was confined within the city, although both reflected anxiety, pain and tragedies.

Macrine and her family resided in the town of Boac, Marinduque, the capital of the small and lovely island province in the middle of the Philippines. She was a typical islander who had most of her relatives including her grandparents living nearby or in the next town. Some individuals such as her aunt Blanca moved to Manila for work.

Unlike the larger cities of Manila including my hometown of Iloilo, Boac was spared from any aerial bombing by the Japanese invaders. Life during the war period in the sleepy small town seemed normal, except for the presence of the Japanese troops stationed in town.

She was six years old when the Japanese military invaded the Philippines. She was studying in first grade at the Boac Elementary School. Her family did not leave their home. They stayed in town and had interaction with the Japanese forces who occupied Boac for almost fourteen months, from the middle of 1942 to early 1944.

Macrine was the oldest daughter of Bernardo Jambalos, Jr., a certified public accountant and Elena Decena Nieva, a science teacher. Her younger sister was then four years old. Her paternal grandfather, Bernardo Sr. was a successful businessman who owned and operated several fishing boats. They resided in the coastal village of Laylay about 10 km south of downtown Boac. He had nine children, five boys and four girls.

Her father was the oldest of the five boys. During the war, he continued his practice as a CPA to support his young family. He did not join the guerrilla or resistance movement organized by the locals. However, his four younger brothers were active members in the movement against the Japanese.

The guerrillas had their hideout in the interior of the island. To avoid detection by the enemy, they made covert visits to the town regularly to obtain their food and supplies, and to gather news update about the war. There were some minor encounters between the Japanese and the guerrilla forces, but not as destructive and violent as the war incidents in my childhood island of Panay.

Macrine's maternal grandparents also resided in the town of Boac and were actively involved in the local politics. Her maternal grandfather Juan Morente Nieva was the first governor of Marinduque. During the Japanese occupation period, her uncle was the mayor of Boac. The local officials cooperated with the occupying forces in Boac to keep the peace and order.

The presence of the invaders in the island was unnerving to the local Filipinos. The Japanese were unpredictable and when they felt the need, they would unjustly punish or torture innocent civilians. They established their headquarters in the local elementary school while school was in session.

The Japanese occupation in Marinduque did not meet a lot of resistance from the poorly armed local Filipino guerrillas. The Japanese tried to maintain normalcy by allowing the schools and businesses to remain open. Macrine and her school mates were allowed to attend school. They learned a few Japanese words and strangely, a Japanese military song.

Macrine’s aunt Blanca Decena Nieva was the older sister of her mother. She was single and strikingly beautiful with her mestiza looks inherited from their Spanish ancestors. She had been a hospital nurse for two years before the war. She joined the Philippine army as a nurse and was based in Manila shortly after war was declared.

After the Japanese military attacked Pearl Harbor on December 8, 1941, they invaded the American controlled Philippine islands. There was an initial aerial bombardment by the Japanese to cripple the Filipino and American forces around Manila and the major cities of the country. Soon it was followed by the landing of Japanese ground troops. There was combat in the streets between the invaders against the Filipino and American troops.

The residents of Manila panicked amidst the bombings and the fire fights in the city. Many civilians were caught in the crossfire. On the first few days of the Japanese occupation of Manila, Macrine’s aunt Blanca became a victim of the Japanese forces. She was shot and died from a Japanese machine gun fire at the doorstep of her apartment.

Blanca and her maid fled from their apartment building. They heard about the arrival of the invading soldiers and the ensuing conflict. They realized they had to evacuate to a safer place. She could have survived had she not returned to her apartment to retrieve her jewelry. Her maid survived unharmed to tell the tragic story to the Nieva family.

When my future mother-in-law learned of the violent death of her sister, she was distraught, angered and devastated with the loss of a loved one. She vowed that she will never forgive the Japanese for the tragedy that befell her sister. She wanted to avenge the loss, but first the family had to grieve for the passing of Blanca.

At the latter part of the war, Filipino and American forces started arriving in the island to support the guerrillas. The Japanese forces were retreating, surrendering and on the brink of defeat in Marinduque. Two Japanese soldiers who chose not to surrender were cornered hiding in the attic of the school, where the local Japanese garrison and prison camp was located.

They were shot dead by the Filipino guerrilla forces. Their bloody bodies were paraded in the town square for everyone to see. My future mother-in-law had her revenge realized. She was one of the many civilians who kicked and spat at the remains of the two soldiers.

Her hatred for the Japanese continued through the rest of her life. She stuck with her vow and never forgave them for killing her only sister. When my mother-in-law was still alive, during social events she avoided mingling in the same table where a Japanese person was seated.

A second incident which affected Macrine, and which she vividly remembers to this day involved the harassment and torture of her grandfather Bernardo. One summer day, a squad of armed Japanese soldiers went to his home looking for him. They suspected him of helping the resistance movement and took him away to be punished for the alleged charge of insurgency.

They tied his hands by his back and took him to the sea where they let him stand in the water up to his waist. Later in the afternoon, the tide had risen and the water level was up to his neck. He was left standing in the water under the sun for almost the whole day without food or drinking water.

There were four other civilians being punished at the same time. They were similarly suspected of rebellion by aiding the guerrillas. They were all cruelly punished with their hands tied on their backs, exposed to the hot summer sun, while standing in the sea water waiting for the high tide to possibly drown them.

Macrine’s grandfather was eventually saved from dehydration and possible death from drowning. The local officials arrived and intervened on his behalf. They conferred and convinced the Japanese troops that he was not involved with the resistance movement, but a respected entrepreneur in the community. The other four civilian men were not released from their agony until they almost drowned. The high tide was already above their heads.

The Japanese troops were not aware that four of his sons were in the resistance movement. There was a an occasion when he was entertaining his unsuspecting Japanese visitors in his living room, while at the same time a group of guerrilla fighters including his four sons and their comrades were in his kitchen. They were securing food, rice and other supplies to bring to their mountain hideaway.

Macrine's experience of the Japanese-American war was not as traumatic as mine. Her family never fled from their home and stayed in town versus my experience of moving several times including staying in the jungles of Panay to avoid the conflict. The Japanese occupation of Boac, Marinduque was more peaceful and uneventful compared to the bombings and firefights in Manila and my own hometown of Iloilo.

The death of her aunt by machine gun fire and the punishment of her grandfather were the two incidents that she intensely remembers from the war. However, today, she informed me that the horrors of that war are almost gone and just a haze in her memory. Time eventually heals the trauma of war slowly, if not completely.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Cloyne Court- Excerpts 21 and 22

Phi Kappa Sigma Hazing-photo from peoplehowstuffworks.com
Cloyne Court, Episode 21
By Dodie Katague
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Rated "R" by the Author.

Cloyne Court, Berkeley, California in the late 1970s.

Three weeks and nine lecture hours later, Ms. Barbara had said all she could say about feminism and nothing about Virginia Woolf. I looked at my notes. I had a page-and-a-half of three-word paraphrases and abbreviations and the symbols:

I looked at Karen, the woman seated next to me. She had thirty pages of notes and obviously reviewed them. She had paragraphs highlighted in different highlighter colors. I made a note to try to borrow her notes and decipher her color scheme.

After class one day, I walked with Karen through Sproul Plaza toward Telegraph Avenue. She was attractive in that Max Factor way with makeup (before ten a.m.) and not a hair out of place. I wanted to ask her out but was afraid.

Karen came to class dressed in a skirt and blouse and on cold mornings, with a sweater tied around her shoulders. The preppy look was unusual for Berkeley. Most students wore blue jeans, a T-shirt, and running shoes and carried a REI or Northface book pack. Karen carried a large-oversized purse that held one textbook and notebook, her cosmetics and a dozen highlighter pens in different colors.

“You sure take lots of notes,” I said.

“Stuff worth learning, don’t you think?” She had a reverent tone of voice as if the 'stuff' was the word of God handed down to Moses.

“It’s thought-provoking,” I replied, not wanting to offend her. If Rhetoric taught me anything, it was to know your audience and try not to offend them. “I don’t think one’s entire interaction with people should be perceived as men versus women.”

“It’s more than that,” she said, correcting me. “It’s information that empowers women. Virginia Wolff’s work has subthemes. She questions whether a woman can produce art as good as Shakespeare can, and there are more subthemes written all over it.”

“I take it you’ve highlighted the different subthemes in different colors?” I asked. “You sit next to me. I’ve seen your notes.”

“Precisely,” she said.

“Well, I guess as a lowly male, I can’t see that point of view from under your Famolares. Perhaps you can enlighten me sometime?”

She smiled at my sarcasm.

“I’d be interested in hearing what you think the subtext is. Perhaps we could meet and review notes some time,” I said.

“I’ve seen your notes. They are pathetic.”

“But I’ve read the book, as you have. I highlight the book. Not the notes. The notes are only an aid to memory.”

Fortunately, the book was in my backpack, and she couldn’t confirm I was lying. The book was still in pristine condition. I could sell the book back to the bookstore at the end of the quarter and receive full trade-in value for it.

Karen and I walked in silence. We couldn’t be heard over the raucous chanting of an antiapartheid protest going on at the steps of Sproul Plaza. We stood at the crosswalk at Bancroft Avenue waiting for the light to change.

“OK,” she said, breaking our silence. “Let’s study together right before midterms. I’m a Kappa Alpha. Do you know where the house is? Corner of Piedmont and Haste.”

I was well aware of the huge gray mansion on Greek Row with the two Greek letters K and A in snow-white paint affixed to the front of the house like Hester Prine’s scarlet letter. According to Alan, Kappa Alpha was the snobbiest of the sororities.

“What fraternity do you live in?” she asked.

“I live in a house on Northside on Ridge Road," I said truthfully. I remembered Alan’s warning about revealing my housing status.

“Are you an SAE,” Karen asked, “or Chi Omega?” She rattled off Greek letters as fluently as she spoke English. What could I say? Rush week had been over for months. Bids had been made and pledges had been initiated into their fraternities and moved into their houses.

I thought for a second. I knew that my answer would be a defining minor moment in my life—a precedent that could change my ethical integrity for years to come. I could have taken the path of honesty and high moral values and told her the truth. However, truth would have been sexual suicide. She would not have given me the time of day after that, and I wanted her time of day. I wanted her time of night. How should I answer her?

Cloyne Court, Episode 22
By Dodie Katague
Wednesday, December 02, 2009
Rated "R" by the Author.

A creative memoir about Cloyne Court in Berkeley, California in the late 1970s.

As a devout Catholic in high school, I would have answered such moral dilemmas by asking myself, “What would Jesus have done?” But Jesus, the almighty God, would have either not have been interested in dating women or he shagged all the women he ever desired.[1] Secular knowledge wasn’t helping me now. Jesus would have done nothing, because he would never be in this position. I had to set my standards lower.

I thought, What would my parish priest, Father Steve have done? Because Father Steve was probably a latent child molester and drank the holy wine when the parishioners weren’t looking, I was certain to receive the answer I wanted to hear. The answer came to me in a flash of libido. He would have waffled the truth to receive this woman's communion wafers.

“I’m in Delta, mumble, mumble, cough. When do you want to meet?”

“Delta Lambda what?" She asked. “I didn’t hear you. You had something in your throat.”

“That’s right. You heard it.” I fudged. “Delta Lambda, uh, (Semper) Phi.” I improvised. I’m sure there could be a Delta Lambda Phi somewhere in America. I hoped she didn’t know every fraternity in the Greek system at Berkeley.

“Oh yeah, that one. It used to be on Waring Street, I think. Your chapter must have moved.”

She looked at me queerly, but her defensive demeanor went from red alert to yellow. She was visibly relaxed as we walked.

“Yeah, that’s it. New chapter house.” I lied, but I was on a roll. “Keg parties every Saturday night. Extraordinary bunch of guys. Great camaraderie. We have guys who are on the gymnastics team and the water polo team. Some are going to be the future Mark Spitz of America.” When in doubt, name drop. It works every time.

She wrote her number on a slip of notebook paper and gave it to me. Instead of giving her my house number, I told her I would contact her. I couldn't risk having her calling Cloyne Court and discovering where I lived. We parted at the corner of Channing and Telegraph. As I watched her walk toward Greek Row up Channing Avenue, the crowded, dirty streets of Telegraph Avenue didn’t seem so repulsive. It never does when there's something pleasurable to think about.

I returned to Cloyne that night and told Alan about my encounter with the blondest, most dreamy-eyed, sweetest, Kappa Alpha I had ever met. I hoped he would be jealous. I wanted to convince him you didn’t have to be in a fraternity to meet sorority women. I explained that I had made up the Delta Lambda Phi fraternity at the spur of the moment.

Alan looked at me with a ghastly expression. “There is a Delta Lambda Phi. It’s the gay fraternity.”

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wedding Pictures Not Worthy for your Album

Chateau Du Mer Beach Resort Wedding Venue

Wedding ceremonies and receptions are the main source of income of the Cheateau Du Mer Conference Hall in Boac, Marinduque. As of today, we have celebrated a Beach wedding as well as a Garden wedding in the resort. We have also hosted more than 60 wedding receptions since 2009. Thanks to the OFW from Marinduque and their relatives who patronize the Hall and to all our other clients for their patronage. We hope
2012 will be better year.

Here are some wedding photos from golmao.com for your enjoyment.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Cloyne Court- Excerpts 19 and 20

Dick Fine-Photo from touristseason.tumblr.com
Cloyne Court, Episode 19
By Dodie Katague
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Rated "R" by the Author.

Cloyne Court, Berkeley, California in the late 1970s.

Months later, as I became friendly with the people in the house, Lorna, who did have a slight mustache and a deviating left eye and buckteeth, recounted her date. "A lot of women in the house said I should ask him out. They assured me that Dick wouldn't say no. They told me he was an experience I shouldn't miss. I'll never do that again."

"You were disappointed?"

"Not at all. It was earth shattering, but he was enormous. I couldn't fit it all in."1] She sighed. "At least I can say I rode the big one."

I didn’t like showering when Dick Fine was there, because I knew the women, and some men, were looking at him, then looking at me, and looking back at him and making a mental comparison. It was a low blow to self-esteem. The downside of showering in a unisex shower was just as I could see women in their birthday suits, they could see me naked and think the same things I was thinking about them. How humbling. I was a typical young man with average everything and the law of averages meant nobody was ever going to take an interest in me because of my body.

The shower room was not the sexual playroom it could have been. First, there were too many people going in and out to give any couple or group sex any privacy; second, the militant feminists wouldn’t have permitted it. The shower room was supposed to be a safe, nonsexist, utilitarian place to wash. With some private exceptions, it was.

The co-ed shower idea was supposed to be the epitome of an egalitarian ideal that nakedness should have no sexual overtones. When the unisex shower proposal was introduced at a house meeting, the feminist women supported it. Guilt and shame over the naked human body were religious indoctrinations that had no place in the free exchange of new ideas and social theories, as we were to discover at Berkeley.

However, it is not easy teaching an old dick new tricks. My little William and I would learn the hard way from experience.

As I quickly showered, dried and dressed, the blood rushed back to my brain saving me from embarrassment. I grabbed my books and ran down the back steps toward the campus. Once I crossed Hearst Street to the university, I had gone from Venus to Mars in my little galaxy that I now called home.

Cloyne Court, Episode 20
By Dodie Katague
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Rated "R" by the Author.

Cloyne Court, Berkeley, California in the late 1970s.

Rhetoric 1A: Intro to Logical Writing

Rhetoric is the difference between rape and seduction. It is the ancient art of logical argumentation and discourse for decisions that are decided by emotion. I chose to study this subject over English, because I felt persuasive writing was of more practical use to me than the study of Jane Austen.

Graduate Teaching Assistant Ms. Barbara Zimmer taught this small class of twenty. She was feminine in her brusque manner, but a feminist in all other respects. She exuded the same attitude of Berkeley graduate students forced to be teaching assistants. She was a “there’s-only-one-correct-answer, do-it-my-way, why-do-I-bother-teaching-undergrads” dictator with the power of my future in her grading pencil, and she wielded it like an old-style Catholic nun with a ruler. Whack!

The assigned reading was Virginia Woolf’s essay, A Room of One’s Own, a selection from the class textbook, The Feminist Reader: A Feminist Approach to American Fiction.

Ms. Barbara taught Woolf's Room as if it were a landmark in feminist criticism. Like Mao’s Little Red Book, she disseminated to our blank freshman minds the revisionist view of Marxism, lesbianism and modern feminism.

“Men have different degrees of access to the mechanisms of oppression,” she said. “Almost every man and woman encounter has sexual overtones designed to reinforce the sexual dominance of men.”

I dutifully wrote the statement in my notebook. I didn't know when the quote might come in handy at some cocktail party.

Ms. Barbara walked down the rows of chairs glaring at the men but gently touching the desks, and sometimes the shoulders of the women students as she continued to pontificate. “Men are socialized to have sexual desires and to feel entitled to have those desires met, whereas women are socialized to meet those desires and to internalize accepted definitions of femininity and sexual objectification. As men cling to the idea that their sexuality is an absolute expression of their need and dominance, they prevent women from effecting new attitudes, self-realizations, and behaviors.”

I translated that to, "Men are horny bastards and women let it happen to their detriment." Perhaps, from the top of the ivory tower, Ms. Graduate Student Barbara’s view of the sexual battlefield had the masculine missiles of October menacingly pointed at the feminist motherland, but she was wrong.

I knew from watching my parent’s marriage and the male-female interactions at Cloyne Court, that women actually run society but let men think they do.

However, I could never state that blasphemy in Rhetoric 1A. My viewpoint would not be given any credence in her classroom, because I had a Y chromosome. Therefore, I suffered in silence at the indignity of learning that I, as a man, was the oppressor of women, the cause of famines in underdeveloped Third World countries, and the inventor of hot pants and disco music done under aegis of politically correct scholarly dogma.
This episode is based on a true story.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Time for Some Music from Il Divo

Time for some of my favorite musical pieces from Il Divo.

Il Divo ("divine male performer" in Italian) is a multinational operatic pop vocal group created by music manager, executive, and reality TV star Simon Cowell. Formed in the United Kingdom, they are also signed to Cowell's record label, Syco Music. Il Divo is a group of four male singers: Spanish baritone Carlos Marín, Swiss tenor Urs Bühler, American tenor David Miller, and French pop singer Sébastien Izambard. To date, they have sold more than 26 million albums worldwide

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Cloyne Court- Excerpts 17 and 18

Cloyne Court, Episode 17
By Dodie Katague
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Rated "R" by the Author.

Cloyne Court, Berkeley, California in the late 1970s.
Astronomy 10: Heavenly Bodies

I grabbed my toiletry bag and towel and headed to the basement. Leaving the shower room was Laurent, the house drug dealer. He was of French, Middle-Eastern descent, had a full but well-trimmed beard and like any successful commissioned salesman, he was gregarious and friendly to a fault. He was wearing a silk bathrobe with a designer logo on the front-left pocket.

“Derek,” he said, as if we were best friends, “I’m Laurent in room 8A. You should stop by, and we should party sometime. You are into partying, aren’t you?”

“Sure, Laurent,” I said cautiously. Why did he want to party with me? We didn’t have much in common. I wasn’t female, and I didn’t have any spare cash to buy what he was selling. Why was he acting friendly?

“Awesome! I have some quality shit from Hawaii—Maui Wowee. It’ll send you on a wicked trip. If you want anything special, let me know. I can usually obtain it at a good price. Leave a note in my message box.”

I could not see myself spending money I didn’t have to buy any of his goods, and I didn’t need too. The weekend parties at Cloyne were accentuated with a distinct reefer smoke that permeated the hallways and furniture and lingered for days. You could get high just breathing the secondhand smoke.

At that time of the morning, the communal shower room was as busy as Grand Central Station. Two women and one man were taking a shower.

When I tell people about the co-ed showers, they titter and wonder what kind of depraved lifestyle I was living. However, the novelty of seeing naked bodies everyday in the shower room wore off quickly and became nothing more than a hygienic, morning ritual.

The naked female bodies in the shower that morning were typical of what I would see while I lived in the house. One woman, Betsy, had firm breasts with pink areolas, bushy pubic hair and nicely shaped hips. She was washing her hair with a lavender scented shampoo.

"Good morning," I said in a pleasant voice.

She gave me the once-over and went back to washing her hair.

Because most of us at Cloyne Court were eighteen, nineteen or twenty, I did see some gorgeously shaped female bodies. While I lived there, I ogled only a handful that could have been Playboy centerfold material. However, for every attractive eye candy I saw in the shower room, I also saw a mélange of bulges, flabbiness, tattoos, birthmarks, scars, moles, skin rashes, and unusually hairy body parts, including backs, necks, legs and armpits. Actual nudity without the proper mindset did not live up to its billing as a sexy experience.


Cloyne Court, Episode 18
By Dodie Katague
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
Rated "R" by the Author.

Cloyne Court, Berkeley, California in the late 1970s.

After a few weeks, I attributed private body characteristics to people when I saw them at meal times or walking down the main hallway. Just as I would meet people and recognize them by a distinctive facial feature like a big nose or a dimpled chin, I would also think, “That’s Susan, nicely trimmed pubic hair, or there’s Jennifer, big half-dollar sized areolas.”

The other woman taking a shower was Cindy, who I had first met at the telephone switchboard. Her breasts were shaped like pears and sagged. This morning, she wasn’t sporting the nose ring, but as I looked her over, I saw a flash of gold in her shaved pubic region. She had a gold ring attached to her labia. I had never seen one before. As I imagined how and who did the actual piercing, a tingle went through my groin.

Before becoming desensitized to seeing a naked female body in the shower, I worried about embarrassing myself by getting an erection. While that possibility always remained, fortunately for most of winter quarter at that time of morning, it was cold in the large shower room and nothing could coax a chilly Willie to raise its bulbous head in excitement. At least, not mine anyway.

The man showering opposite the two women was Richard Hein, whom the women in the house nicknamed 'Dick Fine'. He was a six-foot tall Adonis with short curly blond hair, a muscular V-shaped chest and a washboard stomach. Richard didn’t earn his nickname from his six-pack abdominals. He had a ten-inch long male member that was two inches thick in its flaccid state, and I was only guessing. I never actually measured it. I had no idea what it looked like in an erect state, but many women did, hence his nickname. He was a second-year senior, graduating in five years instead of four. At twenty-one, he had more worldly experience than a freshman. He walked the halls and played basketball in the courtyard with a self-assured air and an innocent smile that attracted women like night bugs to UV lights. He had certainly zapped his share.

Down in the showers after a basketball game when it was just the guys showering, someone tried to get Dick to tell stories about his love life. "So, Dick, who are you fucking this weekend?"

Dick was a gentleman and wouldn’t brag. "I have a dinner date with Lorna tonight."

"Lorna?" someone said. "She's the ugliest women in the house. Are you desperate?"

"She asked me out."

"And you said yes? You'll need three paper bags. One to put over your head and two to put over her head in case one breaks."

Dick just smiled with confidence.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

My Favorite Philippine Dishes

My wife and I have resided here in the US since 1960. We have adapted to hamburgers, hot dogs, salad, cottage cheese, yogurt and other typical American fast foods, as well as Filipino dishes that we craved once in a while. Cooking Filipino food here in Northern California is no longer a problem, since we can purchase the ingredients in the Filipino-American store or an Oriental store (Chinese, Korean or Japanese) within 10 to 20 miles driving distance from our residence.

In the 1960's there was only one Filipino store near our residence in Chicago, Illinois. We oftentimes have to shop in China Town downtown. Today, there are Filipino grocery stores in almost all the medium-sized and big cities in US to cater to the expanding population of Filipino Americans who had immigrated to US in the 1980's.

We have resided in several cities here in US ( Sacramento, Pinole, Modesto,(California), Chicago, Illinois, Kansas City, Missouri and Colesville, Maryland). Every time we moved, my first job was to look at the telephone directory for the nearest oriental or Filipino store to our house.

The Philippines have a lot of dishes that I love. But my favorite dishes are fresh lumpia( eggrolls), lechon (roasted pig), pancit ( rice noodles), chicken and/or pork afritada ( cooked in tomato sauce with potatoes and green peppers),dinuguan ( blood pudding) and deboned and stuffed chicken called relleno. The above dishes are also the favorites of our four children who grew up here in US and does not really know the cuisine of the Philippines-the country of their ancestry.

Our children are brown and looked very Filipino, but they are as American as apple pie. In their college years, some of their friends called them “coconuts”. Their friends would comment, “you guys are brown outside but very white inside”. That indeed is the truth! Sometimes my children thinks, this is a racial slur. I told them to accept the comment and not worry about it.

My wife is an excellent cook. The saying "the way to a man's heart is through his stomach", applies to our life. When we were students at the University of the Philippines in the early 1950s, our romance was on and off. I was not really ready to get married at that time, since I was still planning to do graduate studies in the US.

One day before my 21st birthday (we have not talked or seen each other for almost a year), I was surprised to receive a birthday gift from her. Her gift was a chiffon orange cake that she baked from scratch. It was the most delicious cake I have ever eaten. It reignited our romance and we started dating again. The next year we got married. I was only 23 years old at that time. The next year, we had our oldest son and I was already in US doing graduate work at the University of Illinois in Chicago.

Do you have a favorite dish, perhaps a native dish of your country of origin? I will appreciate if you share it.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Cloyne Court- Excerpt 16

Cloyne Court, Episode 16
By Dodie Katague
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Rated "R" by the Author.

Cloyne Court, Berkeley, California in the late 1970s.

"What is it with men and their need to overpower their natural environment?" Carrie, the lesbian, asked the day after Alan went on a Saturday afternoon marathon of loud music in the backyard.

I replied, "The only difference between men and boys is the price of their toys.1]"

She huffed. "You men are all alike. You stick together even when you know you're wrong."

"Wrong about what?"

"His choice of music. Making fun of transvestites just leads to violence against transgender people. Besides, The Kinks are so passé."

"Lola was only one song out of the dozens he played," I said, and thought she should have objected to Alan's airing of Village People's Macho Man, which he played repeatedly. I was humming the chorus for days afterward.

I told Alan what Carrie had said. The next Saturday he proclaimed it "Transgender and Crossdresser Appreciation Day" and recorded a cassette tape of songs that included Pink Floyd's Arnold Layne, Little Richard's Long Tall Sally, Led Zeppelin’s Royal Orleans, Rebel, Rebel by David Bowie, Lou Reed's Walk on the Wild Side and Monty Python's The Lumberjack Song, which he played repeatedly all afternoon.

* * *

Our third roommate was Mark or Mike or Matt. I never actually knew his name. Alan and I hardly saw him. When we did, he was asleep. He was an engineering student from the San Jose area not far from Berkeley, so he went home most weekends. He may have had a girlfriend back home, but he was shy, didn’t talk much, and Alan and I didn’t get to know him well enough to learn anything about him.

One weekend, Alan came into the room looking worried. He said, “I met some homeless dude downstairs. He doesn’t live here, but I think he sleeps in the basement. He knows I have some cool, stereo equipment. I think he’s been peeking in our window.”
“Alan, everyone with ears knows you have expensive stereo equipment. I think everyone within six-blocks knows.”

“Well, I think we need to take some precautions. Someone may want to steal it."

“What do you want to do?"

“Let’s take a bed sheet and cover the window, so thieves can’t look into the room."

We looked at all our possessions. We did not have a spare bed sheet to cover the window. Our absent roommate did. It was on his bed, neatly made.

“Let’s use our roomie’s bed sheet," he said. "We’ll have to put it back before he returns Sunday night.” He pulled the sheet off the bed.

"We should use duct tape to hang that up," I said.
"Naw, these thumbtacks will do just fine."

For weeks, after Mark or Mike or Matt left for home on Friday afternoons, Alan removed the bed sheet from his bed and thumb tacked it over the window. Every Sunday afternoon, we would have to remember to take it down and put it back on his bed. This worked fine until the end of the quarter during finals, when both of us forgot to remake his bed and Mark or Mike or Matt returned to find his property covering the window. He didn’t say a word. He took it down, made his bed and moved out at the end of the term. His only complaint was left in a written message in my telephone message box at the front switchboard. It said, "There were thumbtack holes in my bed sheet". I knew we should have used duct tape.

This episode is based on a true story.

Although seventy-five percent of this memoir is factual, liberties were taken with the other twenty-five percent for plot purposes. That is where scenes were recreated from memory when they were not clearly defined in the journals written by the author from 1976 to 1980.

Individual characters are composites of several people and do not represent any one person, and the names have been changed to protect innocent people that may be guilty of indiscretions in their youth.


[1] However, as I was to discover in my mid-forties, the price of a sports car is inversely proportional to the amount of hair remaining on your head.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Simplified Overview of New Drug Development in the US

David Katague working in the research laboratory, 1980

As a retired Food and Drug Administration(FDA) employee involved in the development of new drugs in the Division of Anti-Infective Drug Products, Office of New Drug Chemistry (ONDC), Center of Drugs and Evaluation Research (CDER), I had been often asked by several of my blog readers to write a simplified overview and the cost of new drug development in the US as well as the role of FDA.

I had been postponing it, because I thought the subject is confidential. However, when I started browsing the Internet, I found several articles on the subject. I even found several Chemistry Manufacturing Supplements that I had reviewed and approved several years ago.

The letters of approval and the chemist reviews were published in full, with the exception of the specifics in the supplement which were redacted in the approval letter as well as in the chemist review. The patent of the drugs discussed had expired, so it was now open to all generic companies for development. Otherwise the chemist review and the letter of approval will never be made public.

I know I am getting out of the topic, but the above information makes me feel that the subject of drug development in the US, its cost and the role of FDA is an important topic that should be of interest to all.

Drug development starts from new compounds that are man-made or synthesized in the laboratory. It may be discovered also from the extracts of plants and/or animals or even from the soil. It is also possible that new compounds that can cure cancer, Alzheimers disease and viral diseases can be found from the oceans, the tropical jungles of South America or from soils in the Philippines or in other parts of the world. These new compounds are called new chemical entity (NCE) or sometimes known as new molecular entities( NME).

In general the process of drug development can be divided into two steps: the pre-clinical(laboratory) and clinical (human) trials.

Pre-clinical (Laboratory)

The new chemical entities studied will have promising activity against a particular biological target thought to be important in the disease cure; however, little will be known about the safety, toxicity, pharmacokinetics and metabolism of this NCEs in humans.

During the pre-clinical trials all parameters of safety and toxicity of these drug candidates will be assessed and studied prior to the important and necessary human clinical trials. A major objective of this step is to make a recommendation of the proper dose and schedule to be used the first time it is used in a human clinical trial. This is known as "first-in-man" (FIM) or first human dose (FHD) trials.

In addition, drug development procedures are required to establish the physical and chemical properties of the NCE. Its chemical makeup, stability, solubility and other physical properties are studied rigorously. The process by which the chemical is made will be also optimized so that from being made at the bench on a milligram scale by a synthetic chemist, it can be manufactured on the kilogram scale in the pilot plant and then on the ton scale in the manufacturing facilities of the pharmaceutical firm.

These drug candidates will be further examined for their suitability to be made into capsules, tablets, aerosols, creams, ointments, intramuscular injectables, subcutaneous injectables, or intravenous formulations. After the active ingredient (drug substance) has been formulated into a capsules, creams, injectables, etc.., it known as the drug product. Together these processes are known in preclinical development as the Chemistry, Manufacturing and Control (CMC) procedures.

Many aspects of drug development are focused on satisfying the legal and regulatory requirements of the drug licensing authorities. These generally constitute a number of tests designed to determine the major toxicities of a novel compound prior to first use in man.

It is a legal requirement that an assessment of major organ toxicity be performed, that is the effects of the drug on the heart and lungs, brain, kidney, liver and digestive system, as well as effects on other parts of the body that might be affected by the drug, for example the skin if the new drug is to be delivered through the skin.

These tests can be made using in vitro methods (e.g. with isolated cells), however many tests can only be made by using experimental animals, since it is only in an intact organism that the complex interplay of metabolism and drug exposure on toxicity can be examined. Most common experimental animals are mice, rabbits and monkeys. These tests are called in vivo testing, the opposite of in vitro testing.

The information gathered from this pre-clinical testing, as well as the information on the CMC, is submitted to regulatory authorities (in the US, to the FDA), as an Investigational New Drug application or IND. If the IND is approved, development moves to the human clinical phase. The reviews of INDs occupied about 10% of my time when I was still working for FDA.

Human Clinical phase

The human clinical trials involve three steps:

Phase I trials are conducted in small number of healthy patients to determine safety and dosing.

Phase II trials are used to get an initial reading of efficacy and further explore safety in small numbers of sick patients.

Phase III trials are large pivotal trials to determine safety and efficacy in sufficiently large numbers of patients, preferably of all ages and to children if the drug is to be sold as a pediatric drug product. The larger the number of patients the better it is, with regards to the statistical vigor and integrity of the clinicl trials.

The process of drug development does not stop once an NCE begins human clinical trials. In addition to the tests required to move a novel drug into the clinic for the first time it is also important to ensure that long-term or chronic toxicities are determined. The drug effects on systems not previously monitored such as its effect on fertility, reproduction, and immune systems will have to be conducted. The compound will also have be tested for its capability to cause cancer commonly known as carcinogenicity testing.

If a compound emerges from these tests with an acceptable toxicity and safety profile, and it can further be demonstrated to have the desired effect in clinical trials, then it can be submitted for marketing approval in the various countries where it will be sold.

In the US, this process is called a New Drug Application or NDA. Most NCEs, however, fail during drug development, either because they have some unacceptable toxicity, or because they simply do not work in clinical trials. In some cases, a drug originally studied for a specific disease turned out to be a better cure for another indication. A good example is Viagra originally studied for hypertension. Further testing however showed it was a better cure for erectile dysfunction.

Before a drug is approved for marketing, the manufacturing facility for that drug has to pass inspection conducted rigorously by the FDA field and research inspectors sometimes accompanied by the review chemist. This insures that the production facility follows good current manufacturing practices (GCMP) and the drug product marketed has all the qualities it purports and that is safe and effective.

The approval or disapproval of the CMC portion of the INDs and NDAs was my primary responsibility as a Chemistry reviewer and later as a Chemistry Team Leader during my employment with FDA from 1990 to 2002.

Cost of new Drug Development

Studies published by DiMasi et al in 2003 report an average pre-tax cost of approximately $800 million to bring a new drug to market. A study published in 2006 estimates that costs vary from around $500 million to $2 billion depending on the therapy or the developing firm.

A study published in 2010 in the Journal of Health Economics, including an author from the US Federal Trade Commission, was critical of the methods used by DiMasi but came up with a higher estimate of about $1.2 billion. Critic Marcia Angell, M.D., a former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, has called that number grossly inflated, and estimates that the total cost is closer to $100 million. A 2011 study also critical of the DiMasi methods, puts average costs at $55 million.

Success rate

Candidates for a new drug to treat a disease might theoretically include from 5,000 to 10,000 chemical compounds. On average about 250 of these will show sufficient promise for further evaluation using laboratory tests, mice and other test animals. Typically, about ten of these will qualify for tests on humans. Of the ten only two will finally be approved for marketing.

Drugs with high therapeutic importance such as cancer and anti-viral drugs are scheduled with the highest priority and are usually approved in a much shorter times than the standard drug candidates.

A study conducted by the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development covering the 1980s and 1990s found that only 21.5 percent of drugs that start phase I trials are eventually approved for marketing. Now you know why the drugs you purchased in the pharmacy is very expensive ( except the generic drugs). I am sure that most Americans will not be able to afford new drugs if they do not have medical insurance.

FDA Role and Mission

The mission of FDA is to enforce laws enacted by the U.S. Congress and regulations established by the Agency to protect the consumer's health, safety, and pocketbook. The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act is the basic food and drug law of the U.S. With numerous amendments it is the most extensive law of its kind in the world.

The law is intended to assure consumers that foods are pure and wholesome, safe to eat, and produced under sanitary conditions; that drugs and devices are safe and effective for their intended uses; that cosmetics are safe and made from appropriate ingredients; and that all labeling and packaging is truthful, informative, and not deceptive.


The new drug approval process in the US is considered to be the most strict in the world. On the average, it costs a company around $360 million to get one new medicine from the laboratory to the drug store, according to a February 1993 report by the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment. It takes between 10 to 12 years for an experimental drug to advance from the laboratory to the medicine cabinet. However, drugs with high therapeutic value are given the highest priority in scheduling and are normally approved much faster than the standard drugs. Only 5 in 5,000 compounds that enter preclinical testing make it to human testing. Only one of these five tested in people is finally approved for marketing. This rigorous process assures all consumers that the drug approved by FDA is not only safe but also effective and of good quality.

FDA's role does not end after approval. Post marketing activities are undergoing, such as monitoring of adverse reaction reports, and most of all the post approval changes in the manufacturing, chemistry and control procedures that are submitted to the agency for review.

Among the post approval changes that FDA has to approve are changes in the synthesis of the drug substance, changes in the formulation of the drug product, a change in location of the manufacturing facility as well as changes in the analytical procedure for testing the drug substance and/or drug product.

Guidances published by FDA informed the pharmaceutical firms the requirements and data needed to facilitate the approval of these changes. These submissions are called manufacturing and control supplements. The approval of these supplements occupied about 50% of my time when I was still working for FDA.

I hope you found the above article informative and now have a clear idea why new drugs are very expensive in the US.

References: Wikipedia, pharma.org, medscape.com
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