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!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Moe of the Week- Lost in Paradise

Here's a second movie this week that I like very much. It is a story of male and female prostitution in Saigon, South Vietnam. It has English subtitles. It is an excellent movie if you are not homophobic. There is the side story of a mentally handicapped man and his pet duck. This side story touched my heart, indeed. It reminded me of my childhood years when I was raising a chick that think, I was his mother in the jungle of Panay Island during the American-Japanese War in the Philippines. Let me know if you like it. Lost in Paradise is a 2011 Vietnamese drama film directed by Vũ Ngọc Đãng. Its original title is Rebellious Hot Boy and the Story of Cười, the Prostitute and the Duck (Hot boy nổi loạn và câu chuyện về thằng Cười, cô gái điếm và con vịt), shortened to Rebellious Hot Boy (Hot boy nổi loạn) or simply Hot Boy. The film is set in Saigon and has two separate story lines. The first depicts a love triangle between three men, Khôi, Lam, and Đông, of whom the latter two work as prostitutes. The second concerns a mentally-handicapped man, Cười, his friendship with Hạnh, a female prostitute, and his attempts to raise a duckling. The film was a strong critical and commercial success in Vietnam. It has been shown at several international festivals, from which it garnered more mixed reviews. In particular its portrayal of homosexuality has been noted as ground breaking within the context of Vietnamese cinema.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Journey to the Center of Your Mind-A Video

The other day, I received this video from a member of the Philippine American Academy of Science and Engineering(PAASE) regarding the brain and its function. This is one of the most interesting video talk I have viewed for quite sometime. Listened to it and tell me if you agree. This lecture is by Vilayanur Ramachandran an excellent speaker and sponsored by TEDTalks. Vilayanur Ramachandran tells us what brain damage can reveal about the connection between celebral tissue and the mind, using three startling delusions as examples. TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world's leading thinkers and doers are invited to give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes -- including speakers such as Jill Bolte Taylor, Sir Ken Robinson, Hans Rosling, Al Gore and Arthur Benjamin. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, and Design, and TEDTalks cover these topics as well as science, business, politics and the arts.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

FaceBook Stocks is still going downhill as I Predicted

I have been posting several updates on what is going on about FaceBook stocks, since its offerring at $38 per share. I felt at that time that the price was too high and FB stocks was not a good long term investment. So far, I am right on the money. I still will not buy FB stocks until it goes down below $20 per share. Here's the latest news on FB from CNN Money Magazine. Facebook is finally a buy at ..(about $8 per Share?) By Paul R. La Monica May 29, 2012: Are you ready to take a spin? Even though the highest number on a roulette wheel is 36, fund managers say Facebook stock may not get back there anytime soon. Facebook shares continue to plummet. Shares were down nearly 7% Tuesday, falling below the $30 level. The stock is now more than 20% below its offering price of $38. That makes it officially a bear market for the social network. But guess what? It's likely to get worse for Facebook (FB) before it gets better. It's easier to make that case now, since we are starting to get a slow trickle of earnings and revenue forecasts for Facebook. Analysts at firms who were underwriters for the IPO are not allowed to officially start coverage on the stock for another few weeks -- although it looks like bearish remarks from lead banker Morgan Stanley (MS) have already led to shareholder lawsuits. Brokerages that were not part of the Facebook offering are free to issue reports on the stock. Because of the intense interest in Zuckerberg & Co., there already is a critical mass of coverage and earnings estimates. Ten analysts have earnings forecasts for 2012. Related: Wall Street losses mount on Facebook IPO For what it's worth, the median price target on the stock is $42, 40% higher than the current price. Analysts are forecasting earnings growth, on average, over the next three to five years of about 36% a year. In other words, Facebook has a lot to live up to in order to satisfy Wall Street's so-called sell side. That's why many investors are still shying away from the stock. I spoke with four fund managers Tuesday who all have big exposure to the tech sector. Not one of them said they are tempted to buy Facebook's stock yet. They all said the shares remain extremely overvalued. "We have not invested in Facebook. Here's the reason: Growth expectations are high, and the company would have had to do a number things flawlessly to meet them over the next few years. There is no point investing in them this early," said Sunil Reddy, portfolio manager with Apex Capital Management in Dayton, Ohio. Reddy said that he prefers Google (GOOG) to Facebook. Google trades at just 13.7 times 2012 earnings estimates. If you take that multiple and apply it to Facebook's consensus earnings estimate of 55 cents a share for 2012, you get a Facebook stock price of only $7.56! That's nearly 75% below its current price. Facebook's stock has not been well received since its IPO. Some fund managers think the stock could fall a lot more before it becomes a bargain. Of course, that probably is too bearish of a prediction. Facebook is still a solid company with strong growth prospects. It's not a fly-by-night tech destined for obsolescence; it just didn't deserve to be worth more than $100 billion on day 1 as a public company.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Buying FaceBook Stocks is a Risky Business

I finally had a chance in reading FaceBook IPO offerring prospectus. The following is a warning and the risks a consumer had to gamble in purchasing FB stocks. I still believe FB stocks are not good for long term investments ( see my previous postings on this subject) Risks Related to Our Business and Industry (FaceBook) "If we fail to retain existing users or add new users, or if our users decrease their level of engagement with Facebook, our revenue, financial results, and business may be significantly harmed. The size of our user base and our users’ level of engagement are critical to our success. We had 901 million monthly active users (MAUs) as of March 31, 2012. Our financial performance has been and will continue to be significantly determined by our success in adding, retaining, and engaging active users. We anticipate that our active user growth rate will decline over time as the size of our active user base increases, and as we achieve higher market penetration rates. To the extent our active user growth rate slows, our business performance will become increasingly dependent on our ability to increase levels of user engagement in current and new markets. If people do not perceive our products to be useful, reliable, and trustworthy, we may not be able to attract or retain users or otherwise maintain or increase the frequency and duration of their engagement. A number of other social networking companies that achieved early popularity have since seen their active user bases or levels of engagement decline, in some cases precipitously. There is no guarantee that we will not experience a similar erosion of our active user base or engagement levels. A decrease in user retention, growth, or engagement could render Facebook less attractive to developers and advertisers, which may have a material and adverse impact on our revenue, business, financial condition, and results of operations. Any number of factors could potentially negatively affect user retention, growth, and engagement, including if: • users increasingly engage with competing products; • we fail to introduce new and improved products or if we introduce new products or services that are not favorably received; • we are unable to successfully balance our efforts to provide a compelling user experience with the decisions we make with respect to the frequency, prominence, and size of ads and other commercial content that we display; • we are unable to continue to develop products for mobile devices that users find engaging, that work with a variety of mobile operating systems and networks, and that achieve a high level of market acceptance; • there are changes in user sentiment about the quality or usefulness of our products or concerns related to privacy and sharing, safety, security, or other factors; • we are unable to manage and prioritize information to ensure users are presented with content that is interesting, useful, and relevant to them; • there are adverse changes in our products that are mandated by legislation, regulatory authorities, or litigation, including settlements or consent decrees; • technical or other problems prevent us from delivering our products in a rapid and reliable manner or otherwise affect the user experience;" Buying FB stocks is indeed very risky. But if you want to gamble, that is up to you. Do not tell me, I told you so!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Do Filipino Women Make Good Wives?

The answer to the above question is ayes and a no. However, in general Filipino women do become good wives if you are a good husband yourself. I am married to a Filipina who grew up in the US, and I could definitely say, she is an excellent wife, because I am a good husband. Marriage is not a one side proposition whether your mate is a Filipina or not. It takes two to make a good marriage. Speaking of marrying a Filipina, I found the following article very interesting and realistic. It is "must read" for those who are looking for a Filipina mate. Answer the 20 questions and calculate your score. Question #20 is my own question. If you score high, a Filipina woman is in your future and good luck! So You Want to Marry a Filipina? Why? Don't get me wrong, I think it's a great decision for many men, but definitely not for everyone. Too often Filipinas are tossed into that broad and meaningless category of "Asian Women." Why do I say meaningless? Typically that category would include Filipino, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Thai, and Malaysian women, amongst many, many others. Yet these people have different languages, different ethnicities, different religions, and different cultures. About the only thing they have in common is that they can see the same ocean if the make it to the beach. For that reason I discourage any man from marrying a Filipina simply because he has some mythical notion (which the Internet tends to perpetuate) that all women from that area of the world are pretty much the same. Anyway, here's a little test for you prospective husbands. There are two aims here: first, to determine how much you actually know about your prospective wife's homeland and culture, and two, to check your ability to deal with certain nuances once the marriage is official. Be honest, because you're the only person who knows your score, and there aren't any cash prizes! 1. Have you ever been to the Philippines? 2.. Can you find the Philippines on a map? 3. Can you list three languages, other than English, spoken in the Philippines? 4. What are the three primary religions/denominations in the Philippines? 5. When did the Philippines become a U.S. colony? When did it become fully independent? 6. Why do Filipinos typically have Spanish names? 7. Do you plan on having children? Preferably several? 8. Are you at all reluctant to accept your new wife's family as your own, and if not, are you prepared to provide financial assistance to your new, extended family when they need it for schooling, medical care, or food? 9. Are you tolerant of superstitions? 10. Do you like soy sauce, garlic, and fried foods? 11. Do you like raw fish? 12. What is the preferred utensil when eating? Silverware, chopsticks, none? 13. Do you know how to bow properly? 14. Do you anticipate that your wife will be submissive and obedient? 15. Are you getting married basically for the sex? Be honest now! 16. If you are not Catholic, and your wife is, how will you raise your children? 17. What is the difference between a Tagalog, Ilocono, Zambal, and Visayan? 18. How does a Filipina differ from a Japanese woman? A Thai woman? Why does that make her a better choice for you? 19. Are you marrying a Filipina because you pretty much hate the women of your own country? 20. ( My own question): Do you know of anyone with Filipino roots in their ancestry? Answers and comments: 1. Have you ever been to the Philippines? Yes=5 pts. 2. Can you find the Philippines on a map? Yes=1 pt. 3. Can you list three languages, other than English, spoken in the Philippines? 1 pt for each language. Examples: Tagalog, Ilocono, Visayan, Cebuano, Zambal, etc. 4. What are the three primary religions/denominations in the Philippines? 83% Roman Catholic, 9% Protestant, 5% Muslim. 5 pts if you selected these three correctly (percentages are not, of course, required for a correct answer). 5. When did the Philippines become a U.S. colony? When did it become fully independent? 1899, 1946. 5 pts. for each date. 6. Why do Filipinos typically have Spanish names? The Spanish Friars forced the native Filipinos to take Spanish names during the Spanish colonial period. When the Spanish arrived the local priests & friars began to baptize the local people into the catholic church and undertook the first registration of births, marriages and deaths, this way they could effectively manage their new congregations. Naturally, they did not consider names like Lapu Lapu to be very Christian, so they gave baptized them with new Spanish names. Correct answer=3 pts. 7. Do you plan on having children? How many? 1 pt for each child. 8. Are you at all reluctant to accept your new wife's family as your own, and if not, are you prepared to provide financial assistance to your new, extended family when they need it for schooling, medical care, or food? If you're prepared to help your in-laws, financially, as if they were your own family, give yourself 4 pts. 9. Are you tolerant of superstitions? Yes=2 pts. 10. Do you like soy sauce, garlic, and fried foods? Yes=5 pts, No=(-5 pts) 11. Do you like raw fish? Yes=(-5 pts). Trick question. 90% of Filipinos don't. One site visitor tells me that on Mindanao, kinilaw (with raw fish) is very popular, but if you know what kinilaw is, you shouldn't be taking this test anyway! Some Americans eat raw beef, too, but it's not the norm. /> 12. What is the preferred utensil when eating? Silverware, chopsticks, none? None. Finger foods include rice and just about everything else. Silverware is used selectively, and chopsticks not at all (at least no more than any American might use them). None=5 pts, Silverware=1 pt. 13. Do you know how to bow properly? Yes=(-2 pts).Trick question. Filipinos don't bow. If you were thinking of the "mano po" gesture, give yourself +2pts instead. If you don't know what that means, you don't get the points, and it wouldn't hurt you to figure it out before you meet the girl's parents! 14. Do you anticipate that your wife will be submissive and obedient? No=2 pts. Filipinas are generally non-confrontational, but that should not be mistaken as submissive. They are simply more sophisticated in getting you to do what they want you to do. They may hesitate to challenge you in front of other people, also, to save you from embarrassment. Even when you are clearly off your rocker. 15. Are you getting married basically for the sex? Be honest now! No=5 pts. Sex is part of marriage (well, most marriages), but what do you plan on doing with the other 96% of your day? She's not going anywhere, you know. She might even want to talk to you! 16. If you are not Catholic, and your wife is, how will you raise your children? Just something to think about. No points either way. You'll both have to decide, and the odds are that she's more devoted to her religion than you are to yours, so be prepared for some soul-searching on this matter. 17. What is the difference between a Tagal, Ilocono, Zambal, and Visayan? These are ethnic divisions within the Philippines, each with its own distinctive culture, foods, and language. In the last century the divisions were referred to as "tribes." But don't be misled. Tagals, Zambals, etc., are not rivals, at least not in modern times. A Filipina can maintain her local ancestral heritage and still happily remain "Filipino." Comparing these groups is not unlike comparing Southerners to Californians to New Englanders in the U.S. 5 pts if you got this one right. 18. How does a Filipina differ from a Japanese woman? A Thai woman? For one thing, unless she's from Mindanao, odds are that she's a very devoted Christian. She's probably got Spanish, Malaysian, and Chinese blood in her, and possibly even American. In general, she speaks excellent English. Filipinas come from a nation that is very western. In fact, after centuries of Spanish and American rule, the Philippines more closely resembles Mexico than Japan or China. If you got the general idea right, give yourself 5 pts. Why does that make her a better choice for you? That's for you to decide. No points. 19. Are you marrying a Filipina because you pretty much hate the women of your own country? Yes= (- 25 pts). I know that sounds like a rather draconian penalty, but you have to realize that hating an entire gender, even within the confines of a single country, just isn't reasonable. Odds are that your mom, grandmother, and sister weren't Filipinas, right? Did you hate them, too? It's one thing to say that you believe that you'll have a greater chance of finding the woman you want in the Philippines, but it's quite another to say that all the woman from your own homeland are unworthy of marriage. If you're marrying a Filipina, it should be because of who she is, not who she is not. That she isn't from your own homeland in no way guarantees she will be any more suitable for you than any other woman. 20. If he or she is a closed friend, add +5 pts. If he or she is just a casual acquaintance, add +3 pts. If you have not met any one with Filipino roots/ancestry, deduct-3 pts. Calculating your Score (below) 60+ pts : Either you're from the Philippines or you're already married to a Filipina. If not, you certainly did your homework! Congratulations! 40-59pts: Not bad at all. I'd proceed with my plans if I were you, but it wouldn't hurt to educate yourself a little bit about the Philippines. 20-39pts: Hmmm...average showing. Well, at least you've got the knowledge and qualifications it would take to pull this off, but I think you might meditate a bit longer before committing yourself. 01-19pts: Is it Philippines or Phillippines or Phillipines? Danger! Danger! 0 and below: This can only end in disaster, you realize. Source: www.asawa.org

Friday, May 25, 2012

My 12 Types of FaceBook Friends

As of today, I have more than 600 FaceBook friends. I could categorized them into 12 types as follows: 1. The photographer- this type shares his numerous photographs, sometimes excellent photos but often times boring photographs of himself and others 2. The Inspiration, Romantic and Religious- this type shares all the romantic, inspiring and religious poems, sayings and articles 3. The Lover and Exhibitionist- this type share his or her daily love life and activities, including what they are planning for their dating activities and how she felt after their love-making 4. The Gossiper- this type share all the gossips about his or her family as well as his relatives and friends 5. The Stalker-this type stalks and follows the posting of his friends and seldom make comments, but just click the “LIKE” button 6. The Tagger-this type love tagging almost everybody in his circle of friends 7. The Video Sharer- this type like to share videos from You Tube, Vimeos and other news sources in the Internet 8. The Complainer-This type shares and bents all the aches and pains of her daily life-beats seeing a psychiatrist 9. The Publisher and Writer- this type shares all his/her writings from several writing sites. 10. The Historian-this types loves to share historical events, articles and photographs 11. The Game Player- this type do not talk much, but just play games-at least contributing to FB income 12. The Dumb, the Innocent and the Immature- this type always make dumb comments, sometimes does not say a word, but just type: he, he, he or ha, ha, ha! He/She thinks its funny, it is not, it tells me you are dumb, childish and an immature person. Which type do you belong ?. Perhaps you are a combination of several types. I love all of you, except type # 11, since I do not play games in FB as well as type #12.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Life in the Philippines without a Driver and a Maid



Last March during our snowbirding sojourn in the Philippines, Miko, our pet dog( see photo above) was our only companion, 24 hours a day except when our laundry lady and two temporary workers are here in Amoingon, Boac, Marinduque, Philippines to do their duties. Our driver/caretaker and cook/housekeeper(husband and wife team) were on their two weeks paid vacation and two weeks of paid sick leave. Thus, I got to feed Miko every day as well as exercise him in the beach every afternoon 15 minutes before sunset. Miko understands both English and Filipino commands such as sit, move and let's go as well as "kain na"( eat), alis( get way) etc.... Miko loves American food and leftovers. His favorite is Chicken Macaroni salad and Italian Spaghetti( not the sweet Filipino spaghetti). My other duty was to drive Macrine to the public market in downtown Boac. This is the job, I really do not enjoy, because the public market stinks, specially the FISH section. The open market is always crowded and not many parking spaces. Luckily, I have to do this only once a week. Speaking of driving in Marinduque: Driving here requires that you toot your horn more often. It also teaches you how to expertly maneuver overtaking the slow tricycle drivers as well as carefully passing jeepney drivers who drop and pick up passengers in the middle of the road. In addition to the inconsiderate jeepney drivers, you have to watch out for pedestrians, small children, dogs and chickens crossing the national road without any warning. However, after driving to downtown Boac (10 KM one way) and to downtown Gasan (12 KM one way) for one month, I feel more at ease, thus, do not missed the services of our driver. On the otherhand, Macrine really missed the services of our housekeeper and cook. Macrine does not mind cooking, but hates washing the dishes. We do not have a dishwasher here( we do have a washing machine), so dishwashing have to be done manually. Macrine hates the grease and oil that sticks on the plates, so she has to boil water to rinse and clean the dishes every time. At the end of the month, our Driver and Housekeeper returned to their normal duties. We feel we are back in Paradise. But, remember that there is no perfect place on earth. Paradise only exists in your heart and mind. But to my mind, Marinduque is paradise when you have help in your daily activities, such as cooking, cleaning the house, driving, gardening and other errands. This is indeed close to perfect living especially when you compared it to our daily activities in Northern California-our primary residence. Here in Northern California, Macrine and I do all the household duties, driving, gardening, grocery shopping, since we can not afford the services of a personal driver and housekeeper and cook. Occassionally we hired a cleaning lady to clean the whole house. Note: If you have been following my blogs, we are called "snowbirds". We have a new friend from Toronto, Canada who commented when he learned of our lifestyle. "So you are "snowbirding" every year"? I am envious of your lifestyle. Yes, Indeed and we loved snowbirding and if you are envious, we understand why.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

My Prediction about FaceBook Stocks is Right on the Money

The other day, I wrote that in my personal opinion FaceBooks stocks will not be good long term investment. So far I am correct, based on the following article published in Gawker.com today. Do you agree? The title of the article, The FaceBook IPO was an Inside Joke. Indeed, it was a joke not only to the FB users but to all of us. Shame on you, M.Z. The Facebook IPO Was an Inside Joke-From Gawker.com 5/23/12 " Facebook's stock continues to suck harder than a Northwestern University freshman on a 5-foot bong in his profile pic. And the fallout from the most hyped IPO in history bursts not just the illusion that Facebook is actually worth $100 billion, but the idea that Facebook is different than any other corporation hell-bent on making as much money as possible for a handful of very wealthy people. The lead-up to last Friday's Facebook IPO was an orgy of web 2.0 populism. Started by a Harvard undergrad in his dorm room, Facebook was poised to become the largest tech IPO ever. And its value stemmed from our stuff—our status updates, pictures and pokes! This was the major driver of the outlandish hype surrounding Facebook's IPO; the sense that the public would finally get a chance to share in the spectacular success of the company we helped build. It seemed like the entire planet was going public, as journalists rushed to interview random Facebook users for their thoughts, as if they mattered. People who never made it past the paywall of the Wall Street Journal followed the Facebook stock debut on Friday like the score in an NBA game. And this is because when Facebook was listed, our own lives were literally put on sale; in fixating on Facebook's ever-climbing valuation we were obsessing over ourselves. There was almost a bit of Occupy Wall Street about the whole thing—the public offering of the 99%. Now, as Facebook's stock falls for a third straight day it's clear we weren't worth as much as a lot of people thought. But the details behind the deal also also make it clear that ordinary people will never meaningfully share in Facebook's vast success, no matter where the needle on the Wall Street Journal's awful Mark Zuckerberg Wealth-Tracking Widget finally lands. It turns out that the insiders who did the Facebook deal withheld some important information that showed it wasn't such a good deal after all. Analysts at three of the major underwriters, including Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, significantly reduced their forecasts for Facebook's revenues just before the IPO, according to Reuters. They did not widely publicize this information via, say, a Facebook status update. They quietly shared it with their buddies at hedge funds and other big investment firms, many of whom cut back on their investments accordingly. Meanwhile, the general public continued to froth at ever-climbing valuations. "Facebook was whispering in the ears of the lead managers of its investment banks, on the understanding that the results of those whispers would remain available only to select clients until after the IPO was over," writes Reuters' Felix Salmon. This doesn't seem to be illegal, just shady as hell. (The SEC says it may look into the allegations, which are detailed in full on Business Insider.) Even without secret tips from their banker buddies, the whole game was rigged in favor of insiders from the start—even more than usual for Wall Street. In the New Yorker, John Cassady explains how major investors had already made huge profits trading Facebook for months on secondary markets before the company went public, rendering the IPO a farce. These investors had already slurped up Facebook's value and moved on before the shit-show began. "Ordinary investors were largely cut out of the wealth-creation process, and well-connected investment firms took their place," writes Cassady. (Incidentally, now that Facebook's tanking, Morgan Stanley and the other banks that underwrote the deal have a good shot at making a profit by short selling millions of Facebook shares that had been created just for them under an arcane financial move known as the "Greenshoe option." Nice deal, if you can get it.) These maneuvers show once again that Facebook's lofty ideals are at odds with how it functions in reality. For a company built on sharing and transparency, Facebook's IPO was uniquely private and opaque. For a company which Mark Zuckerberg boasted in a letter to investors "was not originally created to be a company. It was built to accomplish a social mission," Facebook sure as hell acted like a company in helping to enrich insiders at the expense of public investors. So, Mark Zuckerberg screwed Facebook investors in the IPO like he's screwed Facebook users on privacy. (Hours before the IPO, Facebook was hit with a $15 billion lawsuit over privacy violations.) This would be just a hilarious coincidence, except for the vast amounts of money." Note: So are you still planning on buying FB stocks? In my case, I will wait until it goes down to $20 per share.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Memories of Our One Week of Vacation in San Juan, Puerto Rico

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In January 19 to 26, 1996, Macrine and I spent one glorious week in San Juan, Puerto Rico. We stayed at the El San Juan Towers, a four star resort in Carolina, PR not too far from Old San Juan. This is in conjunction with our International Interval Exchange Vacation Program. Our travel was arranged by Ober United Travel Agency in Chevy Chase, Maryland. During this seven days, we were able to drive up to Luquillo with a stop over at the El Yunque Carribean National Forest. However most of 7 days we spent around Old San Juan and the beach and swimming pool of our resort. A couple of nights we went to the casino in the nearby San Juan Hotel for dinner and a little gambling.


San Juan is a major port and tourist resort of the West Indies and is the oldest city under the U.S flag. The metropolitan area known as San Juan has 3 distinct areas: Old San Juan, the Beach & Resort area, and other outlying communities, the most important: Río Piedras, Hato Rey, Puerta de Tierra, and Santurce. Río Piedras was founded in 1714 but became incorporated into San Juan in 1951.
During the early 16th century, San Juan was the point of departure of Spanish expeditions to charter or settle unknown parts of the New World. Its fortifications repulsed the English navigator Sir Francis Drake in 1595, as well as later attacks.
In the 20th century the city expanded beyond its walled confines, known as Old San Juan, to incorporate suburban Miramar, Santurce, Condado, Hato Rey and Río Piedras.

San Juan is the largest processing center of the island, the metropolitan area has facilities for petroleum and sugar refining, brewing and distilling and produces cement, pharmaceuticals, metal products clothing, and tobacco. The port is one of the busiest in the Caribbean. San Juan is the country's financial capital, and many U.S. banks and corporations maintain offices or distributing centers there. San Juan is center of Caribbean shipping and is the 2nd largest sea port in the area (after New York City).


Old San Juan is located on a small and narrow island which lies in the north coast, about 35 miles (56 km) from the east end of Puerto Rico, and is united to the mainland of Puerto Rico by the three bridges. It is bounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the north and to the south by San Juan Bay or "Bahia of San Juan" which lies between the city and the mainland. On a bluff about 100 feet (30 m) high at the west end of the island and commanding the entrance to the harbor rise the battlements of Fort San Felipe del Morro, in which there is a lighthouse.

The "Caño de San Antonio" lies also in South Coast and extends to the Southeast where the island of Old San Juan connects to the mainland through Santurce by three bridges, "Puente Dos Hermanos" (Ave. Ashford), "Puente G. Esteves" (Ave. Ponce de León) and "Puente San Antonio" (Ave. Fernández Juncos).
Old San Juan

The city is characterized by its narrow, blue cobblestone streets and flat-roofed brick and stone buildings dating back to the 16th and 17th century when Puerto Rico was a Spanish possession. Near Fort San Felipe del Morro is the Casa Blanca, a palace on land which belonged to the family of Ponce de Leon.

Note: This is No.10 (Part 2) on the series of articles on places that Macrine and I had visited outside the US since 1960.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Will FaceBook Stocks be a Good Long Term Investment?

I am not a professional stock broker and my knowledge of the stock investment business is almost nil. But I believe it will not be a good investment long term. But short term and speculative investment, perhaps. The price started at $38 the other day. Today it increased to about 41 dollars, an increased of $3 just for one day. So, if you were able to purchase 1000 stock shares yesterday, you earned 3,000 dollars profit just for one day. Fantastic! The reason why I feel FB stocks will not be a good long term investment is because FB is just a social media site and not a diversified company. FB is just a fad and in the long term this fad will no longer be a fad especially if it start to charge it members a fee to join or used the site. I have a feeling that in the near future using FB will no longer be free. If this happens, people will lost interest. Allow me to cite some of the comments about FB in today's news. 3:02 p.m. AN HOUR TO GO :Facebook stock is trading at $39.02, up a little more than a buck. Volume just passed 450 million shares. It's another bleak day for the rest of the market, by the way. The Dow Jones industrial average appears headed for its 12th loss in the past 13 trading days. The Nasdaq composite, representing Facebook's stock exchange, is down 1 percent. 2:54 p.m. BUT SERIOUSLY, FOLKS: Twitter users are joking about the Facebook IPO. From Conan O'Brien: "Today, Facebook went public, just as MySpace's last user went private." And from the Twitter feed of the website Someecards: "My favorite Facebook public offerings are still your beach photos." _ Peter Svensson, AP Technology Writer 2:29 p.m. WE ARE THE ONE-QUARTER PERCENT: Conversations about the Facebook IPO accounted for 0.25 percent of all online discussion during the first part of the workday, according to NM Incite, a company that tracks social media traffic. That may sound small, but it's an increase of 5,000 percent compared with the buzz about the Facebook IPO a month ago. It is also four times greater than the chatter for the LinkedIn IPO and 10 times greater than the Groupon IPO. _ Scott Mayerowitz, AP Business Writer 2:18 p.m. POP CULTURE: Francis Gaskins, president of IPOdesktop, a market research company, said that it wasn't a bad thing that Facebook didn't get a "pop" on its first day, similar to what happened during the 1990s dot-com frenzy. He said that most tech companies going public want a big rise in their debut to show they're "strong, dynamic companies standing out in the crowd" but that Facebook already has that image, and so may not care. Gaskins said that the banks taking Facebook public have learned from the IPOs of social media companies in the past year and are better able to gauge demand and supply for a new stock. He said a rise of 5 percent to 8 percent in this "tough market" is a success. Facebook stock is up 5.5 percent as volume approaches 400 million shares. _ Bernard Condon, AP Business Writer 2:13 p.m. ZUCK ON WHAT TODAY MEANS: CEO Mark Zuckerberg, speaking before he symbolically rang the opening bell for the Nasdaq from Menlo Park, Calif.: "Right now this all seems like a big deal. Going public is an important milestone in our history. But here's the thing: Our mission isn't to be a public company. Our mission is to make the world more open and connected. In the past eight years, all of you out there have built the largest community in the history of the world. You've done amazing things that we never would have dreamed of, and I can't wait to see what you guys all do going forward." 2:05 p.m. VITAL SIGNS: With two hours to go in the trading day, Facebook is at $40.50, or $2.50 higher than its offering price. Volume has just passed 380 million shares. By comparison, Bank of America, frequently the most active stock in the Standard & Poor's 500 index, has traded only 155 million shares today. The next most active stock in the S&P, JPMorgan Chase, is at 59 million. 1:47 p.m. UPDATE ON SOCIAL MEDIA STOCKS: Facebook stock is trading at about $41.25, a healthy gain of more than $3, but the gain is not translating to other social media companies, especially those with ties to Facebook. LinkedIn is down 3.3 percent, Groupon is down 6 percent, and Zynga, which is trading again, is down more than 8 percent. Bree Fowler, AP Business Writer 1:16 p.m. EXPERIENCING THE FACEBOOK IPO ON FACEBOOK: Facebook's IPO has Wall Street abuzz. But what about Facebook's 900 million users? Some were debating whether they should get in on the buying frenzy. Others were guessing the closing price. Several were lamenting that they hadn't thought to invent the social media site themselves. A few treated even the company like a person, congratulating it on the public offering as they might a friend on the birth of a child. "Hey Facebook! Have a good first day on the stock market," a swimming pool maintenance and repairman from Petaluma, Calif., wrote from a mobile device. Within two hours, eight other Facebook users had "liked" the post. Not all Facebook users were obsessed with the company's entrance to the stock market. The went along with their everyday lives, posting photos of drunken debauchery that they might one day regret, weighting in on the presidential election, celebrating Haitian flag day or just welcoming the start of the weekend. _ Scott Mayerowitz, AP Business Writer 1:05 p.m. NASDAQ ON THE DELAY: Seconds before noon, with demand for Facebook stock overwhelming, Nasdaq issued a message on one of its websites saying that it was "investigating an issue in delivering trade execution messages" from the Facebook IPO. Nasdaq initially planned the first trades of Facebook stock for 11 a.m., then 11:05 a.m. The stock opened at about 11:30. Facebook is trading at about $41, or $3 higher than its offering price. Volume is approaching 320 million shares traded. _ Tali Arbel, AP Business Writer A FUND MANAGER WEIGHS IN: Chris Brown, manager of the Pax World Balanced mutual fund, made a roughly $14 million investment when his $1.9 billion fund acquired private shares of Facebook on a secondary market before the IPO. As shares traded publicly for around $40 at midday Friday, Brown said the rise from the stock's $38 opening price was unsurprising. "Going into the IPO, there has been a lot of skepticism from investors, in particular institutional investors, questioning anything from whether the price of the stock is fair, to whether Facebook can successfully monetize and sell ads," he said. "We're long-term investors. It's nice to have the stock up for one day, but it's only one day. It's hard to extrapolate much as to the future of the company." In coming days, Brown expects plenty of ups and downs for the stock, as investors assess a company whose prospects are hard to pin down because of its evolving business model. "You're going to see obviously an extreme amount of volatility over the next week as people evaluate the stock," Brown said. _ Mark Jewell, AP Personal Finance Writer So, my dear readers, this is just my personal opinion. Buying stocks is just like gambling. Good luck to you. I hope you the best in your investment plans. As for me, I will wait until the buying frenzy is over. Perhaps, I will buy a small share as a short term investment so I can say I owned a piece of FB.

Overpopulation will be Philippines #1 Problem in the next Decade

Last January, while doing our snowbirding sojourn in Marinduque, I was struck by the numerous children running in the streets both in town and in the rural areas during the weekends when there are no classes. I observed specially that there are more children in the rural areas than in the town proper. I commented to my wife that Filipinos main business is making children and if this continue, there will a time when the Philippines can not feed its population, resulting in discontent and malnutrition. I realize that birth control is not encourage by the Catholic Church and I believe this is the main reason for the problem. My observation was confirmed by a recent article published last April 25 on Financial Times in the Philippines titled “ South-east Asia Llama breaks into a Trot.” Here's a summary of the article. Since 2004, remittances have grown from $7bn-$8bn to $20bn, nearly 10 per cent of GDP. The fact that so many people need to work abroad is a sign of the economy’s inability to generate enough jobs. But remittances are serving a purpose and have held up well since the financial crisis. The Philippines is emerging as a solution to the labor shortages of mature economies the world over. First of all, the increased remittances by our overseas workers is a direct reflection of our country’s inability to employ its own people, which  inexorably continues to worsen as an inevitable consequence of our population’s rapid growth.  It is increasingly likely that overseas employment will dry up as a consequence of Peak Oil and the worsening global economy. Philippine call centers have grown exponentially, trumping those in India. Revenues from back office businesses have quintupled over six years from $2bn to $11bn.”  What this really means is that Indian wages have improved to the point that we are now the world's cheapest English-speaking labor. The CIA World Fact Book (www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world -factbook/geos/rp.html) estimates that our population will be close to 104 million by July of this year. Our National Statistics Coordination Board (www.nscb.gov.ph/secstat/d_popnProj.asp) estimates our 2040 population at about 141,670,000. So over the next 28 years, we will have to generate food, clothing, employment and housing for another 37 million people. With regards to housing: Natural catastrophes  are increasing in frequency for one simple reason: all the safe places for housing are already occupied, forcing our people to build in hazardous areas. Quoting a 2006 paper by Ando Siringan and Kevin Rodolfo: “The Philippine population, mostly residing on coastal plains, is squeezed, figuratively, between the two jaws of a vice: its own rapid growth, and the subsidence and flooding generated by its own use of groundwater...Subsidence and aggravated flooding from groundwater overuse share the root cause of many other Philippine problems. Along with increasing deforestation, soil erosion and lethal landslides, garbage, over-crowded classrooms, joblessness and, to the detriment of the Filipino family, the country’s increasing economic reliance on overseas workers, it stems from rapid population growth, with no consistent governmental policy to moderate it since 1969 (Acoseba, 2003a). From 1995–2000, the national population grew annually by 2.36% (National Statistics Commission, 2000). A formal Population Management Program,created by the government’s Commission on Population to develop measures for decreasing this growth, reported in a press release published in three parts (Acoseba, 2003a; 2003b; 2003c) that its recommendations were embodied in a Reproductive Health Care congressional bill. Largely because of concerns about abortion and contraception, that bill languished in committee for two years. It was supposed to be the prelude to a proposed Population and Development Act, but the president threatened to veto it in 2003 and offered no alternative means for managing population growth.” Do you agree with my assessment that overpopulation will be the Philippines number1 problem in the next decade?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Are You Aging Gracefully?

I received this e-mail today. I do not know the author, but has been circulating in the Web. I can identify with the sentiments of this article. If you are retired this is a must read for you. If not passed it on to your older friends and relatives. An encouraging suggestion.....to share. Many people feel unhappy, health-wise and security-wise, after 60 years of age. Or 70! Or 75! Or whatever is your age now! Life can begin now, it is all in your hands! Many people feel unhappy, health-wise and security-wise, owing to the diminishing importance given to them and their opinions. But, it need not be so, if only we understand the basic principles of life and follow them. Here are ten encouraging thoughts to age gracefully and make life after retirement pleasant. 1. Never say I am ‘aged': There are three ages, chronological, biological, and psychological. The first is calculated based on our date of birth; the second is determined by the health conditions; the third is how old we feel we are. While we don't have control over the first, we can take care of our health with good diet, exercise and a cheerful attitude. A positive attitude and optimistic thinking can reverse the third age. 2. Health is wealth: If you really love your kith and kin, taking care of your health should be your priority. Thus, you will not be a burden to them. Have an annual health check-up and take the prescribed medicines regularly. Do take health insurance coverage. 3. Money is important: Money is essential for meeting the basic necessities of life, keeping good health and earning family respect and security. Don't spend beyond your means even for your children. You have lived for them all through. If your children are grateful and they will take care of you, you are blessed. But, never take it for granted. 4. Relaxation and recreation: The most relaxing and recreating forces are a healthy religious attitude, good sleep, music and laughter. Have faith in God, learn to sleep well, love good music and see the funny side of life. 5. Time is precious: It is almost like holding a horses' reins. When they are in your hands, you can control them. Imagine that every day you are born again. Yesterday is a cancelled check. Tomorrow is a promissory note. Today is ready cash - use it profitably. Live this moment; live it fully, now, in the present time. 6. Change is the only permanent thing: We should accept change - it is inevitable. The only way to make sense out of change is to join in the dance. Change has brought about many pleasant things. We should be happy that our children are blessed. 7. Enlightened selfishness: All of us are basically selfish. Whatever we do, we expect something in return. We should definitely be grateful to those who stood by us. But, our focus should be on the internal satisfaction and the happiness we derive by doing good for others, without expecting anything in return. Perform a random act of kindness daily. 8. Forget and forgive: Don't be bothered too much about others' mistakes. We are not spiritual enough to show our other cheek when we are slapped in one. But for the sake of our own health and happiness, let us forgive and forget them. Otherwise, we will be only increasing our blood pressure. 9. Everything has a purpose: Take life as it comes. Accept yourself as you are and also accept others for what they are. Everybody is unique and is right in his own way. 10. Overcome the fear of death: We all know that one day we have to leave this world. Still we are afraid of death. We think that our spouse and children will be unable to withstand our loss. But the truth is that your life on earth is not eternal, earth is not your home perpetually. Your love ones will miss you but the memories live on, you can be an example for them to carry on! Last but most important, you have a God who loves and cares for you! You have a future and a hope in Him....you have a choice...life can begin NOW..... So, are you aging gracefully or miserably?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Memories of Our Vacation in Aruba



On November 17 to 24, 2001, Macrine and I spent one week of fun, sun and casino gambling in the tropical island of Aruba. Again, this was through our International Interval Vacation Exchange Program. We stayed at the La Cabana Beach and Racquet Club in Oranjestad, Aruba. A casino was just about two blocks from our resort. Complimentary bus service to the Casino was available 24 hours at 30 minutes interval. Macrine and I had fun in the Casino playing the slot machines.

Oranjestad is the capital city of the island. Our son David III went with us, since we had a 2-bedroom suite. We drove around the island stopping at all the tourist attractions, seeing cactus and desert vegetations, windmills, lighthouses, rugged coastlines, natural rock bridges and an old chapel(Alta Vista). Another interesting
facts about Aruba are the presence of several modern Desalination Water Plants which convert salt water from the ocean to fresh water for drinking and household use.
Oranjestad, Capital City of Aruba

Aruba (pronounced /əˈruːbə/ ə-ROO-bə) is a 33km-long island of the Lesser Antilles in the southern Caribbean Sea, located 27km north of the coast of Venezuela. Together with Bonaire and Curaçao, it forms a group referred to as the ABC islands of the Leeward Antilles, the southern island chain of the Lesser Antilles.

Aruba, which has no administrative subdivisions, is one of the four constituent countries that form the Kingdom of the Netherlands, together with the Netherlands, Curaçao, and Saint Maarten. Aruban citizens hold Dutch passports. Unlike much of the Caribbean region, Aruba has a dry climate and an arid, cactus-strewn landscape. This climate has helped tourism as visitors to the island can reliably expect warm, sunny weather. It has a land area of 193 square kilometres (75 sq mi) and is densely populated with its estimated 103,000 people. It lies outside the hurricane belt.



The last couple of years tourism has declined in Aruba due to the publicity of the murder /disappearance of Natalee Holloway, an American teenager visiting the island in 2005. The suspect, Joran Van Der Sloot, is presently in jail in Peru for the murder of a young Peruvian woman. The body of Natalie had never been recovered. In a recent news (11/1/10),the mother of missing American teenager Natalee Holloway spoke out for the first time about an alleged extortion attempt by Joran Van Der Sloot, the lead suspect in her daughter's disappearance, in which he offered to "bring Natalee" in exchange for $250,000.

"He was ready to tell the truth and lead me to the truth and lead me to Natalee's remains," Beth Twitty told Dutch reporter Peter De Vries in a new Dutch documentary.

Today, I have no desire to revisit Aruba for the above reason(safety of tourists).

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

CBS Survivor TV Show next Season in the Philippines

CBS Survivor TV show is one of my favorite TV reality show*. The latest Season Of Survivor ( One World) just concluded last week. The final five contestants were all women and of course the winner was a woman named Kim. I am looking forward for the next season this coming September which is now being film in the Philippines. Here's the official preview of Season 25 from You Tube. The exact location where Survivor is filmed in the Philippines is in Caramoan, Camarines Sur. IT is the Bicol region Of the Philippines and the nearest biggest city is Legaspi in Albay and nearest tourist attraction is the Mayon Volcano. Although I was born in the Philippines, I really do not know the Caramona vicinity so I did some web search and here is what I learned. Caramoan has been a favorite site for international franchises of Survivor. The place has hosted the Serbian version in two consecutive seasons. It has also hosted the Israel version of Survivor for two previous seasons. Israel has also planned to film their fifth season in Caramoan in 2011. Bulgarian Survivor also filmed their fourth season there in May to July 2009. Robinson 2010, the twelfth season of the Swedish version of the franchise, was also filmed in Caramoan from May to June 2010. The 8th season of Koh-Lanta (French edition of Survivor), was also shot entirely in Caramoan. TV director Corinne Vaillant, stated that "the powdery sand, the coconuts on Gota beach and the neighboring islets are a 'dream' for the French people. We chose Caramoan because it’s really wild. It’s necessary that contestants don’t see anything other than nature for them to believe that they’re really lost in the wilds.” The 25th and 26th seasons of the American version of Survivor is currently being filmed in 2012. * My other TV favorite shows are: Dancing with the Stars So you think You can Dance Amazing Race American Idol The Voice Desperate Housewives Revenge Celebrity Apprentice American Horror Story Glee Can you share with me your favorite TV show?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mothers' Day



Today is Mothers Day. Advertisement for flowers and other mothers day gifts is flooding the TV, radio and in the internet. But who could afford those flowers if you are jobless and only in a retirement pension. I have an idea though to send you a flower from the gardens of Chateau Du Mer in Boac( See photo above). This photograph was taken by Gabby Del Rosario, son of Renan and Gilda Del Rosario of Muntinglupa, PI. The Del Rosario family were our guests at Chateau Du Mer in Boac last December, 2008. Remember motherhood is the hardest and most challenging job in the world. A good mother is not only patient, devoted and loving but also a friend. I hope you have fun on mothers'day,today. If you are following this blog, you may be one of the many mothers that have touched our lives the last 55 years of our married life. Your comments will be appreciated. David Balleza and Macrine Jambalos Katague

Friday, May 11, 2012

Guest Post-Dodie Katague-Author of Cloyne Court

Cloyne Court, UC Berkeley, 2009

This article is from madmoosemama.blogspot.com dated Thursday, November 24, 2011

Guest Post - Dodie Katangue author of Cloyne Court

Posted by Heavensent1 at 4:58 PM

My college days were very unique. During the late 1970’s, while attending the University of California, Berkeley, I lived one block north of the campus in a student-run, private cooperative called Cloyne Court. When I first moved in, I was glad that I turned down my parent’s offer to accompany me. Had they seen the place back then, they would have been opposed to me moving into the house. Any parent would have.

The “Clones”(as we called ourselves) who lived there were required to do a five-hour weekly work shift to keep the place running and maintained, and other students supervised that requirement. As a result, the place was a pigsty.

There were empty beer bottles strewn around the main public rooms. Old newspapers were piled five high under a faded handwritten sign that said “Recycling”, but hadn’t been “cycled” in ages. There were dozens of marijuana plants growing in pails on a porch balcony in the back yard. The windows were opaque with dust and grime and the carpets were stained with grey spots. The walls were painted with eclectic murals and spray painted graffiti with slogans like “THERE IS NO GRAVITY. THE EARTH SUCKS.” The toilet seat in the bathroom was painted as a shark’s open mouth with the sharp teeth about to swallow the sitter. The place also had a musty old smell, with intermittent wafts of reefer smoke coming from somewhere upstairs.

The students ran the place, voted on policies by consensus at the weekly meetings, and allocated our discretionary housing fees with political earnest but total disregard to the business side of feeding and maintaining a house of 151 people. Should we buy food this month or restock the vending machines with doobies? Should we fix the locks on the front door to keep the homeless out or should we buy a ten-person hot tub and sauna?

Because I was a freshman both to college and adult life, I did not question the way things were. I didn’t question the dozen or so marijuana plants growing in pails on the backyard balcony porch. I didn’t question the co-ed shower room where men and women showered side by side in a communal space. I thought this was part of the regular college experience. I was at Berkeley, and everything was tolerated to excess.

Many college campuses around the country were known for their crazy naked streaking events. But our house pushed it to the limit. We had political nudists who were naked all the time, including at meals. They advocated going to class in the buff and some even did so. We also had the annual springtime Naked Hallway Races, which is an event that still exists today.

I knew that what I where I was living and what I was experiencing was out of the ordinary even for other Berkeley students who lived at the dorms, apartments or fraternities/sororities. So I kept a journal of the daily mundane things I did and the absolutely insane things that happened. And many of those stories are the basis for the novel.

Since the publication of the book, I’ve gotten emails from past Clones who have lived there and everyone has a raucous memory or two to tell. And lots of Clones remember when a new unknown band called Sweet Children (now known as Green Day) played a set in the dining room as an opening act for other punk rock bands. The police arrived and shut the party down.

Right after the book was published, I was in a parental dilemma. After writing a novel about sex, betrayal, drugs, rock and roll, nudism, co-ed showers, and radical politics, how was I going to have any credibility with my teen-age children when I needed to tell them not to do these things when they went to college? I couldn’t tell them not too, because they knew I did. So the best I could counsel was “Don’t do anything that will get you arrested. Stay safe. Do things in moderation. And remember, you’re at school to study and get a degree.”

We’ll see if that advice does any good.

I hope that current college students as well as Baby Boomers will read this, but not as a “how-to” manual of college debauchery, but as a reminder that they should enjoy their college lives now, but not to the point that they’ll be embarrassed to read about themselves thirty years later. Thank God, we didn’t have YouTube back then. It’s easier to deny written stories of your wild college years than seeing real video of it.


Cloyne Court is a coming of age, fish out of water, nostalgic novel. It takes the true stories I experienced living in this wild, counter-culture, youthful house and weaves it into a story of first love, life, regrets, first impressions and camaraderie. I hope that after reading it, readers will come to the same conclusion that took me thirty years to discover: that your college years are the best years of your life.

** Thank you very much Dodie for sharing your experiences with us all~!! Sounds like Cloyne Court would have been my kind of gig~!! May you always find the best in all that you do~!! **

BOOK: Cloyne Court by Dodie Katangue

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Today is Our 55th Wedding Anniversary


Today is our 55th wedding anniversary. We are old in chronological age but very young in spirit. My wife, Macrine and I have four adult children ranging in ages from 47 to 54 years old. We have six grand children ranging in ages from 9 to 21 years old. No grand celebration today, just a lobster and steak dinner and our regular weekly Casino escapade. Our love story started in the early 1950's at the University of the Philippines, in Diliman, Quezon City. I was introduced to my wife via her uncle, the late Reverend Father Constantino Nieva. At that time, Fr Tino ( that's how we called him when he was still alive) was a law student and the President of the University of the Philippines Student Action (UPSCA). UPSCA was a student organization with both social and religious goals under the guidance of the Late Reverend Father John P. Delaney, a Jesuit priest and Chaplain of the University for Roman Catholic residents of the UP campus. Macrine and I love music. We joined the UPSCA choir and our friendship developed into true love. In 1955 when I graduated from the University, Macrine and I had separated, since she transferred to another university. However the next year during my 22nd birthday, she surprised me with a birthday cake, that she baked from scratch. It was an orange-chiffon cake, the best tasting cake I have ever tasted. We got together again that day. On May 8, 1957 we got married in Boac, Marinduque, her hometown. It was a 3-day celebration. The whole town were invited. Two water buffaloes, 10 baby pigs and 100 chickens were slaughtered for the occasion. We settled at our new home in Quezon City, a gift from both our parents. I was then teaching Chemistry at the University of the Philippines- my Alma mater. In 1959, I received a positive response from my application for scholarship to do graduate studies in Chemistry to the United States. This stage in our married life is discussed in an article I wrote in my blog as follows: “A year later, we were joyful to find out that my wife was in the family way with our oldest son. With all the blessings and major events transpiring in my life, I had completely forgotten about my personal vow to do graduate schoolwork in the US. One day I was surprised to receive a notice of an acceptance for a full teaching assistantship and scholarship. It was from one of the applications I sent out before we got married. The comfort and serenity of our married life was about to be shaken. I enthusiastically shared this good news with my wife, who wasn't too glad to hear about it. The thought of me leaving her alone with a child on the way, to go halfway around the world, distressed her. We had several long and unproductive discussions regarding this favorable opportunity. I had to postpone my trip a few times to appease her. I was torn between choosing my ambition to do graduate studies in the US alone, or staying with my wife in the Philippines. I had to make a tough decision before the graduate school offer expired. In retrospect, I was thankful to and appreciative of my late father-in-law who intervened on my behalf. If not, I would have been stuck in the Philippines teaching Chemistry at the university, and would have never seen the fulfillment of my ambition. I was not aware that he had advised my wife to reconsider her decision, and let me go freely to pursue my dreams. My wife later on informed me that without her father's advice, she would not have given me her full consent to leave her and pursue my studies. She was not aware of the importance of my personal vow to do better in life, in light of failing to obtain my Latin Honors in college. Inasmuch as my wife was anxious with our impending separation, I was deeply saddened to leave her alone, but excited to go and fulfill my dreams. I went ahead to the US for my graduate studies, but I was totally unprepared for what was in store for me. It was my first trip away from my homeland, family and friends. I was going to live and study in the American Midwest, and I had to adjust to the western lifestyle, culture and cold winter weather without any friends or relatives to comfort me. During my first year in the US, the reality of living alone and studying in a foreign land negatively affected my drive and ambition. I was tempted twice to nearly quit school, leave the US and return to my family to the Philippines. Graduate schoolwork while teaching Chemistry was tough and demanding. I was miserably homesick, lonely and missed my wife very badly, especially during the Holidays and Christmas. Moreover, the winters of Chicago were harsh, and can feel gloomy and depressing. It was difficult to tolerate the cold weather. I was accustomed to the tropical climate of the Philippines. In Chicago, I oftentimes asked myself what the heck I was doing in the US, with tears running down my face, and almost freezing on my cheeks and nose because of the frigid temperature. I could be happier and warm in my homeland, and be together with my cherished family. The promise I made to fulfill my ambition, which was triggered by the one point I missed at the final examination in my Differential Calculus class, kept me going. I did my best with my work and studies. I never again considered quitting, and I was determined to finish what I had started. I finally made it, and I completed my Doctorate degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry from the University of Illinois in 1964. A year after I left the Philippines, my wife and our first baby, whose birth I did not witness, joined me in Chicago, Illinois. Their presence provided me with inspiration and encouragement to fulfill my ambition”. The day after my Ph. D graduation was the start of my 25 years of professional career working for four private companies here in the US and then for another productive 12 years for the Food and Drug Administration(FDA). In 2002, I retired from FDA and started building our beach resort and retirement home in Boac, Marinduque, Philippines. Last year I wrote an article in one of my blogs on my secret of a lasting marriage. An excerpt of that article is as follows: “Several of our friends and relatives often ask me what one has to do for a lasting marriage. In other words is there a formula or secret for a lasting marriage? The question has no specific answer and may vary from one couple to another. However, I do believe that the couple must really be in love with each other unconditionally. So, when do you know that both husband and wife have attained unconditional love? You are truly in love with your partner when you have totally accepted her or his faults, weaknesses and flaws. There is no perfect human being, so once you have attained this outlook in your married life, your are indeed truly in love with your partner. Do I have a secret formula for a lasting and happy marriage? I have no secret except that there should always be an open communication between you and your partner. In the case of my wife of 55 years, Macrine Nieva Jambalos, I have accepted her flaws and she has accepted my flaws and weaknesses. In addition, both of us have recognized our strengths as well as our gifts and different personalities. Again there is no perfect human being, and no perfect husband or wife. Our communication skills are perfect, we even think of the same things at the same time. A couple of days ago, when both of us were sitting in the patio just relaxing, all of a sudden I asked her about our grand daughter. Macrine was so surprise because at that moment she was thinking of exactly of the same subject. She asked me if I was reading her mind. Couples who have been married for a long time have usually the same likes and dislikes. But this is not a guarantee of a long lasting marriage. Sometimes, it is better to have different things to do, perhaps even a different hobby so as not to suffocate each other every minute of your daily life”. This is my love story- 55 years of patience, love, give and take and true communication.

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Japanese-American War in the Philippines-1941-1945

The following article is one of my top 15 most popular posts. No is not about sex but about history. Happy Reading!
The Japanese occupation of the Philippines was the period in the history of the Philippines between 1941 and 1945, when the Empire of Japan occupied the previously American-controlled Philippines during World War II. I was seven years old at that time.

The invasion of the Philippines started on December 8, 1941, ten hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor. As at Pearl Harbor, the American aircraft were severely damaged in the initial Japanese attack. Lacking air cover, the American Asiatic Fleet in the Philippines withdrew to Java on December 12, 1941. General Douglas MacArthur escaped Corregidor on the night of March 11, 1942 for Australia, 4,000 km away. The 76,000 starving and sick American and Filipino defenders on Bataan surrendered on April 9, 1942, and were forced to endure the infamous Bataan Death March on which 7-10,000 died or were murdered. The 13,000 survivors on Corregidor surrendered on May 6.

For over three years, right to the day of the surrender of Japan, the Philippines were to suffer grievously under military occupation. General MacArthur discharged his promise to return to the Philippines on October 20, 1944. The landings on the island of Leyte were accomplished by an amphibious force of 700 vessels and 174,000 army and navy servicemen. Through December 1944, the islands of Leyte and Mindoro were cleared of Japanese soldiers.

Japan launched an attack on the Philippines on December 8, 1941, just ten hours after their attack on Pearl Harbor. Initial aerial bombardment was followed by landings of ground troops both north and south of Manila. The defending Philippine and United States troops were under the command of General Douglas MacArthur, who had been recalled to active duty in the United States Army earlier in the year and was designated commander of the United States Armed Forces in the Asia-Pacific region. The aircraft of his command were destroyed; the naval forces were ordered to leave; and because of the circumstances in the Pacific region, reinforcement and resupply of his ground forces were impossible. Under the pressure of superior numbers, the defending forces withdrew to the Bataan Peninsula and to the island of Corregidor at the entrance to Manila Bay. Manila, declared an open city to prevent its destruction, was occupied by the Japanese on January 2, 1942.

The Philippine defense continued until the final surrender of United States-Philippine forces on the Bataan Peninsula in April 1942 and on Corregidor in May. Most of the 80,000 prisoners of war captured by the Japanese at Bataan were forced to undertake the infamous "Bataan Death March" to a prison camp 105 kilometers to the north. It is estimated that as many as 10,000 men, weakened by disease and malnutrition and treated harshly by their captors, died before reaching their destination. Quezon and Osmeña had accompanied the troops to Corregidor and later left for the United States, where they set up a government-in-exile. MacArthur was ordered to Australia, where he started to plan for a return to the Philippines.

The occupation

The Japanese military authorities immediately began organizing a new government structure in the Philippines. Although the Japanese had promised independence for the islands after occupation, they initially organized a Council of State through which they directed civil affairs until October 1943, when they declared the Philippines an independent republic. Most of the Philippine elite, with a few notable exceptions, served under the Japanese. Philippine collaboration in Japanese-sponsored political institutions-which later became a major domestic political issue-was motivated by several considerations. Among them was the effort to protect the people from the harshness of Japanese rule (an effort that Quezon himself had advocated), protection of family and personal interests, and a belief that Philippine nationalism would be advanced by solidarity with fellow Asians. Many collaborated to pass information to the Allies. The Japanese-sponsored republic headed by President José P. Laurel proved to be unpopular.

Resistance

Japanese occupation of the Philippines was opposed by increasingly effective underground and guerrilla activity that ultimately reached large-scale proportions. Postwar investigations showed that about 260,000 people were in guerrilla organizations and that members of the anti-Japanese underground were even more numerous. Their effectiveness was such that by the end of the war, Japan controlled only twelve of the forty-eight provinces.

One resistance group in the Central Luzon area was furnished by the Hukbalahap (Hukbo ng Bayan Laban sa Hapon), or the People's Anti-Japanese Army organized in early 1942 under the leadership of Luis Taruc, a communist party member since 1939. The Huks armed some 30,000 people and extended their control over much of Luzon.

Other guerrilla units were attached to the SWPA, and were active through out the archipelago. Some of these units were organized or directly connected to pre-surrender units ordered to mount guerrilla actions. An example of this was Troop C, 26th Cavalry. Other guerrilla units were made up of former Philippine Army and Philippine Scouts soldiers who had been released from POW camps by the Japanese. Others were combined units of Americans, military and civilian, who had never surrendered or had escaped after surrendering, and Filipinos, Christians and Moros, who had initially formed their own small units. Colonel Wendell Fertig organized such a group on Mindanao that not only effectively resisted the Japanese, but formed a complete government that often operated in the open throughout the island. Some guerrilla units would later be assisted by inserted allied forces, such as the 5217th Reconnaissance Battalion, and Alamo Scouts.

End of the occupation

MacArthur's Allied forces landed on the island of Leyte on October 20, 1944, accompanied by Osmeña, who had succeeded to the commonwealth presidency upon the death of Quezon on August 1, 1944. Landings then followed on the island of Mindoro and around the Lingayen Gulf on the west side of Luzon, and the push toward Manila was initiated. The Commonwealth of the Philippines was restored. Fighting was fierce, particularly in the mountains of northern Luzon, where Japanese troops had retreated, and in Manila, where they put up a last-ditch resistance. The Philippine Commonwealth troops and the recognized guerrilla fighter units rose up everywhere for the final offensive. Fighting continued until Japan's formal surrender on September 2, 1945. The Philippines had suffered great loss of life and tremendous physical destruction by the time the war was over. An estimated 1 million Filipinos had been killed, a large proportion during the final months of the war, and Manila was extensively damaged.

Personal Note: My father was an active member of the Filipino- American guerilla forces in Panay Island at that time. He served in the Dental Corp at time since he was a licensed dentist. My childhood experiences of this war is described in one of my blogs, http://theintellectualmigrant.blogspot.com, Chapter 1 dated 5/09/09.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Dinah Katague-My daughter-A Clay Artist

The following is an article about my oldest daughter hobby of "neriage" printed in the Contra Costa Times just recently. Have you heard of the word "neriage"? Walnut Creek artist says more to clay art than meets the eye By Janice De Jesus contracostatimes.com Posted: 04/25/2012 11:26:42 AM PDT
Clay artist Dinah King, of Walnut Creek, displays some of bowls she has made at the Civic Arts. Eight years ago, Dinah Katague-King came to know her new Walnut Creek home at the same time she rediscovered a passion with clay art. The Civic Arts Education Clay Arts Guild she joined was her home away from home. "I didn't know anyone in the neighborhood so I thought, this is my time for myself," said Katague-King. "I thought it was a good way to meet new people." While she dabbled in sculptures by hand in high school and using the pottery wheel in college, Katague-King took a long break from clay. But when she embraced the art again eight years ago, she took the art on full force, adopting a technique of staining clay with different colors, layering it and then throwing it all together. Called "neriage," the technique -- first used in ancient Egypt and perfected in early modern Japan -- has given Katague-King's bowls and vases new life. She and her fellow artists will be displaying work at a garden-themed Clay Arts Guild Spring Sale Friday through Sunday. The garden-art-themed show will feature several artists' work, including planters and wall pots with live plants as well as wall art, wind chimes, bird feeders and houses, fountains, garden sculpture and garden lights. Pottery, sculpture and dinnerware will also be available, both hand built and wheel-thrown pieces. "I call it my hurricane effect," Katague-King said of the neriage technique. "I guess I'm in my 'chaos period.' " Still, it is a period where the artist said she feels the calmest. "I notice when I'm throwing clay on the wheel, it's much easier to get into that zone," she said. "I look forward to doing this Wednesdays and Sundays." Earlier on in her pottery life, the second year she learned how to throw that perfect pot, she remembers sitting at the wheel during open studio feeling so new and inexperienced, she said. "I overworked my pot and one side collapsed," she said. "I was just really mentally and emotionally defeated. At that moment, I was wondering if this pottery thing was a good idea for a hobby. Then a really nice woman came over to me and said, 'Oh, we can fix that.' She proceeded to bend in the other sides to match, added a few little knobs of clay and the once 'destroyed' pot became a beautiful artistic bowl. She looked at me and said, 'Dinah, in art there are no mistakes, just artistic opportunities.' " Since then, Katague-King has tried to live life with that philosophy learned in pottery class. The artist credits teacher Lynne Meade for introducing neriage to her work. "A while back I did a one-day demonstration of inlaid colored clay for Dinah's class," Meade said. "Since then she has taken the technique and made amazing progress with it. She's taken it to new places despite technical difficulties and challenges. "She has persevered with her vision even when it seemed too difficult, Meade added. "That, to me, is the mark of a good artist and a great student -- when you give them a tiny seed and they nurture it into a blossoming tree. As a teacher, it is what you hope for and wait for. When you see it, it's always gratifying." The show will also feature the work of Moraga resident Mary-Leigh Miller and Walnut Creek resident Jacqueline Arkasali, whose designs will also be on display at the Rancho San Miguel Art Show on April 28. I am proud of your accomplishments, my daughter!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Memories of our Trip to Cancun, Mexico and the Mayan Ruins

On September 10 to 17, 1994, Macrine and I along with Ditas spent one week in Cancun, Mexico. We stayed at the Royal Mayan Resort. The Royal Mayan and the adjoining Royal Carribean are 5 stars resorts in the Cancun Hotel Zone. The Hotel zone is a 14 mile strip with more than 100 hotels ranging from 2 stars to 5 stars. Travel arrangement was made by Worlddex Travel via our International Interval Exchange Vacation membership. Our 7 days of relaxation and sight seeing was INDEED VERY MEMORABLE. We were almost tempted to purchase another week of vacation time-share since the cost was much cheaper than our home resort in Lake Tahoe, Nevada. However, reasons prevail since at this time we were starting to save for the construction of our retirement home in Marinduque, Philippines. The Royal Mayan Hotel has a swimming pool with a bar in the middle. In addition, there is another bar at the ocean side where the water was warmed and crystal clear and the sand powdery white just like sugar. One day we took a one hour cruise aboard the galleon ship "Columbus" in the beautiful lagoon across our hotel. Ditas participated in the canoe race at the Yatch Club just across the hotel. We eat lunch at the Captain's Cove and dinner at the Gypsy Restaurant. This was Ditas treat to us, since she was occupying the second bedroom of our suite for free. A Flamingo Guitarist and Spanish Dancers were the entertainers for the night. We also went shopping both at the open flea markets in downtown Cancun as well as in several air-conditioned malls of the city. One day we visited the Mayan Ruins Of Tulum and another day at the ruins of Chichen Itza. These two places is a must see if you love history and archaelogy. We inquired on two island tours-Isla Mujeres and Cozumel, but were running out of time and decided not to take it. There are several Mayan Ruins in the Yucatan Peninsula. But we visited only two. 1.Chichen Itza - Mayan ruins in Yucatan MexicoThe Chichen Itza archaeological site is the most visited Mayan site on the peninsula. Eighteen structures have been restored over the years. Pyramid Kukulcan is the tallest of them and allows a view from the top of all Chichen Itza. During the Spring and Fall equinoxes, (March 21 & Sept 21) the setting sun creates shadows down the steps of the pyramid that resemble a snake descending. This is a popular event to see and usually draws big crowds. 2. Tulum - Mayan ruins in Quintana Roo Mexico: Tulum archaeological zone is located 131 kilometers south of Cancun, just 20 minutes south of Akumal on coastal highway 307. Facing the sea, Tulum is impressive and powerful. Known as the "Walled City", Tulum was thought to be one of the most important cities of the ancient Mayan during its time. Fresco remnants are still visible inside some of the structures. There is also a popular beach accessed by a stairway next to the El Castillo pyramid, but we forgot to bring our bathing suit! On our way to Tulum we stopped by the underground river at X'Caret for one hour. The other popular Mayan ruins are: 1.Becan - Mayan ruins in Campeche Mexico. Just beyond the Quintana Roo-Campeche state line, 6 kilometers west of the town of Xphil, are the Mayan ruins of Becan. Visitors can walk to 20 major constructions distributed over three hectares with a number of temple pyramids and plenty of tall jungle. The site is usually deserted. Becán was the political, economical and religious capital of the province known today as Rio Bec. Becan is roughly 3.5 hours from Tulum, driving south on highway 307 then west on 186. 2.Bonampak - Mayan ruins in Chiapas Mexico: This archaeological site, deep in jungle of Chiapas, is one of the so called Usumacinta Province group which includes several Mayan ruins sites on or close by the Usumacinta river. Bonampak is particularly famous for its murals which dipict in great detail the rituals of the royal court, including human sacrifice, costumes, musical instruments, and the weapons of war. Tours to the ruins can be arranged from hotels in Palenque. 3.Calakmul - Mayan ruins in Campeche Mexico: Due to Calakmul's location in the geographic center of the Maya region (the "Petén") it received cultural influences from both north and south. Calakmul along with the Maya sites of El Mirador, Nakbé, and Uaxactún, formed a coalition during the Formative period, constantly engaging in conflicts with its southern neighbors, especially Tikal. Calakmul remained a rival to Tikal from that time on. 4.Chacchoben - Mayan ruins in Quintana Roo Mexico: Roughly 110 miles (177 kilometers) south of Tulum Mexico are the seldom seen Mayan ruins of Chacchoben, an excellent but distant day-trip to see a broad-leaf jungle ruin site. These majestic, mostly restored temple pyramids take on a mystical quality surrounded by towering mahogany trees, enormous cohune palms, strangler figs and the hanging tentacles of banyan trees. Chaccoben means "the Place of Red Corn", in Spanish "Lugar de Maiz Colorado". 5.Chac Mool - Mayan ruins in Quintana Roo MexicoWithin the Sian Kaan Biosphere Reserve, about 1.5 hours south by boat from Punta Allen, on the Santa Rosa peninsula, is the seldom seen archaeological site of Chac Mool. This is a small site requiring permission from the land owner, Casablanca Fishing Lodge, for entry. Of primary interest is Chac Mool's similarity to Chichen Itza and Tulum because of the presence of a Chac Mool shrine room and a location directly on the Caribbean sea. Also nearby are the Tupac ruins. 6.Chicanna - Mayan ruins in Campeche Mexico: Near the Quintana Roo-Campeche state line, 6 kilometers west of the town of Xphil and 3 kilometers from Becan ruins, are the Mayan ruins of Chicanná. Due to its dimensions and the rich decoration of the buildings, Chicanná has been considered a small elitiest center of nearby Becán. The site is usually deserted. Chicanna is roughly 3.5 hours from Tulum, driving south on highway 307 then west on 186. 7.Coba - Mayan ruins in Quintana Roo MexicoThe Coba archaeological zone is located 42 km. west of Tulum. With many buildings still covered by jungle, Coba is over 80 sq. miles with 5 lakes. Nohoch Mul is the tallest pyramid in the Yucatan peninsula. It is 12 stories tall and has 120 steps to the top! But from the top you can view a magnificent span of jungle with the tops of other ruins reaching above the jungle canopy 8.Dzibilchaltun - Mayan ruins in Yucatan Mexico: Dzibilchaltun archaeological zone is located only 9 mile from the Yucatan state capital of Merida, Dzibilchaltun ruins are a must see for visitors interested in a significant Maya ruins site and excellent cultural museum full of Maya and Spanish artifacts including 16th century Spanish swords and weapons, Maya textiles, monolithic stela, temples and deep cenote freshwater well, excellent for a cool swim. Located on the road to Progreso. Taxi transport from central Merida and combis from San Juan Park. 9.Ek Balam - Mayan ruins in Yucatan MexicoEk Balam was built in the Maya Classic Period and has a grand central pyramid, two large palaces, and numerous other temples and buildings. While the archaeological zone is not as completely restored, or as large a site as Chichen Itza or Uxmal, Ek Balam is under active restoration and gives the visitor a great overview of the entire archaeological process. The effect is almost mystical with restored buildings pushing out of the huge mounds of rubble and jungle undergrowth. 10. Kohunlich, Dzibanche and Oxtankah - Mayan ruins in Quintana Roo MexicoKohunlich, Dzibanche and Oxtankah make up one of the largest concentrations of archaeological sites located in the southern part of Quintana Roo. Just a few hours south on Hwy 307 will bring you to the Lake Bacalar area. Most of the ruins in southern Quintana Roo are located south of there. Bring a new guidebook with you for specific directions. The jungle is lush and alive with exotic birds and wildlife. 11. Mayapan - Mayan ruins in Yucatan Mexico: Mayapan ("Banner of the Mayas") is considered the last great Maya capital, dating back to the beginning of the common Era and reaching its golden age in the Postclassic period. Mayapan's ancient grandeur is still evident in its great buildings. There is a strong influence played by Chichen Itza, as seen in its main building, a smaller replica of the Castillo of Kukulcan. 12. Muyil - Mayan ruins in Quintana Roo Mexico: The Muyil ruins are located 25 kilometers south of the Pueblo of Tulum, passed Ejido Pino Suarez. This site is rarely visited but quite spectacular. The ruins are partially excavated and the jungle surrounds them. A combination path-boardwalk leads from the ruins through a lush jungle-marsh area to wide Laguna Muyil. The Mirador observation platform gives a spectacular view of the surrounding area. Tours of the lagoons are available by the dock. 13. Palenque - Mayan ruins in Chiapas Mexico: Palenque archaeological zone is located in the southern state of Chiapas near Guatemala. Palenque is one of the premiere Mayan ruins of Mesoamerica featuring the Temple of Inscriptions containing Pakal's tomb, the Palace and many other buildings, all in a mountainous jungle setting. Other nearby sites to see include Agua Azul cascades, Misol Ha falls, Usumacinta river tour to Yaxchitlan & Bonampak Maya ruins. 14. Uxmal - Mayan ruins in Yucatan Mexico: The Uxmal Mayan ruins are some of the best on the peninsula. The name Uxmal means 'thrice-built' in Mayan, referring to the construction of its highest structure, the Pyramid of the Magician. The Maya would often build a new temple over an existing one, and in this case five stages of construction have actually been found. Uxmal was one of the largest cities of the Yucatán peninsula, and at its height was home to about 25,000 Maya. 15. Xel-Ha - Mayan ruins in Quintana Roo Mexico: The Xel-Ha ruins are part of the Xel-Ha Lagoon eco-park, located between Akumal and Tulum. These are a small collection of stone buildings right on the highway opposite the entrance to Xel-Ha Lagoon. The Maya had a coastal port at Xel-Ha for maritime trade via canoes between the principal towns up and down the coast, and to Cozumel. There are a couple of interesting cenotes nearby the ruins group. Some of the structures still have painted hands and other drawings of the Maya. 16. Yaxchilan - Mayan ruins in Chiapas Mexico: The Yaxchilan archaeological site is deep in jungle of Chiapas. It is one of the so called Usumacinta Province group which includes several Mayan ruins sites on or close by the Usumacinta river. Yaxchilan is right on the Usumacinta and visitors almost exclusively come via the long boats that navigate the river. There are more than 120 structures in the central area in three complexes. Tours to the ruins can be arranged from hotels in Palenque.
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