Welcome to Las Vegas, Nevada- the Gambling Capital of US and the City that never sleeps! So, what has this city have to do with this site. The answer is none. I just love the photo, I took during our vacation to this city a couple of years ago. In this site, you will find articles from my autobiography, global warming, senior citizens issues, tourism, politics in PI, music appreciation and articles about our current experiences as retirees enjoying the "snow bird" lifestyle between US and the Philippines. Your comments will be highly appreciated. Please do not forget to read the latest national and international news. Some of the photos and videos on this site, I do not own. However, I have no intention on infringement of your copyrights. Cheers!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Feeling Very Rich Today-Income Tax Day

Macrine, Ditas, David III and Me- Photo Taken during Ditas 50th Birthday Party. Note at the two of Ditas paintings in the background.

Macrine and I woke up this morning very happy and feeling very rich. For this we thank Thee Lord!

Very Rich not in the sense of dollars or pesos, but because we are still Alive today and enjoying life! As a member of the octogenarian club, you will never know when I will conked out in this planet Earth. It could be days or months and perhaps years if I am lucky, but for today, Macrine and I will enjoy life to the fullest.

To those of you who have been following my blogs and FaceBook chatter, you probably know that Macrine has been diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease about two years ago. With Parkinson your quality of life varies. There are days when Macrine could hardly walk in the morning, and there are days when she is ready to go to the Casino or a trip to the Philippines.

Her symptoms are controlled by medications, but the side effects of her medications are unpredictable.

Therefore, today when she told me she felt rich and happy I was ecstatic. I ask her then that we celebrate the day.

So our morning started with me cooking her favorite breakfast of scramble eggs, fried rice and spiced Portuguese sardines. Our lunch was just a simple chicken salad sandwich with leche flan( milk custard)and buko pandan ice cream from the Pinoy grocery store as our desserts.

What will we have for dinner for the finale of the day? I remember on her recent birthday David and I took her out to Red Lobster. She was so happy that day, I will never forget the smile in her face after the delicious lobster meal.

At about 3PM after her medication, Macrine was getting tired. I decided to call Red Lobster, if they have Take Out Service. Indeed they have. So I ordered our dinner via phone. In 20 to 30 minutes, it will be ready for pick up and no waiting.

Ordering dinner in the restaurants is not new to me. Sometimes I feel lazy cooking. Five days during the week, there are only the two of us, since David works in the afternoon shift. Cooking for two is not that easy and economical. So ordering our meals from nearby restaurants make sense. I have ordered dinner meals from Olive Garden (Italian), El Tapacio (Mexican), Sechuan Garden(Chinese), Pho I( Vietnamese) and from Fish and Chips. Today however was my first Take Out Dinner from Red Lobster.

I expect this order to be more costly and expensive compared to the other restaurants. But today I am feeling very rich and I assure myself that we can not take our money when we die, so why not spend it and enjoy it.

Here's what I ordered:

The Lobster Dream Delight Menu which consisted of two Main lobster Tails and a Pasta with Shrimps. The side dishes are wild Rice and broccoli. With the dinner includes a garden salad and 4 dinner rolls. Besides the main dish, I ordered a Bisque Lobster soup( bowl) and for dessert we have Cheese cake with fresh strawberries topping. This was the exact menu that Macrine like during her Birthday dinner last month.

The dinner cost me $48 plus $2 tip to the bartender ( place where I pick up the to go order). After dinner Macrine informed me again, she feel very rich today. I said we will not go to the poor house as long as we do not do this every day. This amount is about double the amount I pay when we order from other restaurants mentioned in the previous paragraph. This amount may be too much for my poor relatives in the Philippines. However, to most of our well to do friends and relatives in the Philippines and here is the US, this is peanuts.

Good Day or Night to All. I hope you feel rich today and celebrate LIFE. Life is short and as they say you can not take your money with you when you die, so spend it while you can.

One final note, speaking of money, today when I checked my Google Adsense account in my blogs I earned 0.53 cents and in my Hubpages account I earned 0.06 cents. Wow, I feel really very rich today, indeed!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Aging Gracefully and Secrets to Longevity

I was watching a CNN special report the other day hosted by Dr Sanji Gupta on the subject of longevity. The show discussed some common activities of people from all parts of the world who are 90 years old or older. It was discussed that being active, good diet ( less meat more vegetables),a purpose in life, feeling of belonging, faith in God, and clean living ( less stress, no smoking) are some of the factors why people reached the ripe age of 90 or older.

I ask myself what is my chance of reaching 90 years old or older based on the facts discussed above. The answer is I really do not know. I am now 80 years old and If I continue my current lifestyle, I believe and hope I will still be active when I turned 90 years old in 2025.

<My youngest grand daughter, Carenna Katague Thompson, Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California

First, I have a purpose why I want to live longer. I hope and pray to God I will live to see my youngest grand daughter graduate in College. My youngest grand daughter will be 12 years old next month (above photo).

Second, I try to maintain an active life both physically( walking and light gardening) and mentally ( writing, reading and computer bridge/games).

Third, I tried to eat balance meals, less meat and more seafood products,fruits and vegetables and a glass of red wine daily( no more or less).

Fourth, I practice the Art of Laughter which is not only the best medicine, but it prolongs life according to the above report.

Last but not least, I have Faith in God, and surrounded by loving relatives and friends.

The following is a short video of a woman's secret to longevity.

If you are over 80 and reading this, may I have the pleasure of meeting you and share with me your secrets of longevity.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Fifty-Five Years in US but still a Pinoy in Heart and Spirit

The David B Katague Clan, Walnut Creek, California, 2009

This year will be our 55th year residing in the US. We have resided in the West Coast ( Northern California), Midwest( Chicago, Illinois and Kansas City, Missouri) and the East Coast( suburbs of Washington, DC.). During these years we have adapted the American ways of living having raised four children through out their college years and beyond. We are blessed with six good-looking and talented grand children and for these we thank Thee Lord!

During the five decades and five years, my wife and I have gotten rid of the Pinoy bad traits of bahala na, filipino time, being so materialistic and the crab mentality of putting down other Filipinos.

We have maintained the good Pinoy traits of being religious, hospitable, hardworking and still enjoy Pinoy foods and delicacies.

Although we no longer eat filipino food and rice daily, we still set the table with a spoon and used our hands to partake Dungeness crabs and seafoods. We still have the wood carving picture frame of the Last Supper hanging in our dining room wall that we purchased in Baguio City several decades ago. What could be more Filipino than that.

We try to go to Catholic mass every Sunday and Holiday of Obligation. However, since my wife was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease, we attend mass in the TV most of the time.

My wife enjoy watching Pinoy soap operas and Philippine news daily. She tries to keep in touch with relatives in the Philippines through FaceTime. In my case, I try to keep in touch with relatives via FaceBook and my blogs. Here is a video of some Philippine culture and tradition for your viewing pleasure.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Day of Valor-Battle of Bataan Revisited

The Bataan Death March

April 9 is proclaimed as Day of Valor( Araw ng Kagitingan) in the Philippines. It is observed as a holiday in the Philippines and celebrated by Filipino-Americans here in the US. Araw ng Kagitingan is also known as Bataan Day or Bataan and Corregidor Day. It commemorates the fall of Bataan during World War II. Today will be the 73rd anniversary of this historic event during World War II in the Philippines

The following is an article from militaryhistory.about.com reminding us of this historic battle during the Japanese-American Was in the Philippines.

After the bombing of Pearl Harbor ( December 7, 1941) Japanese arm forces began conducting an aerial assault on American forces in the Philippines. In addition, troops moved against Allied positions on Hong Kong and Wake Island. In the Philippines, General Douglas MacArthur, commanding United States Army Forces in the Far East (USAFFE), began making preparations to defend the archipelago from the inevitable Japanese invasion. This included calling up numerous Filipino reserve divisions. Though MacArthur initially sought to defend the entire island of Luzon, prewar War Plan Orange 3 (WPO-3) called for USAFFE to withdraw to the highly defensible ground of the Bataan Peninsula, west of Manila, where it would hold out until relieved by the US Navy. Due to the losses sustained at Pearl Harbor, this was unlikely to occur.

Battle of Bataan - The Japanese Land:

On December 12, 1941 Japanese forces began landing at Legaspi in southern Luzon. This was followed by a larger effort in the north at Lingayen Gulf on December 22. Coming ashore, elements of Lieutenant General Masaharu

Homma's 14th Army began driving south against Major General Jonathan Wainwright's Northern Luzon Force. Two days after the landings at Lingayen commenced, MacArthur invoked WPO-3 and began shifting supplies to Bataan while Major General George M. Parker prepared the peninsula's defenses. Steadily pushed back, Wainwright retreated through a succession of defensive lines over the next week. To the south, Major General Albert Jones' Southern Luzon Force fared little better. Concerned about Wainwright's ability to keep the road to Bataan open, MacArthur directed Jones to move around Manila, which had been declared an open city, on December 30. Crossing the Pampanga River on January 1,1942 the SLF moved towards Bataan while Wainwright desperately held a line between Borac and Guagua. On January 4, Wainwright began retreating towards Bataan and three days later USAFFE forces were within the peninsula's defenses .

Battle of Bataan - The Allies Prepare:

Stretching from north to south, the Bataan Peninsula is mountainous down its spine with Mount Natib in the north and the Mariveles Mountains in the south. Covered in jungle, the peninsula's lowlands stretch to cliffs overlooking the the South China Sea in west and beaches in the east along Manila Bay. Due to the topography, the peninsula's only natural harbor is Mariveles at its southern tip. As USAFFE forces assumed their defensive position, roads on the peninsula were limited a perimeter route that ran along the east coast from Abucay to Mariveles and then north up the west coast to Mauban and an east-west route between Pilar and Bagac. Defense of Bataan was divided between two new formations, Wainwright's I Corps in the west and Parker's II Corps in the east. These held a line stretching from Mauban east to Abucay. Due to the open nature of the ground around Abucay, fortifications were stronger in Parker's sector. Both corps commanders anchored their lines on Mount Natib, though the mountain's rugged terrain prevented them from being in direct contact forcing the gap to be covered by patrols.

Battle of Bataan - The Japanese Attack:

Though the USAFFE was supported by a large amount of artillery, its position was weakened due to a tenuous supply situation. The speed of the Japanese advance had prevented the large scale stockpiling of supplies and the number of troops and civilians on the peninsula exceeded prewar estimates. As Homma prepared to attack, MacArthur repeatedly lobbied leaders in Washington, DC for reinforcements and aid. On January 9,1942 Lieutenant General Akira Nara opened the assault on Bataan when his troops advanced on Parker's lines. Turning back the enemy, II Corps endured heavy attacks for the next five days. By the 15th, Parker, who had committed his reserves, requested assistance from MacArthur. Anticipating this, MacArthur had already put the 31st Division (Philippine Army) and Philippine Division in motion towards II Corps' sector.

The following day, Parker attempted to counterattack with the 51st Division (PA). Though initially successful, the division later broke allowing the Japanese to threaten II Corps' line. On January 17, Parker desperately attempted to restore his position. Mounting a series of attacks over the next five days, he managed to retake much of the lost ground. This success proved brief as intense Japanese air attacks and artillery forced II Corps back. By the 22nd, Parker's left was under threat as enemy forces moved through the rough terrain of Mount Natib. That night, he received orders to retreat south. To the west, Wainwright's corps fared somewhat better against troops led by Major General Naoki Kimura. Holding off the Japanese at first, the situation changed on January 19 when Japanese forces infiltrated behind his lines cutting off supplies to the 1st Regular Division (PA). When efforts to dislodge this force failed, the division was withdrawn and lost most of its artillery in the process.

Battle of Bataan - Bagac-Orion Line:

With the collapse of the Abucay-Mauban Line, USAFFE established a new position running from Bagac to Orion on January 26. A shorter line, it was dwarfed by the heights of Mount Samat which provided the Allies with an observation post overseeing the entire front. Though in a strong position, MacArthur's forces suffered from a lack of capable officers and reserve forces were minimal. As fighting had raged to the north, Kimura dispatched amphibious forces to land on the southwest coast of the peninsula. Coming ashore at Quinauan and Longoskayan Points on the night of January 23, the Japanese were contained but not defeated. Seeking to exploit this, Lieutenant General Susumu Morioka, who had superseded Kimura, dispatched reinforcements to Quinauan on the night of the 26th. Becoming lost, they instead established a foothold on Canas Point. Obtaining additional troops on January 27, Wainwright eliminated the Longoskayan and Quinauan threats. Tenaciously defending Canas Point, the Japanese were not expelled until February 13.

As the Battle of the Points raged, Morioka and Nara continued assaults on the main USAFFE line. While attacks on Parker's corps were turned back in heavy fighting between January 27 and 31, Japanese forces succeeded in breaching Wainwright's line via the Toul River. Quickly closing this gap, he isolated the attackers into three pockets which were reduced by February 15. As Wainwright was dealing with this threat, a reluctant Homma accepted that he lacked the forces to break MacArthur's defenses. As a result, he ordered his men to fall back to a defensive line on February 8 to await reinforcements. Though a victory that boosted morale, USAFFE continued to suffer from a critical shortage of key supplies. With the situation temporarily stabilized efforts continued to relieve the forces on Bataan and the fortress island of Corregidor to the south. These were largely unsuccessful as only three ships were able to run the Japanese blockade while submarines and aircraft lacked the carrying capacity to bring the needed quantities.

Battle of Bataan - Reorganization:

In February, the leadership in Washington began to believe that USAFFE was doomed. Unwilling to lose a commander of MacArthur's skill and prominence, President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered him to evacuate to Australia. Reluctantly leaving on March 12, MacArthur traveled to Mindanao by PT boat before flying to Australia on a B-17 Flying Fortress. With his departure, USAFFE was reorganized into the United States Forces in the Philippines (USFIP) with Wainwright in overall command. Leadership on Bataan passed to Major General Edward P. King. Though March saw efforts to better train USFIP forces, disease and malnutrition badly depleted the ranks. By April 1, Wainwright's men were living on quarter rations.

Battle of Bataan - Fall:

To the north, Homma took February and March to refit and reinforce his army. As it regained strength, it began to intensify artillery bombardments of the USFIP lines. On April 3, Japanese artillery unleashed the most intense shelling of the campaign. Later in the day, Homma ordered a massive assault on the 41st Division (PA)'s position. Part of II Corps, the 41st was effectively broken by the artillery bombardment and offered little resistance to the Japanese advance. Overestimating King's strength, Homma moved forward cautiously. Over the next two days, Parker fought desperately to save his crumbling left as King attempted to counterattack north. As II Corps was overwhelmed, I Corps began falling back on the night of April 8. Later that day, seeing that further resistance would be hopeless, King reached out to the Japanese for terms. Meeting with Major General Kameichiro Nagano the next day, he surrendered the forces on Bataan.

Battle of Bataan - Aftermath

Though pleased that Bataan had finally fallen, Homma was angry that the surrender did not include the USFIP forces on Corregidor and elsewhere in the Philippines. Massing his troops, he landed on Corregidor on May 5 and captured the island in two days of fighting. With the fall of Corregidor, Wainwright surrendered all remaining forces in the Philippines. In the fighting on Bataan, American and Filipino forces sustained around 10,000 killed and 20,000 wounded while the Japanese sustained approximately 7,000 killed and 12,000 wounded. In addition to the casualties, USFIP lost 12,000 American and 63,000 Filipino soldiers as prisoners. Though suffering from combat wounds, disease, and malnutrition, these prisoners were marched north to prisoner of war camps in what became known as the Bataan Death March. Lacking food and water, prisoners were beaten or bayoneted if they fell behind or were unable to walk. Thousands of USFIP prisoners died before reaching the camps. Following the war, Homma was convicted of war crimes relating to the march and was executed on April 3, 1946.

Personal Note: I do not have any relatives involved in the Battle of Bataan. However, my father was a member of the Philippine Guerillas forces in Panay Island during that time.

Monday, April 6, 2015

A Trip to the Emergency Room on Easter Sunday

Yesterday after eating our Turkey Easter early dinner at 2PM, Macrine decided to watch a movie “The Greatest Story Ever Told ( Life of Christ)”. While she was watching I was in my computer in the next room. I thought every thing was fine. Without any warning at about 4:30PM, I heard Macrine scream. I immediately run into the kitchen. Macrine lost her balance and was on the floor on her back. She told me she has a swell on her head. I felt it, inspected it and luckily there was no wound and blood.

After a few minutes, I helped her stand up and then sat down. I prepared an ice-cold compressed and apply it in the swelling on her head about the size of a walnut. In the meantime, I started calling the Urgent Care clinic ( a couple of blocks from our House) and informed them what happened. The Urgent Care personnel suggested I call the Emergency Room instead. I did and they told me to bring her right away if I could drive or call an ambulance if I can not.

We arrived at the emergency room of the Mercy San Juan Medical Center in Carmichael at about 5PM. There were more than 80 people in the waiting area. The crowd was overflowing. This reminded me of the emergency room of one of the public hospitals in Chicago way back in the 1960's. Note that Mercy San Juan is a private hospital owned by Dignity Health- the biggest health care provider in California.

We were able to register in 5 minutes. Macrine's vital was taken and to our surprised her blood pressure was very high. The admission clerk asked me if she is taking any high blood pressure medications. The examining nurse informed us, they will take a CAT scan on her head and then we can wait for the results. After about ten minutes her name was called. A transfer clerk wheeled her to the CAT scan room. It took another 10 minutes for the completion of the task. Macrine was wheeled back to the waiting room.

I looked at the clock. It was already 6:30PM. In the meantime emergency room patients of all ages ( including crying babies and handicapped adults) come and go. The place was busy as a marketplace during a Flea Market event. We patiently continue waiting. At 6:45PM, Macrine's named was called for Chest X'ray. She was backed in the waiting room by 7PM.

Fifteen minutes later we were called to Window #1. In this window all the paper work are done, insurance forms, etc... It took another 20 minutes to complete the paper work. I asked the chief nurse, how long will we have to wait to get the results of the scan. He said at least one hour more if we are lucky since this is a busy night. I asked him if we could just get the results the next day via our personal physician. He answered it is up to us to make that decision. By then it was 8PM

Macrine was getting hungry and her night medication is due in 30 minutes. We decided to go home. Today I am waiting for our doctor's office to open.

Macrine woke up this morning still aching a little bit. The swelling on her head was gone. I took her blood pressure and it was normal. I have to give her Tylenol to relieve the pain on her back and neck area.

I just finished calling our doctor's office. Our doctor will call the emergency room today and will call us back later today for the results. I hope everything is fine. Macrine appeared to be OK, just complaining of minor aches and pains. I give her pain medication and hope for the best.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Proudly Presents Carlos Jambalos Avila-Classical Pianist

Carlos is the son of my wife's youngest sister Rosario (Charro) Jambalos. My wife and I had watched him grow up here in California. When he went to college, we lost our normal contact with him. However, just recently we get reacquainted with him via FaceBook. My wife and I have heard some of his musical( piano) accomplishments, but the following biography from Arts-Global is very impressive. I am very proud to share it with you !
Samples of His Piano Playing Skills.

"Hailed for his "beautiful command of tone and mood…and unruffleable savoir-faire" (San Francisco Chronicle), his "layers of emotional expression" (The Examiner) and his "level of artistry that seem far beyond his years" (Contra Costa Times), Carlos Avila is one of the most in-demand pianists on the classical music scene. His concerts have taken him across North and South America, Europe and Asia.

Mr Avila has been a guest at festivals such as Schleswig-Holstein, Tanglewood, Sarasota, Aspen, Banff, Music Academy of the West, Pianofest, Holland, and the Carnegie Hall Workshops where he had the opportunity to work and study with the late Isaac Stern, Daniel Barenboim, Michael Tilson Thomas, Emanuel Ax, Richard Goode and members of the St. Lawrence, Tokyo, Guarneri, Juilliard, Ying and Borodin String Quartets.

Mr Avila is also an avid collaborator – he shares a 15-year partnership with acclaimed violinist Jooyoung Oh, with whom he has given over 70 recitals across Asia and the United States. He also collaborates frequently with the New York Philharmonic’s Assistant Concertmaster Michelle Kim and participates in the promotion of her Doublestop Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing young musicians with no-cost loans of high-quality instruments. Last Spring, he performed in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's All-Access Chamber series and the New York Philharmonic’s Leonard Bernstein salon series. Prior to that, he embarked on a mammoth long 29-city tour with award-winning Baritone Leon Williams. Carlos was also recently showcased on New York’s WQXR, where he gave an all-transcription recital broadcast as one of the winners of Julliard’s prestigious Gina Bachauer competition.

Mr Avila has also served as affiliate-faculty at the Atlantic Music Festival, Collaborative Piano Faculty of the Heifetz Institute, and will join the Piano Faculty of the Innsbrook Institute in 2015. A proud Filipino-American, he is a graduate of the Julliard School and did prior studies at Yale".

Carlos, your Aunt Macrine and I are proud of your accomplishments. Keep up with the good work!
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