WELCOME TO MY SITE AND HAVE A GOOD DAY

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!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Today is Christmas in Marinduque, Philippines

Last nigth Macrine, Sister Guia, Fe Jambalos (my sisters in-laws)and I went to the suppose to be midnight mass (10PM) at the Cawit Chapel. The church was overflowing. Luckily, we were able to locate a place in front of the side entrance of the church where we placed our two small portable plastic chairs. I notice a lot of children, teenagers and some of the mass attendants were drunk and a few of the teenagers were sleeping instead of attending and listening to the masss. My sister-in-laws informed me that half of the crowd probably attend church only on Christmas and Easter, that is why the church was so crowded. Speaking of Christmas here in Marinduque. The temperature is in the 80's and instead of snow we have almost like summer weather. The past week, Macrine had been busy with cooking by mouth, while I had been doing gardening by mouth to prepare the Gardens of Chateau Du Mer for some guests this New Year at the beach house. My orchids are in bloom, so are my hibiscus,bougainvillas and euphorbias. If this is your first time to hear the phrase cooking/gardening by mouth, let me explain. Macrine has a full time housekeeper and cook, when we are here in Marinduque. So all Macrine does is tell the cook to do this, do that and wow, the past week, we had Banana Nut bread, macaroni-chicken salad, chicken relleno and many other Filipino delicacies. We even had brocolli sauted in oyster sauce with Prawns. The brocolli is imported from Baguio and is more expensive than the chicken. The Prawns cost 450 pesos per kilo, but still is cheap when compared to the price in US. The mangoes cost 80 pesos per kilo, but I buy it even though it suppose to be expensive to the locals. Speaking of vegetables, I like to go to the Farmer's Market every Saturday morning near Amoingon, where prices are about 50% cheaper when compared at the town's market in downtown Boac or Gasan. This Christmas, we received about 2 lbs of walnuts and pecans from a Balikbayan relative. We also brought with us 2 lbs of pistachios nuts, so last night after church, we had San Miquel beer and pistachios. Today, we will have Ham, kari-kari, queso de bola, suman sa ibos, chicken macaroni salad, embotido and pork adobo for lunch. We will have also banana/walnut bread and for dessert we will have mangoes and papayas. So, you know why, I have already gained 3 lbs in my equator after only 20 days here in Boac. I think I am talking non-sense now, so it is time to close and extend my Christmas greetings to all! Cheers and Have a Good Day to All!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Today is My Diamond Birthday

This is our third week in my island Paradise, where life is simple, warm and slow, including my Smart Bro internet connection. But there is no way, I will exchange this life style to the winter of Northern California this time of the year. You would not believe it, if I tell you I am writing this blog on the beach, where only the sound of the waves and my heartbeat are the sounds I could hear with an occassional interruption of chirping birds and the distant sound of the roosters crowing. Today is also my 75th birthday. The party will be tomorrow after my sister-in-law arrives from Manila with the goodies, birthday cake, etc...However, this morning Macrine and I attended a thanksgiving mass at the newly constructed Gasan Cathedral. The church is located on the hill with a panoramic view of the western Marinduque Sea. The station of the cross are made of glass stained windows donated by Marinduquenos from the US at the tuned of about $900 per window. There is a Meditation Garden at the side and back of the Cathedral. The fund raising for the building of this catehdral was spear headed by Mrs Linda Sevilla Sotto, a balikbayan and a resident of Gasan. This is must site for tourist to see and visit in Marinduque. As far as location, it beats the location and architecture of the old Boac Cathedral in downtown Boac. My fellow bloggers, please wish me more years of healthy blogging as I celebrate my 75th today. Merry Christmas to all my readers and fellow bloggers.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

We are Now in My Island Paradise


We left Sacramento November 29 and did not arrived in Manila until December 1. We missed our connecting flight in Honolulu because Hawaiian Air left two hours late. We did received a hotel and meals vouchers from the airline. We stayed in Somerset Olympia in Makati until Dec 4. In Makaati, we did our regular shopping in the malls. We also received a free lunch invitation from Yong Nieva's ( Macrine first cousin) at his new restaurant in Quezon City, The Romulo Cafe. The food was delicious and reasonably price. Zest Air did gave us a hard time when we check in for our trip to Marinduque, since our tickets were purchased using my sister-in-law credit card. They wanted a copy of the credit card and they had to wake her up at 5:30AM. What an archaic way of ticketing and verifying credit card purchases. Any way, it was worth the hazzle since the trip was only 30 minutes versus the whole day if we took the car and ferry ride.
Life here in rural Philippines is quiet, slow and the weather perfect. Wishing all my blogger friends and readers an advance Happy Holidays. From the Grandpa Blogger.
Above is the recent photo of the Clan taken on Thanksgiving Day, 2009.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Mindanao Massacre-Explain why Filipino Politicians becomes Addicted to Politics

NOTE: It is safe to travel in the Philippines except in Southern Mindanao
Image from blogs.inquirer.net
The following article explains why Filipino politicians become addicted to politics. It is the best way to become rich as well as establish prestige and power. This also explains why there are political dynasty in almost all of the provinces in the Philippines. This article was written by Francisco Lara, Jr and published in London, MindaNews, dated November 26, 2009.

"The Maguindanao massacre predicts the eruption of wider violence and conflict as the nation heads towards the 2010 elections. Yet to dismiss this incident as “election-related” is to miss the fundamental political and economic implications of this evil deed. The massacre is rooted in the shift in politico-economic sources of violence and conflict in Muslim Mindanao. It signifies the emergence of new-type warlords whose powers depend upon their control of a vast illegal and shadow economy and an ever-growing slice of internal revenue allotments (IRA). Both factors induce a violent addiction to political office.
Mindanao scholars used to underscore the role of “local strong men” who were an essential component of the central state’s efforts to extend its writ over the region. The elite bargain was built upon the state’s willingness to eschew revenue generation and to grant politico-military dominance to a few Moro elites in exchange for the latter providing political thugs and armed militias to secure far-flung territories, fight the communists and separatists, and extend the administrative reach of the state.
The economic basis of the elite bargain has changed since then. Political office has become more attractive due to the billions of pesos in IRA remittances that electoral victory provides. The “winner-takes-all” nature of local electoral struggles in Muslim Mindanao also means that competition is costlier and bloodier. Meanwhile, political authority may enable control over the formal economy, but the bigger prize is the power to monopolize or to extort money from those engaged in the lucrative business of illegal drugs, gambling, kidnap-for-ransom, gun-running, and smuggling, among others. The piracy of software, CDs and DVDs, and the smuggling of pearls and other gemstones from China and Thailand are seen as micro and small enterprises. These illegal economies and a small formal sector comprise the “real” economy of Muslim Mindanao.
The failure to appreciate how this underground economy, coupled with entitlements to massive government-to-government fund transfers, shapes prevailing notions of political legitimacy and authority in the region partly explains the inability of the central State to deal with lawlessness and conflict.
Political legitimacy in Muslim Mindanao has very little to do with protecting people’s rights or providing basic services. People rarely depend on government for welfare provision, and are consequently averse to paying any taxes. People actually expect local leaders to pocket government resources, and are willing to look the other way so long as their clans dominate and they are given a small slice during elections. Legitimacy is all about providing protection to your fellow clan members by trumping the firepower of your competitors, leaving people alone, and forgetting about taxes.
There were positive signs in the recent past, especially among the Moro women and youth who bore the brunt of conflict and who sought a different future. But achieving their aspirations depends on their ability to rise above clan structures and the dynamics of hierarchy and collective self-defense that bound its members. This dilemma was painfully exposed in the Maguindanao massacre, where Moro women who usually played a strategic role in negotiating an end to rido became its principal victims.
The sad thing about the recent massacre is that it could have been avoided. Everyone in Central Mindanao knew about the looming violence between the Ampatuan and Mangudadatu clans as early as March 2009, when the latter’s patriarch Pax Mangudadatu confronted Andal Ampatuan in a public gathering and made known his clan’s intention to challenge the latter’s political hold on Maguindanao. This threat was in turn based on the knowledge that Ampatuan was planning to undermine the Mangudadatus by fielding a challenger against them in Sultan Kudarat.
In short, the “looming” rido which pundits are predicting today actually started more than six months ago. Yet neither Malacañang nor the COMELEC, PNP, and the AFP made any attempt to monitor their activities, disarm their private security, demobilize their loyalists within the police and military, and ring-fence their camps.
Why?
The answer lies in the new found role of Muslim Mindanao to national political elites. The region is known for a long history of electoral fraud. The difference today lies in its ability to provide the millions of votes that can overturn the results of national electoral contests, a situation brought about by the creation of a sub-national state (ARMM) and reinforced by the sort of democratic political competition in the post-Marcos era that makes local bosses more powerful and national leaders more beholden to them. This was the case in the presidential elections of 2004 and the senatorial race in 2007. It will serve the same purpose in 2010. Whose purpose is served by arresting Ampatuan in an election year? Certainly not those of the ruling coalition.
This partly explains the foot dragging and the lame treatment of principal suspects in the massacre. And to those pressing for limited martial rule in Maguindanao, beware what you wish for. Having a surfeit of troops on the ground can provide a superficial peace at best. At worse, it may facilitate the same type of electoral fraud in 2010, or leverage the firepower of the dominant clan over another.
In a region where the rebellion-related conflict between the GRP and the MILF received all of the national and international community’s attention and aid, NGOs such as International Alert and the Asia Foundation have often decried the ignorance and indifference of the government and donor agencies to community-based inter and intra clan violence. As International Alert asserts, it is time to focus on the confluence between both types and sources of violence and conflict. Indifference will only lead to more death and destruction as the election approaches, when a convergence between rebellion-related, and inter and intra clan conflict occurs as military forces and armed rebels take sides between warring clans and factions.
Mindanao scholars such as Patricio Abinales, James Putzel, and John Sidel have previously noted how local strong men made Mindanao, and how the region provided an ideal case of the country’s “imperfect democracy” and “political bossism”. More recently, the conflict scholar Stathis Kalyvas called attention to the birth of “ruthless political entrepreneurs” who shape and are shaped by the dynamics between states, clans, and conflict. The viciousness of the Maguindanao attack shows how these phenomena resonates here. It demonstrates the weak and narrow reach of the central Philippine state in Muslim Mindanao, and how the continued reliance on local strong men will not end the cycle of violence".
(Francisco Lara Jr. is Research Associate at the Crisis States Research Center, Development Studies Institute, London School of Economics.)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Beethoven's Piano Concerto No.5-Emperor Excerpt


Here's a five and a half minutes excerpt and the beautiful and funny interpretation of the classic Beethoven's Emperor Concerto by Fredrich Gulda. If you are a music lover like me, this is indeed a five minutes of listening pleasure worth your time. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Cloyne Court, Episode Twenty One



Note: If this is your first visit to this site, Dodie (Diosdado) is my oldest son. He is a full time prosecuting attorney in California, but writing is one of his favorite avocations. Cloyne Court is his first novel to be published By Three Clover Press, the end of this year.


Cloyne Court, Episode 21
By Dodie Katague
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Rated "R" by the Author.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Precisely,” she said.

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

She smiled at my sarcasm.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I thought for a second. I knew that my answer would be a defining minor moment in my life—a precedent that could change my ethical integrity for years to come. I could have taken the path of honesty and high moral values and told her the truth. However, truth would have been sexual suicide. She would not have given me the time of day after that, and I wanted her time of day. I wanted her time of night. How should I answer her?
_____________________________________________________
Although seventy-five percent of this memoir is factual, liberties were taken with the other twenty-five percent for plot purposes. That is where scenes were recreated from memory when they were not clearly defined in the journals written by the author in the 1970s and 80s.

Individual characters are composites of several people and do not represent any one person, and the names have been changed to protect innocent people that may be guilty of indiscretions in their youth. All characters, names and events as well as all places, incidents, organizations, and dialogue in this memoir should be considered products of the author’s imagination and are used fictitiously.

Blood Bath in Maguindanao, Philippines


The Maguindanao Massacre leaves a bad taste in my mind, heart and soul. Just thinking about it make me feel sick and I can not wait to see the culprits punished. This is an incident that makes me not proud as a Filipino-American. It puts the Philippines as a BARBARIC nation in the eyes of the world. Below is an editorial and summary of the incident from the GMA network, one of big networks in the publishing field in the Philippines.

“We are no longer who we were before Monday. In the annals of political violence in the Philippines, there have been no parallels to the slaughter that occurred on the lonely road to Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao on November 23.

52 unarmed civilians all, the majority of whom were media professionals, the victims were enroute to perform basic functions in a civilized democracy: the Mangudadatu women were to file certificates of candidacy; the lawyers were to provide legal advice; and the journalists were to bear witness on behalf of the public and to report on an important event without fear or favor. All of these roles are essential for a political system where power is meant to be transferred without violence.

What met them in a town recently renamed Ampatuan was the exact opposite: a force and mentality that invoked the barbarity of more primitive times. The crime that occurred in Ampatuan was uniquely savage, but it was also an extreme example of the violent tendency in our politics. At the other extreme are the many citizens who are bravely committed to the difficult and complex process of peacefully deciding who our leaders should be, such as those souls who perished on Monday.

It is this tension between savagery and peaceful process that has marked our electoral history. Those are the most critical choices in 2010. Much will depend on how the government reacts in the coming days. For what is emerging is evidence that the assailants were not outside the law but part of the political machinery of local officials backed by the Arroyo administration.

The President so far has ordered a thorough investigation and declared a state of emergency in Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat, and Cotabato City. Philippine National Police Director General Jesus Verzosa has relieved six PNP officials in Maguindanao.

We trust that this is just the beginning of a series of actions that will bring all of the perpetrators to justice, including the warlords who orchestrated this bloodbath.

If they are permitted to escape harsh punishment, it will clearly be a vote for barbarity and for the other savage armies prepared to assault our maiden automated elections.

As we wait for action, we grieve. We grieve for the believers in a democratic system who paid with their lives. We grieve for the martyred journalists who believed the Constitutional protection of their rights was enough.

By traveling without arms to perform their democratic duties in hostile territory, the 52 made their choice. We honor their example and sacrifice, as their fate continues to chill our bones. As fellow believers, we could have easily been them”.
Here's a short video of this barbaric incident! What a shame!

Joke of the Day-The Guy on the Plus Sign


I do not want to compete with my on-line friend, Sandee in her Comedyplus blogsite, but this joke I recently received cracks me up. I hope you have your laughs for the Day!

Until a child tells you what they are thinking, we can't even begin to imagine how their mind is working.

Little Zachary was doing very badly in math. His parents had tried everything...tutors, mentors,flash cards, special learning centers. In short, everything they could think of to help his math.

Finally, in a last ditch effort, they took Zachary down and enrolled him In the local Catholic school. After the first day, little Zachary came home with a very serious look on his face. He didn't even kiss his mother hello. Instead, he went straight to his room and started studying.

Books and papers were spread out all over the room and little Zachary was hard at work. His mother was amazed. She called him down to dinner.

To her shock, the minute he was done, he marched back to his room without a word, and in no time, he was back hitting the books as hard as before.This went on For some time, day after day, while the mother tried to understand what made all the difference.

Finally, little Zachary brought home his report Card. He quietly laid it on the table, went up to his room and hit the books. With great trepidation, His Mom looked at it and to her great surprise, Little Zachary got an 'A' in math..

She could no longer hold her curiosity. She went to his room and said, 'Son, what was it? Was it the nuns?' Little Zachary looked at her and shook his head, no. 'Well, then,' she replied, Was it the books, the discipline, the structure, the uniforms? WHAT WAS IT?'

Little Zachary looked at her and said, 'Well, on the first day of school when I saw that guy nailed to the plus sign, I knew they weren't fooling around.'

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Entrecard

Our First Thanksgiving Day in United States, 1960


It was November,1960 when Macrine and I and our oldest son,Dodie(who was only 2 years old then) experienced our first Thanksgiving Celebration in the United States. That year, I was a graduate student at the University of Illinois at the Medical Center in Chicago. The Chicago Hospitality Center along with YMCA and CFM invites all Foreign students in the area to spend a Thanksgiving weekend to the homes of volunteers in small towns of Illinois away from the crowded city of Chicago. Some of my foreign student friends were reluctant and did not accept the invitation, but I had an adventurous spirit so with great anticipation, Macrine and I along with Dodie went with 12 other foreign students and their families to Central Illinois. Our host for that weekend was Mrs. Johnston, a widow from Danville, Illinois. She lives alone and her beautiful bungalow house right in downtown Danville. We left Chicago in the morning, had thanksgiving dinner ( turkey and all its trimmings)in late afternoon. This was followed by a program in the evening at a local community center, where all the Hosts met and socialized with other invited students from Korea, Iran, Mexico, Japan, Chile, South Africa, Egypt and the Philippines. Macrine, Dodie and I represented the Philippines.
The next day we had a grand tour of the area, the farms and then to Springfield, the capital of Illinois. The tour of the area and Springfield was the highlight of our 2 days break from our hectic schedules as a graduate students.

So, did I like the roasted turkey? Nope, that was first time I had turkey. In the Philippines we do not celebrate Thanksgiving and I had never tasted turkey before. I did not like the pumpkin pie either. What I enjoyed was the oyster stuffing,ice cream and the cranberries sauce.

So why do I write this post. Well, to thank the Lord for all the good things and the past 49 years of Thanksgiving Days, He has given me and my family so far here in US. In addition our visit to the “real” Americans ( not the Ugly ones) that Thanksgiving day in 1960 prompted me to write an article of my impressions of the US at that time and has remained in my memory until today:

Our Impression of America

" During our first year in Chicago, we never received an invitation to participate in the hospitality program. Our name was probably buried in the list of foreign students or perhaps our foreign student adviser was sleeping in her job. During these first year of adjustments to the American way of life, we formed a very wrong impression of Americans. Asides from our daily contacts with fellow students in the school rooms or dormitories, our only other social contacts were people in the streets, subways, buses, department stores, supermarkets and other public places. These were all artificial contacts, giving us an impression that Americans are unfriendly, artificial, insincere, apathetic,intolerant and above all ignorant.The latter adjective was quite true, since the ordinary or typical American does not have the vaguest idea where the Philippines, Japan or even Puerto Rico is located in the map.

" However, in our second year, we began receiving invitation to spend a weekend in suburban homes as well as dinner invitations in city homes. At first, we were reluctant to accept the invitation, however with our adventurous spirit, we said yes.
From then on, "we have the whole world in our hands". We are thankful to CFM, the YWCA and the Hospitality Center of Chicago for making our stay filled with pleasant memories.

"On the other hand what impressions could we have brought back to the Philippines, if our stay was limited to one or two years ( true for exchange visitors). How many visitors and exchange scholars brought home with them the wrong impressions and attitude towards the American people in general? I knew there were a few foreign students in the dormitories who were disillusioned about the United States. One of them was a former dorm mate from Chile. He received an invitation, but never did conquer his apprehension of accepting one.

" At present as couple leader of the first interfaith group in our diocese, we will do our very best to reciprocate, promote, and encourage hospitality programs to foreign students and scholars in our area. We believe that opening our homes and our hearts on weekends and holidays, is one of the best ways of promoting world peace and understanding. Let us then make it possible for foreign students and scholars get the true picture of America and its people. Let us give them the opportunity to share with us our way of life. Let us get busy as a group or perhaps join other groups in order that we can show to the future leaders of the world, how sincere, friendly and aware we are of other human beings in other parts of the world. This is one of the many ways we could be more Christlike, we believe".
This letter was published by CFM in their monthly magazine, ACT, for all their members worldwide.

I also would like to dedicate this poem to all my readers in this blog.
Thanksgiving Every Day-By Karl Fuchs
The table is brimming with good things to eat;
We're surrounded by family and friends; what a treat.
The feelings that fill us today can’t be beat;
It’s Thanksgiving Day, and it all feels complete.
But other days, sometimes things don’t seem so fine;
Those days are not polished and don’t seem to shine.
It's then in our minds, we forget all the good,
And think of the things we would get, if we could.
On days when our thinking causes us dread,
If we could remember, it’s all in our head,
And not let our minds take our gratitude away,
Then we'd make every day like Thanksgiving Day.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL

Monday, November 23, 2009

2012- The Movie-Have you seen It?



Have you seen the Movie 2012? It was all right,FUN and the special effects are fantastic. However, it reminds me of an an e-mail from a friend reminding me that the end of the world as predicted by Nostradamus, or by the Masons is just a little more than 2 years from now. He asked me if I am ready. I answered him, yes without a doubt. I even told him, that it could be sooner, if the US and other countries do not watch carefully what is going on in North Korea, Iran or Pakistan these days.

The movie and e-mail aroused my curiosity so I went to the website, www.history.com under Armageddon I found several videos, about the Masons, Nostradamus, THE MAYAN CALENDAR and Chinese predictions saying the same thing. But I am not worried and still feel ready for the end of the World. I feel I have done my best to the utmost of my ability, to be a productive citizen of the world as well as a good father and grandfather, husband and chemist. I even informed my friend that I had just finished organizing highlights of my autobiography and is now published in one of my seven blogs that I had dedicated to family and friends. My autobiography is now in book form and will be distributed as my Christmas gifts to my grandchildren this year.

My question to you, my readers, Are you also ready? If not, start organizing your life. If you believe in this prediction you have only about two years to get ready. What do you think? Is this pure fiction or just a hype to sell more videos and books. Is there scientific basis for this prediction? Here's a short video for your information and judgement.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Efren Penaflorida is CNN Hero of the Year

A few minutes ago, CNN announced Efren Penaflorida as this years Hero. It seem that my campaign for him did work. I heard about Efren first from Bob Martin's e-magazine. I started posting a blog ( below) then in Face Book. Later on, I saw that other FB users are also recommending and voting for him. I voted about 50 times, since there was no limit. I am so proud of his accomplishments. In behalf of Efren, I thank all who responded and voted for him. Mabuhay! The following is also my article that I posted about three weeks ago.




I received the following e-mail today. I have already voted for him three times this week, after Bob Martin's posted an article about him last week in "Live in the Philippines" e-magazine. Efren Penaflorida deserves it and we all should support his work for the youth of the Philippines. Here's a short vidoe of Efren's work.

In case you have not heard yet....
Hi Everyone,

Please take time out to learn about Efren Penaflorida and vote for him as CNN Hero of the Year if you feel he is worthy. Lets help our deserving youth. You can vote as many times as you want.

Subject: Vote now for the CNN Hero of the Year Efren Penaflorida is really a hero in the Philippines

Vote now for the CNN Hero of the Year at
http://edition.cnn.com/SPECIALS/cnn.heroes/vote/

Hello everyone...This Efren Penaflorida is really a hero in the Philippines and the world. Please read his story and vote for him. We have until Nov. 19 only to help him. He deserves the honor.Plus the monetary award will surely help him in his endeavor to keep on doing what he is doing... to give the poor a chance at education and keep them away from gangs and drugs.

We are grateful for someone like Efren. We may not be able to physically do what he is doing but we can certainly cast a vote to help him. Please spread the news.

Each year, CNN gives $100,000 to the winner (from a field of ten finalists---winnowed from 9,000 nominees from all over the world) of its "Hero of the Year" award. This year, a 28-year-old Filipino, Efren Peñaflorida, made it to the top ten. (A panel of 12 well-known personalities from various fields picked the finalists. Colin Powell was among the judges this year). If Efren wins this year's award (based on how many votes he gets, which will depend on us), he will be able to expand his mobile school program for the children of the slums in the Philippines. What this young man is doing to improve the lives of the kids in the slums is truly inspiring.

Here's the link to Efren's story and his Dynamic Teen Company (the organization he founded). You can vote for Efren by clicking on the link found in the article.

http://edition.cnn.com/2009/LIVING/wayoflife/03/05/heroes.efren.penaflorida/index.html


Voting is open between now and Nov. 19. CNN will announce the winner and give out the award at a star-studded show on Thanksgiving night in L.A. at the Kodak Theater (same venue for the Oscars). So, let's all help Efren win so that he will, in turn, be able to help more impoverished kids. The more votes Efren gets, the greater his chances of winning the "Hero of the Year" award and the $100K. It will take less than a minute to click a button to cast your vote. Let's all help Efren continue to make a difference in those slum kids' lives. Without his mobile school and his group of volunteers, those kids will probably never have a chance to set foot in a real school and learn their ABCs. Let's all vote for Efren! Please don't forget to pass this on to everybody you know---Filipinos and non-Filipinos alike----so more people can vote for this young man with an extra big heart. Thanks!!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Your Privacy and the Census 2010


Yesterday, I posted in this blog encouraging all residents of California to be counted this coming 2010 Census by April 1, 2010. One of the comments I received is about Privacy concerns and that the Federal government may be getting to involve in our private lives and may used the data from the census to our detriment. Below is an answer to your concerns about privacy and confidentiality of data gathered by the US Census. I hope the following will remove your distrust and concerns about privacy issues. Here is the article from http://www.californiacompletecount.org

Privacy and the Census

The U.S. Census depends on your cooperation and trust, and promises to protect the confidentiality of your information. Federal law protects your information, and the U.S. Census has developed policies and statistical safeguards to help follow the law and further ensure the confidentiality of your information. Title 13 of the U.S. Code in addition to other federal laws, including the Confidential Statistical Efficiency Act and the Privacy Act reinforce these protections.

Information Collection to Produce Statistics

Your information is collected to produce statistics. Your answers cannot be used against you by any government agency or court.  The methods used to produce these statistics include an extensive review and analysis of all our data products, as well as disclosure avoidance methodologies such as data suppression and modification.

Disclosure Limitation Procedures
Suppression
Data Swapping
Protection of Microdata Files
Sworn for Life to Protect Your Confidentiality

All Census Bureau employees take the oath of nondisclosure and are sworn for life to protect the confidentiality of the data.  Violating the oath is a serious crime and hold with it a fine of up to $250,000 or imprisonment of up to 5 years, or both for the unlawful disclosure of any information.
Private information is never published

The U.S. Census Privacy Principles are guidelines that cover all of their activities. These principles encompass both their responsibilities to protect your information and your rights as a respondent. They apply to the information they collect and the statistics they publish.  It is against the law to disclose or publish any of the following information:
Names
Addresses including GPS coordinates
Social Security Numbers
Telephone numbers

I hope the above article has alleviated your concerns about the Federal Government intruding in your privacy if you answer the 10 questions required in the Census, 2o10. BE CALIFORNIAN, BE COUNTED

Live Like a King, a Queen or a Slave!

Chateau Du Mer Beach House at Twilight,Marinduquue

Currently my wife and I are lucky that we have a choice of living like a King or A Queen or a Slave. We spent half of our retirement lives annually living like a King and a Queen in our island Paradise in Marinduque, Philippines ( www.chateaudumer.com ). The benefits and advantages of our staying in the Philippines six months of the year are detailed in my article as a guest writer for Bob Martin web magazine ( www.liveinthephilppines.com) dated June 25, 2009. In that article, I cited ten things I love about the Philippines. The number one item is the cheaper standard of living, availability of maids, gardeners and helpers at a reasonable expense. Of course there is no perfect place in the world including the Philippines, so I wrote the 10 most annoying things about the Philippines in the same web magazine dated June 11, 2009. My number one complaint are the traffic, jeepneys, frequent brown outs and pollution in big cities like Manila or Cebu. But in Marinduque, there are no traffic or pollution problems. The island is only crowded during the Moriones Festival, on Easter Week every year. As I mentioned, the availability of helpers in Marinduque, makes you feel like a king or a Queen. We have two gardeners, a driver, a housekeeper and cook permanently. Macrine hires a laundry woman once a week for 200 pesos a day, plus 50 pesos tip. By hiring helpers, you are contributing to the improvement of the the local economy. The current dollar to pesos exchange is now about 1 to 47. Last year, I paid $1.00 for a haircut, $3.00 for 1 hour body massage and $2.00 for manicure and pedicure. The quoted price for the above services will vary from place to place in the Philippines and also affected by the pesos to dollar exchange rate.

Compared to life here in Northern California, I pay $10 to $14 for a haircut. I can not afford to have a manicure or pedicure every month. I do it myself. Here in US, I am the driver, the gardener, the laundry man, and the dish washer. I do not cook or clean the house, those are Macrine's duties, but I know how to use the microwave and vacuum the carpets once in a while. So comparing our lives here in US to that in PI it is fair to say, that we live like a King or Queen in PI, but like slaves in US.

However, we have adjusted to the differences in lifestyles between the Philippines and United States. We consider both places HOME. But as the saying goes, HOME is not a place but in the HEART!

If perchance you have plans visiting or retiring in the Philippines in the near future, start by reading Bob Martins website above. I do not have any monetary gains by my advertising his website, but if you are serious retiring in the Philippines because of the cheaper standard of living, then you must start reading Bob Martins website. If you need more information about Marinduque, please read my blogs as follows:
http://marinduqueamyislandparadise.blogspot.com
or http://marinduqueawaitsyou.blogspot.com

Friday, November 20, 2009

Be Californian- Be Counted-2010 Census


To all My Readers on this Blog and my Face Book Friends.
If you reside in the beautiful State of California- Be Counted,Be Californian(the Census Year of 2010).
The video below is Ditas Katague's Interview with Steve Swatt of COMCAST Newsmakers. Ditas is my youngest daughter and currently the Director of Census for the Office of the Governor, Planning and Research of the State of California. The 2010 Census will have only 10 questions and will take 10 minutes to fill. It is confidential and hopefully every body will be counted by the middle of April, 2010. For details visit, http://www.californiacompletecount.org/media_center.


The other day there was a 54 minute live webinar. This could be viewed at
http://tiny.cc/censusmc01#census2010 at any time.

Music for Motivational Meditation and Relaxation

It is time to take a 5 minute break from your hectic daily schedule and enjoy this pure relaxation music. I found this short video to be the best on this genre by Alexandra Witch. I love the flowers in the video. It reminds me of my gardens at Chateau Du Mer in Marinduque, Philippines (http://chateaudumer.blogspot.com)

To get maximum effect follow her instruction. I happened to have a 32 inches LCD monitor ( A father's day gift last June). I viewed the video full screen with only a black background. It is fantastic, and it did relax me. Do this everyday and you do not need sleeping pills to sleep. Let me know if you like this video also. Thank you, Alexandra. Here's the video!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

CNN 's Tribute to the Dancing Prisoners of CPDRC


The inmates of Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilatation Center (CPDRC) became a world wide sensation after their performance of Michael Jackson "Thriller" was posted on the web by Byron Garcia in 2007. The original video has been seen and received five star ratings from over 35 million viewers. The following video is CNN latest tribute to these talented dancers from Cebu, Philippines. You must be living in another world if you have not seen the original video by Byron Garcia. Here's latest update from CNN.

This second video by Byron Garcia is JUMP! Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Cloyne Court- Episode Twenty

Image from indowaves.instablogs.com
Here's Episode 20 of Dodie's book soon to be published By Three Clover Press. Lesson learned in this chapter.
I knew from watching my parent’s marriage and the male-female interactions at Cloyne Court, that women actually run society but let men think they do.
Do you Agree?
Cloyne Court, Episode 20
By Dodie Katague
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Rated "R" by the Author.
Cloyne Court, Berkeley, California in the late 1970s.

________________________

Rhetoric 1A: Intro to Logical Writing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Top 15 Favorite Blogs

Balcony of the Beach House at Night-Chateau Du Mer Beach Resort

In two weeks time, my wife and I will be spending our annual snow bird vacation in my island paradise- Marinduque, in the Philippines. In our retirement property, I will not have a 24 hour direct access to the Internet. However, I could go to downtown BOAC, only about a 15 minute drive to check my e-mails, manage my blogs and read FACE BOOK as well as surf in the Internet if I want to. My sister-in-law owns an Internet Cafe and for 40 pesos ( less than a dollar) per hour, I could spend one to four hours in the Internet every day without breaking my bank account.

When I am in the beach house and gardens, I do not feel like going to town because of the traffic, noise and the heat and humidity. In the beach house, there is always an ocean breeze during the months of December, January and February and thus no air conditioning is needed. If I get tired of gardening, I could watch TV, read or just enjoy relaxing. But, if I want pizza, hamburger or Halo-Halo, ice cream or my other favorite Filipino delicacies, then it is time to go to town.

So with this in mind ( that is no 24 hour direct Internet access), I am proud to announce my top 15 favorite blogs as follows: The list are not arrange in any particular order of likes or favorites. To me the 15 are all equal in importance in my enjoyment in reading them daily.

1. http://liveinthephilippines.com
2. http://man-over-board.com
3. http://theroostercrowsat4am.com
4. http://marinduquegov.blogspot.com
5. http://selaplana.com
6. http://dennisvilligas.blogspot.com
7. http://my_sarisari_store.typepad.com
8. http://www.inconsequentiallogic.com
9. http://blogswithwings.com
10.http://tourism-philippines.com
11.http://inthissideoftown.blogspot.com
12.http://blogtipz.com
13.http://comedyplus.blogspot.com
14.http://www.ironwulf.net
15.http://aroundtheworldinyoutube.blogspot.com

Please visit the blogs site above(if you have not done it yet). It will be worth your time. Extending an Advance Happy Thanksgiving Wishes to all my readers and Bloggers all over the World!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ten Commandments for those over 55


I received this posting from a dear friend from Marinduque. I asked her if she knows the author. She said she does not know but consented that I posted this in my blog. To the Anonymous Author, thank you for this posting. I love all the ten items particularly number 1 and 4. I accept #5. Commandment #9 is a subject taboo to most Filipinos. The subject of death and mortality is not openly discussed by most Filipinos because it is supposed to bring you bad luck. However, personally, I have discuss this topic with my family already, so when the time arrive, they will know what to do. You should have a "Will and Testament" if you have not done already. Your comments on this posting will be appreciated.

1. Focus on enjoying people, not on indulging in or accumulating
material things.

2. Plan to spend whatever you have saved.
You deserve to enjoy it and the few healthy years you have left.
Travel if you can afford it.
Don't leave anything for your children or loved ones to quarrel about.
By leaving anything, you may even cause more trouble when you are gone.

3. Live in the here and now, not in then...yesterdays and tomorrows.
It is only today that you can handle.
Yesterday is gone, tomorrow may not even happen.

4. Enjoy your grandchildren (if you are blessed with any)
but don't be their full time baby sitter.
You have no moral obligation to take care of them.
Don't have any guilt about refusing to babysit anyone's kids,
including your own grandchildrens.
Your parental obligation is to your children.
After you have raised them into responsible adults,
your duties of child-rearing and babysitting are finished.
Let your children raise their own offspring.

5. Accept physical weakness, sickness and other physical pains.
It is a part of the aging process.
Enjoy whatever your health can allow.

6. Enjoy what you are and what you have right now.
Stop working hard for what you do not have.
If you do not have them, it's probably too late.

7. Just enjoy your life with your spouse, children, grandchildren and friends.
People, who truly love you, love you for yourself, not for what you have.
Anyone who loves you for what you have will just give you misery.

8. Forgive and accept forgiveness. Forgive yourself and others.
Enjoy peace of mind and peace of soul.

9. Befriend death. It's a natural part of the life cycle.
Don't be afraid of it. Death is the beginning of a new and better life.
So, prepare yourself not for death but for a new life with the Almighty.

10. Be at peace with our Creator. For... He is all you have after you leave this life. Have a great weekend with your family and loved ones!!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Pacquiao TKOs Cotto, Makes History


Like most Filipino-Americans residing in the US, I had been excited the last couple of days and had planned watching the Pacquiao-Cotto professional boxing match in TV. However, when I learned that I have to pay $54 to watch it on Cable TV Pay per View, I decided it is not worth spending that much money, for a match that I already know who will be the winner. As a retiree and living an my SS and Federal pension, the $54 I will spend will come in handy for other expenses, such as my Christmas gifts to my grandchildren next month. So it was only this morning when I woke up that I found the results of the boxing match. Attached is an excerpt from the Philippine Inquirer-Philippine newspaper and a short video of Round 4 out of 12, I found in YouTube. Keep up with the good work, Manny Pacquiao! You are putting the Philippines on the world map again! I am proud to be a Filipino-American today because of your accomplishments.
Round 4 of 12

MANILA, Philippines – Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao made history Sunday (Manila time) when he bagged the welterweight title, his seventh in as many divisions, via technical knockout of Puerto Rican Miguel Cotto, the reigning champion in that division.

Kenny Bayless, the referee of the match, stopped the fight at 2:04-minute mark of the 12th round declaring Pacquiao the winner in the fight held at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Pacquiao bucked a size disadvantage against Cotto on his way to becoming the first fighter to win world titles in seven divisions.

Pacquiao has won the world championships in the flyweight (112 pounds), super bantamweight (122 lb), featherweight (126 lb), super featherweight (130 lb), lightweight (135 lb), and light welterweight (140 lb).

No man has won seven world titles in seven weight divisions and only five boxers have won six – Pacquiao, Oscar de la Hoya, Thomas Hearns, Hector Camacho, and James Toney.

Pacquiao looked unstoppable for the third consecutive fight, knocking Cotto down twice in the early rounds before putting the finishing touches on in the 12th round to claim Cotto's World Boxing Organization title.

The Filipino dominated from the second round on, putting on a stunning display of boxing skills and laying a savage beating on the champion.

"I tried my best to knock him out," Pacquiao said. "I thought in 11th round they would stop the fight. I am surprised he continued to fight."

Pacquiao (50-3-2, 38 KOs) solidified his status as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The 12 Types of Face Bookers-Annoying or Not?


I found this article in CNN. Which type or types do you belong? I have several friends in FB who does not do much but play games like Mafia Wars, Farmville or Cafe World. Others just say "LIKE" to your comments and most would just say he, he, he? Some have FB accounts but never open them. Isn't this just annoying. Luckily, I had been using the HIDE Option to customize my FB page. Happy Face Booking to all!

"Facebook, for better or worse, is like being at a big party with all your friends, family, acquaintances and co-workers.

There are lots of fun, interesting people you're happy to talk to when they stroll up. Then there are the other people, the ones who make you cringe when you see them coming. This article is about those people.

Sure, Facebook can be a great tool for keeping up with folks who are important to you. Take the status update, the 160-character message that users post in response to the question, "What's on your mind?" An artful, witty or newsy status update is a pleasure -- a real-time, tiny window into a friend's life.

But far more posts read like navel-gazing diary entries, or worse, spam. A recent study categorized 40 percent of Twitter tweets as "pointless babble," and it wouldn't be surprising if updates on Facebook, still a fast-growing social network, break down in a similar way.

Combine dull status updates with shameless self-promoters, "friend-padders" and that friend of a friend who sends you quizzes every day, and Facebook becomes a daily reminder of why some people can get on your nerves.

Here are 12 of the most annoying types of Facebook users:

The Let-Me-Tell-You-Every-Detail-of-My-Day Bore. "I'm waking up." "I had Wheaties for breakfast." "I'm bored at work." "I'm stuck in traffic." You're kidding! How fascinating! No moment is too mundane for some people to broadcast unsolicited to the world. Just because you have 432 Facebook friends doesn't mean we all want to know when you're waiting for the bus.

The Self-Promoter. OK, so we've probably all posted at least once about some achievement. And sure, maybe your friends really do want to read the fascinating article you wrote about beet farming. But when almost EVERY update is a link to your blog, your poetry reading, your 10k results or your art show, you sound like a bragger or a self-centered careerist.

The Friend-Padder. The average Facebook user has 120 friends on the site. Schmoozers and social butterflies -- you know, the ones who make lifelong pals on the subway -- might reasonably have 300 or 400. But 1,000 "friends?" Unless you're George Clooney or just won the lottery, no one has that many. That's just showing off.

The Town Crier. "Michael Jackson is dead!!!" You heard it from me first! Me, and the 213,000 other people who all saw it on TMZ. These Matt Drudge wannabes are the reason many of us learn of breaking news not from TV or news sites but from online social networks. In their rush to trumpet the news, these people also spread rumors, half-truths and innuendo. No, Jeff Goldblum did not plunge to his death from a New Zealand cliff.

The TMIer. "Brad is heading to Walgreens to buy something for these pesky hemorrhoids." Boundaries of privacy and decorum don't seem to exist for these too-much-information updaters, who unabashedly offer up details about their sex lives, marital troubles and bodily functions. Thanks for sharing.

The Bad Grammarian. "So sad about Fara Fauset but Im so gladd its friday yippe". Yes, I know the punctuation rules are different in the digital world. And, no, no one likes a spelling-Nazi schoolmarm. But you sound like a moron.

The Sympathy-Baiter. "Barbara is feeling sad today." "Man, am I glad that's over." "Jim could really use some good news about now." Like anglers hunting for fish, these sad sacks cast out their hooks -- baited with vague tales of woe -- in the hopes of landing concerned responses. Genuine bad news is one thing, but these manipulative posts are just pleas for attention.

The Lurker. The Peeping Toms of Facebook, these voyeurs are too cautious, or maybe too lazy, to update their status or write on your wall. But once in a while, you'll be talking to them and they'll mention something you posted, so you know they're on your page, hiding in the shadows. It's just a little creepy.

The Crank. These curmudgeons, like the trolls who spew hate in blog comments, never met something they couldn't complain about. "Carl isn't really that impressed with idiots who don't realize how idiotic they are." [Actual status update.] Keep spreading the love.

The Paparazzo. Ever visit your Facebook page and discover that someone's posted a photo of you from last weekend's party -- a photo you didn't authorize and haven't even seen? You'd really rather not have to explain to your mom why you were leering like a drunken hyena and French-kissing a bottle of Jagermeister.

The Obscurist. "If not now then when?" "You'll see..." "Grist for the mill." "John is, small world." "Dave thought he was immune, but no. No, he is not." [Actual status updates, all.] Sorry, but you're not being mysterious -- just nonsensical.

The Chronic Inviter. "Support my cause. Sign my petition. Play Mafia Wars with me. Which 'Star Trek' character are you? Here are the 'Top 5 cars I have personally owned.' Here are '25 Things About Me.' Here's a drink. What drink are you? We're related! I took the 'What President Are You?' quiz and found out I'm Millard Fillmore! What president are you?"

You probably mean well, but stop. Just stop. I don't care what president I am -- can't we simply be friends? Now excuse me while I go post the link to this story on my Facebook page ( IN MY CASE IN MY BLOG).

Friday, November 13, 2009

Pawikan ( Sea Turtles) Conservation Efforts in the Philippines

Photo by Racaza

The following article I found very interesting and needed to be read by all people of the world as well as all residents/visitors in the coastal areas in the Philippines. I shared its views and it reminds me of what happened a couple of years ago in Amoingon, the Western Marinduque Seacoast One early evening ( twilight) while I was walking and strolling in the beach as part of my daily exercise, I saw a couple of local fishermen and several children harvesting turtle eggs about a half- a mile from the Chateau Du Mer Beach House. I stopped because I was curious. I can not believe when I saw more than 50 turtle eggs all harvested by the children and the two men. I was speechless and concerned so a few days later I told one of the provincial officials in the department of tourism and conservation of the incident. So that year I heard that a local ordinance was passed that it is illegal to harvest turtle eggs and live corals in the coastal areas of Marinduque as well as in Tres Reyes Island-a marine sanctuary. But do the residents follow these ordinances, I doubt it, since the eggs are food and most of the local residents are poor and turtle eggs do alleviate their food needs.

Here is the article from Tourism Paradise Philippines written by Dave Ryan A Buaron dated Nocvember 14, 2009.

"The ultimate patriots, the Pawikans (Filipino for Marine Turtles) return after 25-30 years and go back to where they were hatched to lay eggs. This cycle remained unbroken for ages until recently when these beautiful sea animals have become highly threatened for extinction, due to poaching and hunting- their numbers are alarmingly dwindling. The time is now to take action. Read on and learn how you or your organization can help.

Philippines Pawikan Conservation Center

About 4 hours away from Manila is the sleepy fishing village of Nagbalayong in the town of Morong on the Bataan Peninsula. Along a patch of sandy coastal road a tiny place fenced with aged bamboo and a driftwood sign with the name Pawikan Conservation Center written on it greeted us. The coastline where Pawikan Conservation Centre sits is home to the original nesting sites of the Olive Ridley turtle species. We were greeted by Mr Manolo Ibias one of the center’s leaders, who is a former poacher himself but now one of the staunchest defenders of the pawikans. We were then introduced to a gathering of some of the volunteers having after dinner rounds of local whiskey mixed with congenial and spirited conversations about the challenges of turtle conservation, community development and environmental protection. And thus, counting the hours away before we would join them doing night patrolling the beaches, we listened to their stories.

Called as Pawikans in most local dialects in the Philippines, the marine turtles are reptiles related to snakes, lizards and dinosaurs. Being cold-blooded creatures, their body temperatures fluctuate with the environment and they have a pair of lungs that need to breathe every few minutes while swimming unknown distances in the vast seas. Marine turtles have powerful flippers which help the pawikans navigate but cannot retract into their protective shells called carapace which sets them apart from their freshwater relatives that can easily hide their heads and legs inside their bony shells.

Most marine turtles (especially the male ones) spend their entire lives at sea while the females come to their nesting beach during the coldest months of the year to lay their eggs (which look and feel like soft and leathery ping-pong balls). If the clutch of eggs is lucky enough not to be eaten by many predatory animals like lizards, crabs or taken by poachers, these eggs will hatch after 40-60 days depending on the temperature of the sand. The volunteers and Department of Environment Natural Resources (DENR) regularly patrol the beaches at night (as this is the time when turtles lay their eggs) to gather them and bring them to the centre’s hatchery where they are more protected until they hatch and are subsequently released back into the sea.

During the Pawikan Festival which is usually held every end of November, involves the release of these super cute baby turtles racing into the sea where they will feed, grow and explore the vast oceans only to return one day back to the beaches where they were hatched when they are ready to lat their own eggs. However, this would have been a perfect scenario if not for the years and years of poaching and gathering of eggs and killing these gentle creatures for meat as a staple for the people of these coastal villages – not only in Nagbalayong in Morong, Bataan but all throughout the world. Likewise, the shells and skins have been used for many illegal by-products like combs, guitars and other ornaments. It is no secret as well that a lot of the Taiwanese, Vietnamese and Chinese regularly poach in Philippine waters and they do so with so much impunity. Sadly, such activities have received a lukewarm response from the Philippine government like the case a few years ago where a boatload of Chinese fishermen were caught entering Philippine waters illegally and fishing in the protected and UNESCO World Heritage area – the Tubbataha Reef. Because of severe pressure from powerful Beijing, these criminals were released with nary a punishment or even an outcry. Next time you sit down in a restaurant in Hong Kong or wherever around the world- remember that the turtle soup or the sharks fin soup that you are having for dinner meant that you are part and complicit in the tacit rape and murder not only of Philippine seas but our Mother Nature as well. With the survival of these creatures already challenged with a lot of these turtles falling prey to birds, crabs, sharks and many other natural predators, the thought of someone having turtle eggs for their misconceived aphrodisiac is just totally sickening.
Because of this only 1-3% of baby turtles ever reach maturity. Since 1999 when a Bataan community organization called Bantay Pawikan Inc. (a duly registered people’s organization) was initiated in the town of Morong with just 28 men composed of former egg poachers and sellers, over 40,000 turtles were successfully released into the sea. The program was met with opposition at first, with the local community thinking that this was one of Manila’s antics of taking over their community. Gradually, people were able to realize that this was a valid initiative and that the turtles are one of the major lynchpins in the entire ecological cycle. Soon enough, with the help of the provincial government of Bataan (which I say is doing an awesome job initiating environmentally friendly tourism projects) as well as the United Nations, Pawikan Conservation Unit of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement, other communities and groups in neighboring towns followed suit and replicated the conservation efforts.

Today, many challenges remain, though never insurmountable. The group still needs a regular veterinarian, and the costs of medicines for rescued turtles as well as maintenance of the center which could use a facelift. There is also a need for increased support to the communities through better access to livelihood programs and better education for its populace. I hope that by raising awareness about the plight of these marine turtles as well as the communities that protect them, everyone could take positive action and help out in preserving not only the pawikans, or our national marine heritage, but our environment as well.

How to Help

Share this webpage around. Blog it. Link back. Volunteer. If you are a company, you may want to include Bantay Pawikan in your Corporate Social Responsibility projects. Donate in cash or in kind. Donations

You may deposit it through this bank account-
Landbank of the Philippines- Balanga City (Bataan) Branch
Bank Account Name : Bantay Pawikan Inc. Livelihood Project
Address: Purok VI-Aplaya, Nagbalayong, Morong Bataan
Account Number : 0441-1942-26

More Information

Bantay Pawikan Inc. – (Nida- +63.928.7185721/ Manolo- +63.906.6155546) bantay_pawikan@yahoo.com ; or if you wish to visit the centre and don’t know how, the lovely folks at Bataan Tourism can certainly help you (+6347.2374476/+6347.2374785) – tourism_bataan@yahoo.com.

Ryan( the author) supports socially and environmentally responsible and sustainable tourism, as well as the promotion of the Philippines as an alternative Asian tourist destination.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Five Tips for Customizing your Facebook Page


The following article was posted on CNN today. It was written by Doug Gross. I found it very useful. One of the tips, I am using now is to hide all games ( Farmville, Mafia Wars etc...) that I have no interest in reading. The other option is the privacy option wherein you could restrict others from seeing your post. I used FB to chat, write notes, post pictures and of course communicate with friends. I do not play the games, so to me it is a nuisance. With the HIDE OPTION, it works for me. Let me know if you have any comments on this article.

"Recent changes to Facebook features have befuddled some users Facebook provides ways to customize your feed, hide unwanted posts New feeds give out info when you approve new friends, join groups If you have more than 250 friends, some of them may be hidden.

With more than 300 million active users, Facebook has come a long way from its roots as a way for Harvard students to keep in touch. Teens, grandmas, musicians and politicians have all joined those early college students, making the social-networking hub one of the most heavily trafficked sites on the Internet.But for some users, the site's popularity -- and the periodic tinkering with "the old Facebook" -- means growing pains, too.
More friends means more people to spam up your news feed with links, photos and update boxes from the applications they use. Sure, you're happy to be in touch with Aunt Ethel -- but do you really need to know who she just murdered in Mafia Wars or which member of the House Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials she is? (Yes, that's a real quiz.)
And then there are the changes. Last month's switch to two distinct feeds -- a "live feed" offering constant updates and a "news feed" featuring what Facebook considers highlights from your friends' activities -- still has some users baffled.
"Like you, we know it can be disruptive when things are moved around, but we hope that these changes make Facebook a more valuable experience for you," wrote Raylene Yung, a blogger for the site. "We put a lot of thought into all the changes we make to the site and do a lot of testing before releasing anything." Many users are warming to the changes. But in the days that followed the switch, others were confused, or worse.
"I personally think Facebook should not have changed our news feed," one user wrote in reply to the blog post. "Why do we only get to see what FB 'thinks' we'll enjoy. Half the stuff on my live feed and news feed is stuff I dont care for. I really dont care who is friends with who and who is a fan of what."And this from another: "I hate the new home page. The live feed has too much content, and the news feed has too little content."
Those switches also mean that more details about your activities are being broadcast to your network. Just became friends with someone? Joined a group? Commented on a discussion board? Your friends get alerts about all that. Some friends also may have slipped off your e-radar. If you have more than 250 friends, Facebook decides which of them you really want in your feed and which you don't.
A spokeswoman told CNN the site chooses the 250 based on several factors, including who the user interacts with the most. "This 250 default limit is an attempt to show users engaging content without overwhelming them with updates from people they don't interact with on a daily basis," she said. But the good news is that Facebook makes it possible to change just about all of those settings, and to do some basic retooling to increase privacy and get rid of annoyances".

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Cloyne Court, Episode Nineteen


Cloyne Court, Episode 19
By Dodie Katague
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Rated "R" by the Author.

Based on a true story that took place in Berkeley, California in the late 1970s.
________________________________
Months later, as I became friendly with the people in the house, Lorna, who did have a slight mustache and a deviating left eye and buckteeth, recounted her date. "A lot of women in the house said I should ask him out. They assured me that Dick wouldn't say no. They told me he was an experience I shouldn't miss. I'll never do that again."

"You were disappointed?"

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

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

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

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

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

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

[1] Don’t you hate that when it happens? Yeah, like I would know!
Web Site: Cloyne Court Home Page

Epidemic of Divertculitis in US?


During the last six months, I received news from friends, acquaintances and relatives that they have divertculitis, serious enough to have surgery. During this period, I also heard one case of pancreatic cancer and one case of colon cancer. However with three cases of divertculitis in just the last six months, I am wandering if there is an epidemic of this disease in US. So, If you have any news on this subject, please let me know. Most of you, probably do not know of this disease. Below is a short write up that I found in Wikipedia.

Diverticulitis is a common digestive disease particularly found in the large intestine. Diverticulitis develops from diverticulosis, which involves the formation of pouches (diverticula) on the outside of the colon. Diverticulitis results if one of these diverticula becomes inflamed.
Causes
The development of colonic diverticulum is thought to be a result of raised intraluminal colonic pressures. The sigmoid colon has the smallest diameter of any portion of the colon, and therefore the portion which would be expected to have the highest intraluminal pressure. The claim that a lack of dietary fiber, particularly non-soluble fiber* (also known in older parlance as "roughage") predisposes individuals to diverticular disease is supported within the medical literature.It is thought that mechanical blockage of a diverticulum, possibly by a piece of feces or food particles, leads to infection of the diverticulum.

Large bowel (sigmoid colon) showing multiple diverticula. Note how the diverticula appear on either side of the longitudinal muscle bundle (taenium).There is some evidence that a genetic component may be a causative factor. Patients often present with the classic triad of left lower quadrant pain, fever, and leukocytosis (an elevation of the white cell count in blood tests). Patients may also complain of nausea or diarrhea; others may be constipated. Less commonly, an individual with diverticulitis may present with right-sided abdominal pain. This may be due to the less prevalent right-sided diverticula or a very redundant sigmoid colon.
Symptoms
The most common symptom of diverticulitis is abdominal pain. The most common sign is tenderness around the left side of the lower abdomen. If infection is the cause, then nausea, vomiting, feeling hot while having no fever, cramping, and constipation may occur as well. The severity of symptoms depends on the extent of the infection and complications. Diverticulitis worsens throughout the day, as it starts as small pains and slowly turns into vomiting and sharp pains.
Most people with diverticulosis do not have any discomfort or symptoms; however, symptoms may include mild cramps, bloating, and constipation. Other diseases such as inflammatory bowel Disease (IBD) and stomach ulcers cause similar problems, so these symptoms do not always mean a person has diverticulosis.
Diagnosis
The differential diagnosis includes colon cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, ischemic colitis, and irritable bowel syndrome, as well as a number of urological and gynecological processes. Some patients report bleeding from the rectum.
Patients with the above symptoms are commonly studied with a computed tomography, or CT scan.The CT scan is very sensitive (98%) in diagnosing diverticulitis. In order to extract the most information possible about the patient's condition, thin section (5mm) transverse images are obtained through the entire abdomen and pelvis after the patient has been administered oral and intravascular contrast. Images reveal localized thickening and hyperemia (increased blood flow) involving a segment of the colon wall, with inflammatory changes extending into the fatty tissues surrounding the colon. The diagnosis of acute diverticulitis is made confidently when the involved segment contains diverticulae. CT may also identify patients with more complicated diverticulitis, such as those with an associated abscess. It may even allow for radiologically guided drainage of an associated abscess, sparing a patient from immediate surgical intervention. Other studies, such as barium enema and colonoscopy are contraindicated in the acute phase of diverticulitis due to the risk of perforation.
Treatment
An initial episode of acute diverticulitis is usually treated with conservative medical management, including bowel rest (ie, nothing by mouth), IV fluid resuscitation, and broad-spectrum antibiotics which cover anaerobic bacteria and gram-negative rods. However, recurring acute attacks or complications, such as peritonitis, abscess, or fistula may require surgery, either immediately or on an elective basis.

Upon discharge patients may be placed on a low residue diet. This low-fiber diet gives the colon adequate time to heal without needing to be overworked. Later, patients are placed on a high-fiber diet. There is some evidence this lowers the recurrence rate.

In some cases surgery may be required to remove the area of the colon with the diverticula. Patients suffering their first attack of diverticulitis are typically not encouraged to undergo the surgery, unless the case is severe. Patients suffering repeated episodes may benefit from the surgery. In such cases the risks of complications from the diverticulitis outweigh the risks of complications from surgery. Most cases of simple, uncomplicated diverticulitis respond to conservative therapy with bowel rest and antibiotics.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

CNN Hero of the Year Award, 2009

A few minutes ago, CNN announced Efren Penaflorida as this years Hero. It seem that my campaign for him did work. I heard about Efren first from Bob Martin's e-magazine. I started posting a blog ( below) then in Face Book. Later on, I saw that other FB users are also recommending and voting for him. I voted about 50 times, since there was no limit. I am so proud of his accomplishments. In behalf of Efren, I thank all who responded and voted for him. Mabuhay! The following is also my article that I posted about three weeks ago.




I received the following e-mail today. I have already voted for him three times this week, after Bob Martin's posted an article about him last week in "Live in the Philippines" e-magazine. Efren Penaflorida deserves it and we all should support his work for the youth of the Philippines. Here's a short vidoe of Efren's work.

In case you have not heard yet....
Hi Everyone,

Please take time out to learn about Efren Penaflorida and vote for him as CNN Hero of the Year if you feel he is worthy. Lets help our deserving youth. You can vote as many times as you want.

Subject: Vote now for the CNN Hero of the Year Efren Penaflorida is really a hero in the Philippines

Vote now for the CNN Hero of the Year at
http://edition.cnn.com/SPECIALS/cnn.heroes/vote/

Hello everyone...This Efren Penaflorida is really a hero in the Philippines and the world. Please read his story and vote for him. We have until Nov. 19 only to help him. He deserves the honor.Plus the monetary award will surely help him in his endeavor to keep on doing what he is doing... to give the poor a chance at education and keep them away from gangs and drugs.

We are grateful for someone like Efren. We may not be able to physically do what he is doing but we can certainly cast a vote to help him. Please spread the news.

Each year, CNN gives $100,000 to the winner (from a field of ten finalists---winnowed from 9,000 nominees from all over the world) of its "Hero of the Year" award. This year, a 28-year-old Filipino, Efren Peñaflorida, made it to the top ten. (A panel of 12 well-known personalities from various fields picked the finalists. Colin Powell was among the judges this year). If Efren wins this year's award (based on how many votes he gets, which will depend on us), he will be able to expand his mobile school program for the children of the slums in the Philippines. What this young man is doing to improve the lives of the kids in the slums is truly inspiring.

Here's the link to Efren's story and his Dynamic Teen Company (the organization he founded). You can vote for Efren by clicking on the link found in the article.

http://edition.cnn.com/2009/LIVING/wayoflife/03/05/heroes.efren.penaflorida/index.html


Voting is open between now and Nov. 19. CNN will announce the winner and give out the award at a star-studded show on Thanksgiving night in L.A. at the Kodak Theater (same venue for the Oscars). So, let's all help Efren win so that he will, in turn, be able to help more impoverished kids. The more votes Efren gets, the greater his chances of winning the "Hero of the Year" award and the $100K. It will take less than a minute to click a button to cast your vote. Let's all help Efren continue to make a difference in those slum kids' lives. Without his mobile school and his group of volunteers, those kids will probably never have a chance to set foot in a real school and learn their ABCs. Let's all vote for Efren! Please don't forget to pass this on to everybody you know---Filipinos and non-Filipinos alike----so more people can vote for this young man with an extra big heart. Thanks!!
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