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!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Latest Marinduque Mining News

Image from www.allanlissner.net
I found this article on Globe and Mail dated October 17, 2009. It is the latest news on the mining lawsuit by the provincial government against Barrack Gold Corp of Vancouver, Canada. This was written by Andy Hoffman. (Published on Sunday, Oct. 11, 2009 6:11PM EDT Last updated on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2009 3:05AM EDT)
Big messes for miners

A village in Marinduque, some 100 miles southeast of Manila is isolated by the heavily silted Boac River Friday, March 29, 1996. Waste linking from a containment pit of copper mine has contaminated the river and caused it to overflow. Authorities say about 2,000 people were evacuated from their villages and 2,500 others were trapped by the rising waters.
A private member's bill, if passed, could impose sanctions on Canadian resource companies that violate good governance and environmental standards
In the northwest corner of Marinduque, a small heart-shaped island in the Philippines, lay the remnants of a once-thriving mining operation run by Canada's Placer Dome – abandoned executive villas, an overgrown nine-hole golf course, rusting equipment and millions of tonnes of toxic waste.
The Vancouver company fled Marinduque and shuttered its Marcopper operations 13 years ago, but the island's 200,000 residents are still dealing with the environmental devastation caused by the mines.

According to allegations filed in a U.S. court, during 30 years of operations, more than 200 million tonnes of mine tailings were dumped into Calancan Bay, covering coral with more than 80 square kilometres of mine waste that has destroyed fish habitats. Two rivers, the Boac and the Mogpog, have also been contaminated with heavy-metal-laden and acid-generating mine waste that continues to flow into the waters every time it rains.

Barrick Gold Corp., (ABX-T38.96-0.70-1.77%) which acquired Placer Dome in 2006, is now caught up in a lawsuit by the province of Marinduque, seeking more than $100-million (U.S.) over alleged environmental damage.

Concerns about the potential health risks posed by shuttered mining operations vaulted onto the Canadian national stage last week when some residents living near an abandoned mine in Buchans, Nfld., were warned by the provincial government to get tested for possible lead poisoning.

It's estimated that there are 10,000 abandoned mine sites in Canada that, if not properly cleaned up, could pose health risks to nearby communities.

While provincial governments have generally held Canadian companies responsible for the remediation of domestic mine sites, those with operations overseas in developing nations have faced far less scrutiny.

In Barrick's case, officials in the Philippines have taken the legal battle closer to home. Marinduque scored a legal victory this month when an appeal judge ordered the case to be heard in a district court in Nevada, near a major Barrick mine, overturning Barrick's attempt to have the case moved to a U.S. federal court.

“You have a company that mined in the most irresponsible manner possible to maximize profits,” said Skip Scott, a Texas lawyer who is representing the province of Marinduque.

In Canada, a private member's bill, if passed, could impose sanctions on Canadian resource companies that violate good governance and environmental standards. Hundreds of millions of dollars of loans and investment for the resource industry are at stake.

Catherine Coumans of MiningWatch Canada, a mining watchdog group, says her organization has identified about 60 cases of environmental damage caused by mining companies operating in international jurisdictions, including the Marinduque case.

Ms. Coumans testified in Ottawa last week at the standing committee on foreign affairs and international development regarding bill C-300, the bill sponsored by Liberal MP John McKay, which has passed second reading in the House of Commons. Ms. Coumans focused much of her presentation on the Marinduque case.

“Contrary to what the mining industry may say, which is resetting the clock all the time and saying ‘that was then and this is now,' all the cases we are currently working on now have the same elements [as Marinduque] – environmental devastation, human rights abuses, lack of recourse, weak governance and corruption,” Ms. Coumans said in an interview.

Bill C-300 would deny Canadian government support for resource companies found to be in violation of an agreed list of governance standards. Investment from the Canada Pension Plan, loans from Export Development Canada and support from Canadian embassies abroad would be pulled if a company were found to violate the rules.

However, even if the bill were to become law, Ms. Coumans said it fails to provide a mandated remedy for victims of environmental damage caused by mining operations.

“We don't see bill C-300 as solving the problem.… It doesn't deal with remedy. There needs to be legal reform,” she said.

Barrick has not decided whether to appeal the decision to have the Marinduque case heard in the district court of Nevada, near Barrick's flagship Goldstrike mine.

“We will vigorously defend the action, whatever the allegations may be,” said Brad Doores, vice-president and assistant general counsel at Barrick.

Mr. Doores would not comment on whether Barrick concedes that environmental damage in Marinduque was caused by the mines.

“We inherited this when we took over Placer. Nothing has ever been established by anyone [in court], establishing that even Placer Dome, the Canadian company, was responsible,” he said.

Marinduque's lawyer, Mr. Scott, said the Philippine province is suing Barrick in Nevada because that is where the world's largest gold producer's key operations are located. He said a legal victory in the Philippines would be difficult to enforce against the company, while Canadian law is woefully inadequate for dealing with such a case.

“The place we don't want to go, but we will go if we have to, is Canada. The reason is quite simple. Canada is an inhospitable forum for these types of claims,” Mr. Scott said.

I hope you find the above article informative! There were comments regarding the article. For the comments, read the original news item from The Globe and Mail.

Friday, October 30, 2009

St Elmo's Fire- Fire from Hell or Weather Phenomenon

In a couple of days, the Philippines will be celebrating All Souls Day. This is the time when I remember St Elmo's fire in Philippine folklore and superstition.

When I was growing up in the Philippines, I believe that the St Elmo fire phenomena is witchcraft or ghost or fire from Hell. My parents used to scare us kids during the Feast of All Souls Day, that St Elmo's fire is Fire from Hell. Now,I know that there is a scientific explanation of this phenomena as follows:

St. Elmo's Fire is a weather phenomenon involving a gap in electrical charge. It's like lightning, but not quite. And while it has been mistaken for ball lightning, it's not that, either -- and it's definitely not fire.
Early observers of the phenomenon, mostly sailors on high seas during thunderstorms, seem to have understood they weren't looking at actual fire, because instead of abandoning ship, they took comfort in the sudden glow atop the masts. Such famous figures as Magellan, Caesar and Columbus experienced St. Elmo's Fire on their journeys. And Pliny the Elder, who seems to have documented absolutely every natural phenomenon back in the 1st century A.D., beat everyone else to the punch when he described blue flames appearing out of nowhere during thunderstorms.
Sailors tended to attribute the glow to "St. Elmo," a mispronunciation of St. Ermo or St. Erasmus, the patron saint of Mediterranean sailors. They believed the fire was a sign of salvation from the saint, since the phenomenon occurs most often toward the end of a storm. Benjamin Franklin and Charles Darwin viewed the weather event through a decidedly more scientific perspective. But regardless of interpretation, it's clear they were all observing the same phenomenon. And contrary to popular belief, St. Elmo's Fire doesn't only occur at sea. It also occurs on the air near nose of airplanes.

The following video is St Elmo's fire as observed from the nose of an airplane.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Solar and Wind Technology-Long Term Solution to Power Crisis in Marinduque and Other Parts of the Philippines

The following video discussed new aerotecture of wind technology of the future, although this technology is now applied in Germany. Combined with solar panel this new design is the future of green and renewable power resources in crowded cities, urban buildings and populated areas. The current windmills ( see photo above) is not suited to crowded and populated areas. This new wind power technology is the long term solution to Marinduque's power crisis as well as other parts of the Philippines.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Aid to recent Typhoon Victims not Distributed

Today I received the following e-mail complaining that the goods donated for the typhoon victims in the Philippines are just rotting in the warehouses and not distributed to the victims.

Aanhin pa ang damo kung patay na ang kabayo? (A special report from a volunteer)
( What will you do with the grass if the horse is already dead)
Oct 21st, 2009 by ella

Dear friends,
I’m asking your help to spread the word. Tulungan po ninyo akong ikalat ito. Beyond this, we should also demand action. I disabled a plugin so you can copy the photos of relief goods rotting in DSWD warehouses. You can link this post to your blogs, facebook, websites etc. You can also email the photos.

Philippine News (US based Philippine newspaper) will use this as its front page story this week. Every Filipino has the right to know where the tons of donations from the UN and other counties go. Kahit po nakakahiya sa mga nag-donate. Kung sa ganitong paraan, matutulungan natin ang mga nasalanta, then by all means, let’s do it.
For those who have the time, please try to volunteer sa DSWD warehouses. Getting in was not easy. A friend had to put in a word for us. Let’s see kung madali nang makapasok sa DSWD warehouse ang mga volunteers.

Please read on and good luck to us.

(This post was last edited Oct 22, 12:30 pm)

Kahapon, tinanong ng Philippine News si DSWD Secretary Esperanza Cabral:
Editor of Philippine News: Why are the relief goods in DSWD warehouses not moving?
DSWD Secretary Esperanza Cabral: Wala kasing volunteers.
This short interview was done over the phone. Philippine News wanted to hear her side pero ayaw niyang makipag-usap sa press. After four tries, pinasabi na lang niya ang maikling sagot na ito sa secretary niya - “Walang volunteers”.

I don’t want to accuse her of corruption but at the very least she is showing signs of being totally incompetent. We are in a state of calamity where every second counts. May namamatay araw-araw dahil sa sakit.

In my opinion, these deaths could have been prevented if Secretary Cabral had tried a little harder to do her job.

Deaths from Philippine storms nears 1,000
Tropical Storm Ketsana left 420 dead and 37 missing when it flooded 80 percent of Manila on September 26, a disaster the government said affected 4.35 million people.
Some areas are still flooded three weeks later and 189,000 people remain in evacuation centres,
Typhoon Parma hit the northern Philippines on October 3 and lingered as a tropical storm for a week, triggering landslides that killed 438 people and leaving 51 missing mostly in mountain communities.

The government agency said Parma affected 4.16 million people, including more than 32,000 who remain at evacuation centres.”

During the first week after the storm, lumabas ang “bayanihan spirit” ng mga Pinoy. “Makatulong lang kahi’t konti,” katwiran nila..
kung walang volunteers, ano ‘to, komiks?

From Stella Arnaldo’s blog:

At the offices of many civic groups and private organizations, hundreds of people showed up to volunteer in packing relief goods.

At the Tulong Bayan center at the Expo Centro in Cubao, Most of the volunteers were adolescents as young as 10 years old, along with their kuya or ate in high school and college.

They came in huge numbers, many of them barkadas, classmates or siblings, dressed just in their tees and shorts, wearing their Havaianas. All were just enthusiastic to do their share!

Suggestions lang po sa DSWD:

Alam ‘nyo palang walang mag-volunteer sa inyo, bakit hindi kayo mag-hire ng mga tao? Bayaran ‘nyo ng arawan para mag-repack. Ang daming walang trabaho, makakatulong pa kayo. Hindi naman malaking kabawasan ‘yon sa bilyong pisong donasyon na natanggap ninyo.

Isa pa, gaano ba karami ang mga sundalo natin? Hindi ba puwedeng ipagawa sa kanila ‘yan? Baka isang araw lang, tapos na ang problema ‘nyo

Bakit hindi ‘nyo ibigay ang trabaho sa mga NGO, churches, private charities, TV stations? I’m sure they are more than willing to help. Time is of the essence. Huwag kayong suwapang. Obvious ba, hindi ‘nyo naman kaya.

Kung talagang gugustuhin ninyong makarating agad sa mga kawawang biktima ang mga donasyong ‘yon, nagawa ‘nyo na ‘yan. Maraming paraan...kung talagang gusto ‘nyo lang.You are the government. You have the power, the resources and the money. You just have to really care.

You are the government. You have the power, the resources and the money. You just have to really care.

Please forward until it reaches the media and other government agencies to take action.

Aswang and Manananggal of the Philippines

Image from www.manananggal.com

This coming Saturday is Halloween Day here in Northern California. To celebrate Halloween Day, I thought that the following story from Dave DeWall (I have his permission to post this story in this blog) is worthy of publication and very timely.

I know that most of us here in US do not believe in witches. But in the Philippines (this is true story according to the author) witches, nono's, manananggals, giant capri's, and ghosts are part of life and folklore specially in rural areas and in the provinces. Personally, if I am in the Philippines, I tend to believe it, but when I am here in Northern California, I am not a believer. However during Halloween, the subject of witches becomes a topic of interest to me.

The Witches and Manananggal of Guimaras Island, Iloilo-by Dave DeWall
Source: www.rooster4am.com October 21 and 22, 2009

“My wife’s younger sister Emily, was a beautiful baby. Cute sharp nose and just one of those infants people would gush over and comment on how maganda (beautiful) she was. She was the favorite of her parents and adored by her older brothers and sisters. When Emily was about a year old, she became extremely ill. Wouldn’t drink her milk and didn’t want to eat. What she did eat was immediately vomited. She suffered diarrhea and dehydration, and couldn’t sleep at night.
Melinda’s Tatay (Father) and Nanay (Mother) bundled up the sick little one and took her to the doctor. The doctor examined her, and prescribed some medicine. Emily got a little better the next day, but then she became quite ill again, and so another trip back to the doctor. Quite expensive for Melinda’s Father and Mother who struggled to make ends meet and support a family of eleven. The doctor prescribed more medicine, again Emily got a little better for a couple of days. Then she worsened again. More trips to the doctor with the same results as before. The same pattern persisted, get a little better, than sick again. Tatay and Nanay were becoming increasingly worried and extremely distraught; the doctor’s visits had drained what few pesos they had before Emily became sick, and now all their money was gone. What could they do to save their little infant Emily?

Only one thing to do, Tatay and Nanay decided they would have to sell the family carabao (water buffalo, the ultimate work animal on farms in the Philippines, not caribou as the carabao is often mistakenly referred to by foreigners like myself --check this link out by my friend Mindanao Bob from “Live in the Philippines” for a great explanation of what a carabao is and for a photo: http://liveinthephilippines.com/content/2007/10/are-there-caribou-in-the-philippines/). They had to raise the cash to take Emily to the hospital and have extensive tests run on her. This was an act of utter desperation; the caribou plowed the rice fields for the family farm. Without the carabao there would be no rice fields plowed and no rice next season: No rice to sell. No rice to eat. The decision was final; the next morning Melinda’s Mother and Father would bring the carabao into San Miguel to be sold.

Darkness then falls in the heart of the jungle as the giant lizards’ cries of “tukkku …tukkku..tukkku” reverberate throughout. Giant pythons hang menacingly on the trees. An evening where Melinda and her family, distraught with worry over baby Emily, huddle inside their candle lit nipa hut shorn of any modern conveniences such as electricity and running water. No telephone. No television. The only contact with the outside world was a tiny transistor radio. Emily was especially ill that evening, vomiting and crying; reinforcing Tatay’s and Nanay’s decision to sell the carabao and bring their beloved infant daughter to the hospital. Nanay held the little baby in her arms to try and comfort her and rock her to sleep. The hour is around midnight.

Suddenly the family heard a loud commotion outside! A cat emitting strange high-pitched screams was outside the front of the nipa hut. Melinda peered out the window and saw its eyes as they glowed fiery red! Tatay cracked open the front door, and the demon cat jumped inside the front entrance of the nipa hut, and according to my wife Melinda who witnessed it, FLEW across the room. It was common knowledge in the Philippines that a witch or Manananggal had the ability to inhabit an animal’s body and possess it. Melinda’s father quickly grabbed his bolo (machete) and ran towards the flying cat screaming: “You are NOT going to eat my child, you Son of a b----!” The cat literally flew out the front door, and my father-in-law shouted at all the children to gather all their old slippers (rubber flip-flops) and put them in the front yard. The multitude of old flip flops were piled up and put in a semi-circle, and Melinda’s father set fire to them.

As Melinda and her family huddled in the nipa hut, she could hear piercing screams and laughter coming from just beyond the burning mountain of rubber: it was the witch tormenting them, still in the cat’s form! Thick black smoke poured from the mound of melting flip flops, and the terrorized family huddled inside with Tatay in the doorway, bolo in his upraised right hand. The evil laughter continued from right beyond the flames tauting them.

And Blood Shall Spill!

Yesterday’s blog concluded with Melinda and her family being taunted by the Manananggal, a witch that took the form of a cat. As Melinda’s father continued to stand at his post at the front door, armed with his bolo, Melinda relates that she could still hear the witch cat laughing and screaming at them, but the burning pile of rubber flip flops was keeping the creature at bay. A half hour passed and finally the jungle fell silent; the witch was gone for the moment, and even the cry of the lizards halted.

Morning finally arrived, and though shaken by the previous evening’s horrible events, Melinda’s Mother and Father prepared the carabao for the long journey out of the jungle to San Miguel; Emily’s condition was worsening, and the carabao had to be sold to raise the funds necessary to admit the little infant to the hospital. Hospital services had to be paid for when those services were completed.

Tatay and Nanay, Melinda and the family reach the outskirts of San Miguel, and Nanay (Melinda’s Mother) runs into her sister Feliciana, a local healer. They had not seen each other for months. “Have you heard there is a new Manananggal in town looking for a baby so she can eat the infant’s liver?” asks Tita (Aunt Feliciana.) Tatay and Nanay froze! That was the witch that visited their house last night! Manananggal take on the form of an attractive woman during the day, and are known to seek out the most beautiful of babies. The witch was after little Emily!

With a quivering voice, Melinda’s Mother told her sister of the visit last night. Tita grabbed her sister’s arm, and told her they had to get Emily to the local healer that had far greater powers than Tita, the healer, had. They would need an extremely powerful healer to deal with the wretched Manananggal!

Tatay and Nanay, and Melinda and family along with Tita Feliciana who needed to make the necessary introductions since this particular healer was know throughout the region as “the healer of all healers”. One could not expect to just walk through his door without waiting for hours as he had a multitude of people that sought his services every day; but this was a dire situation. Immediate action was needed. Tita Feliciana intervened.

The healer listened to the story of the previous night’s harrowing event. His face remained stoic. Did not nod in agreement or disagreement with anything said. Asked no questions. He knew how to deal with this menace. The Healer instructed Melinda’s Mother and Father to go out and purchase a black chicken and then come back with it and Baby Emily.

Fortunately it was early Sunday morning, the busiest market day in San Miguel. It did not take long for Tatay and Nanay to purchase a black chicken. They rushed back to The Healer with the ailing Emily, Melinda and the rest of the family in tow. As witnessed by Melinda, The Healer chopped off the head of the black bird with one swift blow of the bolo. He poured the blood of the chicken out into a vessel, and made the sign of the cross on Emily’s forehead, legs, arms, and stomach. Then he took some ginger and rubbed that on the infant Emily. The Healer instructed Tatay and Nanay to go straight home, but be sure to leave the candles lit the whole evening.

Melinda’s family made the long journey back home to the jungle. Nanay fed Emily some milk. She hungrily drank all of it. Did not vomit any of it. Nanay fed her some rice porridge. Again Emily ate it all, and again, did not get sick. The house was lit with every candle available in every room. Nightfall came again. Emily went to sleep quickly, still covered with the dried chicken blood; it was the first time in almost a month that she slept so peacefully. The little one did not get ill the whole day since she left The Healer that morning. Tatay sat near the front door the whole evening with his bolo nearby, but the night slipped away without any event.

Morning came, and Emily again drank all her milk and ate her porridge. Nothing happened, she was completely healed. The chicken’s blood was then washed off of her, and Nanay patted her dry, and held her in her arms, grateful for what The Healer had done. Oh, and the carabao? It was still there. Didn’t need to sell it now. The witch? Don’t know what happened to her, but a new one has taken her place here in San Miguel now. She is a young one in the second year of high school, and it is said she is looking for a beautiful young child to devour that child’s liver. Again, The Sainted Patient Wife was eyewitness to this account, and swears it is true. Who am I to say? Many forces of darkness battle against the good every day in this world. I am but a stranger in a strange land”. Thank you Dave for your story!

Here is a short video from a movie trailer about aswang in the Philippines to complement the story above.

Marinduque Power Crisis-Part 5

Photo by Daisy Catague Cababasay
Marinduque Power Crisis-Part 5 by Eli Obligacion is now posted( October 26, 2009) at www.marinduquegov.blogspot.com This series of excellent investigative reporting is continuing. Reading this series of articles makes me feel sad for our poor province and its people as they are the one suffering from the inefficiency of those who are in power in the government. I still have high hopes that a positive ending will come to "LIGHT" soon.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Five Myths about Wills from USA Today

I found this article on USA Today, dated October 23, 2009. I feel this is a excellent article for the information my FACE BOOK Group-Our Golden Years. It was written by Sandra Block. Let me know if you find this article useful.

" Nearly 60% of Americans don't have a basic will. There are all kinds of reasons for this oversight. Some people just haven't gotten around to creating a will or trust. Others think they don't need an estate plan because they don't have much. Some people fear that as soon as they write a will, they'll die.

In reality, there's no evidence to suggest that creating an estate plan will hasten your demise. This much is certain, though: You're not going to live forever. And if you die without an estate plan, you could leave a legacy of bad feelings and attorneys' fees.

My personal comments: The subject of death is TABOO in Filipino culture, but having live here in the US for nearly half of a century, I have no hesitation in discussing this topic with my family. I have discussed and told them, that the song I want played in my funeral is Yellow Bird (see previous blog) and my body be cremated and ashes scattered in my beach resort, Chateau Du Mer in Boac, Marinduque, Philippines.

This week is National Estate Planning Awareness Week, an educational program sponsored by the National Association of Estate Planners & Councils. In conjunction with the event, today's Managing Your Money dissects five myths about estate planning and offers tips on how to make things easier for your loved ones after you're gone.

1. Estate planning is for rich people.

Unless you live in a cave and subsist on roots and berries, you need a will. A will allows you to designate who will receive your property when you die. If you die without one, your assets will be distributed under the terms of your state's "intestate succession" laws. That means your money and property could end up with family members you haven't spoken to in years, instead of a close friend or a charity you support.

Even if you don't have much money, most estate plans include a durable power of attorney for finances and a health care directive, "And those are two things everybody needs," says Donna Bashaw, an elder-law attorney in Laguna Hills, Calif. These documents allow you to designate someone to act on your behalf if you become incapacitated.

In addition, a will allows you to name a guardian for your children if something should happen to you. Otherwise, a court will appoint a guardian, and it may not be the individual you would choose to bring up your kids.

A will doesn't have to be expensive, says Liza Hanks, an attorney and author of The Mom's Guide to Wills & Estate Planning. Do-it-yourself programs, such as Quicken's WillMaker Plus and LegalZoom, are fine for a basic will, she says. While some people fear these programs won't be honored in court, "The law is pretty client-friendly with respect to wills," Hanks says. "Judges want to honor people's last requests."

For a trust, you should hire an estate-planning lawyer, Hanks says. And even if your will is pretty straightforward, you may feel more comfortable hiring a lawyer to guide you through the process, she says.

2. If I die without a will, everything will go to my spouse.

Not necessarily, says Ronald Fatoullah, an estate-planning attorney in New York. State laws vary, but in most states, if you die without a will (intestate), your inheritance will be divided among your spouse and your children. In New York, for example, when someone dies intestate, the spouse gets the first $50,000 of the estate and what's left is divided 50-50 among the spouse and the children.

This can create all kinds of problems, particularly if your spouse was financially dependent on you or you have children from a previous marriage.

3. If I have a will, my estate won't go through probate.

All wills are subject to probate, says Craig Hersch, a trust and estates attorney in Fort Myers, Fla. In probate, a court determines whether the document is valid and ensures that relatives and creditors are notified. This process can take several months and drain thousands of dollars from your estate.

One way to avoid probate is to put your property into a living trust. A living trust is a legal document you create to hold property, such as brokerage accounts and real estate. When you die, the property is transferred to your beneficiaries. This transfer occurs outside of probate, which could save your heirs a lot of time and money.

Not everyone needs a trust, Bashaw says. In some states, she says, "Probate is a very easy process, and it isn't necessarily something you need to avoid," she says. Some states exempt up to $100,000 from probate. In others, such as California, probate is a slow and expensive process, Hanks says. In that case, setting up a trust could save your heirs thousands of dollars in legal fees.

If you own property in more than one state, a living trust "is a no-brainer," Fatoullah says. Otherwise, your estate might have to go through probate in several states.

Another advantage to a living trust is privacy. A will is a public document, and anyone can come to the probate hearing to see if any fights break out. Living trusts "aren't published in any courthouse, so people can't gain easy access to them." Hersch says.

4. After I create my will or living trust, I'm all set.

This is a common misconception and leads to a lot of problems later on, estate-planning attorneys say. Once you set up a trust, for example, you need to retitle the assets you want to transfer to the trust, Hersch says. Otherwise, the document is worthless.

In addition, you'll need to periodically update your will or trust to reflect major life events, such as a divorce or the birth of a child. You'll also want to revisit your estate plan if you move to another state. You should meet with your attorney every four or five years to discuss changes in your circumstances that could affect your estate plan, says Matt McClintock, co-chief executive for WealthCounsel, a group of estate-planning attorneys.

5. I could be held responsible for a deceased parent's debts.

When you're grieving, the last thing you need is a call from a debt collector, telling you you're responsible for Dad's credit card. Those callers aren't just intrusive — they're wrong.

In general, children aren't responsible for a deceased parent's debts, Hersch says. Even a spouse's obligation to pay those debts may be limited, depending on state probate laws. (Surviving spouses should consult with an attorney.)

The estate is responsible for paying debts. If there isn't enough in the estate to cover the amount owed, the debts usually go unpaid.

If a debt collector contacts you, give the caller the name of the executor of the estate, or the administrator if your parent died without a will. The executor or administrator is responsible for settling the estate, including paying debts. Report any problems with debt collectors to your state attorney general's office, www.naag.org, and the Federal Trade Commission, www.ftc.gov."

Friday, October 23, 2009

Cloyne Court, Episode Seventeen

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

Based on a true story that took place in Berkeley, California in the late 1970s.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Web Site: Cloyne Court Home Page

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Marinduque Power Crisis- Part 4

Image by Daisy Catague Cababasay
Here's the latest update on the Power Crisis in our beloved province of Marinduque by E Obligacion. What a mess! The author says it is just the beginning. I hope the ending will be in a positive light! Soon?


So now we have Coastal Power Development Corporation and lts partner, Applied Research Technologies Philippines, referred to as a consortium, to supply power to Marinduque including the islands of Romblon and Tablas. A concession-type contract between the winning bidder and local electric cooperatives would be entered into; the framework of this concession did not require the private supplier to buy existing generation assets of the NPC; a hybrid diesel-wind energy solution for the power needs of these islands would be put into place; and the consortium is also referred to as Coastal Power Consortium or Coastal Consortium.

We note that the said bidders’ first envelopes (technical proposals) were opened on 25 August 2005 and the financial bids on 5 September 2005. Coastal Consortium emerged as the winning bidder having offered a lower electric generation service cost.

How did 3i Powergen, Inc. get into the picture then?

By the time the Power Supply Agreement (PSA) was scheduled for signing three weeks later, on Sept. 27, 2005, a new name has cropped up as “Supplier”: 3i Powergen, Inc.

The signed PSA is therefore now between 3i Powergen, Inc. and Marelco, Inc.

Marelco manager Bueno claimed to have opposed it by questioning the qualification of the new company: “Ilang beses na akong humarap at sinasabi ko na sa mga board members noon na iyan ang aming naging problema bakit na-qualify iyang 3i Powergen na iyan na pumasok dito. Hindi lang Marelco, ang kontrata ay para sa tatlong Isla, Marinduque, Romblon, Tablas. Iyan ay matagal ko ng kinokontra iyan na pag-aralang maigi.

“Ang chairman po ng bids and awards dito alam ko ay NAPOCOR. Two directors coming from each coop, dalawa sa Marinduque, dalawa sa Romblon, dalawa sa Tablas, chaired by NPC president.... Dahil iyong competitive selection process ng kung saan ay ginawa iyan ay hindi dito sa Marinduque, iyon po ay doon sa NAPOCOR na opisina sa main office.”

Marelco director Beethoven Arevalo: “Ang totoo po noon mga panahon na iyon hindi pa general manager si GM (Bueno) siya ay kinuha namin bilang consultant noong mga panahon na ginagawa ang competitive selection process o pagpipili ng mga bidders na sasali dito. At sa proseso po dahil ito ay programa ng DOE at alam natin na ang DOE ay gobyerno walang makakapigil dahil nga doon sa privatization ng NPC talagang walang makakapigil, kahit kami rin po ay ayaw namin noong mga panahon na iyan pero sinabi nila na wala ng choice kasi ang NPC privatized na, so ito po ay programa ng DOE. Kami naman sa first wave na sinasabi iyong 14 Island provinces, napasama ang Marinduque. So no choice po kami sumali sa programa ng gobyerno.”

Whichever way one may look at it, "bakit na-qualify yang 3i Powergen na pumasok dito“; “kinokontra ko yan na pag-aralang maigi”; then a Marelco director adds: “kahit kami rin po ay ayaw namin noong mga panahon na iyan pero sinabi nila na wala ng choice...” there was political pressure, clearly written all over the place, that explains why the PSA was signed. But what else are they not saying?

We then hear, as revealed by board member Jose Alvarez, during the Sept 30 public hearing about the presence during the historic signing, of the three Reyeses (former congressman Edmundo Reyes, former governor now congresswoman Carmencita Reyes and former provincial administrator Luisito Reyes), a milestone in Marinduque’s power solution.

Representing Marelco as signatory in 2005 was then coop president, Augusto Leo Livelo. Was he forced to sign the agreement then? Sources say he was. (A new coop president got elected in 2008, Joel Palatino, as Livelo ended his term of office).

We have previously stated that under the current system embraced by Marelco, it is “subject to the whims and caprices of any government agency” and this episode is merely a re-confirmation of the political pressures that Marelco is subjected to. No less than Cong. Mila Magsaysay had that much to say of electric cooperatives that do not register with the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA), (Solon hits NEA, May 19, 2009; congress.gov.ph)

Back to 3i Powergen:

Probably too scared, none from Marelco, before signing the contract even bothered to check the legal personality of the company in question. Not one of the so-called government consents that refer to permits, licenses, agreements, orders, certificates, registrations, clearances, etc. from government authorities were asked for by Marelco as basic pre-requisite.

As late as October 9, 2009, at the Marinduque Energy Summit during the open forum, this blogger asked the Marelco representatives if they ever possessed a copy of 3i Powergen’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) registration papers, inasmuch as it is normal business practice to establish identities of contracting parties.

“Inaamin ko pong wala kaming pinanghahawakang SEC Registration ng 3i Powergen”, replied director B. Arevalo.

This response of course, implies that four years into the confusion, even with all the widespread scepticism, Marelco still does not know until now, anything about the company’s identity, their reasons for existence, their incorporators, authorized capital stock, or if the company has even secured the necessary consents from government agencies concerned.

Contracts such as the Power Supply Agreement (PSA) in question do specify the need to obtain such documents, among others, and to furnish the other party with copies of the same to achieve “effective date” (first business day immediately following the day on which the required documents are submitted). Within a specified period from the date of the agreement, said agreement shall be “deemed terminated” if those requirements do not occur.

In this contract, “within four (4) months from the date of the Agreement” was specified as the deadline (January 27, 2006), for the effective date to occur, otherwise the PSA “shall be deemed terminated”.

Nothing occurred within that period, yet the contract was not deemed terminated. But in view of the above-stated contract provision that had lapsed, this was the singular time when the SPA itself was under threat of outright termination.

The SPA involved investments of P 677-million, or combined investments for the Marinduque-Romblon-Tablas project of P 1.448-billion. What sort of political pressure then, or threat, or persuasion, or consideration, or temptation, or a combination of any of these came into the picture?

A short cut, remedy or one might even call it ‘going around the law’ would be to simply declare, way past the deadline, that those conditions have been met, fulfilled or achieved, contrary to fact. One might suppose that it wouldn’t be hard to see the color and shade of money painted in the background.

BM Alvarez: “Kung merong kotongan (extortion) na nangyari, ay nangyari noong 2006...” (Sept. 30, SP)

On March 2, 2006, the parties concerned did issue such a joint declaration of realization of the effective date of the agreement. In effect, the new date for the commercial operations of 3i would be by July 2007,16 months (not 18), after the “effective date”.

Through the SEC website’s online transaction feature, this blogger’s find is that 3i Powergen, Inc. merely reserved use of its name but has not registered to-date, four years after the Agreement. (Reservation of proposed company name may remain valid up to 90 days, but may be renewed and does not mean registration). To me, the company cannot be considered “a company registered and existing under the laws of the Philippines” as stated in the SPA and the contracting parties cannot waive these requirements.

Five months after what Marelco called an “extension” of the contract, we find almost similar news articles in Malaya, Aug. 6, 2006; Manila Bulletin, Aug. 6, 2006; Manila Standard Today, Aug. 7, 2006:

“...3i Powergen is 100 percent owned by Filipinos...is a joint venture of Applied Research Technologies Philippines Inc., Coastal Power Development Corp., Five Star Bus Co. Inc. and businessman Cesar Hernandez.

“...The Board of Investments granted incentives to the three hybrid wind-diesel plants of 3i Powergen Inc. (in Marinduue and Romblon), with combined investments of P1.448 billion. ...

“...All three plants will start commercial operations by February 2007.”

Came July 2007, there was still no 3i-produced powerin Marinduque. By this time a new administration under Gov. Carrion who won the election in May 2007, was running the capitol.

On 3i’s new failure, VP Lagundi reasoned out: “Ang nangyari.... ay ang pagkakaantala ng pagpapalabas ng loan mula sa mga imbestor dahil sa nararanasang global financial crisis. Humihingi na ang mga ito ng PSA na pinagtibay ng ERC na nakabinbin naman sa ERC dahil sa hindi pakikipagtulungan ng tatlong kooperatiba kasama ang Marelco...

GM Bueno rebuked: “...hindi na kailangan pang pagtibayin ng ERC ang PSA para lamang mag-umpisa ang konstruksyon... sa mga pagpupulong ng Marelco kaharap si Atty. Lagundi inamin nito na nagsimula ang problema sa pera ng iniwan sila ng IFC ng nagsisimula na ang 3i. Naging istrikto ito at ginawang kondisyon bago maipalabas ang loan ang approved PSA at approved TCGR subalit ito ay hindi kasama sa pinirmahang PSA”. (Regular Session, SP, August 11, 2008).

IFC abandoning 3i? That’s news!

By August 11, 2008, in another SP meeting, Lagundi said proudly of the new 3i composition: “Ang 3i Powergen sa kasalukuyan ay binubuo ng tatlong korporasyon: Coastal Power Development, Iljin Electric Company at Korean Western Power Co.”

About a year later, Bueno was saying: “Hindi naging makatotohanan ang 3I Powergen, hindi sila nakapag deliver. Iyang 12.48 na iyan kung saan itatayo ang power plant sa Balogo Sta. Cruz. Kung sino man po ang taga Sta. Cruz kung mapapasyal kayo doon makikita natin ay puro hukay. Hinukay nila noong October 2006. Hanggang ngayon po hindi ko alam ang kanilang natapos doon sa proyekto na iyon.” (Jul 6, 2009, SP)

BM Raza: “...noong pinatawag po natin ang (vice) president ng 3I Powergen si Atty. Domingo Lagundi... he admitted in the session of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan that they are financially incapable to construct the facilities in compliance with the requirements of the obligation. In my view that would send a signal for Marelco’s board to finally decide to rescind or not to rescind the contract...” (July 6, 2009)

BM Alvarez: “...sinasabi na ni Atty. Lagundi na wala po talaga silang kakayahan at halos magmakaawa at umiyak dito. Actually ang nangyari po parang nag-speculate lang sila na may papasok. Iyon naman po ay practice na tinatanggap natin dahil meron naman silang kaugnayan sa ibat-iba pang mga negosyante subalit hindi katanggap-tanggap iyong katagalan ng proseso.” (July 6, 2009)

And this, dear Dave, is just the beginning...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Marinduque Power Crisis-Part 3

Photo by Daisy Catague Cababasay
Here's the latest update of the Power Crisis in Marinduque from marinduquegov.blogspot.com After reading this excellent report, I asked the author ( E. Obligacion) where is the connection of 3iPowergen in this mess. Eli said to wait for the next report. I am looking forward for the next report.


I have previously posted, that based on a “consultation meeting” with the Department of Energy and Napocor that transpired in 2004, (ref. NPC letter Sept. 4, 2009 to Marelco), the Marinduque Electric Cooperative, Inc (Marelco), OPTED to have its New Power Provider (NPP) in the promulgation of DOE Circular No. 2004-01-001.

The word “opted” was used in said NPC’s letter asking about the status of the privatization of power generation in Marinduque. This appears to suggest that the electric cooperative could have, instead, just opted to allow NPC to continue with its mandate to provide electricity in Marinduque, as provided for in the law.

What does the EPIRA Law (Electric Power Industry Reform Act) state exactly on the matter concerning missionary electrification areas where Marinduque falls under? After seven years of congressional debate and litigation, this Act came into force on June 26, 2001. The act has three main objectives: 1) to develop indigenous resources; 2) to cut the high cost of electric power in the Philippines; and 3) to encourage private and foreign investment. Passage of the Act set into motion the deregulation of the power industry and the breakup and eventual privatization of state-owned enterprises.

Section 70 of said EPIRA Law states the following under its provision for Missionary Electrification:

"SEC. 70. Missionary Electrification. – Notwithstanding the divestment and/or privatization of NPC assets, IPP contracts and spun-off corporations, NPC shall remain as a National Government-owned and -controlled corporation to perform the missionary electrification function through the Small Power Utilities Group (SPUG) and shall be responsible for providing power generation and its associated power delivery systems in areas that are not connected to the transmission system. The missionary electrification function shall be funded from the revenues from sales in missionary areas and from the universal charge to be collected from all electricity end-users as determined by the ERC.

Marelco GM Eduardo Bueno during the July 6, 2009, public hearing held at the provincial capitol expressed, in response to a question about the status of the power supply agreement contract with 3i Powergen, in part: “.. base rin sa Epira Law na 70% ng assets ng National Power Corporation ay ibebenta na sa private sector, 70% except iyong mga areas under ng SPUG na mandated under Section 70 ng Epira Law, Missionary Electrification”

Could we then reconcile this with the DOE Circular No. DC 2004-01-001 (“SPUG Circular”)? Read on.

Said circular set the policy framework for private sector to takeover from NPC-SPUG the role of generating power in off-grid areas.

Under this Circular, gradual opening of all 74 SPUG areas are to be opened up to Private Sector Participation, with 14 as the First Wave Areas. Marinduque was No. 3 on this list. On 12 February 2004, the DOE issued Department Circular No. DC 2004-01-001:

Prescribing the Rules and Procedures for Private Sector Participation (PSP) in Existing NPC-SPUG Areas. The Circular is pursuant to Rule 13 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 (EPIRA-IRR) and is premised on the following:

1. Declared policy of the State to ensure and accelerate the total electrification of the country.
2. DOE’s mandate to issue specific guidelines to encourage the inflow of private capital through participation in missionary electrification.
3. NPC-SPUG’s mandate to periodically assess the prospect of bringing power facilities to commercial viability and encourage private sector participation thereat.
4. Reduction of the burden of UC-ME whose missionary electrification component is used to fund such function of NPC-SPUG.

To move forward with the privatization of SPUG areas, the DOE, PSALM, and NPC engaged the International Finance Corporation (IFC) as transaction advisor to assist in the development of appropriate privatization program and selection of new power provider (NPP). The IFC supposedly have conducted pre-engagement surveys to the aforementioned areas. (EPIRA POWER TRACKER, Privatization of NPC-SPUG)

Pursuant to the said Circular, the IFC (International Finance Corporation), as designated Transaction Advisor would advise the Government on the introduction of private participation in power generation in missionary areas by way of divestitures of Power Supply Agreements (PSAs) between SPUG and Electricity Cooperatives (ECs), in favor of new power providers (NPPs).

IFC was to ensure a fair, transparent and competitive selection
process to attract private sector participation, to assist the Philippines to speed up implementation of its missionary electrification program.

Private Sector Participation in NPC-SPUG Areas

The SPUG areas below were opened for the Private Sector Participation (PSP) program of the DOE:

Romblon; Tablas; Marinduque; Catanduanes; Masbate; Mindoro; Palawan; Cebu; Bantayan; Siquijor; Camotes; Basilan; Sulu and Taw-Tawi.
Project Description:

Private Sector Participation (PSP) in Power Generation through Competitive Selection Process as envisioned by DOE would lead to:

Reduction in the total cost of generation; Major improvements in reliability of supply, with a 24/7 supply; Elimination of SPUG's contribution to NPC's deficit; Reduction in the total Missionary Electrification subsidy required.

Concession Structure:

New Private Providers (NPPs) will take over NPC-SPUG generation
functions through a 15-year Power Supply Agreements with Electric Cooperatives (ECs):

For the 1st pilot areas (Hybrid of Bunker and Wind)
- Marinduque – 12MW
- Romblon – 2MW
- Tablas – 6MW

We then track down a report from DOE’s Epira Power Tracker web stating thus: (Status Report No. 7 covering period May-October 2005):

“The provision of electric generation services in three major SPUG areas were recently offered to the private sector through a competitive bidding process. The bidding covered an aggregate rated capacity of 24 MW in the following areas:
• Marinduque
• Tablas
• Romblon

The bidding, which was supervised by the International Finance Corporation, drew two interested parties, namely: Coastal Consortium and MTR Power Corporation. The bidders’ first envelopes (technical proposals) were opened 25 August 2005 and the financial bids on 5 September 2005. Coastal Consortium offered a lower electric generation service cost and emerged as the winning bidder on the opening of the financial proposals.

The rest of SPUG-served areas for private sector participation/with New Power Provider (NPP) are the following:

• Bantayan Island - Bantayan Island Power Corporation;
• Oriental Mindoro, mainland Palawan and Catanduanes – Power One Corporation;
• Marinduque, Tablas and Romblon Islands – Coastal Consortium;
• Occidental Mindoro, Camotes and Masbate – opted for SPUG to determine the NPP, but IFC will also handle their NPP selection;
• Siquijor – opted to select its own NPP;
• Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi – IFC will also handle the selection of their sole NPP (similar to Marinduquie, Tablas and Romblon)

Now, it’s COASTAL CONSORTIUM being identified by the DOE website as the “winning bidder on the opening of financial proposals”. Curious, we look again for answers elsewhere and find this report from IFC MEDIA HUB:

“Competitive Bid To Privatize Electricity Supply in Marinduque, Romblon and Tablas” In Manila by Karen Villalobos

“Manila, September 9, 2005 — The Philippine Department of Energy and the International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, today announced that a consortium comprising of Coastal Power Development Corporation and Applied Research Technologies Philippines won a competitive bid to supply power to the Philippine islands of Marinduque, Romblon, and Tablas. The winning bidder proposed a hybrid diesel-wind energy solution that will improve standards and bring the generation into compliance with Philippines environmental standards.

”Private sector participation was structured through a concession-type contract between the winning bidder and local electric cooperatives that take the power on these islands. The framework of this concession does not require the private supplier to buy existing generation assets of the National Power Corporation, allowing those assets to be deployed to unserved areas in the Philippines.

”The winning bidder’s price will lead to a reduction of about 40% from the current cost (13.8 pesos per kilowatt hour) of generating power in the islands. The Coastal Power Consortium agreed to provide power without interruption all year long, compared with the current average interruption of 196 hours, or eight days, per month. The group bid to provide 25 megawatts of combined electric capacity to the three islands not connected to the national power grid.

”IFC was charged with developing the agreements and a regulatory framework to attract private sector capital and expertise to power generation in remote islands. IFC was retained in 2004 by the Philippine government through the Department of Energy, National Power Corporation, and the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation to act as transaction advisor.

”The Coastal Power consortium will take responsibility for power supply from the Small Power Utilities Group, which is part of the National Power Corporation. SPUG has maintained responsibility for supplying power to 74 remote off-grid islands. The annual subsidy requirement for all these islands amounts to 2.1 billion pesos. Only about 60 percent of that cost is covered by a universal service charge assessed to on-grid customers. The remaining 40 percent is passed on to the national deficit through NPC.

”The Private Investor will be able to supply electricity to the 3 islands at a lower cost than the current government-managed operation and thus reduce the annual subsidy for electricity from 458 million pesos to 168 million pesos.

“IFC strategy includes support for power sector reform in the Philippines through increased private sector participation that promotes competition. The interest in this transaction provides tangible results for the ongoing power reform agenda in the Philippines,” said IFC Country Manager Vipul Bhagat.

“This model public-private partnership structure, wherein the investor achieves full cost recovery and profits from the electric cooperatives and partially through government subsidy, can be replicated for other infrastructure transactions in the Philippines and elsewhere,” said IFC Director of Advisory Services Bernie Sheahan."

“POWER HOTLINE” The Official Weekly Publication of the Corporate Communication Division, National Power Corporation. Vol. 13 No. 38, October 3, 2005, then came up with the following headline story:


"The privatization of the operations of the National Power Corporation’s (NPC) Small Power Utilities Group (SPUG) has scored a breakthrough with the recent award to Coastal Power Development Corporation of the concession to supply electricity to Marinduque, Romblon and Tablas.

"Coastal Power and its partner, Applied Research Technologies, won the competitive selection process conducted last August by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the investment arm of the World Bank (WB). Last September 27, Coastal Power signed a Power Supply Agreement with the local electric cooperatives from the three island-provinces that are currently distributing power to the said areas.

"With the said development, Tablas, Romblon and Marinduque – which are among the 14 islands identified by NPC as priority or “first-wave” areas for privatization – are now assured of round-the-clock electricity supply. Based on its bid, the Coastal Power consortium will provide a combined 25 megawatts to the three islands at a cost of P. 7.17 per kilowatt-hour. The group had proposed to put up a hybrid diesel-wind energy facility that is scheduled for commissioning by end-2006.

"NPC President Cyril C. Del Callar hailed the entry of the private sector in missionary electrification, saying “This is part of a determined program of the Department of Energy and NPC to turn over to the private sector the generation of power in 14 islands.”

"At the same time, President del Callar noted that the said move will result in operating cost savings of P. 1.5 billion per year for NPC, which may be used for the electrification of an additional 7,500 barangays throughout the country over a five-year period.

"NPC has been producing power at an average of P12 per kWh in the SPUG areas but is selling this electricity aat a heavily-subsidized rate of P4.20 per kWh, resulting in losses of P7.80 per kWh. Under the privatized set up, the new power producers will sell electricity at an average of P7.00 per kWh, to approximate the true cost of power generation based on fuel.

"For her part, Energy Undersecretary Melinda Ocampo said the private-sector participation in missionary electrification would enable the government to deliver on President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s commitment to continue bringing power and progress to more remote areas in the country without increasing the burden of the missionary electrification charge on electricity consumers nationwide.

"The entry of Coastal Power in the three first-wave islands is in compliance to DOE Circular No. 2004-01-001, which prescribes the guidelines for private sector participation in the missionary electrification areas being services by SPUG. Among other provisions, the DOE directive mandates the periodic assessment of the requirement and prospects of bringing power generation and associated power delivery systems to commercial viability on an area-by-area basis, including a program to encourage private-sector participation.

"Aside from Marinduque, Tablas and ROmblon, the other first-wave areas for privatization are Occidental and Oriental Mindoro, Palawan, Catanduanes, Masbate, Bantayan Island, Siquijor, Camotes Island, Basilan, Tawi-Tawi, and Jolo."

(to be continued)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Halloween is Near-Witches, Nono and Goblins

Carenna in her butterfly Halloween costume

If you go to the stores and shopping malls here in Northern California, you will see that most of the decorations are now about Halloween costumes, candies, masques and other items for the Halloween Night Festivities.

In the Philippines, the web is already filled with stories about witches ( aswang), capri, duende ( nono) or elves as well as stories about ghost and apparitions . Superstitions and Folklore's are part of life in the Philippines, specially in the provinces.

I know when I was growing up way back in the late 1930's, my parents and relatives had been telling me of stories about aswang( flying witches) visiting homes in the middle of the night and looking for pregnant women, so they could suck the fetus from their stomach. One way of discouraging the aswangs to your homes is to put garlic in all the windows. Other superstitions are the giant people called capri. There are two kinds, the white( good) and black ( the evil one). Opposite to this are the small people, the elves or Nono ( in Marinduque) .

Last year, I wrote a short article about Ghost, Goblins and Nonos . At that time my beloved Carenna( see photo above) was only five years old. She turned six last May and now in first Grade. The article that I wrote last year are as follows:

"One of the beliefs and folklore's in Marinduque are the existence of Nono ( goblins) . There are also stories about ghosts( white lady apparition) and witches. I know that in Iloilo, there is one town where there are a lot of witches(Dingle). However, there are no proofs, this is true. In our resort property in Amoingon, some of our neighbors inform us, that once in a while in a moonless night they have seen an apparition of a white lady. I have never seen one during our annual six months stay at the beach resort. The white lady is supposed to guard the property from robbers and intruders and she is the ghost of my mother-in-law".

"With regards to the Nono,( they reside in the big trees),even though I really do not believe it, I still say TABI PO NONO (Excuse me Nono,I have to pass by) when passing under the trees and bridges in my property at night. Even my 5 year old grand daughter from Sacramento, has learned of this phrase. We told her of the TABI PO NONO phrase last December, during our golden wedding anniversary celebration. The funny part is, when they were in Boracay a week later, she said the same phrase while passing a bridge at the Boracay Regency Hotel, where her MOM and Lola were staying. Hurrah to the memory of a 5-year old. Anyway, if you experience or hear of any stories about ghosts, nono and witches, please let me know".

Saturday, October 17, 2009

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Effects of Global Warming-Today's News

Here's today's news on effects of Global Warming! Scary, but it is happening now. You may not have to wait for December 21, 2012 for Armageddon!

Here's a video for your information!

NASA flies over Antarctica to measure ice melt


ABOVE ANTARCTICA — Hoping to better understand how a melting Antarctica could swamp the planet, a NASA plane outfitted with lasers and ground-penetrating radar made its first flight over the icy continent on Friday.

The DC-8 left Punta Arenas, Chile, on a mission to fly as low as 1,000 feet (300 meters) over Antarctica. Like the NASA satellite that has provided shocking data on how quickly Antarctic ice is disappearing, this plane will measure snow cover and ice thickness. But it also has equipment that will enable scientists to see under the ice shelves, measuring the water below.

The goal is to understand just how warm ocean currents may be pulling the ice sheets seaward, melting their undersides. These ice sheets are rapidly collapsing — as fast as nine meters (27 feet) a year according to a study published in the journal Nature last month. If they disappear, far greater ice masses that lie on Antarctic bedrock could then melt into the sea, submerging coastal communities around the globe.

Until now, the U.S. National Aeronautic and Space Administration has used satellites to track the impact of climate change in the Antarctic, but the satellite will be phased out at year's end. Friday's flight is the first of many planned as part of Operation Ice Bridge, to bridge the gap in data that would otherwise result before the next satellite goes up in 2015.

Investigators from the Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, the University of Washington and the University of Kansas also are on board for the 11-hour flights, running their own sets of instruments.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Blue or a Shade of Blue is My Favorite Color

I have several hundreds of pictures in my collection. But the top ten pictures that I love, because the they have the blue color as the dominant theme in the photograph. If you like the color blue, by all means, spent a few minutes looking at the following pictures.

Two Pictures of Carenna (My Pangga) in Purple-a shade of Blue indeed

Blue Seas and Sky of Balanacan Harbor, Mogpog, Marinduque

My Blue Orchid- My Princess Mikasa

Blue Starfish in Amoingon Beach, Boac, Marinduque

Ditas, Dinah, Elaine and Carenna in Blue at our Golden Wedding Anniversary

Chiqui's Jambalos Wedding and her entourage in blue

Dinah Katague King in her blue jacket during her pottery Show

Blue Skies at Grand Canyon

The Coral Reefs in the Philippines

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Today is Blog Action Day, 2009

I am re posting my article on Global Warming I wrote about a year ago to celebrate Blog Action Day, 2009.

The Coral Reefs of the Philippines
Recently,I was reading the Philippine Inquire on line, my daily habit after retiring. There was a news item that Dr. Joey Comiso, a NASA physicist emphasized that global warming will affect the Philippines more because of our biodiversity both flora and fauna particularly our coral reefs. I can not agree more. Dr Comiso said that even a small rise in the ocean temperature will have a catastrophic effect on our coral reefs which could led to a chain of reaction until all the fish and others living creatures in the ocean perish. Scary but possible!.

So what can we do as ordinary citizens? There are several suggestions from several authors of what we can do as an individual. But the most important one that I always remember is to reduce our carbon emissions, by helping clean our environment, and used less fuel. The government however, has a major role in reducing carbon dioxide emissions in the environment. For example by regulating emissions from tricycles, and diesel buses , requiring catalytic converters or more efficient engines will definitely reduce the pollutants in big cities as Manila, Cebu, Baguio or Davao. Polluting the environment should be punished by monetary fines. The fines earned should be allotted to the clean-up of garbage, wastes and the environment.

Here's a short article on Blog Action Day.

"For those of you who don’t know, Blog Action Day is an annual event held every October 15th where bloggers across the world unite to write about a single issue on a single day. We like to think of it as one big blogfest for good, and our goal is to spark conversation on an issue of importance across the web.

This year’s topic is climate change, and we’ve thus far had more than 4,000 bloggers from 123 countries register, including many of the world’s largest blogs.

Our aim is to make Blog Action Day 2009 the largest social change event on the web as a demonstration of global concern about the climate crisis. To achieve this, we want to invite the entire Blogger community to get involved and commit to writing a single post about climate change on your blog on October 15th.

In addition to joining thousands of other bloggers, you’ll also be supporting the work of the dozens of leading nonprofits who are also participating – including Oxfam, 350.org, The Nature Conservancy, Greenpeace, The United Nations Foundation, and more than forty organizations affiliated with the TckTckTck campaign.

You can learn more about the issue of climate change and see sample topics you might write about at www.blogactionday.org. There you can also find additional ways to get involved by taking action with leading nonprofits and posting a snazzy widget to your blog.

Thanks so much for your support – we hope to have you all as part of the event!"

Rally for Truth and Transparency-Marinduque Power Crisis

Bishop Rey Evangelista at the Rally-photo by Toby Jamilla

I found this video on you Tube today. It is about time that Marinduquenos find out the truth on the reasons behind this Power Crisis in our beloved province. I salute Bishop Rey Evangelista, D.D. for his concerns and dedication to the welfare of all Marinduquenos.

For the last six months, I had been posting on my blogs to find out the truth on this crisis. Finally, some of the truth had come out. However, we still need more transparency on how our government conducts and awards projects to private corporation such as 3i Powergen.

What is the real reason why 3i Powergen was not able to fulfill its contract? Was there bribery involved? We need the truth! I do smell rotten eggs on the failed contract between the former Reyes Administration and 3iPowergen and Marelco. Marinduquenos need the TRUTH!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Cloyne Court, Episode Sixteen

Cloyne Court, Episode 16
By Dodie Katague
Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Rated "R" by the Author.

Based on a true story that took place in Berkeley, California in the late 1970s.


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

I said, "The only difference between men and boys is the price of their toys.[1]"
She huffed. "You men are all alike. You stick together even when you know you're wrong."
"Wrong about what?"
"His choice of music. Making fun of transvestites just leads to violence against transgender people. Besides, the Kinks are so passé."
"Lola was only one song out of the dozens he played," I replied. I thought she should have objected to Alan's airing of Village People's Macho Man, which he played repeatedly. I was humming the chorus for days afterward.
I told Alan what Carrie had said. The next Saturday he proclaimed it "Transgender and Cross-Dresser Appreciation Day" and recorded a cassette tape of songs that included Pink Floyd's Arnold Layne, Little Richard's Long Tall Sally, Led Zeppelin’s Royal Orleans, David Bowies's Rebel, Rebel, Lou Reed's Walk on the Wild Side and Monty Python's The Lumberjack Song, which he played repeatedly all afternoon.
* * *
Our third roommate was Mark or Mike or Matt. I never actually knew. Alan and I hardly saw him. When we did, he was asleep. He was an engineering student from the San Jose area, not far from Berkeley, so he went home most weekends. He may have had a girlfriend back home, but he was shy, didn’t talk much, and Alan and I didn’t get to know him well enough to learn anything about him.
One weekend, Alan came into the room looking worried. He said, “I met some homeless dude downstairs. He doesn’t live here, but I think he sleeps in the basement. He knows I have some cool stereo equipment. I think he’s been peeking in our window.”
“Alan, everyone with ears knows you have expensive stereo equipment. I think everyone within six blocks of this house knows you have loud, expensive stereo equipment.”
“Well, I think we need to take some precautions. Someone may want to steal it."
“What do you want to do?"
“Let’s take a bed sheet and cover the window, so thieves can’t look into the room."
We looked at all the possessions we owned in the world. We did not have a spare bed sheet to cover the window. Our absent roommate did. It was on his bed, neatly made.
“Let’s use our roomie’s bed sheet. We’ll have to put it back on his bed when he returns Sunday night,” he said. He pulled the sheet off the bed.
"We should use duct tape to hang that up," I said.
"Naw, these thumbtacks will do just fine."
For weeks, after Mark or Mike or Matt left for home on Friday afternoons, Alan removed the bed sheet from his bed and thumb tacked it over the window. Every Sunday afternoon, we would have to remember to take it down again and put it back on his bed. This worked fine until the end of the quarter during finals, when both of us forgot to remake his bed and Mark or Mike or Matt returned to find his property covering the window. He didn’t say a word. He took it down, made his bed and moved out at the end of the term. His only complaint, which he left in a written message in my telephone message box at the front switchboard, was there were thumbtack holes in his bed sheet. (I knew we should have used duct tape!)

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

Note: We could have provided Dodie with bed sheets if he asked~ Dave and Macrine Katague

Monday, October 12, 2009

Reagan Katague Gregorio Wedding in Iloilo

My nephew, Reagan Katague Gregorio, only son of my sister, Amor Katague Gregorio was married last October 3, 2009 in Iloilo, Philippines. This was also the wedding date of Macrine's niece, Marilyn Jambalos in Boac, Marinduque (http://chateaudumer.blogspot.com).

Below are some pictures of Reagan's ( Beboy) wedding taken from his posting in Face Book. Is'nt Reagan tall and handsome? He has indeed the genes of the Katague, but sorry girls he is no longer available. I love the yellow-orange color theme of the wedding. Enjoy the pictures!

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