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, April 29, 2010

Political Dynasty and Pork Barrel as Cause of Corruption in the Philippines

Image from pinoyexchange.com

I read this article on the Philippine Inquirer today. The article has supported my contention that if the pork barrel system is eliminated, only the public- service oriented politicians will run for public office. In another article recently, I learned that there are now more than 260 political dynasties in the Philippines.

In my province, Marinduque, the Reyes family ( mother and son) is the political DYNASTY that had ruled the province for the last 40 years or so. If they win this May election, their political clout will extend another four years. Hopefully, Marinduque voters will elect the candidates that will improved the economy and lives of its residents.

Today's article is titled "Political dynasties are Increasing" and written by Neal Cruz, dated 4/29/10. Here is the article for your reading pleasure. Comments anyone?

"IT IS ONLY 10 DAYS TO ELECTION DAY, AND to give local candidates a chance to air their programs of government, we have shifted our invited guests from the national to local candidates. Last Monday, the guests were Pasay mayoralty candidate Peewee Trinidad, Parañaque mayoralty candidate Eduardo Zialcita, vice mayoralty candidate (and actor) Anjo Yllana, and Edwin Olivarez, candidate for the congressional seat to be vacated by three-termer Zialcita. Olivarez, a member of the Olivarez family dynasty of Parañaque, was vice governor of Laguna. He ran for governor in 2007 but was defeated. He faces a member of another political dynasty, the Bernabes.

Zialcita, Olivarez and Yllana denounced the shady contracts that the Bernabe administration entered into and the funds that it cannot account for. Judging from the amount that Parañaque paid for lampposts and the number of lampposts actually put up, each post cost Parañaque taxpayers P450,000 each, Zialcita said. There are millions of pesos more that have been spent by the Parañaque government but which it cannot account for, Zialcita added. He promised a clean government if he becomes mayor.

Curiously, the three Parañaque leaders kept praising Pasay’s Peewee Trinidad, saying they want to model Parañaque after Pasay, which has its own government-operated hospital and university, while Parañaque has none. Ironically, Trinidad has been suspended as Pasay mayor and is now running to reclaim his seat.

“Why don’t you just make Peewee your mayor?” the Parañaque trio was asked.

“If that becomes possible,” Zialcita answered, “I will welcome it.”

Trinidad has long been a political leader of Pasay (working in the shadow of Pablo Cuneta, Sharon’s father) but he has no political dynasty. On the other hand, many of Metro Manila’s cities and municipalities have political dynasties fighting it out.

In Pateros, the Cayetano and Tinga dynasties are fighting for dominance. Dante Tinga, a former congressman and retired associate justice of the Supreme Court, is running for mayor against the wife of Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano. Alan’s sister Pia is running for reelection as senator. Dante’s son, Mayor Freddie, is running for congressman.

In Caloocan, Baby Asistio, son of long-time Mayor Macario Asistio and brother of former Mayor Boy Asistio, has just been cleared by the Commission on Elections to run for mayor.

In Quezon City, Joy Belmonte, daughter of Mayor Feliciano Belmonte, is running for vice mayor. The Mathay dynasty is fielding three members: Ismael for mayor, son Chuck for congressman, and granddaughter (and actress) Ara Mina for councilor. The Defensor dynasty has father Mat running for reelection as congressman and son Mike for mayor. However, a strong contender in the mayoralty race, Rep. Annie Rosa Susano, still has no family dynasty to speak of.

In Valenzuela, hometown of the future first lady, there are the Gatchalians, in Malabon the Oretas, in Muntinlupa the Biazons, in Makati the Binays, etc., etc.

The Constitution, prohibits, very clearly, family dynasties. But because no lawmaker has introduced any bill to implement the constitutional prohibition, family dynasties have increased all over the Philippines as the Inquirer series on the front page has shown. It is as if the politicians are in a hurry to establish their own dynasties before the prohibition becomes reality. (I think this will never happen. Who will present or vote for an implementing bill as almost all the legislators, senators and congressmen are members of political dynasties?)

* * *

By the way, do you know that councilors now have their own pork barrel funds, the same as that enjoyed by members of Congress, although in smaller amounts? If reports are true, each Quezon City councilor has a pork barrel of P43 million a year. Wow! And all the projects that we see are waiting sheds.

This is clearly an abuse of the council’s budget-making powers, in the same way that the congressional pork barrel is an abuse of its budget-making power. If we do not protest this abuse, very soon even the barangay councils will have their own pork barrel.

This is not the only abuse. Most city and municipal councils and provincial boards also buy, using taxpayers’ money, vehicles which they give to their councilors and board members for free.

I don’t see why it is necessary to give them free vehicles. Councils and provincial boards meet, on the average, only once a week. All of them already have their own vehicles (many of them more than one), they go to the provincial capitol or city hall for their sessions only once a week, so why do we taxpayers have to give them free vehicles?

Ever since I became a journalist in the mid-’50s, media and the public have been denouncing the pork barrel system. The president can stop it by not submitting any budget for pork, disguised of course for some other purpose, such as poverty alleviation, etc. In reality, it is only the poverty of the lawmakers that is alleviated while the taxpayers sink deeper into poverty.

But presidents want the pork barrel system to continue because it is a means by which they bribe legislators to do what they want. The hundreds of millions of pesos in pork that each lawmaker gets is too much a temptation for them to forego. Some lawmakers don’t get them, but 99.9 percent of them do.

The pork is spent supposedly on public works projects. Legislators become duplicate public works departments. Read the Constitution and you will not find any provision giving this power to lawmakers. What the Constitution says the lawmakers should do is to make laws, nothing else.

The pork barrel system is the cause of most corruption. It should be abolished".

Amen, Amen I say to the last sentence in bold!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Is Manila Ready for an Earthquake?

YouTube and CNN posted this video on April 21, 2010. It is indeed scary, since the government appears to withhold this information from the public. Our government officials are too busy "politicking". About three days ago, 3 earthquakes of magnitude from 4.5 to 6.5 were felt in southeast Taiwan and Northern Luzon. If you are a resident of Manila and its suburbs, are you really prepared for a major earthquake of a magnitude of 7 or greater? Let us hope this will not happen soon, but view this video and judge for yourself. In the case of Marinduque, The LUBANG fault in Mindoro should be monitored for recent activity. Here's the video!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Latest news on Marinduque Politics-The Counter Suit

Allan Velasco during the STTC meeting last year at the Chateau Du Mer Conference Hall,Amoingon, Boac, Marinduque

Here's the latest news written by Purple S Romero and published today on ABS-CBNnews.com/Newsbreak. Local Politics in Marinduque is indeed getting interesting.

MANILA, Philippines--Veteran journalist Marites Dañguilan Vitug, editor in chief of Newsbreak, on Tuesday filed her counter-affidavit to the 13 counts of libel filed against her by Supreme Court Justice Presbitero Velasco.

Vitug said there is no malice in the news article “SC Justice in Partisan Politics?”, where she discussed how Velasco helped his son, Lord Allan, court the support of local officials in their hometown in Marinduque.

Vitug said in her counter-affidavit that the report was “borne out of a sense of duty to inform the public of perceived unethical and partisan conduct on the part of an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.”

“The instant libel suit should not prosper as it denigrates not only my constitutionally-guaranteed rights of free speech and press, but also those of the entire media,” Vitug added.

\Velasco accused Vitug of intentionally maligning his reputation in the article that appeared in the Newsbreak, where she is editor in chief, and abs-cbnNEWS.com, where she is editorial consultant.

Vitug also pointed out in the story that Lord Allan, a provincial administrator, benefited in the controversial Supreme Court decision allowing appointed officials to stay in their posts even if they have already filed their certificate of candidacy. The SC case has been reversed since.


Velasco accused Vitug of being in cahoots with his son’s rival, Edmudo Reyes Jr. In his complaint, the magistrate said that Reyes “engaged the services” of Vitug to produce the article.

Vitug denied Velasco’s claim. While it was Reyes who referred her to Pastrana—the politician allegedly approached by the justice to help Lord Allan—she exhausted all efforts to confirm the veracity of the information she shared with her.

Vitug said she also interviewed other sources, including local journalist Doris de Luna.

But Velasco also claimed that De Luna is a supporter of Reyes. He said it was suspicious that Vitug met with Luna twice.

In denying Velasco’s allegation, Vitug said Velasco’s accusations is irrelevant to the case at hand.

“Contrary to the allegations of Justice Velasco, I met with Ms. de Luna only once on 10 February 2010, and not on 20 November 2009. Justice Velasco’s insinuation of “close relationship and coordination” between myself and Ms. de Luna is therefore inaccurate and unfounded,” she said.

“More importantly, however, the nature of my relationship with Ms. De Luna is completely irrelevant to the issues of whether the contents of the questioned article are true or whether I had motive in writing the same,” she added.

No Internet libel

Vitug also stressed that there no such crime as Internet libel yet. She said that she cannot be held liable for a crime that does not exist.

“Considering that the posting of an article on the internet is not statutorily defined as a criminal offense, there is no basis for the instant criminal charge against me,” she said.

Posting articles on the Internet was not specified as a means of committing libel in the Revised Penal Code.

Article 355 of the Revised Penal Code states that libel could be done through “writing, printing, lithography, engraving, radio, phonograph, painting, theatrical exhibition, cinematographic exhibition, or any similar means.”

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The latest Political News from Marinduque

I found this news from Eli Obligacion's blog today. I found it revealing and shocking. This news confirmed my notion that politics in the Philippines are filled with lies and black propaganda. Most candidates ( I hope not all- those with conscience) will do anything to get votes and win the election. Why?- it is the pork barrel( MONEY) system. If the government eliminates the pork barrel reward system, only a few candidates will run. These are the candidates that are really public-service oriented citizens. The news discuss in detail that C. Reyes claimed the provincial government is bankcrupt. The article opens with the Provincial Government Cash Position Report as of April 19, 2010 and compares it the cash report on June 28, 2007 when C Reyes exited her position as Governor. Here is the report in detail.

Reyes Strike with Apparent Lies

"Cash Position Report, Provincial Government of Marinduque as of April 19, 2010 showing available cash at Php 266.8-Million plus. 133% increase from June 2007, when he assumed governorship.

Cash Position Report as of June 28, 2007, when ex-Gov. Reyes exited. Php 114.5-Million. Higher or lower?

“Bangkarote na ang kapitolyo. At kapag umupo na ako bilang gobernador ay walang masisimulang project dahil wala nang natitirang pera!” The speaker was Carmencita Reyes, candidate for governor of Marinduque, moving her arms to stress that point.

Let me translate the tagalog words: The Capitol is bankcrupt. If I win the election as governor, I will not be able to start any project, since there are no funds left.

Congresswoman Carmencita Reyes-Found this photo on the Web- Date of Photograph-I do not know, but at least more than 15 years ago is my guess!
Marinduque’s political matriarch has dominated this 4th class province’s political scene for 37 years, first as delegate to the Constitutional Convention under Marcos (1973), then as congresswoman, then as governor and congresswoman again. Reyes wants to return once more this time as governor with his son, former Congressman Edmundo Reyes, Jr. aiming for the congressional seat once again.

That she would deliver fiery messages in those terms are not a bit surprising. No one could and should stop such an exercise in free speech by a public servant of her formidable stature.

What came in as a surprise was when after the speech an incumbent board member proclaimed himself as “ako po ang tainga, mata at bibig ni Nanay sa Sangguniang Panlalawigan...” and “... kinukumpirma ko po na totoo pong lahat ang sinabi ni Nanay. Bangkarote na nga po ang kapitolyo..”

The speech of an incumbent board member, I will translate for my readers who do not understand tagalog " I am the ears, eyes and lips of Mother( referring to C. Reyes) in the Provincial Board. I am confirming that all what Mother saying is true. Indeed, the provincial government is bankcrupt.

Some of the mix of people in Brgy. Mercado in Boac Poblacion where the public address was made recently were left gasping for breath, mouths open, arms shaken, apparently shocked by the “truthful revelation”, but quite a few remained skeptical. It's the election campaign period after all.

Wouldn't Marinduquenos ever check?

Apparently, the Nanay was confident that no one, no one, and no one among her beloved audience would bother to ask, check, validate, investigate and would just believe her fantastic heart-rending story and long litany of tales - hook, line and sinker.

As in the days of yore. But then the same act was repeated the other night in Gasan town. This time knowledgeable local officials watching were appalled, knowing that the same scripted act will be repeated in the other towns with another incumbent bokal ally from the relevant district (2 districts are represented in the Sanggunian), taking the role played by the previous one. A game plan.

Bangkarote? That's defined as "n. a debtor that, upon voluntary petition or one invoked by the debtor's creditors, is judged legally insolvent. The debtor's remaining property is then administered for the creditors or is distributed among them; adj. "Having been legally declared financially insolvent."

Truth is, it’s fairly easy for any responsible citizen, especially those sitting as incumbent officials, to check or verify, particularly in this case, if there’s any iota of truth to whatever their claim. And it is incumbent upon them to speak the truth.

Or be punished for their outrageous tales. Some influential people have really began taking stronger positions resulting from this one.

Or is it so that in Marinduque, political candidates always get away with tales and lies confident that their powerless, and, to their mind "money-hungry" constituents ("pera lang ang katapat ng mga taga-Marinduque" is an oft repeated phrase here), would just believe anything that cometh forth from their mouths?

What's the real score?

Truth is, the Provincial Treasurer’s Office, with Maximo de Luna, Jr., as Provincial Treasurer releases on a daily basis what is called a Daily Cash Position Report on the Provincial Government’s General Fund duly certified by him. One such report (the latest), stamped received Apr. 23, 2010 at the Governor’s Office, reflects the cash position of the Provincial Government as of April 19, 2010, which states in unmistakable terms, and here I quote:


Certified Correct:
Provincial Treasurer

Now again, bankcrupt did she say? And no projects could be started by the elected governor whoever that may be, said she?

Now let’s check the cash position of the Provincial Government of Marinduque as of June 28, 2007, when ex-Gov. Carmencita Reyes exited then. Daily Cash Position Report for General Fund as of June 28, 2007, certified by the same provincial treasurer was:


Certified Correct:
Provincial Treasurer

A full increase of P. 152,297,623.45 compared to the 2010 figures, or increase of 133% from the 2007 figures by the end of Reyes' term. Note that Carrion took over from thereon.

But it all looks like plain and simple Black Propaganda propagated, not by political supporters or sycophants, but by the involved trapos themselves! That makes the character of this present political game more vicious than ever.

As regards the board member, of course he’s still getting his regular salary and fuel allocations just like the rest of his colleagues, inconsistent with his claim of the capitol’s bankruptcy.

Will Marinduque wake up and rise to the tune of “gising na”? Or sleep the creeping sleep of Death under the spell of the wicked wizards and witches of darkness and despair, of doom and gloom? ( Gising na means wake up)

Or maybe let's just all pray to God for sanity to reign on this our beloved island for once. Just this once. For in Him we Trust.

Said Carrion:

"A new spirit moves our people because of their new found hope and dignity. Most of all, the stark realization that we know ourselves even better now, as an empowered people capable of moving forward to chart our destiny together."

Thank you Eli for this report! Interesting and Revealing!

Friday, April 23, 2010

What is the Latest News on Facebook

This article was written by Sandy Smith for Huliq.com dated April 22, 2010. Interesting and exciting, indeed for Facebook users all over the world! Enjoy!
Facebook seeks to organize your online life

You may regard Facebook as your favorite waste of time -- a place to chat with friends, share photos and links, and play Farmville till the cows come home. Facebook's creators see it as something bigger - and completely different: the organizer of your online life. Today, they've taken a giant step in that direction.

Facebook calls its vision "the Social Graph" -- a sort of map of the world that shows how everyone in it is interconnected and where they are at the time. The basic building block of this graph is a new Facebook developer framework called Open Graph. Web content providers who use it can access the information Facebook has about its members to create sections organized around members' interests. For instance, a Facebook member who calls up a business review on Yelp would see a section showing what their Facebook friends said about it and other information about their activity on the site. Another Open Graph feature -- the "Like" button -- allows Facebookers visiting some other Web site to instantly communicate their preferences not only with Facebook, but with all their Facebook friends currently on the site, and their friends too

It's a great leap forward -- and as scary as it is exciting.

Writing in Newsweek's "Tectonic Shifts" blog, Barnett Sheridan suggests that "Facebook's play to take over the entire Internet" is the realization of the long-dreamed of "Web 3.0, a smarter Internet that understands the difference between objects, people, places, animals, etc." With this capability, Web surfing would become personal -- and interpersonal -- in a way it has never been before.

It would also mean that the whole world would have access to personal information about you in a way it hasn't had before -- and that Facebook would be the custodian and gatekeeper of that information. That already makes some privacy advocates nervous, and while some privacy-watchers argue that with a little education, Facebook could avoid stirring up a privacy hornet's nest, the possibility remains that the Social Graph project could get derailed over that matter.

For now, visitors to Yelp, Microsoft Docs and Pandora can see a glimpse of the fully socially networked future, and more partners are sure to follow these three down that path.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Ditas Katague Appointed Chief Deputy Commissioner for the Department of Corporation

Gov. Schwarzenegger Announces Appointments ( April 21, 2010)

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today announced the following appointments:

Ditas Katague, 45, of Sacramento, has been appointed chief deputy commissioner for the Department of Corporations. Since 2008, she has been director for Census 2010 in the Governor's Office of Planning and Research. Previously, Katague was the first vice president of state and local governmental affairs for Countrywide Financial Corporation from 2005 to 2008, program director for California Telemedicine and eHealth Center from 2004 to 2005 and senior program manager for Blue Shield of California from 2003 to 2005. Prior to that, she was the assistant secretary for transportation and project management at the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency from 2000 to 2003 and chief deputy director for the Complete Count Census Campaign from 1999 to 2000. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $118,000. Katague is a Democrat.

Greg Aghazarian, 45, of Stockton, has been appointed deputy secretary for legislation and special assistant to the secretary for the Department of Food and Agriculture. Since January, he has owned Aghazarian Strategies and, from 2009 to 2010, he served on the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board. Aghazarian served three terms in the California State Assembly representing the 26th district from 2002 to 2008 and was Republican Caucus Chair in 2006. He owned the Law Offices of Gregory G. Aghazarian from 1997 to 2002 and worked as an attorney for the Law Offices of David R. LeBeouf from 1993 to 1996. This position does not require Senate confirmation and compensation is $115,000. Aghazarian is a Republican.

Koren Barrett, N.D., 37, of Corona Del Mar, has been appointed to the Osteopathic Medical Board. Since 2007, she has served as a naturopathic doctor at Newport Integrative Health. Previously, Barrett was a naturopathic doctor at Susan Samueli Center, University of California, Irvine from 2008 to 2009 and at the Institute for Progressive Medicine from 2004 to 2007. She is a member of the Sanesco International Advisory Board, American Association of Naturopathic Physicians and California Naturopathic Doctors Association. This position does not require Senate confirmation and there is no salary. Barrett is a Democrat.

Leonard Greenstone, 86, of Sherman Oaks, has been reappointed to the Prison Industry Board, where he has served as a member since 2001 and previously from 1983 to 1994. Since 1953, he has owned and operated the Leonard Greenstone Company. From 1966 to 2003, Greenstone owned and operated Under Sea Engineering and Construction. From 1967 to 1992, he worked for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department as a sergeant, lieutenant and captain. Greenstone was the director of Alliance Bank from 1978 to 1991. This position does not require Senate confirmation and there is no salary. Greenstone is a Democrat.

Curtis Kelly, 52, of Vacaville, has been reappointed to the Prison Industry Board, where he has served as a member since 1995. He has been the northern district manager for the Northern California Carpenters Regional Council since 2005, where he previously was a business representative from 1988 to 2005. Kelly was a carpenter for the Carpenters Local 180 from 1977 to 1988. This position does not require Senate confirmation and there is no salary. Kelly is a Democrat.

Michael McCulloch, 53, of Palm Springs, has been reappointed to the Mount San Jacinto Winter Park Authority, where he has served as a member since 2008. Since 1987, he has owned and managed McCulloch and Company. McCulloch served as a councilmember on the Palm Springs City Council from 2003 to 2007. Previously, he was a tax manager for Grant Thornton Certified Public Accountants from 1984 to 1987. This position does not require Senate confirmation and there is no salary. McCulloch is a Republican.

Peggy Okabayashi, 62, of Elk Grove, has been appointed assistant secretary of public safety, victims services, emergency management and administrative services for the California Emergency Management Agency (Cal EMA). She has served as acting assistant secretary in this role since 2009 and previously was deputy director of the Administrative Services Division at Cal EMA in 2009. Prior to that, Okabayashi was deputy director of the Administrative Services Division for the Governor's Office of Emergency Services from 2006 to 2008. She worked for the Department of Motor Vehicles, Business Services Branch as chief from 2004 to 2006 and manager from 2001 to 2004. Okabayashi served as manager for the Information Services and Reporting Unit for the Franchise Tax Board in 2001, chief of the Management Services Branch for the Office of Real Estate Appraisers from 1994 to 2001 and auditor at the Employment Training Panel from 1992 to 1994. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $106,020. Okabayashi is a Republican.

Janice Oliphant, 74, of Indian Wells, has been reappointed to the Mount San Jacinto Winter Park Authority, where she has served as a member since 2005. She was a real estate broker for Palm Desert Realty from 1978 to 2009. Oliphant is president emeritus of Marywood Country Day School Board and the Indian Wells Garden and Community Club. Additionally, she is vice chairman of the California State University, Palm Desert Capital Campaign Committee, member of the Coachella Valley Lincoln Club and the Coachella Valley Women Leaders Forum Advisory Board. This position does not require Senate confirmation and there is no salary. Oliphant is a Republican.

Joseph Provenzano, D.O., 55, of Modesto, has been reappointed to the Osteopathic Medical Board of California, where he has been a member since 2006. He has served as a family medicine doctor of osteopathic medicine at Sutter-Gould Medical Group since 1990. Previously, Provenzano served as an emergency room physician at Fisher-Mangold Emergency Physicians from 1988 to 1990. Prior to that, he was physician-resident in family medicine at Southwestern Medical School from 1986 to 1988 and at the University of Texas, Conroe Family Practice from 1983 to 1985. Provenzano is an elected delegate to the House of Delegates for the California Medical Association and the California Academy of Family Practice House of Delegates for 2009 and 2010. This position does not require Senate confirmation and there is no salary. Provenzano is a Republican.

Margo Reid Brown, 47, of Sacramento, has been appointed director for the Department of Resources, Recycling and Recovery, where she has served as acting director since January. She served as chair of the Integrated Waste Management Board from 2006 to 2009. Brown previously served as director of scheduling for the Office of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger from 2004 to 2006 and was founder and president of Capitol Ideas Development Corporation from 2002 to 2004. From 1999 to 2000, she served as president of the Junior League of Sacramento and, from 1991 to 1999, was the director of scheduling for the Office of Governor Pete Wilson. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $142,965. Brown is a Republican.

James Shelby, 63, of Citrus Heights, has been appointed to the Gambling Control Commission. Since 1996, he has been a member of the Citrus Heights City Council, where he served as mayor in 1999, 2003, 2006 and 2009. Shelby was president and chief executive officer for the Greater Sacramento Urban League from 1992 to 2009. Prior to that, he was manager of employee relations and executive assistant to the general manager for the Sacramento Municipal Utility District from 1990 to 1992. Shelby was senior apprenticeship consultant for the California Division of Apprenticeship Standards from 1977 to 1990. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $128,109. Shelby is a Democrat.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
State Capitol Building
Sacramento, CA 95814

As her DAD, I am very proud of Ditas accomplishments. I wish her luck in her new appointment. Congratulations again, my palangga number 1.

Latest News on Ecotourism in Marimduque

The following press release I found interesting and exciting. I have been promoting tourism in Marinduquue in several of my blogs( Marinduque Awaits you, Marinduque On my Mind and this site) for the last two years. Now, we have the encouragement and support of one politician. Thank you Bong Bong Marcos. May your tribe increased.

Environment-friendly Marinduque pushed as major tourist spot
(The Philippine Star) Updated April 18, 2010 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines - A move to fully maximize Marinduque as an environment-friendly major tourist destination in Luzon is being pushed by local officials in Luzon.

Ilocos Rep. Bong Bong Marcos, who recently visited the province, is spear-heading the move.

“Marinduque is known worldwide for its colorful Moriones Festival and that’s good; but it has so much more to offer in terms of world class attractions and facilities that we must and will capitalize on to boost tourism, spur economic activities and uplift the quality of lives of Marinduqueños,” said Marcos.

He noted that the island-province is environment-friendly and “that’s why no major catastrophies such as landslides and massive flooding occur there.”

“Once the Marinduque air and sea ports are modernized, a larger volume of local and foreign tourists can be lured to visit its little-known but awesome white sand beaches, dive sites, trekking and hiking trails
and a climate comparable to Tagaytay,” Marcos said.

A more modern air and sea ports in Marinduque, which Marcos is pushing for, will allow more local and international direct flights and cruise liners to come in, bringing loads of tourists and generating more economic opportunities in the area.

Marcos, who engineered a tourism revival in Ilocos Norte during his term as governor, pointed out that the Marcopper mining site, shut down for years, can be redeveloped, particularly its 18-hole golf course, housing facilities and hospital building for medical tourism.

Marcos is confident that Marinduque’s inherent beauty, charming people and the popularity of its Moriones Festival could easily draw tourists with diverse needs and interests, given the right support and approach.

A major tourist draw is Elephant Island, where several developments are ongoing. Marcos said other points of interest such as Paajao Falls , Bathala Cave, Malbog Hot Springs, Mt. Malindig and other secluded coves and beaches are just good and has good impact on the province’s environment programs".

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Tourism Development in Marinduque-Home of the Moriones

The following is a video made on November 28, 2009 by the provincial government outlining the development of tourism in Marinduque. This was edited by Eli Obligacion and I enjoyed the video very much. The expansive hall of Chateau Du Mer(CDM) is featured in the video. The CDM Hall was the venue of the STTC ( Southern Tagalog Tourism Committee) meeting in 2009 which was chaired by former provincial administrator Allan Velasco. He retired from his position in 2009 and now is running for Congress this coming May, 2010 election. His opponent is former Congressman Edmund Reyes, Jr. May the best man win.

The video is a must view if you are a true-blooded Marinduqueno specially if you resides abroad. The beauty of our province is beyond description. We should help in promoting tourism in our island by electing the best person who will promote tourism in our province not only during Easter week but also the whole year round. Here's the video! Enjoy! Any Comments?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Romulo Cafe-New Restaurant in Quezon City

Macrine and I were treated by Yong Nieva ( Macrine's first cousin) to his new restaurant in Quezon City last December. Yong's wife Ivy Almario, designed the restaurant. They are partners with the granddaughter( Sandie) of Carlos P Romulo, first Secretary General of the United Nations. Here are several short videos regarding this restaurant for your viewing pleasure. When you get a chance, visit the place, but be sure to get a reservation, unless you know Yong personally.The restaurant is located in the corner of Scout Tuason and Dr. Lazcano streets in the Morato restaurant row district in Quezon City.

Happy Eating! Enjoy the ambiance of the restaurant. Macrine and I really did enjoy the cucumber drink, the chicken relleno and the crispy Pata!

Note: Yong Nieva is originally from Marinduque and has a vacation and retreat House called Amana Forest Reserve in Cawit, Boac. Cawit is only 2KM from Amoingon, where our beach resort and conference center, Chateau Du Mer is located.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Reviews of Cloyne Court from Amazon Books

Book Cover

I found the following reviews of my son's first book, Cloyne Court from Amazon very interesting. I just finished reading the book and I found it worth my time. His reference to his parents in the book is true, except for the fact that during our student days, although we were poor, we never ask for food stamps. We did reside in a student housing subsidized by the county. Also during my son's graduation, the family visited Cloyne Court and I found it dirty, but the place has a charm of its own. Some rooms have beautiful views of the Golden Gate Bridge. Happy Reading!

A) 5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars Crazy times at Berkely, December 29, 2009
By S. Davidian (Ohio, USA, Earth)

I read this during its development and told DK much of it sounded unbelievable. He confessed that he was actually toning down much of what really happened - probably to protect the innocent!

If you like the movie Animal House, and have any interest in the going-ons of College in the 70s, or Berkeley in particular, you're also going to love this book.

B) 3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved this book!, January 15, 2010
By Lori Cianfichi "Steve Cianfichi" (Walnut Creek, CA USA)

This novel, which I compare to The Magic Garden of Stanley Sweetheart by Robert Westbrook, follows our hero Derek as he enters UC Berkeley as a freshman until he graduates with less than honors. It's no surprise, as he is living at and experiencing life at Cloyne Court, the Sodom and Gomorrah of any college living situation. Sex, Betrayal, Drugs, Rock and Roll, nudist, co-ed showers, and the politics of the house make for a novel that has to be read. I really enjoyed this book. (Adult themed subject matter.)

C) 4.0 out of 5 stars A rite of passage, February 24, 2010
By Celia Hayes "Sgt. Mom" (San Antonio, SA)
Billed as a kind of real-life `Animal House', this books is more of a nostalgic memoir-novel about living in an all-gender-and-orientation cooperative residential house in Berkley, after the flower-power generation had moved on. Derek Marsdon has just turned 18, commuting from his family home and wrestling with incomprehensible academic courses.

Spurred by an impulse and the advice of an odd and witchy old woman he sees on the train going home one day, he moves into a college residence - and thereby takes the first steps onto the necessary path of becoming something a little more than a teenager: this is not so much an account of four years of carefree pranks, debauchery and substance abuse with a little academic enrichment squeezed in between - but a rambling account of how a young man first encounters the larger world, that world outside the shelter of a family, establishing an identity of our own, something beyond just being a son or a daughter, an extension of our parents. This is where we first encounter straight-on such things as the pitfalls of sexuality and sexual attraction, of individual responsibility, of coping with a bureaucracy, the randomness of fate, coping with people very, very different from ourselves, where we first cope with love and unrequited devotion, junk furniture with a strange history, tasty adult beverages . . . and being caught up in a student demonstration when all we really needed to do was turn in some necessary paperwork. Not to mention that strange camaraderie that arises when you spend a great deal of time with other individuals in an odd environment, where everyone knows the rituals and the place, as well as the importance of seemingly inconsequential things.

Derek wanders through those undergraduate years, feeling some of the pains and disappointments - but always with a steady and observant eye, and a whole heart. The author has a fond and unerring eye, and no little sympathy for those years - which now and again, may have been rather embarrassing for the adults who emerged from the antics of their college years, especially if they now have near-adult children of their own. There is something about those first years which keeps a hold on us for the rest of our adult lives, though; sometimes wince-making, and sometimes brushed with the golden highlights of nostalgia, something which the writer has caught very well.

D) 4.0 out of 5 stars I wish I had as much fun as Derek did in college, February 15, 2010
By Genoa Dillon "book addict" (Billings, MT)

After reading Cloyne Court I realized how much fun I could have been having when I was instead working and doing homework! I graduated from a small liberal arts college that did not have student housing opportunities that the author did. I also realized that the generation above me did party and do naughty things, probably even more than I have so far. I guess I have some catching up to do.

One of the things that surprised me about this book is the amount of homophobia presented in the novel. I've grown up in an environment where people I think feel free to be "out" so it was scary to realize how closeted the men had to be just 30 years ago.

When I was done with the book, I remarked to my husband that I won't think about a plate of brownies again in the same way!

I recommend this book for anyone that has gone to college, or plans to go to college, or thought about going to college. Also for anyone who knows someone who went to college, because that buttoned up shirt wearing respectable man might have some stories to tell.

E) 5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Read!!!!!!!, April 12, 2010
By L. Couture (California)

I found this book to be an AMAZING, page turning read. It is a coming of age novel set in the 1970's at CAL Berkeley, and therefore has the accompanying sex, drugs and rock and roll that one would expect, however the main character's story is a heart wrenching account of first love from a man's perspective. I would recommend this book to anyone mature enough to handle the strong sexual content. The only part I didn't like was the soothsayer lady at the beginning and end - I think she was too much. However, I would encourage anyone off-put by that part to continue on, since the rich story is very much worth it in the end and leaves you dreaming of college days, and thinking about taking a drive to Berkeley to see the real Cloyne Court.

F) 5.0 out of 5 stars A fine memoir and a read well worth considering, April 3, 2010
By Midwest Book Review (Oregon, WI USA)
When you have two genders of college students close to each other, you're in for something interesting. "Cloyne Court" is a memoir from Dodie Katague reflecting on the time where the campus goes co-ed and he tells a story that is sure to entertain any of those who enjoy a good story of the world of the fraternities and sororities. " Cloyne Court" is a fine memoir and a read well worth considering.

5.0 out of 5 stars This is a Biased Book Review, January 8, 2010
By Lloyd Lofthouse "Lloyd Lofthouse, author, 'My... (USA)
Disclaimer: I am the publisher. You know, the guy that spent endless hours building Cloyne Court's Website, editing, copy editing, proofing, doing page layouts, working with the artist on the cover design, and shepherding the author's work through the publication process to the market place where readers may buy it.

Does that mean I'm biased? Well, I didn't write the book, and I'm not related to the author. I didn't even know the author before I first read his work. What I did was pay the author for the privilege to publish his work, because I believe Cloyne Court is worth the time and money put into it. I also expect to get that money back and make a profit. That's how much confidence I have that this "creative" memoir will find an audience. Here's the answer to the question that starts this paragraph--Yes, I'm biased, After all, I enjoyed reading this book more than once and laughter is medicine for the dark side of life. If you decide to buy Cloyne Court and read it, I hope you enjoy Katague's story as much as I have, and since I'm biased, I can't give it the five out of five stars that I believe it deserves.

I wrote the blurb that's on the back cover, because I felt it represents what you will find between Cloyne Court's Covers.

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

Humor is subjective. Writing that will make one person laugh will cause another person to throw the book in the fire while twisting their face into a tangled knot as if they has been bit by a snake. Fortunately, I laughed often as Cloyne Court worked its way through the publishing process from editing to printing.

Back to the disclaimer that started this review: I haven't been paid to write this review. I haven't been paid for any of the work I've done on Cloyne Court unless you count the profit from the first six books sold after Cloyne Court hit the market near the tail end of December 2009--a few days before New Year's Eve. As a matter of fact, last night and this morning, I spent more time and money mailing out five copies to The Saroyan (literature) Prize, and one copy to ForeWord Magazine for a possible debut fiction review.

So, if Amazon deletes my review for Cloyne Court, I will understand.

Warning: Cloyne Court is rated "R" for adult material. This is not a filtered fantasy.

Cloyne Court by Dodie Katague (Paperback - December 8, 2009)
$15.95 $12.44
In Stock: 16 used & new from $8.95

Again, I hope you purchase Cloyne Court. Happy Reading, From the GrandPa Blogger!

Book Review of The Cloyne Court by D Katague

Here's a review of my son's first book by Celia Hayes. I hope you purchase his book.
Cloyne Court by Dodie Katague
(Three Clover Press / 0-981-95533-9 / 978-0-981-95533-9 / December 2009 / 328 pages / $15.95 / Amazon $11.48)
Reviewed by Celia Hayes for PODBRAM

"Cloyne Court is billed as a kind of real-life Animal House – a nostalgic memoir-novel about a rollicking all-gender-and-orientation cooperative residential house in Berkeley in the late 1970s, after the flower-power generation had moved on to something resembling an adult life practically everywhere else. Derek Marsdon has just turned 18, a college student, commuting from his family home and wrestling with incomprehensible academic courses – and much else besides.

Spurred by an impulse and the advice of an odd and witchy old woman he sees on the train going home one day, he decides to move into a college residence – and thereby takes the first steps onto the necessary path of becoming something a little more than a teenager. Cloyne Court is, as I interpreted it, not so much an account of four years of carefree pranks, debauchery and substance abuse with a little academic enrichment squeezed in between – but a rambling account of how a young man first encounters the larger world, that world outside the shelter of a family. Going to college, joining the military, or generally moving out into the world of work on our own is the time when most of us are establishing an identity of our own, something beyond just being a son or a daughter, an extension of our parents. This is where we first encounter straight-on a lot of things: all the pitfalls of sexuality and sexual attraction, of responsibility for ourselves, of coping with a bureaucracy which (if we let it!) would control our adult lives, and the randomness of fate. We encounter people very, very different from ourselves on a great many levels, we first cope with love and unrequited devotion, acquire junk furniture with a strange history, taste adult beverages, and get caught up in a student demonstration when all we really needed to do was turn in some necessary paperwork. All these things happen, not to mention that strange camaraderie that arises when you spend a great deal of time with other individuals in an odd environment, where everyone knows the rituals and the place, as well as the importance of seemingly inconsequential things.

Derek wanders through those undergraduate years, feeling some of the pains and disappointments – but always with a steady and observant eye, and a whole heart. One senses that he came through as a complete and secure adult – and that the author had an unerring eye and no little sympathy for those years – which now and again, may have been rather embarrassing for the adults who emerged from the antics of their college years, especially if they now have near-adult children of their own. There is something about those first years which keeps a hold on us for the rest of our adult lives, sometimes making us wince, and sometimes brushed with the golden highlights of nostalgia, something which the writer has caught very well".

As a frustrated writer myself, I am indeed very proud of my son's accomplishment.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Latest news on Marinduque Politics

Here's the latest local political news from Marinduque.

SC justice files P1-million libel case over Marinduque stories

by Joel San Juan

SUPREME Court (SC) Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco Jr. has filed 13 counts of libel charges against veteran journalist Marites Danguilan Vitug for allegedly insinuating in her online article that he has breached the provisions of the Code of Judicial Conduct by engaging in partisan politics to boost his son’s congressional bid in Marinduque province.

In a 10-page complaint filed before the Office of the City Prosecutor of Manila, Velasco claimed that Vitug’s article titled “SC Justice in Partisan Politics,” which appeared in the ABS-CBNNEWS.com/Newsbreak homepage for 13 consecutive days starting December 3, 2009, was intended to besmirch his and his family’s reputation as well as to undermine the candidacy of his son Lord Allan in their home province.

“Ms. Vitug publicly accused me in her Newsbreak online article…and portrayed me as an unethical person without delicadeza who has wantonly violated the Code of Judicial Conduct and existing laws. Said malicious imputations were plainly directed against me and had caused me, my wife and children, especially Allan, irreparable dishonor, discredit and contempt,” the complaint said.

Vitug, in the said article, said that Velasco’s son, Lord Allan, is running against Edmudo Reyes  Jr.,  scion of a political family, for the lone congressional seat in Marinduque and that the magistrate “is shaping up to be a key figure in his son’s uphill battle,” although he denied it.

She also cited the claims of some residents in Marinduque that Velasco is actively helping his son in organizing his ticket by inviting local officials to run with his son’s ticket with a promise to provide their campaign expenses.

A barangay chairman identified as Marife Pastrana was quoted in the article as saying: “He [Justice Velasco] called to offer me to run for councilor with his son and to attend a meeting in his residence. I couldn’t attend the meeting and I declined his offer.

“He said I shouldn’t worry about campaign expenses, he’ll take care of the funds,” Pastrana added.

The article added that another barangay captain, Norma Villar, got the same call from Velasco but declined the offer.

Vitug also wrote that Pastrana was able to attend a meeting in Velasco’s residence once. The meeting, she said, was hosted by Lord Allan.

During the said meeting, Pastrana said she saw the justice talking to some of the leaders, shaking their hands and asking their support for his son’s political bid.

The article also stated that Justice Velasco voted with the majority in the SC’s decision in the Quinto case that allowed appointive officials to stay in their posts even after the filing of their candidacy, which was beneficial to his son.

It can be recalled, though, that said ruling has already been abandoned by the Court with finality.

In his complaint, Velasco denied Vitug’s insinuation that the Quinto ruling benefited his son, as the latter immediately resigned from his post as provincial administrator after he filed his certificate of candidacy on December 1, 2009.

“The insinuation that I concurred with the majority in the Quinto case to benefit Allan reeks with malice. Ms. Vitug made it appear that my vote in the case was not predicated on the obtaining factual and legal premises, as required by law and the Rules of Court, but to favor particularly my son, a situation which, if true, is unethical and a breach of the Code of Judicial Conduct,” Velasco said.

As to the claim of Villar, Velasco noted that the barangay captain has already denied being offered by him to run for municipal council under his son’s ticket in a sworn statement.

Velasco also denied Pastrana’s claim that he solicited her support for Allan since he was aware that such solicitation “constitutes a prohibited partisan political activity.”

“Ms. Vitug wrote about my having invited one Marife Pastrana to attend a purported political meeting in the residence of my wife, Lorna, in Torrijos, Marinduque. This is a lie, an absolute falsehood. I have never invited Ms. Pastrana to any meeting, let alone a political one, as I make it a point not to involve myself in any activity which may be perceived, even remotely, as political to promote the candidacy of a son, relative or friend,” Velasco stressed.

The publication of the said article, according to Velasco, was attended by malice considering that it was Reyes who referred Pastrana to Vitug.

“It may thus be safely deduced that Edmund Reyes Jr. engaged the services of Ms. Vitug purposely to write derogatory matters against me,” Velasco said.

He said he granted the persistent requests of Vitug to interview him on December 2, 2009, a day before the article was posted online, but the journalist did not confront him on the claims of Pastrana and Villar concerning politics in Marinduque.

“Ms. Vitug’s deportment is highly unethical and improper as, with ill-designs, she tried to obtain information from me and yet did not give me the sporting opportunity to refute or explain the allegations which became the subject of her December 3, 2009, article ‘SC Justice in Partisan Politics,’” Velasco said.

Aside from being liable for libel, Velasco said Vitug also violated the provisions of the Journalist’s Code of Ethics that requires news to be presented fairly and honestly and to set aside personal motives and interest in performing his or her duties as a journalist.

Velasco is seeking moral, exemplary and other damages in the amount of P1 million from Vitug.

Interesting! I have a feeling this coming May election will be a close one in Marinduque. If you are a dual Filipino-American citizen, please vote. From the GrandPa Blogger

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Senior's Alphabet- We are back in California

Our Family Room-where we spend 80% of our Waking Time indoors. Note the two pictures on the wall of the Beach House and Conference Hall and our wide screen TV. We love to watch TV including shows from the Philippines, Discovery, National Geographic, CNN Channels and all programs on Channel 1- The On Demand Channel.

I found this on the web from an anonymous source, when I was checking my e-mail from an internet Cafe in Makati on our way back to California. Macrine and I enjoyed four and a half months of the sights and sounds of Chateau Du Mer, our winter residence in Boac, Marinduque, Philippines including the hot and humid weather during the months of March and first week of April. December, January and February were however cool, dry and comfortable specially during the morning and after sunset hours.

If you are a senior citizen, like me, I am sure you can identify with most of the alphabets. If you are not, your time will come. You can not stop the aging process, but you could slow it down by exercise ( both mind and body), less stress, good food, good friends and a loving family and relatives. Good day to all, my on-line friends. From the Grand Pa Blogger!

Seniors' Alphabet

A for arthritis, B for bad back,
C is for chest pains. Perhaps cardiac?

D is for dental decay and decline,
E is for eyesight--can't read that top line.

F is for fissures and fluid retention,
G is for gas (which I'd rather not mention.)

H high blood pressure (I'd rather have low,)
I for incisions with scars you can show.

J is for joints, that now fail to flex,
L for libido--what happened to sex?

Wait! I forgot about K!
K is for my knees that crack when they're bent,
(Please forgive me, my Memory ain't worth a cent.)

N for neurosis, pinched nerves and stiff neck,
0 is for osteo- and all bones that crack.

P for prescriptions, I have quite a few.
Give me another pill; I'll be good as new!

Q is for queasiness. Fatal or flu?
R is for reflux--one meal turns into two

S is for sleepless nights, counting my fears,
T for tinnitus--! hear bells in my ears.

U is for urinary: difficulties with flow,
V is for vertigo, that's "dizzy", you know.

W is worry, now what's going 'round?
X is for X ray--and what might be found.

Y for another year I've left behind,
Z is for zest that I still have my mind.

How many of the alphabets, can you relate to?

Friday, April 2, 2010

Moriones Festival and Trade Fair, 2010

Today is Good Friday. The Moriones Festival is in full swing with Parades, Procession, Easter Pageant and the Life and Passion of Christ and traffic in Boac congested as part of our life here in sleepy Marinduque. This is the only time of the year when traffic is congested as if you in are Manila. Most of the stores are closed but the Trade Fair is open to buy native handicrafts. marble furniture, gifts and 100 other items of your desire. In my case, my purchase of the year are three marble tables and one matching marble table lamp. With the purchase I got a big marble mortar and pestle and a pen holder set. The above items cost me only about $300 ( a bargain if I purchased these items in US). The marble Company is from Romblon Island and comes to Marinduque only once a year during the Moriones Festival and Trade Fair. Next year we will not be able to stay for Holy Week here in Marinduque, so I am taking this opportunity to savor the pageantry of this island festival. Happy Easter to All! Here's a short video from Good Friday "Via Crucis" Procession. The video is a bit grainy but it captures the spirit of the festival
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