WELCOME TO MY SITE AND HAVE A GOOD DAY

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

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Congratulations and Good Luck- P-Noy



The Aquinos-The Past, The Present and the Future-A Dynasty?

The Philippines has a new President. Watching the inauguration ceremonies live in TV was very educational and inspiring. The Change of Power ceremony, the going down the stairs of GMA- most unpopular president of the century and the climbing of P-Noy up the second floor of the Malacanang Palace is indeed symbolic of the transition of Power. The inauguration ceremony was simple but inspiring. I do hope that the new President and his cabinet will be able to accomplish one of his goals -the elimination of graft and corruption ( G and C) in the Philippines.

Several articles in the web regarding G and C appeared today. One of the articles was written by Bob Martin in his web magazine “Live in the Philippines”. Bob mentioned several ideas regarding elimination of G and C that I like. However, personally I have a feeling that G and C could never be eliminated in the Philippines. It is a way of life in this country having originated more than 500 years ago from the Spanish Conquistadors and practiced by all levels in the Philippine Government for a number of years.

P-Noy may be able to reduce its incidence, but he will never be able to eliminate it in his lifetime. In Martin's article, one reader commented that perhaps a law imposing Death Penalty on all politicians found guilty of G and C charges should be passed. If this law is passed, I commented that is is the best way of eliminating majority of our Politicians and political Dynasties.

Another blogger mentioned that she hopes in six years after P-Noy , another “Aquino” name in the person of Kris becomes the next president of the Philippines(2016). I think this is too early, but with the Filipino habit and addiction of electing actors and actresses ( name recognition), this is a high possibility. What do you think? Comments any one?

Road to Central Marinduque

Ferns along this Rural Road
The following video is from Marinduque Rising, Eli Obligacion blog about Marinduque.
HOPEFULLY, this project will be completed as central Marinduque is beautiful, scenic and the climate cooler because of the high elevation. I had the privilege of joining a tour of central Marinduque about 6 years ago through the invitation of current governor-elect Carmencita Reyes. There was then even a plan/talk about constructing a city( to be called Carmen City)and call it the summer capital of Marinduque. I hope this project will be continued to insure that Marinduque will indeed be officially recognized as the ecotourism capital of the Philippines

Monday, June 28, 2010

Fruit Trees in the Gardens of Chateau Du Mer

The Mango Tree-I have three varieties in my Garden-The Indian, Guimaras and Carabao Mangoes
My caretaker/gardener informed me last month that due to the El Nino drought in Marinduque, two of my Durian trees died in spite of his vigilant watering. One of the tree was attacked by insects that looks like a big fly but yellowish in color that sucks the sap of the seedling. The roots of the other tree was attacked by ants residing in the soil. However, my other fruit trees, the rambutans( 2), the lanzones(2) and the jack fruits ( 2) trees are doing well. The above eight fruit trees were given to me by Retired General Recaredo Sarmiento of Boac and Lucena., about three years ago. General Sarmiento is the “atid” of my wife. “Atid” is the colloquial term for brother. Evidently, Macrine's father, the late Bernardo Jambalos was the Godfather of General Sarmiento during his baptism and comfirmation.
Gen Sarmiento's hobby is orchard planting, reforestation and farming.

The other fruit trees in my garden are guayabanos, cashew, avocados, starapples, duhats, ates, guavas, mangoes( 3 varieties) and papayas as well as several varieties of bananas . Of the above fruit trees, my favorite is the guayabanos, also known as soursop tree known for its anti-tumor and anti-cancer properties . The following are photos of the fruit trees. The Durian photo is from the web. Note that it almost look like a jack fruit tree, except that the leaves are bigger and shiny. My desire is to have a passion fruit tree in the near future. You are welcome to visit my orchard and flower gardens any time, if perchance you are in the vicinity of The Chateau Du Mer Beach Resort and Conference Center.
The Rambutan Tree and Fruits
The Lanzone Tree and Fruits
The Jack Fruit Tree
The Durian Fruit Tree

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Why I volunteer to MI, Inc. Medical Mission in Marinduque


One of the FaceBook users in my group “ Marinduquenos All Over The World” ask me yesterday, why I continue volunteering and giving my time, spend my own money and make a big effort to publicize this project of Marinduque International, Inc.( MI, Inc) via my blogs and Face Book account. I told her because I feel good about it. Moreover, the more I gave of myself ( time, money and my heart), the more I feel good about myself. For those of you who are not familiar with MI, Inc.. It is a non-profit organization registered in US compose of Marinduquenos now residing in US and Canada. Last year, a new chapter from Saudi Arabia joined the eight chapters in US and Canada. For more details please visit the website: www.marinduqueinternational.org

For those of you that had participated in at least one of the six previous medical mission ( 1998-2008), you know in your heart what I meant by “Feeling Good About Yourself.”. Some of you may have different reasons why you had participated previously or have plans of joining this coming mission next year ( February 5-14, 2011). But essentially,volunteering your time, money and your heart is one way of giving back to the poor and needy of Marinduque, the graces and good fortunes you have attained for yourself and your family when you immigrated to US, Canada or other parts of the world.

When you participate in the medical mission, you will touch the lives of many of your poor kababayans from the rural areas of the six towns of Marinduque. Therefore the saying that “the time that you really live is the time when you have touch the lives of others” can now be applied to you. For those of you who had not participated in the medical mission, your participation to this humanitarian project is highly encourage. I hope you will join us.

If you had participated in the previous medical mission, please feel free to add ( via comments) the benefits you have received personally and the reasons why you keep volunteering to this humanitarian project. I am looking forward to your participation next February in Marinduque. Mabuhay kayo Lahat!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

MI, Inc. Medical Mission VII, February, 2011


Marinduque International, Inc (MI) Seal
I just talked to Annie Miles Jalac, president of MI and she gave me the following tentative schedule for next year medical mission to Marinduque. I am posting it, so that those who wants to join the mission could mark it in their calendar. After the mission, I am trying to negotiate a group discounted rate for a 2 night 3-day vacation in Bellarocca Resort and Spa.( www.bellaroccaresorts.com). A minimum of 10 couples is required for this discounted rate. Once I have the official rate, I will post it in FaceBook or in this blog. If you are interested in joining this group, please let me know. Now for the tentative schedule:

February 5 ( Saturday): Orientation/Registration at Chateau Du Mer, Amoingon, Boac
February 6 ( Sunday) Mass by the Bishop Evangelista at Gasan Cathedral-Morning
Welcome Dinner by the Governor-Lupac-Evening
February 6 ( Monday) Start of Hospital Operations and Clinic in Gasan-whole Day
February 7 ( Tuesday) “ and Clinic in Buenavista-whole Day
February 8 ( Wednesday) “ and Clinic in Torrijos-Whole Day
Evening: Appreciation Dinner-Chateau Du Mer- Amoingon, Boac
February 9 ( Thursday) Hospital Operations and Clinic in Santa Cruz-Whole Day
February 10 ( Friday) “ and Clinic in Mogpog-Whole Day

February 11 ( Saturday) Clinic in Boac-whole Day
Evening- Valentine Dinner and Dance- Possible Venue- Bellarocca( Buenavista) or Chateau Du Mer( Boac)

February 12-14 Post Mission 2-night and 3-day Vacation to Bellarocca Resort ( under negotiation)

Marinduque International has a website ( www.marinduqueinternational.org) but has not been updated to include information for this coming medical mission. However, please visit the site, since all the previous medical missions are all documented in detail including pictures and articles on this humanitarian project.

If you love Marinduque, I urge you to join us next year for this humanitarian project. As the saying goes, “ The time that you have really live, is the time that you have touch the lives of others”. If you can not personally join us, your monetary or “in kind” donation will be welcome. Please note that part of your donation may be tax deductible, since MI, Inc is a non-profit organization registered in US. For details on your tax deduction, please consult your accountant or tax advisor.

Latest News on Bellarocca Resort and Spa


Marinduque’s luxury isle - is the title of the article on the Daily Inquirer by G. Querubin dated 6/23/2010 . With rates starting from $420 ( hotel room) to $1320 (villa) per night, most of the local Marinduquenos can certainly not afford these prices. Even Filipino-Americans Balikbayan found this resort very expensive. The resort has a website( www.bellaroccaresort.com) but their promo packages had not been updated.

I hope that the resort will give discounts to Balikbayans who are from Marinduque in the near future. I am currently negotiating with a representative of the resort to give our group ( Marinduque International) a discount in our planned post medical mission vacation at the resort this coming February, 2011. If you are interested in joining my group, please let me know ASAP. I will announce the negotiated discounted rate as soon as I received it. Here is the article for your reading pleasure.

"MARINDUQUE, A heart-shaped island-province south of Manila, is home to the world-renowned Moriones Festival, but on a small mountain-islet on its southwestern coast also sits a luxurious Mediterranean-style resort.

Bellarocca Island Resort and Spa on Elefante Island features elegant accommodations, with balconies and verandas that offer breathtaking views of the Sibuyan Sea and the majestic Mt. Malindig. It was formally opened on Feb. 14.

Bellarocca (“beautiful rock” in Italian) is part of Buenavista (good view), the smallest and poorest (fourth-class) of the province’s six municipalities. Pristine and picturesque, Buenavista also boasts of the Bagtingon mountain ranges where butterflies abound.

The resort islet has rolling terrain and immaculate white structures perched atop cliffs, reflecting sunlight and contrasting with the lush green surroundings and blue seas below. Its corporate owner compares its landscape with the quaint island of Santorini in Greece.

Asked what makes it different from other resorts, Jan Michel Gautier, a former general manager, said in an interview: “Service beyond customer expectation.”

“We create demand, we create potentials and we see to it that our customers will have a memorable experience with their stay with us,” he said.

The resort is owned by Gold Barrel Social Club Resort Capital Inc. and is managed by Genesis Resorts and Hotels Corp.

Villas and Terrazas

It features 50 exclusive and stunningly appointed rooms—21 deluxe, nine suites, 10 “terrazas” and 10 villas—designed to highlight a lavish ambiance and intimate stay. Each villa has its own eternity pool, Jacuzzi and pocket garden, and features fully furnished rooms with minimalist interior design and high ceilings.

Room and villa rates range from $420 (about P19,000) to $1,320 (about P61,000) per night. An overnight stay at the presidential villa is pegged at P250,000.

The prices are undoubtedly beyond the reach of most of the 230,000 Marinduqueños, whose average monthly income is estimated at P11,000. Poverty incidence in the province was placed at 50.6 percent, according to a 2006 report of the National Statistical Coordination Board.

Guests are shuttled to their accommodations from the marina, where they are first welcomed in the traditional “putong” (crowning) rite. Employees dance to the chanting and toss petals to the air before presenting kalachuchi leis to them.

An eternity pool, natural hot spring pool and a pavilion restaurant are found near the beach. In between the marina and the pavilion area is the aqua sports center, which offers snorkeling, kayaking, hobiecat sailing, windsurfing, water skiing, sunset cruising and island hopping.

Ramil Lagroso, the food and beverage manager, said the hotel restaurant serves mostly Asian and Western cuisine.

The resort also has a par-36, 9-hole golf course at the foothills of Malindig, a fully equipped air-conditioned gym, cigar, karaoke and piano lounges, library, entertainment center, garden and a meditation sanctuary.

Tours are available around the mainland and to various destinations, such as century-old churches, beaches, museum, Bathala cave and butterfly farms.

Commitment

Bellarocca is committed to help in the province’s social progress by being a part of social developments, Gautier said. During lean periods, the resort’s doctor conducts medical missions in the communities.

“We are helping the locals through employment,” he said. Of the 167 resort employees, 124 are from Marinduque.

“We buy seafood products used in our restaurants, also, directly from local fishermen,” Gautier said.

Fishing is the next main source of income of the locals. Marinduque is primarily agricultural, with 55,810 hectares of its total land area of 95,924 ha devoted to coconuts and other crops.

The municipal government of Buenavista expects that its revenues would increase from business permit fees and taxes that the resort will remit and from the taxes of local businesses tied up with the resort’s operation, such as restaurants and “pasalubong” stores.

Bellarocca is now the banner site of the province for local and international tourism, according to provincial tourism officer Gerry Jamilla. Marinduque, he said, “is becoming the next potential international tourism destination.”

“If the local products and support services such as restaurants will be developed fully, the benefits for Marinduque will be bigger,” trade provincial director Carlito Fabalena said.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Charice Will Join Glee next Season-Another Rumor?


This news article appears in the Philippine Inquirer today. If this is true Charice will be an asset to one of my favorite TV show. If you have not heard of Glee, you must be residing in another planet. This article states that Charice confirms joining Glee cast as guests star this next season in a few episodes. The story line for Charice is perfect. She will be a foreign student whose voice is so good that that leading character Rachel ( Lea Michele) is ready to kill her. I am looking forward for Glee's next season.

"It’s been almost a month since the INQUIRER broke the news, through its online edition Inquirer.net, that international pop star Charice Pempengco is set to join the cast of the hit TV musical-comedy-drama series “Glee” in the United States.

Instantaneously it became a hot topic in the Internet.

But on the same day (May 25) the report came out, Charice’s US manager and the Filipina singer herself issued denials, saying it was just a rumor.

On Tuesday, the Internet was again abuzz with blog posts quoting the US magazine Entertainment Weekly’s website, Ew.com, that Charice is “signed, sealed, and delivered to recur next season as a foreign exchange student whose killer vocals get Rachel (Lea Michele) contemplating murder.”

FilipinOnline, the blog of Southern California-based freelance writer Yong Chavez, quoted Charice’s US press agent Karen Moss: “Charice will have a recurring role. Multiple episodes.”

According to Chavez, “the star’s mother, Raquel Pempengco, also confirmed the good news via text.”

Charice, who has been traveling to Europe—she was recently in France, and is currently in England—to promote her self-titled US debut album, posted this message on her Twitter account: “It’s official. I’m on Glee (next season) but [there is] a story behind it. When d rumor came out, it wasn’t true. But then after that, I tried to audition. And I made it! Let’s party!”

The INQUIRER tried to reach her New York-based publicist, Liz Rosenberg for a comment, but calls were unanswered.

While Charice still calls the initial report as “rumor,” the INQUIRER—which has been proven right after all — would rather term it as premature announcement. In any case, all’s well that ends well and surely her fans worldwide would be looking forward to watch “Glee’s” new season.

But what is it about “Glee” that got Charice all excited when she first dropped hints in local TV interviews on her impending appearance on the Fox series?

The story of a show choir called New Directions set in a fictional high school in Ohio, “Glee” features relatively new actors with minimal experience in musical theater; others in the cast only had straight acting backgrounds, while one was a former member of a boy band.

The show itself is new, its first season having debuted on the Fox channel on Sept. 9, 2009.

The main reason it’s been attracting a lot of viewers—estimated at 13.7 million in a recent episode—is the music, which is comprised mostly of chart hits personally chosen by one of the show’s creators, Ryan Murphy.

Musical segments are executed in the form of stage performances, something which Charice would certainly be at home with.

Songs covered in the show are commercially released on iTunes during the week of broadcast.

In 2009 “Glee” had 25 songs on the US Billboard Hot 100 singles chart—including the cast performance of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’ which had more than 500,000 digital sales. So far, songs from the show have registered 7 million downloads.

Columbia Records has put out five “Glee” soundtrack albums, three of which have topped the charts.

“Glee: The Music, The Power of Madonna” and “Glee: The Music, Volume 3 Showstoppers,” released on April and May this year, respectively, both debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200.

“Glee: The Music, Journey to Regionals,” released only this month, likewise shot to No. 1 on the Billboard 200.

The songs covered in these albums earn royalties for their composers, a happy development at a time when the worldwide record industry is doing quite poorly.

In fact, many songwriters have gladly allowed the show to use the entire catalogue of their works; Coldplay, a famous British alternative rock band, has recently offered its own catalogue after initially refusing to do so.

That is the background musical scenario that Charice will walk into when she starts shooting for season 2 of “Glee.”

She will definitely be an asset to the show, since she’s in the midst of a high-profile promotional blitz for her own album which has peaked at No. 8 on Billboard.

More than that, the show is expected to benefit her strategic ascent to pop stardom—a well-planned program with US handlers all answerable to Charice’s behind-the-scenes benefactor and, in her own words, “second mother,” Oprah Winfrey ".

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Blue Birds are in my Back Yard-Start of Summer


It is already Father's Day in the Philippines. Here in Northern California Fathers Day will be tomorrow and the next day will be the official first day of summer. However, since mid-April this year six Blue Jays have been frolicking with abandon in my backyard. Two are the parent birds and four are the babies. I have been feeding them with bread crumbs and rice morsels, and faithfully replacing their bird bath and water every day. The birds were very happy in my yard since then, until today.

My daughter and her family are vacationing to Florida this week. So, Macrine and I are "cat sitting" for Gimlet, the family pet cat until the end of this month. Gimlet gets so excited when she hears the sounds and chirping of the blue jays. Her ears perk and eyes stare like a tiger ready for the kill. However, Gimlet is a house cat and does not really enjoy the outside world. So she seemed content, just watching the blue jays in the sliding door screen leading to the patio outside, until today.

I started feeding the birds with bread crumbs. The six blue jays were all excited.
All of a sudden, Gimlet got out and started running after the birds. The birds were all chattering and screaming. What a sound that was..I tried to call the cat in, but she just stare at the birds, mesmerized by their chirping. After about 20 minutes, I got tired of the noise and chirping, so I decided to pick up Gimlet and brought her inside the house. Finally, there was quite and solitude. I gave Gimlet her can tuna and she is now happy inside the house and taking a nap by my side. Gimlet acts like a small puppy. She follows me around the house if she gets lonely. She likes to cuddle when we are watching TV after dinner every night.


Now for a short history on the Blue Birds in My Back yard!-Posted last year about the middle of July.

"For the last three years from Spring To Fall I have bluebirds residing in my back yard here in Northern California. They nest and play in the Holly and Pyracantha Shrubs planted as screens for the small swimming pool in my backyard.

Are blue jays common in my neighborhood ? I know my yard is the only one with four or more residents of blue jays that enjoys the water and food that I give them every day. Sometimes, I forget to give them bread crumbs or rice. They will remind me by their loud chirping, jumping and coming closer to the patio. They are getting so tame, that they stay only a few feet from their feeding station when I go out to give their daily bread crumbs or rice morsel. As soon as I put the food in the feeder, they would happily consume the food and bring some to their nests for their babies. If I gave them too much food, the leftover is welcome by a couple of residents squirrels in the yard.

My neighborhood is a subdivision of older homes from 30 to 40 years old. But I do not see too many birds in the neighborhood. Our house is still very close to the mall, shops and and schools which are populated with a lot of people during the day. However, my yard is the only one with two big maples trees and one oak tree that give a lot of shade during summer.

This week has been hot with 5 days of consecutive three digits temperature from 12 Noon to around 7:00 PM. However, as soon as the sun sets, the temperature goes down to a comfortable low 70's. By early morning, when you wake up, it is cool with temperature in the mid 60's. The temperature slowly rises, so by 12:00 noon it will be in the 90's. Today the “High” was only 90 degrees F. This morning “Low” was 65 degrees with a gentle wind, which feels very comfortable. This temperature pattern will last the whole summer. When Fall comes in September, the normal Low and High in this area will be around 55 degrees and around 78 degrees respectively. By late October, my blue birds will be gone. I will not see them until the middle of April next year. I am not sure where they spend their winter months, probably in Southern California or Mexico(definitely not in the Philippines, as Macrine and I do).


The blue jays are also a favorite of my grand daughter,Carenna. When she visits us, the first thing she would ask is if she could feed the birds. I consider these birds my pets. We have pets in the Philippines, two dogs, one cat and several chickens. But here in Northern California, our only pets are these blue jays that reside in my back yard during spring, summer and fall in this beautiful Northern California neighborhood every year. Do you also have pets in your back yard?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Fathers' Day is near- Food for Thought-Parenthood

Food for Thought-Parenthood

Fathers' Day is just a few days from now. My oldest daughter has already sent me a nice card and a Starbucks gift card. This is a perfect gift for our weekly sojourn to Thunder Valley Casino. Father's Day also reminds me of the responsibility of Parenthood. The following quotes from my archives are timeless and applicable to all Fathers and Mothers of Today and of the Future all over the world.

1. Marriage is an institution, but who wants to live in an institution.

2. The trouble with most average American is that they expect their children to be above average.

3. The best inheritance a parent can give his children is a few minutes of his time each day.

4. A mother of 13 children was asked "how in the world can you have time for 13 children" she replied, "when I had only one child, it took all my time, what more can 13 do?

5. A Chicago psychologist lists these rules for parents to insure their child happiness
Avoid favoritism, do not compare one child to another
Don't be too dominating; don't impose your own ambitions or hobbies
Don't be upset at what your neighbor's children accomplish
Don't remind yourself constantly that you worked harder or had fewer privileges.

6. The fear of depriving our children has produced the most "gifted" generation of children in our history. We shower them with gifts to prove our love, with the inevitable result that the gift of love has degenerated into a love of gifts.
Are we offering things as parent substitutes? Are we offering presents instead of our presence? Are we giving things because we are reluctant to give time or self or our heart?

Some Food for Thought indeed especially on this coming Father's Day! Happy Father's Day to all Fathers in the world!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Are the political dynasties, Source of corruption in the Philippines?


The Philippine will have new president on July 1. He wants to be called P-Noy (short for President Noy-Noy Aquino). Currently, the talk about graft and corruption has somewhat stopped. P-Noy has reiterated that ending corruption in the Philippines is one of the top priorities of his administration. But will he ever be successful in his goal? No one in the Philippines could end the rule of the political dynasties except the masses and the voters. Here's a short article about political dynasties in the Philippines, I found interesting as I was surfing in the web recently.

"For generations, political dynasties have dominated politics and governance in the Philippines. They are prominent and moneyed clans, like that of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, whose father was also president and whose son is a congressman.

Experts say that dominance of Philippine politics by such dynasties has grown more pervasive in recent years.

There are an estimated 250 political families nationwide, with at least one in every province, occupying positions in all levels of the bureaucracy, according to the Center for People Empowerment in Governance, a nonprofit group that advocates more grassroots participation in politics. Of the 265 members of Congress, 160 belong to these clans, the group says.

"These are the same families who belong to the country's economic elite, some of them acting as rule makers or patrons of politicians who conspire together to amass greater economic power," said Bobby Tuazon, director of the center.

Analysts say members of the dynasties have developed a sense of entitlement regarding public positions, while many ordinary Filipinos accept the arrangement as inevitable, which makes it difficult to change the situation.

Political dynasties were an offshoot of the country's colonial experience, in which the Filipino elite was nurtured by Spanish and American colonizers. Even after the country gained independence, in 1946, the largely feudal system persisted, as landed Filipino families sought to protect their interests by occupying public offices.

When he was president in the 1970s and 1980s, Ferdinand Marcos blamed the political dynasties for what was wrong with the country and promised to dismantle them. He did, but then replaced them with new ones that he controlled. These families persist to this day.

Because Filipinos tend not to vote according to class, ethnicity, religion or even ideology, the Filipino family has become "the most enduring political unit and the one into which, failing some wider principle of participation, all other units dissolve," Brian Fegan, an American anthropologist and historian, wrote in the book "An Anarchy of Families: State and Family in the Philippines."

Analysts say the dominance of the clans has prevented the flowering of genuine democracy in the Philippines.

"Continuing clan dominance is a product of the seemingly immutable and unequal socioeconomic structure, as well as the failure to develop a truly democratic electoral and party system," said Julio Teehankee, a political science professor at De La Salle University in Manila.

The system is a vicious cycle, one that prevents the expansion of the base of aspirants and candidates for representation, Teehankee said. The result, he added, is a political system dominated by patronage, corruption, violence, and fraud.

Apart from violence, election fraud sparks the most concern during elections. According to the Center for People Empowerment in Governance, "fraud recycles the political dynasties and keeps them in power."

"It breeds generations of cheaters and manipulators, corrupt politicians, mediocre executives, bribe takers, absenteeism in Congress," the center said.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Registry of Foreign-Based Filipino Techies Launched


The following article was published in today's issue of Inquirer.net. As a retired member of PAASE, I will support this project with all my heart and not with action. More Power to all Filipino-American Scientists in US and all over the world.

CALIFORNIA, United States—The Philippine embassy in the US through its San Francisco consulate on Saturday launched the very first Registry of Foreign-Based Filipino Scientists, Engineers, and Technology Entrepreneurs (Technopreneurs).

The Registry aims to recognize the outstanding achievements of Filipinos worldwide, especially in the fields of sciences, engineering, and technology enterprise development. It aims to recognize their outstanding contribution to their chosen field, and also to inspire the millions of Filipinos who have migrated outside the country and are continuously leaving the homeland for jobs and greener pastures to continuously excel and invest in their personal development.

This project is collaboration among the Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Science and Technology, and Department of Trade and Industry. Two private sector groups in the US, namely the Science and Technology Advisory Council of Silicon Valley (STAC) and the Philippine American Academy of Science and Engineering (PAASE) have agreed to support the Registry by encouraging their members to be part of this database and in promoting this to other organizations in the US and other countries.

The Philippines, through the examples shown by these three agencies of genuinely cooperating together, can come up with strategic approaches in coping with its challenges resulting from increasing fierce global competition.

The database will be lodged at the Philippine government’s website in the United States, with no less than Ambassador Willy Gaa together with Consul General Marciano Paynor ensuring that the database is made available in time for its launching, which coincides with the Celebration of the 112th Year Commemoration of Philippine Independence.

The Philippine government hopes to tap into the pool of exemplary Filipino scientists and techno entrepreneurs who are making a name for themselves outside their home country. The Philippines lags among Asean countries in its pursuit of major socio-economic transformation and advancement by cultivating its local academic pool.

It trails in terms of resources to match even the initiatives of its neighboring countries like Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, etc. Vietnam alone has embarked on a very massive human resource development program of sending 20,000 scholars for doctoral degrees who are expected to come back and man their industries and academic institutions.

Likewise, it is envisioned that those who will be in the Registry will lend their expertise, support, and whatever assistance possible for the Philippines to address its science and technology gaps and in developing a well founded technology-based industrialization for a better quality of life for all Filipinos.

The registry is one of the off-shoots of the Balik-Scientists project of the government which started in 1976 but somehow was over-shadowed by more pressing issues in the ensuing years. However, in the mid-2000, the three mentioned agencies, STAC, and PAASE have collaborated anew to make this new endeavor come to fruition.

Accessing the registry can be done thru the following steps: (1) log on to the website; (2) click the DoST Registry for Scientists, Engineers, and Technology Entrepreneurs; (3) accomplish the form online and submit; (4) acknowledgement/notification shall be received by the registrant through e-mail.

Registrants in the registry shall receive regular updates of the registry

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Time for Patroitism-Philippine Independence Day(from Spain not US)-112th Anniversary


Today, June 12, 2010 is 112 years of Philippine independence from Spain(1898). Parades and other festivities are being held in the Philippines to celebrate this event. Since I am not in the Philippines, my contribution to the celebration is this video, a choral presentation of "Ako ay Filipino"(I am a Filipino) by UP Adventist Choir performed in Fresno a couple of years ago. If you have Filipino blood in you, joined this 112th anniversary celebration of Philippine Independence ( from Spain, not US). Philippines Independence from US was July 4,1946. Here's the video for your viewing pleasure. In this video, there are 15 more songs. One of my favorites Filipino patriotic song is Dugong Filipino ( Blood of a Filipino). This was sung and composed by Jonathan Badon, world known Filipino Tenor in the world of Philippine Opera. Jonathan had been to our residence in Silver Spring, Maryland in November 16, 2000 along with several other Philippine opera singers with the Fides Santos-Cuyugan Asensio group-"On Wing of Songs". The other Filipino opera singers in the group are: Lorna Llames ( soprano), Bituin Domicel ( soprano), Nova Ramirez ( mezzo soprano), Marvin Gayramon ( baritone) and Reuel Tica (bass)

If you have not heard about Jonathan Badon, here's his short biography.
The Philippines' prince of operatic-pop is an Aliw Awardee for 2004 Best Male Classical Performer (Philippine version of Tony Awards). He just had a series of performances in Texas, California, and Southeast Asia. Badon is a Bachelor of Music in Voice graduate at the University of the Philippines College of Music as a scholar of the Music Promotion Foundation - Cultural Center of the Philippines. He has performed lead roles in various operas, oratorios, sarzuelas musicales and has done numerous solo concerts in the Philippines as well as in the United States, Canada, Germany, Spain, Italy, Austria, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Singapore, the United Kingdom, Malaysia and Brunei Darrusalam. He also has represented the Philippines to different music and cultural festivals in Wales, Scotland, Indonesia, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Korea, China, Japan and the United States.

A versatile performer, Jonathan is one of the most sought-after stage and music personalities in the Philippines today. Also known as the Josh Groban of the Philippines, he is the ultimate cross-over artist in his effortless transition from classical to pop singing. It is no wonder that he is the favorite featured performer in Concert at the Park, Paco Park Presents, CCP-Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra Concerts, Teatrino Concerts and Hard Rock Cafe to name just a few.

He is an award winning composer and arranger as well, winning the grand prize in the AFP National Songwriting Contest for “Dugong Pilipino.” His artistry is also revealed in the visual arts. He favors realistic sketches of architectural and historical landmarks of places he has visited. Quite aptly, his extra ordinary talents in music and art featured in a CD which was released in 2002 titled “Sketches and Melodies.” Jonathan had a very successful solo US concert tour last 2005.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Marinduque Cuisine


It has been almost two years since my last posting about Philippine cuisine, specifically Marinduque cuisine. But the latest posting from one of my on-line friends in FB, reminded me that food is an excellent topic any time of the year. My on-line friend who is a Caucasian American( JM) and married to a Filipina posted on his FB wall that his wife relatives from the Ilocos Region sent them fresh Lapu Lapu, Prawns and kankong ( a native vegetables), the other day. JM commented that his wife is a good cook and served him chili prawns, fish sticks and kankong sautéed in oysters sauce that night for dinner. The menu made me hungry and reminded me of my wife's recipe of prawns in garlic sauce, sweet and sour bingao and chicken cooked in coconut milk with saffron and green peppers. Bingao is an ocean fish in the red snapper family. It is more fatty than Lapu-Lapu and taste like pork with no fishy smell. The texture is similar to fresh water eels. It is very expensive and rare. I am sorry I can not give you an English name, but bingao is better tasting than Lapu Lapu. We will not be in Marinduque until the end of the year. But the first thing I will instruct our housekeeper is to look for Bingao in the fish market as soon as we arrived.

Now back to Marinduque cuisine. There are four dishes that the Marinduquenos are proud to call their very own. First, they have the ADOBO SA GATA. This is usually a native chicken cooked in coconut milk with green papaya and pepper leaves, spices and dilaw ( a yellow spice) also known as tumeric, (a cheap imitation of saffron). The native chicken is sometimes tough but has a more sweet-tasty feel compared to the regular chicken. The native recipe do not call for green, yellow or red peppers fruit, but my wife always instruct our cook to add this three kind of peppers for color/texture. This is my #1 favorite. I could eat this every week with gusto.

The second dish is the dinugu-an or Kari-kari. The Marinduqueno kari-kari has ox blood but a dryer sauce(compared to other regional blood pudding dish) and very spicy. This is a different dish from Kare, made of tripe and ox tail in peanut butter sauce with green beans. I do not know the details of how it is cook, but when Macrine's aunt give us her Kari-kari, it taste like heaven with rice cake (puto) or just steam rice (I am salivating now, just thinking about it). If you hate spicy dishes, this is not the dish for you .

The third and most delicious of the native dishes is ulang-ulang. It is made from the coconut lobster and young coconut ( shredded buko), coconut milk and a sprinkling of garlic pepper, unions and kalamansi juice( similar to lemon juice). It taste heavenly with steamed rice and noodles.

The fourth dish native to the island is "laing". It is made from taro(gabi) roots and leaves with garlic, ginger and coconut milk. Sometimes, dried fish ( dilis) or tulingan is added to the dish and a tint of shrimp paste( bagoong)


To All Married Men Readers! Do you believe in the statement that, "The way to a man's heart is through his stomach". This statement really applies to me! Comments?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Are you a Gleek's?, Did you shed a Tear or Two?


You will probably laugh until your belly aches, after reading this post. I am a 75 year old man with four professional children and six grandchildren. My oldest grandson is 19 and my youngest granddaughter is 7 years old. My granddaughter and I are fans of the Fox TV show, GLEE. Last night final episode for this season made me cry like a baby. So are you laughing now? Here is the main reason why I cried. The story line reminded me of my college years at the University of the Philippines(UP). My wife and I were members of the UP Student Catholic Action Choir for three years. So both of us love choral music. At the end of the school year, we not only missed the music but the friendship and camaraderie that develops with the members of the choir, year after year. So, I cried because I feel nostalgic about my college years way back in the mid 1950's. This reminded me of my college friends who had already passed away and also of my own mortality. After all, I am in my mid 70's, so the time is getting near, but I am prepared..

I have not talked to my grand daughter today, but I bet her mom ( my youngest daughter) also cried after watching last night episode. I was not a FAN of the show in its first season. But after reading it received several awards, I decided to watch one episode and I was hooked to the music. I am not really enthusiastic about the story line, but I love the music and the singers/actors of this TV show. Please note that my wife do not watch the show. By the way, last night show was watched by 11 million viewers according to CNN this morning. Are you one of the 11 million watchers? Did you shed a tear or two also? Comments?

For those of you who are not “Gleeks”, here is short summary of the show from Wikipedia.

“Glee is an American musical comedy-drama television series that airs on Fox in the United States. It focuses on a high school show choir called "New Directions", at the fictional William McKinley High School in Lima, Ohio, and although largely realistic, also employs fantasy elements. The pilot episode of the show was broadcast after American Idol on May 19, 2009, and the first season began airing on September 9, 2009. On September 21, 2009, Fox officially gave the series a full-season pick-up. Glee aired its mid-season finale on December 9, 2009 and returned from a four-month hiatus on April 13, 2010, picking up the remaining nine episodes of the season. The spring premiere had an estimated 13.7 million viewers, nearly doubling in followers on its return. It was renewed for a second season which will feature three new cast members. On May 23, 2010, it was announced that Glee was already picked up for a third season.
The show's creators, Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan, first conceived Glee as a film. Murphy selects the series' music, aiming to maintain a balance between show tunes and chart hits. Songs covered in the show are released on iTunes during the week of broadcast, and a series of Glee albums has been initiated by Columbia Records, beginning with Glee: The Music, Volume 1, which was released on November 2, 2009. The music of Glee has been a commercial success, with over seven million digital sales.
The show has received generally positive reviews from critics. The series won the 2010 Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series—Musical or Comedy and received three additional nominations for Best Actress (Lea Michele), Best Actor (Matthew Morrison), and Best Supporting Actress (Jane Lynch). The show won a People's Choice Award for Favorite New TV Comedy in 2010. Its first season also earned a Peabody Award".
Here's a video of one of the songs in the Season Finale Performance,"Journey Medley".

Glee made headline news in the Philippines a couple of weeks ago, when rumors circulated that Charice P, an internationally known Philippines singer had been invited to join the cast next season.
Too bad it is just a rumor. Charice P will be a good addition to the cast in my opinion. I am looking forward for Glee's third season this Fall.Here's an episode from Season 1 from Hulu.com

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Marinduque Wildlife Sanctuary for Birds*

Yellow Breasted Bird
What is this Bird's Name?
For the last four months this year while we were in Marinduque, Macrine and I had been enjoying watching the beautiful wild birds that resides in the gardens and fruit trees of Chateau Du Mer. I do not know most of the bird names except for one, they called "the cuckoo", because of the sounds the bird makes. This bird had a long tail, blackish-brown almost look like a small parrot and very elusive. It flies from the tamarind tree in our back porch to the huge palm tree by the side of the house. It hides in the thick foliage of the trees, so unless you look closer, you may not be able to see this beautiful wild bird. Another bird is multicolored and almost look like the California blue Jay but with a yellow breast but blue throat. It is smaller than the cuckoo, but this one would stay on our clotheslines for minutes and you can enjoyed watching its beautiful plumage for a long while. Besides the above two birds, there several varieties of birds, butterflies, and bees that also reside in the gardens and fruit trees of Chateau Du Mer.

Today, I found out that there are bird sanctuaries in Marinduque. The wildlife adventure organization of the world listed the following birds that can be watched in the six towns of the province as follows:

Amethyst Brown-dove, Blackish Cuckoo-shrike, White-browed Shama, Mangrove Blue Flycatcher, Purple-throated Sunbird, Mountain White-eye Zosterops, Philippine Duck, Philippine Cockatoo and Green Racquet-tail.

Other activities recommended by the group besides Bird Watching are, Caving, Trekking and Camping. The seashores near Chateau Du Mer is excellent for bathing and snorkeling as well as jogging or just beach walking/combing. Chateau Du Mer Beach Resort and Conference Center is located in Western Marinduque, 8 KM from downtown Boac- the capital town of Marinduque.

Marinduque Wildlife Sanctuary regions are located on the western side of Gasan, northeast side of Sta. Cruz, southern side of Buenavista, northwest side of Boac and at the eastern side of Torrijos.

The best time of the year for bird watching is from December 1 to May 30. For details, visit www.world-wildlife-adventures.com. As Marinduquenos, we should do our best to help in the conservation of these wild birds. They are our national treasures.

* The above article is my reaction after watching the whole week news on the effects of the Oil Spill in the US Gulf Coast to the wild birds ( brown pelicans and others) in the Louisiana marshes. Oil companies especially BP should be accountable and held responsible for their mistake and mismanagement of this catastrophic event.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Genealogy of Macrine's Maternal Side-The Nievas

It is summer time and time for family reunions. The Nievas of the World will probably be have a reunion in the Philppines or here in US sometime this year or next year. Hopefully, Macrine and I could attend this time.
Macrine Nieva Jambalos and husband, David Balleza Katague of Marinduque and Northern California toasting champagne during their Golden Wedding Anniversary, Boac, Marinduque, Philippines,2007

In 2003, there was a reunion of the Nieva clan in the Philippines organized by Rene Elizalde Nieva, Macrine's first cousin. We were invited but not able to attend. Rene wrote in his invitation that he is in the process of writing a book about the Nieva clan. He said the book will be privately published with limited printing which will include a general history starting on the possible roots of the Nieva family as well as the achievements of various members of the clan and their contribution to the betterment of Marinduque and of the Philippines. As of this writing date, I have not heard on the status of Rene's book.

In his invitation he invited all the direct and indirect descendants of the children and spouses of Calixto Nieva and Epifania Morente. Note that Rene is the great-grandson of Calixto Nieva and Macrine is also the great-granddaughter of Calixto Nieva , thus Rene and Macrine are first cousins.

I just can not believe that my six grand children are now the great-great-great grand children of Calixto Nieva and Epifania Morente.

Calixto and Epifania Morente had six children, four boys and two girls as follows (from oldest to youngest) along with their spouses.

1.Juan Nieva had two wives. The first wife was Isabel Decena. When Isabel died Juan remarried Elvira Sarmiento. Juan Nieva is both Macrine's and Rene's grandfather. He was the first governor of Marinduque and also the grandfather of the outgoing Governor. Rene and Macrine are first cousin of Jose Antonio (Bong) Nieva Carrion, the outgoing Governor of Marinduque.

2.Victoria Nieva married Doroteo Mercader

3.Dionisio Nieva married Salud de la Santa

4.Gregorio Nieva married Maria Arevalo

5.Jose Nieva married Trinidad Carmona

6.Rosita Nieva married Dr Angel Mayuga

Rene's invitation also included the descendants of the brothers of Calixto, namely Pedro and Francisco Nieva. It also included the brothers and sisters of Epifania Morente, which included not just the Morentes but also the Roceses, Abadas, Trinidads and the Kasilags. Incidentally, the Reyeses are second cousins of Macrine and the other Nievas of Marinduque.

This article will concentrate on the descendants of Juan Nieva and his two wives, Isabel Decena from Santa Cruz and Elvira Sarmiento from Buenavista..

Children of Juan Nieva and Isabel Decena ( from Oldest to Youngest)

1.Calixto Nieva married Juanita Jambalos
2.Blanca Nieva- single was killed by the Japanese during World War II
3.Elena Nieva married Bernardo Jambalos, Jr ( brother of Juanita)

Children of Juan Nieva and Elvira Sarmiento(from Oldest to Youngest)

1.Guillermo ( Willie) Nieva married Dr Celina Elizalde
2.Rosario Nieva married Ramon Carrion
3.Ester Nieva married Rafael Seno
4.Monica Nieva married Conrado Luarca
5.Elizabeth Nieva married Romulo Santo Domingo
6.Asuncion Nieva married Dr. Rafael Ocampo
7.Fr Constantino Nieva- single

For the purpose of this article, I will discuss only the descendants of Elena Nieva and Bernardo Jambalos, Jr. They have seven children as follows: ( From Oldest to Youngest)

1.Macrine Nieva Jambalos- married David B Katague from Iloilo ( that's me)
2.Sister Guia Jambalos- Order of the Cenacle-single
3.Bernardo Jambalos III married Loreta Mercader
4.Fe Jambalos married Edgardo Lazarte
5.Edgar Jambalos ( deceased) married Asuncion Pagalunan
6.Jean Jambalos married Mitch Maeda
7.Rosario Jambalos married Michael Levin

Note that Rene Nieva is the oldest son of Guillermo Nieva and Dr. Celina Elizalde. The younger brother of Rene, Yong is my partner in our literary project, I left my Heart in Marinduque ( not San Francisco). http://marinduqueonmymind.blogspot.com

Macrine's telephone buddy and first cousin from Vancouver, BC, Canada Olga Luarca Quiazon is the oldest daughter of Monica and Conrado Luarca

The outgoing governor of Marinduque is the second son of Rosario Nieva and Ramon Carrion

This posting continues with the offspring of Macrine Jambalos and David B. Katague. They have 4 children and six grandchildren as follows:

1.Dodie( Diosdado) Katague married Ruth Carver- They have 3 children, Philip Winchester, Alexandra and Marina Katague
2.Dinah E Katague married David E King- They have 2 children, Ian and Elaine King
3.David E III-single
4.Ditas Macrine Katague married Nick Thompson- They have one child, Carenna Nicole Thompson

Fe Jambalos has two daughters, Lanie and Ella
Jean Jambalos has two daughters, Yuri and Yuka
Rosario has two children, Carlos and Zehara
Asuncion and Edgar( deceased) Jambalos has three sons, Edmund, Nonoy and Jhun-Jhun and a daughter, Marilyn
Bernardo Jambalos III has five children and three grandchildren as of this writing date.

Accomplishments of the children of David B and Macrine J. Katague are discussed in detail at
http://theintellectualmigrant.blogspot.com

Some Interesting Vignettes:

The marriage of Calixto and Juanita Jambalos was not approved by their father Don Juan Nieva. Juanita was the daughter of a barrio businessman from Laylay. During those time, if you are from the barrios, you are not welcome or accepted to the social group of the main town of Boac. The Jambalos family although well off were considered TAGABUKID ( from the bonies). Don Juan Nieva wanted his lawyer son to marry Enriqueta Nepomuceno, one of the popular socialites in Boac. When Juanita died, Calixto did not marry again. Soon Calixto also died and every one in town claimed he died with a broken heart. Enriqueta in the meantime was waiting for Calixto. Enriqueta never married and died as a spinster.

Blanca Nieva graduated from Nursing School at Philippine General Hospital and was earning well. When their father died, she helped in sending her half-sister Rosario to College. She supported her sister and spoiled her by dressing her up to maintain her place in the high society of Boac at that time.

Elena, is the third child of Isabel Decena from Santa Cruz. Isabel died giving birth to Elena. Elena was therefore nursed by the sister of Isabel, Regina Decena Reforma. Elena and Policarpio Reforma ( son of Regina) shared the same breast milk of Tia Regina. When Elena was five years old, she and sister Blanca as well as brother Calixto, were brought to Boac where their father Juan Nieva remarried Elvira Sarmiento from Buenavista.

Elena grew up under the care of Lola Victoria ( sister of Juan Nieva). They lived in the old Nieva Building at the foot of the hill leading to Mataas Na Bayan. Elena later went to college at the University of the Philippines and finished her Bachelor Degree in Education.

When Juanita Jambalos-Nieva( wife of Calixto) died during childbirth, Elena and Bernardo Jambalos II ( brother of Juanita) were made in-charged of bringing the corpse from Manila back to Marinduque.
During the trip, people mistook them as husband and wife. Their romance started then and later were married at the Boac Catholic Church.

Today, if I had to guess, there should be more than seven hundred members of the Nieva clan, just based on the six children of Calixto Nieva and Epifania Morente all over the world. If you include the descendants of Pedro and Francisco Nieva, the two brothers of Calixto, it could reached to more than a thousand Nievas all over the universe. If you are a member of this clan, please let me know. Someday, I may be able to trace the Nieva genealogy all the way to Spain, as I did with my mothers name "Balleza", several years ago. My e-mail is in this site and I am also in Face Book.
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