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!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Marinduque-A Gardener's Paradise





As an avid gardener, I found the climate of Marinduque ideal for growing not only orchids, hibiscus and bougainvillas but also euphorbias, cacti, succulents,plumerias and Ylang Ylang trees. Most of the above plants are easy to grow and almost pest- free except for the two varieties of hibiscus ( white and yellow). The top photo is my favorite orchid, a blue orchid called "The Princess Mikasa".The middle photo is my Ylang Ylang flowers. The bottom photo is my favorite hibiscus, a canary-yellow(light orange) variety. If you need additional information on the culture of the above plants, please let me know.

My collection of orchids and hibiscus is posted on my blog

http://chateaudumer.blogspot.com.

My collection of euphorbias and cacti is posted on my blog

http://planningtovisitthephilippines.blogspot.com

My collection of bougainvillas is posted on my blog

http://economicdisasterphilippines.blogspot.com

Do I do all the gardening by myself? The answer is no, I do "gardening by m0uth", since I have two full time gardeners maintaining the landscaping for the five acres of beach resort property. I bet you are envious! I do not blame you for feeling that way. Enjoy the flowers! Cheers! Have a Good Day to You ALL!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Marinduque-A Photographer's Delight


Marinduque is a photoblogger dream. The province is endowed with unspoiled white sand beaches, pristine blue waters, fringing reefs, virgin coral reefs, coves, limestone caves, meandering rivers, mountain peaks, cascading waterfalls and streams, fabled sulfur and hot mineral springs, old churches and of course beautiful sunsets. The Internet is filled with photographs of the scenic beauty of this island not only from the local amateur and professional photographers but also from photographers all over the world. The province has more than six islands popular to beach lovers, scuba divers and snorkeling enthusiasts. It has also Mt Malindig known to mountain climbers and hikers. It has Bathala and Tarug Caves popular to spelunkers and just curious seekers. In one of the eight caves of Bathala, there is a resident python, believed to be enchanted. If he shows himself when you visit the caves, it is suppose to bring you good luck.
Sunset over Tres Reyes Islands- Photo from panoramnio.com
The nearest and most accessible islands from the capital town of Boac are the Tres Reyes Islands ( Islands of the Three Kings), Gaspar, Melchor and Baltazar in the town of Gasan. The local names are Laki, Pangkog and Man-nga ( see map above). These islands are located southwest of the mainland. The other three group of islands bigger in area and more populated are Polo, Maniwaya and Mongpong Islands. These are located in the Northeast part of the mainland in the town of Santa Cruz. Maniwaya's Polo Maria White Beach is being develop as an alternative to Boracay. There is a bigger island, Salamongue Island which is not as well known to the tourists and residents.. I really do not know the reason, but I believe it is not as accessible from the mainland . Moreover, it is not as developed( no electricity or running water) compared to the other islands.

One of the most popular white beach located in the mainland in the town of Torrijos is Poctoy White Beach. It is about a 70 minutes drive from downtown Boac. Poctoy White beach with Mt, Malindig as the background is the most photogenic and the most photographed scenery in the island.

Two or three years ago, the former Elephant Island in Lipata, Buenavista, owned privately, was renamed Bellarocca Resort Island and Spa. It has been converted to look like Santorini Island, Greece with buildings all painted in white sticking in the cliffs. From what I heard, this resort is one of the most expensive and luxurious resort in Southeast Asia. The cheapest room charges $300 per night excluding meals and other amenities. When I was in Marinduque last year, I met a few rich and famous Filipinos( businessmen, actors and actresses, TV personalities)) from Manila as well as Korean and Japanese tourists at Masiga Airport in Gasan on their way to the resort. From the resort advertisement, I know that the most expensive accommodation is a 3-bedroom villa with its own pool and jacussi charging about $ 800 per night without meals.

MI, Inc members stayed overnight at the resort with a dinner and dance last February 14, 2011-celebrating Valentine's Day and the success of the 2011 medical mission.

Dong Ho, Oggie Ramos, Ferdz Decena, Allan Barredo, Sydney Snoeck and Dennis Villegas are some of the photographers that I know who have photo blogs about Marinduque. Their pictures are beautiful, unique and mesmerizing. It is worth your time to visit their photo blogs sites. Looking at their photographs of Marinduque, its Tradition and Culture will surely make you proud of the beauty of our island paradise.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Marinduque on MY Mind-Marinduque Calling!


Last Saturday, the Marinduque First Saturday Movers, Inc. sponsored a seminar workshop on the Tourism Potential of Marinduque. This was specifically addressed to the private sector. The theme of the workshop was " Marinduque on My Mind". It was well attended by hotel or resort owners or their representatives, restaurant owners or their representatives, transportation services personnel , the academia, handicraft manufacturers, tour operators, the media and all private businesses with direct or indirect connections to tourism. Atty. Araceli Villanueva was the consultant and master of ceremonies was Dr. Roby Montellano. Atty Milton Mendoza and Gen Recaredo Sarmiento represented the Movers, Inc. Dr Romulo Malvar, President of MSC gave the main address with presentation of The Tourist Potential of the Province based on the research of Dr Labay, a professor of Tourism in the college.


The seminar was worth my time, very informative and inspiring. It reminded me of my first blog about Marinduque that I wrote sometime in 2008- Marinduque Calling as follows:




My wish and dream in the near future is to see Marinduque become a worldwide tourist destination not only on Easter week but also whole year round. Marinduque has unspoiled white beaches comparable to Boracay Island, Aklan. It has also caves, waterfalls, hot and sulfur springs, snorkeling/diving sites and mountains to explore. Moreover, its proximity to Manila compared to Boracay is a plus and advantage. Boracay is overcrowded and too commercialized for my taste. With the exception of Easter week, Marinduque has no traffic congestion. The skies and ocean waters are clear blue.

There are now modern hotels in Boac and Santa Cruz, as well as several beach resorts offering comfort (hot water and air conditioning) to foreign guests as well as balikbayan tourists from US, Canada and other parts of the world.

Last Easter, I have guests from France. They had a wonderful time not only enjoying the Moriones festivities but also the beaches, caves, waterfalls and cuisine of Marinduque. Next year, I had already reservations from guests in US and Canada.

I hope to see some of you soon in Marinduque-my island paradise.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Tired of City Living? Visit Marinduque Island


Sunset at Low Tide as viewed from the Balcony of the Beach House

There are hundreds of tourist destinations in the Philippines. However, my favorite destination is Marinduque Island , a sleepy, unspoiled and scenic island, south of Manila. It is not world renown as Boracay Island, Aklan. However, the island has white beaches, underground caves, hot and sulfur springs, waterfalls and Mt Malindig as well as several diving sites and numerous snorkeling sites around the island.

One of my friends in US, a retiree like myself calls the island "A Heaven on Earth", where you could live like a king for less than $1000 US dollars a month complete with a driver and a maid and an abundance of fresh seafood everyday if you wish . I called it my island paradise, because there is no pollution and not much traffic except on Easter Week, when tourists from Manila and other parts of the world attend the Moriones Festival. But that is only one week out of 52 weeks. The rest of the year, you could relax, enjoy the sun and live like a king or queen, again with less than $1000(US)a month.

Chateau Du Mer Beach Resort and Conference Center,formerly a private resort and retirement property is now open to the public. For details visit the website. www.chateaudumer.com

For information about Marinduque, visit the provincial website, www.marinduque.gov.ph

For travel blogs on the island, visit, http://eazytraveler.blogsspot.com/2008/04/marinduque

or Moriones Festival 2007 @clicktheCity.com.travel or guides.clickthecity.com/travel

or http://instaurareperomniachristo.blogspot.com/2008/04/marinduque

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Moving is an Adventure

photo from topviralpictures.com
Although, I am not in the US navy or army, my family have moved nine times from the 1960's to 2002 . Most of these moves were paid by my employers. These moves are either intercity or interstate., voluntary or involuntary. Each move is for a different reason, but it is always an adventure, filled with anxiety and hopes for a better life and new experiences . The places we have lived are as follows:
Chicago, Illinois ( 2 moves), Kansas City, Missouri ( 3 moves), Modesto, California (2 moves), Pinole, California ( 2 moves), Silver Spring, MD and Sacramento, California. .

Our first interstate move was from Chicago,Illinois to Kansas City, Missouri in 1964. After my graduation with a PhD. Degree from the University of Illinois in Chicago, I was got my first industrial job in Kansas City, Missouri. The move was paid by my employer, Chemagro Corporation. The movers packed and unpacked every thing we owned which was not much. We first rented a 3 bedroom house in Gladstone, Missouri, right in town. The family( Macrine and three kids) got involved with the local church and country club activities. The house was right in town and after two years, our landlord wanted to sell his property, so we were forced to rent another house nearby. This house is more secluded with an undeveloped land in our backyard. At the back of the property is a small creek, where our three kids love to play. We are always on our toes if they play on the creek, since we are afraid an accident may happened. An accident did happened, when our little David scrapped his knees and had to be driven to the emergency room for several stitches. Macrine was so scared ( too much blood), she did not realized she was driving in second gear on her way to the hospital. On our fourth year in Kansas City, we decided to buy our first house in Park Woods, Missouri, North of Kansas City. The house was a 4 -bedroom ranch with a one acre of lot. We called it “The Nipa Hut”. Our Christmas Parties with the Filipino-American community in the area was featured in the two local newspapers, The Dispatch and Kansas City Star. We live in the Kansas City area for 5 years,.

Our next move was to Modesto, California. Modesto is in the heart of Stanislaus County, a part of California Central Valley- a farming community in 1969. This was a voluntary move. After five years of Midwest weather, I wanted to move to California for a better paying job and climate. With the move, I got a 20% raise and fulfill my wish to live in a warmer climate. My new employer paid again all our moving expenses, including relocation expenses. Shell Development Company also paid for our hotel expenses and help us in the purchase of a new home in Modesto, right in town. By this time we had 4 kids and decided to apply for American citizenship. It was granted in 1972. Our citizenship party was featured in the Modesto Bee- a local newspaper. Macrine at this time wanted to have a gift shoppe where she could sell Philippine handicrafts and other gift products from the Philippines. So we decided to sell our house right in town and purchase a farm house with a gift shop in front at Skittone Rd, right in the border of Modesto and Salida. The gift shop was doing well, but after five years in Modesto, Shell Development decided to close their agricultural research and move all of it to Houston, Texas. Since we do not want to move to Texas, I decided to look for another job close to San Francisco or in the East Bay.

I was lucky to find another research chemist job with Stauffer Chemical Company in Richmond, California in 1974. We purchase a new house in Pinole, walking distance to the High School. We selected Pinole, since it had a “Debate-Forensic Program” that our oldest son wanted. When we move from Modesto, our oldest son said, he will never forget the fact, that we uprooted him from his high school at Beyer where he was active in the forensic team. So his requirement was that we move to a place where there is a local forensic team in the high school. When all the kids graduated from high school, we decided to move from our 2-story house to a ranch type house in the same area. This was instigated, when one day, I sprained my ankle playing tennis and I had a hard time climbing the stairs to our bedroom. So we move to Silvercrest Rd up in the hill with a nice view of the San Pablo Bay. This time we do the moving ourselves. Since it was only about 2 miles from our former house, it was not a hard move, although we have to hire a local moving company for the heavy furniture and appliances. The expenses for this move came from our own pockets. In this ranch home on the hill with a view, we hold several parties for the University of the Philippines Alumni Association, Berkeley Chapter, when I was President at that time,1988-1989.

In 1990, my new employer, Chevron Chemical Company, decided to close their agricultural division in Richmond. This time I promised to myself, I will never work for a private company due to stability concerns. My goal was to work either for the State or the Federal government. My chance to work for the Federal government came when the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hired me as a review chemist and later Team Leader, after I attended a Job Fair in San Francisco in 1990. Luckily at that time, the Federal government had a budget for relocation expenses for employees under their Special Hiring Program. So without touching anything, the federal government paid for all our relocation expenses and also help us find a new house in Maryland. We found a ranch type home in Colesville, MD, north of Silver Spring. We live there for 12 years until my retirement in 2002.

The latest move we had was in 2002 from Maryland to Sacramento, California. Why retire in the Sacramento Area? We want to be near our children and grandchildren, so at least we could help in baby sitting. Our youngest daughter and husband live not too far from us. and our two other children in Walnut Creek, about a 90 minutes drive. This move was our hardest move. We had to pay for all the moving expenses. After a garage sale, giving away some of our possessions to friends, relatives and neighbors, we still have more than 500 boxes plus two cars to transport across the continent. Since we were not sure where to buy a house in the Sacramento area, we decided to rent first. After one year, we decided to purchase another ranch type house in the city of Fair Oaks, the Eastern suburb of Sacramento. We love it here in Fair Oaks. It is convenient to shopping malls, the casinos (Thunder Valley and Red Oaks) and of course to my Pangga, Carenna. For details about our life in the various locations listed above, please visit my web site. http://theintellectualmigrant.blogspot.com

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

My Favorite Filipino Dishes


Kare-tripe and ox tail in peanut butter Sauce ( photo from lakbay.com)


Lumpia Shanghai (photo from photobucket.com)


Halo-Halo for Merienda( photo from freeweb.com)

My wife and I have resided here in the US since 1960. We have adapted to hamburgers, hot dogs, salad, cottage cheese, yogurt and typical US cuisine, fast foods, as well as filipino dishes that we craved once in a while. Cooking filipino food here is no longer a problem, since you can purchase ingredients in the Filipino-American store or an Oriental store(Chinese, Korean or Japanese). In the 1960's there was only one Filipino store near our residence in Chicago. We oftentimes have to shop in China Town downtown. Today, there are Filipino grocery stores in most medium-sized and big cities in US to cater to the expanding population of Filipino Americans who had immigrated to US in the 1980's.

We have resided in several cities here in US ( Sacramento, Pinole, Modesto, CA, Chicago, Kansas City and Maryland). Every time we moved, my first job was to look at the telephone directory for the nearest oriental or filipino store to our house.

The above two main dishes and one dessert or merienda are some of the dishes that my wife loves to cook every now and then to satiate our longing for filipino dishes. Not pictured are pancit( a noodle dish), Chicken or pork adobo( cooked in water-vinegar mixture), chicken afritada,(a chicken dish cooked in tomato sauce with potatoes and green peppers) and deboned and stuffed chicken called relleno. The above dishes are also the favorites of our children who grew up here in US and does not really know the cuisine of the Philippines.

Our children are brown and looked very Filipino, but they are as American as apple pie. In their college years, some of their friends called them “coconuts”. Their friends would comment, “ you guys are brown outside but very white inside”. That indeed is the truth!

My wife is an excellent cook. The saying " the way to a man's heart is through his stomach", applies to our life. When we were student at the University of the Philippines our romance was on and off, since I was not really ready to get married.
One day before my 21st birthday (we have not talked or seen each other for almost a year), I was surprise to receive a birthday gift from her. Her gift was a chiffon orange cake that she baked from scratch. It was the most delicious cake I have ever eaten. It reignited our romance and we started dating again. The next year we got married. I was only 22 years old at that time. The next year, we had our oldest son and I was already in US doing graduate work at the University of Illinois in Chicago.

Do you have a favorite filipino dish or an some other native dish of your country of origin? I will appreciate if you share it with me and my readers.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Time for Some Senior Jokes

Image from swapmeetdave.com
The following jokes were sent to me recently by a friend from the Philippines. I am sharing it with you. I hope that after reading these jokes, you smile, but also appreciate what the senior citizens of today ( including myself) are experiencing. Some of these sufferings are incontinence, hard of hearing, aches and pains, lapse of memory ( senior moment) and loss of libido. If you are a senior citizen and do not have any of the above symptoms, congratulations are in order. Here are the four of my favorite jokes, illustrating the above sufferings that are part of growing old.

1. Two elderly gentlemen from a retirement center were sitting on a bench and just bullshitting to pass the time. One turn to the other and says " John, I am 83 years old and I am just full of aches and pains. I know you are about my age. How do you feel?.
John answers, I feel like a new born baby.
Really! ? Like a new born baby?
Yep. No hair, no teeth, and I think I just wet my pants.

2. The boss walked into the office one morning not knowing his zipper was down and his fly wide open. His secretary walked up to him and said, This morning when you left your house, did you close your garage door? The boss said yes but was puzzled by the question. Later on, he noticed his fly was open and zipped it up and understood his secretary's question
Later, he headed out for coffee and paused by his secretary desk and ask, When my garage door was open did you see my Hummer parked in there?
She smiled and said No, I did not. All I saw was an old minivan with two flat tires.

3. Three old guys were walking.
First one says, Windy, isn't It?
Second one says, No, its Thursday!
Third one says, So am I, Let go get some beer.


4. A little old man shuffled into an ice cream parlor and pulled himself slowly, painfully up into a stool. After catching his breath, he ordered a banana split.
The waitress asked kindly, " Crushed nuts?
No, he replied, " Arthritis ".

I hope the above jokes made you laugh a little, and add a little spice in your daily routine. Comments anyone?
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