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, August 31, 2012

Earthquake in the Philippines and the Balearic Islands



When I woke up this morning, the first thing I saw while checking my FaceBook page was a short message from a friend asking me if my family is ok. I told him my family is still in US and my relatives in the Philippines are in another island not directly affected by the earthquake.

In case you have not heard , a 7.6 to 7.9 intensity quake hit the Eastern part of Mindanao yesterday. Several homes were destroyed and one child was killed as of this writing date. I am sure more damage will be be reported in the next couple of days.

So what is the connection of this earthquake in Eastern Mindanao to Balearic Islands in Spain? :Let me explain. My Facebook friend who inquired about my family is from Menorca in the Balearic Island, Spain. Evidently, he was also reading the news at the same time I was surfing my FaceBook page. We were able to chat for about 10 minutes. I learned he owns two hotels in Menorca with 100 beds. I also learned that the tourism business in Menorca has not been affected by the poor economic conditions in Europe. As a matter of fact tourism is up 15% this year. Most of the tourist comes from Northern Europe. Menorca is only about 40 minutes plane ride from Barcelona and one hour from Madrid.

This conversation aroused my interest about the Balearic Island and specifically Menorca,(also spelled as Minorca) where the two hotels of my friend are located. He has two websites, Calabona.net and Marblava.com in case you are interested in vacationing to Menorca, Balearic Islands, Spain. Here's a short summary in the net about the Balearic Islands for your information.

The Balearic Islands are an archipelago of Spain in the western Mediterranean Sea, near the eastern coast of the Iberian Peninsula. The four largest islands are: Majorca, Minorca, Ibiza and Formentera. The archipelago forms an autonomous community and a province of Spain, with Palma as the capital city. The co-official languages in the Balearic Islands are Catalan and Castilian Spanish. The current Statute of Autonomy declares the Balearic Islands as one nationality of Spain.

The island of Minorca was a British dependency for most of the 18th century as a result of the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht. This treaty—signed by the Kingdom of Great Britain and the Kingdom of Portugal as well as the Kingdom of Spain, to end the conflict caused by the War of the Spanish Succession--gave Gibraltar and Minorca to the Kingdom of Great Britain, Sardinia to Austria (both territories had been part of the Crown of Aragon for more than four centuries), and Sicily to the House of Savoy. In addition, Flanders and other European territories of the Spanish Crown were given to Austria. The island fell to French forces, under Armand de Vignerot du Plessis in June 1756 and was occupied by them for the duration of the Seven Years' War. The British re-occupied the island after the war but, with their military forces diverted away by the American War of Independence, it fell to a Franco-Spanish force after a seven-month siege (1781/2). Spain retained it under the Treaty of Paris in 1783. However during the French Revolutionary Wars, when Spain became an ally of France, it came under French rule.

Minorca was finally returned to Spain by the Treaty of Amiens during the French Revolutionary Wars, following the last British occupation, which lasted from 1798 to 1802. The continued presence of British naval forces, however, meant that the Balaerics were never occupied by the French during the Napoleonic Wars. The main islands of the autonomous are Majorca (Mallorca), Minorca (Menorca), Ibiza (Eivissa) and Formentera, all of which are popular tourist destinations. Among the minor islands is Cabrera, which is the location of the Parc Nacional de l'Arxipèlag de Cabrera.

The history of these islands is indeed very fascinating. Today, I am glad my Facebook friend chatted with me this morning. It gave me an inspiration to read more information about this tourist spots in Europe. Please note that my family and I had spent one week of vacation in Southern Spain ( Costa del Sol, Marbella, Malaga and the Rock of Gibraltar) about 10 years ago. Please visit my friend's websites at calabona.net or at marblava.com if you get a chance.

I hope yesterday's earthquake in the Philippines did not cause a lot of damage and loss of lives.

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Is Reverse Mortgage for You?


For the last six months I have been thinking about reverse mortgages to supplement my income as a retiree. We purchased our home about 10 years ago and have 5 more years to go (15-year conventional loan). However, since the investment market(our source of income plus SS payments) has been flat the last two years, reverse mortgages is very tempting to supplement our income. The following article was published by the Federal Trade Commission and updated on March, 2011. I found the article very informative.

"If you’re 62 or older – and looking for money to finance a home improvement, pay off your current mortgage, supplement your retirement income, or pay for health care expenses – you may be considering a reverse mortgage. It’s a product that allows you to convert part of the equity in your home into cash without having to sell your home or pay additional monthly bills.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, wants you to understand how reverse mortgages work, the types of reverse mortgages available, and how to get the best deal.

In a “regular” mortgage, you make monthly payments to the lender. In a “reverse” mortgage, you receive money from the lender, and generally don’t have to pay it back for as long as you live in your home. The loan is repaid when you die, sell your home, or when your home is no longer your primary residence. The proceeds of a reverse mortgage generally are tax-free, and many reverse mortgages have no income restrictions.

Types of Reverse Mortgages
There are three types of reverse mortgages:

1. Single-purpose reverse mortgages, offered by some state and local government agencies and nonprofit organizations
2. Federally-insured reverse mortgages, known as Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECMs) and backed by the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
3. Proprietary reverse mortgages, private loans that are backed by the companies that develop them

Single-purpose reverse mortgages are the least expensive option. They are not available everywhere and can be used for only one purpose, which is specified by the government or nonprofit lender. For example, the lender might say the loan may be used only to pay for home repairs, improvements, or property taxes. Most homeowners with low or moderate income can qualify for these loans.

HECMs and proprietary reverse mortgages may be more expensive than traditional home loans, and the upfront costs can be high. That’s important to consider, especially if you plan to stay in your home for just a short time or borrow a small amount. HECM loans are widely available, have no income or medical requirements, and can be used for any purpose.

Before applying for a HECM, you must meet with a counselor from an independent government-approved housing counseling agency. Some lenders offering proprietary reverse mortgages also require counseling. The counselor is required to explain the loan’s costs and financial implications, and possible alternatives to a HECM, like government and nonprofit programs or a single-purpose or proprietary reverse mortgage. The counselor also should be able to help you compare the costs of different types of reverse mortgages and tell you how different payment options, fees, and other costs affect the total cost of the loan over time. To find a counselor, visit www.hud.gov/offices/hsg/sfh/hecm/hecmlist.cfm or call 1-800-569-4287. Most counseling agencies charge around $125 for their services. The fee can be paid from the loan proceeds, but you cannot be turned away if you can’t afford the fee.

How much you can borrow with a HECM or proprietary reverse mortgage depends on several factors, including your age, the type of reverse mortgage you select, the appraised value of your home, and current interest rates. In general, the older you are, the more equity you have in your home, and the less you owe on it, the more money you can get.

The HECM lets you choose among several payment options. You can select:

a “term” option – fixed monthly cash advances for a specific time.
a “tenure” option – fixed monthly cash advances for as long as you live in your home.
a line of credit that lets you draw down the loan proceeds at any time in amounts you choose until you have used up the line of credit.
a combination of monthly payments and a line of credit.
You can change your payment option any time for about $20.

HECMs generally provide bigger loan advances at a lower total cost compared with proprietary loans. But if you own a higher-valued home, you may get a bigger loan advance from a proprietary reverse mortgage. So if your home has a higher appraised value and you have a small mortgage, you may qualify for more funds.

Loan Features
Reverse mortgage loan advances are not taxable, and generally don’t affect your Social Security or Medicare benefits. You retain the title to your home, and you don’t have to make monthly repayments. The loan must be repaid when the last surviving borrower dies, sells the home, or no longer lives in the home as a principal residence.

In the HECM program, a borrower can live in a nursing home or other medical facility for up to 12 consecutive months before the loan must be repaid.

If you’re considering a reverse mortgage, be aware that:
Lenders generally charge an origination fee, a mortgage insurance premium (for federally-insured HECMs), and other closing costs for a reverse mortgage. Lenders also may charge servicing fees during the term of the mortgage. The lender sometimes sets these fees and costs, although origination fees for HECM reverse mortgages currently are dictated by law. Your upfront costs can be lowered if you borrow a smaller amount through a reverse mortgage product called a "HECM Saver."
The amount you owe on a reverse mortgage grows over time. Interest is charged on the outstanding balance and added to the amount you owe each month. That means your total debt increases as the loan funds are advanced to you and interest on the loan accrues.
Although some reverse mortgages have fixed rates, most have variable rates that are tied to a financial index: they are likely to change with market conditions.
Reverse mortgages can use up all or some of the equity in your home, and leave fewer assets for you and your heirs. Most reverse mortgages have a “nonrecourse” clause, which prevents you or your estate from owing more than the value of your home when the loan becomes due and the home is sold. However, if you or your heirs want to retain ownership of the home, you usually must repay the loan in full – even if the loan balance is greater than the value of the home.
Because you retain title to your home, you are responsible for property taxes, insurance, utilities, fuel, maintenance, and other expenses. If you don’t pay property taxes, carry homeowner’s insurance, or maintain the condition of your home, your loan may become due and payable.
Interest on reverse mortgages is not deductible on income tax returns until the loan is paid off in part or whole.


Getting a Good Deal

If you’re considering a reverse mortgage, shop around. Compare your options and the terms various lenders offer. Learn as much as you can about reverse mortgages before you talk to a counselor or lender. That can help inform the questions you ask that could lead to a better deal.

If you want to make a home repair or improvement – or you need help paying your property taxes – find out if you qualify for any low-cost single-purpose loans in your area. Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) generally know about these programs. To find the nearest agency, visit www.eldercare.gov or call 1-800-677-1116. Ask about “loan or grant programs for home repairs or improvements,” or “property tax deferral” or “property tax postponement” programs, and how to apply.
All HECM lenders must follow HUD rules. And while the mortgage insurance premium is the same from lender to lender, most loan costs, including the origination fee, interest rate, closing costs, and servicing fees vary among lenders.
If you live in a higher-valued home, you may be able to borrow more with a proprietary reverse mortgage, but the more you borrow, the higher your costs. The best way to see key differences between a HECM and a proprietary loan is to do a side-by-side comparison of costs and benefits. Many HECM counselors and lenders can give you this important information.
No matter what type of reverse mortgage you’re considering, understand all the conditions that could make the loan due and payable. Ask a counselor or lender to explain the Total Annual Loan Cost (TALC) rates: they show the projected annual average cost of a reverse mortgage, including all the itemized costs.
Be Wary of Sales Pitches
Some sellers may offer you goods or services, like home improvement services, and then suggest that a reverse mortgage would be an easy way to pay for them. If you decide you need what’s being offered, shop around before deciding on any particular seller. Keep in mind that the total cost of the product or service is the price the seller quotes plus the costs – and fees – tied to getting the reverse mortgage.

Some who offer reverse mortgages may pressure you to buy other financial products, like an annuity or long term care insurance. Resist that pressure. You don’t have to buy any products or services to get a reverse mortgage (except to maintain the adequate homeowners or hazard insurance that HUD and other lenders require). In fact, in some situations, it’s illegal to require you to buy other products to get a reverse mortgage.

The bottom line: If you don’t understand the cost or features of a reverse mortgage or any other product offered to you – or if there is pressure or urgency to complete the deal – walk away and take your business elsewhere. Consider seeking the advice of a family member, friend, or someone else you trust.

Your Right to Cancel
With most reverse mortgages, you have at least three business days after closing to cancel the deal for any reason, without penalty. To cancel, you must notify the lender in writing. Send your letter by certified mail, and ask for a return receipt. That will allow you to document what the lender received and when. Keep copies of your correspondence and any enclosures. After you cancel, the lender has 20 days to return any money you’ve paid up to then for the financing.

Reporting Possible Fraud
If you suspect that someone involved in the transaction may be violating the law, let the counselor, lender, or loan servicer know. Then, file a complaint with:

the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). You can do that online at www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov or by phone at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).
your state Attorney General’s office or state banking regulatory agency.
Whether a reverse mortgage is right for you is a big question. Consider all your options. You may qualify for less costly alternatives. The following organizations have more information:

Reverse Mortgage Education Project
AARP Foundation
601 E Street, NW
Washington, DC 20049
www.aarp.org/revmort
1-800-209-8085

U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
451 7th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20410
www.hud.gov/offices/hsg/sfh/hecm/rmtopten.cfm
1-800-CALL-FHA (1-800-225-5342)

Federal Trade Commission
Consumer Response Center
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20580
www.ftc.gov/bcp/menus/consumer/credit.shtm — Click on “Mortgages & Your Home”
1-877-FTC-HELP (?1-877-382-4357)

The FTC works to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop and avoid them. To file a complaint or get free information on consumer issues, visit ftc.gov or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. Watch a video, How to File a Complaint, at ftc.gov/video to learn more. The FTC enters consumer complaints into the Consumer Sentinel Network, a secure online database and investigative tool used by hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad".

I hope you find the above article informative. Any comments?

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Thursday, August 30, 2012

My Big Fat Greek Wedding



My Big Fat Greek Wedding is a 2002 Canadian and American romantic comedy film written by and starring Nia Vardalos and directed by Joel Zwick. The film is centered on Fotoula "Toula" Portokalos (Nia Vardalos), a middle class Greek American woman who falls in love with a non-Greek upper middle class "White Anglo-Saxon Protestant" Ian Miller (John Corbett). At the 75th Academy Awards, it was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. A sleeper hit, the film grossed $241.4 million in North America, despite never reaching number one at the box office during its release (the highest-grossing film to accomplish this feat).

Fotoula "Toula" Portokalos (Nia Vardalos) is going through an early midlife crisis. At thirty, she is the only woman in her family who has "failed". Her family expects her to "marry a Greek boy, make Greek babies, and feed everyone until the day she dies. Instead, Toula is stuck working in the family business, a restaurant, "Dancing Zorba's". In contrast to her "perfect" sister, Athena (Stavroula Logothetis), Toula is frumpy and cynical. She fears she's doomed to be stuck with her life as it is.

At the restaurant, she briefly sees Ian Miller, a handsome school teacher. This event, combined with an argument with her overly-patriotic father, Gus - who merely wants his daughter to marry and settle down rather than pursue a career - motivates her to begin taking computer classes at a local college. She also gets contact lenses, wears her hair curly, and begins to use makeup. Maria, her mother, and her aunt Voula (Andrea Martin) then contrive a way to get Gus to allow her to work at Voula's travel agency.

Toula feels much better in her new job, especially when she notices Ian hanging around looking at her through the window. They finally introduce themselves and begin dating. Toula keeps the relationship secret from her family until some weeks later when Gus finds out. He throws a fit because Ian is not Greek and orders Toula to end the relationship, but Ian and Toula continue to see each other against Gus's wishes. Ian proposes marriage to her, she accepts. Gus is hurt and infuriated, feeling his daughter has betrayed him, and Ian agrees to be baptized in the Greek Orthodox Church and speak fluent Greek to be worthy of her family.


The wedding day dawns with liveliness and hysteria, but the traditional wedding itself goes without a hitch. Gus gives a speech accepting Ian and the Millers as family and buys the newlyweds a house right next door to him. An epilogue shows the new couple's life six years later in which they have a daughter, Paris, whom they raise in the Greek style, but Toula tells her she can marry anyone she wants when she grows up after she says she wants to go to Brownies instead of Greek school.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

An Inspiration for the Youth of Marinduque

One of Marinduque's Gorgeous Sunsets as seen from the Balcony of the Chateau Du Mer Beach House

Reading the article below, gives me hope that there is a bright future for the youth in the province of Marinduque. I urged our youth to get more involved in the political activities of the province, for without their participation, Marinduque may revert back to the dark ages. The article below is written by Pipo Nepomuceno. He is a fellow blogger-one of the most brilliant and smartest young Marinduquenos who is very much concern of the future of Marinduque Province. "I want to inspire my kababayans, and my statements are not in any way directed to inching forward to the forthcoming elections (as a private message inquired about it) which is actually really very far still. My position is just to inspire people, to tell the people that we need to change, to light a fire that will change us being Marinduqueños, it is not an easy task and no one is ordering me to do so, this rose from my love for my province. I want to light that fire that will firmly blaze in each and every sons and daughters of Marinduque, a gentle flame of peace and unity…the sought after change for many years now. In changing oneself and in changing the whole province is not readily achieved by mere smirking of conviction filled speeches or self opinionated literature many of us believed to be making a mark towards addressing the present provincial administration of our cause…or should I say our individual cause. We need to change and in changing, friends will become foes but later on foes will become friends. >br />
Change is the hardest part in one’s self in initiating a formidable sense of strengthening our right to live and exist, today and tomorrow, emphasizing our very welfare – selfless and for the benefit of all. Life is never easy; tradition is not easily bent because tradition has twisted many truths in to lies, and many good things to worst. Actually the "political tradition" of our province is not anyway similar to what we believed to be traditions, because traditions are good ways of good people and/or a community. What we see right now are practices...bad political practices of seasoned trapos. We can’t help to be dogmatic basing our understanding to what we have perceived over the years, we strive to change but we still fear to do it or to face it.

This is my creed, this is my composition; in flesh and in spirit. My name stand for Service how little I may be, because if I become part of a whole then I will be stronger. If each of us, kababayans will work as one we’ll not experience darkness no more. We will live just like we are so proud of what we are as Marinduqueños. Our province needs us".

Well, said, Pipo. May your tribe increased!

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

My Favorite Marinduque Sunsets

Marinduque Sunsets Slideshow: David’s trip from Sacramento, California, United States to Marinduque, Philippines was created by TripAdvisor. See another Marinduque slideshow. Create your own stunning free slideshow from your travel photos.


I love Sunsets. How about You?

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Monday, August 27, 2012

Have You Heard of Andre Rieu and his Orchestra?



If you are over 40 and loves classical music specially waltzes, I have a feeling you are an Andre Rieu fan. But if this is the first time you heard of him but loves romantic and classical music, this video is a must view. Enjoy!

André Léon Marie Nicolas Rieu (born 1 October 1949) is a Dutch violinist, conductor, and composer best known for creating the waltz-playing Johann Strauss Orchestra. The Orchestra began in 1987 with 12 members and the first concert was given on 1 January 1988. It now performs with between 80 and 150 musicians. At the time the Orchestra first toured Europe, there emerged a renewed interest in waltz music. The revival began in the Netherlands and was ignited by their recording of the Second Waltz from Shostakovich's Jazz Suites. As a result, Rieu became known as the waltz King.

Rieu and his orchestra have performed throughout Europe, in North America, and Japan. Winning a number of awards including two World Music Awards, their recordings have gone gold and platinum in many countries, including 8-times Platinum in the Netherlands.

He records both DVD and CD repertoire at his own recording studios in Maastricht in a wide range of classical music as well as popular and folk music plus music from well-known soundtracks and musical theatre. His lively orchestral presentations, in tandem with incessant marketing, have attracted worldwide audiences to this subgenre of classical music.

Here's a short video of Shostakovich, Second Waltz. Shostakovich, Romance is one of my favorite romantic piece. Have you heard of It?

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Sunday, August 26, 2012

My Neighbor's Wife-A Pinoy Movie

Here's a Filipino movie with English subtitle for your enjoyment. If you love to see Filipina beauties, you can feast your eyes with a number of them in this film. Enjoy!

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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Seniors Synchronized Swimming



I hope this video will gave you a big smile. Enjoy!

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Friday, August 24, 2012

Why am I still Happy After Retriement

Golden Wedding Anniversary Photo, 2007

I have just finished reading an article about an American Citizen who is married to a Filipina and decided to move permanently to the Philippines about 10 years ago. At first there were a lot of cultural shocks but after two years of acculturation and adjustment to the life in the Philippines, the couple claimed they are very, very happy today in the Philippines. The article also reminded me that indeed happiness is not a place but in your heart and mind. The article also inspired me to write this short article on why I am very happy even after my retirement.

Happiness is not the same for every person, once the basic necessity of life has been achieved. In my case, what makes me happy is not a lot of money but personal achievements. Another item that makes me happy is my personal relationships with my family, relatives and friends. In addition, one must have an achievable goal in every stage of his life even after retirement to be happy.

The most important item that makes me a happy is our lifestyle. If you have been reading my blogs, you probably already know that my wife and I are practicing the snowbird lifestyle between US and in the Philippines, every year, since 2002.

In 2002, I retired from the Food and Drug Administration. Two years before my retirement, my wife and I started building our retirement home in Boac, Marinduque, Philippines. After the main house was completed we decided to add a servant quarter next door to the main house. Two years later we built a beach house followed by a conference hall At first we did not plan on opening the beach house and conference hall to the public. However, because of popular demand, we decided in 2006, that the Hall and Beach House is now publicly available for rent. This is the beginning of my small beach resort and Conference Center. We named it Chateau Du Mer Beach Resort and Conference Center.

How about you, my dear readers? What makes you happy? A lot of money and a prestigious job? A Happy Marriage? Good Health and Family Accomplishments? Lifestyle ? I will be glad to hear from you!

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Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Sinulog Festival of Cebu

< The Sinulog is an annual festival held on the third Sunday of January in Cebu City, Philippines. The festival commemorates the Cebuano people's pagan origin, and their acceptance of Roman Catholicism.

The features a street parade with participants in bright coloured costumes dancing to the rhythm of drums, trumpets and native gongs. Smaller versions of the festival are held in various parts of the province, also to celebrate and honor the Santo Niño. There is also a "Sinulog sa Kabataan" performed by the youths of Cebu a week before the parade. Recently, the festival has been promoted as a tourist attraction, with a contest featuring contingents from various parts of the country. The Sinulog Contest is usually held in the Cebu City Sports Complex.

The Sinulog celebration lasts for nine days, culminating on the final day with the Sinulog Grand Parade. The day before the parade, the Fluvial Procession is held at dawn with a statue of the Santo Niño carried on a pump boat from Mandaue City to Cebu City, decked with hundreds of flowers and candles. The procession ends at the Basilica where a re-enactment of the Christianizing (that is, the acceptance of Roman Catholicism) of Cebu is performed. In the afternoon, a more solemn procession takes place along the major streets of the city, which last for hours due to large crowd participating in the event.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Progression of Information Technology

A very interesting video titled "Did you Know? if you do you are smart___,indeed! No comments:

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The 20 Most Popular National Monuments/Landmarks in the USe

The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah

Its almost the end of summer and time to think of visiting the nearest national monument and Landmark near you. This will save you gas money and probably these places are less crowded if you compare it to visiting a National Park. So what is the difference between a National Monument/Landmark versus the popular National Parks?

A National Monument in the United States is a protected area that is similar to a National Park except that the President of the United States can quickly declare an area of the United States to be a National Monument without the approval of Congress. National monuments receive less funding and afford fewer protections to wildlife than national parks. However, areas within and extending beyond national parks, monuments, and national forests can be part of wilderness areas, which have an even greater degree of protection than a national park would alone, although wilderness areas managed by the United States Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management often allow hunting.

National monuments can be managed by one of several federal agencies: the National Park Service(NPS), United States Forest Service(USFS), United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), or Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

President Theodore Roosevelt established the first national monument, Devils Tower in Wyoming, on September 24, 1906. He established eighteen national monuments, although only nine still retain that designation. Fifteen presidents have created national monuments since the program began; only Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and George H. W. Bush did not. Bill Clinton created the most monuments, nineteen, and expanded three others. Jimmy Carter protected vast parts of Alaska, proclaiming fifteen national monuments, some of which later were promoted to national parks. The most recent national monument designated by Presidential Proclamation was by George W. Bush on January 6, 2009. Three marine locations in the central Pacific Ocean were protected, covering a total of 195,274 square miles (505,760 km2). The most recent monument, Prehistoric Trackways, was established by an Act of Congress, signed into law on March 30, 2009.

Concerns about protecting mostly prehistoric Indian ruins and artifacts—collectively termed antiquities—on western federal lands prompted the legislation. Its purpose was to allow the president to quickly preserve public land without waiting for legislation to pass through an unconcerned Congress. The ultimate goal was to protect all historic and prehistoric sites on U.S. federal lands.

Twenty-seven states have national monuments, as do the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, the Minor Outlying Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands. Arizona, with eighteen, has the largest number of national monuments, followed by New Mexico with twelve and California with ten. Fifty-five national monuments protect places of natural significance, including ten geological sites, seven marine sites, and five volcanic sites. Twenty-two national monuments are associated with Native Americans. Twenty-three are other historical sites, including ten forts. The total national monuments and landmarks in US is 100. I will just give a short description , agency in-charge and coordinates of the 20 most popular and visited national monuments as follows:

Of the 20 listed below, Macrine and I had visited only six since the 1960's. How many in the list have you visited ? I bet you must have visited the Statue of Liberty in New York City and probably the George Washington birthplace in Virginia.


1. Admiralty Island USFS Alaska57°38′N 134°21′W / 57.64°N 134.35°W / 57.64; -134.35 (Admiralty Island) 01978-12-01 December 1, 1978 Occupying most of Admiralty Island, the 7th largest in the United States, this monument is part of Tongass National Forest in the Alaska Panhandle. It has a large population of grizzly, black, and brown bears, as well as whales, mountain goats, and deer. Most of the monument has been declared the Kootznoowoo Wilderness, restricting future development. The Greens Creek mine lies within the monument.

2.African Burial Ground NPS New York40°42′52″N 74°00′15″W / 40.7144°N 74.0042°W / 40.7144; -74.0042 (African Burial Ground) 02006-02-27 February 27, 2006 Re-discovered in 1991 during excavations for a new federal building, this former burial ground that contains the remains of more than 400 free and enslaved Africans buried during the 17th and 18th centuries was designated a National Historic Landmark memorial in 1993.

3. Bandelier NPS New Mexico35°47′N 106°16′W / 35.78°N 106.27°W / 35.78; -106.27 (Bandelier) 01916-02-11 February 11, 1916 A historic district, Bandelier contains Frijoles Canyon, which contains Ancestral Pueblo homes, kivas, rock paintings and petroglyphs.

4. California Coastal BLM California36°53′N 122°11′W / 36.89°N 122.18°W / 36.89; -122.18 (California Coastal) 02000-01-11 January 11, 2000 This monument ensures the protection of all islets, reefs and rock outcroppings from the coast of California to a distance of 12 nautical miles (22 km), along the entire 840-mile (1,350 km) long California coastline.

5. Craters of the Moon NPS, BLM Idaho43°25′N 113°31′W / 43.42°N 113.52°W / 43.42; -113.52 (Craters of the Moon) 01924-05-02 May 2, 1924 One of the best preserved flood basalt areas in the continental U.S. contains three lava fields along the Great Rift of Idaho as well as the world's deepest open rift cracks and other volcanic features.

6. Devils Tower NPS Wyoming44°35′N 104°43′W / 44.59°N 104.72°W / 44.59; -104.72 (Devils Tower) 01906-09-24 September 24, 1906 The tower is a monolithic igneous intrusion of volcanic neck rising dramatically 1,267 feet (386 m) above the surrounding terrain. Proclaimed by Theodore Roosevelt, this was the first national monument.

7. El Morro NPS New Mexico35°02′N 108°21′W / 35.04°N 108.35°W / 35.04; -108.35 (El Morro) 01906-12-08 December 8, 1906 On the site of an ancient east-west trail is a great sandstone promontory with a pool of water at its base. There are inscriptions from the 17th century as well as older petroglyphs made by the Anasazi.

8. Fort McHenry NPS Maryland39°15′47″N 76°34′44″W / 39.263°N 76.579°W / 39.263; -76.579 (Fort McHenry) 01925-03-03 March 3, 1925 The only place designated a national monument and historic shrine, Fort McHenry is a star-shaped fort best known for its role in the War of 1812 when it successfully defended Baltimore Harbor from an attack by the British navy. It inspired Francis Scott Key to write "The Star-Spangled Banner".

9. George Washington Birthplace NPS Virginia38°11′10″N 76°55′50″W / 38.1861°N 76.9305°W / 38.1861; -76.9305 (George Washington's Birthplace) 01930-01-23 January 23, 1930 Representative of 18th-century Virginia tobacco farms, this site is the birthplace and boyhood environment of George Washington. The entrance includes a Memorial Shaft obelisk of Vermont marble that is a one-tenth scale replica of the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C. Also within the monument are the historic birthplace home area, a kitchen house, and the Washington family burial ground.

10. George Washington Carver NPS Missouri36°59′10″N 94°21′14″W / 36.986°N 94.354°W / 36.986; -94.354 (George Washington Carver) 01943-07-14 July 14, 1943 The site preserves Moses Carver's farm, which was the boyhood home of George Washington Carver, a scientist and educator who developed many uses for peanuts. It was the first national monument dedicated to an African-American and first to a non-president.

11. Giant Sequoia USFS California36°02′N 118°30′W / 36.04°N 118.50°W / 36.04; -118.50 (Giant Sequoia National Monument) 02000-04-15 April 15, 2000 The monument includes 38 of the 39 Giant Sequoia groves in the Sequoia National Forest, amounting to about half of the sequoia groves currently in existence. This includes one of the ten largest Giant Sequoias, the Boole Tree. Its two parts are around Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks.

12. Gila Cliff Dwellings NPS New Mexico33°14′N 108°17′W / 33.24°N 108.28°W / 33.24; -108.28 (Gila Cliff Dwellings) 01907-11-16 November 16, 1907 Located within the Gila Wilderness, the people of the Mogollon culture lived in these cliff dwellings 180 feet (55 m) above the canyon floor from the 1280s through the early 14th century. They lived in five caves with 46 rooms. Henry B. Ailman discovered them in 1878.

John 13. Lava Beds NPS California41°43′N 121°31′W / 41.71°N 121.51°W / 41.71; -121.51 (Lava Beds) 01925-11-21 November 21, 1925 This is the site of the largest concentration of lava tube caves in North America. It also includes Petroglyph Point, one of the largest panels of Native American rock art. The monument lies on the northeast flank of the Medicine Lake Volcano, the largest volcano in the Cascade Range.

14. Montezuma Castle NPS Arizona34°37′N 111°50′W / 34.61°N 111.84°W / 34.61; -111.84 (Montezuma Castle) 01906-12-08 December 8, 1906 Montezuma Castle features well-preserved cliff dwellings built and used by the Pre-Columbian Sinagua people around 1400 AD. Several Hopi clans trace their roots to the area, which is not connected to Montezuma. The monument also includes the Montezuma Well, which has been used for irrigation since the 8th century.

15. Muir Woods NPS California37°53′N 122°35′W / 37.89°N 122.58°W / 37.89; -122.58 (Muir Woods) 01908-01-09 January 9, 1908 Part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, it protects one of the last old growth Coast Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) groves in the San Francisco Bay Area as well as one of the most easily accessed.

16. Natural Bridges NPS Utah37°35′N 110°00′W / 37.58°N 110°W / 37.58; -110 (Natural Bridges) 01908-04-16 April 16, 1908 Located at the junction of White Canyon and Armstrong Canyon, it is part of the Colorado River drainage. It features the second- and third-largest natural bridges in the world, carved from the white Triassic sandstone of the Cedar Mesa Formation that gives White Canyon its name.

17. Petroglyph NPS New Mexico35°10′N 106°46′W / 35.16°N 106.76°W / 35.16; -106.76 (Petroglyph) 01990-06-27 June 27, 1990 This monument protects a variety of cultural and natural resources, including five volcanic cones, hundreds of archeological sites and an estimated 25,000 images carved by native peoples and early Spanish settlers. It lies on West Mesa, a volcanic basalt escarpment.

18. Rainbow Bridge NPS Utah37°05′N 110°58′W / 37.08°N 110.96°W / 37.08; -110.96 (Rainbow Bridge) 01910-05-30 May 30, 1910 One of the largest in the world, Rainbow Bridge is the most famous example of a natural bridge as well as the most accessible. It stands 290 feet (88 m) tall and spans 275 feet (84 m) wide; the top of the bridge is 42 feet (13 m) thick and 33 feet (10 m) wide. It was made from sandstone formed during the Triassic and the Jurassic periods.

19. Statue of Liberty NPS New York, New Jersey40°41′N 74°02′W / 40.69°N 74.04°W / 40.69; -74.04 (Statue of Liberty) 01924-10-15 October 15, 1924 This iconic statue, built in 1886 on Liberty Island and 151 feet (46 m) tall, commemorates the centennial of the signing of the United States Declaration of Independence and is a gesture of friendship from France to the U.S. Liberty Enlighening the World is a symbol of welcoming immigrants to the U.S. and is listed as a World Heritage Site. Ellis Island, where 12 million immigrants entering the U.S. passed through, is included in the monument.

20. White Sands NPS New Mexico32°47′N 106°10′W / 32.78°N 106.17°W / 32.78; -106.17 (White Sands) 01933-07-25 July 25, 1933 Located in the mountain-ringed Tularosa Basin valley area, White Sands consists of the southern part of a 275square miles (710 km2) field of white sand dunes composed of gypsum crystals. It is completely within the White Sands Missile Range and is subject to closure when tests are conducted.

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Monday, August 20, 2012

A New Deadly Disease-Gonorrhea Lectim



The following e-mail was forwarded to me by a dear friend from the Philippines. As previously, I asked her why she is interested in US politics even if she can not vote since she is not a US citizen. Again, she informed me this e-mail was sent to her by relatives residing here in US and she just forwarded it to me. I think it is really funny, but I do not like it, since I am now inclined to vote Democratic again this coming November after Ryan was officially announced as Romney VP. Here's the e-mail and do not forget to smile! A political innuendo, indeed!

News Release-Gonorrhea Lectim - new deadly disease!

I'm sending this information because I know you are bright and I care about you.

The Center for Disease Control has issued a warning about a new virulent strain of this old disease. The disease is called "Gonorrhea Lectim." It's pronounced "Gonna re-elect em" and it is a terrible Obamanation.

The disease is contracted through dangerous and high risk behavior involving putting your cranium up your rectum. Many victims contracted it in 2008...But now most people, after having been infected for the past 3 years, are starting to realize how destructive this sickness is.

It's sad because the disease is easily cured with a new drug just coming on the market called Votemout (pronounced: vote m out). You take the first dose now and the second dose in Nov. 2012 and simply don't engage in such behaviour again; otherwise, it could become permanent and eventually wipe out all life as we know it.

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Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Longwood Gardens, Kenneth Square, Pennsylvania


My wife and I have been to Longwood Gardens three times since 1960, but never get tired of this Garden Paradise. Each season of the year features different flowers and plants, that is why one will never get tired of this place. If you have not heard of this Garden, here's a video and write up from Wikipedia. It is a must place to visit if you are a Garden enthusiast. There is a minimal entrance fee. The nearest biggest city is Philadelphia.


Longwood Gardens consists of 1,050 acres (4.2 km²) of gardens, woodlands, and meadows in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, United States in the Brandywine Creek Valley. It is one of the premier botanical gardens in the United States.

Early history

What is now Longwood Gardens was originally purchased from William Penn in 1700 by a fellow Quaker named George Peirce (1646–1734). Although it started as a working farm, in 1798 Joshua and Samuel Peirce planted the first specimens of an arboretum. By 1850 they had amassed one of the finest collections of trees in the nation.

Industrialist Pierre S. du Pont (1870–1954) purchased the property from the Peirce family in 1906 to save the arboretum from being sold for lumber. He made it his private estate, and from 1906 until the 1930s, du Pont added extensively to the property. A world traveler from an early age, du Pont was often inspired to add features to the garden after attending world's fairs, the most notable additions being the massive conservatory, complete with a massive pipe organ, and the extensive system of fountains. Mr. Du Pont opened his estate to the public many days of the year during his occupancy.

After the completion of the fountains, du Pont began planning for the sustained life of Longwood Gardens after his death. He founded the Longwood Foundation in 1937, and in 1946 the foundation was chartered with running Longwood Gardens for the general education and enjoyment of the public.

The Longwood Organ

Currently under renovations until 2010, the resident Longwood Organ is a 10,010 pipe instrument designed by Longwood organist-in-residence Firmin Swinnen, a Belgian musician who moved to the US in the 1920s and became a prominent theater organist in New York City. The organ's pipes filled fourteen railway freight cars, and they needed a 72 horsepower (54 kW) blower motor to supply the wind pressure; the instrument was one of the largest pipe organs installed in a private residence. Pierre du Pont ordered a massive Aeolian organ in 1929 to replace the previous organ of 3,650 pipes, which he donated to the University of Delaware where it stayed until 1964. The four-manual organ plays into the Longwood ballroom and can be heard throughout the conservatory when adjoining window panels are opened. Its pipes may be viewed from the rear through glass panels in Longwood's organ museum.

Longwood today

Today Longwood Gardens consists of 20 outdoor gardens and 20 indoor gardens within 4.5 acres (18,200 m²) of heated greenhouses, known as conservatories. It contains 11,000 different types of plants and trees, as well as fountains. The Gardens also has extensive educational programs including a tuition-free two-year school of professional horticulture, a graduate program, and extensive internships. It hosts 800 horticultural and performing arts events each year, from flower shows, gardening demonstrations, courses, and children's programs to concerts, organ and carillon recitals, musical theatre, fountain shows, and fireworks displays. It also hosts an extensive Christmas light display during the holiday season.

Longwood's conservatory is one of the world's greatest greenhouse structures. The conservatory alone is home to 5,500 types of plants. An exploration of the 20 indoor gardens spanning a half mile takes about an hour and a half. Gardens of the conservatory, each with its own exquisite displays of plants, include The Orangery, Silver Garden, Acacia Passage, Orchid House, Cascade Garden, Palm House, Mediterranean Garden, Tropical Terrace and the Outdoor Water Garden display. Since its original construction date in 1919, it has undergone expansions and renovations. In January 2003, the East Conservatory was closed for a renovation project. On October 29, 2005, the main hall of the East Conservatory was once again opened to the public.

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Saturday, August 18, 2012

Sexy Filipinas and A Filipino Movie



Here's a Filipino Movie if you speak or understand Tagalog-Philippines National language. The unusual love story unfolds in Lumban, Laguna ---a town famous for cottage cheese from carabao milk--- where lives Ramon who stands to inherit the vast wealth of his mother but only if he can have a child within two years.

If not, the inheritance will be turned over to charity.

But Ramon's discovery of his infertility will turn his life and the lives of three more persons into one roller coaster ride of emotional conflicts.

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Friday, August 17, 2012

The English Patient Movie Sound Track

The full movie is now available free on Comcast on-Demand Cable TV

The English Patient is a 1996 romantic drama film based on the novel of the same name by Sri Lankan-Canadian writer Michael Ondaatje. The film, written for the screen and directed by Anthony Minghella, won nine Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Ondaatje worked closely with the filmmakers.

Set before and during World War II, The English Patient is a story of love, fate, misunderstanding and healing. Told in a series of flashbacks, the film can best be explained by unwinding it into its two chronological phases.

Awards and honors

1996 Academy Awards: Won, Best Picture; Won, Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Juliette Binoche; Won, Best Art Direction-Set Decoration (Stuart Craig and Stephanie McMillan; Won, Best Cinematography (John Seale); Won, Best Costume Design (Ann Roth); Won, Best Director (Anthony Minghella);Won, Best Film Editing (Walter Murch); Won, Best Original Score (Gabriel Yared); Won, Best Sound (Walter Murch, Mark Berger, David Parker, and Christopher Newman);

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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Giant Skulls and Coneheads

Interesting two videos for your enjoyment

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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Marinduque Sunsets and Moriones Parade, 2012



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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Pearl Harbor-My Movie of the Week



In early 1923, two young boys from Tennessee, Rafe McCawley and Danny Walker, pretending to fight the Germans, climb into Rafe's father's biplane crop duster and accidentally start it, giving them their first taste of flying. Soon after, Danny's father (William Fichtner) comes to drag him home, berating him for playing with Rafe and beating him. Rafe attacks Danny's father calling him a "dirty German"; Danny's father counters by explaining that he fought the Germans in World War I and wishes that they never witness the horrors of war.

In the summer of 1940, as grown men, Rafe (Ben Affleck) and Danny (Josh Hartnett) are First Lieutenants in the United States Army Air Corps under the command of Major Jimmy Doolittle (Alec Baldwin). Rafe meets Evelyn Johnson (Kate Beckinsale), a Navy nurse who passes him for his physical examination even though he has dyslexia, and is instantly smitten. The two soon begin dating and fall in love. However, Rafe has volunteered to serve with the Royal Air Force's Eagle Squadrons. Before Rafe leaves for England, he makes a promise to Evelyn that he will come back for her. Evelyn and Danny are transferred with their respective squadrons to Pearl Harbor. Rafe is shot down over the English Channel and presumed to have been killed in action.

Three months later, Evelyn and Danny bond over their mourning of Rafe and unexpectedly develop feelings for each other. They soon begin developing their friendship and in the end they end up in a passionate relationship, stranded in Pearl Harbor for next year.

On the night of December 6, 1941, Rafe unexpectedly returns to Pearl Harbor, having survived the crash and being stranded in occupied France in the interval. He quickly realizes that Evelyn and Danny are now together, and feeling hurt and betrayed, the two friends soon get into a fight at the local hula bar. The next morning, on December 7, they are interrupted by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor by Zero fighters, Val dive bombers and Kate torpedo bombers.

The surprise Japanese air raid sinks the battleships USS Arizona, USS Oklahoma and many other ships. Back at the hospital, Evelyn helps tend to the dozens of wounded who come in and must help decide who can and cannot be saved. Meanwhile, Rafe and Danny are the only two who manage to get airborne and shoot down seven Japanese aircraft with P-40s using their reckless tactics, including an old game of theirs called chicken. The two men then go to the hospital, where Evelyn takes blood from them for the hundreds of injured soldiers, and later aid in trying to rescue the many men still in the harbor. In the aftermath, the survivors attend a memorial service for the fallen victims after the U.S. declaration of war on Japan.

Rafe and Danny are both promoted to Captain, awarded the Silver Star and assigned to now-Colonel Doolittle for a dangerous and top-secret mission. Before their departure, Evelyn meets Rafe and reveals that she is pregnant with Danny's child, although she doesn't want Danny to know so he can focus on the upcoming mission. She says that she is going to remain with Danny, though deep down she will always love Rafe just as much. Rafe accepts this.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt (Jon Voight) wants to send a message that the Japanese homeland is not immune from bombing. Danny, Rafe and others are to fly B-25 Mitchell medium bombers from the aircraft carrier USS Hornet, bomb Tokyo and then land in friendly Chinese territory. The two men succeed in their bombing but crash-land into a rice field in a Japanese-held area when their bombers run out fuel. Just as Rafe is about to be shot, Danny flies over head and shoots the attacking Japanese soldiers. Danny's plane then crashes and he is wounded. Japanese come in and attack Rafe and start to hold the others captive. They tie Danny to a cattle holder. Rafe picks up a gun and kills several Japanese. Danny acts as human shield for Rafe and is fatally wounded. Rafe holds a dying Danny in his arms, telling him he can't die because he's going to be a father. With his dying words, Danny tells Rafe to raise his child for him. The crew arrives back in Hawaii and a hopeful Evelyn awaits. She sees Rafe and is excited, but then sees him carrying Danny's coffin.

At the end of the war, Dorie Miller becomes the first African American to be awarded the Navy Cross and Rafe is discharged from the Army. He and Evelyn, who are together again, and Danny's son, also called Danny, who Rafe is bringing up as his own, are back at the farm in Tennessee visiting Danny's grave. Rafe then takes his son flying, and the two fly off into the sunset in the old biplane.

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Monday, August 13, 2012

Have You Heard of Julio Iglesias?

I am not talking about his son, Enrique, or his other son Julio,II who are both popular singers and the heart throbs of today's teenagers. I am talking of their father who is still my wife's favorite singer. I think today, he is semi-retired and left the singing to both his two talented sons. He was married to Filipina-Spanish mestiza, Elizabeth Prysler, the mother of Julio, Jr and Enrique.

My wife and I first attended a concert that Julio gave way back in the late 1970's in Burlingame, CA. The theater was mobbed by screaming women of all ages. One of the women screaming for his name is my wife who was in her late thirties at that time. Luckily, she was not one of several women who throw their panties to the stage. Macrine, my wife for 53 years is one out of the millions of Julio's groupie and fans. She has a complete collection of all his songs from 1970 to 1990.

The second Julio concert we attended was in Lake Tahoe, NV in the late 1980's. This time the crowd was a little bit tamer and no panties were thrown on the stage. However, I have to pay scalped tickets for about 10 times the regular price, so I could also see the show. Macrine also attended two other live converts of Julio in Reno, NV with her girl friends(Julio fans) in the mid 1980's.

In case you are too young and have not heard of Julio Iglesias, Sr., please read his detailed biography in Wikipedia.

Julio José Iglesias de la Cueva (born September 23, 1943) better known as Julio Iglesias is a Spanish singer who has sold over 200 million records worldwide in 14 languages and released 77 albums. According to Sony Music Entertainment, he is one of the top 10 best selling music artists in history. While Iglesias rose to international prominence in the 1970s and 1980s as a performer of romantic ballads, his success has continued on as he entered new musical endeavors even in his semi-retirement years.



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Sunday, August 12, 2012

So You Think You Can Dance-Seasons 1-5 Best Routines

So You Think You Can Dance is an American televised dance competition show that airs on Fox in the United States and is the flagship series of the international So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD) television franchise. It is one of my favorite TV shows. This year it is its 9th season in the US. In case you do not watch the show, here is a short history for your information. br />
The series first premiered on July 20, 2005, was created by American Idol producers Simon Fuller and Nigel Lythgoe and is produced by 19 Entertainment and Dick Clark Productions. The first season was hosted by current American news personality, Lauren Sánchez; since the second season it has been hosted by former British children's television personality and one-time game show emcee, Cat Deeley. The show features a tiered format wherein dancers from a variety of styles enter open auditions held in a number of major U.S. cities to showcase their unique style and talents and, if allowed to move forward, then are put through additional rounds of auditions to test their ability to adapt to different styles. At the end of this process, a small number of dancers are chosen as finalists. These dancers move on to the competition's main phase, where they perform solo, duet, and group dance numbers in a variety of styles. They compete for the votes of the broadcast viewing audience which, combined with the input of a panel of judges, determines which dancers advance to the next stage from week to week. The number of finalists has varied as determined by a season's format, but has typically been 20 contestants.

The show features a broad variety of American and international dance styles ranging across a broad spectrum of classical, contemporary, ballroom, hip-hop, street, club, jazz, and musical theatre styles, amongst others, with many sub-genres within these categories represented. Competitors attempt to master these styles—which are generally, but not always, assigned by a luck-of-the-draw system—in an attempt to survive successive weeks of elimination and win a cash prize (typically $250,000) and often other awards, as well as the title of "America's Favorite Dancer". In eight seasons, the winners have been Nick Lazzarini, Benjamin Schwimmer, Sabra Johnson, Joshua Allen, Jeanine Mason, Russell Ferguson, Lauren Froderman, and Melanie Moore. The show has won seven Emmy Awards for Outstanding Choreography and a total of nine Emmys altogether.

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Saturday, August 11, 2012

We are Enjoying the Fruits of Summer

Mango Fruit in my Garden This morning, when I woke up, I saw IMMEDIATELY the tray of fresh fruits in our kitchen. I realized then that my wife and I are lucky to have an abundance of fresh fruits that we did not have to buy. How in the heck did this happen?. Let me explain.

Our next door neighbor who is a widow and also our casino buddy, has an orchard in her backyard. She has almost all kinds of fruit trees both in her back, side and even in her front yard. Since she is alone in her 4-bedroom house, she just can not consumed all the fruits that she harvests every summer.

This week she gave us Japanese pears, plums, grapes, apples, figs, prunes and peaches. Last month we enjoyed the blueberries and raspberries from her garden. She has lemons, oranges and kumquats in her garden also. There is no grass in her ½ acre of yard, but only ground covers and fruit trees. The fruit orchard was the project of her late husband.

Speaking of gardening, my fruit orchard in Marinduque has also a varieties of tropical fruits. I have papayas ( several varieties), mangoes ( THREE varieties), avocados, bananas (several varieties), starapples, guayabanos and Cashews trees. I have also guavas, rambutans, santol, duhats, jackfruits and lanzones fruit trees. I have also planted several varieties of citrus trees, pomelo, kalamansi, native oranges and lemon trees. My durian fruit trees( two) was a victim of Typhoon, Reming, a couple of years ago.

I hope you have an enjoyable summer. Keep cool in this 3-digit temperatures here in Northern California and the rest of USA. Oh, before I forget eat plenty of fruits to stay young and healthy!

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Friday, August 10, 2012

The Gardens of Chateau Du Mer, Philippines

The Gardens of Chateau du Mer Slideshow: David’s trip from Citrus Heights, California, United States to Marinduque, Philippines was created by TripAdvisor. See another Marinduque slideshow. Take your travel photos and make a slideshow for free.


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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Sunrise from Sayao Bay, MRQ, Philippines

Sunrise in Sayao Bay, on the western side of northern Marinduque, Philippines (Mogpog). This bay is fringed with volcanic rocks, and its shores run through the three villages of Sayao, Paye and Guisian, some of the poorest villages on the island of Marinduque but a place that offers scenic and varied landscapes.Source: http://marinduquegov.blogspot.com

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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

My Life will End in Ten Years

Financially, that is, but hopefully not physically. Let me explain. When I retired ten years ago, I hired a financial consultant to manage my pension, investments, stocks, bonds and mutual funds. I hired her, since she was recommended by a close relative and I did not want to be bothered by the ups and down of the stock market. Her service for the last 10 years had been exemplary and the amount of money I had paid her is worth every penny of it, since I do not have to worry about my financial status during my retirement years.

Last month was our 10th year review( we have quarterly reviews) and we calculated that if the financial market remains the same in the next ten years, my funds will finally run out, since I am withdrawing a fixed monthly amount from the principal just to maintain our standard of living in the same style before my retirement. My wife and my Social Security (SS) benefits only supports about 60% of our monthly living expenses. I will 87 years old then. So assuming I will still be alive in ten years, will I be financially able to support myself and my wife since my accounts will be depleted as projected? Do I have safety provisions that I can use?.

Yes, indeed, I have three safety provisions that I can use. One action item is to get A REVERSE Mortgage from my house, which will be fully paid soon. We have a substantial equity since we purchased the house 12 years ago.

The second safety action item I can use is to cash my personal life insurance that had accumulated a substantial cash value. I had this insurance when I was still in college. I stopped paying the premium when I turned 65, so the cash value keeps increasing every year. There is a provision for my death, natural or accidental. The death benefit is much higher than the cash value and it goes to my beneficiary -my wife of 55 years.

Our third action that we can consider is that my wife and I could move permanently to the Philippines. Since we have already a home in the Philippines, our SS pension will allow us to live like a King and a Queen in provincial Marinduque. This means having a personal driver, housekeeper and cook to help us in our daily activities. But the practical side is that the Medical and Health facilities in our province is not to US standards. If we want medical care comparable to US standards we will have to reside in big cities like Manila or Makati. This is not an option, since I hate the noise, pollution and lifestyle in the big cities. So this third option will not likely occur. We will continue our snowbird lifestyle as long as our health permits.

Lastly, I hope that the financial crises here in US remains the same or even improved. I have a feeling improvement will occur in the very near future. In the meantime, I will not worry about my funds and pension accounts depleting to zero in ten years time or even earlier if the financial markets goes downhill or worst compared to today.

If you are a retiree or are planning to retire soon be sure you a have safety plan just in case your pension fund goes downhill. You just can not really depend on you SS accounts. In general your SS benefits will only cover about 50 to 60% of your living expenses when you retire. It is never too early to plan your retirement. br />
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