Marinduque Mainland from Tres Reyes Islands

Marinduque Mainland from Tres Reyes Islands
View of Marinduque Mainland from Tres Reyes Islands-Click on photo to link to Chateau Du Mer


If this is your first time in this site, welcome. It has been my dream that my province, Marinduque, Philippines becomes a world tourist destination not only during Easter Week but also whole year round. You can help me achieve my dream by telling your friends about this site. The photo above is your own private beach at The Chateau Du Mer Beach Resort. The sand is not as white as Boracay, but it is only a few steps from your front yard and away from the mayhem and crowds of Boracay. Please do not forget to read the latest national, international, and technology news in this site as well as clicking on my ads below. I have posted some of my favorite Filipino and American dishes and recipes on this site also. Some of the photos and videos on this site, I do not own. However, I have no intention on infringement of your copyrights. Cheers!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Dragon Blood Trees and Socotra Island

Dragon Blood Trees of Socotra Island

Recently, I was reading an article about the Dragon Blood tree from Socotra Island. To my amazement, this is the first time that have heard of the tree and also of the island. I did some Internet search and here are two videos I found with a short description of the island from Wikipedia, Enjoy!

Socotra (Arabic: سُقُطْرَى‎ Suquṭra), also spelled Soqotra, is a small archipelago of four islands in the Indian Ocean.

The largest island, also called Socotra, is about 95% of the landmass of the archipelago. It lies some 240 kilometres (150 mi) east of the Horn of Africa and 380 kilometres (240 mi) south of the Arabian Peninsula. The island is very isolated and a third of its plant life is found nowhere else on the planet. It has been described as "the most alien-looking place on Earth". The island measures 132 kilometres (82 mi) in length and 49.7 kilometres (30.9 mi) in width.

Socotra is part of Yemen. It had long been a part of the 'Adan Governorate. In 2004 it became attached to the Hadhramaut Governorate, which is much closer to the island than 'Adan (although the nearest governorate was the Al Mahrah Governorate). In 2013, the archipelago became its own governorate.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Violin Music with Sarah Chang and Stunning Photography

Have you heard of Sarah Chang? She is one of my favorite violinist. You must see this video, if you like violin music.

Sarah Chang is recognized as one of the world’s great violinists. Since her debut with the New York Philharmonic at the age of 8 she has performed with the greatest orchestras, conductors and accompanists internationally in a career spanning more than two decades. Ms. Chang tours extensively throughout the year. Recent and future highlights include performances with the BBC Scottish Symphony, Barcelona Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony, Houston Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, New Jersey Symphony, Ravinia Festival and Aspen Music Festival.

In the coming months Ms. Chang will perform with the orchestras of Melbourne, Adelaide, West Australia and Queensland, as well as the Auckland Philharmonia, Malaysian Philharmonic, Singapore Symphony and City of Hong Kong Chamber Orchestra. Ms. Chang’s most recent recording for EMI Classics, performances of Brahms and Bruch violin concertos with Kurt Masur and the Dresdner Philharmonic was received to excellent critical and popular acclaim and was her 20th album for the label. Her 2007 recording of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons attracted international commendation, with BBC Music Magazine stating: “She has never made a finer recording.” She has also recorded Prokofiev Violin Concerto No.1 and Shostakovich Violin Concerto No.1 live

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

California State Song

My family have been residing in California since the 1970's with 12 years in Maryland in between but to be frank with you, this is the first time I heard of the song. Thus I posting it with dedication to All Californians, young and old. Enjoy!

I love You California
Written by F. B. Silverwood
Composed by A. F. Frankenstein

I love you, California, you're the greatest state of all
I love you in the winter, summer, spring, and in the fall.
I love your fertile valleys; your dear mountains I adore,
I love your grand old ocean and I love her rugged shore.


I love your redwood forests - love your fields of yellow grain,
I love your summer breezes, and I love your winter rain,
I love you, land of flowers; land of honey, fruit and wine,
I love you, California; you have won this heart of mine.


I love your old gray Missions - love your vineyards stretching far,
I love you, California, with your Golden Gate ajar,
I love your purple sunsets, love your skies of azure blue,
I love you, California; I just can't help loving you.


I love you, Catalina - you are very dear to me,
I love you, Tamalpais, and I love Yosemite,
I love you, Land of Sunshine, half your beauties are untold,
I loved you in my childhood, and I'll love you when I'm old.


When the snow crowned Golden Sierras
Keep their watch o'er the valleys bloom.
It is there I would be in our land by the sea,
Ev'ry breeze bearing rich perfume,
It is here nature gives of her rarest,
It is Home Sweet Home to me.
And I know when I die I shall breathe my last sigh
For my sunny California.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

My Three Favorite Classical Music Called Romance

During the clean-up process of my old files. my wife decided to help. She requested I play in my PC the classical piece titled Romance. Since I know at least 3 pieces with Romance in their tile, I asked which one. She wanted Anton Rubinstein music.

Anton Rubinstein piano rendition of Romance is my wife's favorite, since she studied this piano music when she was in high school. My favorite is Shostakovich Romance from the Gadfly, since this was the first violin music I studied in my music appreciation class in college. The Spanish romance guitar piece is both my wife and my favorite also because it reminded us of our childhood years in the Philippines. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Rigodon de Honor-Philippines Quadrille Folk Dance

I was talking to my neighbor the other day about dance and music in the Philippines. She asked me if I have heard of the dance Rigodon de Honor. I told her Macrine and I did participate in the dance in 2001. I told her I have written a short article about the dance on my blog that I reposting today.

The Grand Entrance and Parade of Participants- Note my matching Barong to Macrine's Terno! Macrine did not used the matching removable butterfly sleeves bolero, since it was a very warm evening.

About thirteen years ago, Macrine and I had the honor to be invited to participate at the Rigodon De Honor dance at the Grand Ball of the May Flower Festival in Boac, Marinduque, Philippines.
Right in the middle of the Dance Promenade

The Rigodon de Honor is an elegant dance which was brought to the Philippines by the Filipinos who returned from their travels abroad during the Spanish era. This dance takes its name from its opening performances at formal affairs such as the President's Inaugural Ball and other Festivals in Philippines and also in other parts of the world. In Marinduque, members of the provincial government, including the Governor and his wife, legislative officials, and other prominent members of the town are usually invited to participate in the Rigodon. Traditionally, a ballroom waltz dance would follow the Rigodon. This particular dance is a form of quadrille which is a historic dance performed usually by four couples in a square formation.

In Marinduque, it is an honor to be invited to participate in the dance. It meant you belong to the high society of the town and recognized as a leader in the community. Macrine and I were invited to dance at the Grand Ball of the May Flower Festival in Boac in May, 2001. At that time Macrine was the President of Marinduque International Inc-a non-profit worldwide organization based in US and Canada whose main goals is to conduct medical mission to the needy in Marinduque every other year. At that time, I also served as acting Treasurer of the organization. For the whole month of May, we (sixteen couples) practiced almost everyday. Near the end of the dance, a part called the CADENA ( it means chain) had to be performed perfectly, otherwise confusion and mayhem could ruined the dance.

As I mentioned above, to be invited to participate in the Rigodon is considered as the subtle way of "branding" certain members of the community to specific social ranks. Usually performed as a party opener, the Rigodon starts off by calling the names of the participants; first the rich and influential who will compose the cabezera or headline followed by the not so popular and lesser ranking dancers who will then form the costados or sideline. The Cabezera's will start the dance movement and then followed by the costados. What a way to brand and assign social ranks in the community!

The following video as danced by the young men and women of the Philippines is an excellent visual description of the dance, costumes and music. Enjoy

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Recent Activities at the David Balleza Katague Household

Parting with My old Suits and other Personal Belongings is Hard

This week after several urgings and reminders from my spouse of 57 years, I decided to donate to a thrift store my old suits, shirts, shoes and ties. I have accumulated more than 2 dozens suits. 200 ties, 50 pairs of shoes and several dozens white shirts that I have not used since my retirement from FDA in 2002.

The donation barely fitted into 4 large suit cases. Along with my clothes Macrine ( my spouse of 57 years) and my son David also donated old shirts,pants and dresses. The suit cases are fairly new, but we have newer ones that we can used in case Macrine is well enough to travel. Along with the clothes we also donated a TV ( still working well and used to be in our bedroom), This TV was replaced by a new 42” slim model, that I got for my Birthday.

It took me almost 13 years of holding on to my suits and ties. To me it was a symbol of my younger days and professional career, thus the emotional attachment. However as part of my New Year resolution to clean -up, I decided to call the thrift shoppe. The thrift shoppe is picking it up today.

Speaking of cleaning up, I started to throw and shred ( manual and automatic electric shredder) all my old files ( receipts, bills etc...) beginning last week. I have files as old as 2004. It will take me at least 2 weeks to finish this job, since I get tired doing it after 1 hour. During this clean-up and shredding process I listened to my favorite piano and violin classical pieces.

Last week had been disastrous financially in our household. Last Sunday, when I woke up, the temperature of the house was a cool 63F. Our heater was blowing cold air instead of hot air. I immediately called the emergency number of our local heating company. In the meantime I requested my son to buy 3 space heaters from Sears.

After waiting an hour the gas furnace technician inspected our 13 year old gas furnace He informed us that the gas furnace has so many things not working and to fix it will cost me about $2000 and he does not guarantee the heater will work more than one year. He recommended we purchase a brand new heater as replacement.

That same day ( Sunday afternoon) a salesman from the Heating company came to our house, give his sale pitch and I had no choice but purchase a new gas heater. Total cost including installation was $4800. The bad part is it will not be installed until Wednesday, that is we will not have central heating for at least 3 days. Luckily the temperature in our area was not that cold ( 40F in early morning to 60F in mid afternoon). With the space heater in our bedrooms, the cold was tolerable but the whole house was not comfortable at all. We went to the mall the whole day to have some heat and comfort. Lessons learned is to have yearly maintenance check up of your heating and air conditioning equipments.

Now to a more pleasant topic. This week, I have been communicating via Facebook, with the daughter of my high school contemporary from Barotac Viejo, Iloilo, Philippines way back in the late 1940's. We met thru the Balleza Clan group in FB. She happened to reside in a city only about 60 miles from us. Her Mom is now 83 years old and vaguely remembers me. I have still a picture of her during our high school days in my album. I promised to give it back to her, if she decide to visit me in the future. I am looking forward for their visit.


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