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 . 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, February 20, 2017

My first Industrial Job was for Chemagro Corporation in 1964

Group Photo of the Research Department in 1964. I was #36 in the group photo.

My first industrial job after finishing my Ph.D from the University of Illinois was for Chemagro Corp in Kansas City, Missouri. My title was Chemist in the methods Development group( Biochemistry) headed by Dr. Charles Anderson ( Chuck). My primary duty was to develop methods for the detection of pesticides residues in plant and animal tissues. My work for five years( 1964-1969) resulted in several publications on the subject of analytical methods for pesticide residues in a couple of scientific journals. I enjoyed my first job very much because of my fellow employees and my supervisor, Dr Anderson.

Chemagro sponsored me for my permanent resident visa from a student visa. Looking at the group photo above, I now realized I was the first Filipino scientist hired by the company. There were 40 employees in the research Department mostly white men. There were only six women and no black scientist in our department. I was very proud to be the only Asian hired by the company for several years. As a matter of fact my photo with two other white chemists was published in the Kansas City Star as an advertising for the company.
Photo Taken in 1967

Here's the latest information about Chemagro from the Internet: Chemagro is now called Bayer CropScience, LP.

The Bayer Crop Science site is located on about 236 acres at 8400 Hawthorne Road in North Kansas City, Missouri, approximately 1.5 miles south of the confluence of the Missouri and Blue rivers. The facility occupies about 150 acres of the site and is protected by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ East Bottom Flood Levee. The remaining property is undeveloped land lying outside the Levee (river side of the Levee).

Before 1956, the property was farmland. In 1956, the facility opened as an agricultural chemical manufacturing facility, known as Chemagro, which became a wholly owned subsidiary of Bayer A.G. in 1967. In 1971, the facility came under control of the Mobay Chemical Corp. as a result of the merger and restructuring of various U.S. businesses affiliated with Bayer A.G. Over the years the facility formulated and produced numerous insecticides, fungicides and herbicides for agricultural use, including guthion (azinphosmethyl), disulfoton (Disyston), fenthion (Baytex), demeton (Systox), coumaphos (Baymix) and Meta-Systox-R.

A variety of hazardous wastes were produced as part of the facility operations. From 1959 to 1973, approximately 7,450 tons of material was land disposed in three areas at the facility where trenches were reportedly dug. This material consisted of about 6,902 tons of Filter Aid (a semi-solid paste that remains after pesticide recovery), 16 tons of ethyl phosphoro-triesters with toluene, 500 tons of methyl phosphoro-triesters with naphthol spirit and 30 tons of DEF water treatment residue (polyphosphates of tri-n-butyl thioester phosphates). After the final placement of these materials, the areas were covered with a layer of dirt and then gravel or grass.

Since 1979, the facility has operated two hazardous waste container storage areas in the south-central part of the facility, with a combined capacity of 12,375 gallons; four 27,000-gallon hazardous waste storage tanks and one hazardous waste incinerator. In January 1992, the facility name changed to Miles Inc., and in April 1995 the name changed to Bayer Corp., Agricultural Division. These were not changes in ownership or operating responsibility, but changes in company name only. In 2002, Bayer CropScience LP assumed ownership of the site.

On Aug. 10, 2015, the department approved Bayer’s Class 2 Permit Modification request, allowing Bayer to, among other things, add a new 24,000-gallon capacity permitted hazardous waste storage tank and to increase the secondary containment capacity of container Storage Pad No. 2 in order to store larger-sized containers. Bayer continues to produce and package insecticides, seed treatments, herbicides and fungicides for crop protection. Bayer stores and incinerates hazardous waste created during the on-site production processes and hazardous waste from Bayer’s satellite and sister facilities and Bayer-contracted formulators.

This facility is not a commercial waste management facility, since the wastes are limited to Bayer or Bayer contractor produced wastes. Bayer also arranges for off-site treatment and disposal of waste that can not be treated in the incinerator.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

The Firefall at the Yosemite National Park

Firefall at Yosemite National Park-only on mid to late February at sunset and only for 10 minutes if waterfall conditions are right.

Have you ever seen a waterfall on fire? I have not except on pictures as posted in this blog. It is a rare event, since it occurs only on mid to late February at sunset if the temperature and water conditions are right and usually last only for 10 minutes. The following video will illustrate it all.

For more details visit:

Friday, February 17, 2017

We could have been Millionaires if we took Risks in our Investments

Our Retirement Home, Boac, Marinduque, Philippines

I have been retired from the US Federal Government since 2002. Looking back on my participation to the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) back in the mid 1990's, I know I could have been a Millionaire, If I risked my savings into the more risky C fund ( stocks). At that time there were only three options to invest -The G, F and C Funds. I was putting 5% of my salary and the Government was matching it ( 6%). At that time I invested 1/3 of my savings to each G, F and C Funds because I was not risky enough to invest 100% to the C fund (stocks).

I have a fellow worker who put all his savings in the C fund. When he retired in 2002 he had almost a savings closed to 1 million, while mine was not even half of his savings. However, I did not regret since I did not have sleepless nights following the ups and downs of the stock market during those years. For more details on the TSP Savings Plan read:

Macrine and I had another chance during our younger years to become millionaires if were risky in our investments. About 3 decades ago when the condominium market was just starting in Makati, Manila, Macrine's cousin invited us to buy condos ( 50-50 joint venture) with him in Makati. We seriously considered it. However, at that time we were not sure of our retirement plans and we did not invest with him. Macrine's cousin is now a millionaire because of his investment in the condo market in Makati and Manila suburbs.
The front of our Beach House-Chateau Du Mer in Marinduque

Today, although we are not millionaires we are very happy. I invested the money I inherited from my Parents ( Iloilo) and my TSP savings building our retirement home and beach house we called Chateau Du Mer in Amoingon, Boac, Marinduque, Philippines.

For more details about our beach house and retirement home in the Philippines, visit

Lesson: Money will not buy you happiness, but it makes life easier in your retirement years!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

I enjoyed Playing Pai Gow Poker Yesterday

Yesterday, Valentine's Day, I treated Macrine for a Valentine Day Dinner and an afternoon trip to our local Indian Casino. David was off and he volunteered to accompany Macrine to the slots Machine while I played Pai Gow Poker. My capital was $200 since the minimum bet was $15 with a dollar and two dollar side bets. The side bets will pay extra if you have a Full House ( or better poker hand) to the highest poker hand of a 7 royal Flush Poker Hand. The chance of winning the Royal Flush is worst than being hit by a Lighting.

However the chance of getting Full house or 4 of a Kind poker hand is doable. The 1 dollar side bet pays only 1 to 4 for full house and 4 of a Kind. The two dollar side bet pays $150 for the 4 of a Kind Hand, but I did not bet on it. The pay-off for a & Royal Flush Hand was 1.4 million. But how often one is dealt with a Royal Flush Hand. Maybe 1 in 31,000! That is you have to play 31,000 times before you can hit a royal flush of 5 cards. With 7 my guess would be 1 in 1 million is the odds.

After playing for one hour( about 20 hands) I was ahead about $55. On my last hand prior to our early dinner, I hit 4 Jacks and a Pair of Nine. Since I was betting only on the one dollar side bet, I received only a $25 bonus instead of $150. I was delighted as we went for our Special Valentine Dinner. The 3-course Dinner cost was $24. We had soup, steak and shrimp with rice/vegetables as the main dish and chocolate Decadent Cake with Berries and Ice Cream for Dessert. The dinner was excellent.

After dinner, Macrine decided to play more slots for 30 minutes as I head my way to the Pai Gow Tables. All the three Tables were filled and I waited for 10 minutes to get a seat. My capital was $100. After 30 minutes Macrine was ready to go home. I lost $50 this time. We went home happy but tired. When we arrived home, I took a nap for an hour, then a snack before bed time. It was a FUN DAY at the Casino.

In case you are not familiar with Pai Gow Poker, here's the link from the Internet and from my previous blog for details.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Basic Metabolic Panel Blood Test

For the last couple of decades prior to our quarterly medical check up, Macrine and I are required by our family physician to take the basic metabolic panel blood test. I was curious why and what possible diseases it can detect. Here's a summary of what I found in the web for your information.

The tests that make up the basic metabolic panel are blood (serum) tests for:

1. BUN (blood urea nitrogen)
This test measures the amount of nitrogen in the blood.

2. CO2 (carbon dioxide or bicarbonate)
This test references lung and kidney function.

3. Creatinine
Creatinine levels can tell your doctor how your kidneys are functioning.

4. Glucose
A glucose test checks your blood sugar levels—abnormally high or low glucose levels could indicate a range of issues.

5. Sodium
This test determines if the concentration of sodium is within normal limits. It is part of your electrolyte panel.

6. Potassium
Your potassium levels are tested as part of your electrolyte panel.

7. Calcium
Testing for the calcium levels in your blood can help determine if there is a kidney, bone, or nervous system problem.

8. Chloride
Chloride levels are checked as part of your electrolyte panel.

9. Albumin
A few laboratories also include tests for albumin, which tests blood protein levels to test for kidney and liver disease.

The basic metabolic panel can give your doctor a good idea if you have any serious problems with: blood filtration, acid/base balance of your blood, blood sugar levels, and electrolyte levels. This can help uncover kidney problems, lung problems, certain heart problems, and problems with your pancreas or insulin metabolism. More detailed tests and additional will be ordered if any of these basic indicators are abnormal.

One advantage of a panel of tests is that many tests can be done with just one blood sample that is divided up in the laboratory.

For Colon Cancer: There is the SimpliPro Colon test but it is not intended for use as a screening test or for patients without symptoms associated with colorectal cancer or advanced adenoma. You will need to have a colonoscopy to confirm if you have colon cancer.


Happy Valentine's Day to All You, my beloved Readers!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Why Saffron is the Most Expensive Spice

Saffron threads for Spice (More expensive than gold)
A Camel Ride in Tangier, Morocco during our visit in 2000.(

Macrine and I had our first experience with buying Saffron when we visited Morocco, North Africa (in 2000) during our one day tour to Tangier from Gibraltar, Spain . However, the price per ounce in Tangier was still cheaper if you compared the spice sold here in the US.

Saffron, the most expensive spice, estimated price is about $1,500 per pound and up so it is usually sold only by the gram or ounce-just a small cluster of slender red threads in a tiny glass bottle. At the Spice House in Chicago, owners Tom and Patty Erd sell a gram of superior grade saffron for $6.79, and an even finer version, known as coupé grade, for $8.29.

The threads are the stigmas of tiny crocuses, grown primarily in Spain, Iran, Greece and India. Since each flower only has three stigmas, many blossoms are needed to produce even a small amount of spice. It takes an acre of land and hundreds of thousands of flowers to produce one pound of saffron threads.

Saffron, which Patty Erd calls "a classic," has been a key ingredient in cuisines since ancient times, and it is commonly used to make risotto, bouillabaisse and paella. Fortunately, a little saffron goes a long way and most recipes call for just a pinch.
"There are 200 to 300 threads per gram, and you only need a few threads at a time," Erd says. "You use it so sparingly that in the long run it's not much more expensive than any other spice."

Saffron as a Appetite Suppressant

Vanilla Saffron Imports president Juan San Mames advises buyers that they invest on a good quality product. His San Francisco direct-import business currently offers saffron for $1,162.24 per pound, or $72.95 per ounce, and carefully vets its saffron for compliance with ISO standards. (Yes, the ISO has saffron specifications.) Cheap saffron producers often leave in the tasteless yellow stamens, adding weight and diluting the red stigmas that give the spice its famous taste.

If you still can not afford Saffron for spice, a cheaper and good substitute is turmeric powder/extract. We called turmeric dilaw ( means yellow) in Marinduque, Philippines and is the most popular spice ( yellow coloring) for a few Filipino dishes, such as chicken adobo sa Gata. Both turmeric and saffron had anti-inflammatory activity and are used as herbal drugs/dietary supplements for a variety of ailments.





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