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!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Spring Flowers and Hay Fever

Ice plant in full bloom in my Side Yard

Hay Fever is finally catching on to me. The last three weeks, almost all of the people I am in contact with are suffering from hay fever from mild to serious, including our two cleaning ladies, our next door neighbor and three weeks ago one of the nursing assistants that took care of Macrine. These are cause by pollens and dusts from flowering plants and shrubs that are in full bloom now and will last for the full three months during spring time here in Northern California. Luckily for me, my allergy is very mild and can be relieved by over the counter medications readily available. Here are some of the sources of pollens in my front and back yards, very pretty but not friendly to people who are allergic to pollens.

The white flowers of these pyracantha bush is loaded with billions of pollens

Roses from my Garden

So what is hay Fever: Hay Fever is an allergy caused by pollen or dust in which the mucous membranes of the eyes and nose are itchy and inflamed, causing a runny nose and watery eyes. When there’s a lot of pollens and dust you’re allergic to in the air, the IgE antibodies will trigger the release of chemicals from certain cells in your nose, throat and eyes. One of these chemicals is histamine, and as a result of histamine in your system, you’ll experience the symptoms of hay fever.

Common causes of hay fever include grass pollen, tree pollen, molds and fungi. The time of year can affect when symptoms are at their worst, with spring and summer being the seasonal peaks.

Enjoy the flowers, smell the roses and hopefully hay fever is not one of your allergies. Happy spring time to All!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Do You Dislike Filipino Food?

Lechon-Roasted Whole Pig-A Fiesta Dish Prepared for Special Occasions.( Birthdays, Receptions, Holiday, etc..)

Have you meet people who hates( maybe dislike is a better word) Philippine cuisine and would not even try it. Some of them are just turn off at the sight of the dish such as the Dinugu-an ( blood pudding) or pigs feet and hocks (Kare-kare) or the smell of the dish (fishy) such as the shrimp paste(bagoong) or dried fish. However, most Pinoy dishes have no fishy smell. I am an Ilonggo and do not like Patis, but most Filipinos from Luzon loves it. My wife loves Patis.

Patis (Fish Sauce) is a pungent-flavored flavoring sauce and condiment made from salted, fermented fish. Patis is frequently used in the Philippines and in other Southeast Asian cooking to add saltiness to dishes. In Southeast Asian cuisines, it is also used as a dip for fish, shrimp, pork, and chicken. I prefer soy sauce, picante sauce or vinegar with garlic instead of Patis.

My encounter of the first person who dislike Filipino food was about 20 years ago while I was attending the wedding of my niece in Iloilo City. This person was from Australia and at that time was married to my niece. At the wedding banquet more than 20 Fiesta Dishes of Ilonggo origin were served. I was observing him not touching any of the dishes except the steam rice and the lechon( roasted pig). Later after the dinner I asked my niece if her husband hated Filipino food and she said yes. She told me he would not even try the dishes she prepared at home. She is now used to it and let him cook his own food at home. My niece said he is an adult and if he starved here in the Philippines, it is no longer her fault. The last time I heard, my niece and this ignoramus Aussie had divorced or separated.

The second person I have meet who does not eat Pinoy dishes was the American husband of my first cousin. This American was born in Missouri but went to college in Illinois. His parents still live in Missouri and I also heard they also dislike Pinoy dishes except for the roasted pig and the desserts. My encounter with my first cousin's husband was during their wedding reception in a Manila Hotel. There were more than a dozen Filipino dishes as well as American and International Dishes. I did not see him eat any Filipino dishes. Later on I asked my first cousin why he does not eat Pinoy dishes. My cousin said he was turned off by the smell of bagoong, the first time he was in the Philippines. From then on he would not even try any Pinoy dish serve to him.

The third person that I know that dislike Filipino dishes is the American husband of Macrine's closed relative. I will not discuss the detail here, because I do not want to be in the dog house with Macrine's relatives. My only regret is that his wife is a good cook and they have a Nanny who also is an expert in cooking Filipino dishes. This is all what I am going to say about this person who does not like Pinoy dishes except for the lechon and some desserts.

However, I have also meet a number of Americans who are married to Macrine's relatives and friends ( both Caucasian and Negro) who loves Pinoy dishes. These persons will try anything even if it is the first time they have seen the dish. These persons normally have other Filipino friends and have travelled to other countries.

So what is Philippine cuisine? Here's what Wikipedia says:

Philippine cuisine (Filipino: Lutuing Pilipino or Pagkaing Pilipino) consists of the food, preparation methods, and eating customs found in the Philippines. The style of cooking and the food associated with it have evolved over many centuries from their Austronesian origins to a mixed cuisine of Malay-Indonesian, Indian, Japanese, Chinese, Spanish, Mexican and American, in line with the major waves of influence that had enriched the cultures of the archipelago, as well as others adapted to indigenous ingredients and the local palate.

Dishes range from the very simple, like a meal of fried salted fish and rice, to the complex paellas and cocidos created for fiestas of Spanish origin. Popular dishes include: lechón (whole roasted pig), longganisa (Philippine sausage), tapa (cured beef), torta (omelette), adobo (chicken and/or pork braised in garlic, vinegar, oil and soy sauce, or cooked until dry), kaldereta (meat in tomato sauce stew), mechado (larded beef in soy and tomato sauce), puchero (beef in bananas and tomato sauce), afritada (chicken and/or pork simmered in tomato sauce with vegetables), kare-kare (oxtail and vegetables cooked in peanut sauce), pinakbet (kabocha squash, eggplant, beans, okra, and tomato stew flavored with shrimp paste), crispy pata (deep-fried pig's leg), hamonado (pork sweetened in pineapple sauce), sinigang (meat or seafood in sour broth), pancit (noodles), and lumpia (fresh or fried spring rolls).

For details and Recipes of my Favorite Philippine and American dishes read:

Personal Note: I am writing this blog not to embarrass the three men described above, but to at least give the Pinoy dishes a chance by at least tasting it before declaring to the whole world you do not like it or recommending to others not to taste it.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

The Lord is Risen-Happy Easter to All

Happy Easter from Our House to Yours, 2017

Today is Easter Sunday. We have no big plans for this important day in the Christian World, but just to attend mass on TV. I also plan on ordering our meals from Red Lobster and eat the left-overs-the Dungeness Crab Torta and Oyster Rockefeller ( that I cooked yesterday. Macrine is still not strong to get out of the house, although yesterday, she was itching to go to the Casino.

Easter Sunday and Holy Week reminds me always of the Moriones Festival in our second Home in Boac, Marinduque, Philippines. Incase you are not familiar with the Moriones Festival , here's my write-up on this popular festival and other festivals in the Philippines.

Attached are three photos taken by Joven Malabana Lillies of Mogpog for this year festivities. Enjoy!

Photos above are from Joven Lillies Facebook page. Thanks Joven for sharing the above pictures in your FB page.

Again a Blessed Easter to All!

Friday, April 14, 2017

One Week After Rehabilitation-A Beautiful Spring Day

My Orchids and Indoors Flowers are in Bloom

Last week, Macrine checked out from Manor Care after 20 days of Physical(PT) Occupational(OT) and Speech(ST) therapies. She was anxious to go home and was tired of hospital food, although once or twice a week, I brought her food from Olive Garden and El Tapacio Restaurants. Our 20 days at Manor Care was not bad at all. The nurses and assistants were kind and do their job properly. I would give this nursing skill facility a 3 star out of 5.

One of the things I learned after the rehabilitation of Macrine was to inject her blood thinner medication here at home. I will have to do this for another 2 days. I was anxious the first time, since I have never injected another person, but one of the hospital nurses showed it to me. Of course the technique of injecting a chemical samples into a machine(a gas chromatograph) is not new to me. I had injected more than hundred thousands of samples into the gas chromatograph during my 15 years working in a chemical laboratory doing research work and routine analytical work. Just in case, you do not know what is gas chromatography, here's the definition from Wikipedia: Gas chromatography (GC) is a common type of chromatography used in analytical chemistry for separating and analyzing compounds that can be vaporized without decomposition. Typical uses of GC include testing the purity of a particular substance, or separating the different components of a mixture (the relative amounts of such components can also be determined). In some situations, GC may help in identifying a compound

Yesterday, we have our first home health nurse visit. He happened to be a young Filipino-American. He did an evaluation and told us he will initiate a PT, ST and OT visit since all these are paid by Medicare up to 20 days. On the other hand the assistance of a nursing Aide will come from my own personal fund. I called my BCBS insurance and they confirmed help from nurses aides are indeed not covered by my insurance. I did inquire from an agency recommended by our visiting nurse- the Aide visit will cost me $25 per hour and a minimum of 4 hours per week is suggested. I am planning on doing this so I will have a reprieve from taking care of Macrine. She really need almost a minute by minute attention because of the danger of Falling again. David III and Dodie had installed an 8- screen Monitor so I can see Macrine while I am doing my Computer work and Blogging.

The other day, we received a call from Macrine's first cousin from Canada, just asking how we are doing. During our conversation, we talked about our contemporaries and relatives in our age group as well as younger ones dying. This week Macrine's younger first cousin died in the Philippines and another second cousin from the East Coast just died a week ago. Macrine is depressed knowing that her close relatives are now dying and she thinks it's her turn to die next, so we avoid this conversation as much as possible. But we can not stop death. Death and Taxes are two things you can not avoid. And speaking of taxes, I just mailed mine yesterday and glad it is over for this year. Luckily I did not owe any income tax because we have a large medical and dental bill this year.

While talking to Macrine's first cousin from Canada, she used the phrase "user friendly people". This is the first time I heard of the phrase so I asked for an explanation and example. When she told me of examples of some of our relatives that are user friendly, It was very clear to me what she meant when she said we have relatives and friends that are user friendly. In short there are people of wants you to be their friend only if they can get something from you especially money or influence. I am sure you know of relatives and acquaintances that belong to this user-friendly type of people.

A blessed Good Friday to All!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Lessons on Frugality and Extravagance

One of the lessons my mother, Paz Balleza Barrido Katague, taught me was frugality. During her life-time she and my father saved at least 10% of the family's income every month. By the time they were in their late forties, they have enough savings to purchase a commercial lot and building in Iloilo City-they called the Katague Building. The purchase was backed up with my father's back pay since he served as the Dental Officer of the American-Guerilla forces in Panay and Romblon Islands during the Japanese-American War in the Philippines. Both my father and Mother were able to send me and my six other siblings to college. When my father received his back pay, he wanted to buy a car- a luxury item at that time. My mother convinced him to save it. This help in the purchase of the commercial lot in Iloilo City in the late 1940's.

My Frugal Mother and Me, 1984. My Father however was not frugal at all, but money decisions at that time was under the control of my Mom.

My mother also taught me not to waste food. Your plate must be cleaned. If she saw you not cleaning your plates she would lecture you that millions of other children in the world are starving. This will make you feel guilty and finished your food even though you are no longer hungry. The trait of frugality I think I have passed to all of my four children. However, one of my children, I sometime wonder if the word frugality is carried to an extreme, to the point of him and his family not enjoying the current joy in living. Thus to be frugal is good but if carried to the extreme that you lose the enjoyment of life and daily living is not good. This reminded me of saying of Johnson, that without Frugality, there will be no rich people, but if you are miserable it is not worth it.

One of the many frugal things I did when I was still employed was to bring my own lunch( Macrine's left-over cooking) 4 times every week. On Fridays I treat myself and members of my team by eating in the local restaurants near our office. I calculated that the saving I made by doing it for 22 years was enough to build our beach house Chateau Du Mer in Boac, Marinduque, Philippines. Another item that gave me savings was on my utility bills-by turning off lights when no one is in the house and turning down the thermostat in our house when we are out of the house. I calculated I saved about 5% on my electric bill monthly.

Chateau Du Mer-Painting by Rene Nieva

Today, our practicing frugality during our younger years are bearing fruits and now being harvested. We are living in comfort even after our retirement even though our social security benefits are not enough. I can afford to pay an extra $60 per day for Macrine's rehabilitation -an upgrade to a single room- which is not covered by Medicare and my BCBS medical insurances. We can afford to hire cleaning ladies twice a month, have a monthly one hour whole body massage, order gourmet meals, go the Casino once a month and eat in a restaurant whenever we feel like doing.

Macrine's terno is similar to this photo but made with pineapple cloth

Although Macrine and I were frugal in our younger years, we did splurge on a few extravagances. We have visited 14 countries outside the US and stayed in 4 to 5 Stars resorts. We have visited 40 places in the US both small and big metropolitan areas, eat in 5 Star restaurants, drank a $100 bottle of wine and went to Las Vegas five times enjoying the night life( shows) and the Slot machines. One other extravagance that Macrine had enjoyed was her purchased from a famous couturier in Manila of a fully beaded/embroidered Terno that cost us $1000 about 15 years ago. At that time $1000 dollars( not pesos) was a lot of money for just an evening dress.

Another luxurious item that Macrine had enjoyed was a mink jacket in Chicago during my graduate school years at the University of Illinois. Macrine won this mink jacket( First Prize worth $500 at that time) at a lottery sponsored by our local Catholic church. After wearing it for a month, she decided to sell it for a washer and dryer- more practical items and much needed with our two kids still using diapers ( disposable diapers was still not available in the early 1960's).

One last extravagance of Macrine was our purchase of her Red Toyota Celica Convertible in the mid 1990's. This convertible was used in the Parade during the Filipino-American Centennial Celebration in Washington, DC. when Macrine was over all Chairperson of this Annual Event sponsored by Fil-Am residents of the tristate area of metropolitan Washington, DC, Maryland and Northern Virginia.
Macrine's Toyota Celica Red Convertible

We have certainly enjoyed a few extravagances in our younger years. If you are in the mature stage of life and have some money, do not be afraid to spend it. When you die all the money you saved will just be a source of problems/envy to all your children or to your living relatives. Spend it while you can and enjoy your aging years.

The reason why I am writing this blog is to remind everyone ( friends and relatives), to save and live a frugal life, but not to the extent of depriving yourself and family the enjoyment of daily activities. Again be frugal and be rich, but not too frugal to live a miserable life.

What is frugality? Wikipedia defines frugality as the quality of being frugal, sparing, thrifty, prudent or economical in the consumption of consumable resources such as food, time or money, and avoiding waste, lavishness or extravagance. For more article on frugality read the following:

Friday, April 7, 2017

Macrine's Collection of Music Boxes

Macrine started collecting music boxes while she was still in college. However, she was not really into it, so her collection was a small one. As of today she has only 30 music boxes. This is one gift she will always appreciate.

Macrine's has a collection of about 30 music boxes. Most tunes in her collection are baby lullabies( see video below) and most are well known classical tunes of the 1950's. When she retired she stopped collecting, but every now and then, she would play a few of her musical boxes for relaxation.
Macrine's Thirteen favorite music boxes


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...