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!

Friday, December 11, 2009

We are now in My Island Paradise

The David B.Katague Clan, Thanksgiving Day,2009
We left Sacramento November 29 and did not arrived Manila until Dec 1. We missed our connection in Honolulu so we have to stay overnight. Hawaiian Air gave us hotel and meals voucher because of the delay. We stayed in Makati until December 4. In Makati, we had lunch with Macrine's cousin Yong Nieva at his new restaurant, The Romulo Cafe in Quezon City. In the resturant we meet a couple of TV newscasters. The food was delicious and reasonably price. On our plane ride to Marinduque, Zest Air gave us a hard time regarding our ticket purchase on line using my sister-in-law credit card. Zest Air has to wake her up at 5:30AM just to get a copy of the credit card. What an archaic way of verifying ticket purchase on-line. I complained about the procedure to no avail. Anyway the 30 minute fly time is worth the hazzle in the airport.

Currently Macrine and I are enjoying the sites and sounds of rural Philippines. My internet connection here in the bondocks and so slow, I had to go to downtown Boac to read my e-mails. So my friends, readers and fellow bloggers, this is just to let you know, I am enjoying the slow lifestyle here in rural Marinduque, Philippines. Wishing everyone a Happy Holidays in advance.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

I love Sunsets! How about You?

1. Sunset from Balcony of the Beach House, Amoingon, Boac, Marinduque
Over the years, I have seen and photographed several dozens of sunsets in several countries that my wife and I have visited. We have been to Marbella, Spain, Rome, Italy, London,England, Vancouver, B.C., Cancun, Mexico, Aruba, Hawaii( Maui, Kawaii, Big Island), Puerto Rico and most of the US big cities, New York, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Chicago, Kansas City, St Louis, Miami, New Orleans, Washington, D.C. and other small cities . But the two most beautiful sunsets that stirs my emotion are the one at Amoingon Bay ( taken at the balcony of our Chateau Du Mer Beach house-photo # 1) and the one over Manila Bay(photo #9). You will probably say, I am partial since I am a Filipino-American, but judge it yourself. Below are ten of my favorite sunset pictures for your viewing pleasure.
Do you have any favorites?

2. Sunset, Eagle Beach, Aruba

3. Sunset, San Juan, Puerto Rico

4. Sunset, Hanalei Bay, Kauai

5. Sunset, Kaanapali, Maui

6. Sunset, Kona Village, Big Island, Hawaii

7. Sunset, Marbella, Spain

8. Sunset, Cancun, Mexico

9. Sunset, on Manila Bay, Philippines

10. Sunset, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Marinduque in My Heart-Tribute to Allan Velasco

Here's the latest video from posted by Eli Obligacion. It is a birthday and goodbye present to Allan Velasco's last day as provincial administrator. Allan is running for congressman for Marinduque lone district, I heard. The is a collection of scenes/images/pictures in the province and ecotourism projects that he spearheaded during his two year term as provincial administrator. There are a couple shots of Chateau Du Mer Conference Hall at the beginning of the video where the STTC ( Southern Tagalog Tourism Committee) Meeting promoting tourism in the province was held last year. So enjoy this video showcasing Marinduque's natural beauty. Hopefully you will be entice in visiting my island Paradise someday. As the title in my blog say: MARINDUQUE AWAITS YOU!

Friday, November 27, 2009

One of My Favorites Piece of Music-Romance by Shoskatovich

The following videos are one of my favorites classical piece of music. The Composer is Dmitri Shoskatovich and the title is Romance (From the Gadfly). The first video is a tribute to Carl Sagan. The second one is an original recording. This song had been used as theme songs of a TV series in England as well as in some movies. Every time I heard this song it makes me feel very nostalgic of my younger days,and my favorite TV show in the early 70's.

Most of you probably have not heard of Dmitri Shostakovich. Here is a short biography from Wikipedia. From his last name you might guess he is Russian, and you are correct.
"Dmitri Dmitriyevich Shostakovich (1906-1975) was a Russian composer of the Soviet period and one of the most celebrated composers of the 20th century.
Shostakovich achieved fame in the Soviet Union under the patronage of Leon Trotsky's chief of staff Mikhail Tukhachevsky, but later had a complex and difficult relationship with the Stalinist bureaucracy. His music was officially denounced twice, in 1936 and 1948, and was periodically banned. Yet he also received accolades and state awards and served in the Supreme Soviet of RSFSR. Despite the official controversy, his works were popular and well received.
After a period influenced by Prokofiev and Stravinsky, Shostakovich developed a hybrid style, as exemplified by his opera Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District (1934). This single work juxtaposed a wide variety of trends, including the neo-classical style (showing the influence of Stravinsky) and post-Romanticism (after Mahler). Sharp contrasts and elements of the grotesque[1] characterize much of his music.
Shostakovich's orchestral works include 15 symphonies and six concerti. His music for chamber ensembles includes 15 string quartets, a piano quintet and two piano trios. For the piano he composed two solo sonatas, an early set of preludes, and a later set of 24 preludes and fugues. Other works include two operas, and a substantial quantity of film music".

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Cloyne Court, Episode Twenty One

Note: If this is your first visit to this site, Dodie(Diosdado) is my oldest son. He is a full time prosecuting attorney in California, but writing is one of his favorite avocations. Cloyne Court is his first novel to be published By Three Clover Press, the end of this year.

Cloyne Court, Episode 21
By Dodie Katague
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Rated "R" by the Author.

Cloyne Court, Berkeley, California in the late 1970s.

Three weeks and nine lecture hours later, Ms. Barbara had said all she could say about feminism and nothing about Virginia Woolf. I looked at my notes. I had a page-and-a-half of three-word paraphrases and abbreviations and the symbols:

I looked at Karen, the woman seated next to me. She had thirty pages of notes and obviously reviewed them. She had paragraphs highlighted in different highlighter colors. I made a note to try to borrow her notes and decipher her color scheme.

After class one day, I walked with Karen through Sproul Plaza toward Telegraph Avenue. She was attractive in that Max Factor way with makeup (before ten a.m.) and not a hair out of place. I wanted to ask her out but was afraid.

Karen came to class dressed in a skirt and blouse and on cold mornings, with a sweater tied around her shoulders. The preppy look was unusual for Berkeley. Most students wore blue jeans, a T-shirt, and running shoes and carried a REI or Northface book pack. Karen carried a large-oversized purse that held one textbook and notebook, her cosmetics and a dozen highlighter pens in different colors.

“You sure take lots of notes,” I said.

“Stuff worth learning, don’t you think?” She had a reverent tone of voice as if the 'stuff' was the word of God handed down to Moses.

“It’s thought-provoking,” I replied, not wanting to offend her. If Rhetoric taught me anything, it was to know your audience and try not to offend them. “I don’t think one’s entire interaction with people should be perceived as men versus women.”

“It’s more than that,” she said, correcting me. “It’s information that empowers women. Virginia Wolff’s work has subthemes. She questions whether a woman can produce art as good as Shakespeare can, and there are more subthemes written all over it.”

“I take it you’ve highlighted the different subthemes in different colors?” I asked. “You sit next to me. I’ve seen your notes.”

“Precisely,” she said.

“Well, I guess as a lowly male, I can’t see that point of view from under your Famolares. Perhaps you can enlighten me sometime?”

She smiled at my sarcasm.

“I’d be interested in hearing what you think the subtext is. Perhaps we could meet and review notes some time,” I said.

“I’ve seen your notes. They are pathetic.”

“But I’ve read the book, as you have. I highlight the book. Not the notes. The notes are only an aid to memory.”

Fortunately, the book was in my backpack, and she couldn’t confirm I was lying. The book was still in pristine condition. I could sell the book back to the bookstore at the end of the quarter and receive full trade-in value for it.

Karen and I walked in silence. We couldn’t be heard over the raucous chanting of an antiapartheid protest going on at the steps of Sproul Plaza. We stood at the crosswalk at Bancroft Avenue waiting for the light to change.

“OK,” she said, breaking our silence. “Let’s study together right before midterms. I’m a Kappa Alpha. Do you know where the house is? Corner of Piedmont and Haste.”

I was well aware of the huge gray mansion on Greek Row with the two Greek letters K and A in snow-white paint affixed to the front of the house like Hester Prine’s scarlet letter. According to Alan, Kappa Alpha was the snobbiest of the sororities.

“What fraternity do you live in?” she asked.

“I live in a house on Northside on Ridge Road," I said truthfully. I remembered Alan’s warning about revealing my housing status.

“Are you an SAE,” Karen asked, “or Chi Omega?” She rattled off Greek letters as fluently as she spoke English. What could I say? Rush week had been over for months. Bids had been made and pledges had been initiated into their fraternities and moved into their houses.

I thought for a second. I knew that my answer would be a defining minor moment in my life—a precedent that could change my ethical integrity for years to come. I could have taken the path of honesty and high moral values and told her the truth. However, truth would have been sexual suicide. She would not have given me the time of day after that, and I wanted her time of day. I wanted her time of night. How should I answer her?
Although seventy-five percent of this memoir is factual, liberties were taken with the other twenty-five percent for plot purposes. That is where scenes were recreated from memory when they were not clearly defined in the journals written by the author in the 1970s and 80s.

Individual characters are composites of several people and do not represent any one person, and the names have been changed to protect innocent people that may be guilty of indiscretions in their youth. All characters, names and events as well as all places, incidents, organizations, and dialogue in this memoir should be considered products of the author’s imagination and are used fictitiously.

Blood Bath in Maguindanao, Philippines

The Maguindanao Massacre leaves a bad taste in my mind, heart and soul. Just thinking about it make me feel sick and I can not wait to see the culprits punished. This is an incident that makes me not proud as a Filipino-American. It puts the Philippines as a BARBARIC nation in the eyes of the world. Below is an editorial and summary of the incident from the GMA network, one of big networks in the publishing field in the Philippines.

“We are no longer who we were before Monday. In the annals of political violence in the Philippines, there have been no parallels to the slaughter that occurred on the lonely road to Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao on November 23.

52 unarmed civilians all, the majority of whom were media professionals, the victims were enroute to perform basic functions in a civilized democracy: the Mangudadatu women were to file certificates of candidacy; the lawyers were to provide legal advice; and the journalists were to bear witness on behalf of the public and to report on an important event without fear or favor. All of these roles are essential for a political system where power is meant to be transferred without violence.

What met them in a town recently renamed Ampatuan was the exact opposite: a force and mentality that invoked the barbarity of more primitive times. The crime that occurred in Ampatuan was uniquely savage, but it was also an extreme example of the violent tendency in our politics. At the other extreme are the many citizens who are bravely committed to the difficult and complex process of peacefully deciding who our leaders should be, such as those souls who perished on Monday.

It is this tension between savagery and peaceful process that has marked our electoral history. Those are the most critical choices in 2010. Much will depend on how the government reacts in the coming days. For what is emerging is evidence that the assailants were not outside the law but part of the political machinery of local officials backed by the Arroyo administration.

The President so far has ordered a thorough investigation and declared a state of emergency in Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat, and Cotabato City. Philippine National Police Director General Jesus Verzosa has relieved six PNP officials in Maguindanao.

We trust that this is just the beginning of a series of actions that will bring all of the perpetrators to justice, including the warlords who orchestrated this bloodbath.

If they are permitted to escape harsh punishment, it will clearly be a vote for barbarity and for the other savage armies prepared to assault our maiden automated elections.

As we wait for action, we grieve. We grieve for the believers in a democratic system who paid with their lives. We grieve for the martyred journalists who believed the Constitutional protection of their rights was enough.

By traveling without arms to perform their democratic duties in hostile territory, the 52 made their choice. We honor their example and sacrifice, as their fate continues to chill our bones. As fellow believers, we could have easily been them”.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Our First Thanksgiving Day in United States, 1960

It was November,1960 when Macrine and I and our oldest son,Dodie(who was only 2 years old then) experienced our first Thanksgiving Celebration in the United States. That year, I was a graduate student at the University of Illinois at the Medical Center in Chicago. The Chicago Hospitality Center along with YMCA and CFM invites all Foreign students in the area to spend a Thanksgiving weekend to the homes of volunteers in small towns of Illinois away from the crowded city of Chicago. Some of my foreign student friends were reluctant and did not accept the invitation, but I had an adventurous spirit so with great anticipation, Macrine and I along with Dodie went with 12 other foreign students and their families to Central Illinois. Our host for that weekend was Mrs. Johnston, a widow from Danville, Illinois. She lives alone and her beautiful bungalow house right in downtown Danville. We left Chicago in the morning, had thanksgiving dinner ( turkey and all its trimmings)in late afternoon. This was followed by a program in the evening at a local community center, where all the Hosts met and socialized with other invited students from Korea, Iran, Mexico, Japan, Chile, South Africa, Egypt and the Philippines. Macrine, Dodie and I represented the Philippines.
The next day we had a grand tour of the area, the farms and then to Springfield, the capital of Illinois. The tour of the area and Springfield was the highlight of our 2 days break from our hectic schedules as a graduate students.

So, did I like the roasted turkey? Nope, that was first time I had turkey. In the Philippines we do not celebrate Thanksgiving and I had never tasted turkey before. I did not like the pumpkin pie either. What I enjoyed was the oyster stuffing,ice cream and the cranberries sauce.

So why do I write this post. Well, to thank the Lord for all the good things and the past 49 years of Thanksgiving Days, He has given me and my family so far here in US. In addition our visit to the “real” Americans ( not the Ugly ones) that Thanksgiving day in 1960 prompted me to write an article of my impressions of the US at that time and has remained in my memory until today:

Our Impression of America

" During our first year in Chicago, we never received an invitation to participate in the hospitality program. Our name was probably buried in the list of foreign students or perhaps our foreign student adviser was sleeping in her job. During these first year of adjustments to the American way of life, we formed a very wrong impression of Americans. Asides from our daily contacts with fellow students in the school rooms or dormitories, our only other social contacts were people in the streets, subways, buses, department stores, supermarkets and other public places. These were all artificial contacts, giving us an impression that Americans are unfriendly, artificial, insincere, apathetic,intolerant and above all ignorant.The latter adjective was quite true, since the ordinary or typical American does not have the vaguest idea where the Philippines, Japan or even Puerto Rico is located in the map.

" However, in our second year, we began receiving invitation to spend a weekend in suburban homes as well as dinner invitations in city homes. At first, we were reluctant to accept the invitation, however with our adventurous spirit, we said yes.
From then on, "we have the whole world in our hands". We are thankful to CFM, the YWCA and the Hospitality Center of Chicago for making our stay filled with pleasant memories.

"On the other hand what impressions could we have brought back to the Philippines, if our stay was limited to one or two years ( true for exchange visitors). How many visitors and exchange scholars brought home with them the wrong impressions and attitude towards the American people in general? I knew there were a few foreign students in the dormitories who were disillusioned about the United States. One of them was a former dorm mate from Chile. He received an invitation, but never did conquer his apprehension of accepting one.

" At present as couple leader of the first interfaith group in our diocese, we will do our very best to reciprocate, promote, and encourage hospitality programs to foreign students and scholars in our area. We believe that opening our homes and our hearts on weekends and holidays, is one of the best ways of promoting world peace and understanding. Let us then make it possible for foreign students and scholars get the true picture of America and its people. Let us give them the opportunity to share with us our way of life. Let us get busy as a group or perhaps join other groups in order that we can show to the future leaders of the world, how sincere, friendly and aware we are of other human beings in other parts of the world. This is one of the many ways we could be more Christlike, we believe".
This letter was published by CFM in their monthly magazine, ACT, for all their members worldwide.

I also would like to dedicate this poem to all my readers in this blog.
Thanksgiving Every Day-By Karl Fuchs
The table is brimming with good things to eat;
We're surrounded by family and friends; what a treat.
The feelings that fill us today can’t be beat;
It’s Thanksgiving Day, and it all feels complete.
But other days, sometimes things don’t seem so fine;
Those days are not polished and don’t seem to shine.
It's then in our minds, we forget all the good,
And think of the things we would get, if we could.
On days when our thinking causes us dread,
If we could remember, it’s all in our head,
And not let our minds take our gratitude away,
Then we'd make every day like Thanksgiving Day.


Monday, November 23, 2009

Things To Do in Marinduque

There are numerous things to do in Marinduque during your vacation. But the following ten items are my recommendations:
1.Beach combing, snorkeling, bathing , scuba diving and sunset watching
This photo was taken at the balcony of the Beach House. Note that low tide is starting and the corals are starting to stick out also.

2.Caves Exploration-Spelunking. There are two caves worthy of exploration-Bathala in Santa Cruz and Tarug in Mogpog. The Bathala Cave consist of eight other caves. One of the caves has a resident python. Photo by

Resident Python-photo by
3.Island Hopping- The Tres Reyes Islands Marine Sanctuary, Polo and Maniwaya Islands.
This is Maniwaya island being develop as an alternative to Boracay, photo by

4.Shopping for Morion masks and native handicrafts- nito products,wood carvings and potteries. This is a nito handbag, a popular gift item. Photo by

5.Trip Around the Island-Sulfur and Hot Springs, Poctoy White Beach and Mt Malindig
This is Poctoy White Beach with Mt Malindig in the background in Torrijos, the most popular beach in the province.

6.Partaking and Enjoying the island delicacies- Ginatan na Manok sa Gata, bibingka, kare-kare and ulang-ulang soup. Photo of bibingka by, yum, yum, it is delicious.

7.Join or just watch the Moriones Festival during Holy Week. Women Moriones Participants-photo by

8.Visit 400 year-old churches, ( Boac, Gasan and Santa Cruz )and antique homes in downtown Boac. This is one of the many antique houses in downtown Boac. This one is owned by my sister-in-law, Mrs Siony Jambalos. It is located just across the Boac Hotel.
The Green Mansion photo by Dong Ho
9.Watch colorful butterflies (in the butterfly farms) or native birds ( bird watching) in the foothills of Mt. Malindig. This is a monarch butterfly. Photo by

10.Treat yourself to the most expensive and luxurious resort in Southern Luzon- The Bellarocca Resort and Spa in Buenavista or pamper yourself to an affordable private beach resort at Chateau Du Mer in Boac. The Beach House and Bridge at twilight.

For details visit the following websites: or

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Efren Penaflorida is CNN Hero of the Year

A few minutes ago, CNN announced Efren Penaflorida as this years Hero. It seem that my campaign for him did work. I heard about Efren first from Bob Martin's e-magazine. I started posting a blog ( below) then in Face Book. Later on, I saw that other FB users are also recommending and voting for him. I voted about 50 times, since there was no limit. I am so proud of his accomplishments. In behalf of Efren, I thank all who responded and voted for him. Mabuhay! The following is also my article that I posted about three weeks ago.

I received the following e-mail today. I have already voted for him three times this week, after Bob Martin's posted an article about him last week in "Live in the Philippines" e-magazine. Efren Penaflorida deserves it and we all should support his work for the youth of the Philippines. Here's a short vidoe of Efren's work.

In case you have not heard yet....
Hi Everyone,

Please take time out to learn about Efren Penaflorida and vote for him as CNN Hero of the Year if you feel he is worthy. Lets help our deserving youth. You can vote as many times as you want.

Subject: Vote now for the CNN Hero of the Year Efren Penaflorida is really a hero in the Philippines

Vote now for the CNN Hero of the Year at

Hello everyone...This Efren Penaflorida is really a hero in the Philippines and the world. Please read his story and vote for him. We have until Nov. 19 only to help him. He deserves the honor.Plus the monetary award will surely help him in his endeavor to keep on doing what he is doing... to give the poor a chance at education and keep them away from gangs and drugs.

We are grateful for someone like Efren. We may not be able to physically do what he is doing but we can certainly cast a vote to help him. Please spread the news.

Each year, CNN gives $100,000 to the winner (from a field of ten finalists---winnowed from 9,000 nominees from all over the world) of its "Hero of the Year" award. This year, a 28-year-old Filipino, Efren PeƱaflorida, made it to the top ten. (A panel of 12 well-known personalities from various fields picked the finalists. Colin Powell was among the judges this year). If Efren wins this year's award (based on how many votes he gets, which will depend on us), he will be able to expand his mobile school program for the children of the slums in the Philippines. What this young man is doing to improve the lives of the kids in the slums is truly inspiring.

Here's the link to Efren's story and his Dynamic Teen Company (the organization he founded). You can vote for Efren by clicking on the link found in the article.

Voting is open between now and Nov. 19. CNN will announce the winner and give out the award at a star-studded show on Thanksgiving night in L.A. at the Kodak Theater (same venue for the Oscars). So, let's all help Efren win so that he will, in turn, be able to help more impoverished kids. The more votes Efren gets, the greater his chances of winning the "Hero of the Year" award and the $100K. It will take less than a minute to click a button to cast your vote. Let's all help Efren continue to make a difference in those slum kids' lives. Without his mobile school and his group of volunteers, those kids will probably never have a chance to set foot in a real school and learn their ABCs. Let's all vote for Efren! Please don't forget to pass this on to everybody you know---Filipinos and non-Filipinos alike----so more people can vote for this young man with an extra big heart. Thanks!!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Live Like a King, a Queen or a Slave!

Chateau Du Mer Beach House at Twilight,Marinduquue

Currently my wife and I are lucky that we have a choice of living like a King or A Queen or a Slave. We spent half of our retirement lives annually living like a King and a Queen in our island Paradise in Marinduque, Philippines ( ). The benefits and advantages of our staying in the Philippines six months of the year are detailed in my article as a guest writer for Bob Martin web magazine ( dated June 25, 2009. In that article, I cited ten things I love about the Philippines. The number one item is the cheaper standard of living, availability of maids, gardeners and helpers at a reasonable expense. Of course there is no perfect place in the world including the Philippines, so I wrote the 10 most annoying things about the Philippines in the same web magazine dated June 11, 2009. My number one complaint are the traffic, jeepneys, frequent brown outs and pollution in big cities like Manila or Cebu. But in Marinduque, there are no traffic or pollution problems. The island is only crowded during the Moriones Festival, on Easter Week every year. As I mentioned, the availability of helpers in Marinduque, makes you feel like a king or a Queen. We have two gardeners, a driver, a housekeeper and cook permanently. Macrine hires a laundry woman once a week for 200 pesos a day, plus 50 pesos tip. By hiring helpers, you are contributing to the improvement of the the local economy. The current dollar to pesos exchange is now about 1 to 47. Last year, I paid $1.00 for a haircut, $3.00 for 1 hour body massage and $2.00 for manicure and pedicure. The quoted price for the above services will vary from place to place in the Philippines and also affected by the pesos to dollar exchange rate.

Compared to life here in Northern California, I pay $10 to $14 for a haircut. I can not afford to have a manicure or pedicure every month. I do it myself. Here in US, I am the driver, the gardener, the laundry man, and the dish washer. I do not cook or clean the house, those are Macrine's duties, but I know how to use the microwave and vacuum the carpets once in a while. So comparing our lives here in US to that in PI it is fair to say, that we live like a King or Queen in PI, but like slaves in US.

However, we have adjusted to the differences in lifestyles between the Philippines and United States. We consider both places HOME. But as the saying goes, HOME is not a place but in the HEART!

If perchance you have plans visiting or retiring in the Philippines in the near future, start by reading Bob Martins website above. I do not have any monetary gains by my advertising his website, but if you are serious retiring in the Philippines because of the cheaper standard of living, then you must start reading Bob Martins website. If you need more information about Marinduque, please read my blogs as follows:

Friday, November 20, 2009

Song from the Secret Garden-Two Videos

Now for a change of subject, I am posting these two renditions of Song from the Secret Garden. I love semi-classic and ambient music. How about you? Enjoy!

How can a thing be so beautiful yet depressing to listen? If you have not heard of the Secret Garden( the book, the movie, the animated film etc..), I hope the following two videos will arouse your interest. Enjoy!

This second video is by Ben Chan on his 26th Birthday (08-08-08-what a lucky violinist).

Thursday, November 19, 2009

My Top 15 Favorite Blogs

Balcony of the Beach House at Night-Chateau Du Mer Beach Resort

In two weeks time, my wife and I will be spending our annual snow bird vacation in my island paradise- Marinduque, in the Philippines. In our retirement property, I will not have a 24 hour direct access to the Internet. However, I could go to downtown BOAC, only about a 15 minute drive to check my e-mails, manage my blogs and read FACE BOOK as well as surf in the Internet if I want to. My sister-in-law owns an Internet Cafe and for 40 pesos ( less than a dollar) per hour, I could spend one to four hours in the Internet every day without breaking my bank account.

When I am in the beach house and gardens, I do not feel like going to town because of the traffic, noise and the heat and humidity. In the beach house, there is always an ocean breeze during the months of December, January and February and thus no air conditioning is needed. If I get tired of gardening, I could watch TV, read or just enjoy relaxing. But, if I want pizza, hamburger or Halo-Halo, ice cream or my other favorite Filipino delicacies, then it is time to go to town.

So with this in mind ( that is no 24 hour direct Internet access), I am proud to announce my top 15 favorite blogs as follows: The list are not arrange in any particular order of likes or favorites. To me the 15 are all equal in importance in my enjoyment in reading them daily.


Please visit the blogs site above (if you have not done it yet). It will be worth your time. Extending an Advance Happy Thanksgiving Wishes to all my readers and Bloggers all over the World!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Cloyne Court- Episode Twenty

Image from
Here's Episode 20 of Dodie's book soon to be published By Three Clover Press. Lesson learned in this chapter.
I knew from watching my parent’s marriage and the male-female interactions at Cloyne Court, that women actually run society but let men think they do.
Do you Agree?
Cloyne Court, Episode 20
By Dodie Katague
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Rated "R" by the Author.
Cloyne Court, Berkeley, California in the late 1970s.


Rhetoric 1A: Intro to Logical Writing

Rhetoric is the difference between rape and seduction. It is the ancient art of logical argumentation and discourse for decisions that are decided by emotion. I chose to study this subject over English, because I felt persuasive writing was of more practical use to me than the study of Jane Austen.

Graduate Teaching Assistant Ms. Barbara Zimmer taught this small class of twenty. She was feminine in her brusque manner, but a feminist in all other respects. She exuded the same attitude of Berkeley graduate students forced to be teaching assistants. She was a “there’s-only-one-correct-answer, do-it-my-way, why-do-I-bother-teaching-undergrads” dictator with the power of my future in her grading pencil, and she wielded it like an old-style Catholic nun with a ruler. Whack!

The assigned reading was Virginia Woolf’s essay, A Room of One’s Own, a selection from the class textbook, The Feminist Reader: A Feminist Approach to American Fiction.

Ms. Barbara taught Woolf's Room as if it were a landmark in feminist criticism. Like Mao’s Little Red Book, she disseminated to our blank freshman minds the revisionist view of Marxism, lesbianism and modern feminism.

“Men have different degrees of access to the mechanisms of oppression,” she said. “Almost every man and woman encounter has sexual overtones designed to reinforce the sexual dominance of men.”

I dutifully wrote the statement in my notebook. I didn't know when the quote might come in handy at some cocktail party.

Ms. Barbara walked down the rows of chairs glaring at the men but gently touching the desks, and sometimes the shoulders of the women students as she continued to pontificate. “Men are socialized to have sexual desires and to feel entitled to have those desires met, whereas women are socialized to meet those desires and to internalize accepted definitions of femininity and sexual objectification. As men cling to the idea that their sexuality is an absolute expression of their need and dominance, they prevent women from effecting new attitudes, self-realizations, and behaviors.”

I translated that to, "Men are horny bastards and women let it happen to their detriment." Perhaps, from the top of the ivory tower, Ms. Graduate Student Barbara’s view of the sexual battlefield had the masculine missiles of October menacingly pointed at the feminist motherland, but she was wrong.

I knew from watching my parent’s marriage and the male-female interactions at Cloyne Court, that women actually run society but let men think they do.

However, I could never state that blasphemy in Rhetoric 1A. My viewpoint would not be given any credence in her classroom, because I had a Y chromosome. Therefore, I suffered in silence at the indignity of learning that I, as a man, was the oppressor of women, the cause of famines in underdeveloped Third World countries, and the inventor of hot pants and disco music done under aegis of politically correct scholarly dogma.
This episode is based on a true story.

Although seventy-five percent of this memoir is factual, liberties were taken with the other twenty-five percent for plot purposes. That is where scenes were recreated from memory when they were not clearly defined in the journals written by the author from 1976 to 1980.

Individual characters are composites of several people and do not represent any one person, and the names have been changed to protect innocent people that may be guilty of indiscretions in their youth.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Marinduque Power Crisis-Part 7

Bishop Reynaldo Evangelista, D.D.
Here's the continuation of this confusing saga on the Power Crisis in our beloved province written by Eli Obligacion of I am still confuse!

Monday, November 16, 2009


On the power outages that got more constant and longer last September, Napocor’s Engr. Danilo Barcase explained to the provincial council in a meeting held at the session hall on Sep. 30, 2009, that the situation was brought about by Napocor’s failure to repair genset unit #2, with no units available for use as back up. The power company had to seek the intervention of technicians from Daihatsu, expected to arrive on October 7, Barcase said, as the extent of the neceesary repairs was much worse than they expected.

Barcase also reported that in view of this situation and based on the recommendation of NPC Vice-President Mel Chiu, NPC president Tampinco has ordered the shipment to Marinduque of a 3 MW ? surplus unit from Palawan, made possible through an existing contract with Agrekko.

By this time in September, technical inspection of the plant in Bantad was already undertaken by the NPC representative who arrived in Marinduque for this purpose. This unit was expected to be shipped from Palawan on October 11, Barcase said in the same meeting.

By this time, the capacity of Napocor was effectively reduced to only 3.1 MW, or down to half the peak load requirement for Marinduque registered at 6.76 MW, power shedding in the different areas of the province had to be undertaken.

Bercase also informed the provincial council that as a result of an earlier meeting between Napocor and Marelco on Sept. 11, 2009, Chiu ordered the return of gensets much earlier pulled-out out from the province in expectation of the commercial operation of 3i Powergen. An Interim Supply Agreement with Marelco was already being drafted in relation to this, he added.


Bueno, as Marelco general manager, stated that he had recommended to the Board to look for a new power provider (other than 3i Powergen), to supply electricity in Marinduque for the next 15 years, adding that Napocor gensets are already too old.
Napocor’s Barcase reinforced this by stating that no expansion by Napocor in Marinduque has been considered by Napocor as it has been removed (“tinanggal”), from the Missionary Electrification Development Plan in view of the IPP entry. This appeared to support VP Melburgo Chiu’s advise that “NPC-SPUG’s function has been limited to the maintenance of its existing capacity, NPC’s budget does not allow any provisions for increase capacity, since any additional requirements shall have to be provided by your NPP” (NPC-SPUG letter to Marelco 9.4.09).


On the issue of rescission of the agreement with 3i Powergen, Marelco’s director Beethoven Arevalo, stated that a resolution has already been adopted by the Marelco board rescinding the contract, but based on the PSA it had to undergo an arbitration process for a period of 90 days that started on September 11, “Sa katunayan.. mayroon ng resolusyon ang Board na pinapawalang bisa ang kontrata subalit batay sa Power Supply Agreement (PSA) kailangan pang dumaan ito sa 90 araw na arbitration na nag-umpisa noong Setyembre 11.” (Arevalo, Sept. 30.09).

With respect to the NPC-SPUG letter dated Sept. 4, 2009, the first document related to the power outages that this blogger got hold of, and used as lead in attempting to unearth the riddles of this convoluted maze of a case, Marelco merely coursed the letter to 3i Powergen instead of responding to NPC-SPUG squarely. This, obviously is a matter needing decisive, urgent action and... transparency. NPC wished “to know the status of privatization of power generation in your area, and the level of energy that will be nominated to NPC for the period (2010).”

Asked during the Sept. 30 meeting why Marelco turned instead to 3i for response, considering that Marelco had variously declared before the provincial council of the coop’s assessment, to which the council also completely agreed to - that the said new power provider is no longer capable of pursuing the power generation project; that in fact Marelco has made a move to rescind the contract, Bueno responded by saying that “...up to now Marelco does not know the status of the project with 3i Powergen, as it has not presented any update...”

Then he blurted that Marelco has not yet adopted a resolution rescinding the contract. Committee chair Raza wished to be clarified: “Wala pa’ng naipasang resolution?”

Bueno: “Wala pa.”

A Burt Bacharach song goes: "The world is a circle without a beginning and nobody knows where it really ends." Circles. "Round and round in circles."


Marinduque (population: 235,000) has often been described as the most peaceful province in the Philippines, second only to Batanes in terms of negative crime rate. While it remains the only 4th class province in the Mimaropa region, many people are extremely fascinated by the lethargic, laid-back ambience that this beautiful island-province exudes.

But there's a limit to the peace-loving people's patience. The power failures that escalated in September and early October, largely unexplained to the masa, often deliberately by the very institutions involved in the energy supply and distribution systems, and in instalments before official bodies, however, were ripe for mass action to be undertaken, and for silence to be broken.

“Basagin ang pananahimik, tuligsain, labanan ang palpak na sistema ng pamunuan ng Marelco” (“Break the silence, denounce, fight against the flawed system of the management of MARELCO!”). Angry flyers with these words were distributed in the municipalities of Boac and Gasan by Gasan residents denouncing Marelco for the “many occasions it spent belying, explaining, and passing on the responsibility and blame to others...” and the incalculable losses suffered by businessmen, by ordinary citizens, schools, government institutions and threats to health and security.


Bishop of Boac, The Most Rev. Reynaldo G. Evangelista, then issued a Pastoral Letter on October 6, 2009, addressed to priests, nuns, lay-leaders, members of the laity and the people of the province about the need for all to speak out and assert, among others:

a. To teach a lesson to politicians who do not respond to the needs of the people; not to make the mistake of accepting money or favors during the election period in exchange for votes; to unite, stand up, and together vote for those who have compassion for the people.

b. Seek the truth behind the brown-outs that are being experienced and hold responsible all the agencies of government, politicians, and others who have caused our suffering.

c. To call on all sectors of society, NGOs, the youth, businessmen to join a peaceful rally on Monday, October 12, 2009, at 9:00am at the capitol grounds and Marelco; to wear ‘black’ symbolizing dismay to those in government who were remiss in their duties, causing the massive brown-outs.

The said letter also questioned Marelco’s claims on the cause of the power failures, such as “a). they owed a huge debt from NPC; b) there are many delnquent members/consumer; c). high cost and inadequate supply of diesel; d). huge sums of money spent for repairs/rehabilitation and maintenance of electrical lines and posts; e). system loss in the operation of Marelco.”

“But, is this really the truth behind the frequent brownouts, or are there deeper reasons that are probably being concealed from the knowledge of our people? What concrete step or solution has been undertaken by Marelco, the municipal and provincial governments on this issue?

"Whatever happened to the contract signed on September 27, 2005 among Marelco, Napocor and 3i Powergen, during the administration of then Congressman Edmundo Reyes, Jr. and former Governor Carmencita Reyes, that should have started supplying electricity in the province since February 2007?”, the letter stated in part.

Bishop Evangelista, thus, exhorted the people “to brace each other’s arms for solutions to our problems and for real change to take place in our beloved province”.
Meanwhile, the political rumormongers wasted no time selling their ridiculous wares on the island through the magic of cellphones. Obviously emanating from his political enemy camp, they were directed against the incumbent governor, Jose Antonio N. Carrion, blaming him now as the cause of the power outages.

(to be continued)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Pacquiao TKOs Cotto, Makes History

Like most Filipino-Americans residing in the US, I had been excited the last couple of days and had planned watching the Pacquiao-Cotto professional boxing match in TV. However, when I learned that I have to pay $54 to watch it on Cable TV Pay per View, I decided it is not worth spending that much money, for a match that I already know who will be the winner. As a retiree and living an my SS and Federal pension, the $54 I will spend will come in handy for other expenses, such as my Christmas gifts to my grandchildren next month. So it was only this morning when I woke up that I found the results of the boxing match. Attached is an excerpt from the Philippine Inquirer-Philippine newspaper and a short video of Round 4 out of 12, I found in YouTube. Keep up with the good work, Manny Pacquiao! You are putting the Philippines on the world map again! I am proud to be a Filipino-American today because of your accomplishments.
Round 4 of 12

MANILA, Philippines – Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao made history Sunday (Manila time) when he bagged the welterweight title, his seventh in as many divisions, via technical knockout of Puerto Rican Miguel Cotto, the reigning champion in that division.

Kenny Bayless, the referee of the match, stopped the fight at 2:04-minute mark of the 12th round declaring Pacquiao the winner in the fight held at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Pacquiao bucked a size disadvantage against Cotto on his way to becoming the first fighter to win world titles in seven divisions.

Pacquiao has won the world championships in the flyweight (112 pounds), super bantamweight (122 lb), featherweight (126 lb), super featherweight (130 lb), lightweight (135 lb), and light welterweight (140 lb).

No man has won seven world titles in seven weight divisions and only five boxers have won six – Pacquiao, Oscar de la Hoya, Thomas Hearns, Hector Camacho, and James Toney.

Pacquiao looked unstoppable for the third consecutive fight, knocking Cotto down twice in the early rounds before putting the finishing touches on in the 12th round to claim Cotto's World Boxing Organization title.

The Filipino dominated from the second round on, putting on a stunning display of boxing skills and laying a savage beating on the champion.

"I tried my best to knock him out," Pacquiao said. "I thought in 11th round they would stop the fight. I am surprised he continued to fight."

Pacquiao (50-3-2, 38 KOs) solidified his status as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Pawikan ( Sea Turtles) Conservation Efforts in the Philippines

Photo by Racaza
The following article I found very interesting and needed to be read by all people of the world as well as all residents/visitors in the coastal areas in the Philippines. I shared its views and it reminds me of what happened a couple of years ago in Amoingon, the Western Marinduque Seacoast One early evening ( twilight) while I was walking and strolling in the beach as part of my daily exercise, I saw a couple of local fishermen and several children harvesting turtle eggs about a half- a mile from the Chateau Du Mer Beach House. I stopped because I was curious. I can not believe when I saw more than 50 turtle eggs all harvested by the children and the two men. I was speechless and concerned so a few days later I told one of the provincial officials in the department of tourism and conservation of the incident. So that year I heard that a local ordinance was passed that it is illegal to harvest turtle eggs and live corals in the coastal areas of Marinduque as well as in Tres Reyes Island-a marine sanctuary. But do the residents follow these ordinances, I doubt it, since the eggs are food and most of the local residents are poor and turtle eggs do alleviate their food needs.

Here is the article from Tourism Paradise Philippines written by Dave Ryan A Buaron dated Nocvember 14, 2009.

"The ultimate patriots, the Pawikans (Filipino for Marine Turtles) return after 25-30 years and go back to where they were hatched to lay eggs. This cycle remained unbroken for ages until recently when these beautiful sea animals have become highly threatened for extinction, due to poaching and hunting- their numbers are alarmingly dwindling. The time is now to take action. Read on and learn how you or your organization can help.

Philippines Pawikan Conservation Center

About 4 hours away from Manila is the sleepy fishing village of Nagbalayong in the town of Morong on the Bataan Peninsula. Along a patch of sandy coastal road a tiny place fenced with aged bamboo and a driftwood sign with the name Pawikan Conservation Center written on it greeted us. The coastline where Pawikan Conservation Centre sits is home to the original nesting sites of the Olive Ridley turtle species. We were greeted by Mr Manolo Ibias one of the center’s leaders, who is a former poacher himself but now one of the staunchest defenders of the pawikans. We were then introduced to a gathering of some of the volunteers having after dinner rounds of local whiskey mixed with congenial and spirited conversations about the challenges of turtle conservation, community development and environmental protection. And thus, counting the hours away before we would join them doing night patrolling the beaches, we listened to their stories.

Called as Pawikans in most local dialects in the Philippines, the marine turtles are reptiles related to snakes, lizards and dinosaurs. Being cold-blooded creatures, their body temperatures fluctuate with the environment and they have a pair of lungs that need to breathe every few minutes while swimming unknown distances in the vast seas. Marine turtles have powerful flippers which help the pawikans navigate but cannot retract into their protective shells called carapace which sets them apart from their freshwater relatives that can easily hide their heads and legs inside their bony shells.

Most marine turtles (especially the male ones) spend their entire lives at sea while the females come to their nesting beach during the coldest months of the year to lay their eggs (which look and feel like soft and leathery ping-pong balls). If the clutch of eggs is lucky enough not to be eaten by many predatory animals like lizards, crabs or taken by poachers, these eggs will hatch after 40-60 days depending on the temperature of the sand. The volunteers and Department of Environment Natural Resources (DENR) regularly patrol the beaches at night (as this is the time when turtles lay their eggs) to gather them and bring them to the centre’s hatchery where they are more protected until they hatch and are subsequently released back into the sea.

During the Pawikan Festival which is usually held every end of November, involves the release of these super cute baby turtles racing into the sea where they will feed, grow and explore the vast oceans only to return one day back to the beaches where they were hatched when they are ready to lat their own eggs. However, this would have been a perfect scenario if not for the years and years of poaching and gathering of eggs and killing these gentle creatures for meat as a staple for the people of these coastal villages – not only in Nagbalayong in Morong, Bataan but all throughout the world. Likewise, the shells and skins have been used for many illegal by-products like combs, guitars and other ornaments. It is no secret as well that a lot of the Taiwanese, Vietnamese and Chinese regularly poach in Philippine waters and they do so with so much impunity. Sadly, such activities have received a lukewarm response from the Philippine government like the case a few years ago where a boatload of Chinese fishermen were caught entering Philippine waters illegally and fishing in the protected and UNESCO World Heritage area – the Tubbataha Reef. Because of severe pressure from powerful Beijing, these criminals were released with nary a punishment or even an outcry. Next time you sit down in a restaurant in Hong Kong or wherever around the world- remember that the turtle soup or the sharks fin soup that you are having for dinner meant that you are part and complicit in the tacit rape and murder not only of Philippine seas but our Mother Nature as well. With the survival of these creatures already challenged with a lot of these turtles falling prey to birds, crabs, sharks and many other natural predators, the thought of someone having turtle eggs for their misconceived aphrodisiac is just totally sickening.
Because of this only 1-3% of baby turtles ever reach maturity. Since 1999 when a Bataan community organization called Bantay Pawikan Inc. (a duly registered people’s organization) was initiated in the town of Morong with just 28 men composed of former egg poachers and sellers, over 40,000 turtles were successfully released into the sea. The program was met with opposition at first, with the local community thinking that this was one of Manila’s antics of taking over their community. Gradually, people were able to realize that this was a valid initiative and that the turtles are one of the major lynchpins in the entire ecological cycle. Soon enough, with the help of the provincial government of Bataan (which I say is doing an awesome job initiating environmentally friendly tourism projects) as well as the United Nations, Pawikan Conservation Unit of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement, other communities and groups in neighboring towns followed suit and replicated the conservation efforts.

Today, many challenges remain, though never insurmountable. The group still needs a regular veterinarian, and the costs of medicines for rescued turtles as well as maintenance of the center which could use a facelift. There is also a need for increased support to the communities through better access to livelihood programs and better education for its populace. I hope that by raising awareness about the plight of these marine turtles as well as the communities that protect them, everyone could take positive action and help out in preserving not only the pawikans, or our national marine heritage, but our environment as well.

How to Help

Share this webpage around. Blog it. Link back. Volunteer. If you are a company, you may want to include Bantay Pawikan in your Corporate Social Responsibility projects. Donate in cash or in kind.


You may deposit it through this bank account-
Landbank of the Philippines- Balanga City (Bataan) Branch
Bank Account Name : Bantay Pawikan Inc. Livelihood Project
Address: Purok VI-Aplaya, Nagbalayong, Morong Bataan
Account Number : 0441-1942-26

More Information

Bantay Pawikan Inc. – (Nida- +63.928.7185721/ Manolo- +63.906.6155546) ; or if you wish to visit the centre and don’t know how, the lovely folks at Bataan Tourism can certainly help you (+6347.2374476/+6347.2374785) –

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Sea Travel Schedule From Manila via Lucena/Batangas To Western Marinduque

The following are the latest ( from marinduquegov.blogspot) sea travel schedule from two shipping lines from Manila to Marinduque, either via Lucena, Quezon or San Juan, Batangas. I find this schedule very informative. Note that if you are not in a limited budget, there are now daily air flights from Manila to Marinduque either by Zest Air or SEAIR. It takes less than 30 minutes flying time from Manila( old Domestic Terminal) to Masiga Airport, Gasan in Marinduque.


Two ports serving the towns on the westside of Marinduque (Mogpog, Boac, Gasan and Buenavista)and linking Marinduque to Batangas, Mindoro, Quezon, Metro Manila and the Visayan islands are BALANACAN PORT and CAWIT PORT.

Balanacan is 27 nautical miles to Dalahican (Lucena), 57 nautical miles to Batangas; sea distance to Manila is 150 nautical miles.

Two months ago, Viva Shipping Lines, launched its Balanacan-Lucena and Balanacan-San Juan routes with the tourist class RORO vessel, "STARHORSE". (Rates: P260 (a/c); P180(reg); vehicles (approx: P1,600). These are much lower than the rates offered by Montenegro Shipping (Reg. P270; vehicles (approx. P2,500)

M/V STARHORSE SCHEDULE (3 hours): (Viva Shipping Lines)
Mondays to Fridays:

Saturdays & Sundays:

M/V SOPHIA SCHEDULE (3 hours): (Montenegro Shipping Lines)

M/V MA. REBECCA SCHEDULE (3 hours): (Montenegro Shipping Lines)

FASTCRAFT schedule (2 hours)VIA M/V LUCENA CITY:

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Cloyne Court, Episode Nineteen

Cloyne Court, Episode 19
By Dodie Katague
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Rated "R" by the Author.

Based on a true story that took place in Berkeley, California in the late 1970s.
Months later, as I became friendly with the people in the house, Lorna, who did have a slight mustache and a deviating left eye and buckteeth, recounted her date. "A lot of women in the house said I should ask him out. They assured me that Dick wouldn't say no. They told me he was an experience I shouldn't miss. I'll never do that again."

"You were disappointed?"

"Not at all. It was earth shattering, but he was enormous. I couldn't fit it all in."1] She sighed. "At least I can say I rode the big one."

I didn’t like showering when Dick Fine was there, because I knew the women, and some men, were looking at him, then looking at me, and looking back at him and making a mental comparison. It was a low blow to self-esteem. The downside of showering in a unisex shower was just as I could see women in their birthday suits, they could see me naked and think the same things I was thinking about them. How humbling. I was a typical young man with average everything and the law of averages meant nobody was ever going to take an interest in me because of my body.

The shower room was not the sexual playroom it could have been. First, there were too many people going in and out to give any couple or group sex any privacy; second, the militant feminists wouldn’t have permitted it. The shower room was supposed to be a safe, nonsexist, utilitarian place to wash. With some private exceptions, it was.

The coed shower idea was supposed to be the epitome of an egalitarian ideal that nakedness should have no sexual overtones. When the unisex shower proposal was introduced at a house meeting, the feminist women supported it. Guilt and shame over the naked human body were religious indoctrinations that had no place in the free exchange of new ideas and social theories, as we were to discover at Berkeley.

However, it is not easy teaching an old dick new tricks. My little William and I would learn the hard way from experience.

As I quickly showered, dried and dressed, the blood rushed back to my brain saving me from embarrassment. I grabbed my books and ran down the back steps toward the campus. Once I crossed Hearst Street to the university, I had gone from Venus to Mars in my little galaxy that I now called home.

[1] Don’t you hate that when it happens? Yeah, like I would know!
Web Site: Cloyne Court Home Page

Today is Veteran's Day in US

To celebrate Veterans Day today, I am reposting my article on my memories of the Filipino-American War from 1941-1946. At that time, my father was the dental officer for the Filipino-American Forces, in charge of the dental needs for all members of the Filipino-American Forces in the Western Visayas Region. My father's territory include the whole island of Panay as well as Romblon Island. This article is my personal tribute not only to my DAD but also to all Filipino-American soldiers who gave their lives for the sake of democracy in the Philippines during World War II. Here is the posting for your reading pleasure. I hope you find it interesting.

In late 1945, just after the end of American-Japanese War in the Philippines, my father who was a captain and dental officer for the Philippine-US army took me and my Mom for a month to Romblon Province. He was in-charged of all the dental needs of army personnel in the whole island of Panay as well as in Romblon. I remember we took a PT boat owned by the US navy from Iloilo to Romblon. I was only about 11 years old that time, but very knowledgeable of US history. One of my hobbies was to read US history. I have memorized all the 48 capitals of US states( yes,at that time there are only 48 states in US). My father's dental assistant was a white sergeant from Oklahoma City. He used to quiz me of my knowledge of the capital city of all the US states. If I get it right he gave me chocolates and cookies as a prize. There came a time when he ran out of chocolates, since I have never made a mistake. One capital I almost made a mistake was the capital of California. Most people think at that time the capital city is either LA or San Francisco. Even today, there are still a lot of Filipinos that do not know that Sacramento is the capital of California. The same thing with the capital of Illinois. Most Filipinos at that time believe it is Chicago( the biggest and most populated city in Illinois).

Back to my memories of Romblon. As we enter the harbor, the picturesque view of the mountain so close( all white with marble) almost took my breathe away. It was so beautiful that until today, it is still vivid in my memory. I have not been to Romblon since then, so I do not know if the view is still the same. Anyway we stayed in Romblom Island for 2 weeks. Every day my father took me to his dental office. All of his patients talked to me about their lives and towns/cities in US. That was the beginning of my life-long dream to visit and live in US someday. I did accomplished that dream, having studied, lived, worked and raised a family here in US since 1960.

After two weeks in Romblon Island, my father's assignment was one week each at the two other big islands of the province, Tablas and Sibuyan Islands. The trip to Tablas Island from Romblon took only about 30 minutes by PT boat. I remember, it was so fast, that we arrived about one hour early at the port of Badajoz ( now known as the town of San Agustin). The PT boat went back to Romblon and we waited by the side of the sea under a coconut tree for a jeep from Odiongan, capital town of Tablas Island.
We were hungry and thirsty, but there was no store (tiange) or restaurant in the area. We saw a several residents in the several nearby houses, staring at us, but no one said hello or even offer us a glass of water. As I remember these memories, I felt that if this incident happened in Marinduque, at least one person will probably offer us a glass of water and perhaps even invite us to wait in their house instead of outside under the sun ( luckily there were a few coconut trees providing us with shade). My father explained later why the town was called Badajoz. He said it means "bad hosts". I am glad the town is now called San Agustin.

Our week stay in Odiongan, Tablas and later in Cajidiocan, Sibuyan went pretty fast. Before I realized,it was time for me to go home to Iloilo and back to school.
Sibuyan Island and Mt Guiting-Guiting in the background
My memories of Odiongan and Cajidiocan - it was the most rural place on earth and the roads were bad. It felt like driving in the craters of the moon. Does any one knows what the road conditions now in the Tablas and Sibuyan Islands?
If any one is from Romblon reading this blog, I will appreciate if you let me know what is going on in Romblon today. Someday, I will visit the province again, to see if that harbor view of the marble mountain is still the same.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

CNN Hero of the Year Award, 2009

I received the following e-mail today. I have already voted for him three times this week, after Bob Martin's posted an article about him last week in "Live in the Philippines" e-magazine. Efren Penaflorida deserves it and we all should support his work for the youth of the Philippines.Here's a short vidoe of Efren's work.

In case you have not heard yet....
Hi Everyone,

Please take time out to learn about Efren Penaflorida and vote for him as CNN Hero of the Year if you feel he is worthy. Lets help our deserving youth. You can vote as many times as you want.

Subject: Vote now for the CNN Hero of the Year Efren Penaflorida is really a hero in the Philippines

Vote now for the CNN Hero of the Year at

Hello everyone...This Efren Penaflorida is really a hero in the Philippines and the world. Please read his story and vote for him. We have until Nov. 19 only to help him. He deserves the honor.Plus the monetary award will surely help him in his endeavor to keep on doing what he is doing... to give the poor a chance at education and keep them away from gangs and drugs.

We are grateful for someone like Efren. We may not be able to physically do what he is doing but we can certainly cast a vote to help him. Please spread the news.

Each year, CNN gives $100,000 to the winner (from a field of ten finalists---winnowed from 9,000 nominees from all over the world) of its "Hero of the Year" award. This year, a 28-year-old Filipino, Efren PeƱaflorida, made it to the top ten. (A panel of 12 well-known personalities from various fields picked the finalists. Colin Powell was among the judges this year). If Efren wins this year's award (based on how many votes he gets, which will depend on us), he will be able to expand his mobile school program for the children of the slums in the Philippines. What this young man is doing to improve the lives of the kids in the slums is truly inspiring.

Here's the link to Efren's story and his Dynamic Teen Company (the organization he founded). You can vote for Efren by clicking on the link found in the article.

Voting is open between now and Nov. 19. CNN will announce the winner and give out the award at a star-studded show on Thanksgiving night in L.A. at the Kodak Theater (same venue for the Oscars). So, let's all help Efren win so that he will, in turn, be able to help more impoverished kids. The more votes Efren gets, the greater his chances of winning the "Hero of the Year" award and the $100K. It will take less than a minute to click a button to cast your vote. Let's all help Efren continue to make a difference in those slum kids' lives. Without his mobile school and his group of volunteers, those kids will probably never have a chance to set foot in a real school and learn their ABCs. Let's all vote for Efren! Please don't forget to pass this on to everybody you know---Filipinos and non-Filipinos alike----so more people can vote for this young man with an extra big heart. Thanks!!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Genealogy of the" Katague" and "Balleza" Surnames

Several years ago, I started a genealogy of my mother's last name- “Balleza”. I was able to trace it back to the 15th century. The name originated from Bilbao, Spain. I then traced it to Mexico, then to US in Texas and then to the Philippines. I was able to locate a town in Mexico named Balleza, in the state of Chihuahua. The town was founded in 1640 and named after Fr. Mariano Balleza ,a Spanish friar. I was able also to communicate with a radio announcer in Houston, Texas whose family name is also Balleza. I also found several Balleza families in Googles and recently in Face Book. Note that the name is similar to another name in the Philippines “Belleza”, a Spanish word which means beautiful. But “Balleza” and “Belleza” are two different names in the Philippines. I am happy and satisfied with the origin of my mother's last name. When my mother was still alive, she told me that her great grandfather was a Spanish soldier that participated in the Spanish colonization of the Philippines (1565-1898).

Today, I am curious on the genealogy of my father's last name. When my father was still alive, his last named was spelled with a “C” instead of the “K”. He changed it with the “K” when he was in high school. My father has two brothers who also changed it to start with a “ K”. But all of my father other relatives as far as I know has not change it. So there are a lot of “Catague's” in the Philippines, that are my relatives. The famous Catague is a painter named Fernando. His paintings are exhibited in the museum of Iloilo and Manila. My father has informed me that Fernando is a relative and originally was from Antique. In the Philippines, I know there are Katagues in Iloilo, Negros Occidental, Bohol, Antique, Cavite and in Mindanao. I also found there is a Katague in Brazil from Googles. I just recently meet a niece in Face Book from Vancouver, B.C. She is the daughter of my first cousin from Bacolod, Negros Occidental. There are several Katagues in Face Book, and one in Twitter, but I do not know if we are related. Incidentally, there is a town in Bohol, named “Catague”. I am curious, how the town got its name, but I do not have the time to do research on it. If you know, please let me know. It will be highly appreciated.

There are several variations of the Katague name. These are: Catague, Catage, Catagi, Katagi, Katage, Kataque and Kata Gue ( from Indonesia). I know of a Japanese chemist with surname of Katagi. It may be true that Katague originated from Japan from the surname Katagi or Katague as my father once mentioned. This was recently confirmed by one FACE BOOK member whose last name is Katague but is now residing in Brazil.

So if your last name is any of the above or if you are married to someone with any of the names above, we may be related. I will appreciate if you contact me in Face Book or Twitter or in this site. I will be delighted to meet you on line or in person. We have a group in Face Book-The Katague and Catague Clan. Please join us.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Genealogy of Macrine's Maternal Side-The Nievas

Dave and Macrine Katague of Marinduque and Northern California

In 2003, there was a reunion of the Nieva clan in the Philippines organized by Rene Elizalde Nieva, Macrine's first cousin. We were invited but not able to attend. Rene wrote in his invitation that he is in the process of writing a book about the Nieva clan. He said the book will be privately published with limited printing which will include a general history starting on the possible roots of the Nieva family as well as the achievements of various members of the clan and their contribution to the betterment of Marinduque and of the Philippines. As of this writing date, I have not heard on the status of Rene's book.

In his invitation he invited all the direct and indirect descendants of the children and spouses of Calixto Nieva and Epifania Morente. Note that Rene is the great-grandson of Calixto Nieva and Macrine is also the great-granddaughter of Calixto Nieva, thus Rene and Macrine are first cousins.

I just can not believe that my six grand children are now the great-great-great grand children of Calixto Nieva and Epifania Morente.

Calixto and Epifania Morente had six children, four boys and two girls as follows (from oldest to youngest) along with their spouses.

1.Juan Nieva had two wives. The first wife was Isabel Decena. When Isabel died Juan remarried Elvira Sarmiento. Juan Nieva is both Macrine's and Rene's grandfather. He was the first governor of Marinduque and also the grandfather of the current Governor. Rene and Macrine are first cousin of Jose Antonio (Bong) Nieva Carrion, the current Governor of Marinduque.

2.Victoria Nieva married Doroteo Mercader

3.Dionisio Nieva married Salud de la Santa

4.Gregorio Nieva married Maria Arevalo

5.Jose Nieva married Trinidad Carmona

6.Rosita Nieva married Dr Angel Mayuga

Rene's invitation also included the descendants of the brothers of Calixto, namely Pedro and Francisco Nieva. It also included the brothers and sisters of Epifania Morente, which included not just the Morentes but also the Roceses, Abadas, Trinidads and the Kasilags. Incidentally, the Reyeses are second cousins of Macrine and the other Nievas of Marinduque.

This article will concentrate on the descendants of Juan Nieva and his two wives, Isabel Decena from Santa Cruz and Elvira Sarmiento from Buenavista..

Children of Juan Nieva and Isabel Decena ( from Oldest to Youngest)

1.Calixto Nieva married Juanita Jambalos
2.Blanca Nieva- single was killed by the Japanese during World War II
3.Elena Nieva married Bernardo Jambalos, Jr ( brother of Juanita)

Children of Juan Nieva and Elvira Sarmiento(from Oldest to Youngest)

1.Guillermo ( Willie) Nieva married Dr Celina Elizalde
2.Rosario Nieva married Ramon Carrion
3.Ester Nieva married Rafael Seno
4.Monica Nieva married Conrado Luarca
5.Elizabeth Nieva married Romulo Santo Domingo
6.Asuncion Nieva married Dr. Rafael Ocampo
7.Fr Constantino Nieva- single

For the purpose of this article, I will discuss only the descendants of Elena Nieva and Bernardo Jambalos, Jr. They have seven children as follows: ( From Oldest to Youngest)

1.Macrine Nieva Jambalos- married David B Katague from Iloilo ( that's me)
2.Sister Guia Jambalos- Order of the Cenacle-single
3.Bernardo Jambalos III married Loreta Mercader
4.Fe Jambalos married Edgardo Lazarte
5.Edgar Jambalos ( deceased) married Asuncion Pagalunan
6.Jean Jambalos married Mitch Maeda
7.Rosario Jambalos married Michael Levin

Note that Rene Nieva is the oldest son of Guillermo Nieva and Dr. Celina Elizalde. The younger brother of Rene, Yong is my partner in our literary project, I left my Heart in Marinduque ( not San Francisco).

Macrine's telephone buddy and first cousin from Vancouver, BC, Canada Olga Luarca Quiazon is the oldest daughter of Monica and Conrado Luarca

The current governor of Marinduque is the second son of Rosario Nieva and Ramon Carrion

This posting continues with the offspring of Macrine Jambalos and David B. Katague. They have 4 children and six grandchildren as follows:

1.Dodie( Diosdado) Katague married Ruth Carver- They have 3 children, Philip Winchester, Alexandra and Marina Katague
2.Dinah E Katague married David E King- They have 2 children, Ian and Elaine King
3.David E III-single
4.Ditas Macrine Katague married Nick Thompson- They have one child, Carenna Nicole Thompson

Fe Jambalos has two daughters, Lanie and Ella
Jean Jambalos has two daughters, Yuri and Yuka
Rosario has two children, Carlos and Zehara
Asuncion Jambalos has three sons, Edmund, Nonoy and Jhun-Jhun and a daughter, Marilyn
Bernardo Jambalos III has five children and three grandchildren as of this writing date.

Accomplishments of the children of David B and Macrine J. Katague are discussed in detail at

Some Interesting Vignettes:

The marriage of Calixto and Juanita Jambalos was not approved by their father Don Juan Nieva. Juanita was the daughter of a barrio businessman from Laylay. During those time, if you are from the barrios, you are not welcome or accepted to the social group of the main town of Boac. The Jambalos family although well off were considered TAGABUKID ( from the bonies). Don Juan Nieva wanted his lawyer son to marry Enriqueta Nepomuceno, one of the popular socialites in Boac. When Juanita died, Calixto did not marry again. Soon Calixto also died and every one in town claimed he died with a broken heart. Enriqueta in the meantime was waiting for Calixto. Enriqueta never married and died as a spinster.

Blanca Nieva graduated from Nursing School at Philippine General Hospital and was earning well. When their father died, she helped in sending her half-sister Rosario to College. She supported her sister and spoiled her by dressing her up to maintain her place in the high society of Boac at that time.

Elena, is the third child of Isabel Decena from Santa Cruz. Isabel died giving birth to Elena. Elena was therefore nursed by the sister of Isabel, Regina Decena Reforma. Elena and Policarpio Reforma ( son of Regina) shared the same breast milk of Tia Regina. When Elena was five years old, she and sister Blanca as well as brother Calixto, were brought to Boac where their father Juan Nieva remarried Elvira Sarmiento from Buenavista.

Elena grew up under the care of Lola Victoria ( sister of Juan Nieva). They lived in the old Nieva Building at the foot of the hill leading to Mataas Na Bayan. Elena later went to college at the University of the Philippines and finished her Bachelor Degree in Education.

When Juanita Jambalos-Nieva( wife of Calixto) died during childbirth, Elena and Bernardo Jambalos II ( brother of Juanita) were made in-charged of bringing the corpse from Manila back to Marinduque.
During the trip, people mistook them as husband and wife. Their romance started then and later were married at the Boac Catholic Church.

Today, if I had to guess, there should be more than five hundred members of the Nieva clan, just based on the six children of Calixto Nieva and Epifania Morente all over the world. If you include the descendants of Pedro and Francisco Nieva, the two brothers of Calixto, it could reached to more than a thousand Nievas all over the universe. If you are a member of this clan, please let me know. Someday, I may be able to trace the Nieva genealogy all the way to Spain, as I did with my mothers name "Balleza", several years ago. My e-mail is in this site and I am also in Face Book.


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