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!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Computer Use of Marinduqueno's All Over the World

Last night I had a conversation with my wife regarding the use of computers by Marinduquenos all over the world. I ask her, If she could guess the number of Marinduquenos all over the world that uses the computer either via Social networking, google research, internet shopping or doing business in the web, etc...
She told me her guess would be at least 1000 computer users. I disagree and my guess would be triple that number. I based my guess on the number of Marinduquenos on FaceBook/Twitter as well as the number of visits to my blogs, the last two years. As of today I have 3000 visitors from more than 65 locations all over the world. and

To confirm my guess, Please try to answer this question without first looking at the answer.
Question: If you type Marinduque in GOOGLE search, what is the subject on the first line of the List. Please give your answer to my e-mail listed on my site or via comment on this site. After one week, I will tally the number of correct responses and will get back to you via this site. Have a Good day and continue your adventures and joys in cyberspace and in the Internet. From the GrandPa Blogger ! Note: Response from Non-Marinduquenos is welcome, Also

Monday, May 17, 2010

Congratulations to Representative Allan Velasco-15th Congress,2010

My heartfelt congratulations to Mr. Allan Velasco as the newly elected Congressman for the lone district of Marinduque.

The following article attracted my attention because Marinduque just elected a new congressman who is not a professional politician. So, I hope Mr Velasco attends the session in congress during his term regularly and represents our province to the best of his ability.

I am shock to learn that only 20% of the congress members attend the session regularly and the rest are practioners of "chronic absentism".

This article is titled, Is Congress Worth Running for? and written by Walden Bello, published by on April 25,2010.

As a retired scientist, I enjoyed the details and comments on the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant discussions. Thank you, Mr Bello for a well-written and informative article.

I wonder how many Filipino voters know that only 20% of their elected representatives attend the congressional sessions regularly! The rest are just waiting for their pork barrel handout from the President! What a bad, bad system!Eliminate the pork barrel system. It is major source of corruption in the Philippines. Do you know what happen to the pork barrel money alloted to your district for public works, during this 14th Congress?. Here's the article for your reading pleasure:

"As someone that comes from civil society, I am often asked this question.

I do not blame people for being so cynical. After a year in the institution, I cannot deny that all they have heard about the House of Representatives is true.

Chronic Absenteeism and other Foibles

The problem goes beyond the chronic absenteeism that forces the House leadership, for lack of a quorum, to resort to various subterfuges to conduct a modicum of business. I would say that about 50 per cent of my colleagues are there mainly to get their priority development funds or pork barrel to distribute to their constituencies. This being their sole interest, they are easily manipulated by the Executive which—no matter what the Constitution says--really holds the power of the purse.

There are members of the 14th Congress who, I am told, have never once spoken on the floor in their nine years in the House. And when members do rise to deliver privilege speeches, they usually devote these to attacking enemies in their congressional districts, which is why very few members appear to be paying attention even when a speaker is trying his bombastic best to pound his absent foe to smithereens.

The subject of a privilege speech is sometimes amusing. One member once rose to denounce a local airline for not allowing his aide to check in for him, leading to his being left behind. But while outsiders might have found devoting 45 minutes to this topic absurd, it was not at all to many members. When the congressman finished his tirade, others rose to lambast the same airline for similar experiences that wounded their sense of entitlement.

Saving Grace
Yet I would say that there are some 20 per cent of the 269 members of the 14th Congress whose ken goes beyond local concerns to encompass national and international issues. These 20 per cent are the House’s saving grace, for they are the ones that on certain days—not often, it must be admitted—raise the level of debate above that of parochial local concerns and personal and political grudges

Boying Remulla once told me that the institution houses outstanding individuals that would outclass the members of the Senate any day of the week. This may not be far from the truth. Among the people who, in my opinion, represent the best traditions of the House when it comes to discussing and debating national issues, one must include Edcel Lagman and Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel, the co-authors of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Extension Law (Carper) and the Reproductive Health Bill. One can always rely on Caloy Padilla, Edno Joson, Jonathan de la Cruz, and Magi Gunigundo for thoughtful interpellation. The same can be said of the mercurial Teddyboy Locsin, though the latter’s tongue sometimes gets the better of him. For impassioned manifestations of concern on burning issues, one can always count on, among others, Joel Maglunsod, Janet Garin, and Luz Ilagan.

Yet the cast of people who can argue a good case are not only on my side of the fence, that is, on the progressive or liberal side. Pabling Garcia of Cebu is an opponent on the question of land reform, but few can surpass him in his knowledge of the legal history of agrarian reform, and his skilled advocacy of the contra position certainly pushed most of us land reform advocates to sharpen our arguments and make them unassailable in the end, even to Garcia.

The Party-list Factor

Caloy Padilla once asserted that it is the party-list representatives that, with their advocacy based on issues, have transformed the discourse in the House, introducing advocacy of the interests of the marginalized that is both skilled and impassioned. There is a lot of truth to this statement, but it must be qualified. The party list groups are a diverse lot, a significant number of them being simply administration fronts that can be rolled out to deliver a yes vote on issues dear to the heart of Malacanang, like constitutional change. But I would agree with Padilla that the genuine party-list groups have, in fact, contributed significantly to transforming congressional discourse. Of course, one can still hear brazen statements made in plenary such as the complaint of one congressman from the national capital region that, “What else are we allied with the administration for if not to be able to get priority development funds.” Such statements of naked interest are, however, rare these days and advancing individual interest must now be couched in terms of promoting the “common interest.”

The Nuclear Power Faceoff

Interestingly, the measure that probably took up the most number of hours of plenary debate devoted to a single bill during the House sessions of 2009 was the bill to activate the Bataan nuclear power plant proposed by Mark Cojuangco. What many observers found unique in the debate was its being conducted at such a detailed technical level that members could be forgiven for thinking they had wandered into a graduate school seminar on the pros and cons of nuclear power. Like a number of my colleagues, I found myself opposing Cojuangco on the bill, and over nine hours our duel—complete with powerpoints--ranged from the volcanic and seismic characteristics of the Bataan peninsula to the storage of hazardous waste, the construction of nuclear containment structures, the cost of nuclear power compared to solar, wind, and other renewable energy sources, and the impact of different kinds of energy sources on climate change.

At the end of these exhausting marathon debates, with the clock striking 9 pm, Cojuangco and his opponents would often count only 20 to 25 congressmen remaining on the floor. But that such a “graduate seminar” could take place over several weeks on the floor of the House was a sign of the ongoing transformation of the institution’s discourse and culture.

For the most part, conservative interests still rule Congress. Yet change is not absent. Change is most prominent at the level of discourse, and one cannot discount the positive impact a change in discourse has in terms of making the atmosphere more congenial for a substantive program of reform. The pace of change of the institution may strike many as glacial now, but there will be times, I am convinced, when the pace of change, will quicken.
So is Congress worth running for? Yes, because it is not at all hopeless as a platform for change.

But I could, of course, be wrong".

Friday, May 14, 2010

Some Photos from the Jambalos-Anonical Wedding in Boac, Marinduque, Philippines

Edgar (Nonoy) and Yvette Jambalos Wedding, Boac Cathedral, March 20, 2010. The reception was held at Chateau Du Mer, Boac, Marinduque. There were more than 300 guests that attended the reception catered by the Boac Hotel. Nonoy is Macrine's nephew-son of the Late Edgar Jambalos and Asuncion Panuncialan. It was a grand wedding indeed!

Personal Note: A typical wedding in Marinduque costs between P200,000 to P350,000 depending on the number of guests. Double or triple the costs, if you get married in big cities such as Makati or Quezon City. The above amount was based on the 30 weddings that had the reception at Chateau Du mer Hall, the last two years. Chateau Du Mer in Boac had hosted one Garden Wedding this year and five church wedding(reception) up to today's date. Our next wedding reception will be on May 22. For description of the faciliites and amenities of Chateau Du Mer Conference Hall, in Boac, Marinduque visit,

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Visitor's Location as of May 13, 2010

Locations of visitors to this page

Latest Posting on Bellarocca Resort and Spa-Marinduque

From Hongkong, Quintessentially, dated May 13, 2010. The Promo Package of P14,500(3 days 2 nights double occupancy )till the end of this month is reasonable. I paid about the same amount in a 4 star hotel in Manila for our 4 days stay last month in Makati which included breakfast. Someone informed me that during "off season" the rates goes down to $140 per night. Is this true or this person is just hallucinating? I did checked the website and I did not see $140. What I read in the published rates for 2010 is that the cheapest hotel room is $440 per person/double occupancy and no food. This person probably read $440 as $140. When I visited the website last week, and I almost read "440" as "140". Heres the article for your reading pleasure:

(Note: if you are from US and do not want to fly to the Philippines and wants a reasonable vacation, go to Las Vegas. The hotel rooms are on bargains now. The new "ARIA" Resort and Casino is offering rooms for as low as $109 on week days)Other 4 and 5 stars casino hotels offer as low as $89 per night on week days. Las Vegas must be really hurting now, too many casinos and the economy is down.

"Don’t let the white buildings and squared-off, Greco-inspired design fool you – Bellarocca Island Resort and Spa isn’t a Mediterranean island fantasy but a European-style hideaway just a short plane ride away from Manila, located on its own island (the aptly-named beautiful rock, of course!).

You’ll be whisked around the petite and very picturesque resort on your private golf cart. The whole place is very new – just over a year old – and the perfect retreat for those who just want to lie back and read a book, catch some rays or chill out. It’s not at all stuffy though…you’re free to play the house piano if you like, but our favourite pastime is gazing out over the infinity pool to the azure sea and mainland beyond.

Rooms and suites are, of course, top notch. Sleeping beauties are catered for as well – there’s a comprehensive bedding and pillow menu that’ll ensure you get a good night’s kip. Their nine hole, par 36 golf course gives you a chance to practice that swing and take in the spectacular cliffside views.

There’s even more reason to book soon – their three-day, two-night Dolce Vita package includes roundtrip land and sea transfers from Marinduque Airport to the hotel, welcome refreshments, two brunches, two afternoon teas, complimentary internet, full use of the resort’s facilities and government taxes and service charge.

From PHP 14,500 per person on a twin/double sharing basis (approximately HKD 2,500), valid until the end of May.

Recommended by QUINTESSENTIALLY, the world’s leading private members’ club with a global concierge service. Committed to the notion that quality matters, whether it be music, art, travel, food or – most importantly – service, they aim to bring Members and clients

Monday, May 10, 2010

Partial Election Results from Marinduque

President-Elect of the Philippines, Noynoy Aquino, May, 2010
I was just reading in Facebook today that the newly elected governor for Marinduque is Carmencita Reyes and the new congressman is Allan Velasco. The mayor of Boac is Madla , of Santa Cruz is Morales, Vicky Lau Lim of Gasan, Gil Briones of Torrijos, Russel Madrigal of Buenavista and Senen Livelo of Mogpog.

Congratulations to all the winners. Any additional news regarding the local election will be welcome!

Here's a partial tally of votes(82.7% of precents reported )from GMA news TV.
1 CARRION, Jose Antonio N. 26,070
2 DAQUIOAG, Narciso S. 782
3 RED, Wilfredo R. 25,635
4 REYES, Carmencita O. 37,992 *

1 LIM, Jaime Jasper L. 27,929
2 PIZARRO, Tomas N. 12,470
3 UY, Antonio Jr L. 44,217 *

1 REYES, Edmundo Jr. O. 44,997
2 VELASCO, Lord Allan Jay Q. 48,209 *


In the national spot: Villar has conceded to Aquino. Estrada is far second place. So Noynoy Aquino will be the next president of the Philippines unless a miracle happens. Binay and Roxas are closed for the VP spot.

Snow Bird Lifestyle -Aren't you Envious?

Marinduque-my Island Paradise
The following article was written by Celina Macaisa and posted by dated January 2, 2010. It was titled Retiring Half-a-Year in the US and the Philippines.

When a Global Filipino Retires, which country does he choose for the next part of his life? Will he need to leave home, friends, and family (a second time)?

For decades, due to lack of well-paying jobs in the Philippines, Filipinos have been leaving their country and families behind to improve their own and their families’ standard of living.

And after decades of working hard in a highly-competitive, fast-paced business environment, and ‘you are on your own culture’ of a 1st world country; these (former) Filipinos are now prioritizing how to increase the quality of their retirement years.

Ironically, the Philippines which may not have been a great country to make a living in during their younger years is an excellent country for retirement: warm climate and culture, relaxed pace of life, and lower living expenses.

Hence, the ‘snowbird lifestyle’ of having two residences in different parts of the world, which has been practiced by Europeans and North Americans for centuries, is now gaining more acceptance by Filipinos who immigrated abroad.

The Rise of the Filipino Snowbird

“I know of another person who is doing the same lifestyle we have, 6 months in PI [Philippine Islands] and 6 months in the US. We call ourselves snow birds. A lot of our friends are envious of us.” - David B. Katague

However, although many Filipinos living abroad are aware of the ‘snowbird’ retirement lifestyle, many are not quite sure about the planning and costs needed to make it work.

Hence, this article is written to give a look on how one Filipino couple, David and Macrine Katague was able to put into reality their wish to live their retirement years both in the U.S. and the Philippines—-two countries they think of as home and where key family members live.

David B. Katague is a retired Chemistry Team Leader of the Food and Drug Administration in Silver Spring, Maryland USA. He is also currently a proprietor of Chateau Du Mer Beach Resort, in Boac, Marinduque, Philippines.And one of the most interesting things you will learn from this interview is that beyond harsh winters and cost, ‘family’ is the driving reason and support factor for making this retirement lifestyle work.

Here is our interview with David B. Katague:

1) How many years have you spent in the US?
“[We] have lived in US since 1960 to the present.”

2) What were your top reasons for choosing your retirement lifestyle of living half-a year in the Philippines and half-a-year in the States?

“[Our reasons were] climate (even though the winters of Northern California are much milder than that of Chicago or Toronto), relatives, and cheaper standard of living.”

3) Before making this decision, did you know of another former Filipino retiree who practiced this ‘snowbird lifestyle’ that influenced you?
“[Yes], my sister-in-law”

4) Did you re-acquire your Filipino citizenship or retired in the Philippines under the Special Resident’s Retirement Visa (SRRV)?

“My wife reacquired her Filipino citizenship 2 yrs ago. I will consider applying for dual citizenship if I decide to live in Philippines permanently.”

5) How do you spend your time here in the Philippines? What makes retiring in the Philippines interesting and inspiring in terms of activities, new experiences, and living with other Filipinos?

”Setting up a small business (a beach resort and conference center (, keeps me busy while I am in Marinduque.

In addition since my favorite hobby is gardening, the tropical climate is conducive to growing orchids, fruits, and vegetables and other tropical ornamentals. This gives me plenty of exercise both physical and mental, an antidote to developing AZ disease.”

Also the presence of relatives makes life masaya lalo na [happy especially] during the Christmas and Easter Season. I do miss my grandchildren during Christmas while we are in PI [Philippine Islands].”

6) Practical concerns on this retirement lifestyle:
a) Are you receiving pension? How is this retirement way of life feasible?

“I have SS, private and federal pension. Since I am maintaining 2 households, it is a very expensive proposition. Luckily, I have a son, who takes care of our house here in NC [Northern California] while we are in PI.

When we are in US, I have a full time caretaker who takes care of the house and the beach resort.”

b) In articles discussing retiring in the Philippines, an allowance of US$1,000 to $1,500 a month is often quoted as enough for a retiring couple to live on. Is this still true in your experience?
“Yes, $1500 a month is still adequate in the provinces. In Manila, this amount will be probably too tight.”

c) Did you need to have a trial-run first? Or did you stay in the Phil with a tourist visa first before making the final decision?

“[No.] I know life in PI as I grew up there until I was 21 years old. The only question is where in the Philippines, we should retire, my home province or my wife's home province. Marinduque was the winner.”

7) Medical Insurance and Healthcare: In living half-a-year in the Philippines, what plans did you make for medical emergencies since U.S. Medicare/Medicaid does not cover for treatment in the Philippines?

“I have Blue Cross under the Federal Insurance Plan. My wife has Phil Health. I recommend a minimum of $2000 for medical emergency.”

8) Are there any individuals and organizations who were a big help to you in setting-up your retirement life in the Philippines? What do you think the government can improve on to attract more former Filipino retirees?
“Yes, my sister-in law helped us built our retirement home, while we were still working here in US.”

“To encourage Filipinos expatriate, the government should help in relocation by exempting them of taxes for their household goods and car. Also, there should be someone in the Philippines to help them settle and facilitate their move.”

Note: Currently, one-time tax exemptions for importing personal goods (except for cars) to the Philippine is only provided to former Filipino retirees who applied for the Special Resident Retirees Visa (SRRV), within 90 days of SRRV issuance and not exceeding $7,000. These tax exemptions are not accorded to former Filipinos who are retiring in the Philippines through re-acquisition of Filipino citizenship. -

9) Advice on doing it right:

a) Any suggestion/advice for other Former Filipinos who are still evaluating their decision in living part of their retirement life in the Philippines?
“Always plan ahead. Choose a location, where you have relatives and friends [emphasis mine]. Get health insurance accepted in PI, but reserve cash for medical emergency.”
b) Last question: Are there some common pitfalls to avoid?

“Do not engage in business if you can not personally manage it or have a trusted relative or employee to do it.

Keep your mouth shut in local politics. [Get] acculturated again to the Filipino lifestyle of [being] easy going, no value of time [or different regard for time as compared to N. America] to avoid the rat race again, thus preventing a heart stroke.

Keep always busy both in mind and body, thus enjoying your retirement, and hopefully a long life.”

To summarize this interview, a global Filipino can enjoy his retirement years both in his country of birth and new home country through adequate financial preparation and family support.Why make a tough choice of permanently leaving your new home, new friends, and family in North America; or forego the warmth of the climate and culture of your country of birth when you can be a Filipino snowbird?

Friday, May 7, 2010

Latest Mining news on Marinduque

This press release from diggs is dated May 6, 2010 It is titled
Green Groups Pray for SC Urgent Action on Marinduque Mining Tragedy

Manila – A national group of environmental organizations pleaded today with the Supreme Court to act speedily and in favor of local residents from Marinduque seeking justice and compensation from the mining tragedy that befell the province 17 years ago. Expressing their support to plaintiffs from elderly and ailing residents of the province, Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM), expressed faith that the Supreme Court will uphold the rule of law and confer environmental justice to Marinduquenos, who became victims of a mine spill in Mogpog River in 1993, by a mine operated by Marcopper Mining Corporation.

Jaybee Garganera, national coordinator of ATM, said that with the rules on environmental cases promulgated by the Supreme Court recently, “we are hopeful that Chief Justice Puno and the rest of the Supreme Court will act swiftly, decisively and impartially bestow justice. This is a fitting legacy that CJ Puno will be giving as he anticipates his retirement a few days from now.” He added that this “ugly legacy of the Marinduque tragedy is a concrete reminder of the serious threats that large-scale mining poses to our environment, our livelihoods and even lives”. He compared the horrible calamity to the continuing tragedy that is the GMA administration which has aggressively promoted large-scale mining. “This should be an important lesson to all candidates in this elections, that they should heed the call of the rural poor who are against large-scale mining and looking for genuine rural development through agriculture and agro-industrialization productivity”, he concluded.

“HARIBON supports the efforts made by the residents of Marinduque to seek and claim justice that long eluded them. Although this will not bring back the original biodiversity of the area, their action resonates of hope for themselves and another chance to renew life”, said Blas Tabaranza, Executive Director of HARIBON. HARIBON is a co-convenor of ATM.

Meanwhile, human rights groups expressed solidarity with this move. “This is the final resort to seek redress for the human rights abuses resulting from this mining tragedy in Marinduque, and we are supporting the plaintiffs”, said Nymia Pimental-Simbulan, Executive Director of the Philippine Human Rights Information Center (PhilRights).

In the early hours of December 6, 1993, at the height of typhoon Monang, the siltation dam of Marcopper in Marinduque broke, sending a flashflood down the Mogpog River. Two people were reported killed, along with the destruction of residents’ crops, homes and loss of numerous livestock due to mine tailings and toxic effluent. The incident led to the eventual death of the Mogpog river, which, prior to the disaster, was a valuable community resources to barangays along the river. Only 3 years after the storm, a leak in the mine’s drainage tunnel caused more toxic materials to empty out into the Boac River in the provincial capital. In addition, corrosive tailings and other mine waste were dumped in Marinduque’sCalancan Bay continuously for 16 years, endangering fisherfolk communities by the sea, as well as the smaller creeks and rice fields traversed by the drainage pipes.

ATM is a national campaign of more than 80 organizations all over the country against the aggressive promotion of large-scale mining in the Philippines. They are actively supporting more than 20 mining-affected communities who are opposing the entry or expansion of mining operations in their areas, including the continuing struggle of the people of Marinduque. ATM is convened by HARIBON, Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center (LRC) and the Philippine Partnership for the Development of Human Resources in Rural Areas (PhilDHRRA).

A Beautiful (NOT UGLY) American in Makati

Map of Marinduque
This is a true story. This incident happened while I was checking out from our hotel in Makati City ( Somerset Olympia) last April 10. Prior to checking out, I was surprise to learn that my VISA credit card had been frozen due to more than 4 months of inactivity. Thus, I was prepared to pay cash. The cashier informed me of my bill ( P15,000 and P7.50) for the four days. She then asked if I have 2.50 pesos in change so she could give me back P10 after I gave her 15 of 1000 pesos denomination. I look around if my wife is near, but she was out of the office, enjoying her cigarettes. I glanced by my side and saw a white middle-age man also checking out. All of a sudden, he gave the clerk 2.50 pesos and gave me smile. I was a little bit embarrassed, but manage to say thank you. I asked then if he is an American. He said, yes. I told him I am also an American, but spends six months in Marinduque and six months in Northern California every year, enjoying the snow bird lifestyle. We then exchanged business cards. This American is about 35 years old and a sales manager of radiology equipments with an American company in Salt Lake City, Utah. His wife and family had been on vacation in the Philippines for a week. However, his family decided to stay a couple more days, but he is flying home by himself to US that afternoon for business reasons. When he saw my business card, he ask where and what is in Marinduque. I have to give him the standard answer, I gave to all non-Filipinos. In addition, I told him that anytime he wants to visit Marinduque, he gets a free one night stay ( worth P2500) at the beach house (Chateau Du Mer). He was excited and said that the next time he will be in the Philippines, he will go to Marinduque. The 2.50 pesos he gave me is worth only about 0.06 cents, but it is his kind and friendly action that counts. Hopefully, I will have another client at Chateau Du Mer, soon. Indeed a beautiful American!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Latest Political News from Marinduque

Sunset from the Balcony of Chateau Du Mer Beach House, Boac, Marinduque, Philippines

This article was published in the May 4 issue of the Manila Bulletin and titled Velasco vows Infra Projects.
Sounds great! Velasco's opponent is former Congressman Edmund Reyes. Reyes is the son of current congresswoman, Carmencita Reyes. C Reyes is running for governor against Bong Carrion, the current governor. Again, I hope may the least corrupt candidate win!

"Creating reliable infrastructure projects in Marinduque and turning the province into a prime tourism destination are the top priorities of congressional candidate Atty. Allan “PA” Velasco once elected member of Congress on May 10.

Velasco said that infrastructure projects like roads and irrigation facilities, improved hospital services, enhanced electric distribution, and rehabilitation of towns damaged by mine tailings will be the keys to create more jobs and economic opportunities in Marinduque.

The former Marinduque provincial administrator and former chairman of the Marinduque Provincial Tourism Council, Velasco vowed to stop corruption by directly alloting P1 million for each barangay in the province to ensure that public funds intended for economic development are spent as budgeted.

He said that during his term as provincial administrator, he initiated several “bayanihan” projects that built a footbridge in barangay Bangwayin in Torrijos town, a causeway project in Suha also in Torrijos, two classrooms at the Makapuyat National School in Sta. Cruz, a covered court also in Sta. Cruz, and five multi-purpose hall and learning centers in Mogpog. He said that while most of the funds for the projects came from Senators Bong Revilla and Migs Zubiri, the labor portion of the projects were contributed by the barangay residents themselves.

He also said that he implemented the participation of Marinduque in the Moriones Float Festival in Baguio City, the Battle of Moriones during the Moriones Festival, the Marinduque Trade Expo and as assistant in the Southern Tagalog Tourism Summit.

Also on top of Velasco's priority projects once elected to Congress are the rebuilding of the province's dilapidated electrical distribution system to end perennial brownouts, upgrading of services in provincial hospitals, and improvement of the transportation system for a more efficient movement of products from the province to the trading centers.

To complete the province's transformation into an agricultural powerhouse, Velasco will also prioritize the construction of irrigation projects and the improvement of the province's farm to market roads.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Political Innuendos and FB Chatter(Marinduque)

Now that election is only a couple days, political campaigns and innunedos are in high gear even in the FaceBook pages here in Marinduque. I found it educational and entertaining to read posting in FaceBook as follows: (Most of the postings are in Tagalog).
From a Candidate for Board Member addressing the Current Governor: Could you show us what happened to the 75 million pesos that the provincial government borrowed from the Land Bank?
Response of the Governor: Before you ask that question, could you ask your ally, the current congresswoman, what projects has she done for the 70 million pesos she received as her pork barrel?
Another comment from a FaceBook User addressed to the local mayor: mayor ____, before you spent too much time campaigning, you better fixed our water system. We have no water and electricity, but we have cockfights.

These chatters in FaceBook show that you can be an instant millioner if you are a politician in the Philippines, because of the pork barrel.

I also heard that Chris Aquino was in Boac recently, campaigning and somebody from the audience throw her a banana instead of rotten eggs. Is this true?

On another topic. Today, I heard that power brownouts are no longer occuring in Boac.

On a personal note, because of the drought my gardens at Chateau Du Mer are in poor shape, but my orchids are doing oK. Thanks to the daily watering of Cecile and Edwin. I am praying for the rains to come soon!

I am also praying for a peaceful election in the Philippines. I hope that the least corrupt candidates win. Good Day to ALL!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Another Article on Hyundai's Trip to Marinduque

This article was written by Tito F Hermoso dated May 3, 2010. This article makes me proud as an adopted Marinduqueno..Enjoy!

Calm waters

Sailing through Tayabas Bay on a baking hot day, we had three hours to kill in the warm cabin of the Montenegro Lines RoRo that embarked from Dalahican pier in Lucena City. Heading for the island's northwestern port of Balanacan, a fortnight after Easter meant we would miss the Moriones festival, the tourist crowds and the locals dressed like Longhinus and his cohort Roman Centurions.

Precious cargo

Inside MV Ma. Rebecca's hold was precious cargo: a convoy of 20 Hyundais, 15 of which were the Next Generation. There's one each of the revised Santa Fe with either a 174PS 2.4-liter Theta gasoline engine and the 197PS R series 2.2-liter CRDi diesel VGT [variable geometry turbo]. The latest 6-speed auto transmission, with grille, lights and aux-in compatible TFT-video-DVD-audio upgrades round off the Hyundai's value virtues.

There were lots of the cute Tucson. Initially available this year with the 166PS 2.0-liter and 177PS 2.4-liter Theta 16-valvers, the much awaited 177PS R-series CRDi turbo 2.0-liter is now available in 4x4 6-speed automatic format. With the Tucson, were the other two fruits of Next Generation's "fluidic sculpture" styling theme by Thomas Buerkle of Hyundai, Russelsheim; a canary yellow Genesis coupe with a 303PS 3.8-liter puncher of a V-6 and the latest Camry challenger, the new Sonata, as avant garde in style as Jaguar's latest six-light XJ-6 and Mercedes' CLS 4-door coupe style sports sedan.

Plus a new limousine variant of the ubiquitous Grand Starex. The16-seat family van gains a bubble top, loses all the 16 Full economy seats, replaced by 10 Business Class La-Z-boy upholstered chairs, privacy blinds and cocktail lounge detailing. Last but not least, was a stretched 10-wheeler truck with the island's daily supply of precious San Miguel Beer. Can't leave Luzon's shores without it.

Balanacan Port of Mogpog, Marinduque had a large statue of the Blessed Virgin greet us not too far from the island's floating barge power station. From the deck, the coast is dotted with lots of coconut trees and sleepy fisherfolk villages sparsely lining the shore. But this place had its share of excitement. In 1944, the closing year of World War 2, US Navy Hellcat dive bombers based on the carrier USS Intrepid sank Japanese transports and destroyer escorts ferrying soldiers from Ormoc to reinforce Marinduque from the invading American forces. Dubbed the 2nd Battle of the Philippine Sea, Marinduque became the 7th island that Gen. Douglas MacArthur liberated in his Island hopping return to free the Philippines from the Japanese Empire.

This time, Hyundai is doing its bit of island hoping, again making events history. Completely rustic, Marinduque may never make it as a drive event venue, much less a scenic destination to launch the latest generation, if it wasn't for the dogged determination of the Japanese owner of Bellarocca resort who, for five years, had to haul in every single building material needed to create a world class exotic resort.

Manila Hemp
Driving off the Roro's stern ramps, I discovered two uses of discarded torso-thick abaca marine rope; cushions for driving off the steep angled ramp and tire wedges to keep cars parked in the hold from banging into each other if the waves turn rough.

Hustling through the languid lifestyle

It was already mid afternoon, so we had to hustle on Marinduque's narrow west coast highway to make it to Bellarocca Golf course, then to transfer to Lipata quay where dinghy like speedboats will take us to Bellarocca resort on Elefante Island. As citizens of what Marinduqueños call as the "kabila" - meaning the mainland of Luzon – we were more used to factoring for traffic in accounting for travel time, something we were not going to encounter on this lovely unspoiled isle.

Unspoiled? Marinduque had its share of man-made disasters. The Marcopper disaster of 1995 dumped 80 million tons of copper tailings on the Boac River, destroying Marine life on the delta. Happily, the rest of Marinduque's long coastline and the 1,157m tall Mt. Malindig were far enough to be unfazed.

Not another Aman

As tropical resorts go, the 6-star Bellarocca eschews the Bali-meets-Phuket look you find all over South East Asia. Going for Greek-Aegean cliffside village appeal, Bellarocca succeeds in making it feel and look authentic, avoiding the pastiche that is usually the sad result of transplanting misunderstood themes. As an exotic experience, Bellarocca, run by the Genesis group, meets the standards of its discriminating clientele, usually young honeymooning Japanese or Koreans out for isolation amidst rustic beauty. Which explains the Japanese market prices. M. Jan Michel Gautier, experienced with expectations of that other exotic destination in the Maldives, makes sure those are met or surpassed. I certainly can't complain about the view from my ocean balcony: Mt. Malindig volcano.

Getting to the island, one is dependent on the experienced speedboat pilots as they guide the speed dinghies with dual Suzuki outboards, to "kiss" the face of the waves in order not to get us wet with ocean spray nor slam into the wake of a wave. And the condition of the waves during the sea crossing is always dependent on Nature's fickle fancy, and is not time bound.

Uncommonly friendly

Not yet common on all 160kms of Marinduque's coastal roads, the environmentally friendly Next Generation Hyundais look like they landed from another planet. As for us, we could be on another one as well. Locals smile and wave as our convoy dusts them by, while Grandmas take out their camera phones to "shoot" at the yellow Genesis coupe. Pre-election rallies, roadside menfolk gad-abouts and late afternoon softball games on dried post-harvest paddies stop to cheer us through.

Doing their job
But our passage through the island's roads was not to be uneventful as the following morning, we were "ambushed" by a contingent of young and neatly uniformed PNP Highway Patrol Group constables in smallish motorcycles. The team leader, he with the Smokey bear hat with a yellow hat band [as opposed to red for the privates] and yellow piping on his riding breeches, was enforcing the grossly misunderstood "No Plate, No Travel" policy. Inspecting every delivery receipt of the unplated cars, the team obviously could not fathom why the recipient of the Hyundai's delivery receipts were, Hyundai itself. Which, on the other hand, is in full compliance with the LTO, the agency that issues the plate numbers and the delivery conduction sticker. Then the cops required the Hyundai managers to submit copies of the delivery receipts to their station, to which the Roadwise route guides retorted, why for as the Police sub station is not the authorized deliveree? After more discussions, the Highway Patrol team left, with the hatted privates getting on their mini-motorcycles while the team leader, took off his hat, put on a decent looking helmet with jazzy lightning graphics while an orderly, rode pinion with one of the privates, sans helmet, but clutching the team leader's precious yellow banded Smokey bear D.I. Cap.

Pulling strings
Sometime in between, the Hyundai team leader gave a call to the office of Governor Bong Carrion, who immediately dispatched his tourism task force to "take care" of things. We were soon on our way and were welcomed at the Marinduque Capitol by the provincial office staff and a Praetorian guard in Moriones Roman Legion costume. After the obligatory photos, we then motored to the Boac poblacion for lunch at the century old “Kusina sa Plaza”. This time a different and bigger contingent of young and neatly dressed PNP foot soldiers, blocked off 2 streets and commandeered a covered basketball court as our parking lot. Wise move as it was a cooking 39 degrees Celesius.

Lunch under a white tent

Soup made of succulent shrimp and coconut slivers, called "ulang-ulang" was first served then a salad of onion, tomato, bittergourd, salty egg and fermented shrimp paste [bagoong]. Then there was the local chicken adobo, which looked like a warm yellow curry with unripe papaya. The tender free range chicken was bonier than a battery bred bird, but it was far tastier. There was fried "Banakan" or red grouper, and stuffed squid. Deserts were rice cakes, smoked or fried, with one infused with a hint of jackfruit. Cold sago [tapioca] and gulaman [gelatin] was wolfed in no time.

Modern sculpture meets ancient backdrop

Hyundai's new found curvaceous look made sculptural modern art complements for whatever background we found, from 150 year old houses around Kusina sa Plaza in Boac, ancient brick-adobe Cathedrals to sweeping coves and solitary peaked mountains. For three days, the Hyundais served as our climate controlled comfort cocoon to glide over the varying surfaces paved or still to be paved by the DPWH. And a respite from the enclosed heat of the hold of the Roros.

Close quarters

With limited traffic but narrow roads cozily hemmed in by cottages with the road literally at their doorsteps, we were able to barely taste the European sports car handling and power of the Genesis coupe. Marinduque scenery looked all the more inviting lounging comfortably from Grand Starex limousine's windows. Over the winding roads going up to Malindig, the stunning new Sonata, stunned some more with German sports sedan refinement, cornering and bad road cushioning. Available only in 2.4-liter Theta engine and paddle shift 6-speed automatic, its rapid 8 second 0-100km/h acceleration won't make one miss the 3.3-liter V-6 of the previous Sonata.

VGT rules
Though the Genesis was the overwhelming thoroughbred, the 197PS diesel Santa Fe, was not easily left behind, even on the S-bends. But it was the darling of the moment Tucson that won our hearts as the crdi turbo diesel engine not only makes it thriftier, but quite a rapid and nifty runabout on the tight corners and narrow streets of of Boac, Santa Cruz, Buenavista and Torrijos. The Tucson's high ground clearance didn't spoil our boy racer pretensions either, when the road got twisty or cracked. All the Hyundai's, especially those fitted with the "R" eVGT crdi turbo diesel engine, are the most comfortable and thrifty way to leisurely see this unspoiled rustic kingdom of the Moriones, unbound by bus schedules.

Sail again
Alas, if there is one schedule we had to keep, it would have to be the Roro's of Montenegro Lines. Our three day stint brought us to one last Roro embarkation at the western port of Cawit on our way back to Dalahican port.

Homebound, the only glitch we encountered was the closed Quipot bridge between Tiaong and San Antonio Quezon, forcing us to divert to San Juan, Batangas to get to the STAR tollway's Ibaan entry.

Also word of advice to those taking the first class seats of the Roro. Watch how you position yourself before taking a nap on those throne seats, lest you end up with back aches and lumbar pain. Being pre-owned Japanese inter-island ferries, something went wrong when the seats were reupholstered in the Philippines.

Back in the "kabila", Marinduqueños must be thinking about their recent inter-island [or interplanetary?] interlopers with typical honest and caring charm. Tagalogs themselves, despite the Franco-Hispanic name of their island, they're probably saying, "Poor guys.. they're back to their traffic and concrete jungle".

As events go, Hyundai's is a tough act to follow. So much effort and logistical planning. But knowing Hyundai, if they set their hearts on Marinduque and Bellarocca didn't exist, they would have to invent it.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Recent Addition to Amana Forest Reserve

The Latest Building Addition at the Amana Forest Reserve

The following are some photos on the latest developments at Amana Forest Reserve owned by Yong Nieva, Macrine's first cousin. Yong recently completed another building with living room and bedroom. It was just recently decorated by Ivy, Yong's internationally famous interior designer wife. If this is your first time to read about Amana Forest Preserve in Cawit, Boac, Marinduque and curious about this beautiful vacation retreat, please read my original article on Amana, about a year ago at

The following photos will illustrate the saying that " a picture is worth more than a thousand words". These photos were published in Alvin Fortuna's Facebook page a week ago. Alvin took more than 200 pictures during the Holy Week Break/Outing of Yong's employees at the Romulo Cafe Restaurant in Quezon City. Congrats to Alvin for his fantastic and beautiful photos at the Reserve.

The Three Musketeers( Me, Macrine and Yong) during Romulo's Cafe employees Holy Week Outing/Break at Amana

Macrine and Yong by the Sea -not really white sands, but clean and private

David & Macrine Katague, Yong, Mems and Lemon Carrion enjoying a quite lunch of Fish in Sweet and Sour Sauce cooked by Macrine

The original Cottages-note at the "Cogon" Roofs
Yong relaxing. But, where is the glass of wine? Macrine and I will bring a bottle from California, next time!
The Yoga and Meditation Cottage
The Romantic Bedroom
The Living/Dining Room Area. Where's the white sofa?


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