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

WELCOME TO MY SITE AND HAVE A GOOD DAY

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!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Romblon Area Declared Nesting Sites for the Endangered Sea Turtles


Here's an interesting news from the Phil Star written by Katherine Adraneda dated September 27, 2009. I am a lover of this endangered species and I have seen them nesting also in the Amoingon Coast of Marinduque. However, the locals have been pouching their eggs for food. This should not continue and I hope the local officials of Marinduque will make sure this will not happened again.

Romblon Area Declared Nesting Sites of Endangered Hawsbill Turtles

MANILA, Philippines - This as the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau-Pawikan Conservation Project (PAWB-PCP) recently confirmed Sitio Agbaliga in Agpanabat, Romblon as a nesting site of the critically endangered hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata), in addition to five areas earlier declared as nesting sites of the marine animal.

People’s organization Pamamalakaya at Wastong Ingat sa Karagatan ng Agpanabat na Nagkakaisa (PAWIKAN) and Sentro para sa Ikauunlad ng Katutubong Agham at Teknolohiya (SIKAT) vowed to increase community awareness of the importance of a marine protected area to ensure the preservation of the hawksbill turtle.

PAWIKAN and SIKAT signed a memorandum of agreement with the local government of Romblon and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to

“catapult the marine turtle conservation efforts to greater heights.”

PAWIKAN assists in the building of effective marine sanctuary management, and promote participation in monitoring fish production and coral ecology, while SIKAT actively engages in community-based integrated area resource management and environmental policy advocacy.

The five other areas that had been earlier confirmed as nesting sites of the hawksbill turtle are Punta Dumalag, Matina Aplaya in Davao City; Island Garden City of Samal in Davao del Norte; Hinatuan Bay in Surigao del Sur; Carmen in Agusan del Norte; and, Magsaysay in Misamis Oriental.

On the other hand, Tungawan in Zamboanga Sibugay and Talisoy in Virac, Catanduanes are declared nesting grounds of green turtle (Chelonia mydas), while Lian in Batangas; Morong and Bagac in Bataan and Zambales coasts are recognized nesting sites of olive ridley turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea).

Two other species of marine turtles are present in the Philippines.

These are the loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta), and leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea). However, according to the PAWBPCP, there are no records yet that loggerhead and leatherback turtles nest in the Philippines. Nevertheless, PAWB-PCP said these two turtle species “undoubtedly utilize our marine ecosystems as foraging grounds.”

PAWB-PCP said the hawksbill turtle is the most critically endangered of the five marine turtle species in the country.

But all these species of turtles are protected under the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act (Republic Act 9147).

Conservation of the Eggs

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Origin of the Filipino Race- Japanese-American War in the Philippines

Si Malakas at Maganda(The Strong and the Beautiful)
Sometime in the early 1970's, I was invited as a guest speaker by the Lions Club in Kansas City, Missouri. They requested that I talked about The Filipino-American War (1898-1902) and also the Japanese-American War(I941-1945). My knowledge of the first war was from books that I have read. However, I have personal knowledge of the second war having written an article about my childhood memories of that War( see video at bottom of this page).

In my speech class in college, I was taught that in giving a speech, start with a joke to put your audience and you at ease. Preferably your joke should be related to your topic. So this is my joke. Do you know the origin of the Filipino Race?

Evidently, when God created mankind, he molded the human form using clays and an oven. The first time, he was doing this, God was so excited that he took what he was baking too soon. The human clay was under cooked or underdone. So it was pale and white. That was the origin of the White Race. God was not happy, so he started to bake another human form. This time he got a telephone call from Satan. God was upset he forgot about what he was doing and the baking over done, the human form was overcooked, and turned black. This was the origin of the Negro Race. God then told himself. This time It will be perfect. I will watch it very carefully and will not be distracted by any calls. His baking was perfect. The human form was golden brown, and perfectly cooked. This was the origin of the Filipino race.

The following video summarizes the Invasion Of the Philippines by the Japanese as well as the destruction of Manila. Do not forget to view the related videos in this set. This is a must see video for all history enthusiasts and students.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Filoli Mansion and Gardens of Woodside, California

The Sunken Garden

If you live in Northern California and you love gardens, the Filoli Mansion and Gardens will be worth a visit. I love specially the rose gardens and the antique furnitures inside the mansion. It is about 25 miles south of San Francisco. Here's a video for your enjoyment.


Filoli is a country house set in 16 acres (6.5 ha) of formal gardens surrounded by 654 acres (265 ha) estate, located in Woodside, California, about 25 miles (40 km) south of San Francisco, at the southern end of Crystal Springs Lake, on the eastern slope of the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Filoli was built between 1915 and 1917 for William Bowers Bourn II and his wife, Agnes Moody Bourn. The principal designer, San Francisco architect Willis Polk, used a free Georgian style that incorporated the tiled roofs characteristic of California.] Polk had previously designed Bourn's houses in Grass Valley and on Webster Street in San Francisco. Bruce Porter was commissioned to collaborate with the Bourns in planning the gardens, which were laid out 1917-1922.


Filoli served as one of the Bourns' residences from 1917 to 1936. Mr. Bourn was president of the Spring Valley Water Company, which owned Crystal Springs Lake and the surrounding area. The name of the estate is an acronym formed by combining the first two letters from the key words of William Bourn's credo: "Fight for a just cause; Love your fellow man; Live a good life."

Following the deaths of William and Agnes Bourn in 1936, the estate was sold to Mr. and Mrs. William P. Roth, owners of the Matson Navigation Company, in 1937. The Roth family built Filoli's botanic gardens. In 1975, Mrs. Roth donated the estate in its entirety to the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The 16 acres (6.5 ha) of gardens are structured as a series of garden spaces that open one from another, providing long axial views, in which profuse naturalized plantings of hardy and annual plants contrast with lawns, paving, formal reflecting pools, framed in walls and clipped hedging (illustration, right) and punctuated by many narrowly columnar Irish yews, originally grown on the estate from cuttings. Filoli is an outstanding example of the Anglo-American gardening style that was pioneered at the end of the nineteenth century by Edwin Lutyens and Gertrude Jekyll in British gardens and exemplified in the U.S. by designs of Charles A. Platt and Beatrix Farrand.

Today, Filoli is open for public tours. Attractions include self-guided tours, guided tours, and nature hikes. The formal gardens include several areas, including the Wedding Place, especially designed for Berenice Roth's wedding. Lurline and Berenice both had their wedding receptions at Filoli, but Berenice's wedding is the only one that has ever taken place at Filoli. The largest gardens are working gardens for the production of cut flowers for the mansion and for the growing of some vegetables.

Filoli has served as the set for many Hollywood movies. Most famously, it is the mansion seen from the air in the opening credits of the television series Dynasty. The mansion's plush interiors were also featured in the first episodes of the series but were subsequently replicated on sound stages at the Fox Studios, Century City. However the entire mansion served as the setting for the 2006 CBS Television special Dynasty Reunion.

Among the many striking mature trees on the grounds are a row of immense Italian Stone Pines and scattered specimen native Coast Live Oaks over 250 years in age, the latter of which are the backdrop for Warren Beatty's outdoor scenes in Heaven Can Wait. The Filoli estate recently went through extensive rehabilitation and a new visitor center and café were built. San Francisco architecture firm, Architectural Resources Group designed the new visitor and education center as well as oversaw seismic strengthening of the historic main house. The new facility includes a 255 seat assembly room, main lobby orientation room, a café, offices and a catering kitchen.

Filoli was featured in Bob Vila's A&E Network production, Guide to Historic Homes of America, as well as in a November 1996 segment of A&E's America's Castles: Garden Estates, the latter being shown continuously at the visitor center.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Most Popular Folk Dances of the Philippines

The Singkil Entourage
Folk Dances of the Philippines may be classified by regions or the times in the history of the Philippines( Spanish influence, muslim rule, etc..). The first in the list are the highland tribal dances from the Cordillera Regions of Luzon.

Cordillera – highland tribal dances

1. Dances from within the depths of the mountains among the honorable braves and beautiful belles, ring the music of long ago, heralding a victorious return and a blessed merry-making. With the wildness in their blood and forest freedom in their spirit; the Kalinga, Ifugao, Gaddang, Bontoc and other tribal groups celebrate with wild feasting, headhunt, death, peace pact, wedding and/or a bountiful harvest:

a.Chua-ay – call to get together featuring nose flute

b. Kayabang – depicts a maiden's trip to the lowlands. She beats the bamboo sticks called the bungkaka to drive away the unseen evil spirits along the mountain trail

c. Paligo – a beautiful Igorot maiden cleansing herself in preparation of the coming courtship

d. Sayap & Banga – an intricate dance of the maidens, where they skillfully display versatility on the use of the indigenous Igorot cloth, Sayap and balancing clay-pots, Banga,(clay jars) on their heads

e.Lima Nga Gangsa – a dance where tribal elders start the ceremonies with a display of rhythms on the beat of the Gangsa gongs

f.Bumayah – a dance traditionally held during thanksgiving or after a bountiful harvest

2. Nostalgia Filipina – Los Bailes De Los Anos Pasados (Dances of Yester years Past)

The coming of the Spaniards in the 16th century marked the conversion of the Filipinos, principally those in the Luzon and the Visayan regions, to the Catholic faith and the introduction of western civilization; hence, the influence on the Philippine life:



a. Polka sa Plaza – a grand parade of beautiful ladies in their traditional Spanish gowns called Maria Clara and parasols (umbrellas). With their partners, wearing their traditional Barongs, they gladly parade, beginning from the church yard going around the town

b. Valse Filipina - a waltz dance of young collegiala showing off (or showcasing) elegant Maria Clara gowns

c. Panuelo - a dance where the ladies show off their beautifully embroidered shawls (panuelo)

d. La Simpatica - A courtship dance where the picky lady charms her four suitors, who will she choose?

e. Paseo de IloIlo - a dance originating from Llo-Llo (Visayas region) where the young lady who is trying to choose suitors by dancing with them

f. Jota Rizal – This is a lively and exhilarating dance originating from the Rizal province (Luzon region)

g. Baile De Amor – a provocative teasing lovers' dance


h. La Jota Moncadena – The clicking of castanets accompanies this dance with influences of polka, waltz and mazurka

i. Polka sa Batangas – a very popular polka dance originally from Batangas (Luzon region) performed during town fiestas, religious celebration and various events either to welcome a newly wed couple or an announcement of important social gatherings

j. Alcamfor – a courtship dance where the female dancer teases her suitor with a handkerchief scented with camphor fragrance

k. Bajo de los Cocoteros – combines the two European steps, polka and waltz, in a lively dance

3. Hariraya – Muslim and lowland tribal

When the Spaniards came to the Philippines they encountered pockets of the Muslim religion in Mindanao, Sulu and Palawan. They tried to occupy and replace Islam with Christianity, but in vain; the Filipino Muslims resisted. However, they had beautiful songs and dances which were easily liked and adopted by the people:

a. Budyong – a call for a gathering of town folks for a celebration using large seashells

b. Dugso – a dance ritual from Bukidnon region, showing a man's desire to thank his gods, featuring colourful headgear and rhythmical stomping

c. Tig-Ani – a ritual dance to overcome the malevolent omen of the predator hawk

d. Tahing Baila – a dance imitating the playfulness of fish as they swim through the water

e. Kapa Malong-Malong – a Muslim dance showing the versatile uses of the Muslim tubular cloth called Malong

f. Pang-Alay Pamansak
– a courtship dance from Sulu (Mindanao) whose intricate hand movements take their influence from Bali and Thailand

g. Silong Sa Ganding – a dance that imitates the movement of the gandingan (brass gongs) and the single headed Philippine drum dabakan

h. Singkil – taken from the Maranao epic Daranagan performed only by members of the ruling class. This exotic dance features the royal prince and princess as they dance in and out of the clashing criss- crossed bamboo poles


4. Sa Kabukiran – dances from the countryside

The Filipinos are by nature lovers of the arts. They have developed songs, music and dances, peculiarly their own but with a blending of three centuries of Spanish domination and half a century of American, Asian and European influences. These are the dances from the countryside - the rice fields, lake shores, the birds, the animals and coconut groves. They depict the various moods of the people in appreciation of nature and the quiet mode of life in rural areas:

a. Pandanggo sa Ilaw
– a dance using candle-lit glasses swayed like beacons for the homecoming of the fisherman

b. Sunduan – celebrating the spirit of the villagers working on the farm. Involves sowing, harvesting, thrashing, pounding and winnowing rice

c. Subli – a ceremonial dance from Bauang, Batangas to pay homage to the Holy Cross

d. Sayaw sa Bangko – a dance showing off dancing skills and good balance on top of narrow benches

e. Alay – an offering dance to welcome special guests on special occasions

f. Binuyugan – a dance imitates the ladies fetching water and balancing the pots on their head

g. Itik-Itik – a dance imitating the movements of ducks

h. Ilocana A Nasudi – a dance of the old people from Ilocos

i. Maglalatik – a dance celebrating coconut harvest, featuring coconut shells attached to different bodyparts clicked to create the sounds and beats of the dance as the movements get faster and faster

j. Binasuan – a skill dance showing town maidens balancing wine glasses on their heads and the hands without spilling a drop as they twirl and roll on the floor

k. Salakot – a dance showcasing/featuring traditional beautifulPhilippine straw Coolie hats

l. Tinikling - the best known of all Philippine Dances. Dancers hop in and out of fast clapping bamboo poles, imitating the movements of the tikling birds

The World Reknown Tinikling
I hope you have a good idea now of the diversity and richness of the folk dances in the Philippines

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Be Proud you are a Filipino-The Filipino Today

The August 23 Hostage Drama of Hongkong Tourist Bus in Manila-Put the International Image of the Philippines to Zero

I received the following article from a friend in the Philippines today. As I read this article, my heart starts to hurt and I shed a tear or two. I am joining this author for forgiveness from the families of the Hongkong tourists who were killed by a crazy ex police man. The article is THE FILIPINO TODAY and written by Alex Lacson.

"After the August 23 hostage drama, there is just too much negativity about and against the Filipino. “It is difficult to be a Filipino these days”, says a friend who works in Hongkong. “Nakakahiya tayo”, “Only in the Philippines ” were some of the comments lawyer Trixie Cruz-Angeles received in her Facebook. There is this email supposedly written by a Dutch married to a Filipina, with 2 kids, making a litany of the supposed stupidity or idiocy of Filipinos in general. There was also this statement by Fermi Wong, founder of Unison HongKong, where she said – “Filipino maids have a very low status in our city”. Then there is this article from a certain Daniel Wagner of Huffington Post, wherein he said he sees nothing good in our country’s future.

Clearly, the hostage crisis has spawned another crisis – a crisis of faith in the Filipino, one that exists in the minds of a significant number of Filipinos and some quarters in the world. It is important for us Filipinos to take stock of ourselves as a people – of who we truly are as a people. It is important that we remind ourselves who the Filipino really is, before our young children believe all this negativity that they hear and read about the Filipino.

We have to protect and defend the Filipino in each one of us.The August 23 hostage fiasco is now part of us as Filipinos, it being part now of our country’s and world’s history. But that is not all that there is to the Filipino. Yes, we accept it as a failure on our part, a disappointment to HongKong , China and to the whole world.

But there is so much more about the Filipino.

In 1945, at the end of World War II, Hitler and his Nazi had killed more than 6 million Jews in Europe . But in 1939, when the Jews and their families were fleeing Europe at a time when several countries refused to open their doors to them, our Philippines did the highly risky and the unlikely –thru President Manuel L Quezon, we opened our country’s doors and our nation’s heart to the fleeing and persecuted Jews. Eventually, some 1,200 Jews and their families made it to Manila . Last 21 June 2010, or 70 years later, the first ever monument honoring Quezon and the Filipino nation for this “open door policy” was inaugurated on Israeli soil, at the 65-hectare Holocaust Memorial Park in Rishon LeZion, Israel.

The Filipino heart is one of history’s biggest, one of the world’s rare jewels, and one of humanity’s greatest treasures. In 2007,Baldomero M. Olivera, a Filipino, was chosen and awarded as the Scientist for the Year 2007 by Harvard University Foundation, for his work in neurotoxins which is produced by venomous cone snails commonly found in the tropical waters of Philippines . Olivera is a distinguished professor of biology at University of Utah , USA . The Scientist for the Year 2007 award was given to him in recognition to his outstanding contribution to science, particularly to molecular biology and groundbreaking work with conotoxins. The research conducted by Olivera’s group became the basis for the production of commercial drug called Prialt (generic name – Ziconotide), which is considered more effective than morphine and does not result in addiction.

The Filipino mind is one of the world’s best, one of humanity’s great assets. The Filipino is capable of greatness, of making great sacrifices for the greater good of the least of our people. Josette Biyois an example of this. Biyo has masteral and doctoral degress from one of the top universities in the Philippines – the De La Salle University (Taft, Manila ) – where she used to teach rich college students and was paid well for it. But Dr Biyo left all that and all the glamour of Manila , and chose to teach in a far-away public school in a rural area in the province, receiving the salary of less than US$ 300 a month. When asked why she did that, she replied “but who will teach our children?” In recognition of the rarity of her kind, the world-famous Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States honoured Dr Biyo a very rare honor – by naming a small and new-discovered planet in our galaxy as “Biyo”.

The Filipino is one of humanity’s best examples on the greatness of human spirit!
Efren Penaflorida was born to a father who worked as a tricycle driver and a mother who worked as laundrywoman. Through sheer determination and the help of other people, Penaflorida finished college. In 1997, Penaflorida and his friends formed a group that made pushcarts (kariton) and loaded them with books, pens, crayons, blackboard, clothes, jugs of water, and a Philippine flag. Then he and his group would go to the public cemetery, market and garbage dump sites in Cavite City – to teach street children with reading, math, basic literacy skills and values, to save them from illegal drugs and prevent them from joining gangs. Penaflorida and his group have been doing this for more than a decade. Last year, Penaflorida was chosen and awarded as CNN Hero for 2009. Efren Penaflorida is one of the great human beings alive today. And he is a Filipino!

Nestor Suplico is yet another example of the Filipino’s nobility of spirit. Suplico was a taxi driver In New York. On 17 July 2004, Suplico drove 43 miles from New York City to Connecticut , USA to return the US$80,000 worth of jewelry (rare black pearls) to his passenger who forgot it at the back seat of his taxi. When his passenger offered to give him a reward, Suplico even refused the reward. He just asked to be reimbursed for his taxi fuel for his travel to Connecticut . At the time, Suplico was just earning $80 a day as a taxi driver. What do you call that? That’s honesty in its purest sense. That is decency most sublime. And it occurred in New York , the Big Apple City , where all kinds of snakes and sinners abound, and a place where – according to American novelist Sydney Sheldon – angels no longer descend. No wonder all New York newspapers called him “ New York ’s Most Honest Taxi Driver”. The New York City Government also held a ceremony to officially acknowledge his noble deed. The Philippine Senate passed a Resolution for giving honors to the Filipino people and our country.

In Singapore , Filipina Marites Perez-Galam, 33, a mother of four, found a wallet in a public toilet near the restaurant where she works as the head waitress found a wallet containing 16,000 Singaporean dollars (US $11,000). Maritess immediately handed the wallet to the restaurant manager of Imperial Herbal restaurant where she worked located in Vivo City Mall. The manager in turn reported the lost money to the mall’s management. It took the Indonesian woman less than two hours to claim her lost wallet intended for her son’s ear surgery that she and her husband saved for the medical treatment. Maritess refused the reward offered by the grateful owner and said it was the right thing to do.

The Filipina, in features and physical beauty, is one of the world’s most beautiful creatures!Look at this list – Gemma Cruz became the first Filipina to win Miss International in 1964; Gloria Diaz won as Miss Universe in 1969; Aurora Pijuan won Miss International in 1970; Margie Moran won Miss Universe in 1973; Evangeline Pascual was 1st runner up in Miss World 1974; Melanie Marquez was Miss International in 1979; Ruffa Gutierrez was 2nd runner up in Miss World 1993; Charlene Gonzalez was Miss Universe finalist in 1994; Mirriam Quiambao was Miss Universe 1st runner up in 1999;and last week, Venus Raj was 4th runner up in Miss Universe pageant.

I can cite more great Filipinos like Ramon Magsaysay, Ninoy Aquino, Leah Salonga, Manny Pacquaio, Paeng Nepomuceno, Tony Meloto, Joey Velasco, Juan Luna and Jose Rizal. For truly, there are many more great Filipinos who define who we are as a people and as a nation – each one of them is part of each one of us, for they are Filipinos like us, for they are part of our history as a people.

What we see and hear of the Filipino today is not all that there is about the Filipino. I believe that the Filipino is higher and greater than all these that we see and hear about the Filipino. God has a beautiful story for us as a people. And the story that we see today is but a fleeting portion of that beautiful story that is yet to fully unfold before the eyes of our world.

So let’s rise as one people. Let’s pick up the pieces. Let’s ask for understanding and forgiveness for our failure. Let us also ask for space and time to correct our mistakes, so we can improve our system. To all of you my fellow Filipinos, let’s keep on building the Filipino great and respectable in the eyes of our world – one story, two stories, three stories at a time – by your story, by my story, by your child’s story, by your story of excellence at work, by another Filipino’s honesty in dealing with others, by another Pinoy’s example of extreme sacrifice, by the faith in God we Filipinos are known for.

Every Filipino, wherever he or she maybe in the world today, is part of the solution. Each one of us is part of the answer. Every one of us is part of the hope we seek for our country. The Filipino will not become a world-class citizen unless we are able to build a world-class homeland in our Philippines .

We are a beautiful people. Let no one in the world take that beauty away from you. Let no one in the world take away that beauty away from any of your children! We just have to learn – very soon – to build a beautiful country for ourselves, with an honest and competent government in our midst.

Mga kababayan, after reading this, I ask you to do two things. First, defend and protect the Filipino whenever you can, especially among your children. Fight all this negativity about the Filipino that is circulating in many parts of the world. Let us not allow this single incident define who the Filipino is, and who we are as a people. And second, demand for good leadership and good government from our leaders. Question both their actions and inaction; expose the follies of their policies and decisions. The only way we can perfect our system is by engaging it. The only way we can solve our problem, is by facing it, head on. We are all builders of the beauty and greatness of the Filipino. We are the architects of our nation’s success.

To all the people of HK and China, especially the relatives of the victims, my family and I deeply mourn with the loss of your loved ones. Every life is precious. My family and I humbly ask for your understanding and forgiveness.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Is Education in the Philippines Inferior to US or Canada?

UP Diliman (Quezon Hall)

Today, I was reading a discussion in the internet magazine on the quality of education in the Philippines versus that to US or Canada. One of the commentators said that a bachelor's degree in the Philippines today is almost useless . This comment attracted so much discussion that this prompted me to update my knowledge of the educational system in the Philippines. I started on reading what Wikipedia has published on the subject.Here's a short summary:

"During the period of colonization by the United States, Education in the Philippines changed radically, modeled on the system of Education in the United States of the time. After the Second World War, changes in the US system were no longer automatically reflected in the Philippines, which has since moved in various directions of its own.

Filipino children may enter public school at about age four, starting from Nursery up to Kindergarten. At about seven years of age, children enter elementary school (6 to 7 years). This may be followed by secondary school (4 years). Students may then sit for College Entrance Examinations (CEE), after which they may enter tertiary institutions (3 to 5 years). Other types of schools do exist, such as Private schools, Preparatory schools, International schools, Laboratory High Schools and Science High Schools. Several ethnic groups, including Chinese, British, Americans, and Japanese operate their own schools.

Elementary schooling is compulsory, but 24% of Filipinos of the relevant age group do not attend, usually due to absence of any school in their area, education being offered in foreign languages only, or financial distress. In July 2009 DepEd acted to overcome the foreign language problem by ordering all elementary schools to move towards mother-tongue based learning initially. The order allows two alternative three-year bridging plans. Depending on the bridging plan adopted, the Filipino and English languages are to be phased in as the language of instruction for other subjects beginning in the third and fourth grades.

Secondary schooling is compulsory, and is of four years duration only.

The school year in the Philippines starts in June of one year and ends in March of the next, with a two-month summer break for April and May, one week of semestral break (the last week of October), and a week or two of Christmas break.

In 2005, the Philippines spent only about US$138 per pupil compared to US$1,582 in Singapore, US$3,728 in Japan, and US$852 in Thailand.[2]

One of the most serious problems in the Philippines in the 1980s and early 1990s concerned the large number of students who completed college but then could not find a job commensurate with their educational skills. If properly utilized, these trained personnel could facilitate economic development, but when left idle or forced to take jobs beneath their qualifications, this group could be a major source of discontent.
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A recent article by Chito Salazar published at the Daily Inquirer dated 8/28/10
discussed the importance of the 12-year basic education such as we have here in US
I am posting an excerpt of the article as follows:
12-year basic education: a quality imperative

"THE MOVE to expand our basic education to 12 years from the present 10 is not about quantity versus quality. It is about quality, period; or, more accurately, it is about the low quality of our education system. Philippine education is plagued by two major ills—the high attrition rate of our students and their low achievement rates. Simply put, too many of students leave school early, around a third before graduating elementary school, the largest chunk dropping out before Grade 4.

However, those who stay in school are only just a bit better off, receiving a substandard education with more than 90 percent failing our own National Achievement Tests. The majority of students are reading below their age and grade levels; and our high school graduates proceed to college with barely a Grade 6 reading competency.

What accounts for this low quality? Years of neglect; much, much lower than needed budget allocations; teaching quality; incentives and performance measures; the lack of classrooms, textbooks and desks; and, a short basic education cycle. The problems are complex and the causes are interconnected.

While teacher quality is central to the solution, our teachers, no matter how good, cannot teach well in a crowded classroom, without the proper books, or even a proper room. Similarly, our teachers, no matter how good, cannot teach well, with an overcrowded curriculum, when they are being required to teach more than their counterparts anywhere in the world, in a significantly shorter period of time. Nor can our students learn properly, when we are asking them to learn too much, too soon. What students in other countries are expected to learn in 12 years, we are asking our students to learn in 10. Consequently, more often than not, our students are being forced to learn concepts more complex than their developmental profile permits. It is then no wonder that our students cannot read properly nor pass our own diagnostic exams.

This brings us to the problem of government resources. It is true that there are limited funds and we must prioritize. However, the difficulty is the opponents of the move to a 12-year system are making this a choice among education goods—better teaching quality versus the expansion or more classrooms versus more years. However, should this not be about quality education versus losing more revenues to smuggling or uncollected taxes; or about education quality versus special education funds being spent on basketball courts, boy scout jamborees or sports fests; or should this not be about education quality versus expensive meals abroad, pork barrel or the intelligence funds of GOCC executives? The families of our children graduating with minimal learning are paying a very expensive price for an underfunded education system.

The proponents of the 12-year basic education cycle insist that the additional two years be added to the elementary and/or high school levels; not to tertiary education, nor purely as a pre-university requirement. The addition must be to basic education because that’s precisely what it is and where it needs to be. A 12-year basic education is the minimum, fundamental education everyone must receive to have a decent opportunity for a good life. As such, as the Constitution declares, it must be a right, and it must be free.

Finally, ironically, despite all the opposition, the best basic education schools in the country (e.g., Ateneo and La Salle) already follow an 11-year system at least. These are the premier schools that parents would want to send their children to if they could afford the tuition. Children who attend schools like these usually have had three years of pre-school before they even step into the first grade. Yet, for whatever good reason, some would rather deprive the majority of Filipinos of these additional years—please note, a total of 14 to 15 years of basic education—that a fortunate minority already receives. So which program is truly anti-poor?"

Personal Note: The quality of education one receives in the Philippines depend on the school where the degree was obtained. The success of the individual is not based on the number of degrees he or she has completed, but on his fortitude and ambition and outlook in life. Getting a good job also depends on your social networking skills and connections as well as the skills that you have learned from college, both in undergraduate and graduate schools. There are more than a couple of excellent schools in the Philippines, but also several diploma mills whose main purpose is to make money, not to educate its students.

May I proudly say that the University of the Philippines in Diliman( UP) is one example of an excellent school during my college years (mid 1950's). However, I am not sure of the quality of education one can get from UP today. Comments will be appreciated.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Papaya Trees in the Garden of Chateau Du Mer



I have about six varieties of papaya trees in my garden at Chateau Du Mer in Boac, Marinduque. Of the six varieties, I like the Solo variety imported from Hawaii. The fruits are small but sweet and firm. The other varieties yields bigger fruits but is not as sweet and firm. (see photo above)

Speaking of Papaya Fruits, I am proud to inform readers of this blog, that my doctoral thesis from the University of Illinois, Chicago, USA was on the Papaya Fruit. The title of my thesis was " Chromatographic Analysis of the Volatile Components of the Papaya Fruit". This was published by the Journal of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Vol 54, No 6, pages 891-894 dated June, 1965. The following is additional information about the Papaya from Wikipedia.

Originally from southern Mexico, particularly Chiapas and Veracruz, Central America and northern South America, the papaya is now cultivated in most tropical countries, such as Brazil, Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Indonesia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Philippines and Jamaica. In cultivation, it grows rapidly, fruiting within 3 years. It is, however, highly frost sensitive.

In the 1990s, the papaya ringspot virus threatened to wipe out Hawaii’s papaya industry completely. Two varieties of papaya, SunUp and Rainbow, that had been genetically modified to be resistant to the virus, were introduced into Hawaii.By 2010, 80% of Hawaiian papaya was genetically modified. Today there is still no conventional or organic method of controlling the ringspot virus. In 2004, non-genetically modified and organic papayas throughout Hawaii had experienced hybridization with the genetically modified varieties.

Papaya Fruit
Uses

Papaya can be used as a food, a cooking aid, and in medicine. The stem and bark are also used in rope production.

Gastronomy

The ripe fruit is usually eaten raw, without skin or seeds. The unripe green fruit of papaya can be eaten cooked, usually in curries, salads and stews. It has a relatively high amount of pectin, which can be used to make jellies.

Green papaya is used in Thai and Filipino cuisine, both raw and cooked.

The black seeds are edible and have a sharp, spicy taste. They are sometimes ground up and used as a substitute for black pepper. In some parts of Asia the young leaves of papaya are steamed and eaten like spinach. In parts of the world papaya leaves are made into tea as a preventative for malaria, though there is no real scientific evidence for the effectiveness of this treatment. The following is Papaya, raw Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)

Energy 163 kJ (39 kcal)
Carbohydrates 9.81 g
Sugars 5.90 g
Dietary fibre 1.8 g
Fat 0.14 g
Protein 0.61 g
Vitamin A equiv. 55 μg (6%)
- beta-carotene 276 μg (3%)
Thiamine (Vit. B1) 0.04 mg (3%)
Riboflavin (Vit. B2) 0.05 mg (3%)
Niacin (Vit. B3) 0.338 mg (2%)
Vitamin B6 0.1 mg (8%)
Vitamin C 61.8 mg (103%)
Calcium 24 mg (2%)
Iron 0.10 mg (1%)
Magnesium 10 mg (3%)
Phosphorus 5 mg (1%)
Potassium 257 mg (5%)
Sodium 3 mg (0%)
Percentages are relative to US recommendations for adults.

Cooking

Green papaya fruit and the tree's latex are both rich in an enzyme called papain, a protease which is useful in tenderizing meat and other proteins. Its ability to break down tough meat fibers was used for thousands of years by indigenous Americans. It is included as a component in powdered meat tenderizers.

Medicine

Papaya is marketed in tablet form to remedy digestive problems.

Papain is also applied topically (in countries where it grows) for the treatment of cuts, rashes, stings and burns. Papain ointment is commonly made from fermented papaya flesh, and is applied as a gel-like paste. Harrison Ford was treated for a ruptured disc incurred during filming of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom by papain injections.

Women in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and other countries have long used green papaya as a folk remedy for contraception and abortion. Enslaved women in the West Indies were noted for consuming papaya to prevent pregnancies and thus preventing their children from being born into slavery.[citation needed] Medical research in animals has confirmed the contraceptive and abortifacient capability of papaya, and also found that papaya seeds have contraceptive effects in adult male langur monkeys, possibly in adult male humans as well.[11] Unripe papaya is especially effective in large amounts or high doses. Ripe papaya is not teratogenic and will not cause miscarriage in small amounts. Phytochemicals in papaya may suppress the effects of progesterone.

Papaya is frequently used as a hair conditioner, but should be used in small amounts. Papaya releases a latex fluid when not quite ripe, which can cause irritation and provoke allergic reaction in some people. The papaya fruit, seeds, latex, and leaves also contains carpaine, an anthelmintic alkaloid (a drug that removes parasitic worms from the body), which can be dangerous in high doses.

It is speculated that unripe papayas may cause miscarriage due to latex content that may cause uterine contractions which may lead to a miscarriage. Papaya seed extracts in large doses have a contraceptive effect on rats and monkeys, but in small doses have no effect on the unborn animals.

Excessive consumption of papaya can cause carotenemia, the yellowing of soles and palms, which is otherwise harmless. However, a very large dose would need to be consumed; papaya contains about 6% of the level of beta carotene found in carrots (the most common cause of carotenemia) per 100g.

Medicinal potential

* The juice has an antiproliferative effect on in vitro liver cancer cells, probably due to its component of lycopene or immune system stimulation.[16]

* Papaya seed could be used as an antibacterial agent for Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus or Salmonella typhi, although further research is needed before advocating large-scale therapy.
* Papaya seed extract may be nephroprotective (protect the kidneys) in toxicity-induced kidney failure.
Now for a change of mood, here's how to make green papaya salad the Thai Way!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Have you Eaten a Durian-King of Fruits?


I have never tasted the fresh durian fruit directly from the market. But I love the fresh frozen fruit that has been imported to US and sold in Oriental Grocery Stores. It is very expensive here in US. But the one I really love are the durian candies.
To some the statement that the fruit smells like hell but taste like heaven is probably true. To others this is not true as seen in the following video. This video was made by Jawz. Jawz is Jonathan Watson-a 19 year old American from South Carolina now residing in Davao, Philippines. He is one of Bob's Martin writers in his internet magazine, Live in the Philippines. Interesting video indeed!

If this is your first time to hear about the durian fruit, here is some information from Wikipedia.

The durian (pronounced /ˈdʊəriən/)is the fruit of several tree species belonging to the genus Durio and the Malvaceae family (although some taxonomists place Durio in a distinct family, Durionaceae. Widely known and revered in southeast Asia as the "king of fruits", the durian is distinctive for its large size, unique odour, and formidable thorn-covered husk. The fruit can grow as large as 30 centimetres (12 in) long and 15 centimetres (6 in) in diameter, and it typically weighs one to three kilograms (2 to 7 lb). Its shape ranges from oblong to round, the colour of its husk green to brown, and its flesh pale yellow to red, depending on the species.

The edible flesh emits a distinctive odour, strong and penetrating even when the husk is intact. Some people regard the durian as fragrant; others find the aroma overpowering and offensive. The smell evokes reactions from deep appreciation to intense disgust and has been described variously as almonds, rotten onions, turpentine and gym socks. The odour has led to the fruit's banishment from certain hotels and public transportation in southeast Asia.

The durian, native to Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia, has been known to the Western world for about 600 years. The 19th-century British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace famously described its flesh as "a rich custard highly flavoured with almonds". The flesh can be consumed at various stages of ripeness, and it is used to flavour a wide variety of savoury and sweet edibles in Southeast Asian cuisines. The seeds can also be eaten when cooked.

There are 30 recognized Durio species, at least nine of which produce edible fruit. Durio zibethinus is the only species available in the international market: other species are sold in their local regions. There are hundreds of durian cultivars; many consumers express preferences for specific cultivars, which fetch higher prices in the market.
Here's another video about eating durian.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Ylang Ylang Trees in the Garden of Chateau Du Mer

The Ylang Ylang Tree

I have two mature trees of Ylang Ylang in my garden at Chateau Du Mer. The two trees along with six mango trees were planted after the completion of the construction of our retirement house in 1990. When the trees are in bloom, you can smell the fragrance of the flowers as far as 50 meters and even farther if the wind direction is favorable. It is one fragrance, that I will never forget at Chateau Du Mer in Marinduque. Its reminds me of the perfume,Channel No.5.

On the subject of Ylang Ylang Oil,I am proud to inform readers of this blog that my Master's degree thesis was the Analysis of the Volatile Constituents of Ylang Ylang Oil by Gas Chromatography. This was published in the Journal of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Vol.52, No.3 252-258 dated March, 1963.

I believe not too many non-Filipinos have heard of this tree and it fragrant flowers. Here's a short information from Wikipedia for your reading pleasure.

Cananga odorata, commonly called Ylang-ylang (pronounced /ˈiːlæŋ ˈiːlæŋ/, EE-lang-EE-lang), cananga tree, ilang-ilang, kenanga (Indonesian), fragrant cananga, Macassar-oil plant or perfume tree), is a tree valued for its perfume. The essential oil derived from the flowers is used in aromatherapy and in the manufacture of perfumes.

Cananga odorata is a fast-growing tree of the custard-apple family, Annonaceae, that exceeds 5 m (15 ft) per year and attains an average height of 12 m (40 ft). It grows in full or partial sun, and prefers the acidic soils of its native rain forest habitat. The evergreen leaves are smooth and glossy, oval, pointed, with wavy margins, and 13–20 cm (5–8 in) long. The flower is drooping, long-stalked, with six narrow greenish yellow (rarely pink) petals, rather like a sea star in appearance, and yields a highly fragrant essential oil.

The Chemical Composition Typical chemical compositions of the various grades of Ylang ylang are reported as follows:

Constituents Linalool, geranyl acetate, caryophyllene, p-cresyl, methyl ether, methyl benzoate, other, sesquiterpenes.

Etymology

The name ylang-ylang is derived from Tagalog, either from the word ilang, meaning "wilderness", alluding to its natural habitat, or the word ilang-ilan, meaning "rare", suggestive of its exceptionally delicate scent. A more widely accepted translation is "flower of flowers". The plant is native to the Philippines and Indonesia and is commonly grown in Polynesia, Melanesia and Micronesia.

Characteristics

The fragrance of ylang-ylang is rich and deep with notes of rubber and custard, and bright with hints of jasmine and neroli. The essential oil of the flower is obtained through steam distillation of the flowers and separated into different grades (extra; 1; 2; 3) according to when the distillates are obtained. The main aromatic components of ylang-ylang oil are benzyl acetate, linalool, p-cresyl methyl ether, and methyl benzoate, responsible for its characteristic odor.

The essential oil of ylang-ylang is used in aromatherapy. It is believed to relieve high blood pressure, normalize sebum secretion for skin problems, and is considered to be an aphrodisiac. According to Margaret Mead, it was used as such by South Pacific natives such as the Solomons where she did much of her research. The oil from ylang-ylang is widely used in perfumery for oriental or floral themed perfumes (like Chanel No. 5). Ylang-ylang blends well with most floral, fruit and wood smells.

In Indonesia, ylang-ylang flowers are spread on the bed of newlywed couples. In the Philippines, its flowers, together with the flowers of the sampaguita, are strung into a necklace (lei) and worn by women and used to adorn religious images.

The Ylang Ylang Flowers
Uses

Medicinal uses

Ylang Ylang is a common ingredient in the herbal motion sickness remedy, MotionEaze.

Circulatory System: Ylang ylang is recommended for treating palpitations and reducing high blood pressure

Nervous System : Ylang ylang is known for its ability to slow down over-rapid breathing and over-rapid heart beat. These symptoms are usually associated with shock, anxiety and anger.

Reproductive System: Ylang ylang has proven beneficial for treating PMS, especially associated with extreme mood swings that occurs just before the onset of menstruation. For this purpose, Fischer-Rizzi recommends blending Ylang ylang with clary sage and neroli. This blend should be used in a bath, massage oil or in a vaporizer.

Skin care: Added to the skin care preparation, Ylang ylang oil is beneficial in softening and balancing the moisture of the skin. It is recommended in hair care to treat split ends. It can be used in a shampoo base of massaged into the tips of the hair after shampooing with a base oil such as apricot kernel or jojoba oil. Ylang ylang is recommended for dry and oily skin and is reputed to have a balancing action on sebum production. Here's a short video about ylang-ylang oil extraction.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Georgia O'Keefe's Erotic and Sensual Flowers



Have your heard of Georgia O'Keefe? If not, here's her short bio from Wikipedia.

Georgia Totto O'Keeffe (November 15, 1887 – March 6, 1986) was an American artist. Born near Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, O'Keeffe was a major figure in American art from the 1920s. She received widespread recognition for her technical contributions, as well as for challenging the boundaries of modern American artistic style. She is chiefly known for paintings of flowers, rocks, shells, animal bones, and landscapes in which she synthesized abstraction and representation. Her paintings present crisply contoured forms that are replete with subtle tonal transitions of varying colors. She often transformed her subject matter into powerful abstract images. New York Times critic Jed Perl in 2004 described her paintings as both "bold and hermetic, immediately appealing and unnervingly impassive."

O'Keeffe played a central role in bringing an American art style to Europe at a time when the majority of influence flowed in the opposite direction. This feat enhanced her art-historical importance given that she was one of few women to have gained entry to this level of professional influence. She found artistic inspiration in the rural Southwest, particularly in New Mexico, where she settled late in life.








As an avid gardener, I have a few of these erotic and sensual flowers in my garden at Chateau Du Mer in Boac, Marinduque, Philippines.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Lady Gaga Did Not Disappoint Her Fans


News from the Daily Contributor Today-September 13, 2010

Lady Gaga Sweeps MTV Video Music Awards

It was already clear that Lady Gaga would come to cast her large shadow at this year’s MTV Video Music Awards, the only question going into Sunday’s awards night was how many moonman the pop icon would take home. And she did not disappoint.

Gaga first took the stage to pick up the award for best video for a female artist for “Bad Romance.” She would climb the stage seven more times throughout the night as the controversial singer made everyone else fight for the crumbs. Gaga capped the night by taking the biggest prize for Video of the Year for “Bad Romance.” A teary eyed Gaga was a picture of happiness and relief as she accepted her final award. “I was so nervous tonight that I’d let my fans down,” she said.

The 24-year-old singer also bagged moonmen for Best Pop Video, Best Dance Music Video, Best Choreography, Best Direction, and Best Editing all for “Bad Romance,” as well as Best Collaboration with Beyonce for “Telephone.”

Gaga’s haul tied A-ha’s 1986 record for second-most wins at a single award, but it was two short of Peter Gabriel’s 10 trophies in 1987.

Eminem took two moonmen for “Not Afraid,” which won in the Male Video and Hip-Hop Video categories. Justin Bieber won as Best New Artist for “Baby” while 30 Seconds to Mars’ “Kings and Queens” bagged the moonman for Best Rock Video.


Lady Gaga and Beyonce Telephone Music Video

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Flora and Fauna of Bohol-Province of the Catague Clan

The King Eagle

There is a town named Catague in Bohol, Philippines. Thus I have a great interest in the island. My father's named was originally spell with a "C", but when he was in high school he changed it to start with a "K". So, I believe, I have a lot of relatives in Bohol, that I have never meet or will never meet in my life time. If your name is Catague or Katague in Bohol, please get in touch with me via this blog.

Bohol is an island province in the Philippines and its 10th largest island. It is located in the Central Visayas region and has a population of 1,137,000 (2000 census) with an area of 4,117.3 km. The island has unique flora and fauna worthy of discussing in this blog.

The Philippines supports a rich and varied flora with close botanical connections to Indonesia and mainland Southeast Asia. Forests cover almost one-half of the land area and are typically tropical, with the dominant family, Dipterocarpaceae, representing 75% of the stands. The forest also has vines, epiphytes, and climbers. Open grasslands, ranging up to 2.4 m (8 ft) in height, occupy one-fourth of the land area; they are man- made, the aftermath of the slash-and-burn agricultural system, and most contain tropical savanna grasses that are non nutritious and difficult to eradicate. The diverse flora includes 8,000 species of flowering plants, 1,000 kinds of ferns, and 800 species of orchids.

Seventy to eighty percent of non-flying mammals in the Philippines are found nowhere else in the world. Common mammals include the wild hog, deer, wild carabao, monkey, civet cat, and various rodents. There are about 196 breeding species of birds, among the more numerous being the megapodes (turkey-like wildfowl), button quail, jungle fowl, peacock pheasant, dove, pigeon, parrot, and hornbill. Reptilian life is represented by 190 species; there are crocodiles and the larger snakes include the python and several varieties of cobra. Of course Bohol is famous for its TARSIER, the smallest primate( monkey) in the world.

The fauna on Bohol is almost identical to that on Mindanao, Samar, and Leyte, but not that on nearby Negros. Scientists believe that the floral and faunal biodiversity unique to the Philippines is caused by the Ice Age. They also believe that the country has the most severely endangered plant and animal communities on earth.

Recently three unique flying animals/birds,attracted my attention, These are the King Eagle, a rail and a flying fox

The King Eagle-It is the largest eagle in the world. The King Eagle (Haring Ibon) tops in 5 of the 7 external measurements, namely, total length, bill gape, culmen, bill height and tarsus. The Harpy tops in 1 out of 7 measurements, namely the talon. In the wing measurement or wing chord, Haring Ibon is only second but Harpy Eagle is fifth.
Calayan Rail
Calayan Rail: New bird discovered in Babuyan Islands- A new bird species, believed to be found nowhere else in the world, has been discovered on the remote island of Calayan, 70 km north of Luzon. The bird will be named the ‘Calayan Rail’ (Gallirallus calayanensis), after the island on which it was found. Calayan is the largest island in the Babuyan Island group that lies between Batanes and Luzon.

Flying Foxes of the Philippines-
The Mindoro Pallid Flying Fox (Pteropus sp. A) is yet undescribed, but it could possibly be the smallest flying fox in the Philippines. It has been found in Mindoro, in the Anahawin River in Mts. Iglit-Baco National Park, and also in the lowland forest of Tandakan, Mt. Siburan in Sablayan, an area made up of drastic and gradual slopes with riverines in between, near a kaingin area, and in bamboo vegetation. All areas were predominated by trees of the family Dipterocapaceae.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Battle of Paye and Pulang Lupa-Letter Captain Shileds to His Wife

Pulang Lupa Monument Getting Ready for the Annual Commemoration of the Battle of September 13, 1900

The following is a reprint from the article by Eli Obligacion from his Marinduque Rising Blog. I believe it is an important event in the history of the Filipino- American war that most Filipinos or Americans are not aware of. By reprinting it in my blog I hope more Americans will read about this historic event. The title of the article:
Pulang Lupa: Capt. Shields' letter to his beloved wife
The lives and deeds of their American counterparts, such as that of Capt. Devereux Shields also continue to be chronicled to this day by their descendants and historical researchers. Through Curt Shepard, an American resident in Marinduque who has taken profound interest in our local Marinduque history and the role played by our beloved province during the two-phases of the Philippine Revolution, we have been able to have access to and privileged to have a glimpse of the American experience then through letters and documents now faded with time.

The following letter was sent by Capt. Devereux Shields' granddaughter, Julia to Mr. Shepard on August 24, 2010. It was originally enclosed in a postmarked, stamped envelope and addressed to: Mrs. Devereux Shields, No. 617 N. Union Street, Natchez, Mississippi, U.S.A. The return address was Devereux Shields, Capt 29th Inf. U.S.V., Manila P.I. Across the top is written - Soldier's letter. Also enclosed was a pressed 4-leaf clover in a carefully folded holder.

"1st Reserve Hospital
Manila P.I. Oct 15th 1900

"My darling beloved precious wife,

I just got out of my captivity yesterday afternoon and was taken on board the U.S.S. Bennington at Buena Vista, Marinduque Island. I am perfectly well my darling & will cable you to that effect in the morning. I am in the agony of dispense in regard to you, oh my beloved, my life, if God has only spared you to me. I have prayed all day & night every hour that it would not make you suffer too much or injure your health.

"I was ambushed some 12 miles from Santa Cruz at 5:30 am on Sept 13 by the insurgent, it was in the mountains and they had 225 rifles and 2000 Bolo men. I had only 52 men, at 6am I was wounded in the left shoulder and after 8 hours hard & dreadful fighting, at 2pm, I received another wound through my neck which passed through and out of my mouth breaking the right jaw bone and tearing out five teeth, it disabled me entirely & I thought all was up with me for a while, I lay in the rice field bleeding & having lost about 3 quarts of blood from my other wound & my left arm useless I could only wait for them to take me. I gave orders to my company to move on & cut their way out but a short distance from me they were completely surrounded & having but little ammunition left, surrendered to 2500 of the enemy.

"I cannot write you of the dreadful suffering & hardships I have undergone during the month they have had me. I am perfectly safe now but cannot write because my neck is still so stiff & my left arm still pains me very much. The transport leaves in the morning & I have gotten Capt. Dowdy & Mrs. Sargent both to write to you. After I got on the Bennington yesterday afternoon Gen. Hare who now commands the forces operating on Marinduque sent me to Manila on the U.S.S. Villalobos, & I got here this evening.

"Would to God I could write more, but I cannot, you will know long before this reaches you that I am well & I hope by the time you get this letter I will be leaving here for home if not before as being wounded they will send me home for a rest. I will write to you a little every day so the next boat will take you many letters.

"Now God bless you & my boy oh I pray God my beloved, my life, my darling precious, my life's only thought & love that you are well, merciful God what will become of me if all this has injured you.

"God bless you my wife. Oh God has been so good in saving my life it must be that he has saved you to me.

"Your devoted beloved husband.
Devereux

"Many tender kisses to you my darling & some to my son. Give my love & kisses to my mother and all those that you & I love.

"Your husband
Devereux"

As regards the Devereux Shields persona, the following is an edited version of Capt. Shields' obituary that appeared in the Natchez News, March 26, 1910:

MARTIAL TASTES INHERITED. Captain Shields came of an heroic ancestry. Both his paternal and maternal ancestors had fought their country’s battles on sea and on shore. His father, Lieutenant Commander Wilmer Shields, served for seventeen years in the United States Navy. His grandfather, Richard Watts Ashton, ran away from school at the age of thirteen, impelled to this act by his military instincts. Ashton served during the War of 1812 with distinction and afterward entered West Point where he graduated and served as Lieutenant of Marines for a number of years. His paternal grandfather, Thos. Shields, of the navy, is mentioned in Cooper’ s Naval History for conspicuous gallantry under fire and valuable services rendered his country on the Great Lakes [instead of ‘on the Great Lakes’ should have said ‘in the Battle of New Orleans,] during the War of 1812.

RECEIVES COMMISSION: When the long list of atrocities committed by Spanish governors in Cuba became such as was viewed with disgust by civilized nations and the tragedy of the Maine Precipitated war between Spain and the United States, Colonel Shields immediately proffered his services to the government and was given a commission of Lieutenant Colonel in the Second Mississippi United States Volunteer Regiment. He had no opportunity, however, during the brief struggle which resulted in the overthrow of Spanish dominion in the island of Cuba, of testing in actual warfare the stores of military knowledge, the possession of which had gained for him his commission.

SAILS FOR MANILA: Some months after the conclusion of the Spanish War the United States government issued a call for Volunteers for service in the Philippine Islands, where the noted insurgent Aguinaldo was conducting a species of guerrila warfare, and endangering the lives of Americans and other Caucasian races in the islands. Capt. Shields immediately responded to the call and applied for a commission. Upon the recommendation of many officers of high rank who had been impressed by the profound knowledge of military strategy shown by the young soldier during his encampment at Jacksonville, he was given a commission as captain in the twenty-ninth regiment, U.S.A. He received the commission on the fifth of July 1899, and on the fifth of October his regiment sailed from San Francisco on board the transport Zelandia, arriving in the Philippines just in time to participate in the battle of San Mateo in which Gen. Lawton was killed.

SENT TO MARINDUQUE: On June 1, 1900 he was detailed with his company to take charge of the island of Marinduque, one of the most turbulent of the islands of the Philippine archipelago. Marinduque is a small island 200 miles south of Manila and its inhabitants were noted for the resolution with which they opposed American occupation. On this island he remained up to the time of the engagement in which he was captured in which he received wounds [which made necessary] his return to Natchez.

THE FATAL EXPEDITION: Shortly before noon on the eleventh of September Captain Shields and his men left Santa Cruz, Marinduque, on board the gunboat Villabois, intending to return overland to Santa Cruz. At about three o’clock in the afternoon of the same day the men and their gallant commanding officer reached their destination, Torrijos. Landing without opposition the detachment went into quarters for the night. On the following day Captain Shields made a reconnoitering sortie in a westerly direction and about five miles from Torrijos came upon a rebel garrison. The fire of the Americans forced the enemy to flight, the fleet-footed Filipinos dispersing into the underbrush where it was impossible for the Americans to pursue them. Among the papers left by the fugitive garrison Captain Shields found letters from two prisoners. Nothing better illustrates the noble character of Captain Shields than the incident that followed, for it was in the endeavor to rescue these two prisoners that Captain Shields so nearly lost his life and was captured.

THE AMBUSCADE: The company was ambushed that afternoon. Seemingly from every point of the compass came a hurricane of lead from myriads of unseen enemies. In good order the detachment deployed in a circle and commenced a heroic defense. The enemy proved stubborn, advancing in hosts upon the small but intrepid band of Americans. Hundreds of the raging Filipinos, banishing their weapons with yells of rage, swarmed out of the ambuscade. The hundreds developed into thousands until a conservative estimate of their number placed it at about two thousand five hundred men. Surrounded by merciless foes, out numbered fifty to one, the undaunted Americans, inspired by the fearless conduct of their commander kept their foes at bay for over eight hours, their ammunition supply, small to begin with, running lower and lower.

SHIELDS WOUNDED: Early in the battle Captain Shields received a wound in the shoulder but rallied and bravely urged on his command. Shortly before the ammunition was entirely exhausted he received a terrible wound in the neck which incapacitated him from further participation in the hopeless struggle. The command devolved upon Sergeant Winn who gallantly carried on the futile struggle against overwhelming odds. Captain Shields’ second wound came near to inflicting instant death. The ball entered the back of the neck nearly grazing the spinal column, passed through the throat and mouth knocking out four teeth, and breaking the jaw bone passed out through the cheek. The gallant officer fell partly in a small stream and his life was probably due to this circumstance; the cold water partly resuscitated him, restoring him to consciousness.

WEEKS OF SUFFERING: The capture of Captain Shields and his men was followed by four weeks of suffering such as could only be appreciated by men who have gone through similar experiences. Marched relentlessly over steep cliffs, down valleys, through underbrush and almost impenetrable jungles they were shown no mercy by their barbarous captors. Night and day they were compelled to march, strong and wounded alike, with no food other than the small quantities of rice doled out to them at irregular intervals.

RESCUED: When they were finally rescued by the regiment sent to search for them they were almost dead with fatigue and hunger, so thin and emaciated as hardly to be recognized by their intimate friends. The sufferings of the wounded during captivity would have been unendurable but for the devoted and unintermitting attentions of the hospital corps man who formed a member of the attachment and whose devotion to Captain Shields during his long weakness is one of the brightest incidents of the Philippine War.

HIS RECEPTION: The reception given Captain Shields upon his return to Natchez was the greatest ever tendered a man by this city. The citizens of Natchez, in a body, assembled in the Temple Opera House and about its doors awaiting to welcome the returning hero and to congratulate him upon his return to life and health".

ReLiving the Battle of Pulang Lupa

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Today is National Grand Parents Day in US-September 12


I believe not to many Americans knew that the First Sunday after Labor Day is Grand Parents Day. Even my own six grand children are probably not aware of it. One of reasons why it is not as popular as Mothers or Fathers Day is connected to commercialism. Not too many people will buy gifts for their grandparents. Perhaps, they have no money and are till very young. The only way for your young grandchildren to know that today is Grandparents day is for your own children to tell their children about this day. As a grand parent, I am not expecting gifts, but a telephone call will be nice and appreciated. But If I do not received any phone calls or e-mail today, I will not be surprised.

Here's a short history of Grand Parents Day here in US from Wikipedia.

Marian McQuade of Oak Hill, West Virginia, has been recognized nationally by the United States Senate – in particular by Senators Jennings Randolph; and Robert Byrd – and by President Jimmy Carter, as the founder of National Grandparents Day. McQuade made it her goal to educate the youth in the community about the important contributions seniors have made throughout history. She also urged the youth to "adopt" a grandparent, not just for one day a year, but rather for a lifetime.

In 1973, Senator Jennings Randolph introduced a resolution to the Senate to make Grandparents Day a national holiday. West Virginia's Governor Arch Moore had proclaimed an annual Grandparents Day for the state, at the urging of of Marian McQuade. When Senator Randolph's resolution in the U.S. Senate died in committee, Marian McQuade organized supporters and began contacting governors, senators, and congressmen in all fifty states. She urged each state to proclaim their own Grandparents Day. Within three years, she had received Grandparents Day proclamations from forty-three states. She sent copies of the proclamations to Senator Randolph.

In February, 1977, Senator Randolph, with the concurrence of many other senators, introduced a Joint Resolution to the Senate requesting the President to "issue annually a proclamation designating the first Sunday of September after Labor Day of each year as 'National Grandparents Day'." Congress passed the legislation proclaiming the first Sunday after Labor Day as National Grandparents Day and, on August 3, 1978, then-President Jimmy Carter signed the proclamation. The statute cites the day's purpose as: "...to honor grandparents, to give grandparents an opportunity to show love for their children's children, and to help children become aware of strength, information, and guidance older people can offer".

Some people claim the origin of the holiday resides with the efforts of Hermine Beckett Hanna of North Syracuse, New York, recognizing seniors and their importance as early as 1961. On February 21, 1990, New York Congressman James T. Walsh recognized the efforts of Hermine Beckett Hanna in front of the U.S. House of Representatives, thanking her "for her important role in the establishment of Grandparents Day".

So to all Grand Children of the US, if you are old enough to call, Please Give your Grandparents a Call today. If you are lazy to call, I know you rather TEXT,correct?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Remembering Septemper 11, Nine Years Ago

The Burning Twin Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City

Do you remember what were you doing on September 11, nine years ago? Today is the nine years anniversary of the most heinous and perverted crime in 21st century in the US- The terrorist bombing of the World Trade Center In New York and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.

Exactly nine years ago, I was still working for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). I remember clearly what I was doing and how I felt afterward that day. Depressed and frustrated that I can not do much of what happened that historic day.

That morning in September 11, 2001, The Office of New Drug Chemistry, Center of New Drugs had a joint meeting with representatives of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (PHARMA) at the Hilton Hotel in Gaithersburg, MD. At about 9:20AM, we received an announcement that the meeting is canceled and we can go home, since the World Trade Center in New York was burning. All of the attendees went to the hotel lobby and the TV was announcing the news. I felt sick, depressed but helpless to see the burning WTC building((see photo above). Later, I learned that the Pentagon in Washington DC was also bombed and another plane crashed in the field somewhere in Southern Pennsylvania. Later I also found out that this United Airline plane was intended for the White House. Had it not been for the courageous heroics of several passengers, the White House would have suffered the same fate as the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

The most heinous crime of the century produced thousands of burnt victims. Two drugs in my Division, Sulfamylon and Silvadene, approved for the treatment of burns were out of supply.

A chemistry manufacturing supplement has to be approved to manufacture more of these ointments in a new facility. This required a review by the chemist, an inspection of the facility by a field inspector, my approval as the chemistry team leader plus the paper work by the project manager. The drugs are needed immediately, so we have to do an expedited review of the manufacturing supplement. It took us only 12 hours to approve the new facility and the review of the chemistry, manufacturing and control submission. This review normally will take at least one month to three months depending on the availability of the field inspector and the schedule of the review chemist.

In December, 2001, the four members of my review team received a special cash award and recognition award from FDA management for our work on expediting review of two drugs, Sulfamylon and Silvadene.. Of my more than a dozen awards I had, this one was the most appreciated. I felt that I have done my job as a public servant and had helped the victims of the terrorist attack in a timely manner.

The photo above was the first picture I saw on television the morning of September 11, 2001. I will never forget that day as long as I live.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Charice Covers Lady Gaga in "Poker Face"


Besides Lady Gaga, my other favorite singer is Charice Pempengco. In this video, she tries to imitate Lady Gaga(Accapella). She did a good job mimicking Lady Gaga even without a musical instrument as background.
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In case you have not heard about Charice (no TV in your House) here is a write up about her sudden rise to fame from Wikipedia.

"Charmaine Clarice Relucio Pempengco (born May 10, 1992), better known as Charice, is a Filipina singer and actress who rose to popularity through YouTube. Dubbed by Oprah Winfrey as the Most Talented Girl in the World, she is the first Asian artist in history to land in the Top 10 of the Billboard 200 album chart.

Pempengco was born in San Pedro, Laguna, Philippines. Raised by a single mother, she helped support the family by joining amateur singing contests at age seven, from town fiestas in various provinces to singing competitions on TV. She is said to have joined almost a hundred singing contests.

In 2005, Pempengco joined Little Big Star, a talent show in the Philippines loosely patterned after American Idol. Eliminated after her first performance, she was later called back as a wild card contender and eventually became a finalist. Although she was a consistent top scorer in the final rounds, she only finished in third place based on text voting.

Pempengco made minor appearances on local television shows and commercials, but essentially had fallen off the radar after her stint at Little Big Star. It was not until 2007 that she gained worldwide recognition after an avid supporter started posting a series of her performance videos on YouTube under the username FalseVoice. These videos received millions of hits making Pempengco an internet phenomenon.

In June 2007, Ten Songs/Productions, a music publishing company in Sweden, invited Pempengco to a demo-recording after producers saw her Little Big Star videos. She recorded seven songs - six covers and an original song entitled "Amazing".

For being one of the finalists of Little Big Star, she was invited to the South Korean talent show Star King. On its October 13, 2007 edition, she sang "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" and a duet with Kyuhyun, from Super Junior.

After watching her Star King performance on YouTube, Ellen DeGeneres extended an on-air invitation to Pempengco to guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. She flew to the United States for the first time and performed two songs on the December 19, 2007 episode of the show - "I Will Always Love You" and "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going".

Following her American debut on Ellen, she made a second appearance on Star King as the "Most Requested Foreign Act" of the show. On its December 28 edition, she performed Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive" and sang a duet with singer Lena Park.

In January 2008, she was invited to the Malacañang Palace where she performed for Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. She returned to the international scene when she guested on the April 8 episode of The Paul O'Grady Show in London, England.

Her self-titled Philippine debut album Charice was released in May 2008. The mini album, consisting of six songs and six backing tracks, was awarded gold certification in the Philippines in October 2008. The album eventually achieved platinum status in 2009.

Pempengco appeared on the May 12 edition of The Oprah Winfrey Show in an episode entitled the "World's Smartest Kids", where she performed Whitney Houston's I Have Nothing. After the show, Oprah Winfrey contacted David Foster to see what the legendary music producer could do for Pempengco. She performed with Foster for the first time as one of the entertainers on the May 17 opening of the MGM Grand at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Ledyard, Connecticut.

She made her debut on the international concert stage in Foster's May 23 tribute concert, Hitman: David Foster and Friends, at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. She performed a medley of songs from The Bodyguard as well as her standard, "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going". A CD/DVD of the concert, including Pempengco's The Bodyguard medley, was released on November 11, 2008. The show was aired several times on PBS and other public television networks starting in December 2008 under the Great Performances banner.

One of the singers at the concert was Pempengco's idol, Andrea Bocelli. Bocelli subsequently expressed interest in performing a duet with her and personally invited her to be a guest on his birthday concert "The Cinema Tribute" held on July 20 at the Teatro del Silenzio in his hometown of Lajatico, Tuscany, Italy. Aside from her solo performance, she sang a duet of "The Prayer" with the famous tenor in front of more than 8,000 people.

She was invited to perform for the Feyenoord's Centennial Anniversary in the Netherlands held on September 26. Before a crowd of about 50,000 football (soccer) fans, she sang the team's anthem, "You'll Never Walk Alone."

When she guested on the "Dreams Come True" episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show on September 9, Oprah referred to her as "The Most Talented Girl in the World." She sang Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On" with David Foster on piano, after which Oprah surprised her with an appearance by Celine Dion via satellite, who invited her to sing a special duet at New York City's Madison Square Garden as part of Dion's Taking Chances Tour.

She performed her promised duet with Celine Dion on September 15. They sang "Because You Loved Me," dedicated to Pempengco's mother. The performance received rave reviews in The New York Post and The New York Times. The duet was eventually featured on the September 19 episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show. She would then perform at the Andre Agassi Grand Slam for Children Benefit Concert at the Wynn Las Vegas casino resort.

In November, she and David Foster guested on Good Morning America to promote Foster's tribute album, Hitman: David Foster and Friends. She performed The Bodyguard medley and "I Will Survive."

In January 2009, Pempengco performed at two US presidential pre-inaugural events in Washington, D.C., namely the Martin Luther King Jr "Realizing The Dream" gala at the Hyatt Regency Hotel and at the "Pearl Presidential Inaugural Gala" at the Mandarin Hotel.In February, she performed at two post-Oscar award events: Oscar Night at Mr. Chow's and Oprah's Oscar After Party held in Kodak Theatre. She debuted a new original song entitled "Fingerprint" composed by Robbie Nevil and produced by David Foster.

In April, she appeared in the season premiere of Ti lascio una canzone, an Italian musical variety show televised from Teatro Ariston in the city of Sanremo. She performed "I Will Always Love You", "I Have Nothing", "The Prayer", and "Listen". Later that same month, she would go on to sing "The Star-Spangled Banner" in front of 57,000 baseball fans during the Los Angeles Dodgers 52nd season home opener at Dodger Stadium.

In May, she released her Philippine second album entitled My Inspiration. The album consisted of 12 tracks, including "Always You" and a cover of Helen Reddy's "You and Me Against the World" performed as a duet with her mother. The album was certified gold in the Philippines within two months after release, and then platinum in December 2009. Also in May, she would again perform at a David Foster and Friends concert held at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.

On the May 18 episode "Finale: Oprah's Search for the World's Most Talented Kids" of The Oprah Winfrey Show, she debuted her first internationally released single "Note to God", written by Diane Warren and produced by David Foster. The single was made available for digital download on the same day and debuted at #24 on Billboard's Hot Digital Songs chart, #44 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart, #9 on the Hot Canadian Digital Singles chart and #35 on the Canadian Hot 100 chart. Later that same month, she was again invited to sing at the Ti lascio una canzone show as a special guest.

She staged her first major concert called: Charice: The Journey Begins on June 27 at the SMX Convention Center, SM Mall of Asia, Philippines to a sold-out crowd. Her guests included Christian Bautista, Kuh Ledesma and Little Big Star finalists.

Pempengco contributed to two Christmas albums in 2009. The first as David Archuleta's duet partner for the song "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" in his Christmas album entitled Christmas from the Heart. The second is a compilation Christmas album entitled A Very Special Christmas Volume 7 in which she contributed her own rendition of "The Christmas Song". She was one of the headlining acts in the David Foster and Friends 10-City North American Tour that ran during the fall of 2009.

She made a cameo appearance in her first feature film, Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, released in North America on December 23. She is also part of the official movie soundtrack with her rendition of "No One" by Alicia Keys accompanied by The Chipettes. Later in the month, she appeared on Singapore Idol's grand finale episode as a guest performer, where she performed two of her signature songs, The Bodyguard medley and "Note to God".

On January 23, 2010, she appeared on Io Canto, a popular children's singing competition in Italy. She performed her standards plus an Italian favorite entitled "Adagio", made popular by Lara Fabian. On January 31, she was one of the featured musical acts on a NBC Sports taped coverage of Silk Soy Milk Skate for the Heart, a show designed to raise awareness of heart disease. She performed "Note to God" and debuted two new songs included in her debut album, "In This Song" and "Breathe Out" (later retitled as "Breathe You Out").

The album version and club remixes of her second single, "Pyramid" (featuring Iyaz), from her international debut album were released on February 23, 2010 and March 2, 2010. The Pyramid Remixes EP debuted at #46 on the Billboard Dance/Club play songs charts and quickly soared to #1 spot.

Her self-titled international debut album with Reprise Records was released on May 11, 2010. On its first week, the album reached #8 on the Billboard 200 Album Chart, making her the first Asian to enter the Top 10. On the same day as part of her album launching, she again made a guest appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show along with another YouTube-discovered singer Justin Bieber.

On June 22, Pempengco herself confirmed that she will join the cast of the hit US television series Glee on its second season. As a recurring character, she will reportedly play a foreign exchange student from the Philippines with astounding vocals who will present serious competition against lead character Rachel Berry (played by Lea Michele).

She released her second single entitled "Crescent Moon" in Japan on June 23. The single is an English rendition of the Japanese song "Mikazuki" by Ayaka".

She is another Filipina, we can be proud of. Congratulations Charice on your achievements. I could see a bright future for you!

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