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!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Photo Trip Down Memery Lane, 1982-1986

Ati-Atihan Dinner Dance, Richmond, California, 1982

Science Frontier Stamps, From the Pittsburgh Conference of Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1982

Rene and Genny Nieva Family Christmas Card, 1982

Me and Ditas. elected as the Pinole Valley High School Queen and the Richmond Unified District, 1982

Miko, our first Chow Chow Pet, 1983

Myrla (Nen) Katague Hilaga Family, Iloilo,PI,1983

Mama Pacing and Me, Iloilo, Philippines,1984

Macrine, Me and Baby Marla Nieva, oldest daughter of Yong and Debbie, San Bruno, California, 1985

Dinah's Wedding, San Pablo, CA, 1986

My Transfer of Knowledge through Expatriate Nationals( TOKTEN) Research and Lecture Grant Trip to UP in 1986 sponsored by the United Nations Development Program. TOKTEN is now known as the Balik-Scientist Program.

Stairs to the top Floor of Our First 2-story house in Pinole, California. We have purchased seven houses here in the US since 1969 to the present. All of them are ranch types ( one floor with and without basement) except for the one in the above photograph.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Thinking of Refinancing Your Home?

Thinking of Refinancing Your Home? You may be able to save some money!

Today's mortgage rates are very low varying from 2.75% to 4.5 % depending on the mortgage length of time(15, 20 or 30 years) or whether it is a fixed or adjustable mortgage loan. So if your mortgage today is 5% or higher, you may able to save some money , reduced your monthly payment or get some cash back on the equity of your home. But before you decide to refinance, do your homework first. Talk to at least four mortgage lenders and at least three major banks and compare. In my case I did my home work 4 weeks ago and today I have decided to apply officially from a major bank where I also have my checking account. I did also talked to another major bank where I have my money market account. In addition, I talked to another major bank where I also have a savings account.

I have also talked to five mortgage lenders and they are very persuasive. Hold on your ground until you finished your homework.

My first action was to talk to my current mortgage servicing lender. The best offer they can give me for a 20 years conventional fixed loan was 4.5% with zero closing cost or 3.99% with about $3,200 closing cost. I bargained for 4.0% with zero closing cost and they said no deal. So I started talking to the other lenders.

My next action was to talk to the biggest mortgage lender advertising its rates in TV. They are offering me a similar deal, but I did not like the mortgage specialist demeanor while we were talking. The mortgage lender is offering me 3.75% with about $4000 closing costs.

I then talked to three other major banks where I have my checking, money market and saving accounts.

Today I decided to go for a 20 year fixed loan at 4.125% with zero closing cost and only a flat fee of $150. With my application I have to pay ahead the cost of appraisal and credit report of $465 which will be refunded at closing. I could have chosen a much lower rate of 3.75% but I will to pay a closing cost of $4,600.

My application was painless and done via telephone, on-line and e-mail ( sending documents). To lock the interest rate, I have to send today, a copy of my home insurance, copy of my sources of incomes, a copy of my recent credit report, a copy of statement of my savings and money market accounts, and a bill from my current mortgage lender. Since I am retired and my primary sources of income are from my SS and pensions funds, I did sent a copy of my 1099 and 1099R to the mortgage specialist who will be handling my loan.

Since my income was not as high compared to when I was still working, I asked the mortgage specialist handling my application if I will have a problem qualifying for the refinancing loan. He said to qualify your income/debt ratio should not be greater than 49%. In my case, he said my income debt ratio is 39% and he predicts I will have no problem qualifying. The closing date of my application is scheduled for August 20. Assuming that my loan will be approved, I will be saving about $160 a month based on my current mortgage payment and the new loan. Closing Ceremonies will be done here at home by a local representative of the bank. I am looking forward to August 20th.

Applying for a refinancing loan on-line is not that time-consuming if you do your homework. Do not deal with mortgage lenders who have history of numerous complaints from consumers. You can checked the complaints as well as testimonials on line for almost all of the mortgage lenders and banks. Happy Refinancing and Save Money!

One last point: Be sure your new loan has also a no penalty provision for pre-payment.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Photo Trip Down Memory Lane, 1981

Macrine trip to Corregidor Island, Philippines, 1981

The Malinta Tunnel, Corregidor Historic and National Park, Philippines, 1981

Macrine Trip to Benguet and the Mountain Province and Ifugao Rice Terraces, 1981

Macrine Trip to Mt Mayon Volcano, Albay

Macrine Trip to Pagsangan Falls, Laguna, 1981

Macrine Trip to Bacolod City, Negros Occidental with Mama Pacing, my youngest brother Ruben and his first wife Flocy, 1981.

Citas Reyes(childhood friend and second cousin of Macrine) and Macrine enjoying the Evening of Fun ( Dinner and Entertainment) at the Manila Hotel, Philippines, 1981

Macrine in her nurse uniform excited in working as a nurse after raising four kids and staying at home as a full time MOM for 20 years.

Stauffer Chemical Company, my employer from 1970 to 1984 using my picture for it ads and advertising campaign to sell agricultural chemicals in US and abroad.

Dodie's Tour to Europe, Summer of 1981

My other picture working in the Laboratory used also by Stauffer Chemical Company for its advertising campaign to sell agricultural products all over the world.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

My Mortgage Problem Solved by Talking to a Supervisor


Last May, after 11 years with Citi-Mortgage as my mortgage lender, I received a letter that my new lender and servicing agent to my home mortgage is now Greentree (GTS). I was told I will receive a letter from GTS. In the meantime, since I am paying my mortgage via automatic deduction from my Bank Of America (BA) account, I had to remove Citi-mortgage and changed it to Greentree Servicing by the end of the month.

Three weeks ago, I received a call from my new mortgage lender, Greentree Servicing that I was 10 days overdue on my payment and charging me interest. I was shocked and surprised because my payment are all set for automatic payment via Bill Pay in my Bank of America account (BA). Moreover, the day before, I checked on line my B of A statement and two payments were deducted from my account on May 30 and June 2, 2014 actually a double pay(a 13th month payment)and addressed to GTS.

I immediately call the 800 number of Greentree. After 3 minutes of recorded messages, I was able to talk to a live person. I explained my problem and a representative of GTS suggested I talk to BA, so they can send the documentation that they have sent the two auto payments to GTS on my account.

I went to our local B of A branch. After waiting for 30 minutes, I was informed they can not help me but give me the 800 number of the B of A on-line services. I called the 800 number and after two wrong extensions, I was finally able to talk to a live person in the name of Jonathan. Jonathan was very helpful. He said he will faxed the required documents of my two payments to GTS and in 5 to 8 working days, I should checked GTS.

In the meantime, I have received two auto calls and a letter from GTS that I am overdue and should settle my account. After 8 days, I called GTS and they said they have not received the fax from BA. I got the fax number of GTS.

I was upset so I called BA ( Bill Pay) again and I talked to a representative named Ita. She was helpful and while I was waiting in the phone she fax the document that I have paid and I did not hang up the phone, until she received confirmation that the fax went through. She said to wait for another 5 to 8 working days and call GTS. I learned from Ita that my payment was credited to a wrong account number instead of my new account number. I requested for the account number where my payments were sent.

After 8 working days ( this was already mid June), I called GTS. My account is still overdue and interest added. GTS had not received the two faxes. I got so upset and angry I demanded to talk to a Supervisor.

I talked to Jessica Smith. She understood the problem and asked me If I know the account number where my payment was sent. Luckily I had this information from BA. She said since this account is an active account, she will write a memo requesting that the two payments of May 30 and June 6 be credited to my account without waiting for another fax #3 from B of A and the overdue interest removed from my account. She said wait for 4 working days and checked GTS.

Yesterday was the 4 working days after I talked to Jessica. I called GTS 800 number and low and behold my account is now in order and I am one month ahead of my payments.( my May 30 and June 6 double pay accounted for). The computer says, My next payment is due August 6. Since I have another payment set automatically for July 1, I am one month ahead and hopefully will never hear again from GTS that my account is again overdue.

I called Jessica's direct number, but she is out of the Office. So I left a message thanking her. Lessons learned from this experience. Talk to a Supervisor. The person answering the 800 number has no authority to solve minor problems. They may be able to direct you to talk to the right department, but otherwise they are useless. The information they can give you is the same one that is in the company's computer. Only a supervisor can do some action as what Jessica did in my case. Again thank you Jessica for a job well done.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Photo Trip Down Memory Lane, 1977-1980

A souvenir photo after attending the silver wedding anniversary of Albert & Myrna Sotto of Catonsville, MD, 1977

Cruise to the Bahamas After the American Chemical Society Meeting in Miami, Florida, 1977

During the American Chemical Society(ACS) Meeting in New Orleans, LA 1977

Macrine enjoying the New Orleans Tour during the ACS Meeting, 1977


The 4's D's( Dodie, Dinah. David III and Ditas) school honors and awards, 1977

Macrine Graduating for her AA in Nursing from Contra Costa College, Richmond, CA, 1979

Hawaiian Vacation at Kona Villge, Big Island of Hawaii, 1979

Getting Ready to play tennis in front of our cottage by the Sea

Just relaxing after playing a good game of tennis
and a hearty breakfast

Macrine tennis outfit

Treated to a Luau and crowned with flowers

Me and two guests were properly attired for the the Evening Feast with Entertainment, Kona Village, Hawaii,

Getting ready for the Tour Around the Island

Dodie, UC Berkeley BS in Geography Graduation, 1980

At our 3256 Ramona Street Residence, Pinole, 1980

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Autobiography Update: Chapter 22-Life After Retirement, Part 5

This is a new chapter in my autobiography update. It consists of two articles, I wrote previously on my blogs. The first article is the confirmation of my wife's mild stroke and carotid stenosis. The second one is some of my personal experiences as the primary care giver, trying to cope with living with a PD patient.

A: Confirmation of a Mild Stroke


Last month our doctor informed us that my wife may have had a mini stroke just recently that we were not aware of. We thought that her symptoms of weakening in her legs and a slight stutter and a slight loss of memory was due to her Parkinson Disease diagnoses about 6 months ago. Our neurologist ordered an ultrasound of her neck first (#1 test). The results showed plaque formation on her right carotid artery. So my wife has indeed carotid artery disease. However, the extent of the blockage is not clearly shown by the ultrasound. So three other instrumental diagnostic tests were ordered besides the first test to confirm and show how extensive is the blockage. The following test were done to my wife during the last four weeks.

1.Medical sonography (ultrasonography) is an ultrasound-based diagnostic medical imaging technique used to visualize muscles, tendons, and many internal organs, to capture their size, structure and any pathological lesions with real time tomographic images. Ultrasound has been used by radiologists and sonographers to image the human body for at least 50 years and has become a widely used diagnostic tool. The technology is relatively inexpensive and portable, especially when compared with other techniques, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT)

2.CT scanning of the head is typically used to detect infarction, tumors, calcifications, haemorrhage and bone trauma. Of the above, hypodense (dark) structures can indicate edema and infarction, hyperdense (bright) structures indicate calcifications and haemorrhage and bone trauma can be seen as disjunction in bone windows. Tumors can be detected by the swelling and anatomical distortion they cause, or by surrounding edema.
3.Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) generates pictures of the arteries to evaluate them for stenosis (abnormal narrowing) or aneurysms (vessel wall dilatations, at risk of rupture). MRA is often used to evaluate the arteries of the neck and brain, the thoracic and abdominal aorta, the renal arteries, and the legs (called a "run-off").

4.Echocardiogram, often referred to cardiac echo or simply an echo is a sonogram of the heart. (It is not abbreviated as ECG, which in medicine usually refers to an electrocardiogram.) Echocardiography uses standard two-dimensional, three-dimensional, and Doppler ultrasound to create images of the heart. Echocardiography has become routinely used in the diagnosis, management, and follow-up of patients with any suspected or known heart diseases. It is one of the most widely used diagnostic tests in cardiology. It can provide a wealth of helpful information, including the size and shape of the heart (internal chamber quantification), pumping capacity, and the location and extent of any tissue damage. .

The above four test are all non-invasive tests. There is another test slightly invasive that will confirm the extent of the blockage as follows:

Cerebral angiography (carotid angiogram). This procedure is considered the gold standard for imaging the carotid arteries. It is an invasive procedure that lets a doctor see blood flow through the carotid arteries in real time. Cerebral angiography allows the doctor to see narrowing or blockages on a live X-ray screen as contrast dye is injected in the carotid arteries. This procedure provides the best information. It does carry a small risk of serious complications.

As of this writing date, we have not decided what surgical or medical treatment will be done. We have an appointment to see a vascular surgeon next week. Please pray for my wife's health. The following three web sites are excellent references if you need additional and detailed information on carotid artery disease.

References:
http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/carotid-artery-disease-causes-symptoms-tests-and-treatment
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2665982/
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/carotid-artery-disease/DS01030/DSECTION=treatments-and-drugs

Note: Last December 2013. my wife had carotid endarectomy surgery. She is doing well after surgery. Her final check to verify if the plaque on her carotid had not recur will be next month. I am hoping for the best.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
B.Tribulations and Pains of a Primary Care Giver

Last year my wife of 57 years was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. She is taking two medications that control her tremors. However, the two medications had several side effects such as constipation, nausea, itching, hypersensitive to sound and minor events in her daily living.

Her constipation and itching are alleviated by drugs and diet. Nausea is prevented by herbal drugs as ginger tea. However her hypersensitivity to sound and excessive concern for minor events in her life often frustrates me. I have to be patient and kept my cool most of the time. However today here in Amoingon, an event occurred that made me raised my voice in frustrations. But before I discussed this event , let me described our life here in Marinduque versus our daily life in Northern California, USA.

In the US I am the primary care giver with some minor help from my youngest son who also live with us. My son works full time and he can only help during his days off. My wife needs constant attention to prevent fatal falls because of her unbalanced gait, and walk. Last year she fell five times. Luckily her falls were not serious and I was there to help her.

Here in Marinduque we hired two temporary help until the first week of May-our scheduled return to the US. This is a much needed relief of my duties as the primary care giver. However at night I am always ready to assist her going to the bathroom and her other personal needs when our live-in help is asleep in the next bedroom.

The other day an incident occurred that made my wife very upset with concern. One of the gardeners doing yard work cut his hand while cutting a young coconut to drink the coco water. We immediately washed it with water and alcohol and applied bandage to the wound. The next day he did not report for work and my wife was so concern for the welfare of our gardener. She wanted me to drive him to the local hospital for a tetanus injection right away while we are still having breakfast. I told her to wait for our driver who was doing some errands and let him drive the gardener to the hospital for his injections.

I told my wife today I am waiting for a call from the US regarding the prospect of renting the beach house for Holy Week this year thus I can not leave the house. She murmured that I am more concern of the call from the US than saving the life of our gardener from a tetanus infection. When I heard this I blow my cool and raised my voice in frustration. I felt MY BLOOD PRESSURE went up. I have to go to my computer for relief and to calm down from my anger and frustration. Again, thank you DSL and my Internet Connection!

Again, Please Lord let me maintain my cool at all times especially when irrational behavior occurs with your love ones that is suffering from neurological disorder such as PD and AZD.

Monday, June 23, 2014

1971-1976: Photo Trip Down Memory Lane

Modesto Citizenship Party, 1972

Macrine and I showing off our Philippine Folk Dancing abilities with the Pandango Sa Ilaw( Dance of the Lights), Modesto, CA 1971.

Some of our Modesto, CA activities in the news, 1971

Bridge Night at SOS, our weekly activity, 1971

Macrine and I participating during the International Follies dancing the pandango Sa Ilaw,1971

The Katague Family enjoying a Flower Show featuring Camelias of the Central Valley of California, 1972

Macrine and Stan Ackers( coemployee at Shell and neighbor) sang a duet, Indian Love Call-a popular Broadway music by Sigmund Romberg, 1971

Visit to Fr Constantino Nieva ( Macrine's Uncle) in New York, 1971

Grand Tern Ball, Macrine with first Cousin Puchi Carrion, 1974

Visit with Jess Santos (a central valley Fil-American painter/caricaturist)Family in Ceres, California, 1974

Efren and Lourdes Katague Wedding, 1976

Erico and Helen Katague Wedding, 1976

Visit with youngest sister Amor( Knitz) Gregorio, Jaro, Iloilo, 1976

Knitz and Pol Wedding, 1976





Katague Brothers and Sisters with Mama Pacing, 1976

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