Welcome to Marinduque-My Island Paradise

If this is your first time in my site, welcome! If you have been a follower, my heartfelt thanks to you, also. Help me achieve my dream, that someday, Marinduque will become a world tourist destination not only on Easter Week, but also whole year round. You can do this by telling your friends and relatives about this site. The photo above is Mt Malindig in Torrijos.
Please do not forget to read the latest national and international news in this blog . Some of the photos and videos on this site, I do not own. However, I have no intention on the infringement of your copyrights. Cheers!

Marinduque Mainland from Tres Reyes Islands

Marinduque Mainland from Tres Reyes Islands
View of Mainland Marinduque from Tres Reyes Islands-Click on Photo to link to Marinduque Awaits You

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Christmas Story-The Ugly Americans

Is it too early to talk about Christmas? Tomorrow is Halloween, but the nights are getting colder here in Fair Oaks. The trees on my yard are starting to turn dark yellow, orange, red and gold and have started dropping on my swimming pool. With Fall season in full swing, I can not help myself thinking about Christmas. I can not think of any article in the past that I have written, that is more appropriate than this article I wrote for our employees newspaper at Stauffer Chemicals, Richmond, California in 1983. I titled it : A Gift from the Ugly Americans-A true story. Here's the full article as published in the Stauffer News, Christmas Edition, Vol.14, 1983, page 11.

December, 1959. It was my first year as a graduate student at the University of Illinois, Chicago. As a foreign student from the Philippines, away from home, wife and family, I was lonely, homesick and almost ready to quit school. However, my burning ambition to get a Ph.D. in Chemistry and not to be labeled a quitter, forced me hang on for a whole year.

All my co-graduate student assistants realized how much I missed my newly wedded wife, and they had been inviting me to their homes on weekend and holidays. I wrote to my wife almost every week, but how I wished I could afford to talk to her via overseas call, even just for 10 minutes. But my stipend as a graduate assistant of $190 a month was barely enough to pay for my room and board and an overseas call was beyond my means.

Realizing my need, ten of my classmates arranged to pay for a call as a surprise Christmas gift to me. They organized a potluck party in one of the assistant's apartments and called the Philippine operator ahead to arrange for an open line to my wife. In the middle of the party, I was told I had a telephone call. What a big surprise to hear my wife's voice after one year of separation. I was dumbfounded.

I stuttered like a three year old kid as tears streamed down my face-tears of happiness and appreciation of what the group had done- the best Christmas present I have ever received. I will never forget that act of kindness and thoughtfulness from people I once called the "Ugly Americans". With that surprise gift, my preconceived ideas that most Americans were clones of Lederer and Burdick's characters went down the drain. Gone were my impressions that Americans were imperialists or colonial pigs, selfish and heartless people.

Today, we have lived in this country for 24 years, and pledged citizenship in 1970. From the beginning of our time here, we have made it a family tradition to invite foreign students into our home every Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. This is our way of saying "thank you", to the ten "Beautiful Americans" who gave $2.00 each to pay for the telephone call so that a poor and homesick student could enjoy the spirit of Christmas.

Note: William Roberts, Manager Employee Communications of Stauffer wrote me a personal note as follows:

Dr. Katague: Your story has been chosen to be published in the 1983 issue of the Stauffer News. It gives me great pleasure to tell you that you will received shortly in the mail a $75 U.S. Savings Bond to thank you for sharing your memories with us.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Amana, an Eco-Friendly Project in Cawit, Boac

Recently, Yong Nieva, Macrine's first cousin inform us of the latest development on an eco-friendly weekend retreat or sanctuary just for his family and friends. He called it Amana, Nature Reserve. The reason why I am posting this, because I believe this is the first of its kind project in the whole province of Marinduque.

Yong writes, " My dream for Amana is not about the unusual. It is simply going back to the basic-the natural. Eco-tourism is now the trend and I hope it will not be just a fad but a lifestyle".

"I have planted hundred of white bougainvillas shrubs and mahogany trees along the side grade of a small hill that overlooks the river. I have the Yoga Hut, which is open sided which is perfect not only for meditation and yoga exercises, but also for taking naps and siestas, or just simply reading a book. Around you, aside from the view of the river down below, are the tall trunks of coconut trees that change color as the day progresses. The best times are the early break of dawn-watching the fading shadows of trees against the rising morning sun, or during sunset-with the purple and orange clouds above the setting sun. Its paradise!!

All day, you can walk around the landscape gardens. You will hear the cacophony of birds' sounds that is rarely heard anymore. Instantly you get transported to a different land. It could be Bali or at some nice compound in Africa. I just sometime shut my eyes to just literally "inhale" the bird songs. The only interruptions I get from this nirvana are the shuffling feet of the grounds keeper on the gravel paths along the ancient trees".

There are two cottages, designed to be eco-friendly, boarded up only by floor-to-ceiling shutters on all three sides. "Rustic-Chic" is the inspiration inside these huts. My wife Ivy is currently doing the interiors. It will be our welcome surprise to our invited guests.

Ivy also designed the two Portals that look majestic majestic on each side of the future site of the OUTDOOR LIVING ROOM, which is an elevated platform that overlooks the whole place. From here, guests go down to dine and lounge around in the AFRESCO DINING PLACE under the canopy of the ancient Ilang-Ilang and Santol trees. This is my Carmel or Napa-inspired outdoor cafe, where we dine with candlelights.

Soon, you will be invited to "camp out" in this weekend sanctuary. Camp out is the word I want to use because in Amana we encourage outdoor living. You only go back to the guest cottage to sleep. Everywhere are lounge chairs, bamboo daybeds and park benches underneath nooks and shades."

Lastly, we will honor it if you wish to keep to yourself alone and just like what I do, just "inhale the ambiance".

Yong and Ivy, Congratulations on your eco-friendly project. Marinduque will be proud of this project and your commitment to improve our environment.

If you have additional questions or comments on this project, let me know and I will relay it to Yong.
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