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

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Marinduque in My Heart-Tribute to Allan Velasco


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

Friday, November 20, 2009

My first Cockfighting Experience in Marinduque


I grew up in the Philippines, until I was 25 years old. But I have never attended a cockfighting tournament. When I was growing up my parents instructed me never to go inside the arena or else I get a beating in the buttocks. However, without my parents knowledge, my friend and I were outside the arena a number of times where there are stalls selling merienda's( Filipino cakes and balot) and other goodies. So outside the arena, I could still remember the noise and commotion inside when the winner is announced in my mind even until today.

It was only two years ago, when we celebrated our Golden wedding anniversary that I attended a cockfighting tournament in Marinduque. This was the first request of my two sons, nephew to be (boy friend of my niece) and son-in-law who all grew up in US. They have heard and read about it, so they were really curious. So the first Sunday of their visit in Marinduque, I took them to my first cockfighting experience. We were accompanied by a local relative who was a cockfighting enthusiast and a semi-addict of this bloody sport and gambling activity in the Philippines.

WOW! What an experience! The crowds were 99.9% male. There were only three women out of about 300 gamblers. My son-in-law and "nephew to be" were the only white-skinned males(gringos) in the crowd. Of course my son-in-law who is 6 feet and 6 inches tall stuck out like a sore thumb with his height and bald head. At first I really did not understand what was going on, as the attendees were all shouting their bets to the bet taker almost at the same time. But I heard the bet taker never makes a mistake. What a memory! There were two sides, MAYRON or WALA. When I was growing up, the two opposing sides were “ SA PULA and SA PUTI”.

MAYRON means you have something and WALA means you have nothing. PULA means red and PUTI means white, indicating the opposite color of the roosters. But sometimes the roosters have the same color, so this was abandoned to the current mayron or wala as the two opposing sides.

Anyway, the noise was so deafening once a winner or a “kill” was declared. It sounded like a thousand males had an orgasmic experience all at the same time. It was so loud, that I had to cover my ears. I enjoyed more watching the antics of the crowd than the actual cockfights except for the moment of kill. After a few of these bouts, I got tired, so I went outside the arena. In the meantime, my guests were betting and enjoying themselves. We stayed for only about an hour since I was getting tired due to the noise, the heat and humidity in the arena. My son won about $10, but my son-in-law lost $15. They had a grand and fantastic time. I did not!

I will never attend a cockfighting tournament again, I just don't like the gambling atmosphere and the smell of the place(amoy pawis). My preference in gambling are the casinos not the cockfighting tournaments. It was however, an experience worthy of posting in this blog. Cockfighting also reminded me of bull fighting in Spain, that I attended about ten years ago. I loved the bull fights, not the cock fights.

Singkil and Tinikling Philippine Folk Dances


The following two dances are the most popular of Philippine folk dances from viewers all over the world. These two dances were performed by the Leyte Dance Theatre group as inspired by the Bayanihan Dancers-famous for their award winning dance performances all over the world for the last decade.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

CNN 's Tribute to the Dancing Prisoners of CPDRC


The inmates of Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilatation Center (CPDRC) became a world wide sensation after their performance of Michael Jackson "Thriller" was posted on the web by Byron Garcia in 2007. The original video has been seen and received five star ratings from over 35 million viewers. The following video is CNN latest tribute to these talented dancers from Cebu, Philippines. You must be living in another world if you have not seen the original video by Byron Garcia. Here's latest update from CNN.

This second video by Byron Garcia is JUMP! Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

An Update on the Diving Sites in Marinduque

Here's the latest update on diving sites in Marinduque. The following video was filmed by the provincial government department of tourism. It is a short video, but shows you do not have to go far to enjoy scuba diving in Marinduque. Baltazar Island is one of the three islands in the group called Tres Reyes Island-a marine sanctuary.
Diving in Baltazar Island
Image from asiadivesite.com
Our province is mostly known worldwide because of the Moriones Festival. However, it has recently been in the news due to interests of divers all over the world to explore the diving sites in the island and in the vicinity. Among the diving sites are:
1.Natanco- north of the island has good walls and drift diving. Corals are abundant. Close by is the wreck of a Japanese torpedo boat
2.Baltazar-west of the Island-one of the Tres Reyes Island Chain- has a cave 20m worth exploring. Stone fish may be a problem.
3.Elephant Island-now known as Bellarocca- private resort with good walls, coral formation and and several varieties of tropical fish. Currents could be strong, but conditions for photography good.
4. Torrijos- canyons and fissures to explore. Can expect to encounter grouper, barracuda, tuna and shoals of tropical fish.
5.Maestro De Campo Island-southwest of Marinduque- a wall on the west side and a wreck of a ferry boat, MV Mactan on the east side
6.Banton Island- farther southwest – amazing corals and an array of fish. Dolphins, sharks and sting rays may be seen. From February to May are the good months for scuba diving
7.Sibuyan Sea- outlying areas to the south and east of Marinduque are fairly unexplored. Puerto Galera, Mindoro is the place to organize this tour if you are adventurous.
Here are two excellent videos, I found in You Tube. Enjoy! Happy Diving

Diving Video from Southern Leyte, Apo Reefs, Sogod Bay, and Puerto Galera

Monday, November 16, 2009

Pacquiao TKOs Cotto, Makes History


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Love and Hate of Life in the Philippines

Photo from anton.blogs.com
Several months ago I wrote two articles as a guest writer for Bob Martins' web magazine “Live in the Philippines. The first article is the ten items that I love about the Philippines from the perspective of a balikbayan retiree living the “snow bird” lifestyle. Snow bird means that if it is winter time in US, my wife and I flew to the Philippines. When it gets super hot and humid in the Philippines we fly back to US. We do this every year. Most of our friends and contemporaries are envious of our lifestyle. But I say, “Eat your Hearts Out”.

Of course there is no perfect place on earth even if I call Marinduque my Heaven on Earth and my Island Paradise, (http://marinduquemyislandparadise.blogspot.com). So I wrote a second article on the ten most annoying things in the Philippines also listed below.

The following are the ten items I like and love about the Philippines. I modified and revised this list from the one published in Bob Martin's web magazine a while ago to reflect current conditions in the Philippines. These ten items are not in order of importance. I also sited my blogs for references on the subject listed.
1.The cheap standard of living: The cost of food and services with the exception of electricity is cheap in the Philippines specially services. For example haircuts, massages , pedicures and manicures is much cheaper in Philippines than in US. A specific example are Mens’ haircut. I pay between 60 to 100 pesos in Marinduque, but here in Northern California, I pay between $12 to $14 for a haircut. For $1500 plus or minus 10% a month, my wife and I live like a Queen and King here in Marinduque. The current exchange rate is about 48 pesos for one dollar as of this writing date. For fast conversion from pesos to dollars or vice versa, use “50” as the factor.
2.The simplicity and peaceful life in the provinces. The locals are easy going and do not hurry for their appointments. There is not much traffic in the provinces and in small towns. (http://marinduqueonmy mind.blogspot.com).
3.The abundance of fresh meat and seafood, vegetables and fresh fruits ( papayas, mangoes and bananas) at a reasonable prices as well as the Filipino delicacies ( lechon, lumpia and pancit) and desserts ( bibingka , leche flan and Halo-Halo).
4.Accessibility to the beaches, mountains, caves , rivers , islets for picnicking, bathing, snorkeling, scuba diving or just relaxing ( I am talking about Marinduque, not the big cities).
5.The social support system is fantastic. The presence of friends and relatives specially during Christmas and Easter seasons is an experience one can not forget. The Philippines celebrates Christmas five months every year starting from September 1 to January 31. (http:/planningtovisitthephilippines.blogspot.com)
6.Availability of all modern amenities, good restaurants, international food , modern health services in Manila, Iloilo, Cebu and other big cities and five stars vacation resorts all over the islands.
7.The dry and cool weather, ocean sea breezes ( at Chateau Du Mer )during the months of November to February. (http://chateaudumer.blogspot.com)
8.The numerous Fiestas and Festivals the whole year round, specially during the months of January and May. (http://lifeinus1960present.blogspot.com).
9.The hospitality of the people and their attitudes toward foreigners and visitors.
10.Historical and Cultural heritage we have as a nation from Spain , such as our old churches, folk dances, Kundiman music, Putong, Kalutang and respect for our elders and freedom of the press and speech and educational opportunities we had from the United States.(http://theintellectualmigrant.blogspot.com).

The ten items I dislike about the Philippines are listed below. This list is modified from what was published in Bob Martin's magazine to reflect current conditions (#4, #6 and #10) in the island.
1.Traffic and Pollution ( in big cities) There is always traffic congestion almost 24 hours a day, especially in big cities. The only time of the day when there is no traffic congestion in Manila and suburbs is between 2 to 4 AM. This is a good time to go to the airport to be in time for your 6AM flight.
2.Jeepney and Bus drivers: They drive like maniacs. They pick up and drop passengers in the middle of the road. Most provincial drivers drive like maniacs. They will overtake private cars on the wrong side of the highway and even on dangerous curves.
3.The long lines in the banks and ATM machines and people cutting-in the lines
4.The noise of crowing cocks and the barking dogs at 4AM or even earlier and loud karaoke music and out-of -tuned and horrible singing of the neighbors
5.When you invite one in your party, he or she brings one or two others, without advising you ahead
6.Filipinos seldom RSVP an invitation or answers their e-mails in a timely manner. Some have Face Books accounts , but seldom or never opens it. ( why open an account if you do not open it at all ?)
7.The heat and humidity during the summer months especially the months of March, April and May
8.The smell of fish and Durian-(probably only in Davao) in the wet markets
9.Littering'/urinating on the streets and on the beaches, parks and other public places
10.Frequent brown outs/ black outs, typhoons and torrential rains in the provinces.
You could probably add more items, but the good things outnumbered the annoying things.DO YOU HAVE ITEMS TO ADD TO THE ABOVE TWO LISTS? PLEASE SHARE!
Again as snowbirds, my wife an I are happy whether we are in the Philippines or United States. We believe that “HOME IS NOT A PLACE, BUT IN THE HEART!”.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Time of the Year for "Autumn Leaves" to Fall


In two weeks time, Macrine and I will be in our beloved province of Marinduque enjoying our winter sojourn. But before we could do that, I need to do a lot of things here in Northern California. First the raking of the leaves, then the cleaning of the gutters, then covering the swimming pool and finally sending balikbayan boxes to the Philippines for Christmas presents to relatives. But for the moment, let me share you the following photo from my backyard and a song appropriate for this time of the year.

As I gaze at my backyard window( see photo above) a few minutes ago, the beauty of the maple trees in my yard with its yellow, orange and light red leaves getting to fall in the next couple of days, reminds me of the song Autumn Leaves. There are several interpretations of this song by several musicians, but this video is one of my favorites. Moreover, the autumn scenery in the video is just mesmerizing. Autumn or Fall is one of my favorite seasons here in Northern California. However, next week when these leaves start to fall, I will certainly spend a number of hours raking these leaves and definitely an aching back after wards. But this is the way of life here in Northern California this time of the year. Enjoy this video.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Culture and Arts Development for Marinduque


I found the following posting from marinduquegov.blogspot.com last year on the development of culture and arts in the province. I hope that NCCA continues it support for this important project in our province. We are the only province with the Putong and Kalutang, and as Marinduquenos we should be proud of it and support the development of arts and culture in our province. By posting this on my site, I hope to revive interest to this topic that should not be tainted with political innuendos and bickering during this coming election, May 2010. Here is the article by E. Obligacion to serve as a reminder of the importance of this project for our province.

MARINDUQUE: PRIORITY AREA FOR CULTURE & ARTS DEVELOPMENT!

"The National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), the highest governing body in the Philippines for culture and the arts has identified the province of Marinduque as a priority area where it hopes to open various avenues in the field of culture and arts development.

In relation to this, an orientation on NCCA programs and a work shop on the development of cultural projects to be participated in by representatives of local people's organizations, non-government organizations, artists and cultural workers is set to be held within May 2008.

Among those that have been identified to attend the workshop are representatives from cultural organizations in Marinduque who are actively working for the preservation, promotion and development of Philippine culture and arts, such as Kalutang Band of Bangbang, Kapatirang Morion ng Marinduque, MISTAH, Marinduque Capitol Choir, Boghai Cultural Group of IFI Gasan, Boac Historical Society, Gasan Historical Society, the morion artisans of Anapog & Sibucao, Torrijos loomweavers, Teatro Balangaw community theater group and others.

The importance of culture and promotion of indigenous arts as part of the provincial government's thrust to promote tourism in the province has been underlined by Gov. Bong Carrion at the assumption of his position as the leader of the province. For the last six months, the strengthening of events such as "Battle of Pulang Lupa" (Sept) commemoration, introduction of new programs like "Sining Kambayoka Outreach Tour" (Nov), the first official celebration of Marinduque's founding anniversary, through the"Araw ng Marinduque" festivities, "Viva Marinduque!" (Philippine Arts Festival 'o8), touring cultural showcase (Feb), "Moriones 2008" and support to municipal tourism programs during lent (March), were largely hailed here by various organizations and LGU's".

I salute all supporters of Arts and Culture in our province. May their tribe increase!
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