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, September 25, 2010

Responsible Mining Encouraged in Marinduque

Responsible Mining in Australia

The following article attracted my attention. This was published in the Manila Standard last week and written by Peter Wallace.. I fully agree with the author that we should support RESPONSIBLE MINING similar to what the mining industry is doing currently in Australia. The article is titled:

The Mining Prospects in the New Administration

For years, and column after column to the point of being boring, I’ve pushed for the development of mining. I’ve been devastated by the level of poverty in the Philippines, and the frankly inhuman way far, far too many have to live. So I’ve never understood why the Philippine Catholic Church is so vehemently and irrationally opposed to it.

Does it want people poor? I’m not aware of anything church officials do to help the poor get jobs in any alternative area. So maybe, in my cynical mind, they do. I certainly hope not and maybe some bishop can enlighten me on the role the church plays in helping the government provide an environment for job creation.

Mining is a principal reason Australia has a GDP per capita of $42,200. Filipinos suffer on $1,860. Mining could not only dramatically bring that up, but do so where it’s most needed—in some of the poorest provinces.

I beg the Church, rethink your stand, think of your parishioners. Take an active stand in supporting mining, but only mining that is done in a responsible manner. Responsible mining that takes care of the environment and the local people. Be a responsible religion that takes care of the welfare of its parishioners.

It can be done. TVI Pacific, which operates gold, silver and copper mines in
Canatuan, Zamboanga del Norte, is a good example of this. I suggest the Bishops visit that mine and see the good it is doing to the local communities and to the national economy. How it is currently, and what its plans are, all ensure that the land is cared for.

I’m glad to see that the Aquino administration recognizes the value mining can bring to the people and the country. Administration officials say they will work toward getting the support of the bishops to promote responsible mining. The bishops agree with small-scale mining because it helps the little folk, but they oppose large-scale mining. Small-scale mining, however, is immensely destructive. Mercury is used to collect the gold and then washed downstream, poisoning the fish that the children eat and get similarly poisoned, resulting in malformed bones, hair and teeth loss and permanent brain damage—is that what the Church wants?

The big boys gave those processes up years ago.

Secretary Ramon Paje has taken it upon himself to convince the bishops. He could succeed if he gets the support of the wider community, particularly from business. Regardless of whether he does or not, he has initiated moves to encourage mining firms to take a second look at a country that has some of the richest resources in the world—it’s in the top five overall on mineral deposits.

Paje has streamlined the approval process with the condition I like, that if approval or denial isn’t made within 40 days of applying for an environmental clearance certificate, approval is automatic. That puts real and realistic pressure on bureaucrats to perform.

He’s also gotten agreement of the governor to allow mining to resume in Marinduque after it was banned following the disastrous tailings spill of Marcopper (something I wrote extensively about at that time, highlighting that blame was equally or more with government, and that Placer Dome spent around US$ 80 million on resuscitating the land).

In Tampakan, the biggest investment the Philippines could ever receive—US$5 billion—was put in jeopardy by a myopic decision signed into local law by the previous governor. The new governor (thank God there was a change)has, with the support of the Secretary, withheld the publication of the law while he discusses further with his council to agree to rescind it. Without publication, it can’t take effect. I expect common sense will eventually prevail when it’s recognized that if it ever went to court, the local code would be thrown out. National interest overrides local where strategic investments are concerned (Local Government Code sections 26 and 27), and this is certainly a strategic investment.

This project would include two massive water treatment plants and power plants that will have a combined capacity of 405 MW.

The water treatment plants will treat all the run-off water from the mine to a stage where it can be drunk straight from the tap. Many of the diseases, particularly of children in the province, are caused by dirty water. The treated mine water will remove that risk. Mindanao is having 8 to 12 hours blackouts daily, the power plants will give continuous electricity to all the local communities. Will the Church and non-government organizations provide that clean water and power and the jobs?

Much depends on the successful final resolution of Tampakan. Many other international miners are watching it closely. The Philippines will either see a dramatic lift in the economy as mining, responsible mining takes off—or it won’t, if the oppositionists prevail. And Filipinos, not just in South Cotabato but nationwide, will remain in poverty.

Listening to Secretary Paje, I think the government’s going to win this one.

Look at the huge benefit call centers and other business process outsourcing companies have done for the country in the past decade. Mining could do the same in the next years to come.

Friday, September 24, 2010

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Philippines

UNESCO World Heritage Sites

The Philippines has five UNESCO World Heritage inscriptions in 11 cities and municipalities around the country. These are the Tubbataha Reef in Cagayancillo, Palawan, Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park in Palawan, Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras (Batad and Bangaan in Banaue, Nagacadan in Kiangan, Hungduan and Mayoyao all in Ifugao), Historic Center of Vigan in Ilocos Sur, and the Baroque Churches of the Philippines (Paoay Church in Ilocos Norte, Sta. Maria Church in Ilocos Sur, San Agustin Church in Intramuros, Manila, and Miag-ao Church in Iloilo).

Here is a documentary called Legacy: Philippine World Heritage Sites narrated and written by Architect Augusto F. Villalon which gives a good introduction to all these sites. The videos were divided it into four parts due to length by the uploader, Ivan Henares. This article was reprinted from The Philippine Travel Journal, Ivan About Town, dated September 15, 2010.

Part 1 introduces the UNESCO World Heritage List and talks about Tubbataha Reef.

Part 2 discusses the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park and the Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras.


Part 3 discusses the Historic Center of Vigan and the Baroque Churches of the Philippines.

Finally, Part 4 talks about conservation challenges that each site is faced with and a conclusion for the whole documentary.


Personal Note: I have traveled to almost all the big cities in US, London, Rome, Spain, Vancouver, Toronto, Cancun, Puerto Rico, Hawaii but sad to say, I have only visited three World Heritage Sites in the Philippines, namely the San Agustin Church in Manila,the Miagao Church in Iloilo and the Ifugao Rice Terraces. I have plans of visiting Palawan's Underground River in the next year or so and perhaps, Vigan. I have no desire visiting Tubbataha Reefs, since I am prone to sea sickness. I will leave that to the diving enthusiast of the world.
I hope you enjoy the videos and the excellent narration.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Charice Singing God Bless America-Beyond Words

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Last night opening season episode of Glee has fortified my admiration for Charice. I love to hear this girl sing not because she is a Filipina and I am a Filipino-American, but because once you heard her sing, you know she has talent. This week Charice was in Newsweek. Here's the article, in case you missed it.

"As any would-be American Idol knows, taking on a song by Whitney Houston or Celine Dion can be the kiss of death. The songs are so demanding that contestants often find themselves in the judges’ firing line for attempting one. So when 15-time Grammy Award–winning producer David Foster says the 18-year-old Filipino singer Charice reminds him of a young Dion, the industry takes note. Foster knows what he’s talking about: he produced the French Canadian Dion’s debut English album, Unison. “Charice reminds me of when I saw Celine 20 years ago,” he says. “In my opinion, she will put the whole of Asia on the map as a huge global superstar.”

She’s already making quite a splash in America. Her U.S. debut album, titled simply Charice, was the first by an Asian singer to make it to the top 10 of the Billboard 200 album chart in May. This week she will appear in the season premiere of the popular TV series Glee, where she will play the role of Sunshine, an exchange student from the Philippines who becomes Rachel Berry’s (Lea Michele) biggest rival.

Like any respectable teenager, Charmaine Clarice Pempengco, better known as Charice, got her start on YouTube. Four years ago, a fan posted a video of a preteen Charice singing Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” on a local Philippines talent show. It took a while, but the video eventually won wide international attention. Today the petite singer with a surprisingly big, rich voice has already achieved one of her dreams: singing onstage with her idol Dion.

The rest of her bio is just as marketable: her mother left her father when she was a toddler because he was violent. She entered young Charice in amateur singing competitions and town fiestas so she would earn some money for the family. By the time she sang on Little Big Star, a local singing show for 6- to 13-year-olds, she had already participated in more than 100 singing contests. It wasn’t easy; the youngster was eliminated in the first round of Little Big Star, then selected as a wild-card pick to come back on the show. She made it all the way to the final before losing in the text-message vote. She is reported to have been so depressed that she thought of giving up her singing career.

Lucky for her, she had a persistent fan posting on YouTube. Although she didn’t become an overnight sensation like Susan Boyle, her video steadily gathered hits. Charice got perhaps her biggest break when Ellen DeGeneres invited her to perform on her U.S. television show right before Christmas 2007. “You can smell the star on her,” DeGeneres joked. Her performance caught the attention of Oprah Winfrey, who also invited her on the show.
Charice in Glee
Now the young singer has to negotiate the shift from belting out covers of romantic ballads to becoming a pop princess who sings her own songs. Singing Lady Gaga’s hit “Telephone” opposite Michele in Glee will no doubt reinforce perceptions she can make it as a pop star. Ryan Murphy, the creator of the award-winning TV show, has said he was so touched by her audition that he felt compelled to get her a “really good” role. “When that girl opens her mouth, angels fly out,” he said.

But she has already learned that fame can be fickle. After she was reported to have used Botox to “prepare” for her Glee role, some fans criticized her. To avoid the fate of countless young stars who made it and then let it all slip away, she will have to keep her head firmly on her shoulders. But with Foster having officially taken on the role of godfather, and Oprah in her life as her quasi fairy godmother, it looks like this Cinderella could continue her happy fairy tale.

Here's her rendition of God Bless America during the Last celebration Of Martin Luther King Birthday Anniversary. Her rendition is beyond words. Do you agree?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Philippines Rank 7th in the World of Beauty Contest

The Top Five,Miss Universe,2010
World's Beauty Ranking, 2010

Philippines is rank No. 7 in the World of Beauty Pageants-September 14, 2010 as published by www.globalbeuaties.com

The fourth runner up finish of Venus Raj in the recently-concluded Miss Universe 2010 pageant put the Philippines in 7th place of the world’s beauty pageant ranking.

Pageant website globalbeauties.com has been ranking more than 150 countries based on their performance in major beauty pageants in the world: Miss Universe, Miss World, Miss Earth and Miss International. They give points to each winning, runner-ups and semi-final placements from each country and consolidate their totals to determine their ranking.

The Philippines ranked 8th in 2009 but after the fourth runner up finish of Venus Raj in the Miss Universe pageant, RP climbed one notch to no. 7 behind pageant leaders Venezuela, USA, India ,Mexico, Brazil, Puerto Rico. Numbers 8 to 10 are Colombia, Russia and Australia.

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

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.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Most Popular Folk Dances from 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

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Have You Eaten a Mangosteen-Queen of Fruits?

The Mangosteen-Queen of Fruits

The mangosteen is not related at all to the popular mango fruits. In the Philippines It is not as popular as mangoes except probably in Davao, Mindanao. Sad to say, I have lived in the Philippines until I was 25 years old, but have never tasted a mangosteen, although I have heard about its delicious taste. Here's a short video for your viewing pleasure.



The Purple Mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana), colloquially known simply as "the mangosteen", is a tropical evergreen tree believed to have originated in the Sunda Islands and the Moluccas of Indonesia. The tree grows from 7 to 25 m (20–80 ft) tall. The rind (exocarp) of the edible fruit is deep reddish purple when ripe. Botanically an aril, the fragrant edible flesh can be described as sweet and tangy, citrusy with peach flavor and texture.

There is a legend about Queen Victoria offering a reward of 100 pounds sterling to anyone who could deliver to her the fresh fruit. Although this legend can be traced to a 1930 publication by fruit explorer, David Fairchild, it is not substantiated by any known historical document yet is probably responsible for the uncommon designation of mangosteen as the "Queen of Fruit".

In his publication, "Hortus Veitchii", James Herbert Veitch says that he visited Java in 1892, "to eat the Mangosteen. It is necessary to eat the Mangosteen grown within three or four degrees of latitude of the equator to realize at all the attractive and curious properties of this fruit."

An ultra-tropical tree, the mangosteen must be grown in consistently warm conditions, as exposure to temperatures below 0°C (32°F) for prolonged periods will generally kill a mature plant. They are known to recover from brief cold spells rather well, often with damage only to young growth. Experienced horticulturists have grown this species outdoors, and brought them to fruit in extreme Southern Florida.

Due to ongoing restrictions on imports, mangosteen is not readily available in certain countries. Although available in Australia, for example, they are still rare in the produce sections of grocery stores in North America and Europe. Following export from its natural growing regions in Southeast Asia, the fresh fruit may be available seasonally in some local markets like those of Chinatowns. Mangosteen and its related products, such as juices and nutritional supplements, are legally imported into the United States, which had an import ban until 2007.

Mangosteens are readily available canned and frozen in Western countries. Without fumigation or irradiation as fresh fruit, mangosteens have historically been illegal for importation in commercial volumes into the United States due to fears that they harbor the Asian fruit fly, which would endanger U.S. crops. This situation, however, officially changed on July 23, 2007 when irradiated imports from Thailand were allowed upon USDA approval of irradiation, packing and shipping techniques. Freeze-dried and dehydrated mangosteen arils can also be found.

Since 2006, private small volume orders for fruits grown on Puerto Rico were sold to American gourmet restaurants who serve the aril pieces as a delicacy dessert. Beginning in 2007 for the first time, fresh mangosteens were sold from specialty produce stores in New York City for as high as $45 per pound, but, during 2009-10, wider availability and lower prices have become common in the United States and Canada.

Before ripening, the mangosteen shell is fibrous and firm, but becomes soft and easy to pry open when the fruit ripens. To open a mangosteen, the shell is usually scored first with a knife; one holds the fruit in both hands, prying gently along the score with the thumbs until the rind cracks. It is then easy to pull the halves apart along the crack and remove the fruit. Rarely in ripe fruits, the purple exocarp juice may stain skin or fabric. Here's a video of other unusual fruits of the tropics.

Friday, September 17, 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.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Lady Gaga's Meat Dress and the Snake Bite Commercial

Lady Gaga Meat Dress

These two items I found recently in the web are indeed weird, nutty and funny.
The meat dress was just last week, but the Reebook Snake Bite Commercial has been in the web since December, 2009.

Gaga's dress made of cheap meat

NEW YORK, Sept. 14 (UPI) -- New York butchers said the meat dress worn by singer Lady Gaga to the MTV Video Music Awards appeared to be all beef -- and not particularly expensive beef.

Los Angeles designer Franc Fernandez declined to explain how he made the raw meat dress, saying only that it took him two days to stitch, but Peter Cacioppo, 50, head butcher of New York's Ottomanelli Brothers, said the dress was clearly "all beef," the New York Daily News reported Tuesday.

"Her bodice looks like the outside of the rib. Over the shoulder looks like it does come from the shoulder," he said.

"There are no expensive cuts here, no real steaks. The best you've got is the flank steak on top of her head."

Cacioppo's nephew and fellow butcher, Mark Cacioppo, 30, said the dress appeared to be made from about $100 worth of meat. Now time for this funny commercial...

The Reebook Commercial-The Snake Bite


The Snake Bite Commercial

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

Have you Heard of You Tube Instant?


Feross Aboukhadijeh-Inventor of YouTube Instant

I just finished using YouTube Instant. I love it. This was the idea of a college student from Stanford University. Yesterday, Gawker News published a story written by Peter Kafka on Feross Aboukhadijeh who coded YouTube Instant in three hours. Here is the article from Gawker.

“YouTube Instant” Dude Can’t Go to Work for Chad Hurley, Because He’s Already Working For Mark Zuckerberg


There are lots of ways to become famous on the Internet. It took Feross Aboukhadijeh three hours of coding.

When he was done, he had built “YouTube Instant,” a great riff on Google’s (GOOG) own Instant search service. On Thursday night he told a couple hundred friends about the site via Twitter, and from there it went to Y Combinator’s Hacker News, and then to this site, and then on to the rest of the Web.

So far the most tangible benefit Aboukhadijeh has gotten from his instafame is a job offer, via Twitter, from YouTube cofounder Chad Hurley. But the Stanford junior can’t take him up on it — he’s already working for Mark Zuckerberg, as a Facebook intern, working on something “really cool.”

Here’s more on Aboukhadijeh, via a quickie email interview we put together on Friday. He was a little time-pressed: In addition to class, and work at Facebook, he had to figure out how to keep his site running under a crush of traffic.

Peter Kafka: Great site. What’s the inspiration?

Feross Aboukhadijeh: I decided to do this after hearing about Google Instant. I thought that instant search for YouTube videos would be really cool. My roommate bet me that I couldn’t code it up in an hour. It ended up taking 3 hours, so he won the bet.

Kafka: What’s the goal here?

Aboukhadijeh: I think YouTube Instant makes sense if you’re looking for a serendipitous video browsing experience. It’s not as useful as Google Instant if you know exactly what you’re looking for, since you’re shown distracting YouTube videos on the way to your destination. But I think this is perfect for many Internet users. :)

Kafka: What are you specializing in at Stanford?

Aboukhadijeh: I’m a Junior in the Stanford CS program. I’m interested in Internet technology, building websites, and computer security. I really enjoy building products that entertain and delight people, like YouTube Instant.

Kafka: Besides this, what’s your favorite project you’ve worked on?

Aboukhadijeh: I’ve been working at Facebook as an software engineer intern for the summer. Right now, we’re building something really cool that’s going to be released soon, but I can’t share any details because it’s top secret! :)

Kafka: I’m assuming you used the YouTube API to build this, correct? Any reaction from them so far?

Aboukhadijeh: I built YouTube Instant using a combination of the YouTube API and scraping YouTube search suggestions. No reaction from Google so far, but I think they’ll probably get a kick out of it. The YouTube CEO actually offered me a job on Twitter, he liked it so much.

I initially ran into some issues when Google automatically blocked my server for making too many repeated requests, but I just rewrote the site to query YouTube directly using Javascript on the client-side. This means that all the magic happens in each visitor’s browser, so it’s faster and Google can’t block it.

Kafka: What’s the plan after you graduate?

Aboukhadijeh: One day, I’d like to start a company that becomes the next Google and fundamentally changes the world for the better.

I like the ambition! Meanwhile I like YouTube Instant a lot. FYI, this classic is what the site suggests if you type in “Facebook”:

Monday, September 13, 2010

Happy Slip -Christine Gambito-Internet Sensation



Have you heard of Christine of Happy Slip Productions? She is one of my favorite internet personality. The following video is her take on Face Book. If you think it is not funny, I do not believe you. More Power to You, Christine!



Here's a short information about Christine Gambito in case you have not heard about her.

Christine Gambito, also known by her screen name Happy Slip, is a Filipina American internet personality, actress, & comedian. She maintains one of the most subscribed to channels on YouTube with over 620,000 subscribers, and collectively her videos have been viewed over 84 million times.

As a one woman show, Gambito writes, directs, performs, and edits the online videos. Previously, as a SAG/AFTRA actress in New York City, Gambito landed parts in television commercials, movies, and industrials. However, by September 2006, the creation of Happy Slip Productions has allowed her to display her unique talents to a worldwide audience right from her own home.

Gambito’s comedy career unknowingly started around 5 years of age when she began to imitate different family members much to their great pleasure. She found herself answering requests to imitate different family members at every big holiday gathering, and didn’t realize that she was in fact performing stand up comedy. Now she takes that familiar comedy to live shows around the US and continues to create videos as often as she can.

While growing up, Gambito’s mom was always quick to remind her to wear a “half slip” along with dresses or skirts. “Kissteen! Be sure to wear your hap eslip!” However, the way it was pronounced, it somehow translated into “happy slip” in Christine’s mind. After years of this perception, Christine found herself corrected when asked by classmates if she had a sad slip as well.

The “happy slip” phrase is not only a funny memory from the past, but also a reflection of what Gambito would like people to experience when watching the videos. To “slip into happiness” and hopefully receive a bright moment in their day.

Sunday, September 12, 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 recognised 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.

Saturday, September 11, 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

Friday, September 10, 2010

Time for Some Inspiring Choral Music from the Philippines

The UP Madrigal Singers

One of the extracurricular activities that Macrine and I participated during our students days at the University of the Philippines(UP) in Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines was joining the University of the Philippines Student Catholic Action (UPSCA) choir. For three years we practice twice a week with 300 other members of UPSCA in preparation for our annual concert. This was an activity that we love since both of us love to sing. Macrine is a better singer(soprano) than myself (baritone). But I compensate my mediocre singing with enthusiasm. I have never missed a practice in that three year period of our involvement with the UPSCA choir. In this video you will enjoy the beautiful rendition of the Prayer of St Francis by the UP Madrigal Singers-an international re known choir having won several awards in choral competitions all over the world during the last decade.

If this is your first time to hear about MADZ, here is a write up of the Group from Wikipedia.

The University of the Philippines Madrigal Singers (UPMS), also known as the Philippine Madrigal Singers or simply Madz, is one of the major cultural groups based in the University of the Philippines, Diliman. Its current conductor and musical director is Mark Anthony Carpio. They are the first choir in the world to win the European Grand Prix for Choral Singing twice (in 1997 and in 2007).

The Philippine Madrigal Singers (affectionately known as the "Madz") was founded in 1963 by National Artist for Music, Professor Andrea O. Veneracion. The Madz is mostly composed of students, faculty and alumni from the University of the Philippines. The group's trademark performance stance, singing in a semi-circle without a conductor, is instantly recognizable. A standard Madz performance clearly exhibits the seamless fusion of their musical virtuosity, technical proficiency and soulful singing. Their highly eclectic repertoire spans the breadth and length of vocal music: from Renaissance madrigals to the avant-garde, from Filipino and international folksongs to the latest pop hits, even from the most cerebral choral masterpieces to the most humorous of novelty numbers. This world-class choir can honestly sing anything with authenticity and professionalism while keeping their audience thoroughly entertained.

The group performs a variety of styles and forms but it specializes in the Madrigal, a polyphonic and challenging musical style popular during the Renaissance period where singers and guests would gather around the table during a banquet to sight-sing and make music together. This served as the inspiration for their unique style of singing - singing seated in a semi-circle without a conductor. As Philippine ambassador of culture and goodwill, the Madz has had the pleasure and privilege of giving command performances for royalty and heads of state. These include Pope Paul 6th, Pope John Paul II, Presidents Gerald Ford and Richard Nixon, Queen Sofia of Spain, King Juan Carlos de Bourbon and Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew.

This choral institution has produced more than 200 choral and vocal pedagogues from its ranks, actively and constantly shaping the local and international choral landscape. Madz alumni are much sought-after as singers, conductors, arrangers and music educators. Its corps of composers and musical arrangers continue to produce new compositions and choral settings of Philippine music, thus contributing to the global growth of choral literature.

As resident artists of the Cultural Center of the Philippines, outreach concerts have taken the Madz to far-flung areas seldom reached by most performing artists. Averaging two international concert tours per year, the Madz relentlessly engages in the promotion of Philippine music and the Filipino Artist globally.

Presently under the masterful leadership of Madz alumnus Mark Anthony A. Carpio, the Philippine Madrigal Singers continues to set new standards of excellence at a global level. Since their humble beginnings as a university-based chamber ensemble throughout their legendary rise as international choral champions, this 47-year old cultural icon known as the Philippine Madrigal Singers has irreversibly cemented its stature as one of world's best choirs for all time.

Thursday, September 9, 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.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Have you Heard of The Battle of Pulang Lupa?

Governor Carmencita Reyes and Congressman Allan Jay Velasco during the Battle of Paye Anniversary Celebration,2010

I have a feeling you have not heard of this event in The Philippine-American History. Unless you you are a history enthusiast, I am pretty sure you do not know the details and significance of this battle in Philippine-American history. I heard of this battle when I read that a monument in Torrijos, Marinduque has been constructed to honor the Filipino and American soldiers that died in that Battle. The monument was constructed on a top of a hill with a beautiful view of the Eastern Marinduque Sea. It is now one of the historical tourist attraction in Marinduque.

My wife had been planning to see this place, but it required a long walk uphill, so we would not be able to make it. Here's a short description of the battle from Wikipedia for your reading pleasure.

"The Battle of Pulang Lupa was an engagement fought on September 13, 1900, during the Philippine-American War between the forces of Colonel Maximo Abad and Devereux Shields, in which Abad's men defeated the American force.

On September 11, Captain Devereux Shields led a detachment of 54 29th U.S. Volunteer Infantrymen into the mountains of Torrijos to combat the elusive Abad and his guerillas. They experienced little success, except for the dispersing of 20 guerillas, in which no casualties were inflicted on either side.

Abad had excellent intelligence and was informed of Shields' movements by the local guerillas ahead of time. In response, he assembled his entire force of 250 regular Filipino soldiers and around 1,000-2,000 bolomen. The regular Philippine soldiers were well organized and reasonably well armed with bolos, pistols, and Spanish Mausers, despite the fact that most were poor shots. The bolomen, armed only with machetes or bolos, served mainly to bolster Abad's forces. Dressed as friendly farmers or civilians in the day time, they took part in guerilla activities at night. Ambushing small detachments of American soldiers, sabotage, and most importantly, supplying Abad with intelligence on American positions and movements. They had little military value however, considering they had no firearms.
American Soldiers of the 29th Infantry landing in Laylay, Marinduque, April 25, 1900

On September 13, Abad positioned his men along a steep ridge overlooking the trail which Shields would soon cross. Both Shields and his men had little combat experience and easily fell into the trap. Abad and his 250 soldiers opened fire on the column, which led to a fire-fight that lasted for several hours. Meanwhile, as the Americans and Philippine riflemen exchanged fire, the large force of Filipino bolomen began maneuvering to surround the Americans.

Shields, seeing that he was almost completely surrounded, ordered a withdrawal, which soon turned into a full blown retreat, as Abad's much larger force poured over the ridge after Shields and his men. The Filipino soldiers harassed Shields for nearly four miles (6 km) before cornering them in a small rice field; their escape to Santa Cruz was cut off by the large force of Filipino bolomen. Abad's men again opened fire, forcing the Americans to take cover behind some paddy dikes.

Shields, recognizing the futility of the situation, raised the white flag in order to surrender. Abad's men disregarded it and fell upon the totally encircled Americans firing and hacking away with bolo knives. In the fight, Shields fell severely wounded, shot through the shoulder and neck. Men of the 29th volunteer infantry wading ashore on Marinduque April 25 1900

Abad, observing that the Americans were trying to surrender, regained control of his men before any more surrendering Americans were slaughtered, and the survivors were led away as prisoners.

After months of hiding, Abad in only a few hours eliminated nearly one third of the American garrison on Marinduque.

The Americans lost 4 killed and 50 captured, 6 of which wounded including Shields. A large selection of American firearms were also taken by the guerillas. The Filipino losses are unknown, although Shields claimed to have inflicted 30 casualties on the Filipinos, this number was never verified.

Aftermath

Shields' defeat sent shock waves through the American high command. Aside from being one of the worst defeats suffered by the Americans during the war, it was especially significant given its proximity to the upcoming election between President William McKinley and his anti-imperialist opponent William Jennings Bryan, the outcome of which many believed would determine the ultimate course of the war. Consequently, the defeat triggered a sharp response.

Although Abad and most of his command had eluded the American military, the civilian population was suffering for it. Being placed into concentration camps and routine interrogation led many of the guerillas to surrender, thus decreasing the manpower and materials of the resistance. These new tactics led to the surrender of Abad in April 1901".
Mural of Pulang Lupa, Torrijos, Marinduque
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