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

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Phases of the Moon and Mood Swings

Eight Phases of the Moon-Photo from devdutt.com

In my previous posting about compulsive talking disorder(C.A.D.), I mentioned that the mood of my relative who has C.A.D. seemed to be affected by the phases of the moon and it gets worse during full moon. I also promised I will do some web search on the subject. The following article confirms my observation. The title of the article: Can Phases of the Moon Affect Mood Swings?

"Moon causes mood swings, true or false? Ask this question from a doctor the answer would be a thundering No. Ask this from a farmer in the village the reply would be a smiling Yes. Most pragmatic people concede that the Moon influences them in their moods and emotions.

The MoonIn Astronomy, the Moon is the closest celestial body to the Earth. In fact the Moon is not a planet; it is just a satellite. The Moon orbits the Sun, however as it is gravitationally linked to the Earth it rotates around the Earth as well. The Moon was once part of the Earth. Millenniums ago a celestial body by the name of “Theia” struck the original Earth to break it into two pieces: The broken out part emerged as the Moon the remaining part continued as the Earth.

The Moon revolves around the Earth and it takes 29.56 days to complete a cycle. In this revolution the Moon goes into phases or lunation cycles. The Moon’s journey has eight such phases: New Moon, Waxing Crescent, First Quarter, Waxing Gibbous, Full Moon, Waning Gibbous, Last Quarter and Waning Crescent (Balsamic Moon). Out of these eight Moon phases the New Moon and Full Moon are noted as regards to their gravitational influence in opposite directions. Full Moon pulls you whereas New Moon dulls you. Waxing Crescent and Waning Gibbous have similarity in the degree of gravitational pull; First Quarter and Last Quarter are equal in their gravitational influence.

Moreover, the Moon wobbles on his erratic and elliptical path thereby at times it gets closer to the Earth and at times it is farthest from the Earth. These aspects are called perigee and apogee:

1. Perigee: This is the point where the Moon is closest to the Earth in its revolution. The closest perigee recorded is 221,440 miles from the Earth. At this moment the Moon has the highest pulling power

2. Apogee: This is the point where the Moon is farthest from the Earth in its revolution. The farthest apogee recorded is 252,730 miles from the Earth. At this moment the Moon has reduced pulling power.

3. Mood Swings

Both men and women are subject to mood swings of varied degree. Some men are susceptible to high mood swings, while others experience low mood swings and still few others relatively mild or no mood swings:

4. A high degree of sexual arousal is experienced in women; in the case of men the sexuality could turn out to be fairly violent. Sometimes they tend to use force on sexual partners or masturbate. Making sex during this time does not give mutual satisfaction to partners

5. Generally the Moon influences the endocrine system; Pituitary, Hypothalamus, Thyroid, Adrenal, Thymus, Pineal , Prostrate, Pancreas glands together with Gonad, Sex and Sweat glands are all impacted by the Moon. Furthermore, vital organs, nerves, blood cells, and body cells are also affected by the Moon

6. The energy produced within the body system experiences see-saw pattern; consequently either you brim with vitality or complain about loss of concentration

7. The aspect of criminality raises its head; surprisingly more crimes take place during bright Moon than dark Moon

8. More people get into injury or cause injury on others; those who are prone to accidents and falls have tendency to suffer more

9. Emotional instability is yet another disturbance caused by the Moon especially in those who are engaged in stressful jobs and vocations or having competitive lifestyle

10. Mentally retarded children would experience fall in their cognitive ability, while those who are insane or on the borderline might engage in madder actions than ever.

What You Should Do?

1. Be prepared to handle Moon related disturbances that could severely affect members of your family

2. Do your planning well by checking the date of Full Moon and Perigee Moon. When the time gap between Perigee Moon and the Full Moon is less than six hours the impact of these disturbances is very high. So diarise the full Moon days.

Source: cosmicgemslanka.com

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Is there a Solution to Marinduque's Power Crises?

I hope so, for the benefit of our younger generations, there has to be a long term solution. For our current benefit a short time solution is needed immediately. How can you help? Continue Reading...

The other day, I posted an article, titled, Will the current power brown outs affect our snowbird lifestyle in Marinduque? In other words, will Marinduque still be considered an ideal retirement venue for balikbayan retirees from abroad? I indicated that if there is no solution by the end of the year, my wife and I will definitely shortened our snow bird sojourn to the island from 4 to 6 months to 2 months only next year.

One of my readers calling himself, A Marinduque Lover commented as follows:

"You do not turn your back and quit on your paradise. You have worked so long and to promote the place. You should help and find a solution to the energy crisis instead of threatening to avoid the situation. You are right, and the citizens of the island should petition the leaders such as the governor, mayors and congressmen to do something, and continuously bother them until it is solved. The people should take it in their hands to do something. You can use your blog as a tool to inform the people. Provide them with solutions, copy what is being done in nearby islands where power generation is sufficient. If Marelco management has to be fired, and so be it. Use cooperatives or let the people run the power company, there must be enough engineers in the island. Marinduque Lover "

Here's my response: Hi Marinduque Lover: I agree on your comment not to quit but help to find a solution to the problem. However, the problem has its roots so deep, it will take a miracle and the support of all Marinduquenos in all levels of society. Just in case you have not read the background behind this crises, several articles on the subject had been written by a blogger currently residing in Marinduque. If you are interested, let me know. Again, thanks for your comment and feedback

Thus readers of this blog, if you are from Marinduque, can you suggest a solution both short and long term to the power crises in our beautiful island? I will be waiting for your response.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Is Compulsive Talking an Addiction Disorder?

I have two relatives that are compulsive talkers in the Philippines. One is on my wife's side and the other on my side of the family. Both relatives are sometimes socially avoided because of their compulsive talking. The most common phrase use in our household, is the term "diarrhea of the mouth". When this relative starts talking and dominate the conversation, everyone just look at each other, thus not helping this relative at all. The compulsion seem to be more frequent during the full moon phase. All the relatives warn each other not to contact this person during the Full Moon days. Thus I do believe that people moods are affected by the phases of the moon. Do you believe this? I plan on posting some information on how the phases of the moon affect human behaviour soon.

The following article, I found very practical on how to deal with relatives who have compulsive talking disorder.

"Conventional wisdom holds that people who talk incessantly are merely rude, or pushy, or domineering. Instead, they are more likely suffering from "Communication Addiction Disorder." (C.A.D.) That is, they seem not to be able to stop themselves from talking so much, despite receiving social rejection for doing so.

This syndrome parallels one identified earlier in many people, I.A.D. - "Internet Addiction Disorder." In the case of I.A.D, persons seem to be unable to stop spending time online, surfing the net, communicating in chat-rooms, etc.

I used to think that over-talkers kept jabbering because they didn't think anyone was listening. By using a machine-gun approach, they hoped to hit something and finally be listened to. I now believe that most "talkaholism" is an addictive condition, and one more difficult to treat than its opposites of reticence, shyness, and communication apprehension.

In some ways C.A.D. is self-reinforcing to the talker, as if through some dysfunction in the person's neurological wiring the talker gets some reinforcement of their talk habit.

We all know at least a few talkaholics and may even have tried to "cure them" by pointing out how much they talked, or by scolding them, or by avoidance. Because most of them deny that their over-talk causes problems, these attempts to change them rarely help (as you may have noticed.)

Ways to manage compulsive talkers
Assert yourself and take charge of the conversation.

This is what HMO doctors have to do when they are required to see many patients in brief consultations. If you merely do polite listening and expect normal turn-taking, you may be run over by the talkative one. It can help to set up the time frame for talk, as in "I've got only 10 minutes before I have to pick up my daughter.

You can take more control by firmly interrupting. For example, you can say "Hold on a minute and let me ask you a question" or "I'd like to respond to what you've said so far."

Tell them how much you want to hear. Talkaholics tend to share all the details. Tell them, "I don't need all the details right now to understand. Just give me the headlines." You can do this if you're talking with a peer or a subordinate, but you may not be able to do so if you're talking to your boss.

In meetings, talkaholics can be reined in by having ground rules that require brevity. Having a set of agreements about how long participants are allowed to talk can help. We are aware that such procedures are used in both houses of the U.S. Congress and many public hearings.

If nothing else works, you'll want to escape the frustrating situation, saying "Please excuse me, I've got to go now." We know that victims of talkaholics eventually reduce contact with them, stop inviting to social events, and sometimes even sever their friendships.

Treatment for Communication Addiction Disorder?

The research evidence indicates that dependable treatment is not yet available. However, I think it is possible for a talkaholic to better manage their tendency with some coaching. If willing, they can learn to talk more briefly, to recognize the feelings that accompany their need to talk, and to pick up on the cues from others that they are causing interpersonal problems.

I also think that the new "energy psychologies" that have proven effective in dealing with stress and anxiety should also be tried.

Usually it is a high state of tension that drives a person to talk so much as a way of seeking relief. Reducing tension through simple self-help methods could go far in helping compulsive talkers to manage how much they talk".

I hope you found the above article informative.

Sources: Loren Ekroth, www.hodu.com and http://www.conversation-matters.com.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Bridge is My Game! What is Yours?

Macrine and I started playing party bridge way back in the 1970's. We started playing party bridge at the SOS Club in Modesto, California. We made a lot of friends this way and had a grand time. When we moved to the Bay Area, we started playing duplicate bridge at the El Cerrito Bridge Club. We played once a week for almost two years and accumulated enough master points to become Junior Masters. We became members of the American Contract Bridge League( ACBL). When we moved to the Washington, DC area we stopped playing either party or duplicate bridge completely. If you are playing bridge now, this posting is not for you. So, I suggest stop reading and just help me by clicking on my ads above. This way you can add groceries to my table, in case I do not receive my SS check next week. Just kidding!
But before you sign out, I have a joke for you. "Having sex is like playing bridge, If you don't have a good partner, you better have a good hand."

If you play cards before and want to know more about bridge continue reading, but do not expect to learn how to play bridge after you read this posting.

There are two types of bridge games -- "party bridge" and duplicate bridge. Both use the same rules for actually playing the game, but the scoring and structure of the two formats are different.

Party bridge is informal and and is usually played in people's homes. A group of four people (two partnerships) -- or several tables of four people each -- play as many hands as they like, at any pace. Each table records its own scores on the hands it plays and may or may not compare its scores with those from other tables.

Duplicate bridge is an organized, more competitive form of the game, usually for larger groups, and is played at a set time and place. It's called duplicate because the exact same hands are played at every table and scores are compared among tables. Each partnership plays several other partnerships, and everyone plays the same number of hands (usually 24-27 hands) in the same time period (3 to 3.5 hours).

History of Bridge:

Contract Bridge was invented in the 1920's and in the following decades it was popularised especially in the USA by Ely Culbertson. Bridge currently occupies a position of great prestige, and is more comprehensively organised than any other card game. There are clubs, tournaments and championships throughout the world.

Rubber Bridge is the basic form of Contract Bridge, played by four players. Informal social bridge games are often played this way, and rubber bridge is also played in clubs for money.

Duplicate Bridge is the game normally played in clubs, tournaments and matches. The game is basically the same but the luck element is reduced by having the same deals replayed by different sets of players. At least eight players are required for this. There are some significant differences in the scoring.

Contract Bridge developed in the 1920's from Auction Bridge, which is different mainly in the scoring. In Auction Bridge, over tricks count towards making game, so it is only necessary to bid high enough to win the contract - there is no incentive to bid all the tricks you can make.

Note: Currently, Macrine and I play bridge on line. We use Hoyle's Card Games,2010
Edition. It is one of the best way to exercise your mind/memory, thus delay the onset of Alzheimer's Disease. The CD cost only $19.99. If you are not comfortable with computers and want to learn this card game, I suggest you take lessons in your local bridge club. The fee is usually very minimal and it is a good way to socialize with others. If you are single, a widow or divorced thus have no partner, do not worry, the club will assign you a partner and hopefully you are compatible. Bridge is a partnership game. It is very, very important that you and your partner are compatible. When, I say you must be compatible, I meant your skill and knowledge of the game is about in the same level. If you are more skillful in the game than your partner, and you are not patient, the game of bridge instead of being fun will be a source of frustration and irritation for you. You will know exactly what I am trying to say, when you start to actually play a bridge game, specially duplicate bridge.

Reference: www.pagat.com

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Three More Scam Letters, I Received This Month

Here are the three letters verbatim. Note the several typo's and grammatical errors. Sentence construction and syntax are all out of whack. These three letters are sounding more ridiculous than the scam letters I have received previously.

1.First Letter:
Salam Alaykum Urgent Reply Pls

Dear Friend

I know that this message will come to you as a surprise. I am the Auditing and Accountingsection manager with Bank Of Africa Ouagadougou Burkina faso. I Hopethat you will not expose or betray this trust and confident that I am about to repose on you for the mutual benefit of our both families.I need your urgent assistance in transferring the sum of (£10.5)million to your account within 10 or 14 banking days.you will have 45% of the above mentioned sumwhile 50% will be for me, and the other 5% will be for the expences

These are the details about the deceased and his family. Late Hassan El-madi used his late wife (MRS.HAJIA EL-MADI) as his next of kin but unfortunately, she died along side with him in their house. So, nobody knows about the account and as such,you should not be afriad in this deal. Just keep it as secret between us.You can still see again the website covering U.S.A Boomp Explosion as posted by the CNN and BBC news report;

Mrs Sotisse Kuume
Bank Of Africa Ouagadougou
Burkina faso.(B.O.A

EMAIL: aisha.aziz10@gmail.com

2. Second Letter
Dear Friend,


I know this letter may come as a surprise to you. I am Mrs. Aisha Abdulaziz, the Secretary of the contract Award commission of the Energy management board in Burkina Faso, West Africa.

We had a contract with Denmark through the Burkina Faso Danish Cooperation, which was signed on the 4th of march, 2008 on the Electrification of the Urban centres, offices and rural dwellers. The project has been executed, you can check on the
website. www.sonabel.bf During the award of this contract,The Chairman, Dr. Philip Sawadogo, A Board Member, Mr. Sidiki Ouedraogo, and I,The Secretary,Mrs. Aisha
Abdulaziz and Mr.Kabore Jean Baptiste, a board member had inflated the amount of this contract and the OVER- INVOICED is being safeguarded under our custody and the inflated amount is with a bank.

However, we have decided to transfer this sum of money, Nine million, five hundred thousand U.S dollars only ($9,500,000.00) out of this Country for disbursement. Hence, we seek for a reliable,honest andnot greedy foreign partner whom we shall use his or her account for transferring the fund.

And we agreed that the account owner shall benefit 40% of the total amount of money, 60% is for us here. If you are capable to handle the transaction without hitches and
flaws, then we have confidence in the business and a risk free transfer from our side.

We want to transfer this funds, so that our retiring soon or later will be a better and blissful retirement life, as such we are very cautious towards actualising this noble venture.

If you are interested to execute this deal with us, kindly respond by sending me the followings:


Waiting for your urgent respond.

Best regards,

Mrs. Aisha Abdulaziz
EMAIL: aisha.aziz10@gmail.com


3.The Third LetterA CRY FOR HELP.

My Humble Greetings! Please permit me to introduce myself properly to you, My name is Maverick Ducoin the only child of late Dr. Soro Ducoin from Abidjan Cote D'Ivoire, (Ivory Coast). My late father was the formal General Manager of Cocoa Merchant Industry in Abidjan, he was among the rich agriculturist murdered by the agent of the government of President Laurent Gbagbo during the political crisis / war for his support and sympathy for opposition party Rassemblement Des républicains de Côtes d'Ivoire (RDR).

Before the death of my father, he deposited in the bank the sum of US$9.5,million (Nine Million Five Hundred Thousand United State Dollars) in one of the Investment Bank, for investment before his sudden death. Right now, I'm in Republic Of Benin where I'm taking a refuge because of the war which took over in my country few months ago. So therefore, I'm contacting you for you to assist me transfer this money to your country for investment in your Company under your management while I continue my education there in your country because my education stopped due to the sudden death of my Father. My mother died after giving birth to me through operation.

Thank you for you concerns as I would compensate you with 20% of the total money after you have help me transfer the money successfully into your safe bank account in your country. Please reply back to me through my private email here (meverick.ducoin@hotmail.fr) for more details. I will be waiting to hear from you.

Thanks and best regards.

Yours Sincerely,
Miss. Maverick Ducoin.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Will Marinduque Become a Non Ideal Place for Retirement for Balikbayans?

Darkened Skies of Marinduque
Unless the electrical power shortage crisis is solved, it will very likely that Marinduque will not be able to attract or retain the Fil-Americans Balikbayans now spending from 4 to 6 months of their annual retirement years in Marinduque. In addition, it will be a high possibility that no new retirees will build retirement homes in the Island. If this happens, it will be the saddest and depressing development in the history of this beautiful island-I called My Island Paradise.

The last couple of years, I have seen more than a couple of Fil-Americans build retirement homes in Boac and Gasan. This excludes foreign nationals who are married to Filipino(a) citizens. Although these balikbayans spend only about 4 to 6 months of the year in Marinduque, just like us, our contribution to the local economy can not be taken for granted. As balikbayan retirees we hired caretakers, housekeepers, drivers, gardeners, cooks, laundry workers and spend our dollars for food, groceries gasoline and other living expenses. We patronized restaurants and contributes to our local church and charities. Some of us invest on local businesses that give employment to local residents. As balikbayans, all we are expecting in return is a reliable supply of electricity and other amenities conducive to our aging years.

I therefore expect, provincial officials to wake up, and solve the problem of the electrical power supply crises in the island as soon as possible. In the meantime, Macrine and I have decided that unless this crises is solved by the end of the year, we will be spending only 2 months of our annual snow bird lifestyle in Marinduque instead of our usual 4 to 5 months of stay next year. In addition, we will stop our drive to recruit other Fil-Americans balikbayans to build retirement homes in Marinduque.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Is Balut an Aphrodisiac? What is Balut?

My oldest son( Dodie) and oldest grandson(Ian) participated at a balut eating contest at Chateau Du Mer during our 50th Wedding Anniversary Celebration in Boac, Marinduque, Philippines in 2007

My American friends and acquaitances here in US and in the Philippines informed me they hate balut. But probably 99% of them have not really tasted it. They are just turned off by the appearance of an embryo and sometimes feathers. I love the 17-day balut( balut sa puti),because the embryo has no feathers yet- Yummy and tasty! So what is balut?

A balut is simply a fertilized duck embryo that is boiled alive and eaten in the shell.

Popularly believed to be an aphrodisiac and considered a high-protein, hearty snack, balut are mostly sold by street vendors in the regions where they are available. It is commonly sold as streetfood in the Philippines. They are common, everyday food in countries on Southeast Asia, such as Laos (where it is called kai ), Thailand (khai khao - ไข่ข้าว in Thai), Cambodia (pong tea khon in Cambodian) and Vietnam (trứng vịt lộn or hột vịt lộn in Vietnamese). They are often served with beer.

The Filipino and Malay word balut(balot) means "wrapped" depending on pronunciation.


In the Philippines, balut eaters prefer salt and pepper and/or a chili and vinegar mixture to season their eggs. The eggs are savored for their balance of textures and flavors; the broth surrounding the embryo is sipped from the egg before the shell is peeled, and the yolk and young chick inside can be eaten. All of the contents of the egg may be consumed, although the white may remain uneaten; depending on the age of the fertilized egg, the white may have an unappetizing cartilaginous toughness. In the Philippines, balut have recently entered haute cuisine by being served as appetizers in restaurants, cooked adobo style, fried in omelettes or even used as filling in baked pastries. In Vietnam, balut are eaten with a pinch of salt, lemon juice, plus ground pepper and Vietnamese coriander leaves (southern Vietnamese style).

Chinese traders and migrants are said to have brought the idea of eating fertilized duck eggs to the Philippines. However, the knowledge and craft of balut-making has been localized by the balut-makers (magbabalut). Today, balut production has not been mechanized in favor of the traditional production by hand. Although balut are produced throughout the Philippines, balut-makers in Pateros are renowned for their careful selection and incubation of the eggs.

Fertilized duck eggs are kept warm in the sun and stored in baskets to retain warmth. After nine days, the eggs are held to a light to reveal the embryo inside. Approximately eight days later the balut are ready to be cooked, sold, and eaten. Vendors sell cooked balut from buckets of sand (used to retain warmth) accompanied by small packets of salt. Uncooked balut are rarely sold in Southeast Asia. In the United States, Asian markets occasionally carry uncooked balut eggs. The cooking process is identical to that of hard-boiled chicken eggs, and baluts are eaten while still warm.

Duck eggs that are not properly developed after nine to twelve days are sold as penoy, which look, smell and taste similar to a regular hard-boiled egg. In Filipino cuisine, these are occasionally beaten and fried, similar to scrambled eggs, and served with a vinegar dip.

The age of the egg before it can be cooked is a matter of local preference. In the Philippines, the ideal balut is 17 days old, at which point it is said to be balut sa puti ("wrapped in white"). The chick inside is not old enough to show its beak, feathers or claws, and the bones are undeveloped. The Vietnamese often prefer their balut mature from 19 days up to 21 days, when the chick is old enough to be recognizable as a baby duck and has bones that will be firm but tender when cooked. In Cambodia, it is eaten while it is still warm in its shell. It is served with nothing more than a little garnish, which is usually a mixture of lime juice and ground pepper.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Latest News on Brown Outs in Marinduque

Candle Power-photo by Daisy Catague Cababasay

Here's the latest news on brown outs in Marinduque, by Eli Obligacion( from Marinduque Rising-marinduquegov.blogspot.com) posted July 20,2011. Along with this article (Notes below) are two comments from a Marinduque resident expressing his frustration on this irritating event in the life of all Marinduquenos. Fellow Marinduquenos, It is time again to tune up all our generators or purchase one, if you have not done it already.

"Marelco informs that based on “Fuel Run Out Dates of NPC-SPUG” furnished by the Department of Energy (DOE) to the electric cooperative there will be an impending power interruption in Marinduque. Marelco, however, states that Marinduque NPC-SPUG based in Bantad has informed them that power interruption could take place beginning today (as it already has), “because of a defective unit at Power Barge 120” at Balanacan harbor.

It will be recalled that in May this year, Marelco announced that it published in March 2011, an invitation for bidders to participate in the bidding for the supply of a brand new Modular Type Diesel Hybrid Power Plant in Marinduque. Bidders were to have a capacity to initially deliver more or less 3,000,000 kwh per month to the Marelco system. During the annual membership meeting in May, it was then announced that at least three bidders have applied for eligibility and participated in the bidding.

According to Marelco’s schedule of activities, opening of bids and comparison with Best New Entrant Rate (BNER), was scheduled to take place last July 8. Negotiation and Award of a Power Supply Agreement (PSA), is to take place on August 9, 2011, with award of contract and issuance of Notice to Proceed (NTP), taking place on September 5, 2011. This new agreement is also to specify that commercial operation by the new power provider is to commence after 270 days from the award of contract - that is, by June 2012. No update on this matter has been released by Marelco, so far.

From the looks of it, therefore, the island-province of Marinduque is in for another year of power uncertainties during this transition period unless effective intervention is undertaken by the energy authorities now, repeat now..."

Note: This is a comment of a Boac resident who went to Manila to get away from brown out prone Boac showing his frustration. "It's good to be back in the city with electricity and water supply". May nagtanong sa akin-kailan ka po balik MDUKE? Sagot ko - kapag nasa saykopatik na ang mga taga MARELCO at NAPOCOR (Someone ask me when will I go back to Marinduque? My answer-as soon as the employees Of MARELCO and NAPOCOR are in the psychopatic wards.

MARELCO and NAPOCOR are the two entities involve with electrical power supplies to the island. To my readers who are pure tagalogs, please excuse my english translation of the tagalog commnents in bold.

Here's a second comment from the same resident above addressing it to the Governor of Marinduque, Carmencita Reyes. Below is my attempt to translate it in English for my non-tagalog speaking readers.

Dear Lola Carmencita; kayo din lang po ay mahilig magpakita ng Pugutan sa Mduke sana po pinugutan ninyo ng dalawang ulo si Manager Bueno ng Marelco kasama na ang mga Board of Directors - dahilan ng paghihirap ng mga mamayan ng Mduke sa bulok nilang pamamahala sa Kooperatiba. Sana rin po sa tuwid na daan na kayo dumaan at huwag na sa dating daan kung saan puro bayad pulitika at sariling interest lang ang iniisip.

Dear Grandma Carmencita: Since you are very enthusiastic in showing the Beheading of "Longinus" in Marinduque(Pageant during Holy Week),I wish you would have also beheaded two-headed Manager Bueno of Marelco along with the Board of Directors. The people of Marinduque are suffering from their mismanagement of the Cooperative. I wish you would follow the right and correct way, not the old way which is based on pure politics and self-interest.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Save the Post Office! Mail your Card Greetings via USPS

This Post Office is Saved: Thanks to my wife and a few others who still mail birthday and other card greetings to Relatives and Friends -Photo from kensavage.com

My wife*(see note 1) is still using the postal service to mail birthday cards greetings to her relatives in The Philippines. I used my FaceBook account or electronic card via e-mail to send birthday greetings to relatives and friends here in US and in the Philippines. My wife has no FB account, so she is trying to help the USPS financially by mailing her card greetings to relatives and friends in the Philippines. I still mail via post office about 10% of my monthly bills, the rest of my bills is paid by automatic deduction on-line from my bank account. But in spite of our help to keep the Postal Service in business, the following announcement in last week newspapers attracted my attention. One station identified is near us here in the Sacramento Area. The closure of these offices will add to the depressing unemployment statistics**(see note 2 below) in the US.

"The Postal Service has marked 677 post offices nationwide for possible closure or consolidation, according to a listing provided to Congressional staffers by the U.S. Postal Service. The closure is part of cost cutting measure proposed by the USPS to the US Government Post Regulatory Commission.

The hearing, titled “Making Sense of It All: An Examination of USPS’s Station and Branch Optimization Initiative and Delivery Route Adjustments” heard that the Postal Service is expected to lose approximately $7.1 billion by the end of FY 2009. The USPS proposed to cut these loses through a combination of post office closures, price increases and other efficiency drives.(What?,another increase in postal rates!)

Not helping the USPS is a drop in mail volume caused by consumers switch online for information previously received by mail, and recession hit companies looking to reduce their mail volume by emailing accounts.

The proposed cuts are expected to save $1 billion annually. The “Post Office closing list” contains post offices that have been “identified” for full study for closure, meaning that all might not close".

How about you? What percent of your bills is still paid by mail instead of on-line?
Do you still send birthday greetings by snail mail? How often do you mail packages through the post office? Who is next in line? I am predicting the manufacturers of Birthday, Easter, and Christmas cards will soon be also losing money unless they diversify and sell other products.

Note 1*: The recipient of my wife's birthday greeting card was her first cousin in the Philippines. Her cousin called her today to thank her for the card. Her cousin reiterated to her that it is no longer customary to send birthday cards by mail, so he is really appreciative of the gesture. Last year she sent the same cousin a birthday card. I told my wife then why just sent him an electronic card via e-mail or just greet him in my Face Book account. My wife says she is not too comfortable doing on-line work and it is much easier for her to send the card by post office mail. I hope there are still several hundred thousands of senior citizens( or not) who are not comfortable using the computer. They will be the saviour of the US Postal Service.

Note 2**: The number of jobless in the U. S., according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, rose to 9.2 (14.1 million individuals) percent for the month of June, up a percentage point from May. That is the official number. But if one considers the marginally attached, the part-timers that are underemployed (hopeful of gaining full-time or more meaningful employment), and the discouraged (no longer looking for work), the statistics are actually higher -- 16.2 percent (24.9 million individuals).

Friday, July 22, 2011

Lowest and Highest Point in My Professional Career

Mt McKinley-the highest point in the United States

I have often been asked by friends and relatives, what were the lowest and highest point in my professional career as a Chemist here in US. Without hesitation and doubt, my most unhappiest moment or the lowest point in my career was when I was laid off with only one day notice (fired/restructuring) from my job as a Principal Research Chemist for Stauffer Chemical Company in Richmond, California.

Also without hesitation, I can state without doubt that the happiest moment or the highest point in my professional career was my promotion to Chemistry Team Leader in FDA including the award I received for expediting the manufacture of a burn ointment needed by the terrorist victims of the 9/11/01 bombing in New York and Washington, D.C.

The following are excerpts from my autobiography, on the two unforgettable events(low and high) in my professional life.(http://theintellectualmigrant.blogspot.com)

Lowest Point in My Professional Career:The Death Valley of My Life

In 1974, I had a choice of working for a private company or the Federal government. I chose to work for Stauffer Chemicals in Richmond, California because I needed the money (higher salary than what the Federal Government was offering me at that time). I started as a Research Chemist and after 10 years (1984) reached the position of Principal Research Chemist. This is the highest technical position ( without supervisory duties) attainable in the company at that time. In 1986, a mass of layoffs occurred at Stauffer Chemicals. The company was getting out of the pesticide business. I was one of 60 employees relieve of our duties after just one day of notice. I just can not described the feeling of being laid off after 12 years of service and good performance. You feel betrayed and unappreciated, and envious of the other employees not fired. How I wish I took the Federal job offered to me at the time. With this experience, I vowed I will never work for a private company*.

Death Valley-the lowest point in the United States

Highest Point in My Professional Career-The Mt McKinley of My Life

I was hired by FDA as a Research Chemist in 1990. In 1994, I was promoted as Expert Research Chemist( GS-14). In 1997, I was again promoted to Chemistry Team Leader, supervising the work of six reviewers ( five with doctorate degrees). As far as I know, I was the first Filipino-American who has achieved this position in FDA. As team leader, I was responsible for prioritizing, assigning, and assuring the technical accuracy of all chemistry, manufacturing and control issues for all new drug applications submitted to the Division of Anti-Infective Drug Products. As team leader, I also give advice, instruct and promote high morale and teamwork in my group. In 1998, I won the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Award. The citation reads, “For outstanding accomplishments in fostering the objectives of the EEO Program by hiring minorities and encouraging their professional growth while providing excellent leadership.”

I have received numerous certificates of appreciation, awards in leadership and communications, commendation for teamwork and excellence in the accomplishment of the FDA mission. I have also received several letters of appreciation from private industry for my review work.

In 1995, I was elected to the United States Pharmacopeia, (USP), Committee of Revision(CR), Standards Division. As an elected member, I was responsible for establishing standards of identity, safety, quality, purity of drug substances and drug products as well as in-vitro and diagnostics products, dietary supplements and related articles used in health care. Election to this body is a very selected process. It is held every five years. In 1995, there were more than 700 scientists nation-wide from academia, government, and industry who volunteered to serve. USP narrowed it down to 256 final nominees. Of the 256, only 128 were elected. Election to the USP Committee of Revision confirms that the person is both the national and international expert in the field of election. In my case, it was in the field of antibiotics, natural products and botanicals.

The University of the Philippines Alumni Newsletter congratulated me with this statement, “ We join with your colleagues and your family in congratulating you for this singular honor, which brings prestige to the Philippines as well”. In March, 2000 I was reelected for another 5 year term.

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

The most heinous crime of the century produced thousands of burnt victims. Two drugs in my Division, Sulfamylon and Silvadene, approved for the treatment of burns were out of supply. A chemistry manufacturing supplement has to be approved as soon as possible to manufacture more of these ointments in a new facility. This required a review by the chemist, an inspection of the facility by a field inspector, my approval as the chemistry team leader plus the paper work by the project manager. The drugs are needed immediately, so we have to do an expedited review of the manufacturing supplement. It took us only 12 hours to approve the new facility and the review of the chemistry supplement and its manufacturing and control procedures. This review normally will take at least one month to three months depending on the availability of the field inspector and the schedule of the review chemist.

In December, 2001, the four members of my review team received a special cash award and recognition award from FDA management for our work on expediting review of two drugs, Sulfamylon and Silvadene. Of my more than a dozen awards I had, this one is the most appreciated. I felt that I have done my job as a public servant and had helped the victims of the terrorist attack in a timely manner. In January, 2002 I received another award for my work on Doxycycline, an antibiotic needed to treat anthrax victims due to bio terrorism activities from unknown terrorists.

*Afterthought: I should really thank Stauffer Chemical Company management for firing me even after 12 years of excellent performance. This experience gave me an incentive to work for the Federal Government, otherwise, I would probably be working in the laboratory all my life. FDA had challenged me to my utmost ability. I learned not only to be a "work" oriented but also a "people" oriented human being. My 12 years in FDA had been the most productive and satisfying years of my professional career.

Note: For continuation of my FDA employment experiences, read http://lifeinus1960present.blogspot.com or my autobiography above.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Wine and Health-Part 2

This is Part 2 of the article Wine and Health by Frank Cabunoc, guest blogger from Fairfield, California. Frank is a wine aficionado and indeed a true oenophile.

In over 400 studies conducted around the world, many of them long-term and in large populations, they have concluded that most healthy people who drink wine regularly and moderately live longer. The only group exception, whose members should not consume any alcohol, is pre-menopausal women with a family history of breast cancer.

Wine’s nutritional content is minimal, inasmuch as there is no fat, cholesterol, or dietary fiber in any wine. It is only with excessive drinking would anyone reach their Minimum Daily Requirement for calories, carbohydrates, sodium, protein, vitamins or minerals, all of which all wines contain insignificantly. Each one’s specific content varies between types of wine, based upon color, alcoholic strength and residual sugar. The key to the beneficial aspects of drinking wine are regularity and moderation. The importance of this consumption pattern cannot be over emphasized. An occasional serving of wine is better than none, but overindulgence can be considerably more harmful than total abstinence.

Regular moderate wine drinking was discovered to be the one consistency. Studies in England found the occurrence of coronary disease to be much higher in heavy or binge drinkers and even higher in abstainers. It is very important to note that Europeans generally drink wine and water with their meals.

Wine is not a cure-all and not everyone should drink wine. There are instances when no one should drink any alcohol. When combined with specific over-the-counter or prescription drugs, for example, alcohol in any form can produce an adverse reaction. Wine should not be furnished to people with inflammations of the digestive tract, peptic ulcers, liver disease, pancreatitis, kidney or urinary infections, prostate disorders, epilepsy, or alcoholism. As mentioned earlier, pre-menopausal women with a family history of breast cancer should abstain from drinking any alcohol, including wine.

Excessive drinking or overindulgence is possibly the worst health problem of consuming wine or any alcoholic beverage. Ingesting too much ethanol at one time will cause headaches, nausea, and other symptoms for anyone, regardless of individual tolerance to other compounds in wine. Drinking alcohol too much or too fast leads to loss of control and judgment. A couple of glasses of wine may help relaxation and lower blood pressure, but four or more raises blood pressure to a level of concern.

When wine is consumed, alcohol enters the bloodstream while it passes from the stomach to the small intestine and continues to the liver which uses an enzyme called dehydrogenase to break down and eliminate alcohol from the body. Medical evidence suggests factors of body size; muscle mass, food intake, gender, and experience affect one's capacity to avoid drunkenness to some degree. On average, a healthy human can metabolize one-half ounce of alcohol per hour. The best rule to follow is to not consume more than one drink or 4 ounces of wine per hour, regardless of size, sex, or a full stomach.

Whenever it is practiced in moderation and consumed with food at mealtime, wine drinking may develop cultural and sociological patterns that actually help to prevent alcoholism. The vast majority of healthy individuals may enjoy wine regularly and moderately as a pleasure that supports and prolongs a gracious life. Here's another video on benefits of wine in moderation.

Note: I agree with the last sentence(in bold). If you are a beer drinker, could you site an article on the health benefits of beer. Again, here's my toast to you all my readers, Salud, Peseta y Amor!( Health, Money and Love).!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wine and Health-Part 1

Yesterday, I posted an article discussing which is better for your health, wine or beer. I indicated that there were more articles in the Web indicating that wine is better than beer. Today, I have another article from Frank Cabunoc, guest blogger from Fairfield, California, on Wine and Health. You are reading Part 1 now. I will post Part 2 tomorrow. Again, enjoy this very informative article.
Wine and Health

Wine has been used by man for ages and there is enough evidence of the benefits derived from drinking wines. It has been used for spiritual enrichment and to cure health problems for thousands of years. Modern science is proving what many cultures have known for many years, that moderate wine consumption is good for your health. There has been a vast spending of money into research studying wine and disease. Because of the complexity of disease, a direct correlation between wine and health is difficult to establish. But there are trends that are evident that indicate potential positive benefits of moderate wine consumption.

Behind all of the medical claims about wine and health is scientific evidence. The science of wine and health is receiving attention from both the medical community and wine lovers alike. Researchers are constantly learning about the chemicals and processes involved with wine and the human body. What we do know provides the backbone for physicians and researchers to find the association between wine and health.

Most of the pathogens that threaten human lives are inhibited or killed off by the acids and alcohols in wine. Because of this fact, wine was considered to be a safer drink than much of the available drinking water up until the 18th century. The alcohol in wine is a mild natural tranquilizer which reduces anxiety and tension. As part of a normal beverage with meals, wine provides the body with energy, with substances that aid digestion, and with small amounts of minerals and vitamins, and it also stimulates the appetite. Moreover, wine works to restore nutritional balance, relieve tension, sedate and act as a mild euphoric agent to the convalescent and the aged.

In the 1970s, a cardiovascular study showed moderate drinkers had 50 per cent fewer deaths from coronary disease than non-drinkers. The country of France has one of the lowest rates of heart disease in the developed world despite their high fat diets, smoking and drinking. The French have the highest per capita wine consumption in the world. This phenomenon is known as The French Paradox, and the results of this study changed our view on wine and health. The typical diet of people in France includes a very high proportion of cheese, butter, eggs, organ meats, and other fatty and cholesterol-laden foods. This diet would seem to promote heart disease, but the rate of heart disease among the French was discovered to be much lower than Americans. Herein lay the paradox.

Moderate and regular consumption of red wine may prevent coronary disease and some forms of cancer. The chemicals responsible are catechins, also known as flavanoids and related to tannins. The catechins function as anti-oxidants, they prevent molecules known as free-radicals from doing cellular damage. One particular form of flavanoids, called oligomeric procyanidin, proved to prevent hardening of the arteries.

There are chemical compounds in grapes and wine especially red wine, grape juice, dark beers and tea, but are absent in white wine, light beers and spirits called resveratrol and quercetin. Many clinical and statistical evidence and laboratory studies have shown these may boost the immune system, block cancer formation, and possibly protect against heart disease and even prolong life. A recent study indicates that resveratrol also inhibits formation of a protein that produces a condition called cardio fibrosis, which reduces the heart's pumping efficiency when it is needed most, at times of stress. More proof suggests that wine dilates the small blood vessels and helps to prevent angina and clotting. Moreover, the alcohol in wine helps balance cholesterol towards the good type.

Research on obesity and extending life span is ongoing, and it is a mistake for anyone to radically change their consumption pattern based on preliminary data. A study of obese mice showed that doses of resveratrol prolonged their life spans, but for a human to duplicate this dosage using wine, one would need to drink over 250 gallons per day.

Wine consumption might even preserve cognitive function in the frail and weak elderly. Many European studies have shown the prophylactic effects of regular light to moderate alcohol consumption may include the prevention or postponement of Alzheimer's and Parkinson’s diseases and other forms of dementia. It begs us to ask if wine could be the original brain food.

Another study showed that moderate, regular consumption of wine or beer decreases the risk of peptic ulcers and may help to rid the body of the bacteria suspected of causing them. In contrast, both over-consumption, especially of beer, and any regular consumption of spirits at all, even at a low level, seemed to increase the ulcer risks.

Other medical research and studies point to multiple benefits of regular moderate wine drinking that may include lowered risks of stroke, colorectal tumors, skin and other types of cancers, senile dementia, and even the common cold, as well as reduce the effects of scarring from radiation treatments.

Here's a video about wine( red, white and rose). CHEERS!

Types of Red Wine -- powered by ehow

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Wine versus Beer: Which One is Better For You?

My next door neighbor is a beer drinker. He claims it is better than wine. I did not agree with him. We had an interesting discussion on the subject that lasted for 15minutes. At the end of our friendly debate, I told him, I will do some web search on the subject and post it in my blogs. There are several excellent articles on the subject. Several articles stated wine is the winner and only one article states beer is better. Here's an article that confirms my belief than wine is better for your health than beer.

Medical researchers have known for quite a while that drinking alcohol moderately seems to have a beneficial effect on health, particularly on heart disease. Now a new study by Danish researchers suggests that wine drinkers have a substantially lower death rate than people who drink other forms of alcohol, according to an article published in the Sept. 19 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

"There certainly seems to be a difference in the effect of drinking wine compared to beer or spirits. Wine drinkers appear to live longer," Morten Grønbæk, MD, tells WebMD. "Wine appears to have a beneficial effect on cancer mortality, as well as on mortality due to heart disease." Grønbæk is a research associate professor at the University of Copenhagen and lead author of the article.

"Alcohol is a pleasure many people enjoy, and it appears to actually make your arteries younger," Michael Roizen, MD, tells WebMD. "Alcohol in moderation seems to be beneficial unless a particular person has reasons to avoid it. We're talking here about small amounts of wine: one to two drinks per day for a man, and one-half to one drink per day for a woman." Roizen is professor and chairman of the department of anesthesia and critical care at the University of Chicago School of Medicine and author of the book Real Age: Are You As Young As You Can Be?

In the study, researchers looked at survey data on drinking patterns for almost 25,000 men and women, as well as data on death rates from national registries. This is the largest study of its kind so far. They found wine drinkers decreased their risk of death by a third compared with nondrinkers. People who avoided wine but drank other forms of alcohol showed a 10% reduction, compared to nondrinkers.

This was after researchers took other lifestyle factors into consideration -- such as smoking, exercise, age, and education level -- that may have had an effect on the results.

"This is a very interesting and somewhat provocative finding," says Barry Meisenberg, MD. "It fits with numerous other studies that show alcohol can reduce overall mortality. If someone already has the habit of drinking small amounts of alcohol, they can take comfort from this study." Meisenberg is an associate professor of medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

"However, alcohol is a two-edged sword," he emphasizes. "While small amounts may have beneficial effects on mortality, when you go much above that amount the effects are reversed. The exact transition point may differ for every individual." For this reason, he does not believe physicians or public health officials should advise people to drink alcohol.

There are many individual patients who should not consume even small amounts of alcohol, he notes, due to conditions such as gastritis, liver disease, or medications used for high blood pressure. Alcohol has lots of calories, so drinking alcoholic beverages could be a problem for people who are dealing with obesity. "Consumers should first discuss this issue with their own physicians to find out whether they have something in their personal health history that could make even small amounts of alcohol dangerous," says Meisenberg, who also is head of the division of hematology and oncology, and deputy director of the university's Greenebaum Cancer Center.

Source: Here's to Your Health: Wine vs. Beer, Spirits By Elaine Zablocki
WebMD Health NewsReviewed by Merle Diamond, MDSept. 18, 2000

Note: Macrine and I are both moderate wine and beer drinkers. In the Philippines we drink more beer than wine, because it is much cheaper and we love San Miquel beer. In the US, we drink more wine than beer, because of the numerous selection of good wines here in Northern California. How about you? Are you a wine or beer drinker, if you drink alcohol at all?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Average Cost of Getting Married in US

Last year, my niece got married here in the US. She spent around $35,000 not including a one week honeymoon in Bora Bora, Tahiti. I thought it was really an extravagant wedding, until I learned today that the average expense of getting married here in US is about $29,000. My niece by the way had two wedding ceremonies, one civil here in Northern California followed two months later with a Roman Catholic Wedding in the Philippines. The reception was held at Chateau Du Mer Beach Resort in Marinduque, Philippines. The US wedding was more expensive even though the guests were limited to 100. The Philippine wedding was much cheaper because the wedding venue was free ( my gift as the primary sponsor). Accommodation for some of her US guests was also free. There were around 350 guests at the reception. My niece and her Mom spent only about $3000 for the wedding ceremony in Marinduque not including the 5 days honeymoon in Boracay Island, Aklan.

Incidentally, Chateau Du Mer has been a venue of both Garden and Beach Wedding Ceremonies in the Philippines as shown in the above photos.

Note: The dollar figures quoted above are my educated guess. I am sure however that my niece sold some of her stocks and cashed in $50K. I do not know how much the groom contributed, but their 5 days honeymoon in Tahiti cost them 10K. Nine years ago, we have a family wedding. The cost at that time was 25K. So, how much are you willing to spend for a wedding in your family? Would you rather save the expense and used it as down payment for a house or maybe a condo?

If you reside in the Philippines and money is not your problem, I highly recommend Bellarocca Resort in Buenavista, Marinduque as a wedding venue. However, be prepared to spend at least 2 million pesos( current exchange rate is 43 pesos for one dollar)or about $45,000.

You have however a much cheaper alternative. The rental for Chateau Du Mer for one day is only 7000 pesos or about $163. You may choose a Garden or Beach Wedding site.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Russell Watson and my Two Favorite Arias

It is time to talk about music in this blog. The following two videos are of Russell Watson, one of my favorite tenors. Enjoy!

If you have not heard of Russell Watson, here's a short write-up about his latest activity in London( Source: mailonline.com UK).

After beating two brain tumours Russell Watson defends his new girlfriend... and says cancer improved his voice By David Wigg last updated at 9:12 AM on 19th November 2010

Tenor Russell Watson has been invited to sing in the Royal Variety Show, at the London Palladium next month. For him it is the icing on the cake in a year which is seeing him ­making a triumphant comeback after a long struggle back to good health.

Two devastating brain tumours had threatened to bring an end to a ­successful career which had seen him sell seven million records, win two Classical Brit awards and sing for The Queen, the Pope and President Bush.

Russell Watson considered suicide at his lowest point during cancer treatment but the thought of his family drew him back. Life-saving surgery, weeks of radiotherapy and a long spell of depression left him convinced he might never sing again. At one point he even ­considered suicide.

But the standing ovations he received for his starring role in the new musical Kristina, written by Abba’s Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson, at London’s Royal Albert Hall earlier this year, helped restore his confidence.

A lucrative record contract with the Epic label, who are releasing his new album, La Voce, next week, and a nationwide comeback tour set for next year, went the rest of the way to convincing him that he was at last back on the road to the top.

‘It’s been a long, hard struggle’, he says, ‘and I’ve shed a lot of tears along the way. But now I’m filled with new hope.’

Note: I have several of his records in my music collection. How about you?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Wine Grape Growing, Production and Chemistry-Viticulture and Enology

Last week, I wrote an article asking my readers if they are an oenophile. Today, I am very delighted to feature a guest article about Viticulture and Enology from a guest writer who is an oenophile and a wine aficionado. Thank you, Frank for this very informative and excellent article on wine production.

Wine Grape Growing, Production and Chemistry by Frank Cabunoc, Guest Blogger
It is summer in California and it is time to go out and enjoy outdoor activities. One of our favorite places to visit is the Napa and Sonoma valley wineries to see the lush vineyards, wine production and wine tasting rooms. In wine tasting they teach you about the basics of smells, texture, color and about grape varieties, how wine is made, what wine goes with what food and exposes you to the culture surrounding wine. Try to visit various types of winemakers from the small ones to the prestigious vintners and learn about various ways they make wines and taste the variety of wines made from all the different places. In this article you will be exposed to what makes the taste of the wine from growing grapes, wine production and wine chemistry.

Grape Growing
The most important factors of wine grape growing are the annual life cycle of the vine, climate, terrain, vineyard management, pests and diseases, terroir, and planting grapes. Of these aspects, climate is one of the most important. Vineyards thrive best in moderate climates that are between 20 and 50 degrees Latitude on both sides of the Equator. These are mostly temperate countries such as areas of Southern Europe along the Mediterranean Sea and many places in the USA which includes California. In the southern hemisphere wine grapes flourish in Chile, Argentina, South Africa and Australia.

California has many varied terrains suited to a large number of varietals. It refers to the soil type as well as the local topography. Grape growing is affected by the composition, fertility and slope of the soil in a vineyard. When planting grapes, the grower must determine which grape varietal to plant based on the characteristics of the land. In California, root stocks and clones to be planted need to be chosen with great care, because wine grape growing is affected by many different factors.

Not all aspects of the grape growing process are left to nature. Vineyard management also has a deep impact on the finished product. Successful vineyard managers are knowledgeable with the physical aspects of their property, and make grape growing decisions accordingly. Grape growers constantly need to be on guard against pests and diseases. There are many strategies that are used to minimize these threats. For example, phylloxera can be controlled through grafting Vitis vinifera cuttings onto Native American root stocks. Some organic growers do not use pesticides and instead use other insects to control the vineyard pests. They grow other plants beside the vineyards where the predator insects propagate and protect the wine grapes by preying on the pests.

Throughout Europe, specific varietals have been grown in certain regions for centuries. After growing grapes in the same place for many years, managers became aware of the aspects of their land that make it unique. Grape vines particularly respond to localized features that are inherent in the vineyard. This complicated notion is known as terroir.
The annual life cycle of the vine lasts from early spring to late fall. Several wine grape growing regions in California Wine Country have very long growing seasons, especially in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties.

Wine Production
Wine Production was first seen around 8,000 years ago in Georgia, in the Caucasus area. But it wasn’t until 1857 that French chemist Louis Pasteur correctly described the science behind fermentation and Wine Production. Because crushed grapes contain all that is needed to create wine, ancient wine producers simply allowed nature to take its course. As time went on, people realized that by intervening at certain times of wine production, they could make a wine with more predictable characteristics. At present, during the primary fermentation, cultured yeast is added to feed on the grape sugars and let yeast cells multiply, producing carbon dioxide gas and alcohol.

One of the first things winemakers realized was that red wine production required that the grapes be fermented in contact with their skins. This gives the wine color and body for red wines. In contrast, most white wine production does not occur in contact with the grape skins. White wines are valued for their fresh fruit characteristics, and skin contact would impart unwanted bitter tannins.

Sparkling wine or Champagne production is a complex process that has been honed for centuries in the Champagne region of France. Several California wine producers also use these traditional wine production methods. Wine undergoes a second fermentation in the bottle, trapping carbon dioxide and giving it bubbles.

The fortified wines have a spirit infused on them which is usually Brandy. Fortified wine production can make either sweet or dry wines. If the spirit is added during fermentation, some residual sugar will remain in the wine and a Port will result. If the spirit is added at the end of fermentation, a dry Sherry will be made.

There are a number of sweet wine styles produced in California using many different wine production techniques. Grapes affected by botrytis cinerea or “noble rot” make deeply concentrated wines with high residual sugar. Another technique vintners can use is harvesting the grapes very late in the season when they are already very ripe and sweet and using them for sweet wine production.

Wine Chemistry
Wine chemistry explains the flavor, balance, color, stability that was once only possible through subjective description. Understanding the principles of wine chemistry will open your eyes to a new level of wine appreciation. Wine chemistry can be as simple or complex as you want. There is always another level of depth, from the chemical components of wine in taste perception, to the balance of various phenols, acids and sugars. This balance is:

Sweet Taste (sugars + alcohols) <= => Acid Taste (acids) + Bitter Taste (phenols)

The phenols are a class of molecules that account for the taste, smell, medical benefits and diversity of wine. Because wine is 95% water and alcohol, the differences found in wine are derived from that 5%. Phenols give wines their distinguishing characteristics; and are broken down into flavanoids and non-flavanoids.

Flavanoids and non-flavanoids are wine chemicals that have a profound impact on wine quality, color and flavor. These molecules are largely influenced by acidity, and interact with acids to form complicated, yet important molecules. Acidity may be the most important aspect of wine chemistry.

The majority of these acids are produced naturally by the vines, but their relative levels are adjusted based on a multitude of factors. One of them is the alcohol content, which is an indication of the sugar in wine. Sugar is converted to alcohol by fermentation; thus the sugars present and their relative concentrations in the grapes are important for the overall character of the wine’s chemistry.

Balance in wine allows the fruit flavors of the varietal to show through. The chemical nature of varietal aromas gives insight into why certain wines taste the way they do. The wine chemistry explains why you love a certain varietal, and don’t care for others.

Note: This a second article by Guest Blogger, Mr. Frank Cabunoc. He is from Quezon City, Philippines. Frank and his wife Mildred reside in Fairfield, California.
Frank, Thanks a million again for a well written article on the science of Viticulture and Enology.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Biodiversity Crises in the Philippines. Can We Do Something to Reverse this Trend?

Sea Cactus or Anemone? Anyone knows its common or scientific Name?

Here's an article about an environmental crisis in the Philippines that attracted my attention recently. The title is "Hottest of biodiversity hot spots found in Philippines". It was written by Kristine L. Alave and published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer dated Jun 1, 2011.

What can we do as ordinary citizens to reverse this trend? I believe it is not too late. Let us do something before it gets worse. Do you agree?

"Years of unmitigated and destructive human activities have plunged the Philippines in a biodiversity crisis that could take decades to reverse, environment officials said on Tuesday.

The Philippines is one of the world's most biodiverse places, but its marine and wildlife riches are under threat because of intrusive manmade activities, according to Undersecretary Demetrio Ignacio of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

"The Philippines is one of the most threatened in the world. The rate of extinction of species is 1,000 times the natural rate because of manmade activities," Ignacio told the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Champions of Biodiversity awards.

"It is a crisis. We are the hottest of the hot spots," he said.

Rodrigo Fuentes, executive director of the Asean Center for Biodiversity, said the entire Southeast Asia region was in danger of biodiversity loss.

Fuentes described it as a "silent" crisis. "You don't see it, but you feel it. We are in the midst of it."

"Habitat loss, unsustainable use of resources, climate change, invasive alien species and pollution have not been arrested and continue to negatively impact biodiversity," he said in a statement.

These threats have contributed to the decline in the mangrove, coral reef, seagrass, forest, agro, peatland and freshwater ecosystems, Fuentes noted.

Reversing the trend

Officials said it would be difficult to reverse the trend because it often took years to get ecosystems back in balance.

Moreover, people and governments only realize the loss of species and ecosystems when the crisis is there, making recovery harder and more expensive, Fuentes said.

Ignacio said the Philippines' main problem was the loss of habitats due to deforestation and coastal denigration.

He cited as an example the recent discovery of black coral poaching in the seas of Mindanao, a part of the Coral Triangle where one of the world's richest marine resources can be found.

Coral reefs are considered to be "rainforests of the seas," providing food, nutrients and protection to many marine species.

The loss of one species could have a domino effect on other creatures that depend directly and indirectly on it, the officials said.

Unmitigated logging

In the Philippines, deforestation is caused by unmitigated logging and urbanization.
According to the DENR, the Philippines has 8 million hectares of denuded and idle forest lands. A recent study by Conservation International (CI) said only about 4 percent of the Philippines' forests remained as natural habitat for many endemic species.

Forest lands are being cleared to make way for food production and other activities to meet the needs of the country's rising population, now around 90 million, CI noted.

According to the DENR, the country loses about 2 percent of its forests every year. The Philippine government is seeking to reverse the trend by planting 1.5 billion trees in six years.

Poor coastal management and unregulated fishing have contributed to the decline of water resources and coastal areas, the environmentalists said.

The World Wide Fund for Nature recently said the Philippines used to have more than 27,000 square kilometers of healthy coral reefs.

However, 50 years of destructive commercial and unregulated fishing have left less than 5 percent in excellent condition, with just 1 percent in pristine state.

Ignacio said the DENR could not quantify the country's biodiversity loss, noting that there had been no assessment of it. "It takes a huge amount of resources," he said.

Widespread destruction

Mundita Lim, director of the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau, said the destruction of Philippine coral reefs to get rare and valuable black corals appeared to be wider than initially reported. The area could be five times the size of Manila, she said.

Lim noted that it would take years for the reefs to recover their original health as corals are "slow growing" creatures. Black corals, for instance, grow only 2 millimeters a year. It could take 50-100 years for the black corals to grow to their adult size, Lim said.

The waters off Mindanao are not the only part of the country that are under threat from marine poachers. The entire Philippine coasts and seas are their harvest grounds, Lim said.

Turtles, which are critically endangered, and sharks have been poached and sold illegally for their meat and fins in China and Taiwan where demand is high, she said.

The Philippines has 36,289 kilometers of coastline and is considered to be the world's second-largest archipelago.

But environment officials said they did not have enough manpower and resources to guard the country's coastline and seas".

Note: I wrote about Gecko (Tuku) illegal sale activities in this blog recently. Do you know what is the latest news on this subject?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Three More Styles of Scam Letters, I Received Recently

Last week I posted a typical scam letter in this site. In the posting, I also included a reader response to my posting on Chain Letters. My reader informed me that he received a call about from a Man in Nigeria informing him that he won $10 million dollars in a lottery and to get his winnings he has to send a $5000 processing fee from his bank account here in US. I responded that it is a scam and he should never send a single dollar or any information about his bank account.

This week, I received three more scam letters in a different style. I am posting it for your information. Have you received similar letters recently? I am posting the three letters verbatim, that is no correction of typos and grammatical errors.

Letter Number #1:
Good day!!

You are hereby informed through board of directors that since you are not capable to send the require fee to enable us deliver your check to your address noted and the board have submitted your check to ECOBANK OF GHANA to cash the check to avoid expire of your check of $2.5m US,dollars, which i kept for you, i went and deposited it with FEDEX as Consignment, so you have to contact them.

Below is the Deposit details.
Deposit Number: PLCC-101-PL45
Deposit Certificate N0.: 405576
Consignment Description: 1 Box Sensitive Photographic Film Material
Depositor: Rev David Owomah

The Directors name is ( DR.PARKIS TED)
Direct Telephone :+233 5487-30329
Email Address: fedex.couriercom2@hotmail.fr

Send below information to company with consignment details above.
Your full name_________________________
Your address__________________________
Your country___________________________
Your age______________________________
Your occupation________________________
Your Phone number______________________

Note that i paid for the delivering Charges except their Security Keeping Fee of $195 USD which they said no,
because they don't know when you will contact them in case of demur-rage,
So you are to pay the $195 as soon as you contact them.

Rev.David Owomah

Letter # 2
Hello Good Day,

It is my pleasure to reach you after our unsuccessful attempt on our business transaction. Well, I just want to use this medium to thank you very much for your earlier assistance to help me in receiving the funds

Now I am very happy to inform you about my success in getting that fund transferred. I later succeeded with the help of a new partner from South Korea Margate Freda. Now I want you to contact my secretary on her email address below and receive your compensation of $850.000.00 USD Bank Atm Master Card dollars from her;
Name Mrs. Rose Martin
E-MAIL ADDRESS ( mrsrose_martin@yahoo.co.uk )
PHONE NUMBER +226-7493-0179

Kindly send her the following below information;
Full Name:
Telephone (Mobile/Home/Office)
Occupation and Your scanned ID
Note that if you did not send her the above information complete, she will not release the Bank Atm Master Card for you because she has to be sure that you are the rightful owner of the Atm

Remain blessed,
Mr.Ugochi Frank

Finance & Credit Account Depth,
Head of Banking & Treasury.
Letter # 3
Good Day.


I am a banker. I work in the credit and accounts Department as the Head of Banking and Treasury. This is an investment/partnership business proposal which I believe, will be of mutual benefit to both of us.

I need your co-operation to transfer the above mentioned sum of (£62,950,000.00 (Sixty Two Million Nine Hundred and Fifty Thousand British Pounds Sterling) out of United Kingdom to your account. I am confident that you will give your consideration to this proposal and response positively within a short period of time. I am available to discuss this proposal with you and to answer any questions you may have in regard to this fund.

As soon as you give your positive response to this proposal, I will not hesitate in sending you the details information of this business. This transaction is 100% RISK

If you are interested, please fill and forward me the following information as below to start the transfer process accordingly.

{1} Your Name/company's name and full address:.............
{2} Bank....................................
{3} Bank Address............................
{4} Account No:........................................
{5} Swift Code or Routing #..................................
{6} Account Holder's Name..........................
{7} Your telephone Number both Home, Office &
and fax Numbers:..................................
{8} Your Occupation:........................................

I look forward to discussing this opportunity further with you.

Mr. John McFarlane
Credit Account Depth,
Head of Banking & Treasury.
#39 Brown Road London
Tel" +447045761447.

Note: Is there a a state or federal agency that can investigate these scam letters?
Probably there is, but they have no budget or personnel to do work. These kind of fraudulent activities are very low in their priorities. So, my dear readers beware again of SCAM letters.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Do Filipino Women Make Good Wives?

The answer to the above question is yes and no. However, in general Filipino women do become good wives if you are a good husband yourself. I am married to a Filipina who grew up in the US, and I could definitely say, she is an excellent wife, because I am a good husband. Marriage is not a one side proposition whether your mate is a Filipina or not. It takes two to make a good marriage. Speaking of marrying a Filipina, I found the following article very interesting and realistic. It is must read for those who are looking for a Filipina mate. Answer the 20 questions and calculate your score. Question #20 is my own question. If you score high, a Filipina woman is in your future and good luck!

So You Want to Marry a Filipina? Why?Don't get me wrong, I think it's a great decision for many men, but definitely not for everyone. Too often Filipinas are tossed into that broad and meaningless category of "Asian Women." Why do I say meaningless? Typically that category would include Filipino, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Thai, and Malaysian women, amongst many, many others. Yet these people have different languages, different ethnicities, different religions, and different cultures. About the only thing they have in common is that they can see the same ocean if the make it to the beach.

For that reason I discourage any man from marrying a Filipina simply because he has some mythical notion (which the Internet tends to perpetuate) that all women from that area of the world are pretty much the same.

Anyway, here's a little test for you prospective husbands. There are two aims here: first, to determine how much you actually know about your prospective wife's homeland and culture, and two, to check your ability to deal with certain nuances once the marriage is official. Be honest, because you're the only person who knows your score, and there aren't any cash prizes!

1. Have you ever been to the Philippines?

2. Can you find the Philippines on a map?

3. Can you list three languages, other than English, spoken in the Philippines?

4. What are the three primary religions/denominations in the Philippines?

5. When did the Philippines become a U.S. colony? When did it become fully independent?

6. Why do Filipinos typically have Spanish names?

7. Do you plan on having children? Preferably several?

8. Are you at all reluctant to accept your new wife's family as your own, and if not, are you prepared to provide financial assistance to your new, extended family when they need it for schooling, medical care, or food?

9. Are you tolerant of superstitions?

10. Do you like soy sauce, garlic, and fried foods?

11. Do you like raw fish?

12. What is the preferred utensil when eating? Silverware, chopsticks, none?

13. Do you know how to bow properly?

14. Do you anticipate that your wife will be submissive and obedient?

15. Are you getting married basically for the sex? Be honest now!

16. If you are not Catholic, and your wife is, how will you raise your children?

17. What is the difference between a Tagalog, Ilocono, Zambal, and Visayan?

18. How does a Filipina differ from a Japanese woman? A Thai woman? Why does that make her a better choice for you?

19. Are you marrying a Filipina because you pretty much hate the women of your own country?

20. ( My own question): Do you know of anyone with Filipino roots in their ancestry?

Answers and comments:

1. Have you ever been to the Philippines? Yes=5 pts.

2. Can you find the Philippines on a map? Yes=1 pt.

3. Can you list three languages, other than English, spoken in the Philippines?

1 pt for each language. Examples: Tagalog, Ilocono, Visayan, Cebuano, Zambal, etc.

4. What are the three primary religions/denominations in the Philippines? 83% Roman Catholic, 9% Protestant, 5% Muslim. 5 pts if you selected these three correctly (percentages are not, of course, required for a correct answer).

5. When did the Philippines become a U.S. colony? When did it become fully independent? 1899, 1946. 5 pts. for each date.

6. Why do Filipinos typically have Spanish names? The Spanish Friars forced the native Filipinos to take Spanish names during the Spanish colonial period. When the Spanish arrived the local priests & friars began to baptize the local people into the catholic church and undertook the first registration of births, marriages and deaths, this way they could effectively manage their new congregations. Naturally, they did not consider names like Lapu Lapu to be very Christian, so they gave baptized them with new Spanish names. Correct answer=3 pts.

7. Do you plan on having children? How many? 1 pt for each child.

8. Are you at all reluctant to accept your new wife's family as your own, and if not, are you prepared to provide financial assistance to your new, extended family when they need it for schooling, medical care, or food? If you're prepared to help your in-laws, financially, as if they were your own family, give yourself 4 pts.

9. Are you tolerant of superstitions? Yes=2 pts.

10. Do you like soy sauce, garlic, and fried foods? Yes=5 pts, No=(-5 pts)

11. Do you like raw fish? Yes=(-5 pts). Trick question. 90% of Filipinos don't. One site visitor tells me that on Mindanao, kinilaw (with raw fish) is very popular, but if you know what kinilaw is, you shouldn't be taking this test anyway! Some Americans eat raw beef, too, but it's not the norm.

12. What is the preferred utensil when eating? Silverware, chopsticks, none? None. Finger foods include rice and just about everything else. Silverware is used selectively, and chopsticks not at all (at least no more than any American might use them). None=5 pts, Silverware=1 pt.

13. Do you know how to bow properly? Yes=(-2 pts).Trick question. Filipinos don't bow. If you were thinking of the "mano po" gesture, give yourself +2pts instead. If you don't know what that means, you don't get the points, and it wouldn't hurt you to figure it out before you meet the girl's parents!

14. Do you anticipate that your wife will be submissive and obedient? No=2 pts. Filipinas are generally non-confrontational, but that should not be mistaken as submissive. They are simply more sophisticated in getting you to do what they want you to do. They may hesitate to challenge you in front of other people, also, to save you from embarrassment. Even when you are clearly off your rocker.

15. Are you getting married basically for the sex? Be honest now! No=5 pts. Sex is part of marriage (well, most marriages), but what do you plan on doing with the other 96% of your day? She's not going anywhere, you know. She might even want to talk to you!

16. If you are not Catholic, and your wife is, how will you raise your children? Just something to think about. No points either way. You'll both have to decide, and the odds are that she's more devoted to her religion than you are to yours, so be prepared for some soul-searching on this matter.

17. What is the difference between a Tagal, Ilocono, Zambal, and Visayan? These are ethnic divisions within the Philippines, each with its own distinctive culture, foods, and language. In the last century the divisions were referred to as "tribes." But don't be misled. Tagals, Zambals, etc., are not rivals, at least not in modern times. A Filipina can maintain her local ancestral heritage and still happily remain "Filipino." Comparing these groups is not unlike comparing Southerners to Californians to New Englanders in the U.S. 5 pts if you got this one right.

18. How does a Filipina differ from a Japanese woman? A Thai woman? For one thing, unless she's from Mindanao, odds are that she's a very devoted Christian. She's probably got Spanish, Malaysian, and Chinese blood in her, and possibly even American. In general, she speaks excellent English. Filipinas come from a nation that is very western. In fact, after centuries of Spanish and American rule, the Philippines more closely resembles Mexico than Japan or China. If you got the general idea right, give yourself 5 pts. Why does that make her a better choice for you? That's for you to decide. No points.

19. Are you marrying a Filipina because you pretty much hate the women of your own country? Yes= (- 25 pts). I know that sounds like a rather draconian penalty, but you have to realize that hating an entire gender, even within the confines of a single country, just isn't reasonable. Odds are that your mom, grandmother, and sister weren't Filipinas, right? Did you hate them, too? It's one thing to say that you believe that you'll have a greater chance of finding the woman you want in the Philippines, but it's quite another to say that all the woman from your own homeland are unworthy of marriage. If you're marrying a Filipina, it should be because of who she is, not who she is not. That she isn't from your own homeland in no way guarantees she will be any more suitable for you than any other woman.

20. If he or she is a closed friend, add +5 pts. If he or she is just a casual acquaintance, add +3 pts. If you have not met any one with Filipino roots/ancestry, deduct-3 pts.

Calculating your Score (below)

60+ pts: Either you're from the Philippines or you're already married to a Filipina. If not, you certainly did your homework! Congratulations!

40-59pts: Not bad at all. I'd proceed with my plans if I were you, but it wouldn't hurt to educate yourself a little bit about the Philippines.

20-39pts: Hmmm...average showing. Well, at least you've got the knowledge and qualifications it would take to pull this off, but I think you might meditate a bit longer before committing yourself.

01-19pts: Is it Philippines or Phillippines or Phillipines? Danger! Danger!

0 and below: This can only end in disaster, you realize.

Source: www.asawa.org
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