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, June 30, 2012

A Tribute to Marinduque and Its Overseas Workers

Balanacan Cove, Mogpog

A poem as a tribute to Marinduque and its Overseas Workers All Over the World(OFW).

marinduque rising: Marinduque by Victor Perlas Vizarra: VICTOR PERLAS VIZARRA, a Marinduqueno abroad shares this poem, and thanks to him, "a tribute to my beloved province of Marinduque and it...

Friday, June 29, 2012

Writing Styles, Chronological Age and Gender

Would you be able to guess ( within + or – 10% accuracy) the chronological age/gender of a writer-poet or blogger only based on his or her style of writing on a neutral subject ( a subject that do not require years experience to write) or perhaps a poem that he/she has written on a neutral subject.

My answer will be a 90% definite no and 10% yes. I have several blogger friends and professional writers that claimed they can guess the age of the writer not on his style of writing but on the subject, the writer claimed to be his/her expertise.

For example a blogger who writes about computers will 99% be definitely not in the 70 to 80 years old group, but perhaps in their early 30's or 40's. A blogger who writes on joys of retirement will be definitely be in the over 65 age group, like myself.

I am not talking about the subject of expertise but on the style of writing, the choice of words used in the articles and the feeling and hidden meaning of the writer's words and expression on his blogs and articles.

I know there are three writing styles commonly used: narrative, expository and persuasive. Good writers used all of the above styles, but some writers are really good in only one or two styles. The narrative style is writing about personal or fictional story based on real or imagined event. The expository style conveys information and explain what is difficult to understand, whereas the persuasive style will try to convince the readers a particular point of view or take specific action.

In 2008, when I first started blogging, I received a comment from one of my readers that he thought I was in the 30-40 age group based on my writing styles and choice of words. I received his comment when one day I answered another commentator that I was 74 years at that time. Of course this was before I published in my short biography that I am a retired Filipino-American.

I am not sure if I am flattered or insulted that based on my writing style, I have been mistaken for a 30-40 year old blogger instead of my current status as a HEPTAGENARIAN blogger.

Here are two poems(only excerpt) written by a 19 year old writer-poet and by a 45 year old writer-poet. Let me know if you can match the poem with the age and gender of my two writer friends. I believe this is an easy task to do for most of you. Let me know of your answer via the comments section, please!.

Poem A: To built smart cities the laceration. Towards the pewter discoloration; Intelligence approach is the need rand. Hour and in order to catbird inland; Maximum out put and the smart mallow. Collaboration arrant playfellow. Approach that will be optimized led Of resources and due tantalum seashell. Been the need of the hour and overdose And sustainability attar toast; The smart answer to this oscillation While covering the soon bifurcation.

Poem B: When the game is over, The king and the pawn go Into the same box. Take rest; a field that has rested Gives a bountiful crop.

The whole world steps aside for The man who knows – Where he is going. To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world. Never fear shadows that Always means- There is a light shining somewhere.

The poems were written by two of the top ten contributors in pu.blish.us.com writing site.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The House of the Spirits-A Dramatic Movie

The House of the Spirits is a 1993 German-Danish-Portuguese dramatic film directed by Bille August and starring Meryl Streep, Glenn Close, Jeremy Irons, Winona Ryder, and Antonio Banderas. The supporting cast includes Vanessa Redgrave, María Conchita Alonso, Armin Mueller-Stahl, and Jan Niklas. Based on the 1982 novel La Casa de los Espíritus by Isabel Allende, the film is about the life of a young lady named Clara during the military dictatorship in Chile. Principal photography took place in Denmark, but some scenes were filmed in Lisbon and Alentejo, Portugal.

The House of the Spirits won awards at the Bavarian Film Awards, German Film Awards, the Golden Screen (Germany), Havana Film Festival, and Robert Festival (Denmark), as well as from the German Phono Academy and the Guild of German Art House Cinemas. I have read this book so I enjoyed this movie, but not as much as the book, where there are additional subplots and story lines that is just too long for a 2 hour movie. I recommend this book if you like Allende's writings.

Isabel Allende Llona (born in Lima, Peru, on 2 August 1942) is a Chilean American writer. Allende, whose works sometimes contain aspects of the "magic realist" tradition, is famous for novels such as The House of the Spirits (La casa de los espíritus, 1982) and City of the Beasts (La ciudad de las bestias, 2002), which have been commercially successful. Allende has been called "the world's most widely read Spanish-language author". In 2004, Allende was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and in 2010, she received Chile's National Literature Prize. Allende's novels are often based upon her personal experience and pay homage to the lives of women, while weaving together elements of myth and realism. She has lectured and toured many American colleges to teach literature. Fluent in English as a second language, Allende was granted American citizenship in 2003, having lived in California with her American husband since 1989.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Kalesa-Mode of Transportation during the 1920's

Me with Kalesa wheels as decor in a Restaurant in Buenavista

marinduque rising: Pleasures with Kalesas, Gasan's 'Kalesayahan': A mode of transportation in the Philippines during the Spanish period is the kalesa, a horse-drawn cart with two wheels that could take in.....

Here's a video showing the AUP choir from the Philippines singing the classic Filipino song Kalesa and other favorite Kundimans of the Islands.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Memories of Our One Week Vacation in Spain

Marbella Sea Side

Macrine and I visited the Costa del Sol area of Southern Spain, Marbella, Malaga, Granada and vicinity in 2000. We spent one week( October 5 to 13) in this coastal area of Spain. This was again through our International Interval Exchange Vacation Package. This is a time sharing experience that beats them all! Not even Cancun, Mexico or San Juan, Puerto Rico could equal the sights, sounds, the history and grandeur of the Costa del Sol area of Southern Spain. Our one week stay at the Four Seasons Resort and Country Club, in Marbella was not enough. We were joined midweek by our daughter Ditas and niece, Ella Lazarte from US. The highlights of our one week stay were the three one day tours that we took as follows:

1. Granada City Tour with Lunch with a visit to the Alhambra Castles and Gardens
This tour included a short driving tour of Malaga and passed by the bull ring staduim. On the way to Granada, we enjoyed the sights of almond and citrus trees and olive plantation. It also included a lunch for two. At that time it cost us 8500 pesetas ( exchange rate at that time was 170 pesetas equals $1). To me this is a bargain, since I do not have to drive or rent a car ($70 per day for car rental). In addition, the tour guide knowledge of the area help you appreciate the tour more. We met another American couple during this tour. Most of the tourists are English or Germans with a few Americans.

2. One Day Tour of Gibraltar, including a winding ride to the Top of the Rock with the Barbary Apes and St. Michael Cave and some free duty shopping (For details see Article No.3)

3. One Day Tour of Tangiers, Morocco, highlighted by shopping and a Moroccan lunch and a ride on a German Hydrofoil yatch across the Gibraltar Strait. (For details see Article No. 4).

The Spaniards were very friendly, and very willing to help and answer questions of tourists. With my knowledge of Spanish, I felt home right away. My maternal ancestry and roots in Spain made me want to return and perhaps stay a little while longer. One week is indeed not enough to really savour the delights of Southern Spain.

The food specially seafoods( paella), wines and pastries were delicious and served promptly with gusto. The resort personnel were very helpful in arranging taxi service, tour planning, tickets confirmation, wake-up calls and other services. Someday, I like to go back to Spain and perhaps visit Seville, Cordoba and Barcelona. Here's a short video about Malaga.

Málaga (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈmalaɣa]) is a city and a municipality in the Autonomous Community of Andalusia, Spain. With a population of 568,305 in 2009, it is the second most populous city of Andalusia and the sixth largest in the country. This is the southernmost large city in Europe. It lies on the Costa del Sol (Coast of the Sun) of the Mediterranean Sea, about 100 km (62.14 mi) east of the Strait of Gibraltar and about 130 km (80.78 mi) north of Africa.
Málaga enjoys a subtropical climate. Here are the warmest winters in Europe, with average temperatures above 17.2 °C (63.0 °F) during the day in the period December to February. The summer's season lasts about 8 months, from April to November, although also in December and March sometimes there are temperature above 20 °C (68.0 °F). Málaga, together with adjacent towns and municipalities such as Rincon de la Victoria, Torremolinos, Benalmadena, Fuengirola, Alhaurin de la Torre, Mijas and Marbella, forms the Málaga metropolitan area, with a population of 1,046,279 according to 2009 data.


Marbella is a city in Andalusia, Spain, by the Mediterranean, situated in the province of Málaga, beneath La Concha mountain. In 2000 the city had 98,823 inhabitants, in 2004, 116,234, in 2010 circa 135,000.

Marbella and the nearby Puerto Banús are important beach resorts of the Costa del Sol. Marbella is a popular destination for tourists from Northern Europe, including the UK, Ireland and Germany as well as the US.

The area around Marbella is particularly popular with those who like golf. Marbella also hosts a WTA tennis tournament on red clay, the Andalucia Tennis Experience

Would you believe that Marbella and the whole Costa del Sol area is littered with Chinese restaurants? Across the bridge from the Four Seasons are two Chinese restaurants. Ditas and Ella were dying to have chinese food after their two weeks sojourn in the interior of Morocco (Fez). One day, while we were in downtown Marbella, I talked to a Chinese lady. She said there is a labor organization in Spain that imports Chinese waitresses and cooks to serve in 6-months rotation at restaurants in several cities of Spain and Italy. It sounds like the Philippines OFW ( Overseas Filipino Workers) program.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Street Dancing Festival in Gasan, Marinduque, Phl

One of the most attended event during the annual Moriones Festival in Marinduque is the Gasang-Gasang Street Dancing held on Easter Sunday morning. The following video is a group from Masiga, the barangay where the airport is located and not too far from Chateau Du Mer in Amoingon.

Here's a brief description of the Festival from E Obligacion, http:// travelblog.org :

This is an Easter Sunday Festival held in Gasan town where the only commercial airport in Marinduque is located. This blogger( E. Obligacion) was invited by the town's lady mayor in 2002 to help conceptualize a new daytime Easter festival for Gasan as it competed with the other towns in terms of attracting visitors during the Holy Week celebration. The Marinduque towns of Mogpog, Boac and Gasan draw the most tourists because of the unique Lenten rituals and practices observed here.

Gasan prides itself as the cultural nerve-center of Marinduque with good reason. It was in Gasan where the moriones tradition was discovered by local journalists in the 1960s. Prior to this there was no other account of any Philipine festival that is characterized by the use of masks. Menfolk of the towns of Mogpog (where the tradition originated), Boac and Gasan don wooden masks during the Holy Week with attires similar to those worn by Roman soldiers.

On the streets they engage in mock enactment of the role played by Longinus and the Roman soldiers in the life of Jesus Christ. Longinus was the blind soldier who gave Christ the coup de grace when he pierced the Crucified Christ with a spear. Blood and water according to the legend gushed from His side and cured the blind Longinus of his ailment. He renounced his role as a soldier and preached the miracle of Christ. This caused his head to be cut off as punishment from the empire.

While the moriones practice continue to be popular, the bigger community population also welcomed an activity that they could take part in. Thus, the Gasang-Gasang Festival. Participants need not wear masks this time, but are required to wear headgear and costumes inspired by the moriones. Barangay contingents come in strong with costumes that make used of indigenous materials, with choreographed dancing in the streets.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Prayers for Bobby- An Award Winning Film

This film is a must see if you are a parent with gay or lesbian children. Watch it to cure your homophobia, if you are homophobic. Prayers for Bobby is a 2009 television film that premiered on the Lifetime network on January 24, 2009. It is based on the book, Prayers for Bobby: A Mother's Coming to Terms with the Suicide of Her Gay Son, by Leroy F. Aarons, which is itself based on the true story of the life and legacy of Bobby Griffith, a young gay man who killed himself due to his mother's and community's homophobia. The film stars Ryan Kelley as Bobby Griffith and Sigourney Weaver as his mother, Mary.

The film was nominated for two Primetime Emmy Awards (Outstanding Made for Television Movie; Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie - Sigourney Weaver). In the same category, Sigourney Weaver was also nominated for the 2010 Golden Globe Award, as well as the 2010 Screen Actors Guild Award. The film won the 2010 GLAAD Award, and the producers were nominated for the 2010 Producers Guild of America Award. The film won the Audience Favorite Award at the Seattle Gay and Lesbian Film Festival.

Prayers for Bobby is produced by Once Upon A Times Films, Ltd in association with Permut Presentations and Sladek Taaffe Productions. Executive Producers are Daniel Sladek, Chris Taaffe, David Permut and Stanley M. Brooks

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Philippines no Longer the Best Place for Retirement

In a recent issue of CNN magazine, The Philippines was not included in the list of of top 4 places that US and Canadian retirees favorite destination for retirement. I am indeed wondering, since the standard of living, climate and several other advantages ( English speaking and friendly natives) in the Philippines are the best in the world.

Is the country's infrastructure, safety concerns ( Southern Philippines) and political corruption, the reasons why it was not listed as one of the best places in the world to retire? What do you think? The following are the four overseas places listed in the article published in the CNN magazine just recently.

1. Cuenca, Ecuador Population: 330,000 Starting home price: $75,000* 2011 price change: N.A.

These days overseas retirement has gotten so popular that Costa Rica is close to becoming a cliché. "This generation is more open-minded, better educated, better traveled, and healthier than any generation before it," says Kathleen Peddicord, founder of publishing group Live and Invest Overseas. Combine that with favorable foreign-exchange rates and a crisis that wiped out many nest eggs, she says, and "the idea is suddenly not so crazy anymore."

In recent years, Cuenca, Ecuador, has become a favorite of Peddicord and others as a retirement destination, and it's easy to see why. Cuenca offers temperate weather, beautiful architecture, and modern health care, all for a fraction of the cost of living in the U.S. and the national currency is the U.S. dollar. That opening-home-price figure, $75,000, is not a typo. Health care and property taxes are dirt-cheap too.

The coastal city is currently home to a few thousand expat retirees, mostly from the U.S. and Canada. New arrivals can choose from one of the many new condo developments or spring for a landscaped historic estate for $300,000. One thing to keep in mind: Ecuador is a developing country, and creature comforts like, say, American electronics are often either unavailable or command a premium. But for today's globetrotting, adventure-seeking retirees, that's part of the thrill.

2. Bangkok Population: 8.2 million Median home price: N.A. 2011 price change: N.A. With cost of living in Asia far lower than in the states, adventurous retirees are heading to Thailand for deals.

3. Panama City Population: 430,299 Median home price: N.A. 2011 price change: N.A. Decent infrastructure and friendly tax policies have made Panama's capital an expatriate favorite.

4. Paris Population: 2.3 million Median home price: N.A. 2011 price change: N.A. The City of Light is pricey, but rich in both culture and health care.

In a recent posting from CNBC, ten places to retire based on the cost of living, housing costs, health care (both quality and accessibility), cultural and recreational options and if there’s already an expat community there, the Philippines was not also in the list. In this list includes the following places arranged in alphabetical order: Buenos Aires( Argentina), Corozal (Belize), Central Valley, Atenas( Costa Rica), Languedoc-Rousillo (France), Le Marche (Italy), Puerto Vallarta (Mexico), Granada ( Nicaragua), Boquette ( Panama), Cascais (Portugal) and Costa del Sol (Spain).

Note: In my list, Marinduque, Philippines is still the number one place in the world for retirement (not the big cities in the Philippines).

Friday, June 22, 2012

Bank of America and Its Hidden Fees

I have been banking at Bank of America for the last 30 years. For the most part I have been satisfied. But I have to mention an incident about six months ago that infuriated me. I always thought, I had an overdraft protection on my checking account. However about six months ago, I was charged a $35 fee when my balance went down to negative $1.50. Evidently my SS and pension checks were one day late. Today, this has been settled and hopefully this incident will not happened in the future.

Bank of America infuriated many customers last fall when it attempted to implement a $5 fee for using a debit card. It comes as a surprise then that the bank is the most transparent one out of the 12 banks in the survey. All the disclosure information Pew looked for is available online. In fact, Bank of America spelled out the extended overdraft penalty fee directly on the account webpage, the only institution to do so. Although Bank of America has not adopted the same schedule as Chase Bank, Weinstock said it has been receptive to Pew’s recommendations.

Bank of America has been considered the worst-run of the large banks. Its buyout of Merrill Lynch in late 2008 cost the bank billions of dollars in losses. It still uses the Merrill brand for much of its brokerage and personal financial operations. Bank of America also bought mortgage lending giant Countrywide Credit in early 2008. Losses from Countrywide’s large prime-prime mortgage portfolio further damaged Bank of America’s balance sheet.

Wall St. compiled a list of the top and bottom three banks in terms of their transparency with customers regarding checking account fees. Pew measured how 12 different banks disclosed nine different pieces of information regarding checking account fees:

- Minimum deposit needed to open an account - Monthly fee - Requirements to waive monthly fee - Non sufficient funds fee - Overdraft transfer fee - Overdraft penalty fee - Maximum number of overdraft fees per day - Extended overdraft penalty fee - Posting order

Bank of America is Number 1 in compliance as of today!

Online Disclosures: 9 of 9 Information Available on Account Webpage: 5 of 9 Information Unavailable Online or at Branch: 0 of 9 Revenue: $115.37 billion

Be sure you know the fees charge by your bank from the nine transactions above.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Joke of the Decade-Obama versus Romney


As election is coming near, My thoughts wander if President Obama can be reelected. I believe he will be since I will be voting for him again. This win will not be a landslide. I have a few members of my immediately family who will not vote this coming election, because neither Obama or Romney tickles their fancy. The following article printed 4 years ago, is a joke that will last for a decade. Do you agree?

News in Brief- November 5, 2008 | The Onion: Issue:44•45 Black Man Given Nation's Worst Job

WASHINGTON—African-American man Barack Obama, 47, was given the least-desirable job in the entire country Tuesday when he was elected president of the United States of America. In his new high-stress, low-reward position, Obama will be charged with such tasks as completely overhauling the nation's broken-down economy, repairing the crumbling infrastructure, and generally having to please more than 300 million Americans and cater to their every whim on a daily basis.

As part of his duties, the black man will have to spend four to eight years cleaning up the messes other people left behind. The job comes with such intense scrutiny and so certain a guarantee of failure that only one other person even bothered applying for it. Said scholar and activist Mark L. Denton, "It just goes to show you that, in this country, a black man still can't catch a break."

Here's the latest projection of the coming November election.

Recent polls clearly indicate that the White House race between President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney will be very tight. In fact, this coming presidential election may be the nail-biter of the century! Major polls now show the two candidates running neck and neck, with a significant percentage of voters still undecided.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Are You a Coffee or Tea Enthusiast?

Can you start your day without Coffee? Not Me! For the last 50 years, I have had this habit of starting the day with a cup of strongly brewed coffee. But before you judged me that coffee is bad for me and I am wasting a lot of money on this drink, allow me to explain. First, I grind my own beans and brewed coffee at home. I seldom purchase coffee at Starbucks. The coffee in Starbucks is overpriced. My personal experience is that the Dunkin Donuts and McDonald coffee taste better. When I am in the Philippines, my favorite brand of coffee is Barraco from Batangas.

The following article from CNN Money Magazine confirmed my belief that an expensive cup of coffee is not always the best tasting coffee your money can buy.

“There are those of us who should not be allowed in public without having a cup of coffee first. That said, java is also an expensive habit. Luckily, you can have your cup and drink it too by cutting certain corners.

Look Before You Leap: Abstinence is the best policy with respect to saving money; but for most of us, when it comes to coffee, that's neither possible nor desirable. So before you take any drastic measures, simply track what you spend. Don't alter your buying habits; just spend a week chronicling your expenses. Though it may feel cumbersome at first, it can be illuminating to learn how, when, why and where you spend money.

Test Your Taste: Expensive doesn't necessarily mean you're getting a better bean, or a tastier one. Starbucks is getting more expensive -- the company recently announced a price hike -- but New York Magazine food critic Adam Platt found that patronizing the Seattle-based chain might not be worth it: In a blind taste test, Platt discovered that Starbucks ranked last in termed of taste -- and it's 31 cents more per cup than Dunkin Donuts. Opting for Dunkin Donuts over Starbucks could save you almost $230 a year. But it's always possible to be penny wise and pound foolish. There are also hidden costs: For instance, investing in fair trade coffee will save you and the planet more money in the long run. Common sense can also result in saving cents.”

To those of you who are not coffee drinkers, this article may not have any meaning. Again, do not talk to me in the morning before I have my cup of coffee, otherwise you will be fully ignored. To me a day without coffee is like a day without sunshine.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Dream of Owning an Island in the Philippines? Turn your Fantasy into Reality Now!

If you know your Philippine geography, you probably know that there are over 7,100 islands in the Philippine archipelago. Of these only 100 are populated. The rest are islands varying in area from less than 1000 sq meters or more. These small islands are mostly government owned. But there are small islands privately owned. Once in a while some of these islands are for sale. If you have the money and want to live like a Hermit or a Castaway, this is the time to buy one, so you can say you owned an island.

I know of a relative whose goal in life is to own an island. I told him, owning an island is not easy to achieve, and tried to change his dream to owning a beach house. He still dreamed of owning an island.

In general these islands are isolated and have no running water or electricity. But if it is not far from the mainland, this will not be a major problem. However, you will need a boat or banca ( gasoline powered ) or a sailboat. If you have the money, a speed boat for transportation to your own private island is highly recommended. I assume that if you are ready to buy an island, money is not a problem. If you are not a Filipino citizen, there are legal ways to solve this problem. So, if you are ready to buy an island in Marinduque, let me know via this blog. The prices for an island will ranged from $10,000 to $100,000 depending on the area and location. The photo above is an example of your own very private island in the Philippines.


There are special laws regarding the ownership and development of islands within the Philippines as they are regarded as national assets. By Presidential Proclamation all islands in the Philippines have a Moratorium on their status, this means that if they are currently Tax Declared or Alien and Disposable they can’t be upgraded to Fully titled. The result of this is that there are very few Fully Titled islands in Palawan. Also, no island under 5 hectares may be developed for commercial purposes, although this doesn’t prevent a residence being built there. br />
The same laws which apply to the development of beaches apply to the beaches of an island. Therefore, the surrounding shoreline of an island is the property of the Philippines Government, the owner of an island must apply for a “Foreshore Lease”. This covers the area from the Low Tide mark, to 30 metres from the Low Tide mark.


Impress your friends- Laugh at those back home- Live a healthier lifestyle - Eat a natural diet- Have independence - Live the castaway experience- Beach-comb - Have a slower pace of life - Be self reliant - Live a free life - Isolate yourself - Build an unusual house - Garden - Have sunshine every day - Cool breezes - Be spiritual - Find yourself - Have time alone - Write poetry - Write a book - Be Hedonistic - Cook in the open air - Get a tan - Get naked - Spend time with children - Picnic and climb trees - Indulge in art - Go fishing - Indulge in a hundred water-sports - Camp - Bird-watch - Explore the jungle - See marine life - Cheap holidays for all your friends and family - Be the biggest fish in your pond - Disappear - Make a fresh start - You can rent or resell.

Purchasing an island is THE best form of property investment for the following reasons.

1: “And on the 7th day God stopped making islands!” That’s my little joke, but its true. Islands are THE most limited real estate commodity on the planet. They can’t be created and as the world’s population grows, less and less become available.

2: Many countries prohibit the sale of islands for security or national interest, that means that the available market for islands is even more limited. This makes islands in countries that allow their sale (such as the Philippines) decidedly more valuable.

3: Privacy An island offers the ultimate in privacy. It’s your very own castle, protected by the nature’s own moat. You have the utmost sense of privacy in that you can patrol the boundaries of your little kingdom and see that you are lord of all that you survey.

4: Exclusivity. Theirs is nothing that can match the exclusivity of an island. An island by its very nature excludes and keeps out others. But it’s more exclusive in the sense of being special. What do many people do upon gaining great wealth? Buy their own island. From the Roman Emperor Tiberius’ island of Capri, to Hollywood’s stars of today, every person of wealth or celebrity dreams of owning their own island.

5: Safety: Again, the very nature of the island, being surrounded by water, gives you the additional safety of being able to keep out those who may threaten the safety of you or your family.

6: Romanticism: There is nothing more romantic, or idealistic than the dream of owning your own island. It’s the dream of every little boy (and some not so little) to run away to some island and live like Peter Pan, and the Lost Boys. Buying an island is an emotional, not a rational decision, and that’s why they sell so well.

7: Unique: Each island is unique. Like a woman they are all beautiful and have their own unique characters and appeal. Also each island has it’s own name and history. They are unlike any other form of property in that they are entire unto themselves.

8: Prestige: There is no more prestigious property in the world than a private island. A Castle on the Rhine, Private Villa in Bali, Mansion in Beverly Hills, Pied a Tierre in Paris, they all pale in comparison to the prestige of having your very own Private Island. Also buying owning your own island the universal law of most countries is that you can rename the island whatever you want. What better than naming the island after you wife or daughter? Or after yourself for that matter?

9: An island is never liable to property of boundary disputes with neighbors, it’s boundaries are clearly delineated by it’s shoreline. This is the time to turn your fantasy into reality.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Time for Some Violin Music with Sarah Chang

Sarah Chang (Korean: 장영주) (born December 10, 1980) is an American classical violinist. Her debut came in 1989 with the New York Philharmonic and the Philadelphia Orchestra. Shortly thereafter, Chang was recognized as a child prodigy. She enrolled at Juilliard School to study music, graduating in 1999 and continuing university studies. During the 1990s and 2000s, Chang had major roles including being a soloist with the New York Philharmonic. She has also performed in countries such as England, France, Germany, Netherlands, China, South Korea, and Japan.

She has collaborated with most major orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic and Berlin Philharmonic. For the 2004 Olympics, she was chosen to participate in the Olympic Torch relay in New York. Yale University dedicated a chair in Sprague Hall for Chang's name in 2005.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

An Award Winning Thai Film-The Love of Siam

The Love of Siam (Thai: รักแห่งสยาม, RTGS: Rak Haeng Sayam, pronounced [rák hɛ̀ŋ sà.jǎːm]) is a 2007 Thai gay-themed romantic-drama film written and directed by Chookiat Sakveerakul. A multi-layered family drama, a groundbreaking element of the story is a gay romance between two teenage boys. The film was released in Thailand on November 22, 2007. The fact that the gay storyline was not apparent from the film's promotional material initially caused controversy, but the film was received with critical acclaim and proved financially successful. It dominated Thailand's 2007 film awards season, winning the Best Picture category in all major events, The Love of Siam was received with critical acclaim upon its release. Bangkok Post film critic Kong Rithdee called the film "groundbreaking", in terms of being the first Thai film "to discuss teenagers' sexuality with frankness". He praised the mature, realistic family drama aspects of the film, as well as the solid performances, particularly by Sinjai Plengpanich as the mother Sunee. Another Bangkok Post commentator, Nattakorn Devakula, said the film contained important lessons for Thai society. "The point that the film attempts to teach viewers – and a largely conservative Thai society – is that love is an evolved form of emotional attachment that transcends sexual attraction of the physical form." A reviewer for The Nation called the film "brilliantly conceived". A few critics found fault with the film, among them Gregoire Glachant of BK magazine, who commented that "The Love of Siam isn't a very well shot movie. Chookiat's camera only records his dull play with equally dull angles and light as it wanders from homes to schools, to recording studio, and to Siam Square without sense of purpose or directions." The movie also reached a rating of 7.6 (out of 10) on the Internet Movie Database.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Amoingon Coast-Snorkeling Capital of Marinduque

marinduque rising: Amoingon beach colors: Just a few meters away from the pebble-strewn beach in the quiet coastal barangay of  Amoingon in Boac are coral gardens still home to a ... Personally, I like to promote the Amoingon Coast as the snorkeling capital of Marinduque and the Torrijos Coast as the diving capital of the province.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Three Ways to Control Your Retirement-Save, Invest and Live Smarter

In 2002, I retired from the US Food and Drug Administration. At that time besides my Social Security (SS ) and Civil Service(CS) pensions( Federal service), I was also withdrawing from my private savings. My SS and CS pensions could cover only about 50% of our monthly expenses.

To maintain our style of living to the standards before my retirement, I had to withdraw a regular monthly amount from my private savings, and from my mutual and stock investments.(IRA and mutual funds).

My private savings lasted only for 5 years. Luckily, my mutual funds was not seriously affected by the stock market downfall in the mid 1990's, because my investment councilor converted most of my stocks into a cash account. My cash account was earning a conservative but stable interest.

Today, based on the current business environment, my financial counselor and I calculated that my private investment could still last me another 10 years assuming that it will be earning at least 5% annual interest. As a safety factor, if I am still alive in the next 10 years, I have a private life insurance I could also cash in. If that is not enough, I could always apply for a reverse mortgage of my house which is almost paid( mortgage-free). I hope I do not have to do it, but if I live another 20 years, I may have to do it.

The following article from Fortune Magazine attracted my attention. It is titled three ways to control your retirement.

Save smarter: In today's low-yield environment, most of us must salt away more. Easy to say, hard to do. If your employer hasn't adopted the program, urge it to do so; and if it won't, then follow the program on your own. In choosing your saving rate, face the new reality of inflation. Experts debate whether years of monetary loosening in the U.S. and other major economies will push up prices significantly, but ignoring the risk would be foolish. Suppose you'd like your portfolio to pay you $100,000 a year (in constant dollars) for 30 years. With an after-tax return of 6% and inflation at 2%, a nest egg of $1.82 million will do the job. But if inflation turns out to be just one point higher than you assumed, at 3%, you'll need another quarter million dollars.

Invest smarter Back when we all thought we'd get 11% long-term annual returns, we could maybe afford to ignore fees and expenses. No more. It's time to get tough on the "helpers," Buffett's sarcastic term for the intermediaries who take bits and pieces of our investment returns. As he and Vanguard founder John Bogle constantly preach: Over decades, tenths of a point matter. Some helpers, such as the best fee-only advisers, are emphatically worth their cost. But in today's environment, investors must know exactly how much they're paying and for what. Investing smarter may also mean cleverly using your natural biases in your favor. Behavioral economists have found that we think of our spending in buckets -- one for dining out, say, another for travel, another for car expenses. The tendency isn't always rational, but Carnegie Mellon economist George Loewenstein has proposed that retirees harness it by setting up separate "pay the rent" and "spoil the grand kids" accounts. The rent account could be invested conservatively; the grand kids account could be invested aggressively for growth.

Live smarter It's a hard reality that many people will be living a bit less large than they had hoped in retirement, and maybe before. Don't fight that thought. Embrace it. We're living through the first era in history when significant numbers of people are being made unhappy by having too much rather than too little. The term is "affluenza," now the subject of books and academic research. Why are you planning to retire at all? It isn't to maximize income. It's to be happy. Millions of people are finding that having less makes them happier. Spending less and saving more is kind of like sushi: You have to be made to try it, but then you may find you love it. As conditions change, reaching our goals demands a new course. With the right strategy you can still find your way to a great retirement. It could even be a happier one than you'd expected.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Real Estate Prices Affected by FaceBook IPO Fiasco

I have never written an article about the real estate business in Northern California, in spite of residing here since 2002 after my retirement from the Food and Drug Administration. However, the following article attracted my attention and confirmed my belief that real estate prices are influence by the supply and demand principle. This is all related to the recent FaceBook IPO fiasco.THIS IS THE current situation now in Palo Alto, California where Mark Zuckerberg(FB guru)call his home.

Twenty years ago, my sister-in-law purchased a small house in Palo Alto, California near Stanford University. At that time, I told her she overbought since she paid almost a million dollars for the house which was old and not properly maintained. At that time, a similar house in my neighborhood was worth only about half the price for what she paid.

My sister-in-law is indeed very wise. She kept the house even after her two children graduated from college. Now she owns a property worth over 3 million dollars. I could hardly believe it, since her house is not even closed to Mark's Zuckerberg neighborhood.

Here's today's news on how FaceBook IPO affects real estate prices in Palo Alto, California.

It is titled " As Facebook goes, so goes Palo Alto Real Estate". By David A. Kaplan FORTUNE -- You can take the pulse of the prospects of Silicon Valley by checking stock prices, revenues, profits, hiring, even press clippings of various companies or instead maybe you should just look at the real estate market in Palo Alto, California.

After all, this is where Mark Zuckerberg lives, where Steve Jobs used to, and where countless entrepreneurs and their financiers want to move. When the price of that megalo-mansion just keeps going up -- hey, do you think it has a gift shop? -- we all say it's boomtown in the Valley. But when the value of that modest two-bedroom bungalow actually comes down near a meager $1 million, we say the end of the bubble may be nigh.

Not quite so, as many companies in the Valley, new and old, continue to soar. But the shortcomings of one iconic company, Facebook (FB), now seem to be taking their toll in Palo Alto. Before Facebook's May 18 IPO, when we last paid a visit to the town's oak-lined streets -- where even the trees have fabulous price values associated with them -- the housing market was going especially bonkers.

That's because so many sellers, expecting a bountiful IPO along the lines of the Google (GOOG) bonanza in 2004, kept their homes off the market. For the first quarter of this year, for example, the median price of a single-family Palo Alto home went up 11%, while inventory declined 57%.

All that changed when the Facebook IPO flopped. Since the stock peaked at $45 on the day it opened, it has gone as low as $25.52, a decline of 43% and 33% below its IPO price of $38. (It closed Tuesday at $27.40.) The result in Palo Alto has been a flood of houses going on the market. It's a small set of data, but it tells a story of vastly changed seller psychology. Right now, there are 104 houses on the market -- more than double the number over the winter, according to numbers culled from the Multiple Listing Service. Even compared to last June, inventory is up 44%.

In nearby Menlo Park, where Facebook's new headquarters are located, the trend is less pronounced. There are 103 houses currently on the market, up about 80% over the winter and nearly 20% more than a year ago.

"Facebook gave me a gift in showing my sellers there's no sure thing and don't-look-a-gift-horse-in-the-mouth," says Michael Dreyfus, a prominent residential real estate broker based in Palo Alto. "The "make-me-move" prices -- where a seller says, 'I know my house is worth $5 million but if somebody pays me $10 million I'll take it,' are over due to the Facebook bomb."

Today, my sister-in-law is a 3X millionaire on paper. She came to the US with only $100 in her pocket with an unlicensed degree in Nursing. She stayed with us for 6 months doing nothing but study for her nursing license. She passed the test after trying only for one time. Now, the rest is history. This episode in her life could happened only in the US, but specifically only in Palo Alto, California.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Senior Citizens-A Big Boost to the US Economy

Last Sunday, Macrine ( my spouse of 55 years) and I attended a birthday celebration of one of our oldest couple friends here in Northern California. The couple are both retired physicians and are celebrating their 85th( wife) and 90th(husband) birthdays as well as their 57th Wedding Anniversary. The last time we saw them was in the mid 1980's, although we received Christmas greetings from them annually. Thus, we were delighted to be invited and are still healthy enough to attend. This is an example that senior citizens are still a major boost in the economy of the US.

The party was held in the 14th floor of the Hilton Garden Hotel in Emeryville, California. There were about 100 guests about 90% senior citizens. The party started with a Thanksgiving Catholic Mass and followed by a lunch reception of either filet mignon or salmon steaks. At the party we also had a chance to get reacquainted with several of our former couple friends and neighbors in Pinole who were members of the Filipino-American Association and also friends from church in the mid 1980's. Of course all of them are retired.

The couple celebrant have also a similar lifestyle with us-that is they are also snow birds. Like us, they spend their winter months in the Philippines. What was outstanding was the entertainment after lunch that children and grandchildren offered to the guests. I was also surprised that both couples were still lively and strong. Not one of them needed assistance in walking and none of them had suffered a serious illness. Their goal is to reach their 100 birthdays. I have a feeling, they may be able to achieve this goal. Incidentally, the nonagenarian celebrant is our compadre. He is the godfather of our youngest son confirmation about 40 years ago. Our son is now 50 years old.

I also got to chat with another guest who was our former primary-care physician in the 1980's. He told me, he is still working part time and still a practicing surgeon part time that is two times a week. I am a little envious of his situation since we are about the same age.

It was indeed fun to reminisce our younger days. The above experience reminded me of the following article I am reading today from CNN money magazine as follows:

Retirement age must rise - OECD By Emily Jane Fox :

Gradually increasing retirement ages may be the only way governments can keep up with people living longer, a report said on Monday.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- As life expectancy continues to rise, a new report suggests that governments need to raise the age of retirement in order to keep up. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development said that by 2050, the average woman and man can expect to live roughly 24 and 20 years beyond retirement age respectively, up from 20 and 17 years in 2010. At the same time, retirement ages across many countries have stayed the same.

Without a change, the Paris-based economic think-tank said governments won't be able to pay for more people needing retirement funds for longer periods of time. "Extending working lives in a situation of slowly growing or declining workforces should provide an important boost to economic growth in aging economies," according to the report, which was released Monday.

The United States could use a boost. Social Security has already begun paying out more in benefits than it takes in from workers' payroll taxes. The trustees of the Social Security program reported in April that the program projects a $165 billion deficit in 2012. Social Security could pay promised benefits in full through 2033, the report said.

Raising the full retirement age gradually to 70 years-old could help plug this deficit by reducing Social Security outlays by 13 percent, the Congressional Budget Office reported in January. "With the fact that people are living longer, they should be partly responsible for meeting the cost of longer life expectancy," said Juan Yermo, head of the private pensions unit at OECD.

Today, the full retirement age in the United States is 66, up from 65 a decade ago. It is scheduled to increase by two months a year starting in 2017 until it reaches 67 in 2022. Meanwhile, 62 remains the age at which those who retire early can collect a percentage of their full benefits. The OECD suggested, however, that "67 or higher is becoming the new 65." "Extending the period over which you're contributing to the pension system would be less of a burden for everyone," Yermo said.

When will you be able to retire? Experts say that the benefits of keeping people in the work force could spread beyond social security.

"People today in their sixties are not only living longer, but they're healthier," said Don Fuerst, senior pension fellow at the American Academy of Actuaries. "They can be a productive part of our society, and our economy needs for them to be productive. They could give our economy a boost."

I can not end this article without telling you that I did asked my octogenarian and nonagenarian friends what is the secret of their longevity: They both answered: We tried to be active both socially and physically and we never stop smiling...

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Fire That Burns-A Controversial Movie

This is another French movie that I enjoyed. If you are homophobic, this may not the right movie for you. This is a very poetic movie both visually and linguistically on a controversial TOPIC of boy to boy to man-(priestly) love. I bet this is in the list of movies banned by the Catholic Church. It has an English subtitle. Click the CC button. If it turns read, the subtitle is on. Enjoy! A study of possessive love, obsession and jealousy which transcends the gay characters and disturbing priestly abuse aspect. The actors are wonderfully committed to their characters, who were believable and complex human beings. Beautifully realized, poetic both visually and linguistically, if a bit stark. Life can be stark. At the end, I came to love the old and wise Abbot, who knows precisely the parameters of Christian love. The Church needed more like him, as we have seen in the present. The screenplay is based on a semi-autobiographical play by Henry de Montherlant (1895-1972), which he began drafting at the age of 17, a year after he was expelled from an academy because of his friendship with another student; it was not published until 1951 because of its difficult subject: romantic friendships between schoolboys. The French title La Ville dont le Prince est un Enfant is taken from the Biblical text of Ecclesiastes 10:16 "Woe to the land whose king is a child." The limited action and long speeches in the film betray its origins in a play, but the director has managed to provide some variation in the locations of various scenes. Did you enjoy this movie? Comments?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Romantic Music from the Sound Tracks of Movies

The following video features romantic music from the sound tracks of ten of my favorite movies and specifically A Single Man movie directed by Tom Ford- a famous fashion designer. Enjoy

A Single Man is a 2009 American drama film based on the Christopher Isherwood novel of the same name. It was directed by famous fashion designer Tom Ford, who had to finance it himself, as it was his directorial debut. The film stars Colin Firth as the protagonist George Falconer, a gay British university professor living in Southern California in 1962. Music Composer: Abel Korzeniowski & Shigeru Umebayashi

A 14-minute trailer from the movie, A Single man based on C Isherwood novel of the same name.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Buy Olive Oil and Save the Economy of Spain and Greece

Yesterday news urged US citizens to buy Olive oil instead of any other cooking oil to help save the economic situation in Spain. This also probably true for the economic situation in Greece. Evidently, there is an oversupply of olive oil for the US market. The other country in Europe that export olive oil to the US is Italy. If all of us here in US buys olive oil instead of other cooking oil, the news is predicting we may be able to help alleviate the depressed economic situation in the above three European countries, particularly Spain. The news inspired me to search for more information about olive production and consumption in the US. Here's a short information on olive production and consumption that I found in the Internet.

Three countries are the major olive oil producers in the world. First is Spain, second is Italy and third is Greece. Together, they produce more than 75% of the world production. Spain produces around 30% of the world's olive oil, with 75% of this being produced in the region of Andalusia, particularly within Jaen province. In Italy the major producers are called "Città dell'Olio", "oil cities"; some of the most important are Lucca, whose oil is widely considered the best for acidity and stability, and traditionally used by oil merchant as a term of comparison, Florence and Siena, in Tuscany. However the largest production is harvested in Puglia. Portugal accounts for 5% of the worlds production and its main export market is Brazil.

Australia now produces a substantial amount of olive oil. Many Australian producers only make premium oils, while a number of corporate growers operate groves of a million trees or more and produce oils for the general market. Australian olive oil is exported to Asia, Europe and the United States. In North America, Italian and Spanish olive oils are the best-known, and top-quality extra-virgin oils from Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece are sold at high prices, often in "prestige" packaging. A large part of U.S. olive oil imports come from Italy, Spain, and Turkey. The U.S. imported 47,800,000 US gallons (181,000 m3) of olive oil in 1998, of which 34,600,000 US gallons (131,000 m3) came from Italy.

Olive orchards in California, and Texas and Arizona, as are producing olive oil that is appearing on USA grocery market shelves along side the Mediterranean olive oils.

Olive oil is by the way good for your health compared to other cooking oils. The reasons why most consumers do not buy it, because it is more expensive than the other cooking oils. But with oversupply of this commodity, the price is now comparable to the other cooking oils sold in your local grocery store. Buy a bottle of olive oil today and maybe help save the economy of Spain and Greece.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Are you Bored with FaceBook? "Airtime" may Relieve your Boredom

Recent news indicated that 30% of FB user are getting bored in using this social media site. One user commented that instead of checking his profile daily, he just check in on it once a week. He was ask why he is getting bored. He said FB newness has faded and to him it was just a passing fad. He wants something fresh and new. I tend to agree with the above member. So if 30% of the 900 million users of Facebook is bored, will this affect the stock price of FB? I will definitely agree, particularly if another social site can challenge FB domimance. In my article in Publish Us the other day, I posted eight sites that could challenge FB dominance. The sites are Twitter, LinkIn, Pinterst, Stumblr, Viddy, Google+ and two others sites that I have not heard before.

My dear readers what other features do you want to see in FB, besides posting pictures, sharing videos and playing games? In my case, I would like to see the chat option updated, so that you can see someone you are chatting with if you have a web cam, similar to Skype . This wish may have come true last Tuesday when Airtime was launched..Will this new feature relieve your boredom with FB?

The following article from NBC News, was just posted recently discussing Airtime? Airtime, a browser-based video chat service, launched on Tuesday. It's shiny, new and created by Napster co-founders Sean Parker and Shawn Fanning. It's also prone to taking snapshots of your video chats and sending them to trained Airtime employees, who review them for inappropriate content.

Sounds somewhat creepy, right? That's what I thought, so I had a lengthy conversation with an Airtime spokesperson who broke down what happens in the background, while you use the service. The details will probably still leave you feeling a bit uneasy, but it's better to be informed and uncomfortable than to be caught completely off guard. As you may know, Airtime is essentially a browser-based video chat service which relies on your Facebook identity. All you have to do is grab a webcam, head to the Airtime website and login using your Facebook account — no downloads or installations are required.

The service will allow you to video-chat with your Facebook friends or match up with strangers, based on location and shared Facebook interests. (Your identity isn't revealed to the strangers until you choose to share your name, mind you.) If you're not particularly charmed by your chat partner, you can simply click "next" and go on to the next one.

As we pointed out when we first covered Airtime, the service works a lot like Chatroulette — a site which randomly paired strangers up for video chats. The trouble with Chatroulette, of course, was that many users — ahem — exposed themselves on camera. We speculated that Airtime might simply be hoping that associating its users' Facebook accounts — and in theory, their real identities — with their Airtime usage might discourage them from getting indecent. But there's oh-so-much-more to how Airtime is trying to avoid the so-called "Chatroulette penis problem."

Smile! You're in a snapshot! Airtime's spokesperson tells me that the company invested significant amounts into the technology used to maintain user safety. In fact, the team dedicated to this task is by far its largest, by head count. A large portion of these Airtime employees are trained to analyze and evaluate abusive behavior — and to nip it in the bud. According to Airtime, when you have a video chat with a stranger — meaning someone who is not one of your Facebook friends — the service quietly takes snapshots. How often these snapshots are taken is determined by an algorithm which assigns a risk percentage to each user, based on how likely he or she might be to engage in inappropriate behavior. (Factors used to determine this risk percentage include — but are not limited to — age, gender, location, and the time the service is being used.)

As soon as these snapshots are taken, the spokesperson tells me, they are analyzed by a number of automated filters, which check, among other things, for the presence of a face and the luminosity of the image. (The assumption is that you are theoretically more likely to be engaging in inappropriate behavior if you are sitting in a dimly lit room.) The Airtime spokesperson refrained from elaborating further on the nature of the other filters used to analyze snapshots, explaining that this could potentially compromise some of their effectiveness. Wait — what did you say about someone looking at my video chats? Any snapshots which are deemed to be showing potentially inappropriate behavior — which according to the Airtime terms of service includes nudity, violence, animal cruelty, drug use and more — are flagged and sent to the Airtime's Tier 1 safety team.

The trained professionals who make up this team are able to view the flagged snapshot as well as a user's snapshot history in order to best determine if he or she is engaging in inappropriate behavior. Though each snapshot is associated with an individual's Facebook user ID, Airtime assured us that safety reps are not able to view any other user information. If members of the Tier 1 safety team believe that a snapshot displays behavior which violates the service's terms of service, they will escalate it to the Tier 2 team. Members of this second team have additional training which will help them determine whether a user should be permanently banned from Airtime — and whether there is a need to notify authorities. The policy is "one strike and you're out," says the Airtime spokesperson.

Are Airtime bans really permanent? There's currently no way to use Airtime without a Facebook account. So when a member of the service's safety team bans you, he or she is banning your Facebook identity. In theory, you could try to make a new Facebook account and use that to log back into Airtime, but there are roadblocks. "You have to demonstrate social behavior before you can get on the site," explains the Airtime spokesperson. Just as a credit card company might look at your credit history, Airtime looks at your Facebook history in order to determine whether it will grant you access. If you do not have a minimum number of Facebook friends, you will not be able to get onto Airtime. This minimum friend threshold, among other factors, makes it more difficult for banned users to regain access to Airtime by simply creating new Facebook accounts.

How long does Airtime keep these snapshots ... and why? Snapshots are stored indefinitely "for historical perspective" and to "detect abuse patterns," the Airtime spokesperson told me. This is, of course, outlined in the service's rather intimidating privacy policy. This long term storage struck me as startling, so I asked Jeff Hermes — director of the Digital Media Law Project at Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet and Society — for some perspective. "When we talk about privacy concerns, the primary question we have is whether there is sufficient notice given to users about whether their information is going to be stored," he explained. "We review these issues from the perspective of whether there is a legal issue."

There you are my friends, FB has a new application to relieve your boredom. Welcome to Airtime!.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Bent- Another Award Winning Film

Bent is a 1979 play by Martin Sherman. It revolves around the persecution of gays in Nazi Germany, and takes place during and after the Night of the Long Knives. The title of the play refers to the slang word "bent" used in some European countries to refer to homosexuals. When the play was first performed, there was only a small trickle of historical research or even awareness about the Nazi persecution of homosexuals. In some regards, the play helped increase that historical research and education in the 1980s and 1990s. The play starred Ian McKellen in its original 1979 West-End production, and Richard Gere in its original 1980 Broadway production. In 1989, Sean Mathias directed a revival of the play, performed as a one-night benefit for Stonewall, featuring Ian McKellen, Richard E Grant, Ian Charleson, and Ralph Fiennes. After receiving critical acclaim, Mathias directed a full run in 1990, with Ian McKellen, Paul Rhys, and Christopher Eccleston, which won the City Limits Award for Revival of the Year. In 1997, Martin Sherman adapted Bent into a film of the same name, which was directed by Sean Mathias.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Eigth Exotic Filipino Dishes that I have Tasted

Balut The Philippines have several exotic dishes not very popular to the western world. Besides the common balut( boiled fermented duck eggs) and dinugu-an ( blood pidding made from cow's internal organs, tripe etc..), I have tasted several other exotic Filipino dishes as follows:

1. Ginataang kuhol (Snail cooked in coconut milk) and Suso' ( escargo) There are varieties of snails being cooked and eaten in the Philippines. Ginataang kuhol or suso is sautéed with garlic, onion, ginger and pepper plus coconut milk. There are also other ways of cooking these snails. The creek under the bridge at the Chateau Du Mer Beach Resort in Marinduque is filled with Suso that my workers harvest for their lunch and dinner along with their steam rice.

2. Fried Crickets and grasshopper Crickets are usually deep fried.

3. Bull Testicles Soup- I tried to taste this one. I had not the courage to swallow a mouthful. It was just too rich for my taste buds. .

4. Adobong pusa or cat adobo or dog stew Do you know that even cats/dogs are eaten by people in the Philippines? They cook it in adobo style, sautéed with garlic, onion and laurel leaf seasoned with soy sauce and vinegar. This is a favorite appetizer during their drinking spree. I have tasted the dog stew but not the cat adobo. Who eat their pets anyway?

5. Kilawing bunog (raw young of a mudfish) These are eaten raw spiced up with vinegar or citrus juice, pepper, and salt.

6. Adobo o pritong palaka (adobo or fried frogs) Frogs can be cooked in adobo style or deep fried. It’s tastier than chicken. There are also some people in the Philippines that eat legs of bullfrogs cooked in the same manner. The native frogs thrived very well at the Chateau Du Mer Beach Resort in Marinduque. I have eaten frog legs in a French restaurant here in the US.

7. Adobong ahas (snake adobo This is cooked in adobo style. Snake is commonly eaten in Asia because of its medicinal value. It’s also a good aphrodisiac. I have tasted this dish when I was a little boy in the jungles of Panay Island during the Japanese-American War in the Philippines. It tasted like chicken.

8. Adobong bayawak/itlog (monitor lizard meat/eggs) It is sautéed in garlic and onion, ginger and laurel leaf with pepper, soy sauce, and vinegar or more popularly called adobo. This is perfect for “pulutan” (food appetizer while drinking wine or liquor). The eggs are usually cook by simply boiling it, it taste salty and delicious. Their eggs are considered exotic because it’s rare and hard to find. My workers here at Chateau Du Mer had caught several bayawaks about two years ago and made it into adobo for their sumsuman( appetizer during a drinking party)

Bizarre it may seem but these eight items listed here are eaten in the Philippines. There are other exotic dishes in the Philippines not listed here. If you need more information read the reference cited below. Want to try some?

Reference: http://trifter.com/practical-travel/world-cuisine/the-17-most-popular-exotic-foods-in-the-philippines/#ixzz1wqgQ1zto

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Weirdest News I have Read This Week

What is going on in Japan? Is the country turning on to Cannibalism? Or is this just to attract attention? Judge for yourself after reading this article from www.gawker.com this week. Penis Eating Event Under Investigation This April, Japanese illustrator Mao Sugiyama offered to cook a special meal: the illustrator's surgically removed genitals. The following month, five diners paid the equivalent of US$250 to eat Sugiyama's bait and tackle, served with Italian parsley and garnished with button mushrooms. Approximately 70 people attended the event in Tokyo's Suginami Ward on May 18 to watch five individuals chow down on Sugiyama's cooked privates.

While cannibalism is not illegal in Japan per se, health officials in Tokyo are now investigating the event. According to The Mainichi, health officials are investigating to see if any food hygiene laws were broken during the event; however, the event sponsor said that no laws were broken in eating a human body part that was legally removed by a medical institution. The Mainichi does not point out that, like in most countries, it's illegal to sell one's organs in Japan, which puts this meal in gray legal territory. You cannot even sell your own blood (blood donors get free drinks, instead). But, hey, charging people to eat your body parts is cool as long as you don't break hygiene laws? Sounds like a legal cock-up. Note: This news reminds of Philippines soup # 5 made of bull's testicles and phallus.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Just a Question of Love (A French Film)

Here's another award winning film for your viewing pleasure.

This heartwarming French coming-out drama details the difficulties of love between two young gay men, one of whom is able to outwardly express his homosexuality, while the other remains closeted. Laurent, a 23-year-old college student, keeps up appearances and avoids inquiries into his private life by living with his best friend, Carole. The effortless convenience of this situation is shattered, however, when Laurent falls for Cedric, an openly gay man who is proud of his sexuality. Laurent wishes to be able to live that way, but fears the response his conservative parents would have if they knew the truth. By contrast, Cedric introduces Laurent to his supportive mother, who accepts her son as well as his new boyfriend. But although Cedric truly cares for Laurent, he is unable to live a lie, and delivers an ultimatum that will test both Laurent’s courage and the strength of his love.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Top Ten Controversial Films (US) and its Controversy

The Passion of the Christ: Image by Phillippe Antonello The following is a list of top ten most controversial movies and the reasons for the controversy according to EW.com . How many of these movies have you seen?. I am not an avid movie enthusiast, but I have seen five of the movies on the list. I really do not agree to the list since I feel Brokeback Mountain and The Da Vince Code should be in this list. How about you?

1 THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST DIRECTED BY MEL GIBSON (2004) THE PLOT You know the part in the Bible where Jesus gets betrayed, tortured, and crucified? That's it. That's all of it. THE CONTROVERSY : Gibson's intention — born of his deep Catholic faith — was to produce an unflinching depiction of Christ's suffering on behalf of mankind. What he succeeded at best, however, was igniting a culture-war firestorm unrivaled in Hollywood history. For months prior to its release, The Passion was both denounced and defended sight unseen amid reports that the film wasn't just brutal, but compromised by dubious biblical interpretation and anti-Semitic sentiment. Gibson refused to let concerned parties view and vet his self-financed film, even as he was giving Passion previews to Christians as part of an unprecedented church-targeting promo push. Ultimately, moviegoers pretty much got the experience they were expecting, while Gibson got a $370 million gross — plus a provocative new reputation.

2 A CLOCKWORK ORANGE DIRECTED BY STANLEY KUBRICK (1971) THE PLOT Teen troublemaker/gang rapist Alex (Malcolm McDowell) gets brainwashed by a futuristic English government so that he becomes deathly ill every time he encounters violence. THE CONTROVERSY : You mean besides its irreverent use of Gene Kelly's ''Singin' in the Rain''? That the movie first landed an X rating and was deemed pornographic across the U.S. was nothing compared with its reception in the U.K.: Social uproar and reports of copycat crimes led Kubrick to withdraw Clockwork from distribution in his adopted country. It wasn't officially available there again — in theaters or on video — until 2000, a year after his death.

3 FAHRENHEIT 9/11 DIRECTED BY MICHAEL MOORE (2004) THE PLOT Dubya's multitude of (alleged) sins, including the alliance between the Bush clan and Saudi Arabia and botched chances to prevent 9/11. THE CONTROVERSY : The documentary lit the fuse of right-wing America, detonating protests and hate campaigns to ban it (no dice). Moore was the first to break the post-9/11 moratorium on Bush bashing and set off a season of brutal smack-downs among the Bill O'Reillys and Keith Olbermanns of the world.

4 DEEP THROAT DIRECTED BY GERARD DAMIANO (1972) THE PLOT Distraught over her inability to enjoy sex, a young woman (Linda Lovelace) goes to a doctor (Harry Reems), who tells her the condition can only be treated, um, orally. THE CONTROVERSY : Intellectuals championed the film for striking a blow for First Amendment rights, while conservative leaders got it banned in many places and put Reems on trial for obscenity charges. Lovelace herself later denounced the film, claiming that while filming ''there was a gun to my head.''

5 JFK DIRECTED BY OLIVER STONE (1991) THE PLOT The true story of how New Orleans district attorney Jim Garrison (Kevin Costner) investigated conspiracy theories about President Kennedy's assassination. THE CONTROVERSY : Some saw Stone's documentary-on-steroids-like interpretation of those theories as lending them a certain patina of truth — raising fears that moviegoers would construe it as bona fide history. One result: a 1992 congressional act to release classified documents (which revealed nothing).

6 THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST DIRECTED BY MARTIN SCORSESE (1988) THE PLOT Jesus (Willem Dafoe) pursues his calling but, in a Satan-induced hallucination, dreams of a normal life that includes sex with Mary Magdalene. THE CONTROVERSY : Religious fundamentalists picketed and threatened boycotts weeks before its release. One group offered to buy the $6.5 million film from Universal to destroy it; some theaters, and later Blockbuster, refused to carry it. Oh, and the French rioted.

7 THE BIRTH OF A NATION DIRECTED BY D.W. GRIFFITH (1915) THE PLOT Griffith's epic follows the travails of two families during the Civil War and Reconstruction. THE CONTROVERSY : The film's depiction of African Americans as childlike, conniving, or rabid sex fiends, and the Ku Klux Klan as heroic saviors, sparked nationwide protests by the nascent NAACP. (It also became a KKK recruiting tool.) Censorship debates and protests have dogged the film in subsequent rereleases and when it was added to the National Film Registry in 1993.

8 NATURAL BORN KILLERS DIRECTED BY OLIVER STONE (1994) THE PLOT Homicidal lovers (Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis) cut a blood-soaked swath through America. THE CONTROVERSY : Though intended as a satire on the media, the film actually inspired several copycat killers to seek their own 15 minutes of fame, some even using imagery and dialogue from the film. Over 12 murders in the U.S. and abroad have been linked to Killers. One victim's family tried to sue Stone and Warner Bros.

9 LAST TANGO IN PARIS DIRECTED BY BERNARDO BERTOLUCCI (1972) THE PLOT A disaffected American (Marlon Brando) travels to Paris, where he throws himself into an affair with a young Frenchwoman (Maria Schneider). THE CONTROVERSY: Critics and audiences were sharply divided over this X-rated erotic psychodrama. The film's stark (as in naked) depiction of loveless, animalistic carnality horrified some — and landed its director and stars in an Italian court on obscenity charges.

10 BABY DOLL DIRECTED BY ELIA KAZAN (1956) THE PLOT A Mississippi cotton-gin owner (Eli Wallach) humiliates a competitor (Karl Malden) by attempting to seduce the man's still-virgin wife (Carroll Baker). THE CONTROVERSY: Written by Tennessee Williams, the film struck Catholic leaders as lewd. (A similar flap greeted 1943's The Outlaw over Jane Russell's bust.) New York's Cardinal Spellman forbade the faithful to see it ''under pain of sin.'' Some theaters pulled it, but it eventually earned four Oscar nominations.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Motivational and Inspirational Messages- It is Free

I received the following from my e-mail today. The messages included on the list below are sent to us by our friends and loveones. They are posted here for sharing and educational purposes only. They are sent to us for free and you can copy and send them to your friends too for free.

SILENT doesn’t always means YES. It may mean NO but it’s better left unsaid.

LAUGHTER doesn’t always mean HAPPINESS. Sometimes it is just a MASK.

ANGER doesn’t always mean HATRED. It could just be a means of COPING.

TEARS doesn’t always mean SORROW. It may also be an outlet of JOY.

STAYING AWAY doesn’t always mean IT’S THE END. It may also mean THE BEST BEGINNING.

And though life is so complicated, it is always beautiful.


What’s the point of being committed with someone if in the end you will get hurt. Why not just enjoy the time that you are together even without commitment, as long as you are both happy and you feel each other’s importance and see if you can commit that even in your life after death you will never be apart.


Whether you have been through your worst time or it is yet to come always remember that life can only be summed up to three words … “It Goes On.”


There are times we treat life like a mysterious door. it doesn’t open no matter how hard we push it. We never notice that a huge sign is posted that reads “PULL”.


God has placed you where you are now for a reason… You are there to bless, to inspire, and to create a positive influence. You are there because God has used you to be his hand, feet and mouth to carry out his work… continue to be a “BLESSING” always in everything you do.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Time for Some Classical Music-Mendelssohn's Violin Concierto

Felix Mendelssohn's Violin Concierto is one of my favorite violin concierto. The following video has comments that will help the first listener appreciate more of the music. The soloist is Janine Jansen. Enjoy! Felix Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64 is his last large orchestral work. It forms an important part of the violin repertoire and is one of the most popular and most frequently performed violin concertos of all time. A typical performance lasts just under half an hour. Mendelssohn originally proposed the idea of the violin concerto to Ferdinand David, a close friend and then concertmaster of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. Although conceived in 1838, the work took another six years to complete and was not premiered until 1845. During this time, Mendelssohn maintained a regular correspondence with David, seeking his advice with the concerto. The work itself was one of the violin concertos of the Romantic era and was influential to the compositions of many other composers. Although the concerto consists of three movements in a standard fast–slow–fast structure and each movement follows a traditional form, the concerto was innovative and included many novel features for its time. Distinctive aspects of the concerto include the immediate entrance of the violin at the beginning of the work and the linking of the three movements with each movement immediately following the previous one. The concerto was initially well received and soon became regarded as one of the greatest violin concertos of all time. The concerto remains popular and has developed a reputation as an essential concerto for all aspiring concert violinists to master, and usually one of the first Romantic era concertos they learn. Many professional violinists have recorded the concerto and the work is regularly performed in concerts and classical music competitions.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Time to visit a National Park near You-Acadia National Park

June 1: It is only a few more days when school closes for the summer break. The temperature here in Northern California had finally reached to the low 90's for a couple of days. This reminded me that it is time to plan visiting a National Park near you to save on gasoline. Today, I am reposting my first posting on a series about our National Park. The first one is on Acadia National Park in Main.

Acadia National Park (ANP) is a National Park located in the U.S. state of Maine. It reserves much of Mount Desert Island, and associated smaller islands, off the Atlantic coast. The area first was inhabited by the Wabanaki people. In the fall of 1604, Samuel de Champlain observed a high-notched island composed of seven or eight mountains rising to bare-rock summits from slopes of birch, fir, and pine. In spite of many changes over nearly 400 years, the area remains essentially the same.

The landscape architect Charles Elliot is credited with the idea for the park. It first attained federal status when President Woodrow Wilson, established it as Sieur de Monts National Monument on July 8, 1916, administered by the National Park Service. On February 26, 1919, it became a national park, with the name Lafayette National Park in honor of the Marquis de Lafayette, an influential French supporter of the American Revolution. The park's name was changed to Acadia National Park on January 19, 1929.

Expansion From 1915 to 1933, the wealthy philanthropist John D. Rockefeller, Jr. financed, designed, and directed the construction of a network of carriage trails throughout the park. He sponsored the landscape architect Beatrix Farrand, with the nearby family summer home Reef Point Estate, to design the planting plans for the subtle carriage roads at the Park (c.1930). The network encompassed over 50 miles (80 km) of gravel carriage trails, 17 granite bridges, and two gate lodges, almost all of which are still maintained and in use today. Cut granite stones placed along the edges of the carriage roads act as guard rails of sort and are locally known as "coping stones" to help visitors cope with the steep edges. They are also fondly called "Rockefeller's teeth".

Recent events On August 23, 2009, several park visitors were swept out to sea at Thunder Hole by high surf attributed to the remnants of Hurricane Bill. All were rescued but one of the tourists, a 7-year-old girl, who later died.

Centennial Initiative Project The National Park Service, as part of their Centennial Initiative celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2016, created a project to promote voluntary, multimodal park access for present and future generations. Going “car free” offers visitors the opportunity to explore Acadia by foot, bicycle, shuttle bus, commercial tour bus, private automobile, or private and commercial vessels. The project includes an inter-modal transportation center on state-owned land four miles (6 km) north of the park, multiple-use trails to connect gateway communities with the park, and rehabilitation of historic carriage roads surrounding Eagle Lake.

Terrain and features The park includes mountains, an ocean shoreline, woodlands, and lakes. In addition to Mount Desert Island, the park comprises much of the Isle au Haut, parts of Baker Island, and a portion of the Schoodic Peninsula on the mainland.

Cadillac Mountain, named after the French Explorer of the same name, is on the eastern side of the island. Its green, lichen-covered, pink granite summit is one of the first places in the United States to see the sunrise. Miles of carriage roads were originally built by Rockefeller, Jr. The mountains of Acadia National Park offer hikers and bicycle riders views of the ocean, island lakes, and pine forests.
The inlet Somes Sound, often described as the "only fjord on the East Coast", is now called a fjard by officials.

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