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

Friday, January 31, 2014

Childhood Dreams and Goals-Fulfilled and Unfulfilled

The Japanese Bridge of Chateau Du Mer Beach Resort on Sunset, Boac, Marinduque, Philippines

When I was growing up in the small town of Barotac Viejo, Iloilo, Philippines in the mid 1940's, I had several dreams and goals in life. One of my first dream after seeing a movie made in US was to see and visit( not reside) US and play in the snow. This dream was attained in 1960. My other dream was to live in a house surrounded by fruit trees, flowers and orchids. This dream was realized in 1996 when we built our retirement home in Boac, Marinduque. Another dream I had was to build a Japanese bridge across a creek( see photo above) populated by tilapias and other fishes. This was attained when we constructed the beach house in 1998.

As a child I never dreamed to be rich in money, but just earned enough to live comfortably. This was fulfilled when we immigrated to US and after I completed my Ph.D degree in 1964. Completion of this graduate degree was the most important goal and dream in my life.

My last dream in my childhood years was to have a residence with a circular driveway with a fountain in the center. This dream was never attained completely. However, this dream, was partially fulfilled when we built the Chateau Du Mer Conference Hall in 2000. The Hall had a circular driveway but no fountain. Building a fountain in the center was planned before construction. However, for practical reasons and lack of funds, this dream will probably not be realized unless I win a lot of $$ in the Lotto or at the Casinos.

Today, my goal in life is see my youngest grand daughter (now 10 years old) graduate in college and see my oldest grandson get married (now 23) and give us a great grandchild that we could pamper at our convenience.

Finally, I thank God for all his blessings for helping me attained most of my dreams and goals in life. Lord without YOU, I am nothing.

For additional details of my childhood memories during the Japanese-American War in the Philippines (1941-1945), visit http://theintellectualmigrant.blogspot.com `

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Am I a Born or Made Writer?

I am not quite sure what the correct answer is, but I feel I am both. My early childhood has never been devoted to writing or art activities. It was science and mathematics that was emphasized in my early education. Later in my high school years, for some twist of luck, I was chosen by my English instructor to be editor of our high school newspaper. I was forced to write articles as fillers for the newspaper and was taught the basics of news writing and editing. I also started writing poetry in both English and our national language (Tagalog). During my high school years, I entertained the thought of taking journalism as a career in college. My parents however discouraged me, stating there is no money in writing and I will not be able to support a family. They wanted me to be a lawyer, doctor of medicine or a catholic priest. At their urgings, I enrolled as a pre-medical student at the University of the Philippines, Iloilo College. At the end of my second year, I learned I will never be a good doctor as the sight of blood nauseated me. I shifted to Chemistry and the rest is history.

My years as an undergraduate and graduate student emphasized science, mathematics and engineering. It was only after my retirement that I started blogging and learned that I enjoy writing. This is true also for my oldest son. He wrote a novel (Cloyne Court) after finishing law school and now is on his second novel. He told me he writes as a hobby and is a relaxation therapy for him. Writing to him is a good diversion from his hectic life as a prosecuting attorney here in Northern California.

There is a common saying that if you can talk, you can write. But great writing is a born talent and I believe can not be taught. The passion to write is born. People have different reasons why they write. A few writes for the sake of writing and can not survive without it. Others write to earn a living and work hard to be a successful writer, reporter or novelist.

So why do I write for Skrive.It and continue writing for my blogs. First, I enjoy writing. Second, to advertise my beach resort in the Philippines and last but not least is to get affirmation from readers and other writers that they enjoy reading my articles. Reading positive comments from others is an ego boost and makes me feel alive and useful during this stage of my life (retirement and old age). It kept away the feeling of boredom and uselessness.

Getting a monetary award is another ego boost, but I have learned this is no longer my primary incentives why I am writing for Skrive.It and blogging for my Googles Adsense earnings. I have also learned not to compare myself with the other writers/bloggers. I have my own style of writing and if I write from the heart, nothing can go wrong.

Most writers that I know write because they love writing. To them writing is just like breathing. These born writers do not work hard to create an excellent article, because their writing comes from the heart and their soul. Others write with a lot of work, training and pain. Good writers run in the family as exemplified by the family of Stephen King. Most writers however are made and only become good writers through hard work and constant practice. The most common traits of good writers are patience and persistence, whether their writing talent is inborn or just developed.

Allow me to quote Jan Bird a Face Book friend from UK and an excellent writer from her article, The Writing Bug. "Writing for me right now, is like love. It isn't something I do, it happens to me. It takes me completely by surprise when I least expect it and then it absolutely refuses to let go until it wants to. It's intoxicating and irrational".

This is how a born writer feels everyday of his/her life. Writing to inborn writers must feel like addiction or a compulsion that must be satiated.

How about you? Are you a born writer or a made writer? Do you agree with the statement that good writers can be made but great writers are born? I will be glad to hear from you!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Writing Styles and the Basics of Effective Writing

I did not major in writing or in English while in College. As a matter of fact, I only received a grade of only 85% in my high school English class. Compared to my 90% and 95% grades in History, Mathematics and Science, I could definitely recall that English was not my favorite subject in high school or in college. However, while in Graduate School, I took a class on effective and technical writing. What I learned from that class, I have applied in writing and are currently using that knowledge in my blogging activities.

Let me start with the three common styles of writing: technical, business and conversational.

Technical style is the writing style used for technical documents. It requires the use of especially clear and concise language. The style encourages short sentences and the absence of unnecessary words. The purpose is to ensure that technical information is easy to understand. The use of slang and double negatives must be avoided.

Business style is very similar to technical style, except that longer sentences are acceptable.

Conversational Style is identified by the use of personal pronouns, contractions and colloquialisms. Sometimes slang words are use to avoid monotony

There is no right and wrong writing style but what you use should be appropriate for a particular setting and audience. In other words know your audience and write for your audience.

Lastly, let me discussed briefly the three basics elements of style.

There are many elements in writing that contribute to an author’s style, but three of the most important are word choice, sentence fluency, and voice.

Word Choice: Good writers are concise and precise, weeding out unnecessary words and choosing the exact word to convey meaning. Precise words — active verbs, concrete nouns, specific adjectives — help the reader visualize the sentence. Good writers use adjectives sparingly and adverbs rarely, letting their nouns and verbs do the work.

Sentence fluency: Sentence fluency is the flow and rhythm of phrases and sentences. Good writers use a variety of sentences with different lengths and rhythms to achieve different effects. They use parallel structures within sentences and paragraphs to reflect parallel ideas, but also know how to avoid monotony by varying their sentence structures.

Voice: Voice is difficult to measure reliably. It is often left out of scoring formulas for writing tests. Yet voice is an essential element of style that reveals the writer’s personality. A writer’s voice can be impersonal or chatty, authoritative or reflective, objective or passionate, serious or funny.

Lastly to be an effective writer one must be direct, simple and forceful in your writings. Your writings must be clear with good grammar and no misspellings. If at all possible it must be in the active voice ( not passive) and could be easily understood by a 6th grader. Your writing is not effective if you write so that only a college graduate could easily understand it.

So my dear readers the above are a few of the basic things I learned on how to be an effective writer or blogger.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Snaking Your Own Toilet Saves You Money

The last couple of months our toilets had clogged twice. The clog was due to hardened stool of my wife as a result of the medication she is taking for Parkinson's Disease. The first time our toilet clogged, I had not heard of a gadget called the snake
so I called our friendly plumber and I paid $153 for the service of unclogging our toilet. I saw the plumber using a gadget and I asked him the name and he said the snake. I did some Internet search, and I found the following very informative video.

Yesterday, our toilet clogged again. I did not hesitate going to the hardware store and purchase the snake for $69.99 saving me over $80. The above video did help me and give me assurance that I can do the snaking myself instead of calling a professional plumber.
Finally besides saving $80 I have a personal snake I could use any time night or day~ Lessons learned: Never be afraid to ask!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Latest Video About Marinduque-What I See

Have you heard of the Bulating-the mud people of Marinduque? The following video by Paco Guerrero is worth 40 minutes of your time. I enjoyed this video very much and sad to say, that although Marinduque is my second home, this is the first time I heard of the mud people of Marinduque.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Asian Parents One-Liner Jokes

I am an Asian Parent. Some of the following jokes I can identify with. Even if you are not an Asian Parent, take time to read this and smile. I hope this is a good read especially if you have a bad day.

1 Why you get C? Your not C-sian or B-sian you are A-sian.

2. No more Honey! Honey comes from B's.

3. You Sick? Become doctor heal yourself.

4. Facebook? Why don't you Face Book and study.

5. No son you can't learn Spanish, All they say is "C"

6. You cure Cancer? What about AIDS?

7. You have Sex? Why not use A-hole.

8. You get 94 percent on test Good Job. If you were trying to disappoint me.

9. Occupy Wall Street? Why not Occupy Library?

10. Your sister get B on math test. Congratulations you are my only child.

11. It's Saturday Night why aren't you studying?

12. You get C-Section why not A-bortion.

13. If you want a girlfriend make sure her parents are lawyers or doctors.

14. Son: "To Be or not To Be" Father: You get two B's and you out of house!

Source: http://www.jokes4us.com/ethnicjokes/asianparentsjokes.html

Friday, January 24, 2014

Afterglows in the Sunset of Our Lives

The other day while looking at my old photo files, I found the above photograph. It is a sunset and its afterglow from the west balcony of our retirement beach house in Boac, Marinduque, Philippines taken five years ago. Looking at the photo reminded me of both Macrine's and my professional life in the US. Macrine retired as Manager, Quality Assurance Nurse from one of Maryland's Home Health Nursing Company.

I retired from FDA as a Chemistry Team Leader in the Center of New Drugs, Silver Spring, MD. Both of us had satisfying careers( I had received several awards, letters of commendation and appreciation, and an EEO award). So when we retired in the Fall of 2002, we often ask ourselves, if this is all that we can contribute to society and the community.

Since retirement is often called " the sunset of your life" stage, are there afterglows in our lives that we can be proud of. Yes, indeed! The following are examples of the afterglows in the sunset of our lives.

Eight years ago, Macrine received a letter of Appreciation and Thanks from then and now Governor Carmencita Reyes because of her involvement in MI, Inc Medical Mission Of Love, 2006. Macrine was president and over-all chairperson of the medical mission in Marinduque that year. Here's an excerpt from C Reyes letter of Thanks.

Dear Mrs. Katague,

I would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude for all the assistance extended by MI, Inc. Your association is one of our full-time partners in the delivery of health services particularly in the conduct of medical/surgical missions which benefited hundreds of Marinduquenos. Thank you so much for the support and assistance extended to our administration and to the people of Marinduque. Mabuhay Kayo!

In addition about seven years ago, Macrine and I received a Letter of Thanks and Appreciation from then Governor Antonio Carrion in our efforts to promote tourism in the island not only during Easter but also whole year round. The letter mentioned several of my blogs and articles that proclaimed my love for the province and encouraging other Balikbayans to build retirement homes in the island.

In 2009, my dream as a "citizen journalist" was attained when two of my articles was accepted for publication in HULIQ News. The first article was about Marinduque as the Ecotourism capital of the Philippines. The second was on the revival of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant in Morong, Bataan.

Last but not least: Just recently two of my thousands of readers of my seven blogs commented: " I have been reading your various blogspots and websites for about one week now. They are all well written and great reading. What I have been reading and following intently in your blog is your life story, very interesting and inspiring indeed. Please keep on writing and thanks for opening yourself up in your blogs."

A second reader also commented: I have been following your blog for quite sometime. I learned a lot about Marinduque and the Philippines. I specially enjoyed reading your childhood experiences during the Japanese-American War. Your contribution as an FDA employee to the burnt victims of the bombing in New York and the Pentagon in 2011 is indeed commendable and worthy of an award. Keep writing!

Will there be more afterglows in the future? I hope so. I would like to hear that our oldest grandson ( now 23) got married and gave us a great grandchild.( that Macrine and I can pamper whenever we want to.) In addition, we would like to hear the news that our youngest granddaughter( now 10) had graduated from college and that both Macrine and myself are still healthy to attend her graduation.

Lastly, Macrine and I thanks the Lord for the past, present and future afterglows in the sunset of our lives. Are you retiree? Any afterglows in the sunset of your lives you can share with my readers?

Thursday, January 23, 2014

All You Want to Know about PD but are Afraid to Ask

Next month will be one year after my wife of 57 years( Macrine) was diagnosed with Parkinson disease, commonly called PD. She has been experiencing typical symptoms of the malady with involuntary hand tremors, slow body movement ( walking), unbalanced gait, softer voice, difficulty swallowing and had a couple of falls during the previous months. We have to purchase a cane, and I have to watch her almost all the time when she is awake to prevent another fall. Today however, she has not fallen and only occasional freezing in the muscles on her legs had occurred. Thanks to the two medications she is currently taking, Sinemet and Azilect.

Our doctor prescribed her Sinemet ( 25/100 carbidopa/levodopa) to be taken twice a day. During her first two weeks after taking the drug, she suffered nausea, vomiting, hallucinations and disturbed sleep, but her hand tremors stopped. As of today the nausea had stopped and the hand tremors controlled. She still walks very slow and her voice is very low and have a hard time swallowing. She needs my assistance in changing clothes, bathing and slicing her food into small pieces. She easily gets tired and from what I read in the Internet, there will be a time when the drug will no longer be effective. In the future as the disease progressed she will need palliative care and home nursing assistance. My wife's PD has a genetic component. Her father had PD and one of her aunts on her maternal side had also PD during their senior years.

Along with the Sinemet, her neurologist had also prescribed her a newer drug called Azilect Azilect is very expensive even if you have a medical insurance. I found out the other day that my Federal Employee Program with Blue Cross Blue Shield Pharmacy Mail Service Option will save me a lot of money. So starting yesterday I ordered my wife's PD drugs via mail order instead of buying direct from our local CVS pharmacy. Two whole sale pharmacy suppliers near us quoted me a price of $3,580 for 90 day supply of Azilect. Two other pharmacy outlets quoted me only 1,540 including our current pharmacy supplier CVS. My copay for the 90 day supply is $357. However, if I ordered it by mail my copay will be only $80, saving me $277 for 3 months and more than $1000 per year. It does pay to shop for your prescription here in the US.

Sinemet has several side effects as I mentioned above. However, one side effect that my wife suffers is constipation. Our neurologist gave us a recipe consisting of equal amounts( one cup each) of apple sauce, bran and prune juice. The mixture can be kept refrigerated for a week. Only 1 to 2 tablespoon should be taken daily. Of course several laxatives over the counter are also available in our local drug stores.

The following information from the National Parkinson's Foundation, I found very informative. This is the information that you want to know all about PD but are afraid to ask.

In the United States, 50,000-60,000 new cases of PD are diagnosed each year, adding to the one million people who currently have PD. The Center for Disease control rated complications from Parkinson’s disease as the 14th leading cause of death in the United States. Worldwide, it is estimated that four to six million people suffer from the condition. There is hope, however, as scientists work towards a cure and make progress in identifying the best treatment options for patients.

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative brain disorder that progresses slowly in most people. The dopamine levels in the neurons are almost non-existent in persons with PD compared to normal persons. The PD drugs alleviate the symptoms by increasing dopamine levels. What this means is that individuals with PD will be living with PD for twenty years or more from the time of diagnosis with medications. Parkinson’s disease itself is not fatal, but complications could occur and can cause death. There is currently no cure for Parkinson’s; however, investigations on animal models, gene therapy and stem cells research are undergoing so those with PD can have a good quality of life.

Treatment approaches include medication and surgical therapy. Other treatment approaches include general lifestyle modifications (rest and exercise, stop smoking), physical therapy, support groups, occupational therapy and speech therapy. Recent studies have indicated that a treatment is better than no treatment. In other words, medications and therapies can modify the progression of Parkinson’s disease. Michael Fox and Muhamed Ali are the two world famous personalities known to be suffering with PD.

Reference: www.parkinson.org ( National Parkinson Foundation)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Two Ilonggo Signature Dishes

When I was growing up in Iloilo, Philippines in the 1950's, two dishes that I really like are the Pancit Molo and the La Paz Batchoy. Both are heavy soup dishes. There are several versions of the recipes for these two heavy soups published in the Web but the following recipes are the one that I like and are similar to what my relatives used to prepare when I was a teenager in the Philippines.

1. Molo Ingredientss:

- Wonton wrapper
- Ground Pork
- Garlic
- Scallion
- Salt and Pepper

Molo Dumplings: Mix ingredients together in a bowl. Scoop half a teaspoon of the mix and wrap it in the wonton wrapper.

The Broth: The broth is basically chicken soup with lots of crunchy fried garlic and shredded chicken. The secret is really good chicken and pork stock (Chicken bones and pork neck bones, ham hocks etc)

2. Batchoy is a noodle soup made with pork organs, crushed pork cracklings, shrimp, vegetables, chicken stock, chicken breast, beef loin and round noodles. Its origins can be traced to the district of La Paz, Iloilo City in the Philippines, hence it is oftentimes referred to as La Paz Batchoy. Wikipedia

Ingredients: Broth: This is the most essential part of the Batchoy, preparing the right broth is the secret to a delicious dish.

- Beef Shank (With bone in and Marrow)
- Pork neck bones
- Pork Shoulder
- Chicken bones for stock
- Pork Liver (optional but traditional)
- Pork small intestines (optional but traditional)
- fish bagoong (optional but traditional) or crushed shrimp heads
- Garlic minced
- Scallions
- Shallots
- Chicharon
- Miki (Round Egg noodles)
- AJINOMOTO (optional)

Procedure: Broth
- In a pot brown some garlic. Sautee the bagoong and shallots.
- Add the meat (beef, pork bones, chicken bones etc) and sautee for a bit
- Add water, boil and turn to simmer
- Once the pork shoulder, liver and intestines are done take out from the pot, drain and set aside
- Continue to boil the bones, add fresh garlic, sea salt and msg

Noodles and toppings
- Cook egg noodles according to packaging, drain and transfer to bowl. In Iloilo the Miki is already cooked so you just rinse it.
- Chop the pork shoulder, liver and intestines and top the noodles with it
- Chop some scallions, crush the chicharon and top noodles with it
- add the crunchy browned garlic and pour broth over it. If desired add the bone marrow to your bowl.

Serve piping hot and Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Forgotten Filipino Genocide

It is time to share with you a little bit of Philippine-American history. I am particularly posting this article to all second and third generation Filipino-Americans who have little knowledge of Philippine history.

The Philippine–American War(1899–1902) was an armed conflict between the United States and Filipino revolutionaries. The conflict arose from the struggle of the First Philippine Republic to secure independence from the United States following the latter's acquisition of the Philippines from Spain following the Spanish–American War. The war was a continuation of the Philippine struggle for independence that began in 1896 with the Philippine Revolution.

Fighting erupted between United States and Filipino revolutionary forces on February 4, 1899, and quickly escalated into the 1899 Second Battle of Manila. On June 2, 1899, the First Philippine Republic officially declared war against the United States. The war officially ended on July 4, 1902. However, some groups led by veterans of the Katipunan continued to battle the American forces. Among those leaders was General Macario Sacay, a veteran Katipunan member who assumed the presidency of the proclaimed "Tagalog Republic", formed in 1902 after the capture of President Emilio Aguinaldo. Other groups, including the Moro people and Pulahanes people, continued hostilities in remote areas and islands until their final defeat a decade later at the Battle of Bud Bagsak on June 15, 1913.

Opposition in the U.S. to the war inspired the founding of the American Anti-Imperialist League on June 15, 1898, and made the expansion of the U.S. overseas (with the occupation of several other territories received from Spain as a result of the previous Spanish-American War of 1898, such as Cuba (later given independence in 1902) and Puerto Rico, as a major issue in the presidential election of 1900 when the Republican Party and President McKinley was reelected, just as it had also been in the 1986 election, as overseas tension rose and international entanglements grew.

The war and occupation by the U.S. would change the cultural landscape of the islands, as the people dealt with an estimated 34,000 to even possibly 1,000,000 Filipino casualties, disestablishment of the Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines, (as a "state Church - as previously in Spain), and the introduction of the English language in the islands as the primary language of government, education, business, industrial and increasingly in future decades among families and educated individuals.

Under the 1902 "Philippine Organic Act", passed by the United States Congress, Filipinos were initially given very limited self-government, including the right to vote for some elected officials such as an elected Philippine Assembly, but it was not until 14 years later with the 1916 Philippine Autonomy Act, (or "Jones Act") passed by the United States Congress, now under Democratic 28th President, Woodrow Wilson, that the U.S. officially promised eventual independence, along with more Filipino control in the meantime over the Philippines. The 1934 Philippine Independence Act created in the following year, 1935, the Commonwealth of the Philippines, a limited form of independence, and established a process ending in Philippine independence (originally scheduled for 1944, but interrupted and delayed by World War II. Finally in 1946, following World War II and the Japanese Occupation of the Philippines, the United States granted independence through the Treaty of Manila concluded between the two governments and nations.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Save Money by Buying Your Prescriptions by Mail

You may be able to save a substantial amount of money if you buy your prescription drugs via mail pharmacy option of your insurance. However, be aware that not all mail order organizations are trustworthy especially if they operate outside the US.

I have a Federal Employee Program( FEP) insurance coverage under the Blue Cross Blue Shield, California Anthem insurance PPO program. Under this plan is the Mail Service Pharmacy program that I was aware of but have not been using because of the convenience of ordering drugs right in my door step via our local pharmacies such as, CVS, Walgreen, Costco, Walmart and other local pharmacies.

Under the mail order option of buying your prescription, there is a waiting time from 10 to 14 working days, so if you do not plan ahead, this is not the right option for you, unless you want to save.

I have been satisfied with my copay of the several drugs that my wife and I use until the other day, when one drug that my wife is using for her PD cost me $119.00 copay for 30 tablets. I was so shock, since most of the copay I pay for my other drugs varied from $2 to $ 25 for a 30 day supply.

I started inquiring from friends and neighbors, if they know of pharmacies that offer cheaper prices compared to my local pharmacy-CVS. A relative suggested Costco or WalMart. In the meantime, I asked my wife's Neurologist to prescribe her a 90 days supply instead of 30 days because normally you can save at least 10%.

I called CostCo and Walmart for their prices for a 90 days supply of the drug that my wife uses for her PD. Both Costco and Walmart informed me that the price is 3,589.00 (Three Thousand Five Hundred Eighty nine dollars). I almost fainted, because even if my insurance pays for 60%, my copay would still be around $1,435. It means that for a 30 day supply my copay will still be $478. This is about 4 times more expensive than the $119 that I pay at CVS. I also checked the whole sale price of the above PD drug from Raley's Pharmacy. I was quoted only $1,532 for the 90 day supply. So who says CostCo and Walmart Pharmacies are cheap? CostCo and Walmart Pharmacy Executives, can you explain your ridiculously super expensive pricing for the above drug?

With some luck, I did remember that about a decade ago, I have used the mail order pharmacy option of my FEP insurance and I remember I did save a lot buying by mail. I look at the back of my insurance card and lo and behold there is an 800 number that is listed for mail order pharmacy. To make the story short, I called the 800 number and after 5 minutes of talking to a computer, I was connected to live representative. I asked her what my copay for a 90 days supply for the above PD drug and she said $80.She even added that if I ordered this drug last year, my copay would have been only $70.

The representative informed me that there are two ways to get started ordering my prescription by mail. One way is to mail the hard copy of my wife's prescription to them and putting my ID number in the prescription. Along with the order is an invoice that I can pay as soon as I received my order.

The other way is to talk to my insurance representative to send me a form for ordering via mail or I could go directly to Mail order website and print out the form. I did both ways and besides ordering my wife her PD drugs, I ordered my other prescriptions that cost me more than $10 copay. Incidentally this mail order company is CVS Caremark. I do believe this is a trust worthy organization to buy prescription by mail. I will never buy my drug by mail from companies operating outside the US. .

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Have You Heard of Bitcoins?

I was watching the local news on TV the other day. One news item that attracted my attention was the word bitcoins. The news stated that the Kings Basketball tickets could now be purchased using bitcoins. That was the first time I heard of the word. So what is a bit coin? Here's what is in the Wikipedia.

"Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer payment system and digital currency introduced as open source software in 2009 by pseudonymous developer Satoshi Nakamoto. It is a cryptocurrency, so-called because it uses cryptography to control the creation and transfer of money. Users send payments by broadcasting digitally signed messages to the network. Participants known as miners verify and time stamp transactions into a shared public database called the block chain, for which they are rewarded with transaction fees and newly minted bitcoins. Conventionally "Bitcoin" capitalized refers to the technology and network whereas "bitcoins" lowercase refers to the currency itself. Bitcoins can be obtained by mining or in exchange for products, services, or other currencies.

Bitcoin has been a subject of scrutiny due to ties with illicit activity. In 2013 the FBI shut down the Silk Road online black market and seized 144,000 bitcoins worth US$28.5 million at the time. The United States, however, is currently considered to be Bitcoin friendly compared to other governments. In China, new rules restricted bitcoin exchange for local currency, and the European Banking Authority has warned that Bitcoin lacks consumer protections. Bitcoins can be stolen, and chargebacks are impossible.

Commercial use of Bitcoin, illicit or otherwise, is currently small compared to its use by speculators, which has fueled price volatility. Bitcoin as a form of payment for products and services has seen growth, however, and merchants have an incentive to accept the currency because transaction fees are lower than the 2–3% typically imposed by credit card processors".

Now that you know the word bitcoins, are you ready to start mining? If you are, read first www.startbitcoin.com

Friday, January 17, 2014

Having a Bad Day? Read this...

I found this short posting in one of my FB friend timeline. Hope to cheer you Up today!

After nearly 50 years of marriage, a couple was lying in bed one evening, when the wife felt her husband, begin to massage her in ways he hadn't in quite some time. It almost tickled as his fingers started at her neck, and then began moving down past the small of her back. He then caressed her shoulders and neck, slowly worked his hand down, stopping just over her stomach. He then proceeded to place his hand on her left inner arm, working down her side, passing gently over her buttock and down her leg to her calf. Then, he proceeded up her thigh, stopping just at the uppermost portion of her leg. He continued in the same manner on her right side, then suddenly stopped, rolled over and became silent.

As she had become quite aroused by this caressing, she asked in a loving voice, ‘Honey that was wonderful. Why did you stop?' To which he responded: 'I found the remote.'...

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Do You Have Good Neighbors?

It is essential for your safety, happiness and peace of mind to have good neighbors that are also friendly and caring. Whether you live in an apartment, condo, a farm, town house or in a subdivision with single homes, it is important to have good neighbors. In the seven places that we have resided here in the US since 1960, my family have encountered all kinds of neighbors from the unfriendly, neutral and caring neighbors.

Our first city of residence was Chicago, Illinois in the 1960's. I was still a graduate student at that time so we resided in a apartment managed and owned by the university. All of our neighbors were mostly students and others were employees of the University. We were lucky at that time to have good neighbors. My wife had joined a baby sitting cooperative with wives of other students students. We will have monthly pot lucks and picnics with the growing kids- the center of our social activities.

After graduation, we moved to Kansas City, Missouri, where I had my first industrial job. Our first rental single home was in a subdivision of mostly retired couples, so we did not have interaction with our neighbors. Our activity was centered in the Swim and Country Club two blocks from our house. We stayed in this house for one year since the owner decided to sell the house. We moved to another rental house about two miles away. Again, we did not have any interaction with our neighbors. Our third home in the Kansas City area was in Platewoods, Missouri. This was our first owned home. It was located in a subdivision with one and two acres lots in a semi-rural exclusive neighborhood. Our neighbor across the street was a teacher and was neither friendly or unfriendly. Our neighbor in the left side we never see. The only thing we saw in their backyard was a German Shepherd dog named Devil who barks when we approached the boundary lines of our fences. We have a distant neighbor about 4 blocks from us who were also Filipino-Americans and have two boys almost in the same ages with our children that we socialized.

Our next move was to Modesto, California, Stanislaus County- California Central Valley. We purchased our second 4-bedroom home in a newer subdivision. We have several neighbors but only one was friendly. We stayed two years in that subdivision then decided to sell the house so we can moved to a farm house with a barn that my wife converted into a Filipino Gift Shoppe. Our nearest neighbor was about 1/4 mile away. They have children who goes to the same school with our kids, but we never socialized.

Our fourth move was to Pinole, California in the East Bay when my employer in Modesto decided to close their agricultural research facility. We have purchased two homes in Pinole from 1974-1990. Our first home was a two story house in a subdivision with small backyards in the foot hills of Pinole. We have neighbors that are neither friendly or unfriendly. When I broke my Achilles tendon playing tennis and had a hard time climbing the second floor bedrooms, we decided to move to a ranch type home about 3 miles in another older subdivision. In this neighborhood, we have two very friendly neighbors. One was a Filipina married to a Caucasian. The one across the street was super friendly and very helpful. He was a handy man and was glad when he offers to help me in the minor maintenance of the house and our yard.

When I lost my job in the East Bay, our family moved to the Washington DC area where I worked for the Food and Drug Administration for 12 years. We purchased a 4 bedroom ranch style home with a full basement in a subdivision in Colesville, Maryland. We found in this neighborhood a very friendly and caring neighbor who was a widow. We socialized and invite each other in our homes and had a grand time.

Our last move was to the Sacramento area when I retired in 2002. We decided to rent first so we will know the neighborhood before we purchased our retirement house. Our rental home was a 4 bedroom ranch with a swimming pool. We stayed there for almost a year and were able to meet only one neighbor. He was a retired physician, an avid reader and has no prejudice against Filipino-Americans. We realized this is not a very friendly neighborhood however since our other neighbors never bothered to introduce themselves to us.

We purchased our retirement home in a neighborhood with another ranch type house. The subdivision was built in the 1980's and populated mostly by retirees. In this neighborhood, we are very lucky to have two friendly neighbors. Our first caring neighbor is a widow originally from Italy. She does not drive, so every now and then I will drive her to church and to the grocery stores. She goes with my wife and I to the nearby Casino almost once a week. In return she would cook my favorite dish- fried eggplant. The other day she gave us roasted duckling. She also watched all unusual activities in the area, and lists all licenses of cars she does not recognized.

Our second friendly neighbor is also a retired couple about ten years younger than us. The man of the house is a handy man and I hired him to fix minor repairs in the house. He is also a computer expert and had help me with my computers problems in two cases during the last four years. We love this neighborhood, because we have two friendly neighbors who watches our home when we are not around and are ready to help us in a second notice.. May I reiterate then, that for your piece of mind it is essential to have good and caring neighbors. How about you? Do you have good neighbors?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

My Neighbor Gave Us a Roasted Duckling

The other day, our next door neighbor surprise us by giving a roasted duck in exchange for the 2 lb whole Dungeness crab that I gave her recently. I have never cook duck by rotisserie, so I have no idea how it taste. My neighbor has an expensive rotisserie set-up. She said it was not that hard, but required an overnight of brining. THE COOKED duck THAT SHE GAVE US WAS delicious.

I searched in the Internet how to cook duck by rotisserie and here is what I learned. The duck is better if you brine it overnight before cooking it. All sorts of flavor can be added by brining. Orange juice, tea, cider, beer, wine, soy sauce and many other liquids can be used to replace the water. Then add complimentary herbs and spices to create your own special flavor blend. For directions on how to brine a duck, check out: whatscookingamerica.net/Poultry/BriningPoultry.htm

Typically a 5-pound duck will cook in 1-1/2 to 2 hours. The internal temperature at the leg joint should reach 175 degrees F. Also, check to see if the leg joint is loose and tender and juices run clear.

If using a table top rotisserie, set heat to medium-low. If using a grill, heat grill to medium and place a drip pan under the duck to catch the rendered fat.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

You Know You are Filipino When...

It is time to make fun of ourselves. The following video I discovered in You Tube recently! Smile if you are a Filipino and Learn something about the Pinoys all over the world if you are not!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Pinoys are Food Crazy

The following article, I have read a couple of years ago. But today, a friend e-mailed it to me. I can help but smile and I decided to share it with you. If you have read this before, my apology. It was written by a British journalist, Matthew Sutherland, stationed in the Philippines. His observations are so hilarious but true!

Sutherland wrote about Filipinos craze of food! This reminded me of the latest tourism video advertising saying that, Filipinos would say "Have You Eaten Already instead of Hello or Hi"?.

"I have now been in this country for over six years, and consider myself in most respects well assimilated. However, there is one key step on the road to full assimilation, which I have yet to take, and that's to eat BALUT.

The day any of you sees me eating balut, please call immigration and ask them to issue me a Filipino passport. Because at that point there will be no turning back. BALUT, for those still blissfully ignorant non-Pinoys out there, is a fertilized duck egg. It is commonly sold with salt in a piece of newspaper, much like English fish and chips, by street vendors usually after dark, presumably so you can't see how gross it is.

Food dominates the life of the Filipino. People here just love to eat. They eat at least eight times a day. These eight official meals are called, in order: breakfast, snacks, lunch, merienda, merienda cena, dinner, bedtime snacks and no-one-saw-me- take-that- cookie-from- the-fridge- so-it-doesn't-count.

The short gaps in between these mealtimes are spent eating Sky Flakes from the open packet that sits on every desktop. You're never far from food in the Philippines. If you doubt this, next time you're driving home from work, try this game. See how long you can drive without seeing food and I don't mean a distant restaurant, or a picture of food. I mean a man on the sidewalk frying fish balls, or a man walking through the traffic selling nuts or candy. I bet it's less than one minute.

Here are some other things I've noticed about food in the Philippines :

Firstly, a meal is not a meal without rice - even breakfast. In the UK , I could go a whole year without eating rice. Second, it's impossible to drink without eating. A bottle of San Miguel just isn't the same without gambas or beef tapa. Third, no one ventures more than two paces from their house without baon (food in small container) and a container of something cold to drink. You might as well ask a Filipino to leave home without his pants on. And lastly, where I come from, you eat with a knife and fork. Here, you eat with a spoon and fork. You try eating rice swimming in fish sauce with a knife.

One really nice thing about Filipino food culture is that people always ask you to SHARE their food. In my office, if you catch anyone attacking their baon, they will always go, "Sir! KAIN TAYO!" ("Let's eat!").

This confused me, until I realized that they didn't actually expect me to sit down and start munching on their boneless bangus. In fact, the polite response is something like, "No thanks, I just ate." But the principle is sound - if you have food on your plate, you are expected to share it, however hungry you are, with those who may be even hungrier. I think that's great!

In fact, this is frequently even taken one step further. Many Filipinos use "Have you eaten yet?" ("KUMAIN KA NA?") as a general greeting, irrespective of time of day or location.

Some foreigners think Filipino food is fairly dull compared to other Asian cuisines. Actually lots of it is very good: Spicy dishes like Bicol Express (strange, a dish named after a train); anything cooked with coconut milk; anything KINILAW; and anything ADOBO. And it's hard to beat the sheer wanton, cholesterolic frenzy of a good old-fashioned LECHON de leche (roast pig) feast.. Dig a pit, light a fire, add 50 pounds of animal fat on a stick, and cook until crisp. Mmm, mmm... you can actually feel your arteries constricting with each successive mouthful.

I also share one key Pinoy trait --- a sweet tooth. I am thus the only foreigner I know who does not complain about sweet bread, sweet burgers, sweet spaghetti, sweet banana ketchup, and so on. I am a man who likes to put jam on his pizza. Try it!

It's the weird food you want to avoid. In addition to duck fetus in the half-shell, items to avoid in the Philippines include pig's blood soup (DINUGUAN); bull's testicle soup, the strangely-named "SOUP NUMBER FIVE" (I dread to think what numbers one through four are); and the ubiquitous, stinky shrimp paste, BAGOONG, and it's equally stinky sister, PATIS. Filipinos are so addicted to these latter items that they will even risk arrest or deportation trying to smuggle them into countries like Australia and the USA , which wisely ban the importation of items you can smell from more than 100 paces.

Then there's the small matter of the purple ice cream. I have never been able to get my brain around eating purple food; the ubiquitous UBE leaves me cold.

And lastly on the subject of weird food, beware: that KALDERETANG KAMBING (goat) could well be KALDERETANG ASO (dog)...

The Filipino, of course, has a well-developed sense of food. Here's a typical Pinoy food joke: "I'm on a seafood diet.

"What's a seafood diet?" "When I see food, I eat it!"

Filipinos also eat strange bits of animals --- the feet, the head, the guts, etc., usually barbecued on a stick. These have been given witty names, like "ADIDAS" (chicken's feet); "KURBATA" (either just chicken's neck, or "neck and thigh" as in "neck-tie"); "WALKMAN" (pigs ears); "PAL" (chicken wings); "HELMET" (chicken head); "IUD" (chicken intestines), and BETAMAX" (video-cassette- like blocks of animal blood). Yum,yum. Bon appetit."

My Personal Note: You know you are in the Philippines when you see restaurants of all class and types all around. For example in the Makati area there must be hundreds of restaurants per square mile, but they all survive and are profitable. When Pinoys get depressed they turn to food. I wonder what percent of the Filipino people are overweight?

Sunday, January 12, 2014

My Recipe for Blueberries/Banana or Mango Pancakes

I cooked my second blueberries pancake yesterday. Besides the blueberries, I added one overripe banana. In my previous posting about cooking, I wrote about my feeling of accomplishment after I cooked my first Filipino dish ( Chicken Tinola with Vegetables) with out the supervision of my wife. Please note that my wife was an excellent cook before her PD diagnosis, so during the last 56 years of our marriage, I never intrude in her kitchen( her territory) except to wash dishes.

I cooked this second pancake recipe with banana when I saw one banana getting over riped in the kitchen counter. I followed the instruction in the box, but modify the amount of water( milk in this recipe) because of the banana. Two days ago, I saw fresh blueberries in the Farmer's Market near us at the regular price of $3.99 a pint. They look so fresh and yummy, I purchased a pint even though it was a bit expensive.

Procedure: Mixed 2 cups pancake mix( Hungry Jack), 1 cup milk and 2 eggs in a bowl. Mixed thoroughly. Add the 1/2 pint of washed blueberries and one slice over riped banana. Mixed thoroughly mashing the banana. Scoop a big spoonful or two of the mix in a flat electric skillet set at medium heat. Do not forget to add cooking oil in the flat pan. Turn the pancake as soon as one side is brown. In 15 minutes I had 14 six inches blueberries-banana pancake for my wife and my breakfast. Easy and Fast.

Again, I can not believe, I can cook excellent pancakes without any sweat. Serve with bacon and brewed Baracco coffee from the Philippines. You can add butter or syrup or powdered sugar in your pancake if you wish. I feel accomplished with this recipe which turned out to be very delicious and very moist because of the banana.

In the Philippines, our cook used over riped mangoes instead of banana or blueberries. Blueberries do not grow in the Philippine's tropical climate and have to be imported. However strawberries are available, so you can use strawberries for pancake if you desire, although I have never cooked a strawberry pancake myself. Have You?

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Hell Freezes Over in Michigan, USA

Two days ago the Arctic Vortex ( extreme historic cold temperature and wind velocity) engulfed all of the US except Southern California and Florida. One of the headlines that day that attracted my attention was Hell, Michigan Freezes Over. The headline reminded me of the article I posted in my blog a year ago listing all the unusual, bizarre and sexy names of towns and places in the United States. So where the heck is Hell Michigan? Here's what Wikipedia say:

"Hell, or Hiland Lake, is an unincorporated community in Putnam Township of Livingston County in the U.S. state of Michigan. The community is near the border with Washtenaw County, about 15 miles northwest of Ann Arbor. Hell is 3 miles southwest of Pinckney via Patterson Lake Road. The community is served by the Pinckney post office with ZIP Code 48169". The town has about 600 residents.

Now that we know that Hell exists, is there a Heaven in the US?

I do not think there is such a place, but there is a Paradise, California that my wife and I visited last year. There is also Heavenly Hills and Heavenly Valley, CA, Little Heaven, Delaware and Heaven Heights, MA. Unusual names, indeed!

The following weird, unusual and sexy names are real names of towns in the United States. For a complete lists visit www.accuracyproject.org/towns.html

Go to Hell - Hell, Michigan, of course!
Hell, Michigan
Hell Hollow, New Hampshire
Hells Corners, Ohio
Half Hell, North Carolina
Devil's Backbone, Connecticut
Devils Den, California
Devils Elbow, Missouri
Devils Lake, North Dakota
Devils Slide, Utah
Devils Tower, Wyoming
Devil Town, Ohio
Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina
Red Devil, Alaska

Get your mind out of the gutter!

Loveladies, New Jersey
Hooker, Oklahoma
Hooker Hole, Louisiana
Romance, Arkansas
Horneytown, North Carolina
French Lick, Indiana
Sweet Lips, Tennessee
Fanny, West Virginia
Busti, New York
Bird in Hand, Pennsylvania
Big Beaver, Pennsylvania
Butts, Georgia
Buttzville, New Jersey
Dicktown, New Jersey
Erect, North Carolina
New Erection, Virginia
Dickshooter, Idaho
Intercourse, Pennsylvania
Loving, New Mexico
Climax, Georgia
Conception, Missouri
Fidelity, Missouri
Manly, Iowa
Eros, Louisiana
Dickey, Maine
Fort Dick, California
Beaver, Arkansas

Heaven only knows

Angel City, Texas
Angel Fire, New Mexico
Angels Camp, California
Angeltown, Tennessee
Heavenly Hills, California
Heavenly Valley, California
Little Heaven, Delaware
Heaven Heights, Massachusetts
Convent, Louisiana
Pray, Montana

Lastly, Any one knows if there is a place called "Loser" in US or anywhere else in the world? Do you know of any other unusual name not included in this list? Please share!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Balikbayan Box Wrecking Ball Parody

Time to smile for the second Friday of 2014. If you have Filipino roots you can identify with this video. If you have not heard about the Balikbayan box view this video and learn a new word about Filipinos all over the world. This is indeed funny, but most of it is true.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

A Job Opportunity for International Investment Management

I received the following letter in my e-mail recently. I am sharing this job opportunity to all my readers, since I am not interested or feel qualified for the position.


My name is Luis Leal, I represent Gateway Financial Services in United Kingdom as Head of Operations Private Banking Department.

Having come through your contact information via the internet business directory. We would like to know if you will be willing to take care of one of our client investment that is interested in investing in your country.

Your job entail helping him to establish a trading name in your business operations while he invest with over $30 Million US Dollars and at the same time share the profits according to any discreet stipulated agreements made by both parties and the investment will also be managed by you.

Upon acceptance of this offer, we shall make arrangement for a possible business meeting between you and our client in London or UAE for Familiarization and subsequent mobilization. Your flight expenses, hotel reservations and other modalities will be refunded to you. The company waits to know your decision about this offer, so please kindly get back to me immediately for more discussions and is better you write back to me now with your contact details so I know how to proceed with the venture.

105 New North Quay,
Saint Heiler JE2 3NG,
Jersey Channel Island,
United Kingdom.

Here's what I found about the company in the Internet!

Gateway Finance is a leading wealth manager and is very vast in Wealth and Investment Management with focus on private and intermediary clients worldwide, providing international investment management, fiduciary services and Loan syndication.

It is a major financial services provider engaged in wealth management with an extensive international patronage from Europe, the Americas, Africa and Asia. With over 15 years of history and expertise in finance industry, invests and protects money for customers and clients worldwide. The organization is involve with the following:

Asset protection, liquidity planning and mitigating risks to clients’ wealth
Passing assets to the next generation
Tax-efficient financial planning
International investment structures
Establishment and administration of trusts, companies and foundations
Structuring for entrepreneurial and family businesses
Support with real estate purchases
Dedicated planning for any complex, cross-border assets
Loan syndication to take your dreams to reality

Even though I have an MBA degree from the UC Berkeley Haas Business School (1980), I do not feel qualified for the above position. Moreover at this stage of my career, I have no desire to travel or hustle for a living. I am sharing this job opportunity with you my readers, Perhaps you will be interested.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Supreme Court versus House of Congress

The is the latest news summary on the power struggle between the Supreme Court and the House of Congress in the Philippines. This drama could only happened in the Philippines. The small province of Marinduque is the focal point of this controversy besides the Pork Barrel Scandal Funds elimination by the Supreme Court. So is the Philippines a true Democracy or is it an Oligarchy?  Very Interesting Indeed!  
marinduque rising: SC enforces power to review congressional actions;...: YEARENDER: SC weighs people’s clamor, enforces power to review congressional actions By Edu Punay   (The Philippine Star)  |  Janua...

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Value of Asking Questions-Reina Reyes

This very inspiring video from a young Pinay scientist was forwarded to me by a member of the Philippine-American Academy of Science and Engineering( PAASE) from the Philippines. As a retired member of PAASE, My dreams and hope is that more of our young and talented Pinoys or Pinays dedicate their lives to science for the betterment of mankind and the world. I congratulate Reina Reyes for her achievements and hope many more of her kind will gave their talents for the betterment of science in the Philippines.

This video also reminded me of my childhood years when I asked myself why is the bitter melon (ampalaya) bitter( mapait in {longgo),why some varieties of mangoes are sweeter than other varieties and why aspirin cured my headache. Needless to say the above questions had inspired me to be an Analytical Chemist as my college major and Pharmaceutical Chemistry as my Graduate degree in my adulthood years.

Monday, January 6, 2014

I am in the Mood for Violin Music

Let us start the first Monday of 2014 with one of my favorite violin piece, Romance from the Gadfly by Dmitri Shostakovich,

The above video is a classical piece for the violin and piano. It was composed by Dmitri Shostakovich. Dmitri Shostakovich was a Soviet Russian composer and pianist and was one of the most celebrated composers of the 20th century.

Shostakovich achieved fame in the Soviet Union under the patronage of Leon Trotsky's chief of staff Mikhail Tukhachevsky, but later had a complex and difficult relationship with the government. Nevertheless, he received accolades and state awards and served in the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR (1947–1962) and the USSR (from 1962 until death).

After a period influenced by Sergei Prokofiev and Igor Stravinsky, Shostakovich developed a hybrid style, as exemplified by Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District (1934). This single work juxtaposed a wide variety of trends, including the neo-classical style (showing the influence of Stravinsky) and post-Romanticism (after Gustav Mahler). Sharp contrasts and elements of the grotesque characterize much of his music.

Shostakovich's orchestral works include 15 symphonies and six concerti. Music for chamber ensembles includes 15 string quartets, a piano quintet, two pieces for a string octet, and two piano trios. His piano works include two solo sonatas, an early set of preludes, and a later set of 24 preludes and fugues. Other works include three operas, and a substantial quantity of film music.

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Sunday, January 5, 2014

Smoked Salmon and Pasta in Mushroom Sauce

Last Christmas, one of the gifts we received was a big box of smoked salmon. I have never cooked smoked salmon before, so I started reading recipes using smoked salmon in pasta in the Web. I found hundreds of recipes of pasta and smoked salmon in various sauces.

I was looking for a recipe that is easy and simple. The following recipe is my own creation inspired by the availability and abundance of fresh mushrooms in our local grocery store and the can of cream of mushroom soup and spaghetti pasta that I found in our pantry. Other kinds of pasta may be used. Garnishing with chopped green onions or parsley is optional.


2 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2/3 cup (160ml) dry white wine or vermouth
1/4 cup jicama (Mexican turnips or sincamas) finely chopped
1 can cream of mushroom soup diluted in 1 cup of water
4 big fresh white mushrooms chopped to about 1/4 inch
8-10oz (250-300g) smoked salmon, cut in 1/2-inch (1cm) pieces
garlic salt, to taste
1/4 lb. spaghetti( or other pasta such as linguine, farfalle etc)
parsley or green onions for garnishing (optional)


In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat and sauté the onions until golden and starting to caramelize, about 10-15 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté just until it loses its raw edge, about one minute more. Then add the chopped jicama. Saute until cooked (5 minutes). Add the chopped fresh mushrooms. Saute for 5 minutes. Then add the can of cream of mushrooms soup diluted with 1 cup of hot water. Pour in the wine and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat slightly and stir in the smoked salmon. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 more minutes, until the sauce is quite thick. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste.

Cook the spaghetti in the boiling salted water until just al dente. Drain the spaghetti and let it cool. Pour the sauce into the spaghetti and served immediately.
Garnished, if you like, with parsley or chopped green onions. Delicious and savory!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Blogging Has Saved My Life

Now that I caught your attention let me continue and finish the title by adding the phrases from boredom and feeling useless. I retired in the Fall of 2002 but did not start blogging until the summer of 2008. During that six years interval, I tried to keep busy by getting very involved with the daily management of my small beach resort business in Marinduque, Philippines. In between I helped my wife baby sat for our youngest grand daughter, Carenna Katague Thompson. When Carenna started kindergarten our involvement in her care became minimal and I found plenty of time during the day in this time period of my retirement years. I was starting to get bored and feeling useless.

A neighbor suggested, I should blog. At first I was apprehensive, that no one will be interested in reading my blogs. But I decided I should really blog to advertise my beach resort in Marinduque. Besides the business resort, I was not sure what other topics should I write. I asked the opinions of relatives and friends on what subject should I write and someone says write from your heart. It was a "no brainer" then, when my first blog was about my childhood experiences during the Japanese-American War in the Philippines*. This was followed by my complete autobiography, http://theintellectualmigrant.blogspot.com and http:davidbkatague.blogspot.com. Three others blog followed: http://marinduqueawaitsyou.blogspot.com, http://marinduqueonmymind.blogspot.com, and http://marinduquemyislandparadise.blogspot.com. The three blogs highlighted, my love for Marinduque, our second home.
Chateau Du Mer Beach Resort, Marinduque, Philippines

Later on I started http://lifeinus1960present.blogspot.com and my most recent blog is http://myfavoritepinoydishes.blogspot.com I have also two age-restricted blogs, Controversial and Award Winning Movies and Amazing and Sexy Images in the Internet

Today, I have an active writing account from Skrive.it and from squidoo.com. I also used to write for Viewshound, a writing site that is now defunct. I have submitted two articles for Socivate a new writing site. I have ads accounts from Googles, Infolinks and Chitika. My average monthly earnings from these three accounts is $10. This is just enough to buy me a cup of coffee from Starbuck and a half foot long sandwich from Subway. I have a Facebook account and more than 600 friends. Most of my FB friends regularly click the LIKE button in my articles. I wish though that these LIKERS will become CLICKERS of my ads.

As of today, I have written 1167 articles. I average about 500 readers per day in my nine blogs and have received more than 400 comments. I have a total of almost two million page views and readers from 166 countries Majority of my readers are from US and in the Philippines.

Blogging has indeed saved my life from boredom and feeling useless. Thank you again to all my readers all over the world for your support and specially your comments. Keep it coming!

*This article was a gold award winner of $50 given by ViewsHound in 2010.

Friday, January 3, 2014

My Grand Daughter is now Blogging

Introducing my Grand Daughter Elaine Katague King
I am very proud of my grand daughter accomplishment so far as a new blogger.  
Teal With It: Everyone Deserves to Sparkle: Another New Years Resolutions Post: Happy 2014!!! You know what that means. Its time to talk New Years Resolutions. I don't normally do resolutions but I have decided ...

Thursday, January 2, 2014

My Alma Mater, UIC Asking for Help

One of my Alma Mater, the University of Illinois, College of Pharmacy is asking my help and Donation. I wish I could help, but being retired and on a fixed budget there is nothing I could spare these days. Along the same line my other Alma Mater UC Berkeley Haas Business School have also asked for help through a personal call besides E-mail that I posted in my blog the other day. Here's an e-mail from UIC College of Pharmacy.

Dear Dr. Katague,

For many of us, the holidays are a time to appreciate one another, reflect upon the past year and to support causes that make a difference.

Be Merry. Be Generous. Give today to the College’s Annual Fund. Each year donations to the annual fund from alumni and donors like you help…

Support academic enrichment projects, such as guest lecturers and career day opportunities; student life, through improved facility enhancements and alumni/student networking events; Student organization support, by way of supporting extracurricular programs and activities that add significantly to our students' experiences; and financial aid in the form of general scholarship support.

Please consider making a gift to the College of Pharmacy this holiday season!

Thank you for your continued support. Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!!!

833 South Wood Street (MC874) Chicago, Illinois 60612
Phone (312) 996-7785 l Fax (312) 413-1910 l Email: pharmacy@uic.edu l Website: pharmacy.uic.edu

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Filipino Tradition and Superstitions on New Year

Twelve kinds of round fruits should be in your table by midnight to bring good luck and prosperity to the Household

When I was growing up in the Philippines, my parents will tell us kids that on New Years Eve and Day, we should do the following for good luck. Doing these things will help insure that the coming year will be a happy and prosperous one. Many of these traditions and superstition are of Chinese influence, I believe.

1. Turn on all lights so that the coming year will be bright.

2. Make as much noise as you can to scare away evil spirits.

3. Debts must be paid off. Fill you wallet with fresh peso bills.

4. Open all doors, windows, cabinets and drawers to let good fortune in.

5. Scatter coins around the house, on tabletops.... inside drawers...

6. Clean everything including your body by taking a long bath, the closets and the whole house.

7. Wear polka-dots, preferably black and white. Anything round signifies prosperity.

8. Jump twelve times at midnight to increase your height. (Observed by Filipino children.)

There are five things related to food that we must do for good luck as follows:

1. Prepare 12 round fruits, one for each month of the coming new year ( see photo above).

2. Have a very round grape in your mouth at the stroke of midnight.

3. Eat a native delicacy made from sticky rice to make good fortune stick in the new year.

4. Eat long noodles (pancit) for long life ( definitely of Chinese origin). We should eat pancit also during our birthday.

5. Don't eat any chicken or fish. They are associated with the scarcity of food.

Then on New Years Day we should not clean anything, otherwise we might sweep away the good fortune. In addition we should not spend money at all. Our being thrifty that day will help us manage our money very well for the whole year. Do you have any New Years Eve tradition in your family? Please share!

Happy 2014 to All of You, my dear readers and FaceBook Friends!
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