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, February 28, 2015

Lechon sa Kawali-Oven Roasted Suckling Pig

The other day during our weekly outing of dining and slot machine playing, my wife and I decided to eat in the Buffet Restaurant of TVC, Lincoln, CA-our favorite Indian Casino. Of the hundreds of dishes ( Chinese, Mexican, Italian, traditional American), the highlight of the buffet that day was an oven roasted suckling pig. It was delicious and the skin was crispy and meat juicy. The problem was we can not find any liver sauce. This reminded me of our Pinoy, Lechon sa Kawali ( Roast Pig in a Pan). I searched for recipes in the Internet. There were several but the following published in the Food Lab I found very simple and easy to follow. Try it and let me know.

Whole Roasted Suckling Pig

Yield: Serves 12 to 16
Active time: 1 hour
Total time: 5 to 6 hours
This recipe appears in: The Food Lab Redux: 7 Pork Dishes for the Holidays The Food Lab: How to Roast a Whole Suckling Pig

1 whole suckling pig, about 20 pounds (see note)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
20 whole cloves garlic
1 six-inch piece of fresh ginger, cut into 1/2-inch slivers


1 Preheat oven to 300°F. Season pig inside and out with plenty of salt and pepper. Fill cavity with garlic and ginger. If pig fits on a single rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan, place him on the baking sheet back-up and transfer to the oven. If pig is too large, remove a rack from the oven and place on your range. Overlap two rimmed backin sheets so that they fit on the oven rack and line the whole thing with foil. Transfer the pig to the overlapped baking sheets then lift the whole oven rack and return to the oven so that the pig is in the center.

2 Roast until an instand read thermometer inserted into the deepest part of the shoulder blade registers at least 160°F, about 4 hours. If ears or tail begin to burn, cover with foil and continue roasting.

3 Increase oven temperature to 500°F and cook until skin is crisp all over, about 30 minutes longer. Remove pig from oven, tent with foil, and allow to rest for 30 minutes. Serve by tearing skin into serving-sized pieces and removing flesh with your fingers and piling it onto a serving platter.

Note: You can order suckling pigs from your local butcher, or from online resources such as McReynolds Farms. Plan on a pound and a half of weight per person. You can feel free to substitute the garlic and ginger with any aromatics of your choice such as herbs, other vegetables, or fruit. Your pig can be removed from the oven and left at room temperature tented with foil for up to two hours after step two and before proceeding with step three if you need to do so for timing purposes.

About the author: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the Chief Creative Officer of Serious Eats where he likes to explore the science of home cooking in his weekly column The Food Lab. You can follow him at @thefoodlab on Twitter, or at The Food Lab on Facebook.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A Love Letter to the Filipinos

I received the following article from a friend today. This is must read if you have roots in the Philippines

I am writing to thank Filipinos for the way you have treated me here, and to pass on a lesson I learned from observing the differences between your culture and mine over the years.

I am an expatriate worker. I refer to myself as an OAW, an overseas American worker, as a bad joke. The work I do involves a lot of traveling and changing locations, and I do it alone, without family. I have been in 21 countries now, not including my own. It was fun at first. Now, many years later, I am getting tired. The Philippines remains my favorite country of all, though, and I’d like to tell you why before I have to go away again.

I have lived for short periods here, traveled here, and have family and friends here. My own family of origin in the United States is like that of many Americans—not much of a family. Americans do not stay very close to their families, geographically or emotionally, and that is a major mistake. I have long been looking for a home and a family, and the Philippines is the only place I have lived where people honestly seem to understand how important their families are.

I am American and hard-headed. I am a teacher, but it takes me a long time to learn some things. But I’ve been trying, and your culture has been patient in trying to teach me.
In the countries where I’ve lived and worked, all over the Middle East and Asia, it is Filipinos who do all the work and make everything happen. When I am working in a new company abroad, I seek out the Filipino staff when I need help getting something done, and done right.

Your international reputation as employees is that you work hard, don’t complain, and are very capable. If all the Filipinos were to go home from the Middle East, the world would stop. Oil is the lifeblood of the world, but without Filipinos, the oil will not come from the ground, it will not be loaded onto the ships, and the ships will not sail. The offices that make the deals and collect the payments will not even open in the morning. The schools will not have teachers, and, of course, the hospitals will have no staff.

What I have seen, that many of you have not seen, is how your family members, the ones who are overseas Filipino workers, do not tell you much about how hard their lives actually are. OFWs are very often mistreated in other countries, at work and in their personal lives. You probably have not heard much about how they do all the work but are severely underpaid, because they know that the money they are earning must be sent home to you, who depend on them.

The OFWs are very strong people, perhaps the strongest I have ever seen. They have their pictures taken in front of nice shops and locations to post on Facebook so that you won’t worry about them. But every Pinoy I have ever met abroad misses his/her family very, very much.

I often pity those of you who go to America. You see pictures of their houses and cars, but not what it took to get those things. We have nice things, too many things, in America, but we take on an incredible debt to get them, and the debt is lifelong. America’s economy is based on debt. Very rarely is a house, car, nice piece of clothing, electronic appliance, and often even food, paid for. We get them with credit, and this debt will take all of our lifetime to pay. That burden is true for anyone in America—the OFWs, those who are married to Americans, and the Americans themselves.

Most of us allow the American Dream to become the American Trap. Some of you who go there make it back home, but you give up most of your lives before you do. Some of you who go there learn the very bad American habits of wanting too many things in your hands, and the result is that you live only to work, instead of working only to live. The things we own actually own us. That is the great mistake we Americans make in our lives. We live only to work, and we work only to buy more things that we don’t need. We lose our lives in the process.

I have sometimes tried to explain it like this: In America, our hands are full, but our hearts are empty. You have many problems here, I understand that. Americans worry about having new cars, Filipinos worry about having enough food to eat. That’s an enormous difference. But do not envy us, because we should learn something from you. What I see is that even when your hands are empty, your hearts remain full.

I have many privileges in the countries where I work, because I am an expat. I do not deserve these things, but I have them. However, in every country I visit, I see that you are there also, taking care of your families, friends, bosses, and coworkers first, and yourselves last. And you have always taken care of me, in this country and in every other place where I have been.

These are places where I have been very alone, very tired, very hungry, and very worried, but there have always been Filipinos in my offices, in the shops, in the restaurants, in the hospitals, everywhere, who smile at and take good care of me. I always try to let you know that I have lived and traveled in the Philippines and how much I like your country. I know that behind those smiles of yours, here and abroad, are many worries and problems.

Please know that at least one of us expats has seen what you do for others and understands that you have a story behind your smiles. Know that at least one of us admires you, respects you, and thanks you for your sacrifices. Salamat po. Ingat lagi. Mahal ko kayong lahat. By David H. Hartwell


David H. Harwell, PhD, is a former professor and assistant dean in the United States who now travels and works abroad designing language training programs. He is a published author and a son of a retired news editor.

Monday, February 23, 2015

An Incident of Mistaken Identity and Ethnic Stereotyping

While I was browsing in the Web today, I saw an article that the Rancho Bernardo Tennis and Swim Club in San Diego has closed. I thought this was the same place as the Rancho Bernardo Inn Resort also in San Diego that my wife and I attended (Tennis Vacation package) in 1982. I guess I made a mistake.

Anyway today, the above article reminded me of an incident that happened to us in 1982 when Macrine and I attended a 3-DAY of Tennis Class and Vacation Package at the Rancho Bernardo Inn, which at that time was a five star resort. The following article (excerpt in Chapter 10 from my autobiography, written in 2009) is an example of an ethnic stereotyping based on my skin and appearance as an Asian man and a Filipino. The article is as follows:

"Life in Pinole, California would not be complete, If I do not write about our tennis activities as related to our 25th Wedding Anniversary in 1982. As part of our community activities, Macrine and I played tennis almost everyday after work. On weekends. I also played double with the men's team at Contra Costa College. So, as one of my silver wedding anniversary gift to Macrine, we decided to attend a 3-day tennis academy package at Rancho Bernardo Inn in San Diego. The five star resort is home of one of the best tennis academy in California at that time. For the three days, we played tennis 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the afternoon. In between tennis we had gourmet meals and entertainment at night. The cost of the tennis package was very expensive, comparable to the cost of playing golf and staying at Bellarocca Resort here in Marinduque today.

The cost of the trip was not my concern, since it was my Silver Wedding Anniversary gift to both Macrine and myself. An incident at the resort is why I am mentioning this trip. As soon as we check in, Macrine stayed at the front office to smoke, while I carried our luggage to our room. On my way to our room, an elderly white couple approached me and requested that I also helped them with their luggage as soon as I finished what I was doing. I gave them a surprise stare and blurted out, "I am just checking in myself,and I do not worked here". They apologized profusely.

Later on, I realized why I had been mistaken for a porter. About 90% of the resort porters, janitors and maintenance workers were either Filipinos or Mexicans. This incident is an example of how people judged you with the color of your skin and not what you had accomplished or what is in your head".

The above tennis vacation package, a post 25th wedding anniversary gift to my wife and myself, we will never forget, because it reminds us of our younger days. Moreover, the above incident also reminds us that most people first impression of you is your external appearance and not what is inside your heart and head.

If you are a Filipino-American, have you experience a similar incident in your life?

Friday, February 20, 2015

Guimaras Island-Mangoes Capital of the Philippines

Have you heard of Guimaras Island in the Philippines? When I was growing up in the Philippines, Guimaras island was still a part of the province of Iloilo -my province of birth. It became an independent province only in 1992.

My fathers roots ( K(C)atague surname) are from Guimaras. Today I have still relatives in the island. The video below from Living Channel Asia is a must view if you want to know more about this small province in the West Visayas Region of the Philippines

Guimaras is a fourth class island province of the Philippines located in the Western Visayas region. Among the smallest provinces, its capital is Jordan. The island is located in the Panay Gulf, between the islands of Panay and Negros. To the northwest is the province of Iloilo and to the southeast is Negros Occidental.

The province consists primarily of Guimaras Island, and also includes Inampulugan, Guiwanon (or Guiuanon), Panobolon, Natunga, Nadulao, and many minor surrounding islands. Geologists have concluded that the island once formed one landmass with Panay.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Philippines Schindler's List

The movie Schindler's List that I posted in my blog the other day reminded me of the following article I wrote about four years ago, about the Philippines participation in saving more than a thousand European Jews from the Holocaust.

A friend from the Philippines forwarded this article via e-mail today. I was 5 years old when this was the news. I barely remember it from my parents conversation about World War II. Anyway, if you are a Filipino or Filipino-American, you should read this and be proud of the Philippines.

Monument in Israel honors Filipinos, For saving 1,200 Jews from Holocaustt, By Volt Contreras, Philippine Inquirer dated August 24, 2010.

"MANILA, Philippines—Before Schindler’s List, there was another document—the Philippine visa—that saved hundreds of Jews from the gas chambers and mass graves of the Holocaust.

In 1939, two years before World War II reached the Pacific, the Commonwealth government under President Manuel L. Quezon allotted 10,000 visas and safe haven to Jews fleeing Nazi Europe. Some 1,200 Jews made it to Manila before the city itself fell to Japanese invaders.

Before sunset on June 21, 70 years later, the first ever monument honoring Quezon and the Filipino nation for this "open door policy" was inaugurated on Israeli soil.

The monument—a geometric, seven-meter-high sculpture titled "Open Doors"—was designed by Filipino artist Junyee (Luis Lee Jr.).

At the program held at the 65-hectare Holocaust Memorial Park in Rishon LeZion, Israel’s fourth largest city south of Tel Aviv, the mere mention of "Taft Avenue" by one of the speakers brought Ralph Preiss to the verge of tears.

Preiss, a father of four now in his 70s, later explained that Taft Avenue was where a synagogue-run soup kitchen provided the first hot meals he had as a refugee. He was eight when he arrived from Rosenberg, Germany, with his parents at the port of Manila on March 23, 1939.

"If I stayed in Germany I would have been killed," Preiss, a retired engineer living in Connecticut in the United States, told the Inquirer in an interview.
"My cousin who lived in Berlin and whose father was a lawyer went to Paris [instead]. The Paris police handed them over to the Nazis, and they were sent to Auschwitz and got killed," he recalled, adding:

"I’m very grateful to the Philippines for opening the doors and letting us in."

‘Salamat sa inyo!’

THANK YOU, RP In gratitude for the Philippines’ ‘open door’ policy for Jews escaping persecution in Nazi Europe, a steel monument of three doors was unveiled last week in Israel. VOLT CONTRERAS

Saturday, February 14, 2015

My Formula for a Lasting Marriage

Today is an excellent time to repost the following article I wrote last year on Valentines day! Happy VD to All!

TODAY is Valentine's Day. A day for lovers, young and old. This is the best time to write Part 2 of my article on the Formula for a lasting marriage. I wrote my first article on my formula for a lasting marriage about a year ago. I did receive several positive comments on that article. In that article I emphasized that open trust and communication between the husband and wife is a must for a lasting marriage. Another point I discussed in that article was accepting the flaws as well as the strength of your partner is a must for a lasting marriage. This new article (Part 2) is inspired from two incidents that I experienced recently.

The first incident occurred while my wife and I were waiting in the patient lounge at the diagnostic laboratory for our normal six month interval blood work check up. A couple seating near us mentioned that they have been married for 63 years. I asked the guy, if he has a secrete formula for their lasting marriage. He jokingly answered "I do what she wants pointing to his wife". His wife heard it, she smiled and reply, that is not true because I also like to please him whatever he wants almost all the time. The lesson here is the "gave and take" is still one of the formula for a lasting marriage.

The second incident happened while I was in line at our friendly local bank cashing a check. The line was long and the bank had only two clerks because it was about lunch time. The wait was about 30 minutes and to get rid of boredom, I started a conversation with an elderly lady next in line. After a few pleasantries, she mentioned that yesterday was her 54th wedding anniversary with her second husband. Her marriage with her first husband lasted only about a year, because both of them were young and immature. So I asked her if she has a formula why her second marriage has lasted for more than 54 years. Her quick reply was, my husband and I just laugh a lot. If we have problems we talk about it and just laugh about it.

To me this means that to have a positive attitude and not taking problems seriously is another formula that helps guarantee a lasting marriage.

So my dear readers if you have been married for more than 10 years, can you share with me and my readers, your formula for a lasting marriage. I will appreciate it very much and thank you in advance for sharing. Again, Happy Valentine to You All!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

An Imelda Marcos Musical Update

Last year I posted a short article on the musical, Here's Lies Love based on the life of Imelda Marcos. Here's an update for your information, in case you have not seen it. Enjoy!

First Lady Imelda Marcos, was born on July 2, 1929. She is the widow of the deceased and former Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos and forms half of their so-called conjugal dictatorship. She is remembered as a symbol of extravagance during her husband's twenty-year rule because of her collection of more than a thousand pairs of shoes.

Imelda began her career as a local singer and model in Manila before meeting her husband Ferdinand, who would later be elected as President. After the declaration of martial law in 1972, Imelda began holding positions in the national government that allowed her to travel the world and accumulate artwork and property. The couple consolidated their power allowing them to transport funds from the Philippine treasury into offshore accounts, such as those within banks in Switzerland. Accusations of corruption and human rights violations against them would culminate into the assassination of Benigno Aquino, Jr. that would lead into People Power Revolution which forced her family out of office and into exile in Hawaii. After her husband's death, she and her family were given amnesty by Corazon Aquino. Her return to the Philippines has since allowed her to restore her political dynasty and she was elected in the House of Representatives in 1995 for Leyte and again in 2010 for Ilocos Norte.

Despite facing numerous cases involving alleged corruption, she has yet to be imprisoned and she continues to wield power. She remains one of the most enigmatic figures of both the 20th and 21st centuries. Her qualities of grace and beauty along with her ability to survive upheavals has led her to be called the "Steel Butterfly."

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Schindler's List Movie

Its about time to enjoy an award winning movie in case you have missed it.

Friday, February 6, 2015

The Nieva Clan from Marinduque-Chapter 1

One of the many joys I experienced as a blogger is to share writings of other writers in my blogs. The following series of articles is written by Rene Nieva- my wife's( Macrine Nieva Jambalos) first cousin whose roots are also from Marinduque. At the end of this posting is a short biography of Rene.

AN INFORMAL HISTORY OF THE NIEVA FAMILY: ( First Draft by Rene Nieva*)Chapter 1

The first Nieva in Philippine History

It is not known whether the Nievas are descended directly from him but the first record of a Nieva in Philippine history was of a certain Spanish priest named Domingo de Nieva. De Nieva was born in Spain in 1563 in the town of Villoria in the province of Castilla northwest of Madrid. He entered the Dominican Convent of San Pablo in Valladolid. It would be a source of pride if he was our ancestor because, by all accounts, Fr. Nieva was a remarkable and admirable person.

It was in 1587 that Nieva, who was still a deacon at the time, joined the group of priests and deacons who sailed from Spain via Mexico to propagate the Catholic faith in the Philippines. It was only 66 years after Ferdinand Magellan first landed in the Philippines in 1521, followed by Ruy Lopez de Villalobos in 1543 and then Miguel Lopez de Legazpi in 1565 who finally succeded in colonizing the Philippines and putting the islands under Spanish rule.

Man of Great Virtue and Ability

According to Father Diego Aduarte, who wrote a history of the Dominicans in the
Philippines, Deacon de Nieva's first assignment was in the then newly-established vicariate of Bataan along with three Dominican priests. Father Aduarte singled out de Nieva as "a man of great virtue and ability", aside from being hard-working ("an enemy of sloth") and "with a great aptitude for languages". He learned Tagalog fast and before long was preaching to the natives in their own tongue. But being still a deacon, he could not hear confessions. Hence, upon reaching the requisite age of 25, de Nieva was ordained a priest in September 1588.
In 1590, the then Superior of the Dominican Province in the Philippines, Fr. Juan Cobo, assigned Fr. De Nieva from Bataan to the Parian mission in Manila to strengthen the said mission and hasten the conversion of the Chinese immigrants to Catholicism. Fr. de Nieva also learned Chinese very fast as he did Tagalog before. This again made him more effective in preaching to the Chinese community and convincing many of them to join the Catholic faith.

Helped produce first book in the Philippines

In 1593, Fr. de Nieva earned his place in Philippine history when he and another Dominican priest, Fr. Francisco Blancas de San Juan, produced and printed from wood blocks the first book in the Philippines, the Doctrina Christiana. They were assisted in doing so by a Chinese craftsman named Keng Yong, whom the Dominican fathers converted to Catholicism and given the Christian name of Juan de Vera. It was de Vera under whom Tomas Pinpin, the first Filipino printer, took apprenticeship and mastered the art of printing.

Helped found University of Santo Tomas UST

Fr. de Nieva went on to write and publish several devotional treatises in Tagalog and Chinese. In 1603, in recognition of his capability, he was elected Prior of the Santo Domingo Convent in Manila. In 1605, he and
another priest, Fr. Bernardo Sta. Catalina, helped the then Archbishop of Manila, Archbishop Miquel de Benavidez, in founding a seminary for Filipinos wanting to study for the priesthood.

The archbishop bequeathed P1,500, a huge fortune at the time, and his personal library which served as the nucleus of the seminary which opened six years later in 1611. The seminary was initially named Colegio de Nuestra Senora del Santisimo Rosario but was later renamed Universidad de Santo Tomas in honor of the foremost Dominican theologian St. Thomas Aquinas.

Died on way back to Spain

At the end of his three-year term as Prior, Fr. de Nieva was promoted Procurator of the Dominican Province in Manila and Rome. He set sail to go back to Mexico and on to Spain and Rome in 1606 after nineteen years in the
Philippines. However, he died on board the ship at the still young age of 43, the cause of which has not been recorded.

As earlier stated, it is not known whether the Nievas of today are direct descendants of Fr. Domingo de Nieva as it was not unlikely during those times for Spanish priests, being just human, to take on native women as mistresses and have children with them. Firstly, they were lonely, being far from their home country. Secondly, they were in the Philippines at an age when they were still in the height of their sexual prowess. Third, the native women must have been attracted to them being so tall, fair and and powerful and influential in the community. So it would not have been surprising if Fr. De Nieva had children by women from Bataan and Parian where he was assigned, one of whom would have been among our progenitors.

But if he was the ancestor of the Nievas, it comes as no surprise as many of his descendants seemed to have inherited his qualities of being competent and industrious and with an aptitude for writing and speaking in different languages, as he was described by his fellow Dominicans. I'm quite sure if it turns out he is our ancestor, we would be very proud of him. And even if we were not related to him by blood, we still would be proud that a man with the same Nieva surname lived once upon a time in the Philippines and played such an important and beneficial role in our history.

(Next Chapter. From Albay to Marinduque)

* Rene Nieva, is chairman and president of Perceptions Inc.,a Public Relations (PR) company organized in January 1987. Rene is an experienced PR professional who has worked with leading PR agencies in Manila and New York.

Today Perceptions is considered one of the country's leading PR and corporate communications agencies, counting some of the country's leading companies and the world's top multinational firms among its clients. It has won numerous local and international PR Awards, including the top PR award in the Philippines, the Grand Anvil Award, in 2003 and 2005.

Rene is now semi-retired and the daily management of Perceptions Inc. is under the good and capable hands of his son, Noel.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Time for Some Andre Rieu Music

It is time to enjoy some Andre Rieu music. In case you have not heard about Andre Rieu, do some Internet search and you will learn a lot about this Dutchman concerts all over the world. Enjoy!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Have You Heard of Mikey Bustos?

For some reason or another, This is the first time I have heard of Mikey Bustos. So I did some Internet search, and here's what I learned.

Bustos is born from Filipino parents in the Weston neighbourhood of Toronto. Before Canadian Idol, he worked as a temp at the Bank of Montreal. He attended St. Michael's College School in Toronto.

Bustos placed seventh runner-up in the finals of first season of Canadian Idol in August 2003, despite Chart magazine's prediction: "If we were to lay our bets today, ChartAttack’s money would be on Toronto contestant Mikey Bustos, a slightly strange-looking young man with a shaved head and the voice of an angel. From his very first audition where he floored the four judges, he established the largest fan base early in the competition, and made headlines all over the country.

After competing on Canadian Idol, Bustos began performing throughout Canada and the US at many events and showcases at top venues. Mikey also had special guest appearances and interviews at numerous radio stations including CHUM FM, CFMT, Z 103.5 FM, Flow 93.5 FM, Mix 99.9 FM, AM 680 News, CHIN Ottawa FM, CKMS 100.3 FM Waterloo, and has several times appeared on CTV (Etalk Daily/ Canada AM Live), CBC Quebec, and local stations like Omni1 and Rogers .
I enjoyed very much his YouTube satires on the Filipino culture and way of life. Very funny,indeed!
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