Planning to Retire Soon!

If you are planning to retire in the Philippines soon, I suggest you visit several excellent websites on pro's and cons of retiring in the Philippines. However if you want to retire in the provinces, where life is simple, standard of living cheaper, less traffic congestion and pollution, availability of fresh seafood and vegetables compared to the big cities, my island province is the place for you! If this is your first time in my site, welcome. Please do not forget to read the latest national and international news in the right side bar of 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. The photo above is the front yard of Chateau Du Mer-Our Retirement Home in Boac, Marinduque, Philippines

Saturday, September 25, 2010

New York City-Most Populous City in US


I have been to New York City a number of times. My first visit was in 1960. I remember visiting the Empire State Building, Times Square, Central Park, and China Town. Since then, I have been to the city, to see a Broadway Play, attend a conference( American Chemical Society), visit relatives, a little shopping and sight seeing ( Statue of Liberty). My impression of New City is that it is a nice place to visit, but even if you gave me a million dollars, I will never live there! Here's a short video of the sights of the City via Frank Sinatra.

New York is the most populous city in the United States, and the center of the New York metropolitan area, which is one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. A leading global city, New York exerts a powerful influence over global commerce, finance, media, culture, art, fashion, research, education, and entertainment. As host of the United Nations Headquarters, it is also an important center for international affairs. The city is often referred to as New York City or the City of New York to distinguish it from the state of New York, of which it is a part.

Located on a large natural harbor on the Atlantic coast of the Northeastern United States, the city consists of five boroughs: The Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island. The city's 2009 estimated population approached 8.4 million, and with a land area of 305 square miles (790 km2). New York City is the most densely populated major city in the United States. The New York metropolitan area's population is also the nation's largest, estimated at 19.1 million people over 6,720 square miles (17,400 km2). Furthermore, the Combined Statistical Area containing the greater New York metropolitan area contained 22.2 million people as of 2009 Census estimates, also the largest in the United States.

New York was founded as a commercial trading post by the Dutch in 1624. The settlement was called New Amsterdam until 1664 when the colony came under English control. New York served as the capital of the United States from 1785 until 1790. It has been the country's largest city since 1790. As many as 800 languages are spoken in New York City, making it the most linguistically diverse city in the world.

Many districts and landmarks in the city have become well known to outsiders. The Statue of Liberty greeted millions of immigrants as they came to America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Times Square, iconified as "The Crossroads of the World", is the brightly illuminated hub of the Broadway theater district, one of the world's busiest pedestrian intersections, and a major center of the world's entertainment industry. Anchored by Wall Street, in Lower Manhattan, New York City vies with London as the financial capital of the world is home to the New York Stock Exchange, the world's largest stock exchange by market capitalization of its listed companies. The original Manhattan Chinatown attracts throngs of tourists to its bustling sidewalks and retail establishments. World-class schools and universities such as Columbia University and New York University also reside in New York City.

Additional Personal Note: Before September 11, 2001, Our daughter gave us a tour of her office in the World Trade Center. I was really impressed with the Twin Towers, so the bombing of the Twin Tower on 9/11/01, I consider a personal loss.
Twin Tower Of WTC (March, 2001)

This posting is No 1 of part 1 of a series I am planning to write on cities that we have resided and visited in US. Future series(Part 2), will be cities that we have visited outside the US through our International Interval Exchange Vacation Program such as London, Rome, Marbella, Spain, Morroco, Cancun, Mexico and all of the Hawaiian islands.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Filipino Today- Be Proud You are a Filipino

The August 23 Hostage Drama of Hongkong Tourist Bus in Manila-Put the International Image of the Philippines to Zero

I received the following article from a friend in the Philippines today. As I read this article, my heart starts to hurt and I shed a tear or two. I am joining this author for forgiveness from the families of the Hongkong tourists who were killed by a crazy ex police man. The article is THE FILIPINO TODAY and written by Alex Lacson.

"After the August 23 hostage drama, there is just too much negativity about and against the Filipino. “It is difficult to be a Filipino these days”, says a friend who works in Hongkong. “Nakakahiya tayo”, “Only in the Philippines ” were some of the comments lawyer Trixie Cruz-Angeles received in her Facebook. There is this email supposedly written by a Dutch married to a Filipina, with 2 kids, making a litany of the supposed stupidity or idiocy of Filipinos in general. There was also this statement by Fermi Wong, founder of Unison HongKong, where she said – “Filipino maids have a very low status in our city”. Then there is this article from a certain Daniel Wagner of Huffington Post, wherein he said he sees nothing good in our country’s future.

Clearly, the hostage crisis has spawned another crisis – a crisis of faith in the Filipino, one that exists in the minds of a significant number of Filipinos and some quarters in the world. It is important for us Filipinos to take stock of ourselves as a people – of who we truly are as a people. It is important that we remind ourselves who the Filipino really is, before our young children believe all this negativity that they hear and read about the Filipino.

We have to protect and defend the Filipino in each one of us.The August 23 hostage fiasco is now part of us as Filipinos, it being part now of our country’s and world’s history. But that is not all that there is to the Filipino. Yes, we accept it as a failure on our part, a disappointment to HongKong , China and to the whole world.

But there is so much more about the Filipino.

In 1945, at the end of World War II, Hitler and his Nazi had killed more than 6 million Jews in Europe . But in 1939, when the Jews and their families were fleeing Europe at a time when several countries refused to open their doors to them, our Philippines did the highly risky and the unlikely –thru President Manuel L Quezon, we opened our country’s doors and our nation’s heart to the fleeing and persecuted Jews. Eventually, some 1,200 Jews and their families made it to Manila . Last 21 June 2010, or 70 years later, the first ever monument honoring Quezon and the Filipino nation for this “open door policy” was inaugurated on Israeli soil, at the 65-hectare Holocaust Memorial Park in Rishon LeZion, Israel.

The Filipino heart is one of history’s biggest, one of the world’s rare jewels, and one of humanity’s greatest treasures. In 2007,Baldomero M. Olivera, a Filipino, was chosen and awarded as the Scientist for the Year 2007 by Harvard University Foundation, for his work in neurotoxins which is produced by venomous cone snails commonly found in the tropical waters of Philippines . Olivera is a distinguished professor of biology at University of Utah , USA . The Scientist for the Year 2007 award was given to him in recognition to his outstanding contribution to science, particularly to molecular biology and groundbreaking work with conotoxins. The research conducted by Olivera’s group became the basis for the production of commercial drug called Prialt (generic name – Ziconotide), which is considered more effective than morphine and does not result in addiction.

The Filipino mind is one of the world’s best, one of humanity’s great assets. The Filipino is capable of greatness, of making great sacrifices for the greater good of the least of our people. Josette Biyois an example of this. Biyo has masteral and doctoral degress from one of the top universities in the Philippines – the De La Salle University (Taft, Manila ) – where she used to teach rich college students and was paid well for it. But Dr Biyo left all that and all the glamour of Manila , and chose to teach in a far-away public school in a rural area in the province, receiving the salary of less than US$ 300 a month. When asked why she did that, she replied “but who will teach our children?” In recognition of the rarity of her kind, the world-famous Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States honoured Dr Biyo a very rare honor – by naming a small and new-discovered planet in our galaxy as “Biyo”.

The Filipino is one of humanity’s best examples on the greatness of human spirit!
Efren Penaflorida was born to a father who worked as a tricycle driver and a mother who worked as laundrywoman. Through sheer determination and the help of other people, Penaflorida finished college. In 1997, Penaflorida and his friends formed a group that made pushcarts (kariton) and loaded them with books, pens, crayons, blackboard, clothes, jugs of water, and a Philippine flag. Then he and his group would go to the public cemetery, market and garbage dump sites in Cavite City – to teach street children with reading, math, basic literacy skills and values, to save them from illegal drugs and prevent them from joining gangs. Penaflorida and his group have been doing this for more than a decade. Last year, Penaflorida was chosen and awarded as CNN Hero for 2009. Efren Penaflorida is one of the great human beings alive today. And he is a Filipino!

Nestor Suplico is yet another example of the Filipino’s nobility of spirit. Suplico was a taxi driver In New York. On 17 July 2004, Suplico drove 43 miles from New York City to Connecticut , USA to return the US$80,000 worth of jewelry (rare black pearls) to his passenger who forgot it at the back seat of his taxi. When his passenger offered to give him a reward, Suplico even refused the reward. He just asked to be reimbursed for his taxi fuel for his travel to Connecticut . At the time, Suplico was just earning $80 a day as a taxi driver. What do you call that? That’s honesty in its purest sense. That is decency most sublime. And it occurred in New York , the Big Apple City , where all kinds of snakes and sinners abound, and a place where – according to American novelist Sydney Sheldon – angels no longer descend. No wonder all New York newspapers called him “ New York ’s Most Honest Taxi Driver”. The New York City Government also held a ceremony to officially acknowledge his noble deed. The Philippine Senate passed a Resolution for giving honors to the Filipino people and our country.

In Singapore , Filipina Marites Perez-Galam, 33, a mother of four, found a wallet in a public toilet near the restaurant where she works as the head waitress found a wallet containing 16,000 Singaporean dollars (US $11,000). Maritess immediately handed the wallet to the restaurant manager of Imperial Herbal restaurant where she worked located in Vivo City Mall. The manager in turn reported the lost money to the mall’s management. It took the Indonesian woman less than two hours to claim her lost wallet intended for her son’s ear surgery that she and her husband saved for the medical treatment. Maritess refused the reward offered by the grateful owner and said it was the right thing to do.

The Filipina, in features and physical beauty, is one of the world’s most beautiful creatures!Look at this list – Gemma Cruz became the first Filipina to win Miss International in 1964; Gloria Diaz won as Miss Universe in 1969; Aurora Pijuan won Miss International in 1970; Margie Moran won Miss Universe in 1973; Evangeline Pascual was 1st runner up in Miss World 1974; Melanie Marquez was Miss International in 1979; Ruffa Gutierrez was 2nd runner up in Miss World 1993; Charlene Gonzalez was Miss Universe finalist in 1994; Mirriam Quiambao was Miss Universe 1st runner up in 1999;and last week, Venus Raj was 4th runner up in Miss Universe pageant.

I can cite more great Filipinos like Ramon Magsaysay, Ninoy Aquino, Leah Salonga, Manny Pacquaio, Paeng Nepomuceno, Tony Meloto, Joey Velasco, Juan Luna and Jose Rizal. For truly, there are many more great Filipinos who define who we are as a people and as a nation – each one of them is part of each one of us, for they are Filipinos like us, for they are part of our history as a people.

What we see and hear of the Filipino today is not all that there is about the Filipino. I believe that the Filipino is higher and greater than all these that we see and hear about the Filipino. God has a beautiful story for us as a people. And the story that we see today is but a fleeting portion of that beautiful story that is yet to fully unfold before the eyes of our world.

So let’s rise as one people. Let’s pick up the pieces. Let’s ask for understanding and forgiveness for our failure. Let us also ask for space and time to correct our mistakes, so we can improve our system. To all of you my fellow Filipinos, let’s keep on building the Filipino great and respectable in the eyes of our world – one story, two stories, three stories at a time – by your story, by my story, by your child’s story, by your story of excellence at work, by another Filipino’s honesty in dealing with others, by another Pinoy’s example of extreme sacrifice, by the faith in God we Filipinos are known for.

Every Filipino, wherever he or she maybe in the world today, is part of the solution. Each one of us is part of the answer. Every one of us is part of the hope we seek for our country. The Filipino will not become a world-class citizen unless we are able to build a world-class homeland in our Philippines .

We are a beautiful people. Let no one in the world take that beauty away from you. Let no one in the world take away that beauty away from any of your children! We just have to learn – very soon – to build a beautiful country for ourselves, with an honest and competent government in our midst.

Mga kababayan, after reading this, I ask you to do two things. First, defend and protect the Filipino whenever you can, especially among your children. Fight all this negativity about the Filipino that is circulating in many parts of the world. Let us not allow this single incident define who the Filipino is, and who we are as a people. And second, demand for good leadership and good government from our leaders. Question both their actions and inaction; expose the follies of their policies and decisions. The only way we can perfect our system is by engaging it. The only way we can solve our problem, is by facing it, head on. We are all builders of the beauty and greatness of the Filipino. We are the architects of our nation’s success.

To all the people of HK and China, especially the relatives of the victims, my family and I deeply mourn with the loss of your loved ones. Every life is precious. My family and I humbly ask for your understanding and forgiveness.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Tour of Sacramento and the State Capitol

My two Sisters ( Myrla and Agnes) and Brother-in-law ( Dennis) and ME in front of the Capitol. This photo was taken in the summer of 2009. Agnes and Dennis are from Maryland and Myrla is from Toronto, Canada



The California State Capitol sits in Sacramento, California, at the west end of Capitol Park. The grounds are framed by L Street to the north, N Street to the south, 10th Street to the west, and 15th Street to the east. The Capitol houses the California State Legislature and the Office of the Governor of California. The building was constructed in the Neoclassical architectural style between 1861 and 1874 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as of 1973.

Exterior

The building is based on the distant Capitol in Washington D.C. The west facade ends in projecting bays, and a portico projects from the center of the building. At the base of the portico, seven granite archways brace and support the porch above. Eight fluted Corinthian columns line the portico. A cornice supports the pediment above that depicts Minerva surrounded by Education, Justice, and Mining.

Above the flat roof with balustrade rise two drums supporting a dome. The first drum consists of a colonnade of Corinthian columns; the second, Corinthian pilasters. Large arched windows line the drum walls. The dome rises 220 feet, matching the dome of the U.S. Capitol. This dome supports a lantern with a smaller dome capped with a bright gold ball.

Interior

The California Senate Chamber seats its forty members in a large chamber room enveloped in red, which is a nod to the British House of Lords, also the upper house of a bicameral legislature. The Chamber is entered through a second floor corridor. The red carpeting has a Victorian-era design. From the coffered ceiling hangs an electric reproduction of the original gas chandelier. A hand-carved dais caps off a recessed bay framed by Corinthian columns.

The Latin phrase "Senatoris est civitatis libertatem tueri" ["It is the duty of a Senator to protect the liberty of the people"] lines the cornice. A portrait of George Washington by Jane Stuart, the daughter of Gilbert Stuart, looks down from the wall above. The State Seal hangs above.

Gilded Corinthian columns support the gallery above, and dark red curtains that can be drawn for privacy are tied back along the columns. High arched windows run along the bottom below rectangular pane windows. Behind the rostrum, there are two chairs with red velvet cushions, reserved for the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the Assembly, but are never used.

The California Assembly Chamber is located at the opposite end of the Senate. Like the Senate, its green tones are based on British House of Commons, the lower house. The dais rests along a wall shaped like an "E", with the central projection housing the rostrum. Along the cornice appears a quotation from Abraham Lincoln in Latin: legislatorum est justas leges condere ("It is the duty of legislators to pass just laws").

2001 attack

On January 16, 2001, Michael Bowers, a semi-trailer truck driver with a criminal history, drove over a curb, up a short walk-way, and rammed his truck into the southern portico. The truck's fuel tank ignited, killing him and causing $15 million in damage to the Capitol.



If you are in the Sacramento area, a free tour of the capitol and it grounds is a good use of your time. Adjacent to the capitol is the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, A National Shrine, It is also a must see if you are Catholic.
Inside the Cathedral

Note: This is No.3 ( Part 1) of a series of articles of places that my family have resided or visited since 1960 to the present( #1 New York City, #2 Washington, DC).

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Philippines Rank 7th in the World of Beauty Contest

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Philippines

UNESCO World Heritage Sites

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

Monday, September 20, 2010

Most Popular Folk Dances of the Philippines

The Singkil Entourage
Folk Dances of the Philippines may be classified by regions or the times in the history of the Philippines( Spanish influence, muslim rule, etc..). The first in the list are the highland tribal dances from the Cordillera Regions of Luzon.

Cordillera – highland tribal dances

1. Dances from within the depths of the mountains among the honorable braves and beautiful belles, ring the music of long ago, heralding a victorious return and a blessed merry-making. With the wildness in their blood and forest freedom in their spirit; the Kalinga, Ifugao, Gaddang, Bontoc and other tribal groups celebrate with wild feasting, headhunt, death, peace pact, wedding and/or a bountiful harvest:

a.Chua-ay – call to get together featuring nose flute

b. Kayabang – depicts a maiden's trip to the lowlands. She beats the bamboo sticks called the bungkaka to drive away the unseen evil spirits along the mountain trail

c. Paligo – a beautiful Igorot maiden cleansing herself in preparation of the coming courtship

d. Sayap & Banga – an intricate dance of the maidens, where they skillfully display versatility on the use of the indigenous Igorot cloth, Sayap and balancing clay-pots, Banga,(clay jars) on their heads

e.Lima Nga Gangsa – a dance where tribal elders start the ceremonies with a display of rhythms on the beat of the Gangsa gongs

f.Bumayah – a dance traditionally held during thanksgiving or after a bountiful harvest

2. Nostalgia Filipina – Los Bailes De Los Anos Pasados (Dances of Yester years Past)

The coming of the Spaniards in the 16th century marked the conversion of the Filipinos, principally those in the Luzon and the Visayan regions, to the Catholic faith and the introduction of western civilization; hence, the influence on the Philippine life:



a. Polka sa Plaza – a grand parade of beautiful ladies in their traditional Spanish gowns called Maria Clara and parasols (umbrellas). With their partners, wearing their traditional Barongs, they gladly parade, beginning from the church yard going around the town

b. Valse Filipina - a waltz dance of young collegiala showing off (or showcasing) elegant Maria Clara gowns

c. Panuelo - a dance where the ladies show off their beautifully embroidered shawls (panuelo)

d. La Simpatica - A courtship dance where the picky lady charms her four suitors, who will she choose?

e. Paseo de IloIlo - a dance originating from Llo-Llo (Visayas region) where the young lady who is trying to choose suitors by dancing with them

f. Jota Rizal – This is a lively and exhilarating dance originating from the Rizal province (Luzon region)

g. Baile De Amor – a provocative teasing lovers' dance


h. La Jota Moncadena – The clicking of castanets accompanies this dance with influences of polka, waltz and mazurka

i. Polka sa Batangas – a very popular polka dance originally from Batangas (Luzon region) performed during town fiestas, religious celebration and various events either to welcome a newly wed couple or an announcement of important social gatherings

j. Alcamfor – a courtship dance where the female dancer teases her suitor with a handkerchief scented with camphor fragrance

k. Bajo de los Cocoteros – combines the two European steps, polka and waltz, in a lively dance

3. Hariraya – Muslim and lowland tribal

When the Spaniards came to the Philippines they encountered pockets of the Muslim religion in Mindanao, Sulu and Palawan. They tried to occupy and replace Islam with Christianity, but in vain; the Filipino Muslims resisted. However, they had beautiful songs and dances which were easily liked and adopted by the people:

a. Budyong – a call for a gathering of town folks for a celebration using large seashells

b. Dugso – a dance ritual from Bukidnon region, showing a man's desire to thank his gods, featuring colourful headgear and rhythmical stomping

c. Tig-Ani – a ritual dance to overcome the malevolent omen of the predator hawk

d. Tahing Baila – a dance imitating the playfulness of fish as they swim through the water

e. Kapa Malong-Malong – a Muslim dance showing the versatile uses of the Muslim tubular cloth called Malong

f. Pang-Alay Pamansak
– a courtship dance from Sulu (Mindanao) whose intricate hand movements take their influence from Bali and Thailand

g. Silong Sa Ganding – a dance that imitates the movement of the gandingan (brass gongs) and the single headed Philippine drum dabakan

h. Singkil – taken from the Maranao epic Daranagan performed only by members of the ruling class. This exotic dance features the royal prince and princess as they dance in and out of the clashing criss- crossed bamboo poles


4. Sa Kabukiran – dances from the countryside

The Filipinos are by nature lovers of the arts. They have developed songs, music and dances, peculiarly their own but with a blending of three centuries of Spanish domination and half a century of American, Asian and European influences. These are the dances from the countryside - the rice fields, lake shores, the birds, the animals and coconut groves. They depict the various moods of the people in appreciation of nature and the quiet mode of life in rural areas:

a. Pandanggo sa Ilaw
– a dance using candle-lit glasses swayed like beacons for the homecoming of the fisherman

b. Sunduan – celebrating the spirit of the villagers working on the farm. Involves sowing, harvesting, thrashing, pounding and winnowing rice

c. Subli – a ceremonial dance from Bauang, Batangas to pay homage to the Holy Cross

d. Sayaw sa Bangko – a dance showing off dancing skills and good balance on top of narrow benches

e. Alay – an offering dance to welcome special guests on special occasions

f. Binuyugan – a dance imitates the ladies fetching water and balancing the pots on their head

g. Itik-Itik – a dance imitating the movements of ducks

h. Ilocana A Nasudi – a dance of the old people from Ilocos

i. Maglalatik – a dance celebrating coconut harvest, featuring coconut shells attached to different bodyparts clicked to create the sounds and beats of the dance as the movements get faster and faster

j. Binasuan – a skill dance showing town maidens balancing wine glasses on their heads and the hands without spilling a drop as they twirl and roll on the floor

k. Salakot – a dance showcasing/featuring traditional beautifulPhilippine straw Coolie hats

l. Tinikling - the best known of all Philippine Dances. Dancers hop in and out of fast clapping bamboo poles, imitating the movements of the tikling birds

The World Reknown Tinikling
I hope you have a good idea now of the diversity and richness of the folk dances in the Philippines

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Is Education in the Philippines Inferior to US or Canada?

UP Diliman (Quezon Hall)

Today, I was reading a discussion in the internet magazine on the quality of education in the Philippines versus that to US or Canada. One of the commentators said that a bachelor's degree in the Philippines today is almost useless . This comment attracted so much discussion that this prompted me to update my knowledge of the educational system in the Philippines. I started on reading what Wikipedia has published on the subject.Here's a short summary:

"During the period of colonization by the United States, Education in the Philippines changed radically, modeled on the system of Education in the United States of the time. After the Second World War, changes in the US system were no longer automatically reflected in the Philippines, which has since moved in various directions of its own.

Filipino children may enter public school at about age four, starting from Nursery up to Kindergarten. At about seven years of age, children enter elementary school (6 to 7 years). This may be followed by secondary school (4 years). Students may then sit for College Entrance Examinations (CEE), after which they may enter tertiary institutions (3 to 5 years). Other types of schools do exist, such as Private schools, Preparatory schools, International schools, Laboratory High Schools and Science High Schools. Several ethnic groups, including Chinese, British, Americans, and Japanese operate their own schools.

Elementary schooling is compulsory, but 24% of Filipinos of the relevant age group do not attend, usually due to absence of any school in their area, education being offered in foreign languages only, or financial distress. In July 2009 DepEd acted to overcome the foreign language problem by ordering all elementary schools to move towards mother-tongue based learning initially. The order allows two alternative three-year bridging plans. Depending on the bridging plan adopted, the Filipino and English languages are to be phased in as the language of instruction for other subjects beginning in the third and fourth grades.

Secondary schooling is compulsory, and is of four years duration only.

The school year in the Philippines starts in June of one year and ends in March of the next, with a two-month summer break for April and May, one week of semestral break (the last week of October), and a week or two of Christmas break.

In 2005, the Philippines spent only about US$138 per pupil compared to US$1,582 in Singapore, US$3,728 in Japan, and US$852 in Thailand.[2]

One of the most serious problems in the Philippines in the 1980s and early 1990s concerned the large number of students who completed college but then could not find a job commensurate with their educational skills. If properly utilized, these trained personnel could facilitate economic development, but when left idle or forced to take jobs beneath their qualifications, this group could be a major source of discontent.
**********************************************************************************
A recent article by Chito Salazar published at the Daily Inquirer dated 8/28/10
discussed the importance of the 12-year basic education such as we have here in US
I am posting an excerpt of the article as follows:
12-year basic education: a quality imperative

"THE MOVE to expand our basic education to 12 years from the present 10 is not about quantity versus quality. It is about quality, period; or, more accurately, it is about the low quality of our education system. Philippine education is plagued by two major ills—the high attrition rate of our students and their low achievement rates. Simply put, too many of students leave school early, around a third before graduating elementary school, the largest chunk dropping out before Grade 4.

However, those who stay in school are only just a bit better off, receiving a substandard education with more than 90 percent failing our own National Achievement Tests. The majority of students are reading below their age and grade levels; and our high school graduates proceed to college with barely a Grade 6 reading competency.

What accounts for this low quality? Years of neglect; much, much lower than needed budget allocations; teaching quality; incentives and performance measures; the lack of classrooms, textbooks and desks; and, a short basic education cycle. The problems are complex and the causes are interconnected.

While teacher quality is central to the solution, our teachers, no matter how good, cannot teach well in a crowded classroom, without the proper books, or even a proper room. Similarly, our teachers, no matter how good, cannot teach well, with an overcrowded curriculum, when they are being required to teach more than their counterparts anywhere in the world, in a significantly shorter period of time. Nor can our students learn properly, when we are asking them to learn too much, too soon. What students in other countries are expected to learn in 12 years, we are asking our students to learn in 10. Consequently, more often than not, our students are being forced to learn concepts more complex than their developmental profile permits. It is then no wonder that our students cannot read properly nor pass our own diagnostic exams.

This brings us to the problem of government resources. It is true that there are limited funds and we must prioritize. However, the difficulty is the opponents of the move to a 12-year system are making this a choice among education goods—better teaching quality versus the expansion or more classrooms versus more years. However, should this not be about quality education versus losing more revenues to smuggling or uncollected taxes; or about education quality versus special education funds being spent on basketball courts, boy scout jamborees or sports fests; or should this not be about education quality versus expensive meals abroad, pork barrel or the intelligence funds of GOCC executives? The families of our children graduating with minimal learning are paying a very expensive price for an underfunded education system.

The proponents of the 12-year basic education cycle insist that the additional two years be added to the elementary and/or high school levels; not to tertiary education, nor purely as a pre-university requirement. The addition must be to basic education because that’s precisely what it is and where it needs to be. A 12-year basic education is the minimum, fundamental education everyone must receive to have a decent opportunity for a good life. As such, as the Constitution declares, it must be a right, and it must be free.

Finally, ironically, despite all the opposition, the best basic education schools in the country (e.g., Ateneo and La Salle) already follow an 11-year system at least. These are the premier schools that parents would want to send their children to if they could afford the tuition. Children who attend schools like these usually have had three years of pre-school before they even step into the first grade. Yet, for whatever good reason, some would rather deprive the majority of Filipinos of these additional years—please note, a total of 14 to 15 years of basic education—that a fortunate minority already receives. So which program is truly anti-poor?"

Personal Note: The quality of education one receives in the Philippines depend on the school where the degree was obtained. The success of the individual is not based on the number of degrees he or she has completed, but on his fortitude and ambition and outlook in life. Getting a good job also depends on your social networking skills and connections as well as the skills that you have learned from college, both in undergraduate and graduate schools. There are more than a couple of excellent schools in the Philippines, but also several diploma mills whose main purpose is to make money, not to educate its students.

May I proudly say that the University of the Philippines in Diliman( UP) is one example of an excellent school during my college years (mid 1950's). However, I am not sure of the quality of education one can get from UP today. Comments will be appreciated.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Have you Eaten a Mangosteen-Queen of Fruits?

The Mangosteen-Queen of Fruits

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, September 17, 2010

Papaya Trees in the Garden of Chateau Du Mer



I have about six varieties of papaya trees in my garden at Chateau Du Mer in Boac, Marinduque. Of the six varieties, I like the Solo variety imported from Hawaii. The fruits are small but sweet and firm. The other varieties yields bigger fruits but is not as sweet and firm. (see photo above)

Speaking of Papaya Fruits, I am proud to inform readers of this blog, that my doctoral thesis from the University of Illinois, Chicago, USA was on the Papaya Fruit. The title of my thesis was " Chromatographic Analysis of the Volatile Components of the Papaya Fruit". This was published by the Journal of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Vol 54, No 6, pages 891-894 dated June, 1965. The following is additional information about the Papaya from Wikipedia.

Originally from southern Mexico, particularly Chiapas and Veracruz, Central America and northern South America, the papaya is now cultivated in most tropical countries, such as Brazil, Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Indonesia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Philippines and Jamaica. In cultivation, it grows rapidly, fruiting within 3 years. It is, however, highly frost sensitive.

In the 1990s, the papaya ringspot virus threatened to wipe out Hawaii’s papaya industry completely. Two varieties of papaya, SunUp and Rainbow, that had been genetically modified to be resistant to the virus, were introduced into Hawaii.By 2010, 80% of Hawaiian papaya was genetically modified. Today there is still no conventional or organic method of controlling the ringspot virus. In 2004, non-genetically modified and organic papayas throughout Hawaii had experienced hybridization with the genetically modified varieties.

Papaya Fruit
Uses

Papaya can be used as a food, a cooking aid, and in medicine. The stem and bark are also used in rope production.

Gastronomy

The ripe fruit is usually eaten raw, without skin or seeds. The unripe green fruit of papaya can be eaten cooked, usually in curries, salads and stews. It has a relatively high amount of pectin, which can be used to make jellies.

Green papaya is used in Thai and Filipino cuisine, both raw and cooked.

The black seeds are edible and have a sharp, spicy taste. They are sometimes ground up and used as a substitute for black pepper. In some parts of Asia the young leaves of papaya are steamed and eaten like spinach. In parts of the world papaya leaves are made into tea as a preventative for malaria, though there is no real scientific evidence for the effectiveness of this treatment. The following is Papaya, raw Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)

Energy 163 kJ (39 kcal)
Carbohydrates 9.81 g
Sugars 5.90 g
Dietary fibre 1.8 g
Fat 0.14 g
Protein 0.61 g
Vitamin A equiv. 55 μg (6%)
- beta-carotene 276 μg (3%)
Thiamine (Vit. B1) 0.04 mg (3%)
Riboflavin (Vit. B2) 0.05 mg (3%)
Niacin (Vit. B3) 0.338 mg (2%)
Vitamin B6 0.1 mg (8%)
Vitamin C 61.8 mg (103%)
Calcium 24 mg (2%)
Iron 0.10 mg (1%)
Magnesium 10 mg (3%)
Phosphorus 5 mg (1%)
Potassium 257 mg (5%)
Sodium 3 mg (0%)
Percentages are relative to US recommendations for adults.

Cooking

Green papaya fruit and the tree's latex are both rich in an enzyme called papain, a protease which is useful in tenderizing meat and other proteins. Its ability to break down tough meat fibers was used for thousands of years by indigenous Americans. It is included as a component in powdered meat tenderizers.

Medicine

Papaya is marketed in tablet form to remedy digestive problems.

Papain is also applied topically (in countries where it grows) for the treatment of cuts, rashes, stings and burns. Papain ointment is commonly made from fermented papaya flesh, and is applied as a gel-like paste. Harrison Ford was treated for a ruptured disc incurred during filming of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom by papain injections.

Women in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and other countries have long used green papaya as a folk remedy for contraception and abortion. Enslaved women in the West Indies were noted for consuming papaya to prevent pregnancies and thus preventing their children from being born into slavery.[citation needed] Medical research in animals has confirmed the contraceptive and abortifacient capability of papaya, and also found that papaya seeds have contraceptive effects in adult male langur monkeys, possibly in adult male humans as well.[11] Unripe papaya is especially effective in large amounts or high doses. Ripe papaya is not teratogenic and will not cause miscarriage in small amounts. Phytochemicals in papaya may suppress the effects of progesterone.

Papaya is frequently used as a hair conditioner, but should be used in small amounts. Papaya releases a latex fluid when not quite ripe, which can cause irritation and provoke allergic reaction in some people. The papaya fruit, seeds, latex, and leaves also contains carpaine, an anthelmintic alkaloid (a drug that removes parasitic worms from the body), which can be dangerous in high doses.

It is speculated that unripe papayas may cause miscarriage due to latex content that may cause uterine contractions which may lead to a miscarriage. Papaya seed extracts in large doses have a contraceptive effect on rats and monkeys, but in small doses have no effect on the unborn animals.

Excessive consumption of papaya can cause carotenemia, the yellowing of soles and palms, which is otherwise harmless. However, a very large dose would need to be consumed; papaya contains about 6% of the level of beta carotene found in carrots (the most common cause of carotenemia) per 100g.

Medicinal potential

* The juice has an antiproliferative effect on in vitro liver cancer cells, probably due to its component of lycopene or immune system stimulation.[16]

* Papaya seed could be used as an antibacterial agent for Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus or Salmonella typhi, although further research is needed before advocating large-scale therapy.
* Papaya seed extract may be nephroprotective (protect the kidneys) in toxicity-induced kidney failure.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Lady Gaga's meat Dress and the Snake Bite Commercial

Lady Gaga Meat Dress

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

Gaga's dress made of cheap meat

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

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

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

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

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

The Reebook Commercial-The Snake Bite


The Snake Bite Commercial

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Lady Gaga Did Not Disappoint Her Fans


News from the Daily Contributor Today-September 13, 2010

Lady Gaga Sweeps MTV Video Music Awards

It was already clear that Lady Gaga would come to cast her large shadow at this year’s MTV Video Music Awards, the only question going into Sunday’s awards night was how many moonman the pop icon would take home. And she did not disappoint.

Gaga first took the stage to pick up the award for best video for a female artist for “Bad Romance.” She would climb the stage seven more times throughout the night as the controversial singer made everyone else fight for the crumbs. Gaga capped the night by taking the biggest prize for Video of the Year for “Bad Romance.” A teary eyed Gaga was a picture of happiness and relief as she accepted her final award. “I was so nervous tonight that I’d let my fans down,” she said.

The 24-year-old singer also bagged moonmen for Best Pop Video, Best Dance Music Video, Best Choreography, Best Direction, and Best Editing all for “Bad Romance,” as well as Best Collaboration with Beyonce for “Telephone.”

Gaga’s haul tied A-ha’s 1986 record for second-most wins at a single award, but it was two short of Peter Gabriel’s 10 trophies in 1987.

Eminem took two moonmen for “Not Afraid,” which won in the Male Video and Hip-Hop Video categories. Justin Bieber won as Best New Artist for “Baby” while 30 Seconds to Mars’ “Kings and Queens” bagged the moonman for Best Rock Video.


Lady Gaga and Beyonce Telephone Music Video

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Have you Heard of You Tube Instant?


Feross Aboukhadijeh-Inventor of YouTube Instant

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Kafka: What’s the goal here?

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

Kafka: What are you specializing in at Stanford?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kafka: What’s the plan after you graduate?

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

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

Monday, September 13, 2010

Happy Slip -Christine Gambito-Internet Sensation



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



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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Unusual and Exotic Fruits of the Philippines


Watching this video makes my mouth water. With the exception of the dragon fruit, all the fruits in this video are abundant in the Philippines. The fruits are seasonal. Other unusual fruits not mentioned here, but I grow in my orchard at Chateau Du Mer, Marinduque, are the guyabanos, cashews, the duhats, avocados, pineapples and starapples. I also want to emphasize that I have three varieties of mangoes and bananas in my orchard (http://chateaudumer.blogspot.com) in Marinduque. Enjoy the video.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Battle of Paye and Pulang Lupa-Letter Captain Shileds to His Wife

Pulang Lupa Monument Getting Ready for the Annual Commemoration of the Battle of September 13, 1900

The following is a reprint from the article by Eli Obligacion from his Marinduque Rising Blog. I believe it is an important event in the history of the Filipino- American war that most Filipinos or Americans are not aware of. By reprinting it in my blog I hope more Americans will read about this historic event. The title of the article:
Pulang Lupa: Capt. Shields' letter to his beloved wife
The lives and deeds of their American counterparts, such as that of Capt. Devereux Shields also continue to be chronicled to this day by their descendants and historical researchers. Through Curt Shepard, an American resident in Marinduque who has taken profound interest in our local Marinduque history and the role played by our beloved province during the two-phases of the Philippine Revolution, we have been able to have access to and privileged to have a glimpse of the American experience then through letters and documents now faded with time.

The following letter was sent by Capt. Devereux Shields' granddaughter, Julia to Mr. Shepard on August 24, 2010. It was originally enclosed in a postmarked, stamped envelope and addressed to: Mrs. Devereux Shields, No. 617 N. Union Street, Natchez, Mississippi, U.S.A. The return address was Devereux Shields, Capt 29th Inf. U.S.V., Manila P.I. Across the top is written - Soldier's letter. Also enclosed was a pressed 4-leaf clover in a carefully folded holder.

"1st Reserve Hospital
Manila P.I. Oct 15th 1900

"My darling beloved precious wife,

I just got out of my captivity yesterday afternoon and was taken on board the U.S.S. Bennington at Buena Vista, Marinduque Island. I am perfectly well my darling & will cable you to that effect in the morning. I am in the agony of dispense in regard to you, oh my beloved, my life, if God has only spared you to me. I have prayed all day & night every hour that it would not make you suffer too much or injure your health.

"I was ambushed some 12 miles from Santa Cruz at 5:30 am on Sept 13 by the insurgent, it was in the mountains and they had 225 rifles and 2000 Bolo men. I had only 52 men, at 6am I was wounded in the left shoulder and after 8 hours hard & dreadful fighting, at 2pm, I received another wound through my neck which passed through and out of my mouth breaking the right jaw bone and tearing out five teeth, it disabled me entirely & I thought all was up with me for a while, I lay in the rice field bleeding & having lost about 3 quarts of blood from my other wound & my left arm useless I could only wait for them to take me. I gave orders to my company to move on & cut their way out but a short distance from me they were completely surrounded & having but little ammunition left, surrendered to 2500 of the enemy.

"I cannot write you of the dreadful suffering & hardships I have undergone during the month they have had me. I am perfectly safe now but cannot write because my neck is still so stiff & my left arm still pains me very much. The transport leaves in the morning & I have gotten Capt. Dowdy & Mrs. Sargent both to write to you. After I got on the Bennington yesterday afternoon Gen. Hare who now commands the forces operating on Marinduque sent me to Manila on the U.S.S. Villalobos, & I got here this evening.

"Would to God I could write more, but I cannot, you will know long before this reaches you that I am well & I hope by the time you get this letter I will be leaving here for home if not before as being wounded they will send me home for a rest. I will write to you a little every day so the next boat will take you many letters.

"Now God bless you & my boy oh I pray God my beloved, my life, my darling precious, my life's only thought & love that you are well, merciful God what will become of me if all this has injured you.

"God bless you my wife. Oh God has been so good in saving my life it must be that he has saved you to me.

"Your devoted beloved husband.
Devereux

"Many tender kisses to you my darling & some to my son. Give my love & kisses to my mother and all those that you & I love.

"Your husband
Devereux"

As regards the Devereux Shields persona, the following is an edited version of Capt. Shields' obituary that appeared in the Natchez News, March 26, 1910:

MARTIAL TASTES INHERITED. Captain Shields came of an heroic ancestry. Both his paternal and maternal ancestors had fought their country’s battles on sea and on shore. His father, Lieutenant Commander Wilmer Shields, served for seventeen years in the United States Navy. His grandfather, Richard Watts Ashton, ran away from school at the age of thirteen, impelled to this act by his military instincts. Ashton served during the War of 1812 with distinction and afterward entered West Point where he graduated and served as Lieutenant of Marines for a number of years. His paternal grandfather, Thos. Shields, of the navy, is mentioned in Cooper’ s Naval History for conspicuous gallantry under fire and valuable services rendered his country on the Great Lakes [instead of ‘on the Great Lakes’ should have said ‘in the Battle of New Orleans,] during the War of 1812.

RECEIVES COMMISSION: When the long list of atrocities committed by Spanish governors in Cuba became such as was viewed with disgust by civilized nations and the tragedy of the Maine Precipitated war between Spain and the United States, Colonel Shields immediately proffered his services to the government and was given a commission of Lieutenant Colonel in the Second Mississippi United States Volunteer Regiment. He had no opportunity, however, during the brief struggle which resulted in the overthrow of Spanish dominion in the island of Cuba, of testing in actual warfare the stores of military knowledge, the possession of which had gained for him his commission.

SAILS FOR MANILA: Some months after the conclusion of the Spanish War the United States government issued a call for Volunteers for service in the Philippine Islands, where the noted insurgent Aguinaldo was conducting a species of guerrilla warfare, and endangering the lives of Americans and other Caucasian races in the islands. Capt. Shields immediately responded to the call and applied for a commission. Upon the recommendation of many officers of high rank who had been impressed by the profound knowledge of military strategy shown by the young soldier during his encampment at Jacksonville, he was given a commission as captain in the twenty-ninth regiment, U.S.A. He received the commission on the fifth of July 1899, and on the fifth of October his regiment sailed from San Francisco on board the transport Zelandia, arriving in the Philippines just in time to participate in the battle of San Mateo in which Gen. Lawton was killed.

SENT TO MARINDUQUE: On June 1, 1900 he was detailed with his company to take charge of the island of Marinduque, one of the most turbulent of the islands of the Philippine archipelago. Marinduque is a small island 200 miles south of Manila and its inhabitants were noted for the resolution with which they opposed American occupation. On this island he remained up to the time of the engagement in which he was captured in which he received wounds [which made necessary] his return to Natchez.

THE FATAL EXPEDITION: Shortly before noon on the eleventh of September Captain Shields and his men left Santa Cruz, Marinduque, on board the gunboat Villabois, intending to return overland to Santa Cruz. At about three o’clock in the afternoon of the same day the men and their gallant commanding officer reached their destination, Torrijos. Landing without opposition the detachment went into quarters for the night. On the following day Captain Shields made a reconnoitering sortie in a westerly direction and about five miles from Torrijos came upon a rebel garrison. The fire of the Americans forced the enemy to flight, the fleet-footed Filipinos dispersing into the underbrush where it was impossible for the Americans to pursue them. Among the papers left by the fugitive garrison Captain Shields found letters from two prisoners. Nothing better illustrates the noble character of Captain Shields than the incident that followed, for it was in the endeavor to rescue these two prisoners that Captain Shields so nearly lost his life and was captured.

THE AMBUSCADE: The company was ambushed that afternoon. Seemingly from every point of the compass came a hurricane of lead from myriads of unseen enemies. In good order the detachment deployed in a circle and commenced a heroic defense. The enemy proved stubborn, advancing in hosts upon the small but intrepid band of Americans. Hundreds of the raging Filipinos, banishing their weapons with yells of rage, swarmed out of the ambuscade. The hundreds developed into thousands until a conservative estimate of their number placed it at about two thousand five hundred men. Surrounded by merciless foes, out numbered fifty to one, the undaunted Americans, inspired by the fearless conduct of their commander kept their foes at bay for over eight hours, their ammunition supply, small to begin with, running lower and lower.

SHIELDS WOUNDED: Early in the battle Captain Shields received a wound in the shoulder but rallied and bravely urged on his command. Shortly before the ammunition was entirely exhausted he received a terrible wound in the neck which incapacitated him from further participation in the hopeless struggle. The command devolved upon Sergeant Winn who gallantly carried on the futile struggle against overwhelming odds. Captain Shields’ second wound came near to inflicting instant death. The ball entered the back of the neck nearly grazing the spinal column, passed through the throat and mouth knocking out four teeth, and breaking the jaw bone passed out through the cheek. The gallant officer fell partly in a small stream and his life was probably due to this circumstance; the cold water partly resuscitated him, restoring him to consciousness.

WEEKS OF SUFFERING: The capture of Captain Shields and his men was followed by four weeks of suffering such as could only be appreciated by men who have gone through similar experiences. Marched relentlessly over steep cliffs, down valleys, through underbrush and almost impenetrable jungles they were shown no mercy by their barbarous captors. Night and day they were compelled to march, strong and wounded alike, with no food other than the small quantities of rice doled out to them at irregular intervals.

RESCUED: When they were finally rescued by the regiment sent to search for them they were almost dead with fatigue and hunger, so thin and emaciated as hardly to be recognized by their intimate friends. The sufferings of the wounded during captivity would have been unendurable but for the devoted and unintermitting attentions of the hospital corps man who formed a member of the attachment and whose devotion to Captain Shields during his long weakness is one of the brightest incidents of the Philippine War.

HIS RECEPTION: The reception given Captain Shields upon his return to Natchez was the greatest ever tendered a man by this city. The citizens of Natchez, in a body, assembled in the Temple Opera House and about its doors awaiting to welcome the returning hero and to congratulate him upon his return to life and health".


ReLiving the Battle of Pulang Lupa

Friday, September 10, 2010

Joke of the Day From Sandee-Comedy Plus-Second Chance


Second Chance Author: Sandee of Comedy Plus

A 54 year old woman had a heart attack and was taken to the hospital.

While on the operating table she had a near death experience. Seeing God she asked "Is my time up?"

God said, "No, you have another 43 years, 2 months and 8 days to live."

Upon recovery, the woman decided to stay in the hospital and have a face-lift, liposuction, breast implants and a tummy tuck. She even had someone come in and change her hair color and brighten her teeth! Since she had so much more time to live, she figured she might as well make the most of it.

After her last operation, she was released from the hospital. While crossing the street on her way home, she was killed by an ambulance.

Arriving in front of God, she demanded, "I thought you said I had another 43 years? Why didn't you pull me from out of the path of the ambulance?"

God replied: "I didn't recognize you."

Hat tip: Frank of Foxxfyrre's Honk'n'Holl'r

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Flora and Fauna of Bohol-Province of the Catague Clan

The King Eagle

There is a town named Catague in Bohol, Philippines. Thus I have a great interest in the island. My father's named was originally spell with a "C", but when he was in high school he changed it to start with a "K". So, I believe, I have a lot of relatives in Bohol, that I have never meet or will never meet in my life time. If your name is Catague or Katague in Bohol, please get in touch with me via this blog.

Bohol is an island province in the Philippines and its 10th largest island. It is located in the Central Visayas region and has a population of 1,137,000 (2000 census) with an area of 4,117.3 km. The island has unique flora and fauna worthy of discussing in this blog.

The Philippines supports a rich and varied flora with close botanical connections to Indonesia and mainland Southeast Asia. Forests cover almost one-half of the land area and are typically tropical, with the dominant family, Dipterocarpaceae, representing 75% of the stands. The forest also has vines, epiphytes, and climbers. Open grasslands, ranging up to 2.4 m (8 ft) in height, occupy one-fourth of the land area; they are man- made, the aftermath of the slash-and-burn agricultural system, and most contain tropical savanna grasses that are non nutritious and difficult to eradicate. The diverse flora includes 8,000 species of flowering plants, 1,000 kinds of ferns, and 800 species of orchids.

Seventy to eighty percent of non-flying mammals in the Philippines are found nowhere else in the world. Common mammals include the wild hog, deer, wild carabao, monkey, civet cat, and various rodents. There are about 196 breeding species of birds, among the more numerous being the megapodes (turkey-like wildfowl), button quail, jungle fowl, peacock pheasant, dove, pigeon, parrot, and hornbill. Reptilian life is represented by 190 species; there are crocodiles and the larger snakes include the python and several varieties of cobra. Of course Bohol is famous for its TARSIER, the smallest primate( monkey) in the world.

The fauna on Bohol is almost identical to that on Mindanao, Samar, and Leyte, but not that on nearby Negros. Scientists believe that the floral and faunal biodiversity unique to the Philippines is caused by the Ice Age. They also believe that the country has the most severely endangered plant and animal communities on earth.

Recently three unique flying animals/birds,attracted my attention, These are the King Eagle, a rail and a flying fox

The King Eagle-It is the largest eagle in the world. The King Eagle (Haring Ibon) tops in 5 of the 7 external measurements, namely, total length, bill gape, culmen, bill height and tarsus. The Harpy tops in 1 out of 7 measurements, namely the talon. In the wing measurement or wing chord, Haring Ibon is only second but Harpy Eagle is fifth.
Calayan Rail
Calayan Rail: New bird discovered in Babuyan Islands- A new bird species, believed to be found nowhere else in the world, has been discovered on the remote island of Calayan, 70 km north of Luzon. The bird will be named the ‘Calayan Rail’ (Gallirallus calayanensis), after the island on which it was found. Calayan is the largest island in the Babuyan Island group that lies between Batanes and Luzon.

Flying Foxes of the Philippines-
The Mindoro Pallid Flying Fox (Pteropus sp. A) is yet undescribed, but it could possibly be the smallest flying fox in the Philippines. It has been found in Mindoro, in the Anahawin River in Mts. Iglit-Baco National Park, and also in the lowland forest of Tandakan, Mt. Siburan in Sablayan, an area made up of drastic and gradual slopes with riverines in between, near a kaingin area, and in bamboo vegetation. All areas were predominated by trees of the family Dipterocapaceae.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Have you Heard of The Battle of Pulang Lupa?

Governor Carmencita Reyes and Congressman Allan Jay Velasco during the Pulang Lupa Battle Anniversary Celebration,2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aftermath

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

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