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

Monday, December 31, 2012

Are You Drinking and Driving this New Year's Eve?



If you plan on celebrating New Year's with a drinking party outside your home, please insure you have a DD ( Designated Driver) in your party. If you are alone, take a taxi home. It may save your life.

Here in Northern California if you get a DUI( drinking under the influence) citation or conviction, it may cost you at least $2000 versus a taxi fare of around $60 to $200 depending in how far is your home from the bar or party venue.

The Katague's will be celebrating New Year EVE in their residence with just a glass of champagne and watching television. Unlike our New Year Eve escapade in 1970 ( excerpts attached in this posting), our NY eve celebration will be quite and relaxing and no driving in the California tule fog.

Again, To you my readers from 166 countries all over the world, I wish you a Safe New Year. May 2013 bring you Peace and Happiness. I also hope you continue reading and supporting my blogs( by clicking on my ads) for at least another year.



Our New Year Escapade,1970:

"The New Year's Eve of 1970 was one of the most memorable events in my life in the United States. It was a peculiarly distinct night that I endangered us, me and my wife Macrine, by driving into the unknown, for a chance to celebrate a late dinner out. It was also the night we got to meet and know friendly strangers, who invited us to celebrate the New Year's Eve in their lovely home.

In September of 1969, I found a new job with Shell Development Company in central California. It was an attractive job offer which was difficult to turn down. Our family relocated to Modesto, California, and we were excited about living in a new community, meeting new friends and getting to know new neighbors.

The city of Modesto is located right in the heart of the central valley of California. It is the land of fruits and nuts, and also the agricultural region of the state. The central valley is also known for its sinister side, its tule fog during winter, which covers much of the central valley in poor visibility mist. The locals called it the "soup". The tule fog is a thick ground fog that forms and settles in the San Joaquin and Sacramento valleys of California's great central valley. This spectacle is named after the tule grass wetlands or tulares, as they are called, found in the central valley. Vehicular accidents caused by the thick and zero visibility tule fog, are the leading cause of weather-related casualties in central California.

During the last four months of 1969, we were occupied settling down and adjusting to our new home and community. We found a new school for our children, church, grocery, shops and parks. My life was thinly spread between my new job and home. We had no time to join any local group, and had no friends except for our neighbors.

Before the New Year's Eve, my wife and I wanted to find social interaction in our community, but we had no friends or family to visit nearby. We decided to go out for a late dinner in one of Stockton's nicer restaurants, to celebrate the arrival of the New Year. It is about twenty miles north of Modesto.

We reached the restaurant at about 9:30 pm, and the place was filled to capacity. We didn't realize that many couples had the same wonderful idea for the last night of the year. We had to wait in the bar before they could offer us a table. At the bar was another couple who was also waiting to be seated. They were a little bit older than us. The lady was of Asian ancestry and the man was Caucasian.

The couple appeared friendly, so me being the extroverted, outgoing and friendly individual, I started the introductions. I made small talk which initiated an animated conversation to pass away the time. We felt relaxed talking with the couple, and when we were called to be seated, we decided to get a table for the four of us together, instead of two separate ones.

Our dinner of steak and lobster was enjoyable. The conversation flowed freely, loosened by two bottles of wine. Based on our rapport and discussion, it appeared like the four of us were long time friends. We learned that the lady had Filipino ancestry. The couple is also Catholic, and has resided in Stockton for the last ten years. They had no children and had plans of adopting a child from the Philippines.

Their house was in a property near the restaurant, and a short drive away. We finished dinner and dessert at about 11:30 pm. Our new found friends decided to invite us to their home for an after dinner drink, and to avoid driving home in the highway at midnight, the New Year's Eve. With our adventurous spirit, Macrine and I trusted these strangers, and accepted their invitation without any fear or hesitation.

When we got out of the restaurant, the fog was already thick with only a few feet of visibility. I was not alarmed since the couple's residence was nearby. The house was tastefully furnished and decorated with several Philippine antiques that the lady had inherited from her Filipino grandparents.

We had a bottle of champagne at midnight and celebrated the arrival of the New Year. I only took a sip since I was the designated driver. We stayed at their home chatting and getting to know each other better. We talked about our families, interests, places we've lived and visited, and about the central valley. We ended the party at 1:00 am, and decided to go home.

As we stepped out of the warmth and comfort of their house, the cold air and the soup welcomed us outside; we could see nothing in front of us. It started to sink in my mind, whether we should proceed and drive through this very thick fog or not. I remember thinking; maybe we should pass the time somewhere, and let the fog go away before driving home. On the other hand, we could not delay the trip home to our children, and the babysitter also had to get home to her family.

I decided to start the car, drive slowly through the thick fog; my eyes open wide, a little bit nervous and anxious. We glanced at each other; my wife had the look of concern on her face. I remember her saying "this looks dangerous, and how will you see the road or the other cars on the highway". Seeing her worried look increased my growing apprehension of the peril of driving through zero visibility. The fog was so thick, my car's fog lights were useless, and we could only see a few feet away.

With arrogance, I was telling myself this was nothing to worry about. I've driven through blinding snowstorms, and snowy and icy roads in the Midwest. This would be easy; there is no rain or snow on the highway. I would manage this by driving slowly and totally focused on the road. Besides, at this time of the night there are few people and cars on the road.

Silence pervaded during the whole trip. No one dared to speak of negative thoughts. Both our minds were already consumed with thoughts of angst. I remember how distressing it was with all the worries racing through my mind. It made me imagine of graphic images of car wrecks, bloody and mutilated crash victims, and disturbingly, orphaned children left behind by foolish parents.

It took me a full hour to finally reach the safety of our home. It was a huge relief to find our children at home asleep. I was thanking all the saints in heaven that we were home safe and sound despite the danger that we just went through. The baby sitter was also pleased to see us back at 2:00 am.

Reflecting back to this experience, I cannot imagine that Macrine and I allowed ourselves to get to know and visit the home of complete strangers, who later on became our close friends. We continued our friendship with the couple until 1974, when we moved to the San Francisco bay area. I lost my job from Shell Development Company when it closed the agricultural research facility in Modesto.

This was definitely one New Year Eve's escapade that we will always remember for as long as we live."

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Philippines Three Small Island in the News



Just in case you are not familiar with Philippine history and geography, The Philippine archipelago is comprise of around 7,100 islands, of which only about 2,000 are inhabited. They are clustered into the three major island groups of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. Recently, three of these small islands were international news. The first of these island in the news was:

1. Caramoan Islands, Camarines Sur:

This is the island where the 2012 CBS TV Show Survivor, Philippines was filmed. The next TV show titled Survivor Philippines, Caramoan, Fans vs Favorites will also be filmed in the same location. I have never been to Caramoan Islands , But I heard that it is a beautiful island and if you have been watching the TV Show Survivor, you know it is true. The 25th season of the American version of Survivor has finished filming at Caramoan and the 26th season started filming on May 21st and finished in late June. Season 25 aired from September 19, 2012-December 16, 2012, then the 26th season will premiere in February 2013. For details visit, www.caramoan.com



The 8th season of Koh-Lanta (French edition of Survivor), was also shot entirely in Caramoan. TV director Corinne Vaillant, stated that "the powdery sand, the coconuts on Gota beach and the neighboring islets are a 'dream' for the French people. We chose Caramoan because it’s really wild. It’s necessary that contestants don’t see anything other than nature for them to believe that they’re really lost in the wilds.”

2. Boracay Island, Aklan:

Boracay is a small island of the Philippines located approximately 315 km south of Manila and 2 km off the northwest tip of Panay Island in the Western Visayas region of the Philippines. Boracay Island and its beaches have received awards from numerous travel publications and agencies. The island comprises the barangays of Manoc-Manoc, Balabag, and Yapak municipality of Malay, province of Aklan. The island is administered by the Philippine Tourism Authority and the provincial government of Aklan.

In 2012, Boracay has been named the Best Island in the World by an international travel magazine Travel + Leisure. Here's one of the many videos of a typical Boracay vacation.



Note: I have been to Boracay once, but have no desire to go back. It is just too commercialized for my taste. Too many tourists, night clubs, noise and mayhem. But if night life, white beach and shopping is your desire, Boracay is the place for you.

Last but not least is:

3. Maniwaya Island, Marinduque:

There was a recent article by Gerald Querubin of the Philippine Daily Inquirer on Maniwaya Island. An excerpt of his article is as follows:

Maniwaya, which resembles a dolphin when seen from above, is being hyped as one of the must-see summer destinations comparable with Boracay and Puerto Galera. It is one of the few islets closest to Metro Manila, which offers powdery, white sand beaches accessible by land and sea.

With its friendly people, serene surroundings and pristine waters, guests can roam around or swim without the raucous crowd and gaudy commercialized setting found in the more established beaches in the country.

The one-hectare Palad sandbar of fine sand at the northeastern end of the island can be reached only during low tide. Its shape changes, depending on the prevailing winds and flow of seawater.

Local divers say an underwater rock wall teeming with corals is found at the sea bottom near the sandbar. Divers can marvel at similar rock pillars off nearby Mongpong Island.



Note: If you want peace, solitude and white beach for relaxation, this is the place for you. For details about other tourist spots in Marinduque visit http://marinduqueawaitsyou.blogspot.com

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Do you Practice Feng Shui?

Meditation Feng Shui

In my younger days, I used to be an enthusiast of the practice of Feng shui. I have read several books on the subject. The practice is very interesting and to me it is all common sense. So what is Feng Shui?

Feng shui is an ancient art and science developed over 3,000 years ago in China. It is a complex body of knowledge that reveals how to balance the energies of any given space to assure health and good fortune for people inhabiting it.

Feng means wind and shui means water. In Chinese culture wind and water are associated with good health, thus good feng shui came to mean good fortune, while bad feng shui means bad luck, or misfortune.

Historically, feng shui was widely used to orient buildings—often spiritually significant structures such as tombs, but also dwellings and other structures—in an auspicious manner. Depending on the particular style of feng shui being used, an auspicious site could be determined by reference to local features such as bodies of water, stars, or a compass. Feng shui was suppressed in China during the cultural revolution in the 1960s, but since then has increased in popularity.

Modern reactions to feng shui are mixed. The Skeptic Encyclopedia of Pseudoscience states that some principles of feng shui are "quite rational", while noting that "folk remedies and superstitions, that have been incorporated into feng shui's eclectic mix" borders to a pseudo science.

I have applied the principle of Feng shui in the arrangement of furniture in our house, color scheme in the room decor of our retirement home, the location of the front door of buildings in the Philippines and also the landscaping and orientation of trees and plants in my garden. I have not become a very rich person due to my practice of feng shui, but I do enjoy practicing the art of feng shui in all facets of my life.

Try Feng shui and you will feel better, happy and who knows you might win in the lottery and become very rich in the near future. As New Year approaches, this is a good time to start new and fresh and have fun in your Feng shui practices.

Here's a short video on the basics of Feng shui!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Is the Love for Money, the Roots of All Evils?

Would you marry for love or for money?

Is love for money really the roots of all evils. Well, if you read several versions of the Bible, it is probably correct. But in my opinion it is not really true, if this love for money is not an obsession or an addiction. Without love of money, there will be no successful business men and women in this world. You can be religious but still love money to insure a comfortable life. An example will be the Romney's. They are devout Mormons, rich, and have lots of money, but definitely not evil unless you are a fanatic member of the democratic party. Another example are the Trumps and the Kennedy Family. The following are ten quotes from several versions of the bible on this subject.

1.For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
New Living Translation (©2007)

2. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.
English Standard Version (©2001)

3.For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. New International Version (©1984)It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.
New American Standard Bible (©1995)

4.For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
Holman Christian Standard Bible (©2009)

5. King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)
For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

6. Aramaic Bible in Plain English (©2010)
But the root of all these evils is the love of money, and there are some who have desired it and have erred from the faith and have brought themselves many miseries.
GOD'S WORD® Translation (©1995)

7.King James 2000 Bible (©2003)
For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
American King James Version

8. Douay-Rheims Bible
For the desire of money is the root of all evils; which some coveting have erred from the faith, and have entangled themselves in many sorrows.

9. World English Bible
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some have been led astray from the faith in their greed, and have pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

10.Young's Literal Translation
The root of all the evils is the love of money, which certain longing for did go astray from the faith, and themselves did pierce through with many sorrows;

While we are talking on the Love for Money, here's an instrumental music video for your listening pleasure.


Reference:www.bible.cc/1-timothy/1-10.htm

Thursday, December 27, 2012

My Movie Review of Les Miserables


After two years of not going to a commercial movie house with a big screen, my wife and I finally decided to see a movie today. My son gave us free tickets as his Christmas gift to see the most publicized movie of 2012 -Les Miserables. I have read the book, saw the Broadway musical and a black and white version of this Victor Hugo's novel set during the French Revolution. The songs in this movie are well known all over the world, popularized by popular singers such as Susan Boyle and of course my favorite Filipina singer and actress, Lea Salonga. There is a new song, Suddenly, composed specifically for this movie sang by Jackman. My favorite songs are I Dream a Dream, On My Own and Take Me Home.

Les Misérables is a 2012 British musical drama film produced by Working Title Films and distributed by Universal Pictures. The film is based on the musical of the same name by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg which is in turn based on Les Misérables, the 1862 French novel by Victor Hugo.

The film is directed by Tom Hooper, scripted by William Nicholson, Boublil, Schönberg and Herbert Kretzmer, and stars an ensemble cast led by Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, and Amanda Seyfried. The film tells the story of Jean Valjean, a former prisoner who becomes mayor of a town in France. Valjean agrees to take care of Cosette, the illegitimate daughter of Fantine, and must avoid being captured again by Javert, a police inspector.

Development of Les Misérables began in the late 1980s. After the musical's 25th Anniversary concert in October 2010, producer Cameron Mackintosh announced that the film resumed development. Hooper and Nicholson were approached in March 2011 and the main characters were cast in 2011. The movie was released Christmas Day here in US.

The film has received initially positive reviews, with many critics praising the acting of Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway, and has also been nominated for numerous awards. Before the film's release, it was nominated for four Golden Globe Awards, including Best Film (Musical or Comedy), Best Actor (Musical or Comedy) for Hugh Jackman and Best Supporting Actress for Anne Hathaway.

Here's the official trailer of this magnificent musical of the Decade.


I enjoyed the movie very much. The live singing instead of being pre-recorded makes you feel the story and really identify with what the actors and actresses are trying to convey. It gives the viewers a live and even visceral feeling. I cried all through out the movie. Acting and singing were fantastic and if Jackman and Hathaway wins the Golden Globe Awards, they really deserved it. The other supporting actors and actresses were also excellent and brilliant. The price of $7.00 per ticket was a good bargain, indeed. I highly recommend this movie, if you love musicals.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Ohoy, Alibangbang( Butterfly)





The butterfly is a common subject in many Philippine folk dances where the beautiful spread wings is a metaphor of many equally beautiful things like good looks, a delicate kandungga (big triangular scarf) decoration, a blossoming flower, a colorful woman's shawl or a dressed-to-kill woman going to church.

The "Ohoy! Alibangbang" from Negros and "Ining Alibangbang" from Sorsogon are song dances similar to the "Ay, ay Alibangbang!" and "Alibangbang Pula" both from Eastern Samar .

Handsome butterflies may also go courting from flower to flower as in the "Mariposa" of Pangasinan or the "Kuykuyappo" among the Isinay people of Dupax del Sur, Nueva Vizcaya.

Among the Christianized Gaddang and the Yogad people of Isabela and Nueva Vizcaya, the "Balamban" either mimics butterflies or a flying fish.

Tagalog Translation of "Ohoy Alibangbang"
Contributed by Youtuber Ezrach:

OH! PARU-PARO
Trala-lala-lala lala-lala-lala. . .
Oh! Paru-paru kung ikaw ay lumipad
Iyong alalahanin ang lahat ng mga bulaklak
Baka sa huli'y ikaw ay makalimot
Kawawang Gumamela, sa lupa Ahay! mahulog.

Oh! Paru-paru kung ikaw sumipsip ng bulaklak
Iyong alalahanin ang daan na dadaanan mo
Baka sa bandang huli, matinik itong paa mo
Kaawa-awang katawan, masayang lang ang dugo mo.
Trala-lala-lala lala-lala-lala. . .

Here's my rough English Translation

Oh Butterfly, trala-lala-lala-lala-lala
Oh Butterfly When your are flying
Just remember all the flowers
Perhaps later you may forget
Poor Hibiscus(Gumamela) will drop on the ground.

Oh Butterfly sucking the nectar of the flowers
Remember the path of the roads you have pass by
Perhaps later, you feet will get pinch by thorns
I pity your body since you just wasted your blood.
Trala-lala-lala lala-lala-lala..

SOURCE OF INFORMATION:
The Cultural Center of the Philippines Encyclopedia of Philippine Arts.


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Time to Say Merry Christmas in Different Languages



It is time to say Merry Christmas to all my FaceBook friends and blog readers all over the world. My stats indicate that I have readers from 165 countries, but this list include only 114 languages. Please add your own language if it is not included in this list via the comment section of this article. I hope you continue reading my articles/blogs and help support it by clicking on the ads. Again, Happy Holidays!

LANGUAGE TRANSLATION
AFRIKAANS geseënde Kersfees
ALBANIAN gëzuar Krishtlindja
ALSATIAN gleckika Wïanachta
ARABIC ميلاد مجيد (miilaad majiid)
ARMENIAN Shnorhavor Surb tsnund
AZERI Noel bayraminiz mubarak
BASQUE Eguberri on
BELARUSIAN З Божым нараджэннем (Z Bozym naradzenniem)
BENGALI subho baradin
BOSNIAN sretan Božić
BRETON Nedeleg laouen
BULGARIAN весела коледа (vesela koleda)
BURMESE Christmas nay hma mue pyaw pa
CATALAN bon Nadal
CHEROKEE ulihelisdi danisdayohihvi
CHINESE 圣诞快乐 (shèng dàn kuài lè)
CORNISH Nadelek lowen
CORSICAN bon Natale
CROATIAN sretan Božić
CZECH veselé Vánoce
DANISH glædelig jul
DHOLUO bedgi sikuku maber
DUTCH vrolijk Kerstfeest
ENGLISH merry Christmas
ESPERANTO gojan Kristnaskon
ESTONIAN häid jõule
FAROESE gleðilig jól
FINNISH hyvää joulua
FRENCH joyeux Noël
FRISIAN noflike Krystdagen
FRIULAN bon nadâl
GALICIAN bo Nadal
GEORGIAN Gilotsavt Shobas
GERMAN frohe Weihnachten / fröhliche Weihnachten
GREEK Καλα Χριστούγεννα (kala christougenna / kala xristougenna)
HAITIAN CREOLE jwaye Nowel
HAWAIIAN mele Kalikimaka
HEBREW חג מולד שמח (hag molad saméa'h)
HINDI Krismas ki subhkamna
HUNGARIAN boldog karácsonyt
ICELANDIC gleðileg jól
IGBO annuri Ekeresimesi
ILOCANO naragsak a paskua
INDONESIAN selamat Natal
IRISH GAELIC Nollaig shona
ITALIAN buon Natale
JAVANESE sugeng Natal
JAPANESE merii kurisumasu
KABYLIAN tameghra tameggazt
KHMER រីក​រាយ​បុណ្យ​ណូអ៊ែល (rik reay bon Noel)
KINYARWANDA Noheli nziza
KIRUNDI Noheli nziza
KOREAN 즐거운 크리쓰마쓰
KURDISH Noela we pîroz be
LAO souksan van Christmas
LATIN felix dies Nativitatis
LATVIAN priecīgus Ziemassvētkus
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year in Filipino ( Tagalog)
LIGURIAN bón dênâ / bón natâle
LITHUANIAN su Kalėdomis / linksmų Kalėdų
LOW SAXON vrolik Kersfees
LUXEMBOURGEOIS schéi Chrëschtdeeg
MACEDONIAN среќен Божиќ (srećen Božić)
MALAGASY tratry ny Krismasy / arahabaina tratry ny Krismasy / arahaba tratry ny Krismasy
MALAY selamat hari natal
MALAYALAM Christmas ashamshagal
MALTESE il-milied it-tajjeb / milied hieni
MANX Nollick ghennal
MAORI meri Kirihimete
MIZO Krismas chibai
MONÉGASQUE bon Natale
MONGOLIAN zul sariin bayariin mend hurgie
NORWEGIAN god jul
OCCITAN bon Nadal
OROMO baga ayyaana dhaloota Kiristoos isin ga'e
PAPIAMENTU bon pasku
PERSIAN کریسمس مبارک (Christmas mobaarak)
POLISH wesołych świąt bożego Narodzenia
PORTUGUESE feliz Natal
ROMANI baxtalo Krečuno
ROMANIAN un Crăciun fericit
RUKIGA Noheiri nungi / webale Noheiri
RUSSIAN С Рождеством Хрисовым (S rozhdestvom Khristovym)
SAMOAN ia manuia le Kerisimasi
SARDINIAN bona pasca’e Nadale (logudorese) / bona paschixedda (campidanese)
SCOTTISH GAELIC Nollaig chridheil
SERBIAN Христос се роди (Hristos se rodi)
SHONA krisimas yakanaka
SILESIAN Radosnych godów
SINDHI Chrismas joon wadhayoon
SINHALESE suba nattalak wewa
SLOVAK vesele vianoce
SLOVENIAN vesel božič / vesele božične praznike
SOBOTA dobro dedek
SPANISH feliz Navidad
SRANAN switi Krisneti
SWAHILI heri la Krismasi
SWEDISH god jul
TAGALOG maligayang pasko
TAHITIAN 'ia 'oa'oa e teie Noera
TAMIL கிறிஸ்மஸ் தின நல் வாழ்த்துக்கள் (Krismas dina nal vaagethoukkal)
TELUGU Krismas shubhakankshalu
THAI สุขสันต์วันคริสต์มาส (souksaan wan Christmas)
TONGAN mele Kilisimasi
TSWANA (SETSWANA) Keresemose sentle
TURKISH Noeliniz kutlu olsun
UDMURT Shuldyr Ymuśton
UKRAINIAN З Різдвом Христовим Z Rizdvom Khrystovym
VIETNAMESE Mừng Chúa Giáng Sinh
WALOON ("betchfessîs" spelling) djoyeus Noyé
WELSH Nadolig llawen
WEST INDIAN CREOLE jénwèl
YIDDISH אַ גוטע ניטל (a gute nitl)
YORUBA e kun odun Keresimesi
ZULU UKhisimusi omuhle

Reference: www.freelang.net

Monday, December 24, 2012

Spiral HoneyBaked Ham for Christmas, Again



Our main dish again this year for our Christmas Dinner is the spiral honeybaked ham.
I have purchased a 5 lb ham ( we will have only 8 adults and one child for dinner this year) three days ago, to avoid the long lines. But I was mistaken. I still waited for 45 minutes to be served since there were about 100 customers ahead of me. If you wait to buy your ham today, expect a line from 1 to 3 hours. I was wondering why this ham is very popular compared to other hams. The reason is explained in this short posting from the Honeybaked ham website as follows:

"The spiral ham had its origins at HoneyBaked Ham Company over 50 years ago. Harry J. Hoenselaar opened the first HoneyBaked Ham Company store in Michigan. He made hams one at a time - and made sure every one met his exacting quality standards. He'd start with only the best quality bone-in ham, marinate it in his secret curing recipe, smoke it for as long as 24 hours over select hickory embers, slice it and then glaze it with his now-famous honey sweet and crunchy glaze. At that time, the spiral ham was born, Harry patented the unique spiral slicer he invented and the rest is history.

There are a number of benefits to spiral sliced hams. For one, spiral slicing is convenient. You don't need to worry about carving your ham when you buy a HoneyBaked spiral ham. Secondly, spiral slicing creates uniform, perfectly sized servings of our moist and delicious ham. Third, the spiral cut makes the ham more attractive when it's placed on your table. Plus, because Harry spiral sliced his ham first and then added his delectable sweet glaze, none of the glaze is lost during the slicing process".

I have tasted Chinese ham and other brand of smoked hams before. They are more salty compared to the honey baked which has a sweet taste and indeed really delicious. I paid about $6 per pound for the ham I purchased three days ago, not a bad buy. Of course besides the ham we will have other dishes such as Dungeness crab omelet, chicken macaroni salad, Filipino noodles ( pancit), chicken adobo with salad greens, mango ice cream, peach pie, Hawaiian rolls and steam rice. I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Safe New Year.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Ten Types of Love

The Triangular Theory of Love

Do you know that there are ten types of love? Some of you have probably experienced all of the ten types. Most of you, I am quite sure had experience at least a few. My educated guess is that 90% of you, my readers, have at least experienced three or more types love. Personally, I have experience five types of love that is included in the listing below: The list is not arranged in order of importance.

1. Platonic love-this is the simplest of all the types. It is pure and no physical or sexual intentions attached. I have experienced this type of love during my teenagers years to an older man and a teacher.

2. Limerence and crushes – A crush during your younger days is very common, Almost all of us, have crushes to either sex, mostly the opposite sex if you are straight or to the same sex if you are gay or lesbian or to both sexes if you are bisexual. A limerence is similar to a crush but more intense and considered weird. Perhaps your crush to a teacher, to an actor or actress is so intense, you are madly in love. This may be also called an intense infatuation. I have a few crushes with my female teachers during my high school years.

3. Fleeting love- This love last for a few seconds but sometimes a lot longer. It is love at first sight and it does not have to be person. It could be an animal, a sports car or a gorgeous orchid. I have experienced this type of love many, many times in my life. I have a fleeting love for a Mercedes convertible just recently.

4. Obsessive love- Love to a partner that borders to addiction. May be experience during first love experiences. Obsessive lovers are usually insecure and are scared.

5. Selfish love- This is a form of narcissistic love. You love yourself and do not care about your partner or their happiness.

6. Unrequited love- This is the opposite of reciprocal love. Your love to someone have not been answered, sometimes called one sided love. I have also experienced this type of love during my college years.

7. Lusty love- This occurs when you are extremely sexually attracted to a person. It could occur in straight, gay or lesbian partnerships. Your relationship for the moment is centered around the bed and in no other places. You know it if you are lusting for someone, because all you think is sex, sex and more sex with that person.

8. Same sex love- You could be both straight so you do not want to cuddle or have physical sex with this person, similar to platonic love. You can have this emotion toward a friend, and perhaps a celebrity. It is not sexual attraction but more of admiration, awe and respect. My man crush was Ford Harrison during his movie, Indiana Jones. I am pretty sure I have readers who have experience a girl to girl crush although they are not Lesbians or Bisexuals. This could be a love for your role model in life.

9. Romantic love- A beautiful feeling, such as the flutter of butterflies in your stomach. The world looks more beautiful especially when you are watching a sunset, or a waterfalls with your love one. You want to be with your sweetheart all the time and all you think is your partner and romance.

Last but not least is:

10. Unconditional love- You love the person more than yourself. You care more about your lover than anything else in this world. You are willing to die for this person. You will love this person in sickness and in health and all the days of your life. This type of love is an experience that dreams are made of and everyone hope to attain this type of love with a partner.

Again, I have experienced at least five of the above types of Love. How about You? How many types of love have you experienced so far? I will glad to hear from you.
(Not Discussed here are the other recipients of love, such as God( religion), country( patriotism), or relatives( filial).

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Yesterday, the World Did Not End, but...

Yesterday, the world did not end here in Northern California, but....


If you ask me now, I would have been happy if the world ended yesterday. The day started with freezing temperature, no sun and a very, very gloomy day. At 9:30AM, it started to rain. It feels like freezing rain when my wife requested me to buy our Honey Bake Ham for our Christmas Dinner. On my way to the Honey Bake Ham store, I was praying since it is still three days before Christmas Eve, that the lines will not be too long. I was mistaken. The parking lot of the store was filled and I could see customer lines way at the front door of the store. Since it was raining, I stayed in my car and waited for a parking space. Luckily, I waited only for about 10 minutes. When I entered the store, there were around 100 customers ahead of me. There were 5 servers and it took only 45 minutes before I was served

In the previous years, we buy our ham on December 23 with the impression that the ham will not be fresh if purchased earlier. This impression is wrong. According to the store manager, the Ham will be edible and will not rot in the refrigerator from 5 to 7 days after purchased. This was confirmed last Thanksgiving Day when we purchase the Ham 5 days before Thanksgiving Day. It stayed in the refrigerator for a week, before it tasted stale, although not rotten. There was no line in the store that day.

After I purchased the ham, my errand for the day is to buy two additional cans of fruit cocktail and a few other items, we forgot to buy the other day. The lines in the grocery store was also long, but since I bought only a few items I was able to check out in the Express Lane. The rain started to get harder as I was going to my car and I almost fell since it was a little slippery. Luckily, I did not, since I already slipped on my knees last week, while we were in the restaurant in downtown Sacramento, celebrating my grand daughter second debut as a professional actress in a play, The Christmas Carol.

After I got home, my wife asked what sized of ham did I purchased. I said 4.5 lbs, since there will be only 9 adults for our Christmas Dinner. My wife indicated this might not be enough and my blood just went to a boil, I felt like screaming but I did not. I just said if it is not enough, then I will not eat any ham. Please note that besides the ham, we will have noodles, chicken macaroni salad, vegetables, adobo, fruit salad, a cake, and Dungeness Crab omelet, rice, Hawaiian bread, peach pie and mango ice cream . I know that the 4.5 lb of ham will be adequate, because there are other dishes. This is the reason why I am so mad( my trip to the store on the freezing rain was not appreciated and my decision to buy only a 4.5 lb ham instead of a 10 lb was questioned). So today, I really do not care if the world ends.

Note: I feel better after writing this post!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Ten Things that I Dislike about the Philippines

City Traffic and Pollution

In my previous posting, I listed the ten items that I love about the Philippines. Since there is no perfect place in the world, the following are the ten things that annoys me of my second home-The Philippines

The ten items that annoys me about the Philippines are listed below and in no particular order of annoyance.

1.Traffic and Pollution ( in big cities) There is always traffic congestion almost 24 hours a day, especially in big cities. The only time of the day when there is no traffic congestion in Manila and suburbs is between 2 to 4 AM. This is a good time to go to the airport to be in time for your 6AM flight.

2.Jeepney and Bus drivers: They drive like maniacs. They pick up and drop passengers in the middle of the road. Most provincial drivers drive like maniacs. They will overtake private cars on the wrong side of the highway and even on dangerous curves.

3.The long lines in the banks and ATM machines and people cutting-in the lines

4.The noise of crowing cocks and the barking dogs at 4AM or even earlier and loud karaoke music and out-of -tuned and horrible singing of the neighbors

5.When you invite one in your party, he or she brings one or two others, without advising you ahead

6.Filipinos seldom RSVP an invitation or answers their e-mails in a timely manner. Some have Face Books accounts , but seldom or never opens it. ( why open an account if you do not open it at all ?)

7.The heat and humidity during the summer months especially the months of March, April and May

8.The smell of fish and Durian-(probably only in Davao) in the wet markets

9.Litering on the streets and on the beaches, parks and urination in public places

10.Frequent brown outs/ black outs, typhoons and torrential rains in the provinces.

You could probably add more items, but the good things outnumbered the annoying things. Do you have any items to add to the list above. Please share!

Again as snowbirds, my wife and I are happy whether we are in the Philippines or United States. We believe that “HOME IS NOT A PLACE, BUT IN THE HEART!”.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Ten Things that I love about the Philippines

Photo from anton.blogs.com

If you are one of my blog readers from 165 countries, you probably know that my wife and I are snowbirds. You also probably know what the word snowbirds meant.
Just to refresh your memory, we call ourselves snow birds, because when it gets cold here in US ( winter) we fly to tropical Philippines where it is warm and no snow. So why did we choose the Philippines and not some other tropical countries? Here are my ten reasons:

These ten items are not in order of importance.

1.The cheap standard of living:The cost of food and services with the exception of electricity is cheap in the Philippines specially services. For example haircuts, massages , pedicures and manicures is much cheaper in Philippines than in US. A specific example are Mens’ haircut. I pay between 60 to 100 pesos in Marinduque, but here in Northern California, I pay between $12 to $14 for a haircut. For $1500-$2000 plus or minus 10% a month, my wife and I live like a Queen and King here in Marinduque. The current exchange rate is about 41 pesos for one dollar as of this writing date. For fast conversion from pesos to dollars or vice versa, use “40” as the factor.

2.The simplicity and peaceful life in the provinces. The locals are easy going and do not hurry for their appointments. There is not much traffic in the provinces and in small towns. (http://marinduqueonmy mind.blogspot.com).

3.The abundance of fresh meat and seafood, vegetables and fresh fruits ( papayas, mangoes and bananas) at a reasonable prices as well as the Filipino delicacies ( lechon, lumpia and pancit) and desserts ( bibingka , leche flan and Halo-Halo).

4.Accessibility to the beaches, mountains, caves , rivers , islets for picnicking, bathing, snorkeling, scuba diving or just relaxing ( I am talking about Marinduque, not the big cities).

5.The social support system is fantastic. The presence of friends and relatives specially during Christmas and Easter seasons is an experience one can not forget. The Philippines celebrates Christmas five months every year starting from September 1 to January 31. (http:/planningtovisitthephilippines.blogspot.com)

6.Availability of all modern amenities, good restaurants, international food , modern health services in Manila, Iloilo, Cebu and other big cities and five stars vacation resorts all over the islands.

7.The dry and cool weather, ocean sea breezes ( at Chateau Du Mer )during the months of November to February. (http://chateaudumer.blogspot.com)

8.The numerous Fiestas and Festivals the whole year round, specially during the months of January and May. (http://lifeinus1960present.blogspot.com).

9.The hospitality of the people and their attitudes toward foreigners and visitors.

10.Historical and Cultural heritage we have as a nation from Spain , such as our old churches, folk dances, Kundiman music, Putong, Kalutang and respect for our elders and freedom of the press and speech and educational opportunities we had from the United States.(http://theintellectualmigrant.blogspot.com).

Watch out for my next posting listing the ten items I dislike about the Philippines

Note: Today is my 78th Birthday. I thanked the Lord for all his blessings and to you all my readers from 165 countries of the world, my special thanks and appreciation for your support by continuing to read my blogs.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Dandansoy-My Favorite Ilonggo Folk Song


I was a small boy when this folksong was the hit in my province of Iloilo in the 1940's. If you are from Iloilo, this song will make you nostalgic, I hope. Here are two versions of this folk song that makes me homesick of the land of my birth.





A song of affection, Dandansoy is sung in the Hiligaynon language. In the song, the singer bids farewell to a boy named Dandansoy. The song is alleged to have been written by Augorio Abeto who hails from Binalbagan. Augorio was a famous Ilonggo poet during the 1930′s. Another claimant to the song is Fortunata Magsipoc Ledesma from Culasi, Antique. Supporters of this claim said "Dandansoy" is from the phrase "ang daan nga dalan gin usoy." Others from Leyte also claims that the song was originally theirs.

Literal Translation in English:

Dandansoy, I will leave you I'm going home to Payao (the hut)
If in case you will miss (me)
Just look at the Payao (hut's) direction.

Dandansoy, if you will come after (me) don't bring anything,
Even water should you get thirsty dig a small well on the road

Convent, where is the priest? City hall, where is justice?
Here is Dansoy, jailed. Jailed for love.
My handkerchief and your handkerchief
Bring it here, I'll knot it together.
If it ties together
You are my husband,
I am your wife.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Memories of Our Trip to Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks


Bryce Canyon National Park

Macrine and I experienced one of the best vacation we had since my retirement in the summer of 2009. For one week we stayed in Las Vegas, NV at the Polo Towers -under our time exchange program with International Interval, Inc. One day, we took a mini bus tour which lasted for 14 hours. The bus picked us up at Polo Towers about 6:30AM. Our first rest stop was at an Indian Reservation along I-15 N, where Macrine purchased two cartoons of cigarettes tax free and we had a chance to have coffee. We also had a packed breakfast, orange juice, muffins and energy bars provided by the tour company, Sweet Tours.

Macrine at the Visitor Center, Zion National Park
By the time we reached Zion National Park it was about 10:30AM. Along the way, our guide and driver relates to us ( eleven passengers), the history of Las Vegas, the fauna and flora of the area, the desert and rock formations that made this area so majestic and stunning. After our arrival, our tour driver parked at the Visitor Center. We took the park's bus( private cars not allowed) inside the canyon, stopping at several scenic point stops to take pictures. We did not have time to walk, since we still have to go to Bryce Canyon. The bus tour took about 60 minutes. Zion is indeed spectacular.

We saw colorful canyons, forested mesas, and sandstone cliffs so high and indeed stunning and spectacular views. After the tour, we went back to the Visitor Center where our packed lunch of roast beef sandwiches was waiting for us. During lunch we exited the Park via the East Entrance- the Zion Mt Carmel Highway. We passed one of the longest tunnel in the US. By the time we reached the vicinity of Bryce Canyon ( with a photo stop at Red Canyon) it was about 2:00PM. We stopped at Ruby' Gift Shop, just outside the entrance of the Park for souvenirs and mandatory bath room break.

Then we started our two hours tour of the Park. First we stopped at Bryce Point, took some pictures, walked near the rim of the canyon and stayed there for about 15 minutes. If you have vertigo, this is not the place for you.
Macrine at Bryce Point
Our driver took us to Inspiration Point( second stop) and more picture taking and views to feast your eyes with the stunning scenery. We have an option to walk for 45 minutes from Inspiration to Sunset Point(last stop) or ride in the bus with our driver. If you hiked you will have a closer look at the Hoodoo's. Macrine and I decided not to hike as both of us have already aching feet from our walk at the Fashion Mall in Las Vegas and along the Strip Casinos the day before. We waited for the hikers until 4:00PM at Sunset Point Lookout. Macrine and I took more pictures at this lookout and again the view was fantastic, and spectacular.
The Hoodoos
We were able to take pictures of the Hoodoos. Hoodoos are just pillar of rocks shaped like human beings. The fantastic shape is a result of erosion, millions of years ago. Legends say that the Hoodoo's cast a spell on all visitors to the park. After two hours at Bryce, we were on our way back to Las Vegas. On the way home, we stopped for picture taking along Navajo Lake.

We were also passing the outskirts of Cedar Brake National Monument. We stopped at Cedar City for a quick fast food dinner. By the time we arrived in Las Vegas at our condo-hotel,it was 8:30PM. We were tired but happy to visit the two most beautiful national parks in the US.
The above is our route encompassing three states, Nevada, Arizona and Utah. I am glad I did not drive!
Total round trip mileage of the 14 hour trip was about 490 miles.
Getting There from Las Vegas: I-15N then route 9E to 89N then 12E
Going Back to Las Vegas: Route 12W then 89S, then 14W then I-15S

Monday, December 17, 2012

Wishing for a Second Chance at Love



I was reading the 2012 Christmas card letter of a relative yesterday. In her letter, she was informing everyone that her divorce from her husband after 27 years of marriage became final last September. Along with the divorce, she was happy to sell their former residence although it was at the depressed California real estate prices. However, she was happy to move to a 2-bedroom apartment in the same town where her husband and two adult kids had previously resided.

For the sake of this posting, let me call this relative Andrea. Andrea was devastated after the divorce, but managed to get a job that she enjoys currently. She has been in this job for over a year now and just got a promotion. Although the pay is not that great, the job helped her gain her self worth and be financially independent from her former husband. During her marriage for 27 years, she was a full time housekeeper, although she had a Bachelor of Arts and post graduate degrees.

Six months after the divorce, she started dating, because she was lonely. Both of her two adults children are in college. According to Andrea her dating experiences had been very painful and not satisfying at all. The guys she had dated are not marriage material at all. Some of them are jobless and also divorced or widowed. Some of the guys Andrea had dated are about the same age as she is (low 50's), but majority are in their 60's. So as of today, Andrea search for a second chance for love have not been fruitful at all. I do hope however, that Andrea can find love again in the near future.

I have a second relative who is now ready for a second Chance for Love. For the sake of this posting, let me call her Lea. Lea's husband died of cancer last year at a young age of 51 years. He left an 8 year-old girl and a 47-year old widow. Lea so far had managed to cope up with the demands of raising a child alone and working at a senior level position in the State of California. I do not know how Lea can managed her personal situation, but I thank the Lord, she seemed to be living a normal but again a lonely life typical of a young widow living in a small city.

Lea's problem with regards to dating and finding a second chance for Love is the lack of men who are as accomplished as she is in terms of employment and personal accomplishments. With a pre-teen child, complications of getting married the second time around is more likely to occur for Lea. Indeed her chance for happiness and fulfillment is small, but not hopeless. I am however, praying and hoping, Lea gets a second chance for love in the near future.

My dear readers if you have a friend, relative or know of men (40 to 65) looking for love, stability and commitment, I highly recommend my two relatives above. Both Lea and Andrea are good looking, smart, highly educated and accomplished women in their late 40's and early 50's. My e-mail is in this blog if you need more details.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

My Favorite Quotes on Gardens and Gardening



One of my hobbies when I am in the Philippines is to do some gardening, both actual and by mouth. If you do not know the term gardening by mouth, I do not blame you since I coined that phrase. It simply meant that I have a full time gardener that I order and do most of the hard work in the garden. So my mouth is the one that do the gardening and not my whole body which is getting older every year.

I have a flower garden, a vegetable and a fruit orchard at the Chateau Du Mer in Boac, Marinduque. My flower garden has more than 50 varieties of orchids, 10 varieties of bougainvillas, 15 varieties of hibiscus and around 25 varieties of euphorbias and cacti. My fruit tree orchard has more than a dozen of tropical fruit trees. Among my favorite fruit tress are the mangoes, bananas, papayas, avocados, lanzones, cashews, star apples, chicos, sugar apples, rambutans, guayabanos and of course coconuts.

The following are 13 of my favorites quotes on the subject of gardens and gardening
not including the head picture above. The number one quote by Monet is my most treasured quote in the list below.

1. “My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece”
― Claude Monet

2. “A weed is but an unloved flower.”
― Ella Wheeler Wilcox

3. “The master of the garden is the one who waters it, trims the branches, plants the seeds, and pulls the weeds. If you merely stroll through the garden, you are but an acolyte.”
― Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration

4. “Those who labor in the earth are the chosen people of God.”
― Thomas Jefferson

5. “No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth, and no culture comparable to that of the garden.”
― Thomas Jefferson

6. “Gardening is akin to writing stories. No experience could have taught me more about grief or flowers, about achieving survival by going, your fingers in the ground, the limit of physical exhaustion.”
― Eudora Welty

7. “Show me your garden and I shall tell you what you are.”
― Alfred Austin

8. “You're not a gardener, are you? So perhaps you don't know that once a garden is established, much of good gardening is about removal rather than planting, honing what you have to produce a pleasing effect, sacrificing the particular for the good of the whole. Gardening is a creative pastime, but the result is always a work in progress; unlike a painting or a piece of music a garden is never fixed in time. ("In The Garden")”
― Rosalie Parker, The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror 21

9. “All gardening is landscape painting,' said Alexander Pope.”
― Rebecca Solnit, Wanderlust: A History of Walking

10. Gardening is the purest of human pleasures. -Francis Bacon

11. I have never had so many good ideas day after day as when I worked in the garden. -John Erskine

12. Gardening requires lots of water, most of it in the form of perspiration. -Lou Erickson

13.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Schubert's Ave Maria with the Fan Flute



I like this video because of the flowers in the background. Please note that at about 3.40 minutes of the video is a picture of a blue rose that reminds me of my rose garden at the Chateau Du Mer Beach Resort in Boac, Marinduque, Philippines.

It is time to enjoy a religious music for this coming Christmas season. One of my favorite classical piece is Ave Maria by Schubert. As you know this is the most popular Ave Maria composition. There are several other Ave Maria composed by other composers. The two popular versions are known as the Bach/Gounod and Schubert/Liszt version. Ave Maria is based on a Roman Catholic prayer ("Hail Mary" in Latin)

Schubert's "Ave Maria" is also called "Ellens dritter Gesang" or "Ellen's Third Song". Schubert decided to forego the traditional text and use a German translation of a Sir Walter Scott poem "The Lady of the Lake". It's often sung with the traditional Latin text but that was added by others. Schubert wrote his song for voice and piano, and Liszt who was a pianist and composer, transcribed a piano version.

The Bach-Gounod version is another instance of one composer using the work of another to create his own "version"--sort of. The two composers, J.S. Bach and Charles Gounod never worked together on creating this popular "Ave Maria". Bach died years before Gounod was even born.

Bach had written something called "The Well-Tempered Clavier" in which including "Prelude No. 1 in C Major". Gounod wrote a melody over that prelude and used the traditional prayer as the lyric.

My wife's favorite Ave Maria piece was composed by Santiago a Filipino composer. The melody of this piece is much harder than the above two versions. Other Ave Maria pieces have been composed by Brahms and Verdi and a few other composers of the world.

Friday, December 14, 2012

End of the World and Gangnam Style of Doomsday, 2012

I saw the following video in You TUBE yesterday. Is this a joke or will it happen because North Korea will launch its long range nuclear missiles to the US West Coast? Comments
anyone.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Marinduque versus Guimaras for Retirement in the Philippines


Marinduque-My Island Paradise and Heaven on Earth

Five years prior to my retirement from FDA, my wife (Macrine) and I had to make a decision where in the Philippines, we will build our retirement home, since we have decided to live the snow bird lifestyle in our retirement years. If you have been following my blogs, you know what a snow bird lifestyle is. However, if this is your first time, allow me to explain what the term “snow bird” meant. It is a lifestyle involving the best of the EAST and WEST, both culturally and weather-wise. That is, when it gets cold here in Northern California ( after Thanksgiving), Macrine and I flies to the Philippines where the weather is perfect, cool, and dry with very low humidity. When it start to get hot and humid in the Philippines ( Easter Season), around mid-April, we fly back to Northern California when it is the start of spring and perfect weather. So far we had done this annually since 2002. Thank you Lord!

There are hundreds of places in the Philippines, where one could build a retirement home on the beach. Macrine and I had narrowed it down to two islands, Marinduque or Guimaras Island near Iloilo. Building a beach house had always been my dream and goal in life.

Marinduque is Macrine, province of birth. She finished high school at the local catholic school for girls in Boac, the capital town of Marinduque. Iloilo on the other hand is my province of birth. I finished at the local high school in the town of Barotac Viejo, about 60 Km north of Iloilo City. Macrine's parents had several beach front lots along the western coast of Marinduque at Barrios Laylay and Amoingon.

My father has a beach front lot in the island of Guimaras in the town of Buenavista. After several months of discussing the pros and cons between Marinduque or Guimaras, Macrine convinced me that Marinduque is our Island Paradise instead of Guimaras Island for the following reasons.

1.The proximity of Marinduque to Manila-only 30 minutes versus 50 minutes airplane ride

2.The location, area and physical set-up of the beach front lots. In Marinduque, the beach front lot is about 5 acres, and also along the national road. There is a creek running in the property that flows to the ocean inhabited by fish and crabs. The lot has several full grown shade and fruit trees and more than 100 banana and coconut trees.

On the other hand my father's lot in Guimaras is small and I had never seen it. In addition, the title of the lot was still not in my name. The lot is also isolated and far from the national road. Another factor against Guimaras is that the island was still under developed( poor roads), although there was a plan to build a bridge between Guimaras and the mainland in Iloilo City at that time.

3.Social Support System: Macrine has lots of closed relatives in Boac. I have relatives in Guimaras but I have never meet them. Most of my closed relatives are in the mainland in Jaro.

4.Last, but not least, I feel in love with Marinduque, its hospitable residents, its culture ( putong, Kalutang and Moriones Festival) and its delicious food ( ginat-an na manok, Kare-kare and ulang-ulang).

For details read my posting "Why I Love Marinduque at http://marinduquemyislandparadise.blogspot.com

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Today is 12/12/12! Is this Your Lucky Day?


I hope today (12/12/12)is your lucky day. Did your parents give you a lucky name?

In the Philippines, numbers are either lucky or unlucky. Today, I believe is my lucky day. Speaking of numbers, the following is an article I wrote about the pseudo science of numerology as practiced by my mother-in-law when she was still alive in the Philippines.

My late Mother-in-law had given my wife a formula based on numbers for predicting whether a marriage,a birth of a child or any addition to your household will bring good or bad luck or even death to your family or household. My wife had followed this formula when we assigned names to our four children. I am not superstitious, but I follow it also, because I have witnessed several cases of relatives in the Philippines, that has suffered early death, divorce or sickness because the combination of the baptismal names of the couples falls into the category of CONDENADO ( meaning condemned or death). There are five categories, BUENAS( good luck), DUDUSO ( doubtful), PELIGRO ( danger), MALAS( bad luck) and CONDENADO. I have the number values for the 26 alphabets and the numbers that are suppose to be lucky, doubtful, danger, bad luck and condemned. But my wife refused to give her permission that I divulge this in my blog. But here is the essence of this pseudo science of numerology.

The 26 alphabets are assigned numerical values from zero to 26. Some of the alphabets have the same values. Eight alphabets are valued 12, four alphabets are valued 9, three alphabets are valued 18, and the rest from of the alphabets are valued from zero to 26.

The letters in your Baptismal name is added. This sum tells the numerologist if your number is either of the above five categories. Then the baptismal name of your wife is also added. The sum of your name and your spouse is added. If it exceeds 30, you start counting to 1. If you have a baby, the baptismal name of the baby is added to both husband and wife's total. Any addition to the household, even household help must be considered especially if the maid, cook or gardener lives in your house.

So how will you know if the sum of all the names in your household will bring you good or bad luck?

There is a list of lucky numbers, unlucky numbers, doubtful numbers, danger numbers and condemned numbers. There are 7 lucky numbers among them are 7, 9 and 11. There are eight unlucky numbers among them are 4, 8, and 29. There are 20 doubtful numbers among them are 5, 6 and 27. There are 8 danger numbers among them 12, 15 and 23. There are 8 condemned numbers among them are 3, 13 and 30.

Let me cite a specific example. My name "David" has a numerical value of 30 or zero. From the chart of 5 categories it is a bad number. So my parents did not give me a lucky name. But if you combined it with my wife's name value 21 our total is 21. The number 21 is doubtful. When our oldest son was born we made it sure that the combination of our 3 names is among the lucky numbers of 1,3,7, 9,and 11.

This numerology system is similar but not identical to the Chinese numerology.
For example number 4 is a pretty bad number in Cantonese, for it sounds death, but in this system 4 is a good number. Eight is a good number in Chinese, but a danger number in this system. Both 1 and 9 are good numbers in Chinese and in my mother-in-law numerology chart.

Curious? I am sorry I can not elaborate more on this. My wife says, it will be bad luck to give details of this Numerology Activity that my Mother-in-law had been practicing for years when she was still alive. Evidently, this has been passed from generation to generation and believe to have originated from Spain.

Have you heard a similar activity in your local province in the Philippines, UK or in Spain?.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Our Time Share Exchange Vacation Experiences

The Ridge Resort, Lake Tahoe, Nevada( Our Home Resort)

Some time in the mid 1990's, Macrine( my spouse of 55 years) and I purchased a time share at the Five Star, Ridge Resort in Lake Tahoe. Nevada. The resort is located at an elevation of 7342 feet above sea level. On the east side of the 8th floor of our 2 bedroom condo unit, you have a view of Lake Tahoe and on the west side the small town of Minden, Nevada. We purchased this time share not intentionally, but we were persuaded by the high pressure sale pitches of the aggressive sale personnels. They offered us a free dinner for two by just attending their one hour sales presentation and tour of the resort facilities.

At that time most of the resorts time sharing program had no options for exchanges to other resorts. But the Ridge has that flexibility, so we signed up for a 2-bedroom unit for one week every year. We could exchange this to other five star resorts all over the world as long as they participate in the Interval International(II)Time Share Exchange Program. Since our purchase, we have exchanged our time share in Marbella, Spain, Cancun, Mexico. Puerto Rico, Aruba, Las Vegas, Nevada, Maui, Kawaii and the big Island of Hawaii. We had a grand time and fantastic vacation in the above places mentioned where we stayed at five star resorts/hotels equivalent to The Ridge.

However, lately, I found it hard to exchange it via II, even with resorts in the Philippines. So, this year we spent our week at our home resort, The Ridge at Lake Tahoe.
The view from our 8th floor unit of Minden, Nevada and other buildings in the Resort

Purchasing a vacation time share is not for everybody, especially if you do not plan your vacation ahead of time. To insure and take advantage of the exchange program flexibility, you need to be organized. With our time share, my wife and I just can not travel at the spur of the moment or if there is a promo package offered by travel agencies. Our vacation time is tied up to our time share program. Moreover, before you could exchange you need to reserve your week, then deposit it to II. After that you need to tell II to exchange it, listing three resorts and three time periods. This is the one that takes a long time, especially if the resorts you selected are popular resorts and the time periods are the busy vacation season.

Owning a time share do not really save you vacation money as the sales pitches proclaimed. However, with your time share program you stay in four or five star resorts, that otherwise you can not afford or willing to pay on your own. In addition, you have the flexibility to choose places all over the world. There are over a thousand resorts listed in the Interval International Directory available for exchange. However, popular vacations spots such as Hawaii, San Francisco or France are hard to get, even if you reserved two years ahead. Availability of resorts are posted in the Internet on first come, first serve basis. So if you have the patience and perseverance, you may be able to get an exchange that fits your time and need.

As an example, two years ago, I wanted to exchange my time share with a 2-bedroom unit in Las Vegas right on the Strip. I was doing this in the computer. There were about five hotels on the Strip with one bedroom units available on the week that I wanted, but no two bedroom unit. I waited for another ten minutes and surfed again. To my surprise a 2-bedroom unit was available on a hotel right on the Strip but I have only 15 minutes to complete the transaction. I completed the transaction in 10 minutes and within 20 minutes, I received a confirmation via e-mail. I was lucky and had the patience surfing in the Internet. Otherwise, I may have to be content with a one bedroom unit not close to the Strip.

So what is my recommendation? If you are someone who do not plan ahead and do not have the patience and perseverance, do not purchase a time share. In addition, time share will cost you maintenance fees that gets higher every year. Put your vacation money in the bank or invest it. When the time comes for your vacation, then that is the time to get your money. Enjoy your vacation to a place that you choose and the time that is convenient for you and your love ones. Try vacationing in Marinduque, Philippines where your hard-earned dollars will go a long way. Stay at Chateau Du Mer Beach House for as low as $25 per day per person including meals (http://chateaudumer.blogspot.com).

Monday, December 10, 2012

My Fifteen Favorite Quotes of Oscar Wilde



A couple of days ago, I was reading the biography of Oscar Wilde. As far as I knew he was the the smartest man of his time. Wilde has written more than a hundred witty quotes. The following 15 quotes however are my favorites.

1. An idea that is good is always dangerous.

2. Beauty is a form of genius - is higher, indeed, than genius, as it needs no explanation. It is of the great facts in the world like sunlight, or springtime, or the reflection in dark water of that silver shell we call the moon.

3. Between men and women there is no friendship possible. There is passion, enmity, worship, love, but no friendship.

4. Bigamy is having one wife too many. Monogamy is the same.

5. I have nothing to declare except my genius.

6. It is a very sad thing that nowadays there is so little useless information.

7. It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious.

8. It is better to be beautiful than to be good. But... it is better to be good than to be ugly.

9. Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead.

10. Success is a science; if you have the conditions, you get the result.

11. There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written.

12. When good Americans die they go to Paris.

13. When I was young I thought that money was the most important thing in life; now that I am old I know that it is.

14. When people agree with me I always feel I must be wrong.

15. Women are made to be loved, not understood.

Read more: http://www.joe-ks.com/archives

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Longest Christmas Season in the World-The Philippines



Do you know that September 1 is the beginning of Christmas Season in the Philippines? It not only starts on the first day of September, but it ends 5 months later on January 31 every year. If you do not believe me, try reading some blogs about life in the Philippines from American and European expatriate nationals who are now living in the Philippines with their Filipina wives or read any Philippine newspaper in the Internet. The Philippines has the longest, lavish and most festive Christmas season in the whole world.

Speaking of Christmas songs my favorite Filipino Christmas song is Pasko Na Sinta Ko( Its Christmas, My Love) sang by world famous singer Lea Salonga. Here's a short video of the song plus another Filipino Christmas ballad( Sana Ngayon Pasko Na). If you are an OFW ( Overseas Filipino Worker) you will enjoy these two songs with background of the Philippine scenery, Filipino food and delicacies. I hope it will make you feel nostalgic about the Philippines.



Here in US, the Christmas Season starts after Thanksgiving and ends the day after New Year or sometimes after the Feast of Three Kings on January 6.

I believe the Philippines is the only country in the world that celebrate Christmas 5 months every year.

Am I right? Are there any other countries in the world that celebrates Christmas longer than 5 months? My advance Christmas greetings to you all my beloved readers all over the world.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Will the World End on December 21, 2012?



WHAT IS YOUR TAKE on the Doomsday Prediction on 12/21/12? Will the world end?

There are several videos and articles in the Internet that this coming Dec 21,2012 (only about two weeks from today), will be the end of the world. These predictions were based on Nostradamus, the Mayan Calendar and also in the Bible, according to the many Believers. If this comes true, that day I will be 78 years old and one day. My 78th birthday will be this coming December 20.

I will have no regrets if indeed this prediction will come true. I have lived a happy and productive life. However, I personally do not believe this will happen. An article from the NASA web site confirms my assertion. The article emphasize that the world will not end on December 21, 2012 at 11:11AM.

The origin of this prediction started with claims that Nibiru, a supposed planet discovered by the Sumerians, is headed toward Earth. This catastrophe was initially predicted for May 2003, but when nothing happened the doomsday date was moved forward to December 2012 and linked to the end of one of the cycles in the ancient Mayan calendar at the winter solstice in 2012 -- hence the predicted doomsday date of December 21, 2012.

The Mayan calendar does not cease to exist on December 21, 2012. This date is the end of the Mayan long-count period but then -- just as your calendar begins again on January 1 -- another long-count period begins for the Mayan calendar.

In addition there will be no planetary alignments in the next few decades and even if these alignments were to occur, their effects on the Earth would be negligible. One major alignment occurred in 1962, for example, and two others happened during 1982 and 2000. Each December the Earth and sun align with the approximate center of the Milky Way Galaxy but that is an annual event of no consequence.

Nibiru and other stories about wayward planets are an Internet hoax. There is no factual basis for these claims. If Nibiru or Planet X were real and headed for an encounter with the Earth in 2012, astronomers would have been tracking it for at least the past decade, and it would be visible by now to the naked eye. Obviously, it does not exist. Eris is real, but it is a dwarf planet similar to Pluto that will remain in the outer solar system; the closest it can come to Earth is about 4 billion miles.

The rumors indicating that the earth will be hit by a meteor in 2012 has also no scientific basis according to the NASA website. There will no giant solar storms predicted by the end of this year also.

FINALLY, NASA asserts in their website that there are no credible evidence that all the catastrophic events predicted in books, movies, documentaries all over the Internet have any basis of occurring and the end of the world will not occur on December 21, 2012.

So my dear readers, be at Peace and Do not worry. If it is your time to die, accept it with dignity and grace. May you have a Happy Christmas and A Safe and Prosperous New Year. ( Hopefully the Fiscal Cliff will have been averted by January 1, 2013).

Here's a movie for your entertain and a work of fiction on the End of the World!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Philippines is Still Perceived as a Corrupt Country

Corruption Index, 2005-Image from NYtimes.com ( Index from 1 to 10)

Yesterday's news from the Philippine Inquirer reported that the Philippines is still perceived as one of the most corrupt countries in the world. This news really saddened me. The survey was conducted by Transparency International (TI) . The Philippines was given a score of 34 on a scale of 1 to 100 with 100 being the least corrupt country.

The good news is that the Philippines scored better than the neighboring countries of Indonesia ( scored 32), Vietnam( scored 31) and Bangladesh scoring 26. The numbers are called Corruption Perception Index (CPI).

The top five countries perceived to be very clean were Denmark, Finland, New Zealand, Sweden and Singapore, while the five viewed as very corrupt were Somalia, North Korea, Afghanistan, Sudan and Myanmar.

One of the actions that has improved the Philippine image as a less corrupt country is the passage of the freedom of information bill according to the news report.. Other actions by the Aquino Administration that helped change the public perception were the impeachment trial, the declaration of the statements of assets, liabilities and net worth, the transparent process of replacing dismissed Chief Justice Renato Corona, and the general openness of the administration in its quest for a transparent government. .

Huguette Labelle, Chairperson of TI said that based on the 2012 CPI, corruption still continues to ravage many societies. According to him governments need to integrate anti-corruption actions into all public decision-making. Their priorities should include better rules on lobbying and political financing, making public spending and contracting more transparent, and making public bodies more accountable to people..

The news did not report the United States CPI score, but I have a feeling it is very close to 100, even though it did not make the top five least corrupt countries in the list above.

I hope that next year the Philippines will receive a higher score. As the saying goes, one can only hope for the best. Remember this is just a perception not the reality. In my mind the Philippines in reality has probably a score of 50 if not higher. What do you think? Comments?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Have You Heard of Alfie Boe?





Alfred Giovanni Roncalli Boe, known professionally initially as Alf or Alfred Boe and now as Alfie Boe, was born in September, 1973. He is one of my favorite tenors today.

Alfie's first public performance, aged 14, was at Fleetwood's Marine Hall in a "Songs from the Shows" presentation organised by inspirational local singing teacher Lottie Dawson. He states that although he sang only a couple of lines he was extremely nervous.

At the age of 17, Boe became an apprentice mechanic at the TVR factory in Bispham, Blackpool. He enjoyed entertaining his colleagues by singing opera arias while he polished the cars, and one day was overheard by a client with connections in the music industry who was so impressed, he suggested Boe should go to London and audition for the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company. His audition was a success and he gave up polishing cars to embark on a singing career.[4] Boe has never been able to trace the customer who suggested he go for the audition, having lost the man's business card.

Boe moved to London and studied singing at the Royal College of Music, the National Opera Studio and the Royal Opera House's Vilar Young Artists Programme. In 1999 and 2000, he was featured as the "opera dude" on albums by The Clint Boon Experience, led by the former organist of the Inspiral Carpets. In 1999 he sang Ernesto for Scottish Opera in their Opera-Go-Round production of Don Pasquale, touring widely throughout Scotland.

Boe toured the United Kingdom with the Fron Male Voice Choir in February 2007 and took part in the first Classic FM webcast concert with soprano Natasha Marsh in March. The same month he was appointed as an ambassador of The Prince of Wales Arts & Kids Foundation, a British educational charity working to inspire and educate children by introducing them to the arts. Boe's role being to bring music, and opera in particular for those children involved.

He also performed alongside Michael Ball in the English National Opera production of Kismet. His live performance of the song "Stranger in Paradise" from Kismet on the Michael Parkinson show was released as a digital download single on June 25, 2007. In August he realised an ambition to record an album of Neopolitan songs which was released in November under the title La Passione. On August 24, 2007 he performed at the Arundel Festival alongside Natasha Marsh. On October 19, 2007 he performed at Canterbury Cathedral during the Canterbury Festival. He also performed at the annual Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall on November 10, 2007.

On October 3, 2010 Boe took on the role of Jean Valjean in a concert performance of the musical Les Misérables at the O2 Arena in London to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the show, released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc. The concert encore performance of "Bring Him Home", credited as "The Valjean Quartet" — Boe alongside Colm Wilkinson, John Owen-Jones and Simon Bowman (each of whom has portrayed Valjean in various theatrical productions) — was re-recorded at the Abbey Road Studios and released as a charity CD single and digital download on December 13, 2010. On December 16, 2010, Boe once again performed as Valjean in the Royal Variety Performance (in front of Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall) singing "What Have I Done?", and also "Bring Him Home" again alongside Wilkinson, Owen-Jones and Bowman.

In January 2011, Boe performed for English National Opera in La bohème and The Mikado. Boe later performed concerts in Idaho, U.S.A. in March. In April, Boe appeared in The Great British Musical - The Famous and the Future at the Criterion Theatre and the St George's Day celebration concert in Trafalgar Square. In May, Boe went on to perform at the Classical BRIT Awards ceremony at the Royal Albert Hall, in the Isle of Man, and then headlined the Hampton Court Palace Festival finale on June 18, 2011.

He appeared as Jean Valjean in Les Misérables at the Queen's Theatre, London, from June 23, 2011 to November 26, 2011. During his run as Valjean, Boe appeared in the "Les Misérables v Lend Me a Tenor Battle of the Tenors" at Soho's Winnett St, London on July 13, 2011. In August, Boe performed with the National Symphony Orchestra at Beau Sejour and Gloucester Hall.

In October 2011 Boe announced that he would be appearing in the Lytham Proms Festival Weekend on August 4, 2012. Tickets went on sale on October 14, 2011. The Festival is held in the town of Lytham St Annes close to his home town of Fleetwood. The local newspaper Blackpool Gazette describes his concert as a 'homecoming' using the title 'Bring HIM Home'.

On June 4, 2012, Boe performed at the Diamond Jubilee Concert for the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II. He sang "’O sole mio" leading into Elvis Presley's "It's Now Or Never". He also sang, with the American soprano Renee Fleming, "Somewhere" from West Side Story, this performance taking place on the balcony of Buckingham Palace. He appeared on The One Show on August 30, 2012.

Reference: Wikipedia.com

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

My Ten Favorite Quotes about Love

Image from favimages.com

There are over ten thousand quotes about love and loving in the Web. But the following ten are my favorites. I have a feeling you have your own favorites. I will be glad to hear from you.

1. “There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature.”
― Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

2. “If I had a flower for every time I thought of you...I could walk through my garden forever.”
― Alfred Tennyson

3. “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

4. “A lady's imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a moment.”
― Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

5. “Love is needing someone. Love is putting up with someone's bad qualities because they somehow complete you.”
― Sarah Dessen, This Lullaby

6. “The one you love and the one who loves you are never, ever the same person.”
― Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters

7. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
― Anonymous, Holy Bible: New International Version

8. “Where there is love there is life.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

9. “I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.”
― Mother Teresa

10. “This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.”
― William Shakespeare, Hamlet

Reference: www.goodreads.com

Monday, December 3, 2012

My Personal Tips for Effective Blogging



So You want to Blog? Here's my personal tips for successful blogging based on my blogging experiences.

When I was in graduate school two decades ago, I attended a two day seminar in how to write effectively. The most important information that I learned from that seminar was to write simply. Another useful information was to make short sentences. The last useful item I learned was try to use the active voice instead of the passive voice when you can. The above three basic information you should follow, if you want to write effectively and be a successful blogger.

I was always wondering whose original ideas were the above. Today,I found it was a quote from George Orwell as follows:

“Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print. Never use a long word where a short one will do. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out. Never use the passive where you can use the active. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon
word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.”


If you plan on writing a blog, remember that majority of your readers just scan on the information, unless your topic is really interesting. Most readers like to read simple and concise articles, poems or short stories.

Another tip is to check your grammar and spelling. Most readers are turn off on misspellings and glaring errors in grammar. I also learned from my blogging
experiences (I have been blogging since 2008) that articles that deals with sex, politics and religion attract the most page views.

The use of headings, bullets and lists are good and useful. Your list however should not be too long.

When I was still writing for the ViewsHound writing site ( became defunct in December, 2011), I won only two awards out of the sixty articles that I wrote.
The articles that won the awards were my personal experiences ($50-gold award-Childhood experiences during the Japanese-American War in the Philippines) and my wife's personal experiences ($15-bronze award- Extrasensory Perception and Clairvoyance). My two-award winning articles showed that writing informally about your personal experiences, in a conversational style is good and effective.

My other advice to would be bloggers is to write not only to inform but also to entertain. A little humor to your postings will not hurt. Moreover, you should get to the point quickly. Do not write an article that exceeds more than one page if at all possible. After one page, most readers are tired, so unless your article is extremely exciting and controversial, your readers will lost interest.

Last but not least, always try to have an attention getting title to your post. Finally, if you write from the heart, nothing can go wrong! I wish you a Happy Blogging experience!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...