Friday, December 16, 2011

Dedication


Photo taken during my niece wedding(D'Wanie Katague Gregorio,M.D.) and also my 74th Birthday. Note that Macrine's gown was designed and tailored by Rudy Diego-one of Manila's well-known couturier.

I am writing this autobiography for the benefit of my four children and six grandchildren here in California, United States of America. My children are:
Dodie( Diosdado), B.A. (Geography) UC Berkeley, JD (Law) UC Davis, CA (Married, Ruth Carver)
Dinah King, B.A. (Sac State U), M.A (Paralegal) St Mary, Moraga, CA(formerly Married to David King)
David Ernst, B.S. Agricultural Economics UC Davis, CA, M.A, Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon U, Pittsburgh, PA (Single)
Ditas Macrine, B.A Double Major Communications/Arts, UC Berkeley,CA, M.A. Government Relations, USC, Los Angeles, CA and Washington, D.C.(Married, Nick Thompson)

My grandchildren and their ages as of this write up:
Ian Katague King Age 20
Elaine Katague King Age 18
Philip Winchester Katague Age 18
Alexandra ( Alix) Katague Age 17
Marina Katague Age 14
Carenna Katague Thompson Age 8.5

Special dedication to Ian, Elaine and Carenna for their tolerance and patience during their hectic trip from US to Marinduque, just to attend our golden wedding anniversary celebration. I hope the memories of that trip will never be forgotten in their memory and that they will have favorable remembrances of the Philippines.
( For details of our golden wedding anniversary celebrations see Chapter 14)

I also dedicate this blog to all my brothers and sisters and their husbands and wives ("in-laws)" in the Philippines, Australia, United States and Canada. Also to my nieces and nephews all over the world in Iran, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, England and the United States, and also to all my sister-in-laws in the Philippines and United States.

In addition, I also dedicate this blog to all members and friends of Marinduque International,Inc. especially those members and nonmembers who had participated in the past several medical missions to Marinduque, Philippines. I am sure that those of you who had participated in the past medical missions believed in my favorite quotation." The time you have touched the lives of others is the time that you have really lived".

Moreover, I also dedicate this blog to my colleagues and friends at the Food and Drug Administration(FDA), Division of Anti-Infective Drug Products ( New Drugs), Silver Spring, MD specifically, Maureen Dillon Parker, Suresh Pagay, Milton Sloan, Andrew Yu and Vithal Shetty and several others that I will not be able to mention (you know who you are) because it will take at least two pages to mention your names. My 12 years career at FDA was the most challenging, productive and satisfying experience in my professional life. As a GS-14-expert on antimalarial drug products, I feel that I have contributed reducing the incidence of this disease not only in the Philippines but also world wide. (see Chapter 11 for details). My million thanks to Dr. Wilson (Tony) De Camp( my former supervisor) for selecting me out of the numerous applicants for a review chemist position in 1990 during a Job Fair in San Francisco and believing in my abilities to be a good review chemist and later a team leader ( first-line supervisor) in FDA.
Dave and Macrine-Photo by Agnes Apeles taken on August 22, 2009 during MI, Inc Dinner Dance & Reunion in Buena Park, California.

Last, but not least to my beloved wife of 54 years, Mrs Macrine Nieva Jambalos Katague, whose understanding, devotion, patience and love made this all possible.

This autobiography is divided into three time frames and posted in 17 chapters as follows:
Chapter 1 to 5: Life in the Philippines-1934 to 1959(Elementary, High School and College Years)
Chapter 6 to 11: Life in the United States-1960 to 2002 (Post Graduate and Professional Career Years)
Chapter 12 to 17: Life in the US and Philippines- 2002 to the Present( Retirement Years and Beyond)

I hope that my grand children will be inspired after reading this autobiography to do their best to achieve a successful and happy life, similar if not better than what I have experienced here in US and in the Philippines with my beloved wife of 54 years, Macrine Nieva Jambalos of Boac, Marinduque, Philippines.

To other readers who may also be inspired by my experiences, I salute you! I know that there is one individual not related to me who indicated that without my knowledge I had been his role model during his childhood and formative years in the Philippines. At present, he is a Professor at the University of the Philippines in Iloilo. He obtained his Ph.D. degree in Oceanography from the University of Hawaii.

University of the Philippines Visayas, at Miagao, Iloilo

Several years ago, while visiting my hometown in Iloilo, I asked my sister who was still residing there at that time, if she knows of any Ph.D. graduate from our town besides myself. She said there was a recent Ph.D. graduate from our town who is now teaching at the University of the Philippines in Miagao. So, I ask her if I could met this guy and my sister said, let us look for him at the university right now. We immediately drove back to the city and then to Miagao. We went directly to the Administration Office and they gave us directions to his office and classroom. He was not there, but his secretary said he is at home on sick leave. We ask the secretary to call him and ask if we could visit him. To make the story short, we met him at his residence and start introducing ourselves.

The moment, I saw him I feel very close to the guy, even though this is the first time I've seen this guy. He was very friendly in spite of his cold. After 5 minutes of preliminary talk, he blurted out. He said, "I have been wanting to meet you also in person all these years. Without you knowing, you have been my role model during my childhood years and your story has been my inspiration". I was shocked and surprised. Then he explained that his grandmother that raised him has been brainwashing him with my life story in the US. His grandmother told him, he must also study for his Ph.D abroad. He said yes, without even knowing what is the meaning of Ph.D. It turned out that my mother and his grandmother were good friends and my mother has been informing his grandmother all the details of my life and graduate work at the University of Illinois in Chicago. I hope others who read my autobiography will also be inspired to work hard to the best of their ability to fulfill their dreams.

Allow me to end this introduction to quote my "Philosophy in Life".
"Where there is God and Love, there must be Faith,
And where there is Faith, there is Peace indeed!
Where there is Peace, there must be God, and where there is God,
There is no Need! Where there is no Need, there is Paradise
In Paradise, there is bliss, contentment and delight!"

Chapter 1: Childhood Memories of the Japanese-American War in the Philippines


General MacArthur Returns Memorial, Leyte Island, October,1944
I am writing this article for the benefit of my children and grand children and the new generations of Filipinos who have no knowledge or memory of the Japanese invasion of the Philippines. It was 13 days before my 7th birthday when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, Hawaii in the morning, Sunday , December 7, 1941. That same day in the evening, Japanese planes had taken off to attack several targets in the Philippines. The Japanese had planned six landings: Bataan, Aparri, Vigan, Legaspi, Davao and Jolo Island. For the sake of clarity in this narrative, here are the important dates of that war:

December 7, 1941 Sunday Morning Bombing of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

December 7-22, 1941 Start of Bombing of the Philippines and Japanese landed in several places in the island.

April 9, 1942 The Fall of Bataan and the Death March

May, 1942 The Fall of Corregidor and General MacArthur fled to Australia

October 1944 General MacArthur landed in Leyte " I Shall Return"

September, 1945 Japanese Surrender

July 4, 1946 Philippines Independence from US

The above video is a summary of the Japanese Invasion of the Philippines
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The following article was my first gold award winning article for ViewsHound*. This was an excerpt from my original article on the subject published in the first edition of this autobiography. This biography is in its 2nd Edition of printing.
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Life in the time of war is a difficult experience for a child. All school and play activities are interrupted. Survival amidst the chaos becomes a paramount goal in life. Our family had to uproot ourselves from the comfort of home and move several times to the hard life in the countryside. We had to avoid the conflict and the bombing in the city.

We chose a life of peace and quiet away from the invading Japanese troops. Due to the language barrier, the Japanese instilled order and dominance of the conquered using fear, by hurting or killing innocent civilians, resulting in the rise of the resistance movement. For every day that passes, there was the dream of peace, but during the lengthy war period, one had to expect the worst before anything good happened.

Before the war started, we lived a comfortable life in our home in the city of Jaro, Iloilo located in the central Philippine island of Panay. My father had a dental practice and we had our farm landholdings around the province. It was 13 days before my 7th birthday when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in Hawaii in the morning of December 7, 1941.

On that evening, Japanese planes had taken off to attack several targets in the Philippines, which was then an American colony. It was the start of the Japanese invasion of the Philippines, and the reign of fear was about to begin.

I was in 2nd grade at the Jaro Elementary School when Japan started bombing the bigger cities of the country. When we heard the terrifying news, my parents became concerned for our safety and decided to get out of the city, a possible bombing target.

They chose to move to our farm in the small town of Barotac Viejo, Iloilo, my mother’s ancestral town 60 kilometers north of Jaro. It was a time of panic, chaos and fear over what was to happen in the city. We were about to leave our cherished home and anxiously head to the unfamiliar and unknown.

Within a couple of days all the essential items we could bring were already packed. All the furniture and the huge and heavy items were left behind. My mother had all her china and silverware buried in the backyard for safekeeping.

We found out later that our house was bombed and totally destroyed. All the furniture were either destroyed or stolen. All the china and silverware was dug up and stolen. Despite the losses, we were grateful that we made a wise decision and survived unharmed.

For a short period we settled in a small farm house of our tenant in a remote district of town. As the war progressed, we were informed that the Japanese forces had penetrated most of the big cities in the country and were starting to occupy smaller towns. My father was a captain and dental officer of the newly organized Philippine guerrillas, an underground resistance movement to fight the Japanese. As a precaution, he decided to move our family a second time, to the jungle in the interior of Panay Island.

We had to walk for three days through the woods of the jungle, cross over numerous creeks and climb over mountains with the help and guidance of our farmer tenants. Our trek ended and we settled in a hidden valley lined by a creek with clean running water. Our tenants built us a hut for shelter made of bamboo and nipa palm, an outdoor kitchen and a dining area.

They used a bamboo cart pulled by a water Buffalo to bring us supplies of rice, salt, sugar and other spices regularly. In the valley we cleared the land to plant vegetables, corn and sweet potatoes. We also raised chickens and ducks for eggs, pigs for protein and goats for milk.

One of the scariest events while living in the jungle was when our pig livestock were preyed upon by a python snake measuring about 30 feet long. It was pitch black at night when we heard our two pigs squealing out loud in fear. My father instructed our helper to inspect the pig pen using a kerosene lamp.

He saw the snake strangling one of the pigs. He struck and killed the python using his machete and a piece of wood, sadly, our small pig also died. That whole week we had protein in our meals. It was proof that the jungles of Panay are inhabited by dangerous pythons.

We had no pet with us. I chose the chickens and the goats to become my pets. I raised one of the chickens; it slept with me, got attached to me and kept trailing me wherever I go. My mother tolerated my unusual pets because I had no peers my age aside from my younger brother.

To continue with our education, my father home schooled us together with two of my older cousins. For four hours each day we were taught arithmetic, spelling and history. We were lucky to have brought with us a few books on Philippine and US history. Whenever our tenants brought us food supplies, they would update us on news about the status of the Japanese occupation.

Late in the war when the Japanese brutality and atrocities appeared to have stopped, we moved again from the jungle to a seaside village. We stayed at the house of another tenant. My father warned us not to talk to any stranger, and if asked, to avoid giving our real last name of Katague and instead provide an alias which was Katigbak.

There were unverified rumors that the Japanese had a list of names of all the guerrillas, which might have included my father. Some traitor Filipinos worked as spies for the Japanese by pinpointing the guerrillas in exchange for favors.

One day, we saw a platoon of uniformed Japanese soldiers armed with guns and bayonets passing by our village. My brother and I watched them march while hiding in the bushes. I knew their brutal reputation towards the natives, and I was afraid of us being seen and getting in trouble. I was relieved that nothing happened and they continued with their march to the next village.

A terrible incident happened to about 30 of my maternal relatives while we were living in the jungle. They were similarly hiding and living in the jungle on a mountain ridge next to us. They were killed by the Japanese soldiers who discovered and penetrated their location with the help of the spies.

A handicapped relative in a wheelchair was spared. During the massacre, she fell on the creek and must have been left for dead. She lived to tell the tragic story. This is only one example of many atrocities that was committed by the Japanese to the Filipino civilians.

When General MacArthur landed in Leyte on October 1944, it was the happiest day for the Filipinos, the Americans were back to save us from the Japanese tyranny. The Japanese troops started to retreat and surrender. The chance for peace in the Philippines was welcomed with excitement. The schools were planning to reopen. There was no more need to live in hiding and in fear, and to lie about one’s name. We were able to live free from the oppressors.

From the seaside village we moved to another district much closer to town where we built a bigger house. At the back of the property was a hill, and on a clear day, from the top of the hill you could see the nearby island of Negros.

We used it as an observation hill where we could watch the Japanese and American planes flying and then fighting each other. My brother and I witnessed two planes attacking each other, with one plane being blown to pieces and burning as it fell from the sky to the sea between Panay and Negros islands. It was a thrilling dogfight show to watch, although we never found out the victor.

When school reopened, we were required to take a test to determine which grade level we would qualify for. I passed the test for a 4th grade level. I was merely in grade 2 when war broke out. In short, I completed six grades of elementary in only four years of schooling. In class, I was two years younger than most of my classmates. I was thankful for the result of my father’s patience in home schooling us while living in the jungle. At last we were able to go back to our school, new home, and live the life of what was left of my childhood years in peace.

*ViewsHound is published by Publisha Ltd. It is a Seedcamp 2010 winning company, and have raised significant funding creating a great experience for readers and authors all over the world. It is an independent and privately owned company based in UK.

Chapter 2: Memories of Romblon, 1945


In late 1945, just after the end of American-Japanese War in the Philippines, my father who was a captain and dental officer for the Philippine-US army took me and my Mom for a month to Romblon Province. He was in-charged of all the dental needs of army personnel in the whole island of Panay as well as in Romblon. I remember we took a PT boat owned by the US navy from Iloilo to Romblon. I was only about 11 years old that time, but very knowledgeable of US history. One of my hobbies was to read US history. I have memorized all the 48 capitals of US states( yes,at that time there are only 48 states in US). My father's dental assistant was a white sergeant from Oklahoma City. He used to quiz me of my knowledge of the capital city of all the US states. If I get it right he gave me chocolates and cookies as a prize. There came a time when he ran out of chocolates, since I have never made a mistake. One capital I almost made a mistake was the capital of California. Most people think at that time the capital city is either LA or San Francisco. Even today, there are still a lot of Filipinos that do not know that Sacramento is the capital of California. The same thing with the capital of Illinois. Most Filipinos at that time believe it is Chicago( the biggest and most populated city in Illinois).

Back to my memories of Romblon. As we enter the harbor, the picturesque view of the mountain so close( all white with marble) almost took my breathe away. It was so beautiful that until today, it is still vivid in my memory. I have not been to Romblon since then, so I do not know if the view is still the same. Anyway we stayed in Romblom Island for 2 weeks. Every day my father took me to his dental office. All of his patients talked to me about their lives and towns/cities in US. That was the beginning of my life-long dream to visit and live in US someday. I did accomplished that dream, having studied, lived, worked and raised a family here in US since 1960.

After two weeks in Romblon Island, my father's assignment was one week each at the two other big islands of the province, Tablas and Sibuyan Islands. The trip to Tablas Island from Romblon took only about 30 minutes by PT boat. I remember, it was so fast, that we arrived about one hour early at the port of Badajoz ( now known as the town of San Agustin). The PT boat went back to Romblon and we waited by the side of the sea under a coconut tree for a jeep from Odiongan, capital town of Tablas Island.
We were hungry and thirsty, but there was no store (tiange) or restaurant in the area. We saw a several residents in the several nearby houses, staring at us, but no one said hello or even offer us a glass of water. As I remember these memories, I felt that if this incident happened in Marinduque, at least one person will probably offer us a glass of water and perhaps even invite us to wait in their house instead of outside under the sun ( luckily there were a few coconut trees providing us with shade). My father explained later why the town was called Badajoz. He said it means "bad hosts". I am glad the town is now called San Agustin.

Our week stay in Odiongan, Tablas and later in Cajidiocan, Sibuyan went pretty fast. Before I realized,it was time for me to go home to Iloilo and back to school.
Sibuyan Island and Mt Guiting-Guiting in the background
My memories of Odiongan and Cajidiocan - it was the most rural place on earth and the roads were bad. It felt like driving in the craters of the moon. Does any one knows what the road conditions now in the Tablas and Sibuyan Islands?
If any one is from Romblon reading this blog, I will appreciate if you let me know what is going on in Romblon today. Someday, I will visit the province again, to see if that harbor view of the marble mountain is still the same.

Chapter 3: You have to Fail in order to Succeed

White House Christmas Tour,1995

Have you ever looked back in your past and remembered your failures? Have you realized that without those failures you could not have succeeded? The common saying that you have to fail in order to succeed applies to the following past events in my life.

The first event in my life to support the above statement occurred during my elementary school days. When I did not receive the first honor award (I got 2nd honor award) during my elementary school graduation both my parents and I were very disappointed. My parents even contemplated filing an official complaint to the school superintendent against my teacher and principal for nepotism since the valedictorian was a close relative of the teacher and principal.

However, I convinced my parents not to do it. I told them I would work harder in high school to be number one, to show the teacher and principal they made a mistake in the selection process. The whole four years of high school, I competed with the top five honor students from my elementary school. Needless to say, I graduated valedictorian of our high school class. My classmate who was the valedictorian in my elementary school got the salutatorian award (second place). I was happy and felt vindicated. My teacher in elementary school congratulated me but without looking straight into my eye, when my parents invited her to my high school graduation party at our house.

The second event in my life illustrating the statement “you have to fail in order to succeed” was during my graduation with my Bachelors degree in Chemistry from the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City in 1955. When I missed graduating cum laude (with Honor) by just 0.24 points, I told myself I would pursue my Ph.D. in the United States to show my professor in Differential Calculus who gave me a “4.0” (condition) grade when I received only 69% in the final exam(I missed 1 point to get a C). I took a retest and passed it with flying colors.

In my chemistry class, there were only 15 of us and only one graduated cum laude. That showed how hard it was to graduate with honor in chemistry at that time. That grade of “4” certainly did deflate my ego and self-esteem. Two years later, my self-esteem was redeemed when I passed the National Board Examination for Chemists, taking 3rd place nation-wide.

My four years average including the “4.0” that I got from Differential Calculus was included in the calculation (not my passing grade of 3.0 after a retest the next day) turned out to be 1.99 (not high enough for honor). But if you calculate my four year average with the 3.0 that I got after the retest, my four year average turned out to be 1.74, enough to receive the cum laude (with honor) award.

When I found this out, I was so furious, I wished my calculus professor be run over by a car or misfortunes fall on her every day of her life. When I saw her in the hallway, I gave her a stare of hate (like an arrow that pierced her heart that did not stop bleeding until she died).

But I vowed to the whole world, I will obtain a Doctorate Degree in the United States to show to my Professor in Differential Calculus what she did to my ego. Looking back, I think I should thank her for what she did, because there were numerous times during my first year in Graduate School, that I wanted to quit. But once I remember the incident, it reminded me of the vow I made to myself not to quit at any cost.

The third event in my life illustrating you have to fail in order to succeed was the culmination of my 22 years of experience working for private industries here in US. I lost my first job in industry of my own free will. I wanted to receive a 20% raise in income as well as move to a warmer climate (West Coast of the US).

The second private industry job that I lost was due to the company moving and closing their agricultural research division and also consolidating their research facility in one location to save money.

I lost my third job in private industry because the firm wanted to save money and also wanted to get out of the pesticide business.

My fourth job loss was the most heart-breaking episode in my career. I had only one day of notice. After working for the firm for 12 years with good performance, it took management only one day to tell me that they not need me any more, good bye, and to look for another job.

That feeling of anger, loss of ego, shock and envy (for those who were not fired) was indescribable and humiliating. I vowed I would never worked for a private firm again in my life. My determination to work for the Federal Government was achieved when I worked for the Food and Drug Administration(FDA) in the Fall of 1990.

Working for FDA was the best move I have ever made in my career. My 12 years in the FDA was filled with awards, accomplishments and personal growth. Our life in the suburb of Washington, DC was filled with civic involvements, social and cultural activities, humanitarian projects and pleasant memories. The highlight of our stay in the Washington, D.C area was a private tour of the WHITE HOUSE(see photo above).

Receiving a Christmas card from the White House for four years during the Clinton administration was the ultimate fulfillment of a Filipino student dream. Working for the Federal government was icing on the cake. Had any one of the four private firms not failed me, or had retained me as an employee, I would not have had the courage and incentive to work for Food and Drug Administration.

The above three events in my life showed that you have to fail in order to succeed.

How about you? Can you recall a past experience in your life that inspired you to success? I will be delighted to hear from you.

Chapter 4: My College Years: 1951-1955 and Epilogue in 2005


The Oblation Run* ( photo from paradise_philippines.com)
My first two years was in UPIC ( University of the Philippines, Iloilo College). At that time, it was only a two year institution. I started as Pre-Med as requested by my mother. My mom always dreamed of having a physician in the family. I made good grades, "A"s and "B"s (1.0 and 2.0) in all my subjects, and obtained college and university scholarships during my first year. On my second year,I was awarded the Fernando Lopez Scholarship of free tuition fees for the whole year. The award was given to the student with the highest grade point average in the whole school. If there is a tie, the student with the most extracurricular activities wins the award. I was also elected President of the University of the Philippines Student Catholic Action( UPSCA), Iloilo Chapter. With this activity, I corresponded with the President of UPSCA Diliman, campus. At that time the president was Constantino Nieva, a law student from Marinduque. Later, he was ordained as a priest and studied in Rome, Italy for his Ph.D in Theology. Fr Nieva ( we call him Tito Tino, now) is the uncle of my wife, Macrine Nieva Jambalos Katague.

Life in UPIC went by very fast. In the Fall of 1953, I transferred to UP Diliman, College of Liberal Arts and decided to change my major to Chemistry. This change was inspired by my chemistry professor in UPIC. The fact that I hate the sight of blood, in my Zoology class dissecting frogs, made this change easy.

"There goes my mother's dream". ( Note: it was only about 5 years ago, when my niece, D'Wanie Katague Gregorio finished her MD degree, that my mother's dream was finally fulfilled)

In Diliman, I resumed my active participation with UPSCA, becoming a member of the UPSCA Student Council representing my college. Our spiritual adviser was the late Fr. John Delaney, a Jesuit priest. The rivalry between the UPSCANS and the FRATS /SORORITIES was the most published and talked topic during that time. This topic alone will consumed several pages in this article, so I am not discussing it. But this episode in my college life had been documented already in my college memoirs album. Needless to say, the UPSCANS dominated student politics for years and until the death of Fr. John Delaney.

A circular chapel( Chapel of the Holy Sacrifice) in the Diliman campus was one of Fr. Delaney's project. During the ground breaking for the chapel, the names of one thousand (1000) students, faculty members and their families who went to mass and communion everyday for one year were buried in the church foundation. What an honor that my name was one of the one thousand names included in the church foundation.

It was Fr. Tino who first introduced me to his niece, Macrine Nieva Jambalos. That year, I also joined the "Chemical Society". As a neophyte, one of my task was to look for Macrine. I was not able to do it. At the same time, one member of the Chemical Society who resided in the same dormitory with Macrine knew that she was also looking for me. So we were playing "HIDE and SEEK'. Finally, Macrine and I met in the sacristy of the old chapel and the rest is history. Our college romance is too long to be included in this article. Someday, I will write a short version of our story for the sake of our four children and six grandchildren.

In 1955, I graduated with my B.S.in Chemistry degree. I had written an article regarding my graduation( the 1 point I missed in the final examination, that change my outlook in life) in another posting.

The Oblation Run, UPLB( photo from photobucket.com)

The two pictures above are the "OBLATION RUN", an annual activity that had been attracting nationwide visitors and the press in UP. There was no Oblation Run during my college years. The photo is from the web, by photobucket.com (pinoyblogosphere).
The first photo was in the Diliman campus. The second photo was the run in the Los Banos Campus,in 2004.

* Historical Notes about the Oblation Run from Wikipedia

The Oblation Run is an annual tradition of the members of the Alpha Phi Omega, one of the prominent U.P. fraternities. Members of the fraternity run around the campus naked (a concept known as streaking) to protest their sentiments about a current political or economic situation. The run started in 1977 to protest the banning of the movie, “Hubad na Bayani,” which depicted human rights abuses in the martial law era.

Contrary to popular belief, neophytes are forbidden to run. "All those who run are full-fledged members who have volunteered" are allowed to run, explains Ojie Santillan, the fraternity's Auxiliary Chancellor. "There is a misconception that the Oblation Run is something our neophytes have to undergo as part of their initiation. That’s not true. We never allow our applicants to join.(the Oblation Run)" Today, the Oblation Run is held on or about December 16th, in honor of the international founding of Alpha Phi Omega.

"The Great Centennial Run"
Exactly, on UP's 100th anniversary day, and in the “UP Oblation Run," 100 UP-based Alpha Phi Omega (APO) Fraternity and several UP alumni on June 18, at 11:00 a.m., ran naked along the University of the Philippines (UP) campus to commemorate the centennial anniversary. They sprinted from the Vinzon’s Hall and stopped at Palma Hall, for short photo opportunity. Jejomar Binay, alumnus and former prime chancellor of APO fraternity led the event. Runners called "Scholars of the People" carried placards, "Serve the People," to petition for the state subsidies to their education.

The History of the Sculpture from Wikpedia:

The idea for the Oblation was first conceived during presidency of Rafael Palma, who was the one to commission Tolentino to make the sculpture. Palma requested that the statue would be based on the second verse of Jose Rizal's Mi Ultimo Adios;

"In fields of battle, deliriously fighting,
Others give you their lives, without doubt, without regret;
Where there’s cypress, laurel or lily,
On a plank or open field, in combat or cruel martyrdom,
If the home or country asks, it's all the same--it matters not".

The concrete sculpture painted to look like bronze, measures 3.5 meters in height, symbolizing the 350 years of Spanish rule in the Philippines. The sculpture is replete with references of selfless dedication and service to the nation, and as Tolentino himself describes it;

"The completely nude figure of a young man with outstretched arms and open hands, with tilted head, closed eyes and parted lips murmuring a prayer, with breast forward in the act of offering himself, is my interpretation of that sublime stanza. It symbolizes all the unknown heroes who fell during the night. The statue stands on a rustic base, a stylized rugged shape of the Philippine archipelago, lined with big and small hard rocks, each of which represents an island. The “katakataka” (wonder plant) whose roots are tightly implanted on Philippine soil, is the link that binds the symbolized figure to the allegorical Philippine Group. “Katakataka” is really a wonder plant. It is called siempre vivo (always alive) in Spanish. A leaf or a piece of it thrown anywhere will sprout into a young plant. Hence, it symbolizes the deep-rooted patriotism in the heart of our heroes. Such patriotism continually and forever grows anywhere in the Philippines".

Originally, the statue was completely naked, but, as morality was prevailing at that time, it was modified by former U.P. President Jorge Bocobo with the addition of a fig leaf to cover the genitals. The sculpture was funded by the UP students of 1935-1936, and was presided by Potenciano Illusorio and Jose B. Laurel, Jr., presidents of the student council during the first and second semester respectively and was dedicated on March 1939 at the University's Manila campus where it stayed until February 1949, when the main administrative offices of the university moved to the new Diliman campus in Quezon City. The transfer of the Oblation to its new home served as the highlight of the move from Manila, which is historically referred to as the Exodus. The sculpture in front of the Quezon Hall at Diliman was installed facing west, purportedly a tribute to the American roots of the university. Today, that sculpture is only a bronze replica (which was recast from the original in Italy, in 1950, under the supervision of Tolentino himself) dedicated on UP's Golden Jubilee on November 29, 1958. The original sculpture is being kept at the Main Library (Gonzalez Hall), the former site of the UP College of Fine Arts, where Tolentino taught.

Several replicas of the Oblation were made for campuses of the University of the Philippines, some by national artist, Napoleon Abueva. 2005 national artist nominee Glenn Bautista,likewise, did his celebrated version of the Oblation in pen and ink as part of his school plates at the UP College of Fine Art under Professor Rebilion. The sculpture was registered at the Intellectual Property Office in the year 2004. Being the main symbol of the university, the Oblation is the centerpiece of many UP-related logos, like those of the Philippine Collegian and other student publications, the UP Cooperative, and the UP centennial emblem.

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*EPILOGUE After 50 Years- Actually 55 years as of Today-October 4, 2010


The first circular church and first thin-shell concrete dome in the Philippines

The following article by Paulo Alcazaren( City Sense, STAR) written about five years ago brought pleasant memories of my college years and my first job as an Instructor in Chemistry at the University of the Philippines, Department of Chemistry ( 1952-1957).

December 20, 1955 ( also my 21st birthday) was the date when the first mass was held and the blessing of the chapel by Archbishop Rufino Santos. It was attended by an overflowing crowd of UP students and faculty members including most of the "1000" whose names were in the chapel foundation.

I am proud to remember, that my name is one of the 1000 names buried in the Foundation of the Chapel for completing the requirement of daily mass and communion for one year and pledging 5% of my student allowance to the building fund.

This article also reminded me of the war and struggle to control student government and campus life between the UPSCANS and the Fraternities/ Sororities. I was an UPSCAN then and one of the faithful apostles of Fr. John Patrick Delaney. Fr. John has a lot of influence on my life from that time and even today. His words of wisdom, charisma and encouragement still rings in my 76 years old body. I love you, Fr. John! May you rest in Peace eternally!

Here's an excerpt from Paulo Alcazaren article published in the Star dated December 21, 2005.

CHAPEL OF SACRIFICE

UP, DILIMAN, December 21, 2005 (STAR) CITY SENSE By Paulo Alcazaren - My first memory of the University of the Philippines was in 1965. My father had bought me a toy rocket ship and we launched it from one of the many open green spaces set within the lush campus landscape. I thought at the time that it was cool that we were the first to bring the space age to the UP. I was wrong. I found out later that it had come much earlier – in 1955 – with the completion of the Chapel of the Holy Sacrifice, affectionately known as Diliman’s "flying saucer."

Less than 10 years after that rocket launch, I found myself enrolled at the UP and painting that domed chapel in watercolor for a class in architectural rendering. That prompted my first visit and the experience was profound. I had never been in a circular church before and it felt strange to see the altar in the center. Nevertheless, I was drawn to it. Despite its small scale (only a hundred feet across), the space had an impact and a focus few structures here could match then, and that holds true even today.

The interior space was enhanced with artwork – a two-sided crucifix above showing the tortured, then the risen Lord, an abstracted river of life in a terrazzo-patterned floor below and 15 striking murals (Stations of the Cross) between the dome’s 32 columns – and added to the whole effect of embracing the visitor spatially and spiritually. The chapel was wonderfully open, blending the interior with the green outside. Finally, the setting – a simple, green lawn rising gently from the road – completed the postcard-pretty scene.

A Priest, Four Artists & Two Engineers

Fr. John Delaney, the controversial but charismatic Jesuit chaplain assigned to the campus, orchestrated the project. National Artist for Architecture Leandro Locsin cut his teeth designing it. Dean Alfredo Juinio of the UP College of Engineering came up with the innovative thin-shell approach which a young David Consunji implemented to perfection using the simplest of machinery and lots of guts.

Finally, three cutting-edge artists – Napoleon Abueva, Arturo Luz and Vincente Manansala – created the crucifix, floor and murals respectively, which started them on the road to national artist status. (Another national artist, in music this time, Jose Maceda, would premier his concert "Pagsamba" there in 1968 and repeat it regularly in the same venue.) One renowned religious leader, four national artists and two giants in Philippine engineering and construction make for a really special structure …and a compelling story of how it got built.

The UP transferred to Diliman in 1949. It was meant to do so in 1942 as part of a massive transfer of civic structures that included a new capitol complex at the elliptical circle. The war intervened. Immediately after, the future campus was commandeered by the American Armed Forces as their headquarters. The two Juan Arellano-designed structures built in 1941 meant for the colleges of law and education became military offices. Around it rose dozens of quonset huts and a chapel of wood, galvanized iron roofing, bamboo and sawali that had a distinctive vernacular-inspired roof (my suspicion is that it was also Arellano-designed because of some references in the literature to his experimentation in pitch-roofed silhouettes for the state university’s architecture).

Unstable Architecture And A Troubled Up

That chapel deteriorated into stables towards the end of the UP’s military term. It was in shambles when Fr. Delaney found it but he quickly went to work to clean it up, aided by an ever growing flock of students, faculty and residents. After the patch-up, the UP chapel became the religious center of the campus. In the early ‘50s it was shared with the Protestant and Aglipayan congregations reflecting the open spirit of community in UP then.

The growing population of students and residents in the 493-hectare campus, however, took its toll and Fr. Delaney, as well as the Protestant church leaders, finally decided it was time to build new and separate chapels. Under UP president Vidal Tan, the campus also accommodated requests and allocated parcels in the non-academic north section of the university for both.

Those were trying years for Delaney, president Tan and the university. Issues of academic freedom, the threat of sectarianism (fueled by Fr. Delany’s extremely pro-active involvement in campus life and the growing political clout of the Delaney-mentored UP Student Catholic Action organization), and fraternity and sorority violence (which the chaplain tried his best to solve) made for a more complicated narrative, whose total complexion colored the entire decade.

It was in the middle of this maelstrom that the idea for the "saucer" started. In May 1954 the Protestant chapel was first to start construction. The modern structure, by university architect Cesar Concio, was completed a year later. The Protestant Chapel of the Risen Lord was funded by donations from America. The Catholic congregation was not so lucky and had to scrounge and scrape, egged on by the tireless Fr. Delaney to "give till it hurt." Fr. Delaney also did not want to sell out to corporate sponsorship or be beholden to endowments from the rich. Almost all of the P150,000 it took (remember, the peso was 2:1 back then) was raised by the UP congregation. Students missed their lunches and faculty donated portions of their salary to the fund. No wonder the chapel was named The Chapel of the Holy Sacrifice!

Financially Contrite But Creative

It was more than sacrifice that added to the value of the chapel, it was the creative resource and risk Fr. Delaney took in the team that he selected to build it. He probably also felt the pressure to deliver to his flock a structure as modern as the neighboring Protestant Chapel. The saddle-shaped structure cut a handsome sight and his congregation would settle for no less.

During dinner one night at the home of the Abuevas, he met a 26-year-old architect whose only experience after college was to spend a year designing a radical circular chapel for a sugar magnate in Negros. It was supposed to be a gift to the Don Bosco fathers and meant to symbolize unity and openness. The chapel was never built but Fr. Delaney had almost identical requirements. The loss of the Bosconians (a congregation to which I belong) was UP’s gain.

Fr. Delaney wanted a simple but strong building that would be open to the light, air and space that UP had plenty of back then. He also wanted to maximize the potential of the site allocated by the university, an elevated platform rising slightly above and across the university infirmary and the Protestant chapel.

With the previous client’s permission, Locsin adapted the original design to fit the site. Fr. Delaney then roped in Dean Juinio for the structural design and Jose Segovia for the electrical design. The contractor was a young maverick named David Consunji, the founder of today’s construction powerhouse DMCI. The dean worked hard at fulfilling the requirements to create a dome to float above a thousand worshippers lightly and at the least cost. His answer: a thin shell nine inches at the base and diminishing to only three inches at the top.

When It Rained, They Poured

This type of roof had never been built in the country. It took the ingenuity of Consunji to construct it within the constraints of the meager budget and the lack of equipment needed to pour the shell within the 18-hour window Juinio set. The solution was ingenious and daring – four construction towers and a continuous ramp circling the structure allowed ordinary concrete mixers (churning out high-strength concrete) to supply a squad of workers in buggies rotating to pour the concrete.


The pour date was Aug. 25, 1955. It started to drizzle in the early morning and threatened to wreck the operation (the water would dilute the mix and weaken the concrete). But Fr. Delaney held a prayer vigil with UPSCANs taking turns asking for divine intervention. They got it as the site remained totally dry even as other parts of the large campus were drenched, even the University Theater, where the Nobel Prize winner for literature, William Faulkner, delivered a lecture.

With the dome completed, Locsin and Delaney sought the artists needed to furnish and embellish the structure. They were all given complete artistic freedom (so long as they stayed within the budget). Abueva hung his heavy wooden cross from the oculus (above which Locsin put the chapel’s bells). Luz integrated the symbolism of nature in the "river of life" into the terrazzo floor that connected the interior spaces with the circular lanai, which in turn was the smooth transition to the simple lawn outside. Manansala added color literally to the chapel with his murals of the Way of the Cross (with a 15th panel showing the Risen Lord – an attempt to relate to the neighboring Protestant chapel, perhaps?).

The Chapel And Up’s Current Malaise

At four in the morning on Dec. 20, 1955 the chapel was blessed by Archbishop Rufino J. Santos. Fr. Delaney said the first mass (also the first Christmas mass) to an overflowing crowd. In his sermon, he thanked all those who made sacrifices to see that the chapel would be completed. The mood of the congregation was joyous and it spilled over to January only to be dashed by the news of Delaney’s death from a stroke. The sacrifices and trials he faced in the last few years had taken its toll. His body was brought from the Ateneo to the new chapel for the requiem mass, starting a tradition of honoring those of UP who had made a difference.

The new chapel and the loss of their mentor only spurred UPSCANs to carry on their perceived mission of shaping campus life. In the years that followed they took political control of the student council stirring up a hornet’s nest of trouble that ended in the suspension of student political life in UP until a decision by the Supreme Court in the early ‘60s.

The story of the chapel and the university by then was moving at a breakneck speed towards more tumult from the left, right and center (literally). Martial law followed with the neutering of the university’s fustiness's. People Power followed and the UP’s gentle decline caused by financial woes, the indifference of government, physical deterioration of facilities and an inability to maximize its potential and pull itself out of the morass of internal strife and political issues that date back to those unresolved in the 1950s.

A Chapel Choked

I visited the chapel recently and was glad to see that the work of Locsin, Juinio, Consunji, Abueva, Luz and Manansala has stood the test of time. The ceiling is flaking a bit but most of the interiors, artwork and furnishing have stood up well despite five decades of service. The feeling inside is still magnificent and clearly the structure should be declared a national treasure.

I was appalled, however, at the condition of its gardens and the surrounding landscape. The chapel cannot now be appreciated as it was originally intended – a structure that was open and barrier-free. Gone are the visual connections to other buildings and the transparency and friendliness of the 1950s setting. The place has been eaten by the virus of horror vacuii – the fear of empty spaces that politicians with their city halls and parish priests with their churches perennially suffer from. Moreover the circulation of air is compromised because the structure is choked by so much extraneous material.

The chapel’s formerly simple and elegant grounds have been cut up into numerous odd-shaped parcels and "decorated" with themes, awkward fountains, "decorative" odds and ends (although the statuary isn’t bad) along with an over-busy landscaping that obviously cannot be constantly maintained.

I was told that a previous parish priest run amok and turned the grounds into a succession of follies that pushed the bounds of aesthetics and gives meaning to the word "ugly." I would gladly go on a starvation vigil to have all of it removed and the chapel given back its proper and distinguished setting, however humble it may be.

The rest of the campus’ balkanized landscape suffers similar fate. Colleges cage themselves in or surround their buildings with parking lots that are pedestrian-unfriendly. The architecture of new buildings seldom relate to their surroundings while lack of funds is evident in the lack of maintenance for almost every corner of the university. Gone are the days when UP Diliman carried an image of idyllic pursuit of scholarship. Today’s students pursue the next class across unsheltered narrow sidewalks and unsafe stretches of overgrown cogon.

The space age has come and gone for UP. Vestiges of its former glory are seen in structures like the chapel but just barely. The campus seems to have been sacrificed by the gods of macroeconomics at the altar of national belt-tightening. It may also be abandoned by Delaney’s God soon if we do not make the real sacrifices needed to ensure a rational, open-minded, non-sectarian, politics-free and aesthetically-abled future for the university.

Personal Note: In 2009, my wife and I attended mass in the chapel during our annual vacation to the Philippines from US. I was also shock of the appearance and landscaping of the sorounding area, I started to cry, hiding my tears from wife.

My wife and I have pleasant memories of our participation in the UPSCA choir for three years under the leadership of the Late Professor Antonio Molina. I first met my wife in the old UP Chapel, through her uncle Fr. Constantino Nieva, who was President of UPSCA in 1952. In 1957, we got married and the decoration of our wedding cake was a 1:1000 miniature scale of the Chapel.


Now for short article on UPSCA:

The UP Student Catholic Action (UPSCA) is a non-stock and non-profit student organization duly recognized by the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City. Primarily, as a religious organization, it provides individuals a formation rooted on the Catholic faith. It seeks to develop socially aware members who will become agents of social change. It aims to nurture a sense of family among members, encourage academic excellence, and direct collective energies towards active involvement in community and society.

UPSCA traces its roots to 1936, when Father Edward J. McCarthy of the Society of St. Columban organized a Student Catholic Action in UP as an offshoot of the Scholastic Philosophy Club. Since 1936, UPSCA has dared to respond to the different challenges in Philippine society and to stand by its principles, in the light of its vision of forming a truly Filipino Christian community. On the year 2011, UPSCA will be celebrating its 75th anniversary.

Here's the latest information on the Chapel of Holy Sacrifice from Wikipedia.

The Parish of the Holy Sacrifice, also the Church of the Holy Sacrifice, is the landmark Catholic chapel in the University of the Philippines, Diliman. It belongs to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Cubao and its present parish priest is Rev. Fr. Raymond Joseph Arre. Known for its architectural design, the church is recognized as a National Historical Landmark and a Cultural Treasure by the National Historical Institute and the National Museum respectively. It was designed by the late National Artist for Architecture, Leandro Locsin, which was only one of the five national artists who collaborated on the project. Alfredo Juinio served as the structural engineer for the project. The church is adjacent to the U.P. Health Service Building and the U.P. Shopping Center, and is serviced by all of the university's jeepney routes.

In 1955, then University of the Philippines, Diliman Catholic Chaplain, Fr. John Delaney, S.J. commissioned Locsin to design a chapel that is open and can easily accommodate 1,000 people. The Church of Holy Sacrifice is the first round chapel in the Philippines with the altar in the middle, and the first to have a thin shell concrete dome. The floor of the church was designed by Arturo Luz, the Stations of the Cross by Vicente Manansala and Ang Kiukok, and the double-sided crucifix and altar base by Napoleon Abueva, all of whom are now National Artists.

Being a pioneering building, it almost suffered a setback during the construction of the dome when the weather suddenly changed as the concrete was being poured. If it had rained, the concrete would have not settled, and the whole project would have been in jeopardy.

The first mass in the church was celebrated on December 20, 1955. Since then, there have been modifications to the church and its surroundings. The gigantic dome, which used to be white, is now green. The altar base was also changed from wood to marble, still by Napoleon Abueva. Perhaps the most significant change is that the church is now fenced off, and the once open grounds that surrounded the church are now landscaped.

On January 12, 2005, the church was recognized as a National Historical Landmark and a Cultural Treasure by the National Historical Institute and the National Museum, respectively. During the recognition ceremony, National Historical Institute Chairman Ambeth R. Ocampo lauded the church as a “masterpiece of Filipino artistry and ingenuity”. Currently, the parish is spearheading a project that aims to restore the dome of the historic church. This is the first circular church and the first thin-shell concrete dome in the Philippines.

Architecture

The dome of the church is supported by pillars located at the sides of the church, so that there are no supports to block the space inside. The unique design of the dome allows natural lighting and ventilation. At the middle of the dome is a circular skylight, which supports the triangular bell tower. The bell tower, then extends to the interior, supporting the crucifix. The arrangement of the interior of the church is concentric, with the altar in the middle.

Chapter 5: The One Point I missed in a Test that Changed My Life

Staufer Ads using my Picture, 1981
This is a true life-changing incident that happened when I was young. It was painful, unacceptable, and I felt I could never disclose it to anyone due to the disgrace involved. I have now decided it would be worthwhile, and possibly helpful, to unburden myself of this misery and share it with others.

I hope to enlighten people on how a failure in reaching my goal in college made me stronger, and made me strive to do better in my life. I have never told anyone about this life-altering episode which I experienced. I may have shared bits and pieces of it to my wife, but I don’t think she knew all the details to fully understand my dreams, aspirations and ambitions.

This happened when I was in third year college at the University of the Philippines (UP), Diliman in Quezon City while pursuing my degree in Chemistry. One of the subjects required for students who major in Chemistry was a Math course in Differential Calculus. I had to take this course with the engineering students, and not with my fellow chemistry classmates. There was a conflict of schedule with my other elective courses.

This incident may not have taken place if I took the Calculus subject together with my chemistry classmates; they had a reasonable and impartial Math professor. The Math professor of the Engineering majors was legendary in campus for unjustly failing students. She was known to be very strict in her classes, that few among her students passed her courses. She was branded and classified throughout the university as a “terror” professor. The nickname was tagged to her for failing at least 50% of her students, almost every semester.

On the final examination for this course, I scored only 69%, which is 1% below the passing grade of “C”. I was given a “Condition” grade and had to take a retest to pass the course. The next day, I took the retest and passed it with flying colors earning a grade of 85%. Sadly, the judgment had been handed down; nothing could be done to change my college records.

So what was the big deal? I eventually passed the Differential Calculus course, how did this affect my life and career? Because of the “Condition” grade that I obtained, I was not qualified to graduate with Latin honors or Cum Laude, despite the fact that my grade point average (GPA) for the four years qualified me for that honor.

It was a difficult pill to swallow. After working very hard to attain the coveted goal of receiving honors in college, I felt the pain of having failed to reach my objective. I had to go through endless days of melancholy and soul-searching trying to find comfort in getting over this unacceptable event. I realized I had to stop crying over spilled milk, move forward with my life, and do something better for myself in my future endeavors, to make up for this failure.

The fact that I did not graduate with honors devastated my ego and my self-esteem. I made a personal vow that no matter what happened, I would pursue and finish my graduate studies in the US. I set this goal to show my Calculus professor and the whole world of my capabilities, boost my self-confidence, and vindicate myself that I deserved the Cum Laude honor. I sent out applications to graduate degree programs in Chemistry with several American universities, and hoped and waited for a positive response.

After finishing college, I applied for a teaching position, and was hired immediately by my alma mater UP, as an Instructor in Chemistry despite graduating without honors. My former teachers were aware that I excelled in my major subjects, and was qualified to become their colleague as a Chemistry professor. I was assigned to teach General and Qualitative Chemistry laboratory courses to pre-medical, nursing and engineering students.

I was delighted and contented with the job of teaching my favorite subject. I enjoyed challenging and educating young minds to the intricacies of the science of Chemistry. It was a privilege and honor teaching the cream of the crop of college students, who were merely two or three years younger than I am. It was my first job that I will always cherish and remember.

Two years later, using my charm and eloquence, I convinced my college sweetheart Macrine, to eagerly accept my marriage proposal. The happiest day in my life was the day we finally got married in her hometown of Boac, Marinduque, which was attended by our beloved families and friends. We settled down and started our blissful life together in our home in Quezon City. Our first house was our wedding gift from both of our parents.

A year later, we were joyful to find out that my wife was in the family way with our oldest son. With all the blessings and major events transpiring in my life, I had completely forgotten about my personal vow to do graduate schoolwork in the US. One day I was surprised to receive a notice of an acceptance for a full teaching assistantship and scholarship. It was from one of the applications I sent out before we got married. The comfort and serenity of our married life was about to be shaken.

I enthusiastically shared this good news with my wife, who wasn’t too glad to hear about it. The thought of me leaving her alone with a child on the way, to go halfway around the world, distressed her. We had several long and unproductive discussions regarding this favorable opportunity. I had to postpone my trip a few times to appease her. I was torn between choosing my ambition to do graduate studies in the US alone, or staying with my wife in the Philippines.

I had to make a tough decision before the graduate school offer expired. In retrospect, I was thankful to and appreciative of my late father-in-law who intervened on my behalf. If not, I would have been stuck in the Philippines teaching Chemistry at the university, and would have never seen the fulfillment of my ambition. I was not aware that he had advised my wife to reconsider her decision, and let me go freely to pursue my dreams.

My wife later on informed me that without her father’s advice, she would not have given me her full consent to leave her and pursue my studies. She was not aware of the importance of my personal vow to do better in life, in light of failing to obtain my Latin Honors in college.

Inasmuch as my wife was anxious with our impending separation, I was deeply saddened to leave her alone, but excited to go and fulfill my dreams. I went ahead to the US for my graduate studies, but I was totally unprepared for what was in store for me. It was my first trip away from my homeland, family and friends. I was going to live and study in the American Midwest, and I had to adjust to the western lifestyle, culture and cold winter weather without any friends or relatives to comfort me.

During my first year in the US, the reality of living alone and studying in a foreign land negatively affected my drive and ambition. I was tempted twice to nearly quit school, leave the US and return to my family to the Philippines. Graduate schoolwork while teaching Chemistry was tough and demanding. I was miserably homesick, lonely and missed my wife very badly, especially during the Holidays and Christmas.

Moreover, the winters of Chicago were harsh, and can feel gloomy and depressing. It was difficult to tolerate the cold weather. I was accustomed to the tropical climate of the Philippines. In Chicago, I oftentimes asked myself what the heck I was doing in the US, with tears running down my face, and almost freezing on my cheeks and nose because of the frigid temperature. I could be happier and warm in my homeland, and be together with my cherished family.

The promise I made to fulfill my ambition, which was triggered by the one point I missed at the final examination in my Differential Calculus class, kept me going. I did my best with my work and studies. I never again considered quitting, and I was determined to finish what I had started. I finally made it, and I completed my Doctorate degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry from the University of Illinois in 1964.

A year after I left the Philippines, my wife and our first baby, whose birth I did not witness, joined me in Chicago, Illinois. Their presence provided me with inspiration and encouragement to fulfill my ambition.

Do you have a similar experience that changed your life? I will be delighted to hear from you.

Chapter 6: A Christmas Story-The Ugly Americans


Early Fall in the Foothills of Eastern Sacramento County

Is it too early to talk about Christmas? Tomorrow is Halloween, but the nights are getting colder here in Fair Oaks. The trees in the surrounding area of Eastern Sacramento are starting to turn dark yellow, orange, red and gold. With Fall season in full swing, I can not help myself thinking about Christmas. I can not think of any article in the past that I have written, that is more appropriate than this article I wrote for our employees newspaper at Stauffer Chemicals, Richmond, California in 1983. I titled it : A Gift from the Ugly Americans-A true story. Here's the full article as published in the Stauffer News, Christmas Edition, Vol.14, 1983, page 11.

December, 1959. It was my first year as a graduate student at the University of Illinois, Chicago. As a foreign student from the Philippines, away from home, wife and family, I was lonely, homesick and almost ready to quit school. However, my burning ambition to get a Ph.D. in Chemistry and not to be labeled a quitter, forced me to hang on for another year.

All my co-graduate student assistants realized how much I missed my newly wedded wife. They had been inviting me to their homes on weekend and holidays. I wrote to my wife almost every week, but how I wished I could afford to talk to her via overseas call, even just for 10 minutes. My stipend as a graduate assistant of $190 a month was barely enough to pay for my room and board and an overseas call was beyond my means.

Realizing my need, ten of my classmates arranged to pay for a call as a surprise Christmas gift to me. They organized a potluck party in one of the assistant's apartment and called the Philippine operator ahead to arrange for an open line to my wife. In the middle of the party, I was told I had a telephone call. What a big surprise to hear my wife's voice after one year of separation. I was dumbfounded.

I stuttered like a three year old kid as tears streamed down my face-tears of happiness and appreciation of what the group had done- the best Christmas present I have ever received. I will never forget that act of kindness and thoughtfulness from people I once called the "Ugly Americans"**. With that surprise gift, my preconceived ideas that most Americans were clones of Lederer and Burdick's characters went down the drain. Gone were my impressions that Americans were imperialists or colonial pigs, selfish and heartless people.

Today, we have lived in this country for 24 years, and pledged citizenship in 1972. From the beginning of our time here, we have made it a family tradition to invite foreign students into our home every Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. This is our way of saying "thank you", to the ten "Beautiful Americans" who gave $2.00 each to pay for the telephone call so that a poor and homesick student could enjoy the spirit of Christmas.

Christmas Lantern(Parol) made of Mother of Pearl -a symbol of the Christmas spirit in the Philippines

Note: William Roberts, Manager Employee Communications of Stauffer wrote me a personal note as follows:

Dr. Katague: Your story has been chosen to be published in the 1983 issue of the Stauffer News. It gives me great pleasure to tell you that you will received shortly in the mail a $75 U.S. Savings Bond to thank you for sharing your memories with us.


*The term could now be changed to " Beautiful Americans ".

**The Ugly American is the title of a 1958 political novel by Eugene Burdick and William Lederer. The novel became a bestseller, was influential at the time, and is still in print. After the book had gained wide readership, the term "Ugly Americans" came to be used to refer to the "loud and ostentatious" type of visitors in another country, rather than the "plain looking folks, who are not afraid to get their hands dirty like Homer Atkins" to whom the book itself referred"(source Wikipedia).

Chapter 7: Life in Chicago, Illinois and Kansas City, Missouri in the 1960'


Christian Family Movement Logo (CFM)
In 1959-1960 I went to the US to accept a teaching assistantship and tuition scholarship at the University of Illinois in Chicago, after teaching chemistry at the University of the Philippines for four years. I went ahead and left my wife and oldest son in the Philippines. That first year was the loneliest time of my life. Not only did I had to adjust to the cold winters of Chicago, but also did missed my family especially on Holidays and during the Christmas season.

Fortunately, I had some "ugly Americans" classmates. Ten of them, gave me the best Christmas present in my life at that time. My ten classmates contributed enough money to pay for a long distance international call from Chicago to the Philippines. They pre-arranged the call so that it would coincide during our Christmas party. One of my classmates, Dr. Lee Gardella of Chicago was the mastermind of this surprise. He requested his mother who at that time was working for the local telephone company, to arrange this call without me knowing it. They wanted to surprise me. Boy, was I surprise when at the middle of the party, they called me, I had a telephone call. Tears flowed in my eyes and my heart pumped with joy as I heard my wife's voice from the Philippines. As a graduate student I was very poor. I did not have enough money to call my wife. Although my tuition is free, my stipend of $190 a month was barely enough to support me. I was paying already $89 for my apartment and the rest for food and incidentals. I wrote an essay about this surprise gift while I was working for Stauffer Chemicals in Richmond, California . The essay won a $75 award as one of the top ten Christmas story from its employees. I titled the essay A Christmas Story- The Ugly Americans".


The book (bestseller in 1960) that inspired me to write, Christmas Story

In 1964, I graduated with a Ph.D. degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry. My first job was with Chemagro Corporation located in Kansas City, Missouri. My wife and I at that time had already three children, two of them courtesy of U. Illinois hospital. My oldest son, was born in the Philippines. Our youngest daughter was born in 1965 in North Kansas City Hospital,a year later.

I had another true story on the birth of our son- third child in 1962. In order to save money, I moved the family from the University apartments to a student housing subsidized by the state. The housing was about five miles from the university.

One night while Macrine was preparing thanksgiving dinner, she started labor pains. I was so excited,I did not realized I was driving about 70 miles in a 40 miles speed zone. So there goes the police car with the blinking lights and loudspeaker. I stopped by the side of the road, blurted to the police " I am going to have a baby". The policeman looked at me and answered back," No you are not! your wife is ! Come follow me to the hospital". So we have a police car with his blinking lights and siren escorting us to the emergency room of the University Of Illinois Hospital.

Our community involvement were with the Catholic Church, the local country club and with the CFM ( Christian Family Movement) in the Kansas City Diocese.

OR FILIPINOS EITHER

Our life in the midwest will not be complete, If I do not discuss, the prejudice and discrimination encountered by the Filipino immigrants im the 1920s to 1940s. The following article, I had submitted and published in ViewsHound also included a discriminatory remark that Macrine heard from two women who were members of our country swim club near our residence in Gladstone, Misouri-a northern suburb of Kansas City, Missouri.

The prejudice against Filipino immigrants in the US and specially in California in the 1920s to 1940s is well documented(1,2). One of the well known books on this subject,"America is in the Heart", written by Carlos Bulosan documented the life of the Filipino immigrants at that time period. Mr Bulosan is my number one literary heroes of that time.

Like many Filipinos during that time, Bulosan left for America on July, 1930 at age 17, in the hope of finding salvation from the economic depression of his home. He never again saw his Philippine homeland. No sooner had he arrived in Seattle, was he immediately met with the hostility of racism, forcing him to work in low paying jobs.

He worked as a farm worker, harvesting grapes, asparagus and other kinds of hard labor work in the fields of California. He also worked as a dishwasher with his brother, Lorenzo in the famous Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo. He was active in labor politics along the Pacific coast of the United States and edited the 1952 Yearbook for ILWU Local 37, a predominantly Filipino American cannery union based in Seattle.

Mr Bulosan died in 1956. To honor his memory, a Bulusan Memorial Exhibit located in Seattle's International District and in the Eastern Hotel features his literary works and manuscripts. One of his famous books, America is in the Heart based on his autobiography is now made into a Philippine movie.

One of the famous quote from that book is timeless, as follows: "We in America understand the many imperfections of democracy and the malignant disease corroding its very heart. We must be united in the effort to make an America in which our people can find happiness. It is a great wrong that anyone in America, whether he be brown or white, should be illiterate or hungry or miserable."

Discrimination against the Filipinos was very blatant during the time of the Manongs and Carlos Bulosan. It appeared that by the 1960's, racial discrimination has disappeared from the minds of the American people. But in 1965, my wife and three children experienced their first discrimination experience in Gladstone, Missouri.

Gladstone is a northern suburb of Kansas City, Missouri with about 99.5% Caucasian population at that time.

The discrimination was not blatant but very subtle. After relocating in Missouri for my first job after my Ph.D graduation from the University of Illinois, my family and I joined a Country Swim Club just a couple of blocks and a walking distance from our rented residence.

My wife, Macrine, and the kids would swim at the country club twice or three times a week. The first day, they were there, she overheard the conversation from two middle-aged ladies. She heard a comment of the first lady to her friend, "look we are getting invaded by blacks already". Macrine look around, but there were no black families around; she and the kids were the only colored ( brown) relaxing and swimming in the pool area. Macrine was bothered by what she heard but did not get upset. She continued watching the kids swimming in the pool. Suffice to say, I had never experienced personally, an incident of prejudice or a discriminatory remark in my more than 51 years residing and working here in the US(California, Illinois, Missouri and Maryland).

After our second year in the neighborhood, we became more active socially and became well-known to the Gladstone community. I was elected by the members of the club as treasurer for two years. I was handling the payroll of three employees and collecting the membership fees of the 300 members. I was delighted that the club members and Board of Directors trusted me with their finances. I therefore conclude that the cure for discrimination is education and ignorance is the mother of prejudice.

If you are a Filipino-American or a member of a minority and is reading this article, have you ever experienced prejudice or discrimination in your life here in the US? Discrimination may be racial, religious, sexual, financial or your educational status.

(1) Carlos Bulosan, America Is in the Heart, 1946

Macrine and I organized the first ecumenical CFM group in the Kansas City Diocese. CFM was founded by Pat and Patty Crowley of Wheaton, Illinois. While we were in Chicago, we were very fortunate to be invited to their home along with other foreign students studying in the Chicago area. These social events were welcome by us, because we meet other students from other parts of the world; we have a lot things in common to talk about. Thus, after graduation, we made it a point to get involve with the local CFM group. We wrote the Crowley's of our impressions of America as students. It was published in the ACT MAGAZINE dated May, 1968 as follows:
Simple Gifts is the book that chronicles the lives of Pat and Patty Crowley. They had a big influence in our lives while I was a graduate student at the University of Illinois.
" Not long ago we received an interesting letter from Dave and Macrine Katague. In the early part of this decade they spent four years as graduate students at the University of Illinois in Chicago. As native of the Philippines, they were in a strange city and a strange land. They would not have learned very much about it, had it not been for the hospitality extended by CFM groups as well as Executive Secretary Couple Pat and Patty Crowley. Reflecting upon their past experiences, Dave and Macrine Katague wonder about the attitudes of those who spent times in the States, but did not learn to know the people of our country." They write:

Our Impression of America

" During our first year in Chicago, we never received an invitation to participate in the hospitality program. Our name was probably buried in the list of foreign students or perhaps our foreign student adviser was sleeping in her job. During these first year of adjustments to the American way of life, we formed a very wrong impression of Americans. Asides from our daily contacts with fellow students in the school rooms or dormitories, our only other social contacts were people in the streets, subways, buses, department stores, supermarkets and other public places. These were all artificial contacts, giving us an impression that Americans are unfriendly, artificial, insincere, apathetic,intolerant and above all ignorant.The latter adjective was quite true, since the ordinary or typical American does not have the vaguest idea where the Philippines, Japan or even Puerto Rico is located in the map.

" However, in our second year, we began receiving invitation to spend a weekend in suburban homes as well as dinner nvitations in city homes. At first, we were reluctant to accept the invitation, however with our adventurous spirit, we said yes.
From then on, "we have the whole world in our hands". We are thankful to CFM, the YWCA and the Hospitality Center of Chicago for making our stay filled with pleasant memories.

"On the other hand what impressions could we have brought back to the Philippines, if our stay was limited to one or two years ( true for exchange visitors). How many visitors and exchange scholars brought home with them the wrong impressions and attitude towards the American people in general? I knew there were a few foreign students in the dormitories who were disillusioned about the United States. One of them was a former dorm mate from Chile. He received an invitation, but never did conquer his apprehension of accepting one.

" At present as couple leader of the first interfaith group in our diocese, we will do our very best to reciprocate, promote, and encourage hospitality programs to foreign students and scholars in our area. We believe that opening our homes and our hearts on weekends and holidays, is one of the best ways of promoting world peace and understanding. Let us then make it possible for foreign students and scholars get the true picture of America and its people. Let us give them the opportunity to share with us our way of life. Let us get busy as a group or perhaps join other groups in order that we can show to the future leaders of the world, how sincere, friendly and aware we are of other human beings in other parts of the world. This is one of the many ways we could be more Christlike, we believe".
This letter was published by CFM in their monthly magazine, ACT, for all their members worldwide.

Chapter 8: Social Life in Kansas City, Missouri: 1965-1969


The Lechon (Roast Suckling Pig) at Ditas Baptism Party

In addition to our involvement with the church and the Christian Family Movement (CFM), our life in Kansas City also involved our participation with the Filipino-American Association Of Greater Kansas City social activities.

One of our Christmas parties was featured in the Kansas City Dispatch dated January, 1969 and titled "The Nipa Hut- Right Here The in Northland". We purchased our first house in Platte Woods, Missouri and named it "The Nipa Hut" in 1967.

An excerpt from Mary Jane Peironnet(reporter for the Dispatch) article is as follows:

"Its many thousand of miles from Manila P.I. to Platte Woods, U.S.A., but at 5701 N. W Linden Road, on the edge of the southern Platte community, there's home which the Filipino owners have called a nipa hut-after the thatched palm leaf huts typical of their native land".

" In this self-styled "hut", now surrounded by snow and wintry weather 70 or 80 degrees colder than that of the tropical Philippines, Dr. and Mrs. David Katague are carrying on many of their native customs while bringing up their four children in the American ways of their neighbors and classmates at Chin School."

" The gold-lettered "nipa hut" sign in the Katagues' front door causes much comments from guests, Mrs. Macrine Katague says, because the family filipino friends know the meaning of the term and understand the reason for calling the 4-bedroom 3-bathroom rambling ranch house in an acre of land, a hut."

" Especially during the holiday season do the transplanted Filipinos, carry on with the tradition of their birthplace. Family and church observances began nine days before Christmas and they will continue through Jan 6, known in this country as Epiphany, but celebrated in the Philippines as the Feast of the Three Kings for the three wise men who visited infant Christ 12 days after his birth".

" Tuesday night, Dr and Mrs Katague climaxed their holiday entertaining with a New Year's Eve party for nearly 30 of their countrymen, members of the Filipino Association Greater Kansas City. The year's end festivity was a colorful affair, where the women in their bright "ternos", native gowns characterized by butterfly sleeves, and the men in "Barongs" embroidered silk shirts worn with dark slacks, assembled to wish each other " Maligayang Pasko at Bagong Taon", the tagalog version of Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

"As the clocked ticked off the last minutes of '68, the Katagues and their guests toasted the new year with San Miquel beer sent from the Philippines by some of their families. Soon after midnight, a traditional repast was enjoyed by the party-goers. Rice cakes( known as puto), pancit ( noodles), cheese balls ( keso de bola), leche flan ( egg custard), dinuguan ( bloody pudding), ginger tea and chocolate were among the food and drinks served during the party."
The Typical Nipa Hut in Rural Philippines, Buenavista, Marinduque
The rest of the article described why we immigrated to US and how the family are adjusting to the typical American life in the suburbs of a midwestern city. Pictures of Macrine in her terno and me in my barong, as well as of Ditas highlighted the article. Ditas looked exactly like Carenna, when Carenna was also four years old.

Another party at our residence was also published in the local paper, a baptismal party for Ditas. The article was published in the the Kansas City Star, dated June, 1965. Here is the full article in the society page titled

"On the Kansas City Scene."

"When a child is baptized in the Philippines, it is an occasion for celebrating. Like so many other religious holidays and festivals,it calls for an all-out project in the kitchen.

Last Sunday in Gladstone the fourth child of Dr. and Mrs. David B Katague was baptized at the St. Charles Catholic Church. Late that afternoon, a full blown luau took place in the baby girl's honor although in typical American fashion, 2-month-old Ditas Macrine Katague quickly became the charge of her baby sitter.

The young Philippine family moved here last year after Dr. Katague had completed his graduate study at the University of Illinois in Chicago. Among the American and Filipino friends on hand to share the family occasion were the baby's godmother,
Mrs Jose Liwag who came from Chicago with her husband, and Senora Maria Elena Cobian de Rojas, whose home is Mexico City. There were about 30 in all.

The unanimous choice for starring role in the food department was a roast suckling pig that stole the whole show. It cooked slowly, deliciously all afternoon while a watchful host tended the spit. When it was crisp on the outside and succulent inside, it was then ready to be brought with pomp to the table.

Chopping the food is the hardest and slowest task of all, Mrs Katague commented on the many courses she prepared to accompany the pork. Mixing the ingredients, takes only about a half hour, she said. "But unlike party dishes that can be prepared well ahead of time, these must be put together just as the guest are arriving."

Sweet and sour peppers were one of the native appetizers she served with Hawaiian punch, spiked with rum. Some more typical American hors d'oeuvres found their way to the table, as well. One other dish served was an elaborate noodle, chicken and shrimp dish flavored with spices. Another delicacy was pea pods with shrimps. For dessert, a special rice cake was served with coffee.

Later in the evening several guests took a turn at the piano, some playing classical, others concentrating on popular music and jazz. "It was nostalgic when we sang some of our native tunes", the filipino mother reminisced.

All the while the guest of honor slept blissfully through it all!

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