Friday, May 31, 2013

The Beauty and Symmetry of Mathematics

I received the following (via e-mail) from a friend in the Philippines. It is now circulating in the social media, but I found this fascinating, so I am sharing it with you. The title of the e-mail is Beauty of Mathematics !

1 x 8 + 1 = 9
12 x 8 + 2 = 98
123 x 8 + 3 = 987
1234 x 8 + 4 = 9876
12345 x 8 + 5 = 98765
123456 x 8 + 6 = 987654
1234567 x 8 + 7 = 9876543
12345678 x 8 + 8 = 98765432
123456789 x 8 + 9 = 987654321

1 x 9 + 2 = 11
12 x 9 + 3 = 111
123 x 9 + 4 = 1111
1234 x 9 + 5 = 11111
12345 x 9 + 6 = 111111
123456 x 9 + 7 = 1111111
1234567 x 9 + 8 = 11111111
12345678 x 9 + 9 = 111111111
123456789 x 9 +10= 1111111111

9 x 9 + 7 = 88
98 x 9 + 6 = 888
987 x 9 + 5 = 8888
9876 x 9 + 4 = 88888
98765 x 9 + 3 = 888888
987654 x 9 + 2 = 8888888
9876543 x 9 + 1 = 88888888
98765432 x 9 + 0 = 888888888

Brilliant, isn't it? And look at this symmetry:

1 x 1 = 1
11 x 11 = 121
111 x 111 = 12321
1111 x 1111 = 1234321
11111 x 11111 = 123454321
111111 x 111111 = 12345654321
1111111 x 1111111 = 1234567654321
11111111 x 11111111 = 123456787654321
111111111 x 111111111 = 12345678987654321

Now, take a look at this...101% From a strictly mathematical viewpoint: What Equals 100%? What does it mean to give MORE than 100%?

Ever wonder about those people who say they are giving more than 100%? We have all been in situations where someone wants you to
GIVE OVER 100%. How about ACHIEVING 101%? What equals 100% in life? Here's a little mathematical formula that might help
answer these questions:



Is represented as:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26.


H-A-R-D-W-O- R- K

8+1+18+4+23+ 15+18+11 = 98%


K-N-O-W-L-E- D-G-E

11+14+15+23+ 12+5+4+7+ 5 = 96%


A-T-T-I-T-U- D-E

1+20+20+9+20+ 21+4+5 = 100%

THEN, look how far the love of God will take you:

L-O-V-E-O-F- G-O-D

12+15+22+5+15+ 6+7+15+4 = 101%

Therefore, one can conclude with mathematical certainty that: While Hard Work and Knowledge will get you close, and Attitude will get you there, It's the Love of God that will put you over the top!

It's up to you if you share this with your friends & loved ones just the way I did.. Have a nice day & God bless you all the time!! Have a Complete life!!!...

Thursday, May 30, 2013

New Drug for Type 2 Diabetes Approved

I have type 2 diabetes, however it is controlled by metformin. A drug called Invokana from J&J was just recently approved by FDA. It is very expensive, but it gives the diabetic another option, specially if he or she also wants to loss weight. It has side effects as all drugs have. The following video and article is very informative. If metformin does not effectively control your blood sugar Invokana may be an option to consider. If that is the case see your doctor.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Mahjong is My Tile Game. What is Yours?

A Mahjong Set

Have you heard of a tile game called Mahjong? I learned this tile game when I was a child. It is mostly a game of luck, once you learned the basics of the game. This tile game is similar to the card game, gin rummy, but played with tiles. It is a game that most Filipina housewives are addicted to. I am sure if you reside in the Philippines or Hongkong, this game must be very familiar to you. You may be even addicted to it.

My mother taught me as well as my brothers and sisters how to play mahjong when we were growing up in the Philippines. We have two mahjong sets in the house. The cheap one was made of plastic which we used quite often and the expensive one made of ivory. The one made of ivory, we only used on special occasion when we celebrate birthdays, weddings and other special events when I was growing up in the Philippines.

According to my mother, I started playing mahjong very well when I was only 5 years old. It is a game of luck with a little skill involve once you learn the basics. I also learned how to play a card game called "Pangingue" in the Philippines, probably similar to pinochle, but different from gin rummy. Mahjong can be played on line or you can buy a disk and play it in your computer.

I have a disk (Hongkong mahjong) in my computer, but it has been a while since I played this game. Mahjong like any gambling game is very addictive. I have close relatives in the Philippines that died of tubercolosis(TV) because they play mahjong almost all day and do nothing else. Unbelievable, but true.

Mahjong rules and specifics varies from region to region in the Philippines, but it is still a favorite past time of the middle class in the Philippines. A lot of Filipina housewives are addicted to mahjong. Besides mahjong there are two card games popular in Marinduque and other parts of the Philippines are PIKWA and TONG-IT. A number of housewives in my neighborhood in Amoingon, Boac, Marinduque play Tong-it every afternoon, both for recreation and a little gambling activity. We play Tong-it during a party break as a family game but no betting involved, when we are in Marinduque.

For rules and instruction how to play Mahjong read Wikipedia or ask a friend or relative for a demonstration. Once you learned the game, be careful it could be very, very addictive. But again, it is an excellent way to get rid of your boredom and the long, long hot summer in the Philippines.

Railroad Tours Around the World

Have you ever dreamed of a railroad tour via a luxurious Oriental Express trains either in Mexico, Canada or Southeast Asia?
I do, it is in my bucket list of what to do before I die. But at this stage of my life, I doubt whether I will be able to do it. Suffice to say, I will be just contented watching it via the following videos. Come join me and enjoy this tour.

The interior of a typical restored oriental express train for tourists

Personal Note: As a child I was always fascinated by toy trains. However my first train long ride was from Manila to Naga City via the Bicol Express in the early 1950's. It was my summer vacation from my college days. My dormitory mate who was from Naga City invited me to attend the Penafrancia Fluvial Festival in his hometown. My recollection of the ride was it quite long, comfortable and I enjoyed the rural scenery.

The train service was operated by the Philippine National Railways (PNR). This is a state-owned railway company in the Philippines, operating a single line of track on Luzon. As of 2010, it operates one commuter rail service in Metro Manila and a second in the Bicol Region. PNR restored its intercity service to the Bicol region in 2011. The Bicol Express and Isarog Express run on a daily basis between Manila and Ligao.

PNR began operations on November 24, 1892 as the Ferrocarril de Manila-Dagupan, during the Spanish colonial period, and later becoming the Manila Railroad Company (MRR) during the American colonial period. It became the Philippine National Railways on June 20, 1946 by virtue of Republic Act No. 4156. The PNR is an agency of the Department of Transportation and Communications.

PNR used to operate over 479 km (298 mi)of route from La Union up to Bicol. However, continued neglect in past decades reduced PNR's efficiency and railroad coverage. Persistent problems with informal settlers in the 1990s contributed further to PNR's decline. In 2006, Typhoons Milenyo and Reming caused severe damage to the network, resulting in the suspension of the Manila-Bicol services.

In 2007 the Philippine government initiated a rehabilitation project aiming to remove informal settlers from the PNR right-of-way, revitalize commuter services in Metro Manila, and restore the Manila-Bicol route as well as lost services in Northern Luzon. In July 2009, PNR unveiled a new corporate identity and inaugurated new rolling stock.

Here's a video of Pullman trip from Chicago to New Orleans. If you are not in a hurry and hate the security shenanigans in the airport, train travel is the way to go. Enjoy the delicious food and the view of a relaxing way to travel.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Natural Disasters/Calamities Experienced

The recent tornado( F5) in Moore, Oklahoma and the earthquake( 5.7) in Greenville, Northern California reminded me of the several calamities that I have personally experienced. The recent northern California earthquake of magnitude 5.7 quake struck at around 8:47 p.m. Thursday, about 150 miles northeast of Sacramento. Its epicenter was about 27 miles southwest of the town of Susanville and seven miles west northwest of Greenville. I felt this earthquake. I was setting reading my PC. I thought my wife was shaking my chair, but this one did not scare me at all.

The natural disasters that I have experience besides the tornado and earthquakes are: hurricanes, blizzard, blinding fog and rain, volcanic eruptions, and typhoons and floods. I think only a tsunami, land slides and forest fires are the three natural disasters I have not witnessed in my lifetime.

The number one natural disaster, I am familiar with are the typhoons ( Philippines) or hurricanes ( East Coast). Growing up in the Philippines, I could remember at least five destructive typhoons and floods as of today. The typhoon that I will never forget is Reming that destroy almost all of the Nipa hut homes in Marinduque. The roof of my beach house made of Nipa thatched palm was also blown away. The whole of downtown Boac was flooded and resulted in great destruction and damage to the whole province.

The next natural disaster I will never forget are the earthquakes. I have experienced one big earthquake in the Philippines when I was a child that destroyed historic churches, homes and industrial buildings. Another earthquake that scared me to death was the La Loma Prieta earthquake in California that destroyed the Oakland-San Francisco Bridge in 1989. In this earthquake, I thought I would die as the shaking was so strong. My wife who was working as visiting nurse at that time in the East Bay was also scared. Showers of broken and shattered glass followed her as she and others run outside their 17- story building to the parking lot. Luckily the tremors and shaking were short-live.

Blinding rain and snow blizzard I experienced several times when my family were residing in the East Coast in the 1990's. Blinding fog we had experienced a number of times when were residing in California Central valley of California in the late 1960's and early 1970's. An FO tornado I experienced when we resided in Kansas City, Missouri in the late 1960's.

As far as volcanic eruptions, my wife and I observed a mild occurrence during our vacation in Hawaii. Tsunami, forest fires and land slides, I do not wish witnessing at all. These three calamities are very scary and destructive.

How about you? Have you experience any of the above natural disasters? I would like to hear from you.

Tornado Season in the Midwest

Yesterday, President Barack Obama called the destruction of the last week's tornado wrought in Moore, Oklahoma, "hard to comprehend" and vowed to provide long-term federal help in rebuilding.

Last week tornado was rated at the top of a five-step scale used to measure the destructive power of twisters. It killed 24 people - including seven children at the school site THAT President Obama visited yesterday. It ripped a 17-mile-long (27-km-long) corridor of destruction through the suburb of Oklahoma City, flattening entire blocks of homes, two schools and a hospital causing billions of damages to property.

Tornadoes are indeed very scary and destructive, similar to hurricanes and earthquakes. Have you seen or heard a tornado so close that you thought you will die? Or just far enough to scare you? My family and I have seen and heard a tornado when we were still living in Kansas City in the 1980's. It was close enough, we all have to run for cover in the basement. Luckily, it was a small and weak tornado (probably a f0 or f1) in the FUJITA scale. It dissipated fast enough in the opposite direction where our house was located. It did topple a couple of trees in the backyard of our next-door neighbor though. It was still scary since one will never know if it is your house that will be in its direct path.

A tornado (often referred to as a twister or, erroneously, a cyclone) is a violent, dangerous, rotating column of air that is in contact with both the surface of the earth and a cumulonimbus cloud or, in rare cases, the base of a cumulus cloud.

Tornadoes come in many shapes and sizes, but are typically in the form of a visible condensation funnel, whose narrow end touches the earth and is often encircled by a cloud of debris and dust. Most tornadoes have wind speeds less than 110 miles per hour (177 km/h), are approximately 250 feet (80 m) across, and travel a few miles (several kilometers) before dissipating. The most extreme can attain wind speeds of more than 300 mph (480 km/h), stretch more than two miles (3 km) across, and stay on the ground for dozens of miles (more than 100 km).

Tornadoes have been observed on every continent except Antarctica. However, the vast majority of tornadoes in the world occur in the Tornado Alley ( Midwest) region of the United States, although they can occur nearly anywhere in North America. They also occasionally occur in south-central and eastern Asia, the Philippines, northern and east-central South America, Southern Africa, northwestern and southeast Europe, western and southeastern Australia, and New Zealand. Tornadoes can be detected before or as they occur through the use of Pulse-Doppler radar by recognizing patterns in velocity and reflectivity data, such as hook echoes, as well as by the efforts of storm spotters.

There are several different scales for rating the strength of tornadoes. The Fujita (F)scale rates tornadoes by damage caused, and has been replaced in some countries by the updated Enhanced Fujita Scale(EF). An F0 or EF0 tornado, the weakest category, damages trees, but not substantial structures. An F5 or EF5 tornado, the strongest category, rips buildings off their foundations and can deform large skyscrapers.

There are people who loved chasing tornadoes, but not me. A F0 tornado I experienced in Kansas City 25 years ago is enough to scare me for life.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Manila Depicted as the Gates of Hell

Dan Brown's new novel, Inferno, was just released recently. In that book which is fiction, there is a depiction of Manila as the Gates of Hell because of pollution, traffic congestion and a mecca for prostitution and sex trade of minors and children.

Several Pinoy's were upset and annoyed. One of the vocal one was Atty Francis Tolentino, Chairman of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority. Mr Tolentino wrote an open letter citing that the depiction of Manila in the book is not accurate. The publisher replied that the book is fiction.

My personal comment: If Pinoys get upset or annoyed by the depiction of Manila in the book, there must be a hint of truth on it. The phrase Gates of Hell is possibly a good description of the city during summer time when the temperature in Manila hovers around 103F to 105F. As far as pollution, traffic congestion and extreme poverty that is the reality of life in any big city. Regarding prostitution, it must be happening, but sex trade of minors, I thought this was already solve, with the help of the Catholic Church. Am I correct or wrong?

Here’s an excerpt from the book:

“When the group settled in among the throngs in the city of Manila—the most densely populated city on earth—Sienna could only gape in horror. She had never seen poverty on this scale.” Sienna, the fictional character, further noted Manila’s “six-hour traffic jams, suffocating pollution, and a horrifying sex trade.”

I am a Dan Brown fan. I have read all his books and enjoyed them so much. I have not been to a book store near us so I have not purchase the book. I could purchase it on line, but I have a bad experience buying books at E-bay or

If you have already read the book, let me know if it is as good or better than his previous books, Angel and Demons, The Da Vince Code and the Lost Symbol.

Incidentally, the posting of Mr Tolentino's letter must be music to Dan Brown ear. With the letter Brown got a free publicity. The letter is now circulating in the social media specifically in FaceBook.

My Favorite Three Books and Dan Brown's Inferno

What are your three Favorite Books? Mine are listed below!

Three of my favorite books are: Playing with Water by James Hamilton-Paterson, Cloyne Court by Dodie Katague and World as seen Under the Lens of a Scientist by Vithal Shetty. Playing with Water is about Marinduque-My Second Home. Cloyne Court was written by my oldest son on his memoirs while a student at the University of California, Berkeley in the late 1970's. Dr. Shetty's book is his biography discussing his life from the slums of Mumbai to his life as a scientist at the National Institute of Health and in the Food and Drug Administration in Maryland.

I am not an avid book reader, since I spend too much of my free time watching television and blogging. But once I started reading a good book, I will not stop until I finished it. Depending on the size of the book these could range from 1 day to 3 days. Three of my favorite books are:

1. "Playing with Water" by James Hamilton-Paterson

James Hamilton-Paterson is a British poet and novelist. He is known to be one of the most reclusive of British literary exiles who shares his time between Austria, Italy and extensive periods over the last 30 years in the Philippines. He is generally known as a commentator on the Philippine scene, where he has lived on and off. His novels on the Philippines includes "Ghosts of Manila", and "America's Boy" (1998), the latter setting the Marcos regime into the geopolitical context of the time.

One of his books, "Playing with Water", sold more than 4 million copies, described in a book review by New York Times as "a work of such genuine commitment, balanced perception and responsive passion that it will certainly be condemned to become a classic.

I have read this book a few years ago. I had almost forgotten this book, until last month when a fellow blogger from Marinduque posted an article about this book. It triggered pleasant memories of Marinduque. I love this book so much, I read some chapters twice. It is one of the best books, I have read about my island Paradise and my retirement home of Marinduque. It was written and published in the late 1990s but the lessons one can learn from this book are still applicable today. Here's one review of the book:

"Go read this book, it's good!," By A. N. Teodoro III (River Edge, NJ, USA) - This review is from: Playing with Water: Passion and Solitude on a Philippine Island (Twentieth Century Lives)

"I read this book so many years ago, but I can still remember how good it is. This book is not only about the underwater world but also about the goings-on in a typical barrio in the Philippines. It has a socio-economic aspect to it that I found quite realistic, having been born and raised in that very same third world country. It amazed and pleased me that a foreigner like Hamilton-Paterson could, quite accurately, capture the very essence of Filipino rural society-like the old woman who he suspects isn't so aloof and taciturn as she seems and the children of the barrio who frolic in the water and in their humble amusements, oblivious of the shortcomings of a third world upbringing. The book is an unusual stew of underwater adventure and an unpatronizing account of a life among barrio folk".

2. "Cloyne Court", by Dodie Katague

This book was written by my oldest son in 2009. As his father, who loves blogging, I am really proud of his writing accomplishments, considering this is not his primary job. Below are several reviews of his book as published by I hope you have time to read his book, Cloyne Court.

"In 1977, when 18-year-old Berkeley college student, Derek moved into the student residence co-op, Cloyne Court, sight unseen, little did he know he would learn about life, love, sex, drugs, music, alcohol and co-ed showers-all on the first day.

Located one block North of the University of California, Berkeley campus, this real and notorious student-run house has provided an alternative, counter-culture, hedonistic, raucous, and unique living experience for the "Clones", as the students call themselves, who choose to live here each year, despite the public and parents calling for a permanent shut down of this enduring and historic building.

Based on his journals and memories of his college days at this real-life "Animal House", author Dodie Katague weaves true events of life at Cloyne Court co-op into a zany, wild, and nostalgic story about the carefree time of every college student's life.

"Sure to entertain any of those who enjoy a good story of the world of the fraternities and sororities, "Cloyne Court" is a fine memoir and a read well worth considering."

~Midwest Book Review.

"I wish I had as much fun as Derek did in college, I recommend this book for anyone that has gone to college, or plans to go to college, or thought about going to college. Also for anyone who knows someone who went to college, because that buttoned up shirt wearing respectable man might have some stories to tell"

~Genoa Dillon, Amazon Reviewer

3. World as Seen Under the Lens of a Scientist, by Vithal Shetty

I have read some parts of the draft of this book and heard and witnessed in person portions of Dr Shetty's life and achievements, but it was only the other day that I was able to purchase the published book. It is an inspiring story, typical of a rags to riches story, but it is different because I know this scientist personally and had to supervise his work as a Review Chemist in FDA. Here's a press release and summary of the book published in March 2009 by Xlibris.

"Long before he arrived in America, Dr. B. Vithal Shetty experienced racial arrogance and discrimination. Even though he got admitted to the University of Pennsylvania, he had trouble finding a place to live and decency as white people disrespected him for his ethnicity. Along the way, he made constant adjustments in order to move his life forward while striving to earn respect through his close friendship with African Americans. Eventually, the author finally achieved redemption when he became an internationally renowned drug discovery sterling scientist. An engaging look back at Dr. Shetty's life begins with the release of his new book World As Seen Under the Lens of A Scientist: Negro Zero To American Hero Who Changed United States From American Hypocrisy To Greatest Democracy".

Dr. Vithal Shetty was one of the Chemistry Reviewers under my supervision during my employment with USFDA from 1990 to 2002. Dr Shetty is also the discoverer of Metolazone (a drug for treatment of high blood pressure). He is also currently working on drugs for the cure for HIV/AIDS. I wrote a brief article on Dr. Shetty's work and accomplishments titled "Chemistry Reviewer Still in the Lab" when he was still under my supervision as a chemistry reviewer. It was published in News Along the Pike, an FDA Newsletter before my retirement in 2002. Dr. Shetty's autobiography is an inspiring one. He came from the slums of Mumbai, India and encountered discrimination in 1950s in the US. Today he is an accomplished scientist in the United States with more than 200 patents in his name.

I believe that someday he may win a Nobel Prize either in Chemistry or Medicine, if his research on HIV/AIDS drugs becomes successful.

Note: In my wish list is Dan Brown new book, Inferno. I am anxious to read his description of Manila as the Gates of Hell. The book is fiction. So you Pinoys do not get upset that Dan Brown describes Manila as the Gates of Hell, due to pollution, extreme poverty, prostitution and a mecca for sex trade of children and minors.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

My Four Favorite National Parks

The Grand Canyon National Park-One of the top 28 Natural Wonders of the World

Memorial day, May 27 is the start of the summer vacation season here in the US. It is a good time to prepare for your summer vacation, perhaps visiting a national park or national monument. With the price of gas up to $4.00, save fuel cost by visiting a national park or national monument near you.

The following four national parks are my favorites and within driving distance from my residence:

1. BRYCE CANYON: The park is famous for its unique geology, consisting of a series of horseshoe-shaped amphitheaters carved from the eastern edge of the Paunsaugunt Plateau of Southern Utah. The erosional force of frost-wedging and the dissolving power of rainwater have shaped the colorful limestone into bizarre shapes including slot canyons, windows, fins and spires called “Hoodoos”. The park was named after the Mormon pioneer Ebenezer Bryce and it become a national park in 1924.

My wife and I visited this park three years ago, on the last week of August. That trip was one of the best vacation we had since my retirement in 2002. Tinted with colors ranging from light brown to dark red, these whimsically arranged rocks, creates a wondrous landscape of mazes. A 45 minute walk from Inspiration to Sunset Point was the highlight of our visit. Ponderosa pines, high elevation meadows, and fir-spruce forest border the rim of the canyon and abound with wild life. Several scenic points offer a panoramic view of three states and about 200 miles of visibility. We did not stay overnight, but our guide tour and driver informed us that the lack of large light sources nearby, creates unparalleled opportunities for for stargazing at night. The mesmerizing views of the canyon is worth your time.

2. GRAND CANYON: This park is the only natural wonder of the US, that made it to the final 28 natural Wonders of the world as announced by the new 7 natural wonders of the world organization. We have also visited this park and I agree with the 7 new natural wonder judges that Grand Canyon should be one of the top 28 finalists in this worldwide contest. The Grand Canyon is more than a great chasm carved over million of years ago through the rocks of the Colorado Plateau. It is more than an awe-inspiring view. It is more than a pleasuring ground for those who explore its roads, hike its trails or float in the currents of the turbulent Colorado River.The Canyon is a gift of nature that transcends what we experience in life. Its beauty and size humbles us. Its timelessness provokes a comparison to our short existence in this universe. Visiting the place makes me feel calmed and relaxed, as I gazed in amazement the beauty and splendor of this National Park. The park can be enjoyed whole year round. We visited this park about seven years ago and still remembered how spectacular the park was.

3. YOSEMITE: My wife and I had no plans of visiting this park this year. But we have visited this park three times, when my family was still residing in the Stanislaus County, Modesto, California in the mid 1970's. The park embraces a spectacular tract of mountain and valley scenery of the Sierra Nevada. It was made into a national park in 1890. The park has a number of waterfalls, meadows, forests that include groves of giant sequoias, the world largest living trees.

The park highlights include the Yosemite valley, high cliffs, and waterfalls. There is the historic Wawona Hotel( famous for its Christmas Dinners and Decorations), the Mariposa Grove, which contains hundreds of giant sequoias, Glacier Point, Tuolumne Meadows and a large sub-alpine meadow surrounded by mountain peaks and Hetch-Hetchy- a reservoir in a valley considered a twin of Yosemite Valley. Ninety Five percent of the park area is designated as wilderness areas that provides opportunities for solitude and relaxation. There are over 800 miles of trails for hiking and backpacking. There is some trout fishing in the streams that my family enjoyed during one of our visits several years ago. Our first visit to the park in the early 1970's was my first experience in camping. One night, our camp site and garbage can was visited by the bears - an experience my kids will never forget. The visit of the bears was the highlight of our trip to Yosemite at that time. The classic beauty and fascinating ecosystems of the Sierra Nevada Mountain range are well represented in the wilderness of Yosemite National Park. I consider this park very friendly to families with small children.

4. ZION NATIONAL PARK: This is another park that my wife and I visited three years ago. The park is home to narrow canyons, overlooks, emerald pools, a petrified forest, a desert swamp, springs and waterfalls, hanging gardens, wild flowers and wildlife. It is located in Southwest Utah near the Arizona border. Zion National Park is part of the Southwest "Grand Circle” of national parks, monuments, historical areas and recreation areas. It is also a wilderness preserve which includes the world largest arch-KOLOB ARCH,spanning 310 feet. The park has high plateaus, a maze of narrow, deep, sandstones canyons and striking rock towers and mesas. The North Fork of the Virgin River has carved a spectacular gorge with canyon walls that rises to 2000-3000feet above the canyon floor in most places. My wife and I just spent just 90 minutes touring the canyon by the Park's bus. We did not have the time to hike or at least stay overnight. We wish we have more time to enjoy the wild life flora and fauna of the park. According to the park's guides, the Park is home to many mammals and critters such as the collared lizard, Gambel's quail and sometimes even a golden eagle.

Other national parks and monuments that we have visited since 1960 are as follows: The Redwood National Park, the Muir Woods National Monument, The Point Reyes National Seashore, The Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park, The Hawaiian Volcano National Park, Shenandoah Mountains, the Blue Ridge Mountain and its famous Skyline Drive in Virginia, and last but not least is the Luray Caverns in West Virginia.

Battered Men and Abusive Women-An Update

The recent trial of Jody Arias and her conviction of the first degree murder of her boy friend, Travis Alexander is still in the news today. Yesterday on the penalty phase of the trial, 8 out 4 jurors voted for the death penalty. Since a unanimous vote is needed for the death penalty, another jury hearing will be schedule hopefully soon. This case is the most graphic and cruel example of a battered man that resulted into his murder.

Prosecutors have the option to take the death penalty off the table, in which case a new trial wouldn't be necessary and the judge would determine whether to sentence Arias to spend her entire life behind bars or life with the possibility of release after 25 years. Should the state decide to seek death again, jury selection alone could take weeks, given the difficulty of seating an impartial panel in a case that has attracted global attention.

The guilty verdict of first-degree murder would stand, leaving the new panel only tasked with sentencing Arias. However, former Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley said the case could drag on for several months as the new jury reviews evidence and hears opening statements, closing arguments and witness testimony. If the second jury cannot reach a unanimous decision, the judge would then sentence Arias to one of the life-in-prison options. The judge cannot sentence Arias to death.

This Arias case is a very rare event. But, I know of two other men being abused by their wives. Nobody believed them until they finally decided to end the marriage. This abuse by women is not widely publicized compared to abusive men who battered their wives or partner. Luckily this two men got out of the relationship, so both men are still alive.

I have read and heard many cases of battered wives but not of battered husbands. The first time I heard of a case of a battered husband was about 12 years ago when I was still working for Food and Drug Administration in Maryland. A Review Chemist I had supervised confided in me, that the reason he is now divorced is because his former wife has been beating him at least once a month for the last two years. At first, he just protected himself, but after the fourth beating he reported it to the police. The police came to their apartment, investigated and nothing else happened. The physical and mental abuse continued until he finally decided to break the marriage and left his wife. There was a restraining order issued against his wife.

My first reaction was one of disbelief. This man although softly spoken is 6'6" tall, athletic and very masculine. He has a PhD in chemistry and is very personable and friendly. I ask myself-is this man telling the truth? But the way he confided in me was very convincing and I believe him. The abuse was not only physical but also mental according to him. The guy is about 45 years old and they have no children.

The second case of a battered husband that I heard was just recently in the Philippines. This case is sad and really touched my heart since the battered husband is a close relative of my wife. During one of our many family reunions, I noticed the absence of his wife. I ask him why his wife was not around. He replied "I do not have a wife anymore". I was embarrassed for asking the question and totally forgot about the incident. However, the next day, I was talking to his mom. She told me about the domestic abuse that her son had tolerated for the last 10 years. It was only last year that he told his parents what was going on. They are now separated and have two children, 9 and 2 years old. The children are with him, but his wife has visiting rights. In this case the abuse is also both physical and mental. As in case above, this man is good looking, athletic, very personable, and intelligent. This guy is only 41 years old.

Do you know of a case of a battered husband? Abuse could be either physical or mental or both.

Friday, May 24, 2013

I learned How To Cook Yesterday- Chicken Tinola

I considered this one of my greatest accomplishments in my life along with my Ph.D. Graduation in Pharmaceutical Chemistry in 1964 from the University of Illinois. Really? Let me explain.

I have been married for over 56 years, but the kitchen area is my wife's domain. Macrine, my spouse is an excellent cook. I never intrude in her domain, but just help her with the dishes since we got married in 1957. Her being an excellent cook is one of the many reasons why I married her. The saying that the way to man's heart is through his stomach really applies to our marriage.

However, about six months ago, Macrine was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease(PD). Thus, her ability to cook was really affected by her PD. So for the last past six months, I was in the kitchen with Macrine telling me just what to do. Yesterday, however, she was not feeling well. I was forced to cook without her supervision. Macrine wanted chicken soup. So with out any recipe book on hand here's what I did from memory.

I placed 4 chicken legs and 4 chicken wings in a pot containing 6 cups of water. I let it boil for about 7 minutes. I then added one chopped onion, a sprinkle of salt, pepper and ground ginger. Then I added bite size potatoes(2)and chayote(1), half a pound of fresh green beans cut into about 3 to 4 inches in length. I continue the boiling and added 6 pieces of carrots cut also to about 3 inches for color. I let the pot boil until the chicken was cooked. Then I added 6 bunches of washed baby bok choy and a smashed of fresh ginger( 2 inches) for flavoring. I continue the boiling until the potatoes were cooked. I tasted the broth and added a little more salt and pepper. As soon as the baby bok choy was cooked, I shut off the heat. I tasted the soup. It was perfect and the aroma of ginger made me hungry.

My wife complemented me on my cooking. This was an accomplishment, I never dream of. I feel very creative cooking without a cookbook and was surprise I enjoyed cooking.

I called my dish, Chicken Tinola. This is a very simple recipe and I finished cooking in less than an hour. My wife sometimes adds fish sauce(patis) for more of a salty and fishy taste. I hate patis, to me it stinks. My preference is to add hot Picante Salsa sauce. There are several variations of this dish in the different regions of the Philippines. In Marinduque, green papaya is used instead of chayote. Malonggay or green pepper leaves are also used in the recipe. Bon Apetit!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Ten Things To do to Remain Fit and Healthy

Macrine(my spouse of 56 years) and I relaxing at the balcony of the Chateau Du Mer Beach House in Boac, Marinduque, Philippines last year.

In my article the other day, I wrote the difference between my chronological and psychological( mental) ages. I am in my late 70's but I feel my mental age is of a 40 year-old man. However, in a few rare moments my mind goes to a blank state, I called senior moments. However, most of the time (99.9%) my mind is clear and sharp, in spite of some aches and pains in my joints and other body parts.

Here's my ten tips to all senior citizens or senior citizens to be reading this article. I believe if you follow these ten items rigorously, you will remain healthy and maintain a sharp memory and perhaps even delay or prevent the dreaded Alzheimer's or Parkinson's diseases.

1. Quit smoking if you are a smoker. The earlier you quit, the longer your life and hopefully dementia and Alzheimer's disease will not be in your future. I have never smoked in my life, but I know nicotine addiction is hard to break.

2. Join clubs or organizations that need volunteers. If you start volunteering now, you won't feel lost and unneeded even after you retire. In my case I do volunteer work as a medical mission volunteer sponsored my Marinduque International, Inc. in the Philippines.

3. Develop a hobby or two
. Hobbies help you develop a robust brain because you're trying something new and complex. In my case I play bridge and other computer games on-line.

4. Take dance lessons, yuga or tai chi. In a recent study of nearly 500 people, dancing was the only regular physical activity associated with a significant decrease in the incidence of dementia, including Alzheimer's disease. The people who danced three or four times a week showed 76 percent less incidence of dementia than those who danced only once a week or not at all. My wife and I were dance champions in the 1980s.

5. Start gardening or have daily walks for at least 30 minutes per day. Researchers in New Zealand found that of 1,000 people, those who gardened regularly were less likely to suffer from dementia Not only does gardening reduce stress, but gardeners use their brains to plan gardens; they use visual and spatial reasoning to lay out a garden. I have a big garden at Chateau Du Mer in Boac, Marinduque and I did all the landscaping plans and plantings in the beach resort. I walk for at least 30 minutes daily here in California or in Marinduque.

6. Read and write daily. Reading stimulates a wide variety of brain areas that process and store information. Likewise, writing stimulates many areas of the brain as well. I have ten blogs that I maintain daily and I read about 3 hours per day. I also write articles for and I have a page in

7. Listen to classical music. A growing volume of research suggests that music may hard wire the brain, building links between the two hemispheres. Any kind of music may work, but there's some research that shows positive effects for classical music, though researchers don't understand why. I have several collections of classical music both in my blogs and my CD collection and I listened to them at least twice a week.

8. Pray, meditate or go to church regularly
. Daily prayer appears to help your immune system. People who attend a formal worship service regularly live longer and report happier lives according to a recent study. My wife and I attend Catholic mass every Sunday rain or shine.

9. Be sure you get enough sleep. Studies have shown a link between interrupted sleep and dementia. I sleep between 8 to 10 hours every day. Take also a short nap whenever you can. I usually take a power nap of 15 to 30 minutes in the afternoon after lunch. Last but not least,

10. Eat more foods containing omega-3 fatty acids: Salmon, sardines, tuna, ocean trout, mackerel or herring, plus walnuts and flax seed. Flax seed oil, cod liver oil and walnut oil are also good sources . Eat more fruits and vegetables. Antioxidants in fruits and vegetable helped repair some of the damage caused by free radicals, one of the leading killers of brain cells. I am not a vegetarian, but I consumed a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, fish and sea foods in my diet.

Do you have additional tips? I will love to hear from you.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

FILIPINOS are Special People except on Election Time

FILIPINOS are special people, except during elections, when the politicians turn into liars, rumor mongers, voters intimidators and greedy mongers for the pork.

There is an article circulating in the web listing ten items that Filipinos are special people. I could identify with the article since I am a Filipino- American. But during election time, Filipino politicians turn into vote buying, voter intimadators, goon employers, liars, and rumor mongers. There were two premature ejaculations (oops, I mean premature proclamations) in my second home, the province of Marinduqe- which of course in now under protest because the winner is an American citizen. In Marinduque, a candidate claims that his opponent is a drug lord and a pedophile. SO AT ELECTION TIME, most politicians turn into rumor mongers and liars, definitely not a special group of people.

But before you cry foul, I like to repost the ten items that makes Pinoys special if not "stupid" as posted in one of the articles circulating in the Internet.

Here's the article listing ten items why Filipinos are special. I received this from a friend ( via e-mail) from the Philippines. She does not know the author. However, I feel sharing it in order to alleviate my feeling of shame of the shenanigans of most of the politicians, during this year election. I also know that there are some honest and not corrupt politicians in the Philippines.

1.Filipinos are brown. Their color is at the center of human racial strains. This point is not an attempt at racism, but just for many Filipinos to realize that our color should not be a source of or reason for an inferiority complex. While we pine for a fair complexion, white people are religiously tanning themselves, under the sun or artificial light, to approximate the Filipino complexion.

2.Filipinos are a touching people. We have lots of love and are not afraid to show it. We almost inevitably create human chains with our perennial akbay (putting an arm around another's shoulder), hawak (hold), yakap (embrace), himas (caressing stroke), kalabit (touching with the tip of the finger), kalong (sitting on someone else's lap), etc. We are always reaching out, always seeking interconnection.

3.Filipinos are linguists. Put a Filipino in any city, any town around the world. Give him a few months or even weeks and he will speak the local language there. Filipinos are adept at learning and speaking languages. In fact, it is not uncommon for Filipinos to speak at least three: his own local dialect, Filipino, and English. Of course, a lot speak an added language, be it Chinese, Spanish or, if he works abroad, the language of his host country.

4.Filipinos are groupists. We love human interaction and company. We always surround ourselves with people and we hover over them, too. According to Dr. Patricia Licuanan, a psychologist from Ateneo and Miriam College, an average Filipino would have and know at least 300 relatives. At work, we live bayanihan (mutual help); at play, we want a kalaro (playmate) more than laruan (toy). At socials, our invitations are open and it is more common even for guests to invite and bring in other guests.

5.Filipinos are weavers. One look at our baskets, mats, clothes, and other crafts will reveal the skill of the Filipino weaver and his inclination to weaving. This art is a metaphor of the Filipino trait. We are social weavers. We weave theirs into ours that we all become parts of one another.

6.Filipinos are adventurers. We have a tradition of separation. Our myths and legends speak of heroes and heroines who almost always get separated from their families and loved ones and are taken by circumstances to far-away lands where they find wealth or power. Our Spanish colonial history is filled with separations caused by the reduction (hamleting), and the forced migration to build towns, churches, fortresses or galleons.

7.Filipinos are excellent at adjustments and improvisation, managing to recreate their home, or to feel at home anywhere. Filipinos have pakiramdam (deep feeling/discernment). We know how to feel what others feel, sometimes even anticipate what they will feel. Being manhid (dense) is one of the worst labels anyone could get and will therefore, avoid at all cost. We know when a guest is hungry though the insistence on being full is assured.

8.Filipinos are very spiritual.
We are transcendent. We transcend the physical world, see the unseen and hear the unheard. We have a deep sense of kaba (premonition) and kutob (hunch). A Filipino wife will instinctively feel her husband or child is going astray, whether or not telltale signs present themselves. Filipino spirituality makes him invoke divine presence or intervention at nearly every bend of his journey.

9. Filipinos are timeless. Despite the nearly half-a-millennium encroachment of the western clock into our lives, Filipinos-unless on very formal or official functions-still measure time not with hours and minutes but with feeling. This style is ingrained deep in our psyche. Our time is diffused, not framed. Our appointments are defined by umaga (morning), tanghali (noon), hapon (afternoon), or gabi (evening). Our most exact time reference is probably katanghaliang- tapat (high noon), which still allows many minutes of leeway. That is a how Filipino meeting and occasions are timed: there is really no definite time. A Filipino event has no clear-cut beginning nor ending. We have a fiesta, but there is visperas (eve), a day after the fiesta is still considered a good time to visit. The Filipino Christmas is not confined to December 25th; it somehow begins months before December and extends up to the first days of January.

10. Filipinos are Spaceless. As in the concept of time, the Filipino concept of space is not numerical. We will not usually express expanse of space with miles or kilometers but with feelings in how we say malayo (far) or malapit (near). Alongside with numberlessness, Filipino space is also boundless. Indigenous culture did not divide land into private lots but kept it open for all to partake of its abundance. The Filipino has avidly remained 'spaceless' in many ways. The interior of the bahay-kubo (hut) can easily become receiving room, sleeping room, kitchen, dining room, chapel, wake parlor, etc. Depending on the time of the day or the needs of the moment. The same is true with the bahay na bato (stone house). Space just flows into the next space that overhead arches of filigree may only faintly suggest the divisions between the sala, caida, comedor, or vilada.

So what makes the Filipino special? Brown, spiritual, timeless, spaceless, linguists, groupists, weavers, adventurers; seldom do all these profound qualities find personification in a people. Filipinos should allow - and should be allowed to contribute their special traits to the worldwide community of men - ah. . . but first, they should know, like & love themselves.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Heads Up! MI, Inc Next Medical Mission-January, 2014

Macrine and the Pharmacy Section Volunteers, Marinduque International, Inc Medical Mission, 2011

Our last medical and dental mission to the province of Marinduque was held on February, 2011. The next mission is scheduled for last week of January, 2014. You are welcome to join us. For details, visit the website,

The previous Medical Mission of Love in 2011 was not different from the other previous past missions that Macrine( my spouse) and I had attended since 1998. More than six thousand of the poor and the needy from the distant barangays in the province of Marinduque lined patiently from 4 to 6 hours just to see A PHYSICIAN and obtained free medicines ( cough syrup, multivitamens, pain medications, anti-acids and maybe antibiotics) for their aches and pains true or imagined.

At the end of the day in each f the six towns, there were always about 200 to 300 more patients that have to be sent home since we do not have enough physician volunteers. This is the same case in our HOSPITAL operations. Last year's mission we had only 3 surgeons and 1 anesthesiologist. Thus we have to send a lot of patients home along with their disappointment and hopes that maybe in our next mission, they can be accommodated.

An example was the hospital case that touched my heart and that made me mad: A patient was already in the operating table after the preliminary tests had been done the day before was sent home because of one basic instrument not available. I heard from the surgeon who stayed at Chateau Du Mer, that instrument he needed for the operation is a basic instrument, but the hospital does not have one. So where is the priority of our provincial and health officials?

In the town of Buenavista, I helped in the repacking area section of the Pharmacy Department. At about 2PM, there were still about 200 to 300 patients waiting in line. The patients were told to go home, since there was already 200 in line and our physicians will not be able to see them. However, about 100 did not go home in the hope that multi-vitamens and cough syrup, and Paracetamol will still be given to them at the end of the day.

One middle-aged woman with her 2 kids ( Ages 3 and 5 )started begging to the two of us working in the repackaging area very closed to the lines. She said her 2 kids are coughing and had fever and asked us if we can give her Paracetamol and cough syrup. I looked at her and the two kids and my heart melted and I shed a tear or two.

I stood up, talked to the Pharmacist-in-Charge that day and she told me "NO". She told me that If the others in line saw me giving the drugs only to her, if might cause a RIOT. I whispered to the woman to wait until closing time. By 4:30PM there were still 10 patients waiting. At around 5:00PM there were still a couple of patients hanging around.

But, I called the woman aside, give her a bottle of Paracetamol;, cough syrup and multi-vitamens along with the usual instructions. She thanked me and gave me a SMILE that still lingers in my mind today. During this mission, my heart melted and I cried again!

Monday, May 20, 2013

My Chronological versus my Mental Age

Today I feel that my mind is still in my 40's but my body tells me I am over 75. Actually, I am 78 years old and 5 months as of today.

Aging is a natural process. But with a good diet and exercise, the aging process can be slowed down, I believe.

Last March, while I was still in Marinduque, I did " hands-on gardening" such as weeding, fertilizing and watering my plants. After 30 minutes of actual gardening that is fertilizing my more than 50 potted plants, my back started to ache. I had a hard time standing up. It ached so much that I have to take a pain killer( Celebrex).

This tells me I should do only gardening by mouth. I have one permanent gardener and two temporary helpers, especially if there is an event in the resort. However, there are times I like to do "hands-on" gardening since I really enjoy gardening and it is also my exercise.

However with regards to my mind, I still have a good memory. I could still remember the unit prices of all building materials, such as cement, tiles, hinges, hollow blocks etc., that I purchased last year. I STILL play duplicate bridge and still remember almost all the 52 cards based on the bidding. For those of you who do not play duplicate bridge, you only see 26 cards. The other half is hidden, but based on the bidding, and of your memory of how the bidding went and the discarded cards, you actually can guess the location of all the 52 cards. I am proud to say, my memory is still good.

But I noticed that my memory is not as good as when I was in high school. In high school, my teacher in world history wanted to give me 100, since all my tests were all 100, but the highest grade he could legally gave me was only 95. I had a photographic memory then. But today, that photographic memory is gone.

So my dear readers, can you tell me where to find the fountain of youth? Do you have a formula or a lifestyle that slow down the aging process? Do you believe that a good diet and daily exercises can slow down the aging process? I will be posting an article on the ten items I do rigorously to stay fit and healthy in the next couple of days. Watch for it and have a Good Day.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Reyes and Velasco Election Fiasco in Marinduque

Remove the Pork Barrel System in the Philippines and Eliminate Corruption
I attented a Filipino-American Party today here in Northern California. The most popular topic of conversation is the recent election in the Philippines. Topic number #1 is the Time magazine article stating that Filipinos are stupid for having elected a 20-year old Pinay with no experience in government with the name of Nancy Binay. The other topic was the local congressional election in Marinduque- The Reyes versus Velasco Election Fiasco. Vote buying, threat of goons and pork barrel as the main source of corruption were also discussed at the party.

Here's a sample of conversation that I recalled at the party.

Guest #1; So you are from Marinduque? I heard that the voters elected an American Citizen for your representative in Congress. Is this against the Law to run for an elected position in the Philippines if you are a US citizen?

Guest #2: Yes, I am from Marinduque. I am so ashamed of what is happening now in my Province. Gina Reyes the daughter of the reelected governor, Carmencita Reyes, garnered more than 3800 votes against the current representative Lord Allan Velasco. The Reyeses had been a political dynasty in the Province for the last four decades starting from the Marcos regime.

Guest #3: If you have been reading the Philippine News, it was published that Comelec ( Commission on Elections) had disqualified Gina Reyes as a candidate because of her citizenship and other lies in her Certificate of Candidacy (COC) regarding her date(s) of brith, names and marital status.

Guest #1: Today, I read in the news that the Board of Canvassers in Marinduque defied the decision of Comelec by proclaiming Gina Reyes as the newly elected congresswoman representative of Marinduque. Of course, Velasco protested and questioned the authority of the Boatrd of Canvassers. Since Reyes is a disqualified candidate, he should be the one proclaimed having garnered the second highest number of votes. Do you have an idea when will this moro-moro and fiasco end? Will this case go to the Supreme Court?

I joined the group and gave them my personal opinion on how to solve this problem immediately. I suggested that perhaps, the 4 years term of the representative in Congress be divided between Reyes and Velasco( 2 years each). Along with this decision there will be an equal allocation of the millions pesos of pork barrel. This money will have to be spent on a defined project. ( not to be placed in their personal bank accounts). In addition in the next election in 2016, the two co-representatives will pledge that there will no more vote buying in Marinduque or goons hired during the election campaign.

The group gave me a dirty look. I was embarrassed and went to another group of guests not discussing politics.

Here's a video of the true to life moro-moro on the Reyes-Velasco fight for Congress.

The Top Ten Tourist Attractions in the US

The following are the top ten tourist attractions in the United States. How many have you visited?

1. Times Square, New York City: 37.6 million visitors

This Manhattan crossroads of commerce retains the top spot on our list, thanks to increased visitation to the Big Apple in 2008 despite the economic turn down. According to the Times Square Alliance, "80% of visitors to NYC make it a point to visit Times Square." Total NYC visit last year was 47 million, giving us an estimate of 37.6 million travelers through the "Crossroads of the World." Sources: Forbes Traveler estimate based on figures from The Times Square Alliance and NYC & Company.

2. The Las Vegas Strip, Nevada: 30 Million visitors

The "Neon Trail" that comprises the heart of Sin City is also part of the federal government's National Scenic Byways Program, which designates roads based on "archaeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational and scenic qualities." Hard to say which of these qualities best describes Vegas, but we can disqualify "natural." Last year, total visitors to Las Vegas numbered 37.5 million; a poll by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority found that an average of 80% of visitors had either stayed overnight or gambled on the Strip, giving us our visitor estimate of 30 million. Source: Forbes Traveler estimate based on figures from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

3. National Mall and Memorial Parks, Washington, D.C.: 25 million visitors

Many of the nation's iconic public landmarks are found in the 1,000-plus acres of the National Mall and Memorial Parks, including the Washington, Lincoln, and Jefferson Memorials, and the Korean and Vietnam War Veterans Memorials. The Smithsonian Institution's 19 museums are also adjacent to The Mall; last year, the network of free museums drew more than 25 million visits. Source: U.S. Department of the Interior, The Trust for the National Mall, Press room of the Smithsonian Institution

4. Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Boston: 20 Million visitors

Built in 1742 by Peter Faneuil, a wealthy Boston merchant, Faneuil Hall served as a commercial center of the city for centuries and a site for famous orations, like Samuel Adams' independence-rallying speech to colonists. Faneuil also includes the restored 19th-century Quincy Market. Today, shoppers account for a large share of visitors, and while we've excluded shopping-only malls (like Minnesota's Mall of America) from this list, Faneuil's historic significance vaults it to the status of cultural attraction. Source: Faneuil Hall Marketplace

5. Disney World's Magic Kingdom, Lake Buena Vista, Fla.: 17.1 million visitors

The Magic Kingdom is the most popular of Disney's Florida attractions, followed by Epcot, Disney Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom, and we've used it as a watermark for traffic to Disney Florida's multiple theme-park complex. Magic Kingdom Park includes beloved rides like Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Country Bear Jamboree. Source: TEA/ERA Theme Park Attendance Report 2007

6. Disneyland Park, Anaheim, Calif.: 14.9 million visitors

With nearly 15 million visitors in 2007, the original Disney Park in Anaheim, California has been a stalwart American tourist attraction since its opening in 1955.Its well-known rides range from Space Mountain to the Pirates of the Caribbean. Source: TEA/ERA Theme Park Attendance Report 2007

7. Fisherman's Wharf/Golden Gate Recreation Area,San Francisco:14.1 million visitors

The city by the Bay received approximately 16.1 million visitors in 2007 (the latest data available), and Fisherman's Wharf is its top visitor attraction (visitor estimates for Fisherman's Wharf range from 12 million to 15 million). The Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which includes the famous gold bridge along with numerous other spaces throughout the Bay Area, drew 14.6 million visitors in 2008. It's hard to know the overlap between tourists at the wharf, nearby bridge and other areas in the National Recreation Area. We've averaged the figures to arrive at our 14million estimate. Sources: National Park Service 2008 Annual Recreation Visits Report, Fisherman's Wharf Merchants Association, City and County of San Francisco, San Francisco Chronicle.

8. Niagara Falls, N.Y.: 12 million visitors

The Falls, which straddle the U.S.-Canada border, have been a tourist mecca since the mid-19th century. The thundering waters are visible from observation towers, by boat and from various hiking trails and, on the Canadian side, from the Whirlpool Aero Car, an antique cable car. With statistics from the Niagara Falls Tourism Bureau and Niagara Falls Bridge Commission, visitors are approximated at 12 million a year. Source: Niagara Falls Tourism (Visitor and Convention Bureau) and Niagara Falls Bridge Commission

9. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tenn./N.C.: 9.04 million visitors

America's most visited national park is neither the Grand Canyon nor Yosemite. With more than 800 miles of protected trails, this natural wonder hosted approximately 9 million hikers, birders and drivers last year. Source: National Park Service 2008 Annual Recreation Visits Report

10. Navy Pier, Chicago: 8.6 million visitors

Opened in 1916, this Chicago landmark on the shore of Lake Michigan has served as a campus and military training facility. Today it hosts 50 acres of shops, restaurants and exposition facilities. The Chicago Shakespeare Theater and the Chicago Children's Museum are here, along with a full calendar of nighttime fireworks shows. Source: Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority

Personal Note: Macrine and I had visited all the 10 spots. We have been to Disneyland Park, Anaheim three times, two times at the Niagara Falls, Times Square and Navy Pier. We have visited the National Mall Washington, DC more than 30 times since we have resided in Maryland for 12 years. Oh yes, we have been to Fisherman's Wharf and Golden Gate Recreation Area perhaps as many as 25 times. Last, but least the Las Vegas Strip, we visited it more than 10 times since 1960.

If I have to choose only one of the spots, which one would I visit today? I love all of the ten spots, but Niagara Falls will be my number one choice! Although not listed in the top ten tourist attractions, I highly recommend, the Grand Canyon National Park as another place to visit and enjoy during your summer vacation.

Only in Marinduque-2013 Election (A Moro-Moro)

Shotgun Proclamation of Gina Reyes as the Officially Elected Rpresentative of Congress - questioned by Lord Allan Velasco

I was advised by a couple of friends that as a Balikbayan, I should not get involved in the local politics in the Philippines. This advised I have always followed because getting involved in the local politics will get you in trouble specially if you run a business in your locality. But this 2013 mid year election is really interesting. I feel like I am watching a "moro-moro", a filipino dramatic play on the political activities and shenanigans of our Pinoy politicians. I just can not be silent anymore.

As a blogger and a citizen journalist, here's my post on the 2103 election in the Philippines, particulaly in my island province of Marinduque- my second home. Most of these observations are commentaries from FaceBook friends and what is already published in the Philippine Newspapers for the last week.

1. Election 2013 will be the remembered in the annals of Marinduque political history as the election most marred with corruption, vote buying, voter intimidation, confusion and intrigue. With a degree in Political Science and Public Administration, I find it intriguing and mind boggling how this election was conducted, from the filing of Certificate of Candidacy (COC) to the Proclamation of Winners (by Aida Hulen).

2. Did we have a valid and honest election? Despite the apparent euphoria generated in some circles by the independent and virtually unknown candidate Grace Poe topping the unofficial senatorial count, and by President B. S. Aquino III’s most rabid pro-population control candidates not making it at all,serious doubts are now being raised about the conduct of Monday’s election(By Francisco S. Tatad).

3. Philippines Named ‘Most Stupid Country to Elect a 20-Year OJT as a Senator’ by Time Magazine
The overwhelming victory of a self-professed on-the-job trainee-cum-Senator in the recently held election in the Philippines cemented the country’s fate,” wrote Time’s news director Marilou C. Martin.

She added, “Falling for the diversionary tactics of an inexperienced candidate that saw her steer the issue away from her credibility to her skin complexion to make herself look like the underdog; gave us no choice but to bestow such title to a country, who was destined for greatness before the elections.” “And yes, we intentionally all-capped the word stupid for added emphasis,” according to Martin. Time gave special attention to the country’s 11,789,643 registered voters (as of press time) who voted for Nancy Binay, as contributing to the country’s “overall stupidity rating index

4. That shotgun proclamation! by Eli Obligacion, Marinduque Rising

DepEd Superintendent Magdalena Lim reads the shotgun proclamation with three towns of Marinduque yet to transmit their COCs representing 40% of the votes. The helpless process server who was ordered to personally serve the Comelec en banc resolution stands on the side. That was the resolution affirming the cancellation of the COC/disqualification of Regina O. Reyes.

As of 7:00 pm May 15 when the Provincial Board of Canvassers (PBC) convened after a two-hour recess the election results in the municipalities of Mogpog, Sta. Cruz and Boac have been transmitted to the PBC. The certificates of canvass from the other three municipalities of Buenavista, Gasan and Torrijos that represents 40% of the votes have, however, not been transmitted to the PBC. This is so because of hardware malfunction in certain precincts in said municipalities.

5. Reyes proclamation in Marinduque Questioned by By Jofel Lancion, Maricar Cinco and Gerald Querubin Inquirer Southern Luzon

The regional head of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan) will assume supervision over the canvassing of votes in Marinduque amid the controversial proclamation of the province’s governor, vice governor and lone district congressional representative on Wednesday. The most controversial candidate, Regina Ongsiako Reyes, has been disqualified by the Comelec en banc.

Danny Gapasin, counsel for Representative Lord Allan Jay Velasco, said Regina’s proclamation was “highly irregular and null and void from the very beginning.” He said the number of votes from three towns—Gasan, Buenavista and Torrijos— that had not been canvassed accounted for almost 40 percent of the total number of votes in the province. Marinduque has 129,954 registered voters.

Allegations of irregularities in canvassing in Marinduque cropped up when the provincial board of canvassers (PBOC), chaired by provincial election supervisor Edwin Villa, proclaimed as winners reelectionist Gov. Carmencita Reyes, her running mate Romulo Bacorro as vice governor, and Regina, Carmencita’s daughter, as Marinduque representative even though election returns from three of the six towns of the province had not been counted.

In the meantime, amidst this political drama, tourism is dead in Marinduque with the cancellation of air flights from Manila to Marinduque and back since Last May 10. The province of Marinduque is now back again to the Middle Ages. This political moro-moro could happen only in Marinduque! How long will it take for Marinduque to have an official Representative in Congress? That is my question?

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Are You an Oenophile? Repeat, Please!

Are You an Oenophile? What! Repeat, Please! No, I am not a pedophile! Are You? I am an oenophile or just a wine enthusiast or connoisseur.

What? that sounds like a bad word, so close to the word that starts with the "p" and with "d" in the middle. The first time I heard this word was about 15 years ago, when a distant cousin told me he was planning to take enology (oenology)at UC Davis. He just graduated from high school and his parents lived in the Napa Valley. He worked during summer in one of the vineyards in Napa.

At that time, I learned that UC Davis is the only university in California that has a Department of Viticulture and Enology and one can obtained a Bachelor's degree in Enology. I believe today, one can get a PhD degree in Viticulture and Enology at UC Davis. For those of you who is not familiar with enology and viticulture, here is the definition. Enology is the science of wine and wine making and Viticulture is the culture and cultivation of grapes. But what is an Oenophile? It is a simply a person who loves wine. Other terms are a wine aficionado or a wine connoisseur. So are you an Oenophile?

A lot of people have an obsession for good wine, they spend a fortune on good wines. My daughter has a friend who spends a lot of money on his wine collection. He keeps it in his temperature-controlled wine cellar in his home here in Sacramento. He had spent a lot of money for the construction of this wine cellar. His collection of wine costs him a lot of money. However, he has no children going to school so all his savings goes to his wine collection. He told me he has a wine bottle appraised for $1000. I told him I will choke to death if you let me drink a wine that cost that much. The most expensive wine that I have drunk was an Australian wine that cost me $27 per bottle. That was in celebration of our 54th wedding anniversary in the Philippines last May. I have drunk from a bottle of champagne that cost $40 about 15 years ago in Maryland, but that was a treat from a friend celebrating his 50th birthday.

Although, I am not an avid oenophile, Macrine and I have a glass of red or white wine for dinner about three times during the week. There are some studies that drinking one glass of red wine a day is good for you. My problem is I am suffering from a hyper acid stomach, so drinking red wine exacerbates my problem. So if you are a wine aficionado, an oenophile or a wine connoisseur, please share your experiences with my readers and give us tips on good buys of wine and related products. Here's my toast to all you my readers, Salud, Peseta y Amor ( Health, Money and Love) to all of you and your love ones. Remember, a lot of people still believe wine is the "Drink of the Gods".

Friday, May 17, 2013

My Favorite Inspirational Quotes and Video

Sunset from the Balcony of Chateau Du Mer Beach House, Boac, Marinduque, Philippines with Macrine and Miko,(my pet dog) in the background.

I always believe in the 6P's of Life. In order to succeed, one must always practice the 6P's: Patience, Perseverance, Prayers, Preparation, Persistence and Perspiration. I have written an article dated 5/09/09 in my autobiography at, Chapter 3, about the three failures in my life that inspired me to success. I AM INVITING YOU TO READ IT.

The following video is a good example of an inspirational video. Let me know if this video inspires you to succeed or at least gave you a positive attitude in life.

The following are some of my favorite quotes shared in Facebook and Twitter Pages.

1. “Just know, when you truly want success, you’ll never give up on it. No matter how bad the situation may get.” - Unknown

2. “Accept responsibility for your life. Know that it is you who will get you where you want to go, no one else.” – Les Brown

3. “I don’t regret the things I’ve done, I regret the things I didn’t do when I had the chance.” – Unknown

4.“Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.” - Joshua J. Marine

5. “Its hard to wait around for something you know might never happen; but its harder to give up when you know its everything you want.” – Unknown

6.“One of the most important keys to Success is having the discipline to do what you know you should do, even when you dont feel like doing it.” - Unknown

7. “Good things come to those who wait… greater things come to those who get off their ass and do anything to make it happen.” - Unknown

8. “Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, or worn. It is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace & gratitude.” - Denis Waitley

9. “In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.” – Bill Cosby

10. Dont be afraid to stand for what you believe in, even if that means standing alone.. - Unknown

11. “The best revenge is massive success.” – Frank Sinatra

12. “Forget all the reasons it won’t work and believe the one reason that it will.” - Unknown

13. “Build your own dreams, or someone else will hire you to build theirs.” – Farrah Gray

14.“The only thing that stands between you and your dream is the will to try and the belief that it is actually possible.” – Joel Brown

15. “Self confidence is the most attractive quality a person can have. how can anyone see how awesome you are if you can’t see it yourself?” – Unknown

16. “Being happy doesn’t mean that everything is perfect. it means that you’ve decided to look beyond the imperfections.” - Unknown

Do you have a favorite inspirational quotes that you can share? For more quotes, visit

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Have You Heard of the Senior Citizen's Alphabet?

A senior friend from the Philippines send me this article. My friend do not know the author, but we both can identify with the article as senior citizens.

Seniors' Alphabet

A for arthritis, B for bad back, C is for chest pains. Perhaps cardiac?

D is for dental decay and decline, E is for eyesight--can't read that top line.

F is for fissures and fluid retention, G is for gas (which I'd rather not mention.)

H high blood pressure (I'd rather have low,) I for incisions with scars you can show.

J is for joints, that now fail to flex, L for libido--what happened to sex?

Wait! I forgot about K! K is for my knees that crack when they're bent, (Please forgive me, my Memory ain't worth a cent.)

N for neurosis, pinched nerves and stiff neck, 0 is for osteo- and all bones that crack.

P for prescriptions, I have quite a few. Give me another pill; I'll be good as new!

Q is for queasiness. Fatal or flu? R is for reflux--one meal turns into two

S is for sleepless nights, counting my fears, T for tinnitus--! hear bells in my ears.

U is for urinary: difficulties with flow, V is for vertigo, that's "dizzy", you know.

W is worry, now what's going 'round? X is for X ray--and what might be found.

Y for another year I've left behind, Z is for zest that I still have my mind.

How many of the alphabets, can you relate to? If none, you are still not a senior citizen, but your time will come.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Time for Some Senior Citizen's Humor

Image from

I read this from a FaceBook friend wall just recently. It made me laugh so I am reposting it in this blog. Enjoy!

If my body was a car, I would be thinking of trading it in for a newer model.
I've got bumps, dents, scratches and my paint job is getting dull. My headlights are out of focus. My traction is not as graceful as it once was. My whitewalls are stained with varicose veins. It takes me hours to reach maximum speed.

But the worst is...every time I sneeze, cough, or sputter either my radiator leaks or my exhaust backfires...!!! Repost if this made you laugh like me.....;

Saturday, May 11, 2013

My Favorite Acrostic Poem for Mothers Day

It is now Mother's Day in the Philippines. Since about 30% of my readers reside in the Philippines, I decided to post this article now in honor to all Mothers of the World.

There are hundreds of poems in the web about Mothers and Motherhood. But the following acrostic poem is my favorite. My own mother passed away several decades ago, but I will always remember all the things she had taught me such as being frugal and be responsible for my actions. To all my readers, Happy Mothers' Day and enjoy the following poem.

M - O - T - H - E - R

"M" is for the million things she gave me,
"O" means only that she's growing old,
"T" is for the tears she shed to save me,
"H" is for her heart of purest gold;
"E" is for her eyes, with love-light shining,
"R" means right, and right she'll always be,

Put them all together, they spell "MOTHER,"

A word that means the world to me. Howard Johnson (c. 1915)

For more mother's day poem, visit

Today, I like also to remember my Mother by revisiting and posting an excerpt from an article Tribute to My Parents, in my autobiography,

"My mother, Paz Barrido Balleza and family are big landowners in Barotac Viejo and the neighboring towns of Banate and Ajuy. The Balleza family were considered rich at that time. She was born on January 14, 1909 and is the youngest of three children, the only girl with two older brothers, Modesto, Jr (lawyer) and Jose who are much older than her. My mother’s parents both died, when she was only in high school. So, she was under the care of her oldest brother, Modesto. At that time, Modesto Balleza family had a big house in Iloilo City, just across the street from St. Paul Hospital and one block from Assumption College-an exclusive and private school for girls.

My mother went to high school at Assumption College until she was a junior. In her senior year, she met my father, fell in love with him, stopped school and got married. My mother with tears in her eyes told me that the reason she married without finishing high school was to get away from the control of her oldest brother. When their parents died, there was no will. Thus, the Balleza properties (rice and corn lands, coconut plantations, fish ponds) were all under the control of her two brothers.

The division of property according to my mother was very unfair. The brothers claimed the best rice lands to themselves. What was left for her to inherit were the properties in the distant barrios, rice land with no irrigation, except for one parcel of rice land (20 hectares) near the town. Of course, she did not receive one-third share of their parents' properties. When she married, control of her properties was given to her. My Dad then helped her manage the rice lands and other properties.

My mother was very frugal. She would not leave a morsel of rice on her plate. I remember her saying, “If you do not finish your food, God will punish you”. So even today, I always have a clean plate after lunch or dinner. My mother had a strict budget and allocated 10% of the farm income into her savings. By the time, I was in college, they had enough savings to purchase a commercial property in Iloilo City. With the back pay that my father received having served as a Dental Officer in the Philippine-American Army from 1941-1945, they were able to build a commercial building at Iznart street, just across the YMCA building, etc...". For the whole article, you are welcome to read my blog dated 12/15/11 as indicated above.
The David Jamili Katague Family, Barotac Viejo, Iloilo, Philippines, 1956 My Mother Front Row on the Right. I am in the Back Row, First from the Left.

How about you? Do you have pleasant memories of your Mother? I will be delighted to hear from you!

Friday, May 10, 2013

My Other Writing Activity Besides My Blogs

Yesterday, I wrote about reaching almost close to a million readers from my ten blogs. My readers come from 173 countries. About 90% of my readers reside in the US, Philippines, UK, Canada or Japan. Aside from my ten blogs, my other writing activities are writing for and writing sites. These two writing sites pay me a small amount based on the number of unique page views that my article has received. Of the two sites, I have maintained my account on active. My account at is open (WITH 29 LENSES) but I have not submitted any new postings (LENSES) since last year. I have only a few readers at Squidoo.

Currently, I am earning a few cents per month, sometimes a couple of dollars at I am not unhappy about it, since my goal is to communicate and not to make money. My first posting in was on December, 2011. As of today, I have written 393 articles on almost any subjects.( retirement in Marinduque, personal activities, life in US and Philippines, blogging, tourism etc..)

The following are my top twelve most viewed articles based on unique page views. The list include the title, date posted and the number of unique page views.

1. A Very Creative Scam Letter ( 8/04/12), 1237

2. Political Innuendos and Jokes in my E-mail ( 8/20/12), 1174

3. Williamsburg, Virginia ( 9/05/12), 800

4. Are there Nude Beaches in Marinduque?( 5/05/12), 608

5. What Others Say About Marinduque, ( 5/03/13) , 605

6. A Milestone in My Blogging Activities, (5/07/13), 566

7. Cinco de Mayo-5th of May Celebration, (5/05/13), 507

8. Today is Our 56th Wedding Anniversary, (5/08/13), 451

9. Another Creative Scam Letter, (4/30/13), 406

10. The Month of May in the Philippines, (5/01/13), 351

11. Is Compulsive Talking an Addiction Disorder?, ( 5/02/12), 346

12. Playing with Words and Palindromes, (5/04/13), 335

On the other hand the top five most popular and highly rank articles(lenses) in my Squidoo page are:

1. Caste System in the Philippines posted on 10/20/12

2. Abused Against Men: The Battered Husband posted on 1/08/13

3. My Bucket List:
101 Things to Do Before I Die posted on 11/13/12

4. My Childhood Memories of World War II posted on 7/06/12

5. My Book Review: Tears in the Darkness, The Bataan Death March posted on 9/21/12

Again, I am extending my thanks to all of you who have been reading my articles. My goal in writing is to inform and perhaps entertain, but never to make a lot of money. Cheers to All!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

A Milestone in My Blogging Activities

Today, I have reached a new milestone in my writing activities. I have attained close to 800, 000 Page Views in my blogs.

I have ten blog sites. However only five are widely read. I started blogging in the summer of 2009.

I am proud to announce that as of today, I have reached my goal to have at least half a million viewers. As for the record here are the stats from my five sites totaling 796, 262. I hope to reach over a million readers* by the end of summer. Please help me attain my goal by continuing to read my blogs:

1. Life in US and in the Philippines, 192, 759
2. Marinduque Awaits You, 189, 937
3. Marinduque, Paradise Island , 168, 763
4. Chateau Du Mer Beach Resort, 126, 687
5. The Intellectual Migrant-Autobiography, 117, 946

The ten most popular articles ( title, date posted and page views are:

1. Boracay and the Regency Hotel ( 1/16/11), 16,588
2. Death Valley National Park( 2/1/10), 15,975
3. Chapter 4, My College Years ( 5/09/09), 12,033
4. Singkil and Tinikling Folk Dances ( 1/26/09), 11,911
5. Have You Eaten a Durian? (9/12/10), 10, 456
6. Lagen Island, El Nido Resort (11/23/10), 7,921
7. Cloyne Court, Excerpt 10 (9/22/11), 7,008
8. Japanese-American War in PHL ( 10/10/10), 6,821
9. Chapter 1, Childhood Memories ( 5/09/09), 6,160
10. Bellarocca Resort and Spa, MRQ ( 5/20/09), 5,946

* Actually I had attained very close to one million viewers today, If I include my 5 other blogs as follows:

1. Where the Heck is Marinduque,, 63,125 page views
2. Why Retire in the PHL,, 46,197
3. I left My Heart in MRQ,, 45,088
4. Amazing and Sexy Images in the Internet,, 9,344 (started on 8/12)
5. My Autobiography-David Balleza Katague,, 4,005 ( started on 12/12)

The total page views of the above five blogs is 167,754. If I add this to the 796,262 page views above. the total is 964,916, very close to 1 million views.

Please help support my blogs by also clicking on the ads. Thank you my dear readers! Good Day or Nite to All!


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