Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Are You Ready for the Big One in California?

Shake Potential Map of California( From:

I am talking about Earthquakes here in California! Recent earthquakes in Alaska and in Southern California ( Channel Islands) would indicate the Big One is coming. We do not know when, but based on historical statistics it probably would occur soon. So are you Prepared for the Big One?

If you resides in the Fault zone ( see map), I suggest be prepared now. There are information in the Internet of what you need to have and what to do in case the Big One comes. Here's the site:

Here's also the latest information of things to know about earthquakes for your information and reading pleasure.

Note: When I was a child growing up in Iloilo City, Philippines, I experienced the Jaro Earthquake ( magnitude 7) which destroyed the cathedral steeple and dozens of other buildings in the city. I also experienced the La Loma Earthquake in 1989, when we still residing in Pinole, California. (

Both earthquakes were scary and an experience I will never forget.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

What an Hour of Whole Body Massage Can Do for Your Body and Spirit

Three weeks ago, Macrine and I had a one hour each of whole body massage by Mark Richards (

I can still remember how relax I was and my whole body was ache-free. Prior to the massage my back aches and my leg muscles were cramping. Mark starts massaging your back. Then your foot and legs ( Left and Right). This is followed by both your arms and fingers. The massage ends with your neck and shoulder. To me the most enjoyable part of the massage is my two feet. Now I know why the ancient Chinese tradition of Foot Massage was very popular during the Middle ages.

Macrine and I had this luxury of a once a month home service whole body massage. We highly recommend Mark for his massage services. He can vary the pressure of his massages at your request. The cost incurred and dent from our budget is not small but the pleasure/benefits we received is worth every penny of it.

Here's are two videos of a deep tissue foot and leg massage and a whole body traditional massage from

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Two of Macrine's Relatives are Millionaires

Macrine and I have four relatives residing here in Northern California. Two are Millionaires(in Paper) now because they decided to purchase a house in Palo Alto and Mountain View, a few years ago.

The other two of our other relatives living in Sacramento and Benecia are now close to being Millionaires also if we consider the estimated value of their residences based on the estimates of as of today.

Macrine and I are the poorest based on the estimate of our residence as of today, although in terms of area ( square footage), our home is second in size and first in lot size.

Let me start with our residence. We purchased our home in June, 2003. It has 4BR and 2.5 baths and a swimming pool with 2,200 sq. ft of living space with almost 0.5 acre corner lot. We recarpeted and painted the whole house and replaced all kitchen appliances after our purchase. The purchase price in 2003 was $370,000. Today Zestimate is only $479,785. If my math is right this is only about 1.8% increase in value annually. I am still happy the estimated value did not decreased.

A family relative purchased her house in April 2001 for $234,500. It is located in the Fabulous Forty's Sacramento District- area of expensive homes. It is a small house with only 2 BR and 1 Bathroom and only has 1,379 sq. foot living space area. Last month she added a 500 sq foot deck. The Zestimate today is $750,000.

Another family relative and his wife moved their residence from Walnut Creek to Benecia in 2015. After selling their 4BR, 3BA house with swimming pool for $1 Million in 2015, they moved to a slightly bigger house in Benecia. They paid $799,000 for a 4BR, 3.5 Bathrooms house with 2866 sq.ft living space. Zillow estimate today is $890,224.

Macrine's family relative purchased a house in Palo Alto in the early 1990's. It has only 1,647 sq.ft of living space, 3BR and 2BA. This year she added a 400 sq ft. annex (a bedroom and a bathroom). She has the whole kitchen area also remodeled and the garage enclosed as another bedroom. I am not sure how much was the original price but I believe it was about $510,000. Today the house has now 5BR, 3BA and a living space of 2000 sq. ft. Would you believe the Zestimate today is $3,137,207!

Last but not least example is Macrine's another family relative purchase of a house in Mountain View. She and her Hubby purchased a 4BR, 3BA home with 1850 sq. foot in 2009 for $1,060,000. They remodeled the kitchen and dining area and add another small bedroom last year. Today Zestimate is $2,462,091.

This article ( blog) confirms the following statement that in buying a home the three most important things to consider are: Location, Location, and Location!

Note: The actual purchase price of most homes could vary from Plus or Minus 10% of the Zestimate depending on the supply and demand on a particular location and time of sale. In some location in Northern California such as San Francisco, some homes will sell over 10% of asking price/estimate.

Here's the latest predictions for the housing market for 2018 in Northern California.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Housing Market in San Francisco Getting Out of Control

Two weeks ago, my sister-in-law a resident of Palo Alto visited us. During her visit she told us of the experiences of her daughter and son-in-law who had been searching for a home in the city for the last 4 months. Both her daughter and son-in-law work in the City by the Bay(SFO). Ideally they want to purchase a home within biking distance to the place where they work. Her son-in-law works for Google, and her daughter has a private practice as a Registered Social Worker and Counsellor.

Their original plan was to purchase a 2-bedroom, one bath house within biking distance to Google. They found one and offered $150,000 more than the asking price. They were out bided. According to the their real estate agent there were 6 other clients who put bids on the property.

This experience made them change their plan and searched for a 1 bedroom, one bath home. They found one and again bid $150,000 over the asking price. Again they were out bided. There were more than a dozen clients who bided for that home my sister in-law emphasized. Today they have stopped their search and hope that their landlord will not increased their rental soon. This illustrates that the Demand is more than the Supply, thus the skyrocketing prices.

I found two recent articles on the Internet on this subject. I am posting it for your reference and reading pleasure.



Here's a video comparing the Housing Situation in New York City and the City by the Bay:

Final Note: My grand daughter working in San Francisco is renting a 2BR condo in a high rise building within walking distance to her office at EERO. She pays $4000 a month, but shares the rent with a condo mate, otherwise she will not be able to afford it.

Future Blog: Two millionaires in my wife's family because of real estate in the right location!

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Life in the US versus Life in the Philippines-An Update

I woke up late this morning very tired but lucky I am alive. My 83.5 aging years is catching up on me and punishing me with aches and pains. However when I recall how lucky Macrine and I to afford two homes, it reminded me to post the following blog with the Trump/Duterte update. Forgive me my dear readers all over the world, but I can not stop writing about our Beach House and Conference Hall in the Philippines on this day of our 61st Wedding Anniversary, May 8, 2018. Today is also the 57th birthday of our oldest daughter-Dinah! Happy Birthday, Dinah!

If you have been following my blogs, you probably know we called ourselves snowbirds. We have a retirement home in the Philippines, but our primary residence is in Northern California. The following are some photos showing the differences and similarities between our two lifestyles. Since pictures are worth more than a thousand words, all you will read are labels and short description of the photos. Enjoy my photos:

The first photo is our ranch style home in the Philippines and the second is our home in Northern California. Both houses are ranch style( one floor) about the same size( 2,700 sq.ft). The major difference is the construction and style. Our retirement house in the Philippines has two patios ( balconies) both in Front and in the Back. It has also a long driveway and the whole property gated.

Our backyard in Marinduque versus our backyard in Northern California. We have no swimming pool in Marinduque, but the backyard leads to our beach house and Conference Hall, only a few meters from the Amoingon beach-of Western Marinduque.

The first photo is our side yard in the Philippines versus our side yard in Northern California. I have two ground orchids here in US but have more than 50 non-terrestial orchids in my gardens in the Philippines.

The first photo is the twin orchids in my front yard in the Philippines versus the yellow orchid in my yard in Northern California

My jack fruit tree in the Philippines versus my lemon tree in Northern California. I have several other fruit trees in the Philippines, including mangoes, avocados, citrus trees, guayabanos, star-apple and cashew trees.

My PC in the Philippines versus my PC in Northern California. My PC in US has a much bigger monitor (48"").

Last but not least is Party time: We prepared the same food in both homes. We enjoyed both Pinoy as well a American dishes.

The first photo is in northern California with salad and Dungeness crab, versus filipino cuisine of Marinduque.

Our friends often asked us which abode do we prefer. Our answer is always the same- both places. Marinduque is excellent during winter time and Northern California is excellent during spring, summer and Fall.

As an addenda here's a comparison of Duterte and Trump:


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