Sunday, July 31, 2011

Chateau Du Mer Beach Resort and Conference Center

Most Recent Photo of the Beach House

The Beach House and Bridge at Night

The Conference Hall all ready for the Wedding Reception Party

It is a two story with 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, kitchen, living room and a 180 degree balcony with a panoramic view of the Amoingon Coast ( Western Marinduque). The Amoingon Coast is abundant with marine flora and fauna that can be seen 10 to 15 meters from the beach front. Colorful butterfly fish, bobbing clown fish, lion fish, melon-sized urchins and schools of angel fish are among the varieties of fish that thrive in the coral reefs only a few meters from your front porch.

The master bedroom has a queen size bed. The other room has two twin beds. The living room has a hide-away futon bed. The beach house top floor maximum occupancy is for 4 adults and 2 children. The rooms are all equipped with noiseless electric fans. There are 2 bathrooms. The first floor bathroom is recommended for clean-up after an ocean swim. Both upstairs and downstairs bathrooms have hot water showers. The kitchen has a microwave oven, small refrigerator, flat wares and dishes for six. No heavy cooking is allowed.

The third bedroom is on the bottom floor. It is air conditioned ( 27 sq.meters) with an adjacent terrace ( 18 sq. meters) only a few meters from the ocean. It will accommodate six adults dormitory style. It can be easily converted into a meeting room for 30 to 50 attendees( with 3 round tables). The daily rental will be 4000 pesos.

There will be maid service during day light hours only. Home service massage therapy, haircuts, manicure/pedicure, laundry and transportation services can be arranged one day in advance.

The beach house is only about 9 Km from the capital town of Boac and 12 Km from the town of Gasan. Public transportation ( jeepneys and tricycles) are only a few minutes from your door steps.

Snorkel gears are available for rent. Diving sites are within 30 minutes driving distance from the resort and can be arranged in advance.

Rental Information:

For 1 to 2 Persons: P3,000 pesos per day
For 3 to 4 Persons: P4,000 pesos per day
For 4 adults and 2 children: P4,500 per day

Bottom Floor: 6 Persons dormitory style: ( or meeting room) P 4,000 pesos

The rate is subject to change depending on the pesos to dollar exchange.
The dollar-peso exchange as of August, 2011 is about 1 to 43
There will be a 10% discount for 7 or longer stays. A 20% discount for 1 month stay or longer can be negotiated.

Contact Information:

From US: 916-961-3365 or 916-390-6424
From Manila: 042-332-1754 or 042-332-1338


Soroundings and Landscaping of the Conference Hall

This multi-function hall can easily accommodate 350 persons. It has spacious and modern bathrooms(3) with handicapped access. There is a kitchen for caterer use and a storage room. Wheel chair ramps are provided in the entrance and exit areas. The hall is wired for stereophonic sound. Secured parking for 80 to 100 cars is free. A generator is provided in case of power outage( brown out). There is plenty of room to set-up additional tents for another 200 attendees if necessary.

Rental Information:

8 Hr Day use: P7000 ( payable the day prior to the event)
P8000 ( by government voucher-up to 90 days wait only)

Night Use: P8000 ( payable the day prior to the event)
P9000 (by government voucher-up to 90 days wait only)

Included in the rental are 100 chairs and 10 round tables. Additional charge of 500 pesos for the use of our sound system and operator. A refundable cleaning and breakage deposit(P1000) is required for events with children attending. Set-up, flowers, tablecloth, table wares are not included in the rental. The use of kitchen area is included in the rental.

For Information on Marinduque: ( government website)

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Orchids in Barbados and the Music of Beethoven

This orchid is not from Barbados but in the Front Yard of Chateau De La Mer in Boac, Marinduque

Here's a video of orchids/flowers from the Barbados Orchid Gardens. It reminds me of my orchids at Chateau De La Mer in Marinduque, Philippines. Why Barbados? I have a former classmates from Barbados and this posting is my tribute to him. I heard he passed away last week from FaceBook tweets/news. He was about my age and the news reminds of my mortality.

Do you know where Barbados is? It is at the other end of the world from the Philippines. See the map below and information about Barbados from Wikipedia.

I love this video not only because of the orchids but also the relaxing background music by Beethoven.

Barbados is an island country in the Lesser Antilles. It is 34 kilometres in length and as much as 23 kilometres in width, amounting to 431 square kilometres (166 sq mi). It is situated in the western area of the North Atlantic and 100 kilometres east of the Windward Islands and the Caribbean Sea; therein, it is about 168 kilometres east of the islands of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and 400 kilometres north-east of Trinidad and Tobago. Barbados is outside of the principal Atlantic hurricane belt. Barbados was visited by the Portuguese in 1536. They did not want to settle in Barbados and did not claim it for their country, but thought it would be a good place to visit now and again and they let loose a number of wild hogs to make sure that whenever they returned here they would have a good supply of meat. The first English ship, the "Olive Blossom",arrived in Barbados in 1625. They took possession of it in the name of 'James, King of England'. It became an English, and later a British colony.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Will Our Snow Bird Lifestyle Be affected By Power Brown Outs in Marinduque?

Darkened Skies of Marinduque

Unless the electrical power shortage crisis is solved, it will very likely that Marinduque will not be able to retain the Fil-Americans Balikbayans now spending from 4 to 6 months of their annual retirement years in Marinduque. In addition, it will be a high possibility that no new retirees will build retirement homes in the Island. If this happens, it will be the saddest and depressing development in the history of this beautiful island, I called My Island Paradise.

The last couple of years, I have seen more than a couple of Fil-Americans balikbayans build retirement homes in Boac and Gasan. This excludes foreign nationals who are married to Filipino(a) citizens. Although these balikbayans spend only about 4 t 6 months of the year in Marinduque, just like us, our contribution to the local economy can not be taken for granted. As balikbayan retirees we hired caretakers, housekeepers, drivers, gardeners, cooks, laundry workers and spend our dollars for food, groceries gasoline and other living expenses. We patronized restaurants and contribute to the local church and charities. Some of us invest on local businesses that give employment to local residents. As balikbayans, all we are expecting in return is a reliable supply of electricity and other amenities conducive to our aging years.

I therefore expect, provincial officials to wake up, and solve the problem of the electrical power supply crises in the island as soon as possible. In the meantime, Macrine and I have decided that unless this crises is solved by the end of the year, we will be spending only 2 months of our annual snow bird lifestyle in Marinduque instead of our usual 4 to 5 months of stay next year. In addition, we will stop our drive to recruit other Fil-Americans balikbayans to build retirement homes in Marinduque.

Note: The following is a comment from a Marinduque resident showing his frustration regarding the power shortage crises in the Marinduque, in Filipino followed by my english translation.

" Maliwanag pa sa Sikat ng Araw. Ang paraiso ay nasa Elephant Island dahil doon ang Bellarocca island Resort and Spa. Sa mainland ng Mduke parang impiyerno walang kuryente, walang tubig at puro buwaya ang nasa gobyerno".

"It is brighter than the sunrise. Paradise is in Elephant Island where Bellarocca Resort and Spa is located. Mainland Marinduque is like hell, where there is no electricity, water and the government is populated by crocodiles".

Note: All you pure tagalogs, did I translate it correctly if not literally?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Ylang-Ylang Trees in the Gardens of Chateau De La Mer

The Ylang Ylang Tree

I have two mature trees of Ylang Ylang in my garden at Chateau Du Mer. The two trees along with six mango trees were planted after the completion of the construction of our retirement house in 1990. When the trees are in bloom, you can smell the fragrance of its flowers to as far as 50 meters and even farther if the wind direction is favorable. It is one fragrance, that I will never forget at Chateau Du Mer in Marinduque. Its reminds me of the perfume, Channel No.5.

On the subject of Ylang Ylang Oil,I am proud to inform readers of this blog that my Master's degree thesis was the Analysis of the Volatile Constituents of Ylang Ylang Oil by Gas Chromatography. This was published in the Journal of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Vol.52, No.3 252-258 dated March, 1963.

I believe not too many non-Filipinos have heard of this tree and it fragrant flowers. Here's a short information from Wikipedia for your reading pleasure.

Cananga odorata, commonly called Ylang-ylang (pronounced /ˈiːlæŋ ˈiːlæŋ/, EE-lang-EE-lang), cananga tree, ilang-ilang, kenanga (Indonesian), fragrant cananga, Macassar-oil plant or perfume tree), is a tree valued for its perfume. The essential oil derived from the flowers is used in aromatherapy and in the manufacture of perfumes.

Cananga odorata is a fast-growing tree of the custard-apple family, Annonaceae, that exceeds 5 m (15 ft) per year and attains an average height of 12 m (40 ft). It grows in full or partial sun, and prefers the acidic soils of its native rain forest habitat. The evergreen leaves are smooth and glossy, oval, pointed, with wavy margins, and 13–20 cm (5–8 in) long. The flower is drooping, long-stalked, with six narrow greenish yellow (rarely pink) petals, rather like a sea star in appearance, and yields a highly fragrant essential oil.

The Chemical Composition Typical chemical compositions of the various grades of Ylang ylang are reported as follows:

Constituents Linalool, geranyl acetate, caryophyllene, p-cresyl, methyl ether, methyl benzoate, other, sesquiterpenes.


The name ylang-ylang is derived from Tagalog, either from the word ilang, meaning "wilderness", alluding to its natural habitat, or the word ilang-ilan, meaning "rare", suggestive of its exceptionally delicate scent. A more widely accepted translation is "flower of flowers". The plant is native to the Philippines and Indonesia and is commonly grown in Polynesia, Melanesia and Micronesia.


The fragrance of ylang-ylang is rich and deep with notes of rubber and custard, and bright with hints of jasmine and neroli. The essential oil of the flower is obtained through steam distillation of the flowers and separated into different grades (extra; 1; 2; 3) according to when the distillates are obtained. The main aromatic components of ylang-ylang oil are benzyl acetate, linalool, p-cresyl methyl ether, and methyl benzoate, responsible for its characteristic odor.

The essential oil of ylang-ylang is used in aromatherapy. It is believed to relieve high blood pressure, normalize sebum secretion for skin problems, and is considered to be an aphrodisiac. According to Margaret Mead, it was used as such by South Pacific natives such as the Solomons where she did much of her research. The oil from ylang-ylang is widely used in perfumery for oriental or floral themed perfumes (like Chanel No. 5). Ylang-ylang blends well with most floral, fruit and wood smells.

In Indonesia, ylang-ylang flowers are spread on the bed of newlywed couples. In the Philippines, its flowers, together with the flowers of the sampaguita, are strung into a necklace (lei) and worn by women and used to adorn religious images.

The Ylang Ylang Flowers

Medicinal uses

Ylang Ylang is a common ingredient in the herbal motion sickness remedy, MotionEaze.

Circulatory System: Ylang ylang is recommended for treating palpitations and reducing high blood pressure

Nervous System : Ylang ylang is known for its ability to slow down over-rapid breathing and over-rapid heart beat. These symptoms are usually associated with shock, anxiety and anger.

Reproductive System: Ylang ylang has proven beneficial for treating PMS, especially associated with extreme mood swings that occurs just before the onset of menstruation. For this purpose, Fischer-Rizzi recommends blending Ylang ylang with clary sage and neroli. This blend should be used in a bath, massage oil or in a vaporizer.

Skin care: Added to the skin care preparation, Ylang ylang oil is beneficial in softening and balancing the moisture of the skin. It is recommended in hair care to treat split ends. It can be used in a shampoo base of massaged into the tips of the hair after shampooing with a base oil such as apricot kernel or jojoba oil. Ylang ylang is recommended for dry and oily skin and is reputed to have a balancing action on sebum production.
Here's a short video about ylang-ylang oil extraction.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Bananas in the Gardens of Chateau De La Mer

The Cavindish Banana
Do you know that there are over 1000 types of bananas in the world? These varieties of bananas differs slightly in appearance, size, taste and use. A main difference exists between two types of bananas, those that you can immediately eat, sometimes called dessert bananas, and those that need to be cooked prior to eating and are higher in starch, called plantains. I have six varieties of both dessert and cooking bananas in the gardens of Chateau De La Mer in Boac, Marinduque, Philippines.

Banana is the world’s favorite fruit, and banana plant is not a tree. It is the world’s biggest herb. Bananas contain three natural sugars: sucrose, fructose, and glucose. Banana gives an instant and sustainable boost of energy. They are a good source of potassium, fiber, 110 calories each, approximately 6 vitamins, and 11 minerals. Bananas have many health benefits.

Below are the six types of bananas that I have at the Gardens of Chateau De La Mer.

1. The Cavendish banana is the most popular banana in the U.S and Philippines. Sometimes it is also known as the Chiquita because Chiquita is the globe’s largest banana producer. America eats more bananas than any other fresh fruits. Banana usually eats fresh and can be use for many purposes such as bread baking, pie, muffins, yogurts, smoothies, puddings, and custards.
The Manzano Variety
2. Manzano Banana
The Manzano banana is short and chubby with a mild strawberry-apple flavor, and the skin is black when it’s ripe. It has a chunkier and heavier appearance than traditional banana. This banana is usually grown in Asia, South America, Mexico, Caribbean, and Africa, which also known as Apple banana.
Baby Bananas
3.Baby/Nino Banana
Baby/Nino banana is about three inches long. When they are ripe, they turn bright yellow and have a rich, sweet flavor, and creamy texture. This is one of the smallest and sweetest bananas around. It is a native of Colombia. It is an excellent source of heart-healthy vitamin B6. This baby banana can be baked, sauteed, broiled, and even grilled.

4.(Bongulan)The Green Banana
This variety is not as sweet as the baby banana. It is long and slim. When ripe, it just turns only light green with a yellow streak. It has a very strong aroma typical of ripe bananas. It does not keep long and gets over ripe faster than the cavendish variety. It does not shipped well also, so it is not commercialized or exported.
The Red Banana Plant with Fruit

5. The Red Banana
The Red banana is heartier and slightly sweeter than yellow banana. When ripe, they have maroon/purple skin to almost black, and the flesh is pinkish, or salmon color. The Red banana has a raspberry hint of flavor. It also contains more beta carotene, and vitamin C than the regular yellow banana. These are not too common in the Philippines.


6. Plantain banana (locally known as sab-a)
The Plantain banana is starchy and lower in sugar. It has to be cooked before serving since it’s unsuited to eat it raw. Plantains are native of India, and grow mostly in tropical climates. Sometimes, it is preferred to potatoes or pasta in the Caribbean. Plantain usually has green color, when ripe, it is almost dark yellow. The flesh is creamy and yellowish or lightly pink. It is the main ingredient of turon, most popular snack dish of the Philippines.


Monday, July 25, 2011

Papaya Trees in the Gardens of Chateau De La Mer

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

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

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

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

Papaya Fruit

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


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

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

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

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


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


Papaya is marketed in tablet form to remedy digestive problems.

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

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

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

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

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

Medicinal potential

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

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

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Lowest and Highest Point in My Professional Career

Mt McKinley-the highest point in the United States

I have often been asked by friends and relatives, what were the lowest and highest point in my professional career as a Chemist here in US. Without hesitation and doubt, my most unhappiest moment or the lowest point in my career was when I was laid off with only one day notice (fired/restructuring) from my job as a Principal Research Chemist for Stauffer Chemical Company in Richmond, California.

Also without hesitation, I can state without doubt that the happiest moment or the highest point in my professional career was my promotion to Chemistry Team Leader in FDA including the award I received for expediting the manufacture of a burn ointment needed by the terrorist victims of the 9/11/01 bombing in New York and Washington, D.C.

The following are excerpts from my autobiography, on the two unforgettable events(low and high) in my professional life.(

Lowest Point in My Professional Career:The Death Valley of My Life

In 1974, I had a choice of working for a private company or the Federal government. I chose to work for Stauffer Chemicals in Richmond, California because I needed the money (higher salary than what the Federal Government was offering me at that time). I started as a Research Chemist and after 10 years (1984) reached the position of Principal Research Chemist. This is the highest technical position ( without supervisory duties) attainable in the company at that time. In 1986, a mass of layoffs occurred at Stauffer Chemicals. The company was getting out of the pesticide business. I was one of 60 employees relieve of our duties after just one day of notice. I just can not described the feeling of being laid off after 12 years of service and good performance. You feel betrayed and unappreciated, and envious of the other employees not fired. How I wish I took the Federal job offered to me at the time. With this experience, I vowed I will never work for a private company*.

Death Valley-the lowest point in the United States

Highest Point in My Professional Career-The Mt McKinley of My Life

I was hired by FDA as a Research Chemist in 1990. In 1994, I was promoted as Expert Research Chemist( GS-14). In 1997, I was again promoted to Chemistry Team Leader, supervising the work of six reviewers ( five with doctorate degrees). As far as I know, I was the first Filipino-American who has achieved this position in FDA. As team leader, I was responsible for prioritizing, assigning, and assuring the technical accuracy of all chemistry, manufacturing and control issues for all new drug applications submitted to the Division of Anti-Infective Drug Products. As team leader, I also give advice, instruct and promote high morale and teamwork in my group. In 1998, I won the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Award. The citation reads, “For outstanding accomplishments in fostering the objectives of the EEO Program by hiring minorities and encouraging their professional growth while providing excellent leadership.”

I have received numerous certificates of appreciation, awards in leadership and communications, commendation for teamwork and excellence in the accomplishment of the FDA mission. I have also received several letters of appreciation from private industry for my review work.

In 1995, I was elected to the United States Pharmacopeia, (USP), Committee of Revision(CR), Standards Division. As an elected member, I was responsible for establishing standards of identity, safety, quality, purity of drug substances and drug products as well as in-vitro and diagnostics products, dietary supplements and related articles used in health care. Election to this body is a very selected process. It is held every five years. In 1995, there were more than 700 scientists nation-wide from academia, government, and industry who volunteered to serve. USP narrowed it down to 256 final nominees. Of the 256, only 128 were elected. Election to the USP Committee of Revision confirms that the person is both the national and international expert in the field of election. In my case, it was in the field of antibiotics, natural products and botanicals.

The University of the Philippines Alumni Newsletter congratulated me with this statement, “ We join with your colleagues and your family in congratulating you for this singular honor, which brings prestige to the Philippines as well”. In March, 2000 I was reelected for another 5 year term.

My career in FDA would not be complete if I do not mentioned the terrorist bombing of the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. I remember clearly what I was doing and how I felt afterward. That morning in September 11, 2001, The office of New Drug Chemistry had a joint meeting with representatives of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (PHARMA) at the Hilton Hotel in Gaithersburg, MD. At about 9:20 AM, we received an announcement that the meeting is canceled and we can go home, since the World Trade Center in New York was burning. All of the attendees went to the hotel lobby and the TV was announcing the news. I felt sick, depressed but helpless to see the burning WTC building. Later, I learned that the Pentagon in Washington DC was also bombed and another plane crashed in the field somewhere in Southern Pennsylvania. I also found out that this United Airline plane was intended for the White House. Had it not been for the courageous heroics of several passengers, the White House would have suffered the same fate as the WTC and the Pentagon.

The most heinous crime of the century produced thousands of burnt victims. Two drugs in my Division, Sulfamylon and Silvadene, approved for the treatment of burns were out of supply. A chemistry manufacturing supplement has to be approved as soon as possible to manufacture more of these ointments in a new facility. This required a review by the chemist, an inspection of the facility by a field inspector, my approval as the chemistry team leader plus the paper work by the project manager. The drugs are needed immediately, so we have to do an expedited review of the manufacturing supplement. It took us only 12 hours to approve the new facility and the review of the chemistry supplement and its manufacturing and control procedures. This review normally will take at least one month to three months depending on the availability of the field inspector and the schedule of the review chemist.

In December, 2001, the four members of my review team received a special cash award and recognition award from FDA management for our work on expediting review of two drugs, Sulfamylon and Silvadene. Of my more than a dozen awards I had, this one is the most appreciated. I felt that I have done my job as a public servant and had helped the victims of the terrorist attack in a timely manner. In January, 2002 I received another award for my work on Doxycycline, an antibiotic needed to treat anthrax victims due to bio terrorism activities from unknown terrorists.

*Afterthought: I should really thank Stauffer Chemical Company management for firing me even after 12 years of excellent performance. This experience gave me an incentive to work for the Federal Government, otherwise, I would probably be working in the laboratory all my life. FDA had challenged me to my utmost ability. I learned not only to be a "work" oriented but also a "people" oriented human being. My 12 years in FDA had been the most productive and satisfying years of my professional career.

Note: For continuation of my FDA employment experiences, read or my autobiography above.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Will My wife and I still Enjoy Our Retirement Years?

Congress has until August 2 to raise the debt limit. If that does not happen, the federal government will have to make some tough choices on which bills to pay beginning August 3.

President Obama has warned that if the debt ceiling is not raised, Social Security checks may not go out in August. Obama also continues to warn that we may default on our debt if the debt ceiling is not raised.

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), a member of the House Tea Party Caucus, accused Obama of using “scare tactics,” and said that Obama is getting bad advice from people who are “lying” to him.

“There is money there regardless of what we do,” said Gohmert.

Others in the Tea Party Caucus also take the view that the debt ceiling does not need to be raised. Rep. Michele Bachmann, for instance, emphatically said in one of her presidential campaign ads that she will not vote for a debt ceiling increase.

Who is right? Will we default on our debt on August 3? Can we maintain our current level of debt without dire consequences?

Debt Default
An analysis of these questions was conducted by the Bipartisan Policy Center, a think tank founded by two retired Republican Senators, Howard Baker and Bob Dole, and two retired Democratic Senators, Tom Daschle and George Mitchell.

According to its report, the federal government will receive about $172 billion and have bills totaling about $307 billion in August. This leaves a shortfall of about $135 billion.

To keep from defaulting on our nation's debt obligations, the Treasury Department would first need to pay the interest on the treasury bills due in August, which will be about $29 billion. Since there will be $172 billion in revenue in August, there will be more than enough money to pay the nation's debt obligations and there will not be a default.

Jay Powell, who served as Under Secretary of the Treasury under George H. W. Bush and is a Visiting Scholar at the Bipartisan Policy Center, made this point in an interview on The Newshour.

“There's always going to be enough money to pay the interest on the debt, and it's very unlikely that there will be an actual debt default,” said Powell.

Tea Party Republicans are correct, therefore, when they say that there will be enough revenue to avoid a default. What about Social Security payments?

Social Security

Social Security payments in the month of August will be about $49 billion. If we subtract the interest on the debt ($29 billion) from August revenue ($172 billion), we are left with $143 billion, more than enough to send out Social Security checks.

Tea Party Republicans are correct again. There will be enough revenue in August to avoid default and to make sure seniors get their Social Security checks.

The available options after those payments are made, however, with only $94 billion left, get more difficult. As Powell points out, we may not default on debt, but we will “default on lots and lots of very important payments.”

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner will be in the unenviable position of trying to decide which payments will be made and which will not be made.

Note: My wife and I and the 60,114,000 social security recipients will be very unhappy if we do not get our SS check next month. Congress and President Obama( if he wants to be reelected in 2012) will not dare starve more than 60 million US citizens next month. Senior Citizens, let us unite to keep our SS payments on time.
Will my wife and I still enjoy our retirement years? We are dependent on our SS checks, so Congress and President Obama, you better do your job or else there will be a revolt in your hands!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Enjoy Marinduque For Less than $100 per Day For Two

The Beach House with a 180 degree Balcony overlooking the western Marinduque Sea

You do not have to spend a fortune( Bellarocca Resort) to enjoy the beaches, hot and sulfur springs, caves and underground rivers, cliffs and coral reefs, diving or snorkeling or just relaxing in your beach house balcony over looking the coral reefs of the Amoingon Coast, if you stay at Chateau Du Mer Beach Resort in Boac, Marinduque.

Note: Chateau Du Mer is a 3-bedroom HOUSE not a HOTEL Room. All rooms are either air-cooled or air-conditioned. There is a kitchen with small refrigerator and a microwave oven. There is hot water for showering. There is daily maid service. Massage therapy, manicure, haircut and transportation services are available with one day advance notice.

HOTEL rooms will cost around $20 to $40 per day depending on location and amenities in Marinduque.

A decent hotel room in Manila will cost you around $100 to $200 per day plus 12% tax. Bellarocca's Resort cheapest hotel room is about $329 per day without meals. Lodging and accommodation is a BARGAIN in Marinduque with the exception of Bellarocca. If you are not looking for night life, Marinduque is an excellent alternative to Boracay in Aklan (

The cost of the beach house for two is only $ 70 per day. Your food will cost you around $10 to $15 per day for two depending on the meals you desire. Transportation cost will vary from $10 to $12 depending on how far you travel from the resort.
The resort is owned and operated by David and Macrine Katague, Filipino-American Retirees who spend their retirement time half of the year in Marinduque and the other half in California, USA.

Here are some of the things to DO and SEE, while you are in Marinduque-My Island Paradise.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Save Money, Get Married in the Philippines!

Last year, my niece got married here in the US. She spent around $35,000 not including a one week honeymoon in Bora Bora, Tahiti. I thought it was really an extravagant wedding, until I learned today that the average expense of getting married here in US is about $29,000. My niece by the way had two wedding ceremonies, one civil here in Northern California followed two months later with a Roman Catholic Wedding in the Philippines. The reception was held at Chateau Du Mer Beach Resort in Marinduque, Philippines. The US wedding was more expensive even though the guests were limited to 100. The Philippine wedding was much cheaper because the wedding venue was free ( my gift as the primary sponsor). Accommodation for some of her US guests was also free. There were around 350 guests at the reception. My niece and her Mom spent only about $3000 for the wedding ceremony in Marinduque not including the 5 days honeymoon in Boracay Island, Aklan.

Incidentally, Chateau Du Mer has been a venue of both Garden and Beach Wedding Ceremonies in the Philippines as shown in the above photos.

Note: The dollar figures quoted above are my educated guess. I am sure however that my niece sold some of her stocks and cashed in $50K. I do not know how much the groom contributed, but their 5 days honeymoon in Tahiti cost them 10K. Nine years ago, we have a family wedding. The cost at that time was 25K. So, how much are you willing to spend for a wedding in your family? Would you rather save the expense and used it as down payment for a house or maybe a condo?

If you reside in the Philippines and money is not your problem, I highly recommend Bellarocca Resort in Buenavista, Marinduque as a wedding venue. However, be prepared to spend at least 2 million pesos( current exchange rate is 43 pesos for one dollar)or about $45,000.

You have however a much cheaper alternative. The rental for Chateau Du Mer for one day is only 7000 pesos or about $163. You may choose a Garden or Beach Wedding site.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Beach House Logo and Photos from a Garden Wedding

Prelude to the Wedding- Celebration of Life Dance
Garden Wedding Altar
Garden Wedding Give-Away of the Bride by Parents
Bridge-Focal Point of Landscaping

The above pictures were taken during our first garden wedding at Chateau Du Mer Beach Resort and Conference Center. The last image is my CDM logo design by yours truly with the help of David III. Notice the butterfly design, recognizing Marinduque as the Butterfly Capital of the Philippines. This logo has been transferred to t-shirts, caps and mugs available for sale as souvenirs from the CDM Beach Resort and Conference Center.

Recent Photo of the Beach House

A recent construction is the third bedroom or meeting room for 30 at the bottom floor of the beach house. The room is air conditioned and can served as a room dormitory style for six. The daily rental is 4000 pesos. There is an adjacent terrace (18 sq. meters) facing the ocean. Two marble tables from Romblom is the focal and center point of the decoration in the terrace.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

No More Brown Outs at Chateau De La Mer, Marinduque

Lately, I have received several complaints from tourists and residents about frequent brown outs in Marinduque. I have also heard that several visitors from Manila and abroad have second thoughts of spending their vacation funds just to arrive in Marinduque, then suffer the consequences of no electricity. I am proud to announce that my resort, Chateau Du Mer has its own industrial generator, so power brown outs is not a problem in the Beach Resort and Conference Center. Power black outs will not ruin your wedding reception parties or seminar, or your vacation just in case there is a brown out. There is no additionial fees for this convenience. The use of the GENERATOR is included in the rental fees.

However, I thoroughly agree with the complaints from several residents and tourists that this problem should be given the highest priority by the provincial government.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Do You Garden By the Mouth?

Have you heard of the phrase " gardening by mouth"? I heard this phrase just recently from one of our guests at the beach house. He told me that a good friend of his loves to garden by mouth. I was curious what it meant. He later informed me that his lady friend had a personal gardener. So all she does is tell the gardener what to do in the garden. In my case, even though I have two full time gardeners in Marinduque, I am still strong enough to do "actual gardening" as one of my "exercise activity", besides walking along the beach in early morning or late afternoons. I still love to do a little weeding, watering, transplanting , pruning and fertilizing. The major job of mowing, pruning, weeding and spraying is done by mouth.

The above photos ( orchids, hibiscus, bougainvilla, bird of paradise, euphorbia, heleconias) are the fruits of my actual and mouth gardening. I hope you enjoy the flowers. If you also garden by mouth please let me know!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Fruit Trees in the Gardens of Chateau De La Mer

The Mango Tree-I have three varieties in my Garden-The Indian, Guimaras and Carabao Mangoes
I have several fruit trees in the orchards of Chateau De La Mer. I have rambutans( 2),lanzones(2) and jack fruits( 2). The above fruit trees were given to me by Retired General Recaredo Sarmiento of Boac and Lucena about five years ago. General Sarmiento is the “atid” of my wife. “Atid” is the colloquial term for brother. Evidently, Macrine's father, the late Bernardo Jambalos was the Godfather of General Sarmiento during his baptism and comfirmation. Gen Sarmiento's hobby is orchard planting, reforestation and farming.

The other fruit trees in my garden are guayabanos, cashew, avocados, starapples, duhats, ates, guavas, mangoes( 3 varieties) and papayas as well as several varieties of bananas. Of the above fruit trees, my favorite is the guayabanos, also known as soursop tree known for its anti-tumor and anti-cancer properties. The following are photos of the fruit trees. My desire is to have a passion fruit tree in the near future. You are welcome to visit my orchard and flower gardens any time, if perchance you are in the vicinity of The Chateau Du Mer Beach Resort and Conference Center.
The Rambutan Tree and Fruits

The Lanzone Tree and Fruits

The Jack Fruit Tree
The following video is about unusual and exotic fruits. Enjoy!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Full Moon at Chateau De La Mer

One of the many things I will never forget at Chateau Du Mer is the full moon. During the summer, the moon shines so bright, it looks like day light. However, during the monsoon season, oftentimes, the moon is partially or completely covered with the rain clouds.

One of my favorite activity during full moon is to have a leisure walk along the beach with my dog. There is no need for a flashlight. You could walk for miles without getting tired.

Another activity is to light a bon fire (tapong) on the beach. You could roast marshmallows, drink beer or wine. For appetizer you could have barbecue pork or oysters and clams (if in season).

If I do not feel like walking, I just stay at the balcony of the beach house, plug in my boom box and listen to classical or Filipino music. Envious of this lifestyle?
I do not blame you. I should thank God, for giving me the Health and Time to enjoy the full moon in our retirement beach house in Boac, Marinduque

Friday, July 15, 2011

Sunset and Twilight at the Gardens of Chateau De La Mer

Notice the two swimmers also enjoying the sunset

My favorite time of the day in Marinduque is at sunset and at twilight. During this time and up to midnight, I could show case my more than 50 solar lights of various types around the resort. Besides the solar lights, I have installed spot lights in all of the statuary's and garden sculptures near the Conference Hall and also in the Main House. The three photos( taken at twilight) above focused on the bridge lighting (red and white). The bridge is the focal point of the landscaping design of the beach house.

The creek under the bridge is filled with native fish, crabs and snails during the summer season. Four years ago, I seeded the creek with tilapias in November. By May, it was already about 3 to 5 lbs. I feed the tilapias twice a day with commercial fish food. I told Edwin, my caretaker to harvest them before the rainy season, otherwise they will be flushed into the ocean, when the monsoon rains start around July-August. Edwin was able to harvest more than a dozen for his table. A couple of tilapias that remained in the creek were flushed into the ocean by August.

The top photo is one of my favorite sunset picture taken from the balcony of the beach house. Macrine and I hope to see you soon in Marinduque-our island paradise.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Euphorbias in the Gardens of Chateau De La Mer

Besides my orchids and hibiscus collections (,
I have also a collections of Euphorbias. The plant is also known as Siam's(Thailand)Lucky Plant. Five years ago, I purchased 3 plants for 1000 pesos(about $20).Today, Euphorbias are so cheap, you can buy one for less than a $1, since they are easily propagated via cuttings.

They bloom whole year round, likes sun and dry soil and very drought-resistant. They are almost pest-free except for small mites. The mites are almost microscopic and attacked the leaves. My favorite is the light yellow, almost light green variety. I have also varieties that have double flowers in red and pink. The most common color is pink(bottom photo). Here's a video about the care of Euphorbia in Sanskrit.


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