Monday, December 31, 2012

Are You Celebrating the New Year with Alcohol?



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

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

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

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



Our New Year Escapade,1970:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Time to Say Merry Christmas in Different Languages



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

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

Reference: www.freelang.net

Monday, December 24, 2012

Spiral Honey-Baked Ham for Christmas, Again



Our main dish again this year for our Christmas Dinner is the spiral honeybaked ham.
This has been our family tradition since my retirement to Northern California in 2002. I have purchased a 5 lb ham ( we will have only 8 adults and one child for dinner this year) three days ago, to avoid the long lines. But I was mistaken. I still waited for 45 minutes to be served since there were about 100 customers ahead of me. If you wait to buy your ham today, expect a line from 1 to 3 hours. I was wondering why this ham is very popular compared to other hams. The reason is explained in this short posting from the Honeybaked ham website as follows:

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

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

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

Saturday, December 22, 2012

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

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


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

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

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

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

Note: I feel better after writing this post!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Ten Things that I dislike about the Philippines

City Traffic and Pollution

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Ten Things that I Love about the Philippines

Photo from anton.blogs.com

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

These ten items are not in order of importance.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Longest Christmas Season in the World-The Philippines



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

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



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

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

Am I right? Are there any other countries in the world that celebrates Christmas longer than 5 months? My advance Christmas greetings to you all my beloved readers from 165 countries all over the world.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Philippines Still Perceived as a Corrupt Country

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Improve Your Sex Life by Dancing the Argentine Tango

Yong and Ivy Dancing the Argentine Tango-Photo by Jun Punzalan

I was reading yesterday issue of the Philippine Inquirer- Philippine national daily newspaper with world wide readership. In the Lifestyle Section, there was an article titled Argentine Tango Hits Manila. In that article,Macrine's ( my spouse of 55 years) first cousin and his wife, Young Nieva and Ivy Almario were featured as Argentine Tango practitioners and enthusiasts. The article also hinted that the sex life of the Nievas are much better with their Argentine Tango activity.

I would tend to agree, since dancing is a form of exercise. Exercise improves ones health, thus ones sex life. Allow me to quote an excerpt from that article written by Marge Enriquez.

“Interior designer Ivy Almario and husband-restaurateur Guillermo “Yong” Nieva were awed by Halley’s lithe and graceful presence when she performed the Argentine tango in her birthday party. They invited their traveling group, composed of happy couples, and took some lessons with Ogie Mendoza. They also danced the tango by the sea in Halley’s beach house. Almario had never danced in her life. She kept fit with gym workout. A natural dancer, Nieva would yank her out from her desk and get her to dance at 9 a.m.

“I like to distract her from her work. If not, she will keep on working for hours,” he says. “Ivy is the biggest miracle. She’s a quick learner. Now if you get her a DI, she will twirl and dance nonstop.”

Almario’s main advantage is that she is dancing with her significant other. While most women dancing with a DI will feel a certain connection, this couple is euphoric about the intimacy that it brings. “Our energies are so together that even when we stop dancing, I still feel it,” says Nieva.

Asked how dancing together has enhanced their sex life, Almario replies, “Why, does it need help? Seriously, if you’re fit, the sex is always better.”

The article above reminds me of my teenager days in the 1950's, when my father( now deceased) was teaching us how to dance the tango ( not Argentine), the rumba and the jitterbug. The tango taught by my dad is similar to the current American smooth tango.

Do you know that there are five styles of Tango? They are the Argentine, French, International (Smooth), American, and then one that is still danced in the lower class sections of Argentina. Each of the styles is its own, but there are many similar movements for all styles.

I love watching Dancing with Stars. In this TV program, the Tango Dances are a mixture of International style and American style depending on the professional. The main difference between the two is that in International style, the couple stays in a closed frame, while in American, they separate more often. Below is a video from the show featuring Shawn Johnson.



Speaking of Dancing with Stars( one of my favorite TV shows), last night episode was the first day of a 2-day dancing finals. The finalist were all women. My prediction is that Shawn Johnson and her partner Derek Hough will win.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Funny, Unusual and Sexy Images in the Web

An Airplane Hotel- Photo from travel.spot.coolstuff.com
The following are some of my favorite photos from the web. I do not own any of the photographs, so if you have any copyright issues, please inform me immediately. I will be delighted to remove it from this posting. This is indeed a good illustration of the saying, a picture is worth more than a thousand words. Enjoy and feast your eyes on the photographs. Some are funny, the others sexy and the rest unusual.

Indeed, I could smell it for miles

A sexy tree in my backyard?

It is my dog, not my ?

Come on, let me look!

Nice and well-placed Picture

Do you Know where this statue is?

Is this tree for real?

Are you brave enough to participate in this Event?

These are pigs, look closely!

Would you like a tree like this in your Garden?

is this photo just came from the Photo Shop?

This gourd plant is easy to grow in the tropics.

As a gardener, I love this photo from the rest of the photos in this posting.

Getting Ahead of the Wedding Night Festivities

Which photo is your favorite? Comments, anyone?

Note: I do not own any of the photos above. However, I have no intention in infringing on your photograph copyrights.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Brief History of Blogging

Image from Wikipedia

Do you know that the first on-line diary was created in 1994? But it was not until 1997 that the term weblog was coined. It was coined by Jorn Barger. It was then shortened to the word "blog," by Peter Merholz, in April of 1999. Then, Evan Williams at Pyra Labs used "blog" as both a noun and verb. To blog MEANS "to edit one's weblog or to post to one's weblog". He also created the term "blogger" in connection with Pyra Labs' Blogger product, leading to the popularization of the terms. Today, the words blog and blogging is used by hundred of millions all over the world including myself since 2008.

Slowly after that, blogging rapidly gained in popularity. Blog usage spread during 1999 and the years following, being further popularized by the near-simultaneous arrival of the first hosted blog tools, Open Diary and SlashDot:

Open Diary was launched in October 1998, and soon grown to thousands of online diaries. It became the first blog community where readers could add comments to other writers' blog entries.

On the other hand SlashDot, was launched in 1997 and became a popular blog site for tech "nerds". Later Brad Fitzpatrick, a well known blogger started LiveJournal in March 1999.

In July, 1999, Andrew Smales created Pitas.com. It was an easier alternative to maintaining a "news page" on a website. This was followed by Diaryland in September 1999. The website did focused more on the personal diary communities.

In August 1999, Evan Williams and Meg Hourihan (Pyra Labs) launched blogger.com . In February of 2003, Blogger.com was purchased by Google, Inc. After the purchase, Googles Adsense was launched the next year and now is the most popular and successful venture in the advertising business for Google, Inc.

Permalinks, blogrolls and TrackBacks made it easier for personal web pages to link to each other. Together with weblog search engines, it allows bloggers to track the threads that connected them to others with similar interests. This was the start of commercial blogging, also known as professional bloggers. They either sell a product directly to readers or via an affiliate company or advertise a business.

Today, hundred of millions of personal as well as commercial ( professional) blogs populates the Internet. In 2008, it was reported that there were 112 million blogs all over the world. This does not not include the 72 million from China. The two most popular blog hosts here in US that I know are blogger.com and wordpress.com.

Do you have a personal blog? Can you tell me why you are blogging? Do you blog to sell a product, advertise a business or just for FUN? I will be delighted to hear from you!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Dungeness Crab Season Opened in San Francisco Yesterday

Image from business.week

According to the local news in the Bay Area, The first boat load of Dungeness crab arrived in the Fishermans Wharf yesterday. The catch was small but the quality of the crabs were good. The price agreed by the commercial fishermen and the distributors was set at $3.00 per lb which was higher from the agreed price last year of only $2.25 per lb. With this quick agreement, Dungeness crabs will now be available to consumers soon in the area outside the county of San Francisco. I checked our local Relay store here in Fair Oaks this morning. They have not received their supply, but is expecting it next week for the Thanksgiving holidays. However, they have available frozen crabs meat claw for about $9.00 for 8 oz. My grocery man here in Raley informed me that his guess for the price of fresh Dungeness Crabs will vary from $4.99 to $6.99 per lb.

Since I have a cravings for another crab omelet today, I decided to purchase the crab meat from the Dungeness Claw for our dinner tonight. The recipe for the Omelet is identical to the one I posted just recently in my blogs. THE ARTICLE is titled "What did I do to deserve this Treat: AT, http://lifeinus1960present.blogspot.com dated 10/25/12. The only thing different in the recipe is that instead of shredded cabbage, my wife used bean sprouts. I purchased bean sprouts for only 0.99c per 8 oz. bag at Sprouts Farmer's Market a couple of block from our residence.

We just finished dinner and the Crab Claw Omelet with Bean Sprouts was EXCELLENT. With the omelet we have steam rice and Hawaiian sweet rolls along with a glass of Johanesberg Grey Reisling wine. For dessert we have chocolate cake and coffee ice cream.

If you have not cooked a crab omelet, visit my blog, http://theintelectualmigrant.blogspot.com dated OCTOBER, 25, 2012.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Luray Caverns, Luray, Virginia

Entrance to the Luray Caverns Attractions

My wife and I visited Luray Caverns in the spring of 1997. It was about 20 minutes just after we exited SKYLINE drive at the Thornton Gap of the Shenandoah National Park near Highway 211 of Virginia. This was our first tour of a commercial cave in the US. LURAY Caverns is not as popular as the Carlsbad Caverns of New Mexico or the Mammoth Caves of Kentucky, but it was a visit we will never forget.

Luray Caverns, originally called Luray Cave, is a large, celebrated commercial cave just west of Luray, Virginia, USA, which has drawn many visitors since its discovery in 1878. The underground cavern system is generously adorned with speleothems (columns, mud flows, stalactites, stalagmites, flowstone, mirrored pools, etc.). The caverns are perhaps best known for the Great Stalacpipe Organ, a lithophone made from solenoid fired strikers that tap stalactites of various sizes to produce tones similar to those of xylophones, tuning forks, or bells.

Here's a short write-up and video about the caves from the Luray Caverns management and website: Since discovery in 1878 by a tinsmith and a local photographer, visitors by the millions have made Luray Caverns the most popular cave in Eastern America and an internationally acclaimed destination.

Four million centuries in the making beneath Virginia’s storied Shenandoah Valley, this “must see” U.S. Natural Landmark awaits your discovery. One hour tours, from well-lighted, paved walkways lead visitors through cathedral-sized rooms with ceilings 10 stories high. Enormous chambers are filled with towering columns, shimmering draperies and crystal-clear pools.

Also in this subterranean wonderland, “Hear Rocks Sing” as you experience the haunting sounds of the world’s largest musical instrument, The Great Stalacpipe Organ. Completely unique are the beautiful tones created by this one-of-a-kind instrument, which makes music of concert quality from the surrounding stalactite formations covering more than three acres.

Luray Caverns, for more than 130 years, has been renowned as one of the world’s most spectacular natural wonders. A world of magic and majesty, still as marvelously beautiful as described in the newspaper headlines over a century ago. This was our first cave visit in the US. It was mesmerizing and a humbling experience to see this spectacular natural wonders of Virginia.



KADANGYAN is one of Cebu's foremost ethnic bands, composing and playing in their own unique style. Most of their instruments are original and handmade from natural products. Here's the comment of the video maker.

"I shot this video in the jungle near the reservoir and it was an extremely difficult shoot because we wanted to use the natural surroundings, rather than a studio setting! The hike, carrying instruments and video equipment was a challenging one! info@globalvideoprotv.com". Please share.!

Balesin Island Club Official Video A destination of unmatched natural beauty located off the Eastern coast of Luzon in the Philippines, Balesin is a 500 hectare tropical island paradise with 7.3 kilometers of pristine white sand beaches. Located 21 kilometers southeast of Polillo, Quezon Province and just 60 nautical miles east of Manila, Balesin is a quick 25-minute plane ride from Manila, yet is a world completely unto itself. Alphaland Balesin Island Club is your unique, members-only, private leisure getaway-today and for generations to come.

Members will be given 14 complimentary days in any of our seven themed villages inspired by world-class beach destinations namely: Balesin, Bali, St. Tropez, Costa Smeralda, Mykonos, Costa Del Sol, and Phuket. Members can enjoy the landscaped pools and authentic restaurants while giving them an impressive view of the ocean.

Masterfully planned by EcoPlan of Miami, Florida, USA, Balesin Island Club was designed with the environment uppermost in mind and to be in perfect harmony with its natural surroundings. Water harvesting, 80% water recycling, a reverse osmosis plant, on-site eco friendly transportation, organic farming, and alternative sources of energy reduce the amount of waste and ensure sustainable development on this beauty of an island – without scrimping on luxurious, top-notch facilities.

Bellarocca Resort, Buenavista, Marinduque

Located between the southeastern portion of Luzon and Mindoro islands, Marinduque is flanked from four sides: North, South, Northeast and Southwest by the Tayabas Bay, Sibuyan Sea, Mompoy Bay and Tayabas Strait, respectively.

Bellarocca Island is situated off the south west coast of the Marinduque province. Characterized by seaside cliffs, valleys, hills and sparsely dotted plains across this heart-shaped region, therein lies even more impressively hot springs, waterfalls and underwater flora and fauna. In addition to these, there are caves that await exploration by adventurous travelers. Many are yet to be fully investigated or documented. The most famous of these cave systems is Bathala Caves which hosts a complex network of seven mostly uncharted caves. In the capital Boac, spelunkers can take delight in the limestone Talamban caves situated on a 300-meter hill.

Because of the location within the Philippine archipelago, Marinduque has been aptly dubbed the heart of the Philippines.

For those who wish to travel privately, guests can choose to arrive at the island directly via private helicopters, chartered flights or luxury yachts from Manila to Marinduque. Arrangements are coursed through our Manila Reservation Staff.

Marinduque is a short 30-minute flight south of Manila. Another access available to guests is the commercial flights from Manila to Marinduque by Zest Air, which flies on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Advance purchases of promo airfares online(www.zestair.com.ph) are being offered as low as PHP3,000.00 net round trip per person.

Land and sea transfers to Bellarocca: From the airport in Marinduque, our guests are met by our airport representatives and picked up by private vans for a 40-minute land transfer to the town of Lipata, Municipality of Buenavista, where Bellarocca is located. From there guests are transferred via speed boats and yachts, depending on the expected number of arrivals, for a brief 5 – minute crossing to the island.

You have seen the videos of the two exclusive resorts. Just based on the videos and on the brochures above, which one will you visit first if money is not your problem?

I have stayed in Bellarocca over the weekend and it was fantastic, but I believe it is overpriced( the non-promo package). I do not know the membership fees for the Balesin Island Club, but based on the description, it will be a threat and a competition for Bellarocca clients. Both resorts do not participate in the International Exchange Vacation Program. So even if you have a time exchange membership in a five star US resort, you will not be able to exchange it at either Balesin Island Club or in Bellarocca Resort.



Enrique Iglesias is a Spanish singer, songwriter and occasional actor of Spanish and Filipino descent, popular in both the Latin market and the Hispanic American market in the United States. He was born on May 8, 1975. He is the son of the famous Spanish singer Julio Iglesias and Isabel Prysler-a Filipina beauty . Within five years of beginning his musical career in the 1990s, he became the biggest seller of Spanish-language albums of that decade. He made his crossover into the mainstream English language market before the turn of the millennium, signing a multi-album deal with Universal Music Group for an unprecedented US $50,000,000 with Universal Music Latino to release his Spanish albums and Interscope to release English albums. In 2010, he parted with Interscope and signed with another Universal Music Group label, Universal Republic.

Iglesias has sold over 100 million records worldwide(over 70 million albums), making him one of the best selling Spanish language artists of all time. He has had five Billboard Hot 100 top five singles, including two number-ones, and holds the record for producing 22 number-one Spanish-language singles on the Billboard's Hot Latin Tracks. He has also had ten number-one songs on Billboard's Dance charts, more than any other single male artist. Altogether, Iglesias has amassed 68 number-one rankings on the various Billboard charts. Billboard has called him The King of Latin Pop and The King of Dance. Billboard also named Enrique the number two Latin artist of the years 1986–2011 (Luis Miguel taking the first spot). Note: This is my No.7 of a series of articles on famous Filipino-Americans in the field of entertainment, sports, medicine, and philanthropy.

José Protacio Mercado Alonzo y Realonda Rizal was born on June 19, 1861 and died on December 30, 1896. He was a Chinese Filipino polymath, patriot and the most prominent advocate for reform in the Philippines during the Spanish colonial era. He is regarded as the foremost Filipino patriot and is listed as one of the national heroes of the Philippines by the National Heroes Committee. His execution day in 1896, now known as Rizal Day, is a national holiday in the Philippines.

He was born to a rich family in Calamba, Laguna and was the seventh of eleven children. He attended the Ateneo Municipal de Manila, earning a Bachelor of Arts, and enrolled in medicine at the University of Santo Tomas. He continued his studies at the Universidad Central de Madrid in Madrid, Spain, earning the degree of Licentiate in Medicine. He also attended the University of Paris and earned a second doctorate at the University of Heidelberg.

Rizal was a polyglot, conversant in twenty-two languages. He was a prolific poet, essayist, diarist, correspondent, and novelist whose most famous works were his two novels, Noli me Tangere and El filibusterismo. These social commentaries on Spanish rule formed the nucleus of literature that inspired peaceful reformists and armed revolutionaries alike.

As a political figure, José Rizal was the founder of La Liga Filipina, a civic organization that subsequently gave birth to the Katipunan led by Andrés Bonifacio, which would start the Philippine Revolution against Spain, leading to the foundation of the First Philippine Republic under Emilio Aguinaldo. He was a proponent of achieving Philippine self-government peacefully through institutional reform rather than through violent revolution, although he would support "violent means" as a last resort. Rizal believed that the only justification for national liberation and self-government is the restoration of the dignity of the people, saying "Why independence, if the slaves of today will be the tyrants of tomorrow?" The general consensus among Rizal scholars is that his execution by the Spanish government ignited the Philippine Revolution. Source: Wikipedia

Note: This is number 6 on my series of articles on famous Fil1pinos, pure or with mixed ancestry, living or dead in the field of entertainment, science, sports, politics or philanthropy. I hope you are proud of their accomplishments whether you have Filipino ancestry or not.



Emmanuel "Manny" Dapidran Pacquiao, was born on December 17, 1978. He is a Filipino professional boxer and politician. He is the first eight-division world champion, in which he has won ten world titles, as well as the first to win the Lineal Championship in four different weight classes.

He was named "Fighter of the Decade" for the 2000s (decade) by the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA), World Boxing Council (WBC) and World Boxing Organization (WBO). He is also a three-time The Ring and BWAA "Fighter of the Year," winning the award in 2006, 2008 and 2009, and the Best Fighter ESPY Award in 2009 and 2011.

He was long rated as the best pound for pound boxer in the world by some sporting news and boxing websites, including ESPN, Sports Illustrated, Sporting Life, Yahoo! Sports, About.com, BoxRec and The Ring. On April 2012, Pacquiao dropped to number two in the rankings, behind Floyd Mayweather, Jr. However on May 7, 2012, The Ring declared the top position vacant and jointly ranked Pacquiao and Mayweather in the number two spot.

Aside from boxing, Pacquiao has participated in acting, music recording and politics. In May 2010, Pacquiao was elected to the House of Representatives in the 15th Congress of the Philippines, representing the province of Sarangani. Source: Wikipedia

Note: This is Number 5 on my series of article on famous Filipinos, pure or with mixed ancestry, living or dead in the field of entertainment, science, sports, politics, medicine or philanthropy. I hope you are proud of their accomplishments whether you have Filipino ancestry or not.

Blog Archive

Joys of Retirement at Chateau De La Mer, Marinduque, Philippines

I have been retired from USFDA since 2002. At first, I feel I have lost my identity as an individual or have lost my contribution to society. However, within a few weeks all these feelings were gone. It started when my wife and I started baby sitting one of our grandchildren. As some economics professor states: "Your children are your capital investments, but your grandchildren are your profits. That is why you love your grandchildren more than your children". I really agree with the statement. Retirement also gives you lots of time to do things you like to do, such as your hobbies and of course travel. In my case, I turned my hobby of gardening and landscaping into a small business in the Philippines. This endeavor was planned about five years before 2002. That year my wife and I started construction of our retirement home in Boac, Marinduque , Philippines. The next year we built a beach house, followed by a Conference Hall two years later. Needless to say, planning and executing the landscaping was a challenge and very enjoyable. With the help of local labor, I not only enjoy the time gardening and landscaping, but also help improved the economic situation of the province by providing work and jobs to the local residents. With plenty of time, I have engaged into two specific activities as follows: First, I created a website for my small business. By trial and error, I created and design the website, www.chateaudumer.com I have never been a computer nerd or expert. But with plenty of time and patience, the fruits of my labor could be enjoyed if you visit the website above. The second activity, I have not done before was to utilize on-line activities, such as shopping, paying bills ( save you stamps) and playing computer games in the Internet. I really enjoyed playing duplicate bridge on line. You play with players all over the world and can chat in between games. But be careful, you are not spending too much time in the computer. It is very addictive. With a lots of time, my wife and I devoted more time on our favorite humanitarian project. For the last 15 years, we have been involved with medical mission to the province of Marinduque. For details please visit the website: www.marinduqueinternational.org As a summary, the joy one gets on retirement is very specific for an individual. Some enjoy their free time by learning new activities, getting involved with humanitarian projects or spending more time with their grandchildren. Others hate it, since they missed their former jobs and co-workers. Others with no children still enjoy retirement by traveling, turning their hobbies into business or more community involvement. Of course those that retire and hate it, is believe to die earlier than those that enjoy their retirement years. So, plan your retirement as early as you can. The happier you are on retirement, the longer you will live.

Followers

About Me

My photo

I love gardening, play duplicate bridge, has collection of orchids, bougainvillas, hibiscus and other tropical plants

Orchids and Statuaries in the Gardens of Chateau De La Mer

Orchids in the Front Yard of the Main House The photos above are some of the statuaries and orchids from the Gardens Of Chateau de la Mer, Boac, Marinduque, Philippines.