Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Years' Eve, 2013-2014

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 2014 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."

Monday, December 30, 2013

Time for A Good Movie-I am Dina

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Pearl Harbor-Time for A Movie Today

Released, 2001 In early 1923, two young boys from Tennessee, Rafe McCawley and Danny Walker, pretending to fight the Germans, climb into Rafe's father's biplane cropduster and accidentally start it, giving them their first taste of flying. Soon after, Danny's father (William Fichtner) comes to drag him home, berating him for playing with Rafe and beating him. Rafe attacks Danny's father calling him a "dirty German"; Danny's father counters by explaining that he fought the Germans in World War I and wishes that they never witness the horrors of war.

In the summer of 1940, as grown men, Rafe (Ben Affleck) and Danny (Josh Hartnett) are First Lieutenants in the United States Army Air Corps under the command of Major Jimmy Doolittle (Alec Baldwin). Rafe meets Evelyn Johnson (Kate Beckinsale), a Navy nurse who passes him for his physical examination even though he has dyslexia, and is instantly smitten. The two soon begin dating and fall in love. However, Rafe has volunteered to serve with the Royal Air Force's Eagle Squadrons. Before Rafe leaves for England, he makes a promise to Evelyn that he will come back for her. Evelyn and Danny are transferred with their respective squadrons to Pearl Harbor. Rafe is shot down over the English Channel and presumed to have been killed in action.

Three months later, Evelyn and Danny bond over their mourning of Rafe and unexpectedly develop feelings for each other. They soon begin their own relationship.

On the night of December 6, 1941, Rafe unexpectedly returns to Pearl Harbor, having survived the crash and being stranded in occupied France in the interval. He quickly realizes that Evelyn and Danny are now together, and feeling hurt and betrayed, the two friends soon get into a fight at the local hula bar. The next morning, on December 7, they are interrupted by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor by Zero fighters, Val dive bombers and Kate torpedo bombers.

The surprise Japanese air raid sinks the battleships USS Arizona, USS Oklahoma and many other ships. Back at the hospital, Evelyn helps tend to the dozens of wounded who come in and must help decide who can and cannot be saved. Meanwhile, Rafe and Danny are the only two who manage to get airborne and shoot down seven Japanese aircraft with P-40s using their reckless tactics, including an old game of theirs called chicken. The two men then go to the hospital, where Evelyn takes blood from them for the hundreds of injured soldiers, and later aid in trying to rescue the many men still in the harbor. In the aftermath, the survivors attend a memorial service for the fallen victims after the U.S. declaration of war on Japan.

Rafe and Danny are both promoted to Captain, awarded the Silver Star and assigned to now-Colonel Doolittle for a dangerous and top-secret mission. Before their departure, Evelyn meets Rafe and reveals that she is pregnant with Danny's child, although she doesn't want Danny to know so he can focus on the upcoming mission. She says that she is going to remain with Danny, though deep down she will always love Rafe just as much. Rafe accepts this.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt (Jon Voight) wants to send a message that the Japanese homeland is not immune from bombing. Danny, Rafe and others are to fly B-25 Mitchell medium bombers from the aircraft carrier USS Hornet, bomb Tokyo and then land in friendly Chinese territory. The two men succeed in their bombing but crash-land into a rice field in a Japanese-held area when their bombers run out fuel. Just as Rafe is about to be shot, Danny flies over head and shoots the attacking Japanese soldiers. Danny's plane then crashes and he is wounded. Japanese come in and attack Rafe and start to hold the others captive. They tie Danny to a cattle holder. Rafe picks up a gun and kills several Japanese. Danny acts as human shield for Rafe and is fatally wounded. Rafe holds a dying Danny in his arms, telling him he can't die because he's going to be a father. With his dying words, Danny tells Rafe to raise his child for him. The crew arrives back in Hawaii and a hopeful Evelyn awaits. She sees Rafe and is excited, but then sees him carrying Danny's coffin.

At the end of the war, Dorie Miller becomes the first African American to be awarded the Navy Cross and Rafe is discharged from the Army. He and Evelyn, who are together again, and Danny's son, also called Danny, who Rafe is bringing up as his own, are back at the farm in Tennessee visiting Danny's grave. Rafe then takes his son flying, and the two fly off into the sunset in the old biplane.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Honey Baked Ham and Potato Casserole

Honey Baked Ham/Potato Casserole

In my recent posting, I discussed my experience in how I spent about one hour in line just to purchase a spiral honey baked ham for our Christmas dinner, known in the Philippines as the Noche Buena. In that post, I expressed my feeling of frustration as well as of not being appreciated when my wife indicated that my purchase of a 4.5 lb ham was not adequate for our nine guests. My wife felt, I should have purchased at least a 6 lb ham or bigger.

My decision to buy a smaller ham was based on my experience that besides the ham we will have other several dishes in the Noche Buena menu, so that there will be lots of leftover ham. My estimate was correct. We have about 2 lbs of ham leftover. It is getting stale in the refrigerator, unless we used if for another recipe. I have made ham sandwiches with sweet Hawaiian rolls which is delicious. BUT THERE are still about a pound of leftover ham.

Today, I am getting sick of looking at the ham, so I asked my wife her recipe for another ham dish that is not only simple but also delicious. Here's my wife simple recipe. She called this recipe her Honey Baked Ham and Potato Casserole.

6 big potatoes
2 medium sized unions
1 bunch parsley
1 quart sour cream
1 cup of milk
1.0 lb of honey baked ham( other brand of ham may be used)
0.5 cup Flour flavored with garlic salt and ground black pepper

Peel the potatoes and sliced it to about 0.5 inch thick. Slice the unions. Shred the parsley. Chop the honey baked ham into small slices. Grease the pyrex dish with cooking oil. Layered the dish first with the sliced potatoes, then the ham, then the onions, sour cream and parsley. Sprinkle this layer with flavored flour. Repeat the layering and flavoring process until the dish is almost full. The top layer should be another slice of potatoes To the top of the dish pour about 1 cup of milk. Cover the pyrex dish. Baked in the oven for about an hour at 350 degrees Use a cuisinart in all your slicing activities, to make cooking easier for you..

My wife tells me, she has a few other recipes for leftover hams, but the recipes are more complicated and required more ingredients and longer time to prepare, such as a ham quiche or souffle

Do you have a recipe for left over hams, you want to share?. I will appreciate it very much, if you do. Bon Apetit this coming New Years Day Feast and Celebration!

Note: In the Philippines as well as in other parts of the world you need to have 12 pieces each of round fruits that must be on the dinner table at the stroke of midnight if you want to be lucky and prosperous for the coming year.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas to All

To All My Readers_Wishing You Happiness Today and Prosperity for this coming New Year, 2014-Enjoy this Christmas Light Show!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Mendelssohn Violin Concerto

My Dual color hibiscus in the Gardens of Chateau Du Mer Beach Resort, Boac, MRQ, PHL

It is Christmas Eve here in US but already Christmas in the Philippines. So to my readers in the Philippines my Christmas Greetings and thanks for reading and commenting on my blogs. Today, I also feel listening to a violin concerto. When I was in College, one of my dorm mates was a music major. He would practice the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in his room next to mine every Saturday afternoon. I was very fascinated listening to it. It is now one of my favorite violin Concerto along with Sibelius and Beethoven. Here's a video of Hillary Hahn playing the piece in her very best, I believe. Enjoy! The second video is just the first movement with graphical presentations.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Three Dishes for My Birthday Party

Last Friday was my birthday, but I had an overactive stomach that day, so we did not have any party. However, yesterday, my sister-in-law(Charo Jambalos Levin)and Merlet Perlas from Palo Alto visited my wife and me to have a celebration of my birthday. They brought with them two whole Dungeness Crabs a gift from my wife's niece, Elaine Lazarte Chalfin of Mountain View, California. They also brought with them two other dishes, the chicken adobo sa gata and the Chicken Quesadilla dish. The recipe of the three dishes are as follows:

A.Dungeness Crabs in Oyster Sauce

1. Divide and crack the whole steamed Dungeness Crabs into small portions. Save the Butter.

2. In a separate pan, saute ginger, and garlic with vegetable or olive oil.

3. Place the cracked crabs into the pan, stir until it simmers.

4. Add the crab butter with enough water to transfer all the butter into the pan

5. Add 2 tbs of oyster sauce, then the scallions.

6. Continue stirring until it simmers. Serve Hot.

B. Chicken Adobo sa Gata(Coconut Milk)

1. Chopped one whole chicken into small edible portions. Take out most of the skins and wash the meat

2. Saute garlic and onion in vegetable or olive oil in a pot. Put the chicken in the pot, stir and mix. Add a tsp of powdered black pepper. Boil the chicken for 10 minutes or until cooked without adding any water. Add about one tsp of tumeric powder* ( dilaw or yellow in Pilipino) and simmer another 10 minutes.

3. Add 1 can of coconut milk and simmer until the dish turn yellow. Then add ½ cup of vinegar, and mix. Add slices of green and red bell peppers, salt and pepper to taste. Serve Hot. Total time should be around 30 minutes.

* If you are rich, used safron instead of tumeric

C. Chicken Quesadilla ( Excellent for Left over Baked Chicken)

1. Shred the baked chicken. Place the chicken in a tortilla flour. Add Cheddar Cheese.( Any kind of cheese will do).

2. Close and flip the tortilla. Place in a hot skillet ( no oil). Invert tortilla and cook until the cheese melts. Add your favorite salsa( mild or hot) and sour cream. My favorite salsa is the HOT Pecante sauce. My wife prefers the MILD version. Bon Apetit!

Again thank you, Charo, Merlit and Lanie for my birthday treat!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Anyone for Spiral Honey Baked Ham?

Our main dish again this year for our Christmas Dinner is the spiral honey baked ham. We will have 9 adults and one child for dinner this year. Yesterday, I already purchased a 5 lb ham at our local Honey Baked Ham store, to avoid the long lines. But I was mistaken about avoiding the waiting in line. I still waited for 35 minutes to be served since there were about 60 customers ahead of me. The store carries also glazed turkey breast besides the honey bake ham. If you wait to buy your ham today, expect a line from 2 to 3 hours and wait outside the store in the cold. This year though, the parking at the back of the store was well organized. The store hired a parking attendant directing the in and out traffic caused by the hundreds of ham and turkey buyers this week.

Every year I am always wondering why this ham is very popular compared to other hams. The reason is explained in this short posting from the Honey baked ham website as follows:

"The spiral ham had its origins at Honey Baked Ham Company over 50 years ago. Harry J. Hoenselaar opened the first Honey Baked 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 Honey Baked 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 $6.99 per pound for the ham I purchased yesterday. It is not a bad buy since it is a delicious meat dish. 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 and pumpkin pies, Hawaiian sweet rolls and steam rice. Again my dear readers, I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Safe New Year.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Asian Shore Crabs in Coconut Milk

Photo from fotochef.blogspot.com
In my previous posting I described how I watched harvesting the bangus (milk fish)from my parents fish pond when I was growing up in the Philippines. Along with the bangus, hundreds of mini crabs known locally as talangka were also harvested. The correct English name for talangka is “Asian shore crab” because of the square shaped top shell.

I remember eating the small crabs that our maid cooked in coconut milk. It is called locally as Ginat-an na Talangka. This Filipino dish has also shrimp paste( bago-ong), garlic, ginger, and chili(hot pepper). Do not over cooked the crabs. You may used vinegar with crushed garlic as a good dipping sauce. The best part of the crab is the red fat (TABA),oftentimes known as the Filipino caviar. Here's how to eat this delicious dish.

First remove the top shell, then split the body into two and remove the legs. Dip into vinegar/garlic sauce, and eat the body only. The legs are pretty sharp. Omit the hot pepper if you do not like it spicy hot. This dish is super high in cholesterol and not for persons with high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. Bon Apetit!

Last year ABC News featured Chef Bun Lai of Miya Sushi Restaurant in New Haven, Connecticutt regarding his recipe of crab popcorn. I am sure it taste better than shrimp popcorn. Chef Bun Lai urged everyone to eat Asian shore crab popcorn to help restore the ecosystem balance in the Eastern seashores of the US.

The scientific name of the Talangka is Hemigrapsus sanguineus. It is sometimes called as the Japanese shore crab or Asian shore crab, crablets or mini crabs. This is a species of crab from East Asia. In recent years, it has been introduced to several other shores in other countries, and is now an invasive species in North America and Europe.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Today is My 79th Birthday! What Have I done?

Me and Wife Macrine Celebrating My 74th Birthday in the Philippines

Today I turn 79 years old. After completing my Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Chemistry, then worked for the Federal government(FDA) for 12 years as well as 22 years in the private industry here in the US, I considered myself successful in my chosen career. On a personal level, I have been married for over 56 years to the same woman, have four successful children and six grandchildren. Today also reminds me of the 101 things in my bucket list that I have previous;y posted in my blogs. It is not really a wish list since I have already done most of the things in the list (except numbers 7 and 43). Does this mean, I am ready to die? Not Yet I hope, I have still a lot of blogging to do. I hope you keep on sending your comments. Your comments energizes me, whether it is positive or negative.

I hope the following list will inspire you to write your own list. There is no order of priority in the list, but my twelve favorites are numbers 1, 3, 13, 24, 26, 32, 42, 47, 65, 79, 86 and 101

1\. Write your autobiography and memoirs or write for a Writing site such as Squidoo, or Skrive.it.
2\. Join a medical mission to a third world country (Philippines recommended)
3\. Create a web site or start a blog
4\. Create a YouTube or Vimeo video
5\. Try eating three exotic fruits (durian, tamarind, passion fruit and others)
6\. Go wine tasting and visit at least 10 wineries in the Napa Valley, California
7\. Join a tour to one of America's top ten Breweries
8\. Eat raw oysters, escargot, seafood paella or any dish that you have not eaten before (maybe a balut or dinugu-an)
9\. Take up Yoga or Tai Chi
10\. Watch a Foreign Film, an Opera or a Play
11\. Have a really Expensive Meal with your Loved One (Chez Panis in Berkeley, CA)
12\. Go to the Casino without Gambling. Just eat a buffet lunch or dinner
13\. Visit Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks
14\. Learn how to play a musical instrument
15\. Join a church or community choir
16\. Join a Walking tour of China Town in San Francisco or Visit the de Young Museum
17\. Play duplicate bridge on line just for fun and not for gambling
18\. Attend a Broadway Show in New York City or in San Francisco
19\. Go to a jazz club at the French Quarter, New Orleans, LA
20\. Visit the Rock of Gibraltar and Tangier, Morocco
21\. Join a Cruise to the Bahamas, Alaska or at Baja California
22\. Visit at least one Mayan Ruins in Mexico(Chichen Itza and/or Tulum Ruins)
23\. Attend a Tennis Academy for one week at Rancho Bernardo, California
24\. Visit at least five National Parks/Monuments in US
25\. Try something you have not done before, perhaps sky diving, deep sea fishing or a helicopter ride
26\. Visit St Peter's Square, the Vatican and have an audience with the Pope
27\. Visit the White House and the National Monuments, Washington, D.C.
28\. Visit Gettysburgh, Pennsylvania, Civil War National Cemetery
29\. Visit Dutch and Amish Country in Southern Pennsylvania
30\. Learn how to snorkel or Scuba Dive
31\. Learn a new dance, perhaps a Cha Cha, a Tango, a Rumba or a Quick Step
32\. Attend a professional ice hockey game
33\. Write a music parody
34\. Write an acrostic poem
35\. Ride a mechanical bull in (Sugar Land, Texas)
36\. Go Fire Walking in Hawaii
37\. Attend a Professional Football Game
38\. Visit Disneyland and Ride a Roller Coaster
39\. Swim with the Dolphins or with the Manatees or walk in a semi-dormant volcano
40\. Go whale watching in Hawaii
41\. Visit a Zoo (San Diego Zoo highly recommended)
42\. Visit a Botanical Garden (Longwood Gardens in PA or Buchart Gardens in Victoria Island recommended)
43\. Taste Ludong-the most expensive fish in the Philippines
44\. Milk a cow or a goat
45\. Go Butterfly and Bird Watching
46\. Watch sea turtle eggs hatching and running toward the sea
47\. Visit Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
48\. Visit Death Valley National Park, California
49\. Visit The Everglades National Park, Florida
50\. Visit Yosemite National Park, California
51\. Visit at least one out of the "Seven Wonders of the World"
52\. Witness a meteor shower, a comet or a lunar eclipse
53\. Visit Niagara Falls and Take a Picture of the Falls at Night
54\. Visit the Alhambra and its Gardens in Granada, Spain
55\. Visit Big Ben and the House of Parliament, London
56\. Visit the Coliseum in Rome and/or Saint Francis de Assisi Church, Italy
57\. Visit Corregidor Island, Philippines
58\. Visit at least one out of the "Seven New Wonders of the World"
59\. Visit a Museum in US (J Paul Getty Center in LA, Art Institute in Chicago or the Museum of Modern Art in New York City)
60\. Visit all of the Smithsonian Museums in Washington, D.C.
61\. Live in a Foreign Country for at least 4 months (Philippines recommended from November to February)
62\. Visit Historic Williamsburg, Virginia and Virginia Beach
63\. Climb up to the Statue of Liberty or the Lincoln Memorial
64\. See the Empire State Building and take a bus tour of New York City
65\. Visit the Hearst Castle in San Simeon, California
66\. Attend the National Cherry Blossoms Festival in Washington, D.C.
67\. Attend a Mardi Gras in New Orleans, LA
68\. Attend the Moriones Festival in Marinduque, Philippines
69\. Learn How to Play Bridge or Hongkong Mahjong
70\. Learn how to Grow Orchids and other tropical plants
71\. Have a "High Tea" at the Empress Hotel, Victoria Island, BC, Canada
72\. Own your own Beach House or a small Island
73\. Kick negative habits and Mild Addiction (smoking, alcohol, computer or Facebook)
74\. Learn how to be a Good Listener
75\. Learn how to accept criticism
76\. Discover your family tree and traced your ancestry and genealogy
77\. Go to mass and communion every day for at least one year
78\. Meditate for at least 20 minutes every day for at least one year
79\. Get a whole body reflexology massage
80\. Visit a planetarium (Chicago Planetarium recommended)
81\. Sit in A Jury
82\. Have your portrait painted
83\. Get your Palms read
84\. Eat a pistachio ice cream and leche flan
85\. Eat gateau le sans rival and mercedes de brazos cake without being guilty
86\. Watch a salmon spawning run
87\. See a Cirque de Soleil Show in Las Vegas, Nevada
88\. Have a timeshare vacation exchange in Puerto Rico and Cancun, Mexico
89\. Visit Aruba and surrounding areas
90\. Visit Malaga, Marbella and Costa del Sol, Spain
91\. Take a long train ride (may be the Orient Express or the Skunk Train)
92\. Write your own 101 things to do before you die (at least 25 items)
93\. Sing Karaoke in front of people without blushing
94\. Write a song or a poem on a subject close to your heart
95\. Visit Ground Zero Monument, New York City
96\. Visit a volcano (Hawaii Volcano National Park recommended)
97\. Learn a new language, take music lessons or a music appreciation class
98\. Bathe in a hot spring or sulfur spring in Marinduque or some other place in the world(Bath,UK)
99\. Treat yourself and your love one to an expensive vacation (maybe at Bellarocca)
100\. Learn How to say "NO" without feeling guilty.
*last but not least*
101\. Make a difference in at least one person's life

As my favorite quote says: "The time that you have touched the life of others is the time that you have really lived".

I am sure most of you reading this list have already done number 10 and 101. How many in the above list have you done? I hope the above list will inspire you to write your own bucket list.

I am thanking God for all his blessings today and for the future years ahead . To those friends and relatives who sent me their Birthday Greetings, My million thanks. Yesterday ( 12-20-13 in the Philippines, I received more than 50 birthday greetings in my FB timeline. Again, Thank You All!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Mushrooms Stuffed with Dungeness Crabs

Special today in Food Maxx Grocery store here in Northern California are whole Dungeness Crabs for only $2.99 per lb. I believe this will be the lowest price one can purchase Dungeness crabs this season. I purchase two almost 2-lbs each of whole crabs costing me only $12. In my previous posting, I wrote about my favorite crab cake recipe, crab quiche, garden salad with crabs and a corn and crab soup. Today, I wanted to try cooking an appetizer that is easy to prepare since I am an amateur cook. I found the following ( allrecipes.com) recipe and it reminded me of the dish I once order at the Red Lobster Restaurant near our residence.


3 tablespoons butter, melted

24 fresh mushrooms

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons minced green onions

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 cup diced cooked crab meat

1/2 cup soft bread crumbs

1 egg, beaten

1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed

3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided

1/4 cup dry white wine


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Prepare a 9x13 inch baking dish with 3 tablespoons butter. Remove stems from mushrooms. Set aside caps. Finely chop stems. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the chopped stems and green onions and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat. Stir in lemon juice, crab meat, soft bread crumbs, egg, dill weed and 1/4 cup Monterey Jack cheese. Thoroughly blend the mixture.

Place mushroom caps in the buttered pan, and stir until caps are coated with the butter. Arrange caps cavity side up, and stuff cavities generously with the green onion and crab meat mixture. Top with remaining Monterey Jack cheese. Pour wine into the pan around the mushrooms. Bake uncovered in the preheated oven 15 to 20 minutes, until cheese is melted and lightly browned. Serve warm. Bon Apetit!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Memorable Clips from Schindler's List

Schindler's List is one of my favorite movies about the Hitler's extermination of the European Jews during World War II. The following are memorable clips from that movie. Have a tissue ready, just in case!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Special Crab Omelet Recipe

With the price of Dungeness crab at only $2.99/lb in our neighborhood, It is now time again to feast on crabs.

My favorite crab omelet recipe( previously posted-11/23/13 on this blog) used shredded cabbage and potatoes* but no raisins, bell peppers, peas or tomatoes. That first recipe was a simpler recipe than this one. I love both recipes, but this one is special because it contain more ingredients that I like particularly the red bell pepper, raisins and the peas. My wife before her PD diagnosis usually prepare this dish only on special occasion like my birthday or a town fiesta using Philippines hard shell crab or soft shell ocean crab meat. Bon Apetit

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small potato, peeled and diced

1 onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

3/4 pound fresh crab meat, drained and flaked

salt and pepper to taste

1 small tomato, diced

1 (1.5 ounce) box raisins

1/4 cup peas

1 red bell pepper, chopped

4 eggs, beaten

*Instead of potatoes, yakima, sincamas or Mexican turnips may be used


Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Fry the potato in the hot oil until fork-tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the potatoes to a plate lined with paper towels and set aside. Return the skillet to medium heat. Cook the onion and garlic in the remaining oil until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the crab to the skillet and season with salt and pepper; stir. Cover the skillet and cook for 2 minutes. Stir the tomatoes into the mixture and cook another 2 minutes. Add the raisins, peas, and red bell pepper to the mixture; stir and cook another 2 minutes.

Pour the eggs over the mixture. Cook until he eggs set, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the omelet and cook 1 minute more. Transfer to a serving plate and serve.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Relleno Na Bangus

Yesterday, I posted the simplest recipe I can think of for bangus. Today, I like to share with you a special recipe for bangus that our family here in US and Marinduque enjoyed very much. We usually prepare this dish only during special occasion like birthdays and holidays. This is my wife's recipe for Relleno na Bangus. Relleno means stuffed. The hardest and time-consuming part is deboning of the fish. Otherwise the recipe is very simple but not recommended for amateur cooks like me. The ingredients are as follows:


1 medium size bangus (milkfish)
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 lemon
1 tbsp soy sauce
42.5g raisins*
60g peas
1 carrot, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
* Here in US, sweetened and dried cranberries may be used instead of the raisins

Directions of preparation:

Clean fish by removing scales, removing gills and the insides. Cut part of the tail. Pound the flesh of the fish to loosen it up. Cut open from the backside lengthwise. Scrape out fish meat, being careful not to tear the skin. Set aside. Squeeze half of lemon into the meat and soya sauce. Boil 2 minutes. When cooled, remove fish bone from the meat.

In a skillet, saute garlic and onion in olive oil. Add the fish meat, and all remaining ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook 5 minutes. Cool. When cooled, fill the skin with all of the cooked mixture until the fish is formed again. Sew the side to seal the mixture. Fry (used vegetable or olive oil) the fish whole. Slice fish crosswise to serve.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Simplest Recipe for Milk Fish

My wife and I have the easiest way to have a good meal using bangus. We just baked it and in 1 hour we have a delicious fish dish. The hardest part is to clean the fish but in most fish markets in the Philippines the fish vendors will clean it for you free of charge or gratis et amore.


1-1.5 kg bangus
1 thumb size ginger, sliced thin crosswise
115 ml soya sauce
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic
4 calamansi, juiced (lemon juice could be used)
1 tomato, diced
salt and pepper to taste


Clean bangus by removing the scales, removing gills and washing the inside. Pat dry with paper towel. Mix tomato, onion and a third of ginger. Salt and pepper to taste. Cut open the front side of the fish and fill with this mixture.

Mix all other ingredients, ginger, soya sauce, and calamansi or lemon juice. Place the bangus on a roasting pan lined with aluminum foil large enough to cover the fish when folded. Pour the soya sauce mixture over the fish. Fold the aluminum foil and seal all ends. Bake at 375F for 60 minutes. Very easy, even a amateur cook like me can do this!

Friday, December 13, 2013

My High School Years in the Philippines

I went to high school in Barotac Viejo, Iloilo, Philippines from 1947-1951. I was only 13 years old in 1947. I was a shy and skinny teenager, but smart and had a photographic memory according to my parents. I was not athletic at all but an avid reader and maybe called a nerd in today's lingo. I graduated valedictorian of my school class at age 17. I was a voracious reader of several books that my parents were able to save from the bombing of our house in Jaro just after at the start of American-Japanese War in the Philippines on December 7,1941.

I remember listening to radio soap operas( Aklat Ng Pagibig- Book Of Love) with my family in the early evening from Monday to Friday. There was no television then. No Computers, no Internet, no Charge Cards or FaceBook. Our only two luxuries were a weekly subscription of an English news magazine, the Philippines Free Press for my father and the subscription of a local Magazine for my mother named Yuhum( Smile) published in the dialect called HILIGAYNON. The Yuhum contains episodes of novels in the Ilonggo dialect that the whole family anticipates eagerly week by week. As soon as we received the magazine, my mother has the first priority. After she finished she will pass the magazine to me. It is only after, I finished reading the magazine that it is free to all other members of the family. Our maids and helpers were the last in the order of priority for readership.

The Philippine Free Press was my father's favorite news magazine. I remember reading all the weekly news, the fight for democracy in the country, corruption and other political issues and subjects during that time. Yes, I remember there was corruption in the Philippines at that time, but not as blatant and rampant as of today with the pork barrel scams and several others corruption activities of the Pinoy politicians.

I was also lucky to get a subscription of a monthly US Magazine called The Farm Journal published in Iowa, USA. In one issue, I sent a letter to the Editor, describing how I enjoyed the journal specifically an article on gardening and fruit trees culture. I was surprised my short letter was published. Along with the notification of publication, I received a $1 cash payment. This was the first dollar I have earned in my life. Needless to say, I was so proud receiving that one dollar, I brag about it in my high school class. All my classmates were envious of my accomplishment and were very curious how I was able to do it. I did not spend the $1 but keep it in my scrapbook. At that time the dollar to peso exchange was still 1 to 2. My guess was that the value of that one dollar at that time is now equivalent to $50 today.

Another activity that I treasured was reading comics magazine of Batman, Superman and the Classics such as Les Mesirables, Don Quixote, The Last of the Mohicans and Tale of Two Cities. I have a collection of these comics that I treasured. When I left for college in Diliman, Quezon City, I placed it in a trunk with my photos and scrapbook. Four years later, after I graduated with my Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, I went back to Iloilo and my trunk was gone. I have no idea where it went. My father was supposed to know where it was but he died that year.

The memories during my high school years when there were no computers, television, Facebook, YouTube or charge cards, I will always treasured. Today, I often wonder how I survive those years without today's amenities and luxuries and technological advances.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

An Award Winning TV Soap Opera

Voted Best Couple of the Decade in a TV Drama-Christian and Oliver

My interest in soap opera with controversial themes started after I watched the Philippines TV drama, My Husband's Lover(MHL). A Facebook friend suggested that if I like drama in the same genre as MHL I should looked into the German drama titled Verbotene Liebe( Christian and Oliver). To my surprise this drama(Forbidden Love) had been in TV for quite sometime, but I have no idea of its popularity with millions of viewers in Europe and in the US. Luckily old episodes are available in the Internet and I am starting to view old episodes and enjoying it. The topics portrayed in this drama are indeed ground breaking exploring issues that is of interest not only to the LGBT community but to all lovers of soap operas all over the world. Like most popular TV dramas, the series is about Money, Sex and Power. For the summary of this drama series read the Wikipedia.

An Excerpt from the Award winning German TV drama, Verbotene Liebe, translated as Forbidden Love

The series has become well known for its groundbreaking treatment of LGBT characters, presenting bisexuality and homosexuality as normal, and homosexual and bisexual relationships as equal to heterosexual relationships on the show. For this reason, it has become popular with gay and lesbian audiences in Europe and the United States. Ever on the cutting edge, the series is not afraid to tackle controversial issues such as drug addiction and abuse, murder, rape, suicide, adultery, incest, homophobia, alcoholism, HIV, schizophrenia, miscarriage, kidnapping, and sexual confusion.

In 2005, Verbotene Liebe (Forbidden Love) received the prestigious Rose d'Or award for "Best Soap," and in 2010 was nominated for the category of "Best Soap or Telenovela." More recently, the show was nominated for eight German Soap Awards in 2011, winning three. The show is filmed at the Cologne-Ossendorf studios of the Magic Media Company, with outdoor scenes and exterior shots regularly shot in and around Cologne and Düsseldorf. In January 2011,the series began filming in high definition.

Old episodes of this drama is in the Internet. Happy Viewing and let me know if you like this drama and if this is also your first time.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

My Wife Quit Smoking Cold Turkey

After 40 years of smoking my wife decided to quit smoking cold turkey last month. I am so happy for her and I admired her for her decision. During the last 40 years she tried to quit at least 3 times. The first time was through an aversion therapy clinic sponsored by my former employer. She quit for three weeks and had a relapse. The other two times were her cold turkey attempts. Her last attempt and hopefully a successful one was last month. I bought a nicotine patch package, but she did not used it. As of today 4 weeks after she quit, she appears to be well adjusted and had not touched a cigarette. Her withdrawal symptoms were mild, thanks heavens.

I attribute her success so far to the following health events in her life. Six months ago she was diagnosed with PD. After a brain scan the neurologist observed that she had also a mild heart attack (TIA) that we were not aware of. A week later after all tests( 5 diagnostic tests) were conducted, she was diagnosed to have right carotid artery stenosis with infarction. The doctor advised her to quit smoking, but she was not ready. Five days ago she had carotid endarterectomy surgery and now recuperating very well from the surgery. One of the post operative care was to quit smoking. She decided to quit cold turkey and hopefully there will be no relapse this time. Here are the benefits of stopping smoking: Within hours of stopping cigarettes, the body starts to recover from the effects of nicotine and additives. Blood pressure, heart rate, and body temperature, all of which are elevated because of the nicotine in cigarettes, return to healthier levels. The lung capacity increases and the bronchial tubes relax, making breathing easier. Poisonous carbon monoxide in the blood decreases, allowing the blood to carry more oxygen. Quitting smoking is one of the best things one can do, for short and long-term health. In addition, you save money by not buying cigarettes and in our case, that is about $150 savings in our monthly budget and expenses.

The following video is informative and most of what the video says applied to my wife's cold turkey experiences.

If you were a smoker who quit cold turkey, please share your experiences, so we may be able to help them in their nicotine addiction.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Garden Salad with Dungeness Crabs

I was looking for the easiest recipe for garden salad with crab meat the other day. I found this recipe ( Food network) called the New Orleans Style. However, this is similar to my wife's recipe of Crab Louie salad.
My wife has the same recipe without the green onions and the olives.( a much simpler recipe)

1 head iceberg lettuce, cored and cubed
1 pound lump crabmeat, picked over for shells and cartilage
1/2 cup chopped yellow onions
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup roughly chopped pimiento-stuffed green olives (about 8 large)
2 tablespoons chopped green onions
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a large bowl, combine the lettuce, crabmeat, onions, celery, olives, green onions, and parsley. In a small bowl, combine the oil, vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper, and whisk to blend. Pour over the crabmeat mixture. Toss gently to coat, being careful to not to break up the crabmeat lumps. Adjust seasoning, to taste.

Refrigerate until well chilled and the crabmeat is marinated, at least 2 hours. Serve.

Reference: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/new-orleans-style-crabmeat-salad-recipe/index.html?oc=linkback

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Ludong-Most Expensive Fish in the Philippines

Ludong or Pacific Salmon-the most expensive fish in the Philippines

The Ludong or Lobed river mullet is a freshwater mullet. While it is claimed to be endemic to Cagayan River and tributaries extending through the watersheds of Cagayan Valley and the Santa-Abra River Systems of Ilocos Sur and Abra in the Philippines, verifiable and reliable sources have listed Celebes, New Caledonia, New Hebrides, and Fiji as areas where the lobed river mullet may be also found. It is sometimes called the Pacific Salmon or the President's fish, since only the President and the rich will be able to afford it.

Ludong is herbivorous, eating only the filamentous algae that live on rocks and boulders in and near river rapids.

A mature fish weighs from 0.25 kg to 2 kg and costs P4,000- P5,000 a kilo, making it the most expensive fish in the country. At today's exchange rate that is about $100 to $200 a kilo or around $40 to $80 per lb. It commands a very high price in the market because it is seasonal and difficult to catch and an has an excellent aroma and taste when cooked. Its unique taste makes it one of the most sought-after ingredients in making delicious dishes.

This elusive fish is catadromous in nature; it migrates to the ocean to breed. It swims to salt water to spawn from October to December and returns to upstream ponds after. It undergoes upstream migration during December, January, and February, and this coincides with the “ipon-run phenomenon’ wherein different species of fish fry also undergo upstream migration. After the ludong had undergone downstream migration, it can be caught in Cagayan River and tributaries.

Ludong is close to being an endangered species, considering its threatened state in the Northern Luzon waters. In fact, information gathered from fish vendors in Cagayan showed that the volume of ludong catch has been tremendously decreasing annually. Thus this week the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) issued a 3-month moratorium in the fishing of this river mullet.

In 2006, BFAR launched Sagip Ludong, a wide fish-hunt in Aparri for 60 pieces of live ludong. The hunt was conducted during the first half of October because it provides the best opportunity to catch live ludong, which seasonally appears two to six times only in a year from October to November.

Another expensive and rare fish in Marinduque is the Bingao. It is a big ocean fish belonging to the red snapper family. It is very tasty and has no fishy smell when cooked. It taste like pork or eel. Last year I paid 400 pesos per kilo from a fisherman neighbor here in Amoingon, Boac. A lottery is held by the fish vendors if one fish is available for sale to avoid fist fights in the market place. At least this 400 pesos/kilo price is affordable, since I will never pay 4000 pesos a kilo for a fish, unless I won the lottery or I become President or someone treats me with a ludong feast.

Reference: Wikipedia

Saturday, December 7, 2013

The 72nd Anniversary of the Bombing of Pearl Harbor

I was only 7 years old when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on December 7, 1941. The attack lasted less than two hours, but it took an incredible toll of four battleships sunk, 188 aircraft destroyed, and 2,403 Americans killed. On the other hand, Japan lost only 64 men and 29 planes. Life Magazine wrote in its December 15, 1941, issue, "World War II came with startling suddenness to America. With reckless daring Japan aimed this blow at the citadel of American power in the Pacific. World War II lasted four more years, until Germany surrendered in May of 1945. Japan surrendered four months later, in the wake of America's destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The attack on Pearl Harbor, rather than a great Japanese victory, turned out to be an act of belligerent folly that, in elemental ways, guaranteed the Land of the Rising Sun's eventual defeat".

This day always reminds me of my childhood experiences of the Japanese-American War in the Philippines. I wrote an article on this subject in one of my blogs and today I am delighted to re post so that we will not forget the horrors of war. There are no winners in war, everyone are losers!

"Life in the time of war is a difficult experience for a child. All school and play activities are interrupted. Survival amidst the chaos becomes a paramount goal in life. Our family had to uproot ourselves from the comfort of home and move several times to the hard life in the countryside. We had to avoid the conflict and the bombing in the city.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, December 6, 2013

Chemistry, Manufacturing and Controls of NDA's

The other day, my wife asked me a what if question. She ask that if I have a chance and be granted a wish, would I be willing to take back my job as a Chemistry Team Leader for the Food and Drug Administration since my mind is still sharp. Without hesitation I said no and explained to her about the two facets of my responsibilities as a first line supervisor in charge of the Chemistry, Manufacturing and Control requirements for a New Drug Application (NDA) in the Division of Anti-Infective Drug Products.

The first facet is my interaction with Chemists and Reviewers under my supervision and from other Divisions. I will have no problem handling that today. The second facet is my interaction with the representatives of the Pharmaceutical companies that FDA regulates. This facet requires up to date knowledge of laws, regulations and Guidances. Today, I feel I will not be as sharp and well-prepared to this part of my responsibilities if I am still a Chemistry Team Leader for FDA. There are 43 CMC Guidances that a team leader should know by heart and mind. At this stage of my life, I believe I will not be able to handle the pressure and responsibilities on this facet of a team leader job.

In my previous posting, I discuss a general overview of new drug development(NDA) and FDA's role in the process. In this article I am focusing on the Chemistry portion of a new drug application which was my expertise when I was still working for FDA from September,1990 up to October,2002. I am listing below a table of all CMC Guidances both in draft and final form. As a former Chemistry team leader in the Division of Anti-Infectives Drug Products in the Center of New Drugs Chemistry, I have some input on the contents of a few of these guidances. These 43 guidances are available in the Internet for everyone.

Below is a table of Chemistry, Manufacturing and Controls (CMC) Guidances showing,
category, title status( draft or final) and date.

1. Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Controls (CMC) Analytical Procedures and Methods Validation (PDF - 91KB)1 Draft Guidance 08/30/00

2. Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Controls (CMC) Assay Development for Immunogenicity Testing of Therapeutic Proteins (PDF - 161KB)2 Draft Guidance 12/04/09

3. Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Controls (CMC) Botanical Drug Products (PDF - 437KB)3 Final Guidance 06/01/04

4. Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Controls (CMC) Changes to an Approved Application for Specified Biotechnology and Specified Synthetic Biological Products (PDF - 33KB)4 Final Guidance 07/01/97

5. Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Controls (CMC) Changes to an Approved NDA or ANDA (PDF - 108KB)5 Final Guidance 04/01/04

6. Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Controls (CMC) Changes to an Approved NDA or ANDA: Questions and Answers (PDF - 35KB)6 Final Guidance 01/01/01

7. Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Controls (CMC) Changes to an Approved NDA or ANDA; Specifications – Use of Enforcement Discretion for Compendial Changes (PDF - 18KB)7 Final Guidance 11/19/04

8. Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Controls (CMC) CMC Postapproval Manufacturing Changes Reportable in Annual Reports (PDF - 78KB)8 Draft Guidance 06/24/10

9. Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Controls (CMC) Comparability Protocols -- Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Controls Information (PDF - 240KB)9 Draft Guidance 02/25/03

10. Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Controls (CMC) Container Closure Systems for Packaging Human Drugs and Biologics (PDF - 164KB)10 Final Guidance 05/01/99

11.Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Controls (CMC) Container Closure Systems for
Packaging Human Drugs and Biologics -- Questions and Answers (PDF - 15KB)11 Final Guidance 05/01/02

12. Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Controls (CMC) Demonstration of Comparability of Human Biological Products, Including Therapeutic Biotechnology-derived Products12 Final Guidance 04/01/96

13, Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Controls (CMC) Development of New Stereoisomeric Drugs13 Final Guidance 05/01/92

14. Chemistry, Manufacturing and Controls (CMC) Drug Master Files (DMFs)14 Additional Information regarding DMF's

15. Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Controls (CMC) Drug Master Files for Bulk Antibiotic Drug Substances (PDF - 23KB)15 Final Guidance 11/01/99

16. Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Controls (CMC) Drugs, Biologics, and Medical Devices Derived from Bioengineered Plants for Use in Humans and Animals (PDF - 88KB) Draft Guidance 09/11/02

17. Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Controls (CMC) Environmental Assessment of Human Drug and Biologics Applications (PDF - 188KB)17 Final Guidance 07/01/98

18. Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Controls (CMC) Format and Content for the CMC Section of an Annual Report (PDF - 29KB)18 Final Guidance 09/01/94

19. Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Controls (CMC) Incorporation of Physical-Chemical Identifiers into Solid Oral Dosage Form Drug Products for Anticounterfeiting (PDF - 79KB)19 Draft Guidance 07/14/09

20. Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Controls (CMC) INDs for Phase 2 and Phase 3 Studies Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Controls Information (PDF - 193KB)20 Final Guidance 05/20/03

21. Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Controls (CMC) IND Meetings for Human Drugs and Biologics Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Controls Information (PDF - 30KB)21 Final Guidance 05/01/01

22. Guidance for Industry: Interpreting Sameness of Monoclonal Antibody Products Under the Orphan Drug Regulations (PDF - 26KB)22

23. Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Controls (CMC) Liposome Drug Products: Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Controls; Human Pharmacokinetics and Bioavailability; and Labeling Documentation (PDF - 45KB)23 Draft Guidance 08/21/02

24. Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Controls (CMC) Monoclonal Antibodies Used as Reagents in Drug Manufacturing (PDF - 29KB)24 Final Guidance 03/01/01

25. Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Controls (CMC) Metered Dose Inhaler (MDI) and Dry Powder Inhaler (DPI) Drug Products (PDF - 361KB)25 Draft Guidance 11/19/98

26. Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Controls (CMC) Nasal Spray and Inhalation Solution, Suspension, and Drug Products (PDF - 116KB)26 Final Guidance 07/01/02

27. Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Controls (CMC) NDAs: Impurities in Drug Substances (PDF - 11KB)27 Final Guidance 02/01/00

28. Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Controls (CMC) Orally Disintegrating Tablets (PDF - 52KB)28 Final Guidance 12/17/08

29. Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Controls (CMC) PAC-ATLS: Postapproval Changes - Analytical Testing Laboratory Sites (PDF - 76KB)29 Final Guidance 04/28/98

30. Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Controls (CMC) Residual Drug in Transdermal and Related Drug Delivery Systems (PDF - 44KB)30 Draft Guidance 08/02/10

31. Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Controls (CMC) Residual Solvents in Drug Products Marketed in the United States (PDF - 52KB)31 Final Guidance 11/24/09

32. Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Controls (CMC) Reviewer Guidance, Validation of Chromatographic Methods (PDF - 703KB)32 Final Guidance 11/01/94

33. Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Controls (CMC) Size of Beads in Drug Products Labeled for Sprinkle (PDF - 43KB)33 Draft Guidance 01/18/11

34. Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Controls (CMC) Submitting Documentation for the Manufacturing of and Controls for Drug Products (PDF - 1048KB)34 Final Guidance 02/01/87

35. Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Controls (CMC) Guidelines for Submitting Samples and Analytical Data for Methods Validation Final Guidance 02/01/87

36. Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Controls (CMC) Submitting Supporting Documentation in Drug Applications for the Manufacture of Drug Substances (PDF - 94KB)36 Final Guidance 02/01/87

37. Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Controls (CMC) SUPAC-IR: Immediate-Release Solid Oral Dosage Forms: Scale-Up and Post-Approval Changes: Chemistry, Manufacturing and Controls, In Vitro Dissolution Testing, and In Vivo Bioequivalence Documentation (PDF - 60KB)37 Final Guidance 11/01/95

38. Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Controls (CMC) SUPAC-IR Questions and Answers about SUPAC-IR Guidance38 Final Guidance 02/18/97

39. Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Controls (CMC) SUPAC-IR/MR: Immediate Release and Modified Release Solid Oral Dosage Forms Manufacturing Equipment Addendum (PDF - 117KB)39 Final Guidance 01/01/99

40. Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Controls (CMC) SUPAC-MR: Modified Release Solid Oral Dosage Forms Scale-Up and Postapproval Changes: Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Controls; In Vitro Dissolution Testing and In Vivo Bioequivalence Documentation (PDF - 215KB)40 Final Guidance 10/06/97

41. Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Controls (CMC) SUPAC-SS: Nonsterile Semisolid Dosage Forms Manufacturing Equipment Addendum (PDF - 61KB)41 Draft Guidance 12/01/98

42. Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Controls (CMC) SUPAC-SS: Nonsterile Semisolid Dosage Forms; Scale-Up and Post-Approval Changes: Chemistry, Manufacturing and Controls; In Vitro Release Testing and In Vivo Bioequivalence Documentation (PDF - 118KB)42 Final Guidance 05/01/97

43. Guidance for Industry - The Sourcing and Processing of Gelatin to Reduce the Potential Risk Posed by Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) in FDA-Regulated Products for Human Use The Sourcing and Processing of Gelatin to Reduce the Potential Risk Posed by Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) in FDA-Regulated Products for Human Use 09/01/97

Note: As a Chemistry Team Leader, you need to be familiar with contents of these 43 Guidances, so when representatives from the Pharmaceutical firms ask you a question, you should be able to refer them to the guidance. If you can answer their question
without referring to the guidance, the firm's representative look at you with high regard and respect. It is therefore imperative that you know most of the important requirements for an New Drug application (NDA) submission as well as the post NDA requirements in the manufacture, chemistry and controls of an Investigational New Drug (IND) or NDA. A Guidance is not a Federal Regulation/Law. The 21CFR (Code of Federal Regulation), gives FDA mandate to enforce drug and food laws in US.

Source: www.fda.gov

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A Simple Crab Quiche Recipe

Due to the abundance and reasonably price( only $3.99/lb) fresh Dungeness Crabs this week here in Northern California, I was able to experiment preparing several dishes using crab meat. I have prepared crab omelet, corn and crab soup and crab cakes. Today I am experimenting on preparing my first crab quiche recipe. The following is the simplest I found in the Web.

1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup milk

1 cup crab meat

1 cup diced Swiss cheese

1/2 cup chopped green onions

1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a medium bowl, beat together eggs, mayonnaise, flour, and milk until thoroughly blended. Stir in crab, cheese, and onion. Spread into pie shell. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Enjoy and Bon Apetit!

Reference: allrecipes.com

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

My Favorite Crab Cake Recipe

I was searching for the simplest crab cake recipe in the Web with a lot of crab meat and less additives. I found this classic Maryland crab recipe by Susie Middleton published at Fine Cooking Magazine. The only additive is the breadcrumbs. With the abundance of Dungeness Crab this week here in Northern California, I was able to purchase 4 whole 1.5-pounder Dungeness Crabs from Food Max at only $3.99/lb the other day. I believe this will be the cheapest price the crab market will allow based on historical data of the crab season here in California.

This was my first time to prepare crab cakes, but the recipe looks very simple. The hardest part was cleaning the crab. It took me about an hour to harvest about one pound of meat from the two whole crabs bodies and claws. My neck started to strain from the concentration of extracting the meat from the crab shells and claws. If you are lazy, and have no time or patience to extract the meat from the whole crab, you can purchase fresh and pasteurized meat. The disadvantages are that you will miss the butter or fat of the crab and you will pay much higher for your meat. For example a 4 oz of lump meat cost about $21.99 in Safeway.

After tasting the recipe below, I will prepare it again perhaps next year Dungeness Crab season. If the price of Dungeness Crab is still $3.99/lb next week, I plan on cooking another crab omelet, a crab quiche, a crab garden salad Louie and may be another crab cake dish again. Bon Apetit!

1 lb. crabmeat, fresh or pasteurized ( Dungeness, Maryland or Philippines)
1 large egg
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1-1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1-1/2 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce Kosher salt
1-1/4 cups fresh breadcrumbs (from soft white sandwich bread)
1 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 Tbs. olive oil
Lemon wedges for serving

Drain the crabmeat, if necessary, and pick through it for shells. Put the crab in a medium mixing bowl and set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk the egg, mayonnaise, mustard, Old Bay seasoning, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and 1/4 tsp. salt. Scrape the mixture over the crab and mix gently until well combined. Gently break up the lumps with your fingers but do not overmix.

Sprinkle the breadcrumbs and the parsley over the mixture, and mix them in thoroughly but gently; try not to turn the mixture into a mash—it should still be somewhat loose. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 to 3 hours.

Shape the crab mixture into 8 cakes about 1 inch thick. In a 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat the butter with the olive oil over medium heat. When the butter is frothy, add the cakes to the pan (8 should fit comfortably). Cook until dark golden brown on the underside, about 4 minutes. Flip the cakes, reduce the heat to medium low, and continue cooking until the other side is well browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges on the side for squeezing over the cakes.

Reference: www.finecooking.com/classicmarylandcrabcake/Photo by Scott Philip

Monday, December 2, 2013

A Scam Letter Capitalizing on the Popularity of FaceBook

I received the following in my eMail today. It is very convincing, but originating from West Africa smells of rotten fish, although the origin of the letter is supposed to be in Menlo Park. The street address of #1 Hacker Way sounds very appropriate.

The Online FaceBook Consumer's Promotions 2013.
Facebook Corporate Office Headquarters HQ
#1 Hacker Way, Menlo Park,
California 94025 USA
Official Website: www.facebook.com

Dear Sir/Madam,

Congratulations We Are Happy To Inform You That Your Email Address
Have Won $500,000.00 (Five Hundred Thousand Dollars) From FaceBook
International Christmas Lottery Award 2013.

This Lottery is sponsored and promoted by the FaceBook International
Lottery Award U.S.A as the part of COMMUNICATION around the World and
to promote the use of INTERNET in the world, no tickets were sold but
all E-mail addresses were assigned to different ticket numbers for
representation and privacy. Your E-mail Access Code: 101 to avoid
Scam/Fraud lottery going on internet.

TICKET NUMBER: 00545 188 564756


1.Full Name:
2.Full Address:
3.Marital Status:
8.Amount Won:
9.Mobile Phone Number:
10.Your lucky email address:
Rev. John Timothy
Email: rev.johntimothy2013@live.com
Phone Number: +234-80323-06470
NOTE: Keep your winning private from public to avoid double claim and
unwarranted taking of advantage because it will lead to

Yours in service,
Prof. Wilcox Bruce
Award Co-ordinator
FaceBook International Lottery Board USA.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Bird Watching in My Backyard in Marinduque

December 1, is the official first day of bird watching in the beautiful Island of Marinduque-Our Second Home!
The Cuckoo Bird in my backyard, Chateau Du Mer, Boac, Marinduque, Philippines

Marinduque Island, Philippines is a tourist destination for Bird watchers all over the world. In my backyard at Chateau Du Mer, you can watch several species of wild birds that reside in the gardens and flowering trees in my back yard orchard. Besides bird watching, one can enjoy beach walking and snorkeling at the resort as well as caving, biking and touring the butterfly farms nearby.
Yellow Breasted Bird
What is this Bird's Name?
For the last four months this year and last year while we were in Marinduque, Macrine and I had been enjoying watching the beautiful wild birds that resides in the gardens and fruit trees of Chateau Du Mer. I do not know most of the bird names except for one, they called "the cuckoo", because of the sounds the bird makes. This bird had a long tail, blackish-brown almost look like a small parrot and very elusive. It flies from the tamarind tree in our back porch to the huge palm tree by the side of the house. It hides in the thick foliage of the trees, so unless you look closer, you may not be able to see this beautiful wild bird. Another bird is multicolored and almost look like the California blue Jay but with a yellow breast but blue throat. It is smaller than the cuckoo, but this one would stay on our clotheslines for minutes and you can enjoyed watching its beautiful plumage for a long while. Besides the above two birds, there several varieties of birds, butterflies, and bees that also reside in the gardens and fruit trees of Chateau Du Mer.

Just recently, I found out that there are bird sanctuaries in Marinduque. The bird wildlife adventure organization of the world listed the following birds that can be watched in the six towns of the province as follows:

Amethyst Brown-dove, Blackish Cuckoo-shrike, White-browed Shama, Mangrove Blue Flycatcher, Purple-throated Sunbird, Mountain White-eye Zosterops, Philippine Duck, Philippine Cockatoo and Green Racquet-tail.

Other activities recommended by the group besides Bird Watching are, Caving, Trekking and Camping. The seashores near Chateau Du Mer is excellent for bathing and snorkeling as well as jogging or just beach walking/combing. Chateau Du Mer Beach Resort and Conference Center is located in Western Marinduque, 8 KM from downtown Boac- the capital town of Marinduque.

Marinduque Wildlife Sanctuary regions are located on the western side of Gasan, northeast side of Sta. Cruz, southern side of Buenavista, northwest side of Boac and at the eastern side of Torrijos.

The best time of the year for bird watching is from December 1 to May 30. For details, visit www.world-wildlife-adventures.com. As Marinduquenos, we should do our best to help in the conservation of these wild birds. They are our national treasures.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

A Simple Recipe for Sweet Corn and Crab Soup

With the Dungeness crab in season here in Northern California, the cost of whole Dungeness crabs is only $4.99/lb in Safeway and $ 5.19/lb at Raleys yesterday. I bought two 2-pounder crab for only $20. After cleaning, the two whole crabs yielded about 16 oz of meat including the meat from the claws. I was looking for a simple recipe in the Web, but I did not find one that is simple enough, so that an amateur cook like me can do it without using my brain. Then suddenly I remember a very simple dish that my wife used to prepare. It is her corn and crab soup. Here's the recipe, so simple even a person who has never cook in his/her life will enjoy doing it.

8 oz crab meat ( Dungeness,Maryland or Philippine hard or soft shell)
1 onion ( sweet preferably)-minced
1/2 clove garlic
1 16 oz can golden sweet corn, cream style ( Del Monte brand preferred)
salt and pepper, soy sauce to taste
2 cups water
vegetable oil
chives or green onions (optional)

Saute the onions and garlic in oil until cooked. Add the sweet corn and 2 cups of water. Add salt and pepper or soy sauce to taste. Let the mixture simmer and add the crab meat. Mix and stir until the soup simmers. Add the chives or green onions as the garnishing.(optional). Serve Hot!

Very, very simple! Delicious and Nutritious!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Katague's Recipe for Chicken-Macaroni Salad

Yesterday at our Thanksgiving dinner in Walnut Creek at my son's residence (and every party in the David B Katague household), my wife and with my son's assistance prepared Chicken Macaroni salad. The recipe is a favorite of my four adult children and six grand children who all grew up here in the US. There are several Chicken Macaroni salad recipes that I know, but this version is the simplest one.

16 ounces elbow macaroni, cooked
1 lb boneless chicken breast, boiled and cubed
1 ½ cup pineapple chunks
1 cup Spanish, sweet onion
1 cup raisins( optional)(sweetened and dried cranberries may be used)
3 hard boiled eggs, chopped( optional)
2 cups mayonnaise (can be 1 cup mayo and 1 cup miracle whip)
1 ½ cup Cheddar cheese, cubed
2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 apples chopped into small cubes

Cooking Preparation:

Cook the macaroni as directed in the package. Place the macaroni in a large container. Add the mayonnaise (and /or miracle whip) and mix well. Put-in the minced onions and mix well. Place the cheddar cheese in and mix again
Now, add the chicken and distribute evenly. Put-in the pineapple chunks, boiled eggs(optional), and and apples (raisins optional) and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Chill inside the refrigerator for about an hour. Serve chilled.

Note: The popular Pinoy recipe has raisins but no apples. I love raisins, but my wife hates it. So in this recipe, I listed raisins as optional. Apples in the Philippines is very expensive. Another option that I enjoy is to use sweetened dried cranberries instead of raisins. Here in the US, the dried and sweetened cranberries are more expensive than the raisins.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Our 53rd Thanksgiving Day in the US

Today, is our 53rd Thanksgiving Day celebration in the US. The whole David B Katague Clan will have another mini-reunion at my oldest( Dodie) son's residence in Walnut Creek, California at 3PM today. My four adult children and three of my six grand children will also be able to attend. My grand daughter, Alix, who is in College at Cornell University in New York decided not to come, reserving her transportation money for the coming Christmas break. My two other grand children spent thanksgiving with their other grand mother in Santa Rosa. My wife and with my son's assistance has prepared her favorite recipe of Chicken-Macaroni salad. My youngest daughter has prepared pumpkin/sweet potato-leek soup. We will have the usual turkey and its trimmings to be served by my oldest son and wife, Ruth. For dessert we will have pecan pie, chocolate cake, cheese cake and mercedes brazoz. My oldest son's wife, Ruth turns 53 years old today. My other son, David III turned 51 years old last week.

Again, every thanksgiving day always reminds me of our first Thanksgiving Celebration here in US in 1960.

An excerpt of an article that I wrote about that memorable day is as follows:( see photo above also)

"It was November,1960 when Macrine and I and our oldest son, Dodie(who was only 2 years old then) experienced our first Thanksgiving Celebration in the United States. That year, I was a graduate student of the University of Illinois at the Medical Center in Chicago. The Chicago Hospitality Center along with YMCA and Christian Family Movement(CFM) invites all foreign students in the area to spend a thanksgiving weekend to the homes of volunteers in small towns of Illinois away from the crowded city of Chicago. Some of my foreign student friends were reluctant and did not accept the invitation, but I had an adventurous spirit so with great anticipation, Macrine and I along with Dodie went with 12 other foreign students and their families to Central Illinois.

Our host for that weekend was Mrs. Johnston, a widow from Danville, Illinois. She lives alone and her beautiful bungalow house right in downtown Danville. We left Chicago in the morning, had thanksgiving dinner ( turkey and all its trimmings)in late afternoon. This was followed by a program in the evening at a local community center, where all the hosts met and socialized with other invited students from Korea, Iran, Mexico, Japan, Chile, South Africa, Egypt and the Philippines.

The next day we had a grand tour of the area, the farms and then to Springfield, the capital city of Illinois. The tour of the area and Springfield was the highlight of our two days break from our hectic schedules as a graduate students.

So, did I like the roasted turkey? Nope, that was first time I had turkey. In the Philippines we do not celebrate Thanksgiving and I had never tasted turkey before. I did not like the pumpkin pie either. What I enjoyed was the oyster stuffing, vanilla ice cream and the cranberries sauce".

I wrote another article on my impression of inviting foreign students to American homes during thanksgiving day. This article was published in the Christian Family Movement(CFM) Newsletter. Here's a short excerpt from that article.

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

This year I am thanking the Lord again for all the good things and for the past 53 years of our Thanksgiving Days here in US. The Lord has given me and my family so much good things here in US. To all my friends and relatives all over the world, May God bless you and your love ones this Thanksgiving Day!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...