Tuesday, January 28, 2014

I save Money by Snaking Our Toilet

The last couple of months our toilets had clogged twice. The clog was due to hardened stool of my wife as a result of the medication she is taking for Parkinson's Disease. The first time our toilet clogged, I had not heard of a gadget called the snake
so I called our friendly plumber and I paid $153 for the service of unclogging our toilet. I saw the plumber using a gadget and I asked him the name and he said the snake. I did some Internet search, and I found the following very informative video.

Yesterday, our toilet clogged again. I did not hesitate going to the hardware store and purchase the snake for $69.99 saving me over $80. The above video did help me and give me assurance that I can do the snaking myself instead of calling a professional plumber.
Finally besides saving $80 I have a personal snake I could use any time night or day~ Lessons learned: Never be afraid to ask!

Monday, January 27, 2014

A Video About Marinduque-What I See

Have you heard of the Bulating-the mud people of Marinduque? The following video by Paco Guerrero is worth 40 minutes of your time. I enjoyed this video very much and sad to say, that although Marinduque is my second home, this is the first time I heard of the mud people of Marinduque.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Afterglows in the Sunset of Our Lives

The other day while looking at my old photo files, I found the above photograph. It is a sunset and its afterglow from the west balcony of our retirement beach house in Boac, Marinduque, Philippines taken five years ago. Looking at the photo reminded me of both Macrine's and my professional life in the US. Macrine retired as Manager, Quality Assurance Nurse from one of Maryland's Home Health Nursing Company.

I retired from FDA as a Chemistry Team Leader in the Center of New Drugs, Silver Spring, MD. Both of us had satisfying careers( I had received several awards, letters of commendation and appreciation, and an EEO award). So when we retired in the Fall of 2002, we often ask ourselves, if this is all that we can contribute to society and the community.

Since retirement is often called " the sunset of your life" stage, are there afterglows in our lives that we can be proud of. Yes, indeed! The following are examples of the afterglows in the sunset of our lives.

Eight years ago, Macrine received a letter of Appreciation and Thanks from then and now Governor Carmencita Reyes because of her involvement in MI, Inc Medical Mission Of Love, 2006. Macrine was president and over-all chairperson of the medical mission in Marinduque that year. Here's an excerpt from C Reyes letter of Thanks.

Dear Mrs. Katague,

I would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude for all the assistance extended by MI, Inc. Your association is one of our full-time partners in the delivery of health services particularly in the conduct of medical/surgical missions which benefited hundreds of Marinduquenos. Thank you so much for the support and assistance extended to our administration and to the people of Marinduque. Mabuhay Kayo!

In addition about seven years ago, Macrine and I received a Letter of Thanks and Appreciation from then Governor Antonio Carrion in our efforts to promote tourism in the island not only during Easter but also whole year round. The letter mentioned several of my blogs and articles that proclaimed my love for the province and encouraging other Balikbayans to build retirement homes in the island.

In 2009, my dream as a "citizen journalist" was attained when two of my articles was accepted for publication in HULIQ News. The first article was about Marinduque as the Ecotourism capital of the Philippines. The second was on the revival of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant in Morong, Bataan.

Last but not least: Just recently two of my thousands of readers of my seven blogs commented: " I have been reading your various blogspots and websites for about one week now. They are all well written and great reading. What I have been reading and following intently in your blog is your life story, very interesting and inspiring indeed. Please keep on writing and thanks for opening yourself up in your blogs."

A second reader also commented: I have been following your blog for quite sometime. I learned a lot about Marinduque and the Philippines. I specially enjoyed reading your childhood experiences during the Japanese-American War. Your contribution as an FDA employee to the burnt victims of the bombing in New York and the Pentagon in 2011 is indeed commendable and worthy of an award. Keep writing!

Will there be more afterglows in the future? I hope so. I would like to hear that our oldest grandson ( now 22) got married and gave us a great grandchild.( that Macrine and I can pamper whenever we want to.) In addition, we would like to hear the news that our youngest granddaughter( now 10) had graduated from college and that both Macrine and myself are still healthy to attend her graduation.

Lastly, Macrine and I thanks the Lord for the past, present and future afterglows in the sunset of our lives. Are you retiree? Any afterglows in the sunset of your lives you can share with my readers?

Thursday, January 23, 2014

All You Want to Know about PD but are Afraid to Ask

Next month will be one year after my wife of 57 years( Macrine) was diagnosed with Parkinson disease, commonly called PD. She has been experiencing typical symptoms of the malady with involuntary hand tremors, slow body movement ( walking), unbalanced gait, softer voice, difficulty swallowing and had a couple of falls during the previous months. We have to purchase a cane, and I have to watch her almost all the time when she is awake to prevent another fall. Today however, she has not fallen and only occasional freezing in the muscles on her legs had occurred. Thanks to the two medications she is currently taking, Sinemet and Azilect.

Our doctor prescribed her Sinemet ( 25/100 carbidopa/levodopa) to be taken twice a day. During her first two weeks after taking the drug, she suffered nausea, vomiting, hallucinations and disturbed sleep, but her hand tremors stopped. As of today the nausea had stopped and the hand tremors controlled. She still walks very slow and her voice is very low and have a hard time swallowing. She needs my assistance in changing clothes, bathing and slicing her food into small pieces. She easily gets tired and from what I read in the Internet, there will be a time when the drug will no longer be effective. In the future as the disease progressed she will need palliative care and home nursing assistance. My wife's PD has a genetic component. Her father had PD and one of her aunts on her maternal side had also PD during their senior years.

Along with the Sinemet, her neurologist had also prescribed her a newer drug called Azilect Azilect is very expensive even if you have a medical insurance. I found out the other day that my Federal Employee Program with Blue Cross Blue Shield Pharmacy Mail Service Option will save me a lot of money. So starting yesterday I ordered my wife's PD drugs via mail order instead of buying direct from our local CVS pharmacy. Two whole sale pharmacy suppliers near us quoted me a price of $3,580 for 90 day supply of Azilect. Two other pharmacy outlets quoted me only 1,540 including our current pharmacy supplier CVS. My copay for the 90 day supply is $357. However, if I ordered it by mail my copay will be only $80, saving me $277 for 3 months and more than $1000 per year. It does pay to shop for your prescription here in the US.

Sinemet has several side effects as I mentioned above. However, one side effect that my wife suffers is constipation. Our neurologist gave us a recipe consisting of equal amounts( one cup each) of apple sauce, bran and prune juice. The mixture can be kept refrigerated for a week. Only 1 to 2 tablespoon should be taken daily. Of course several laxatives over the counter are also available in our local drug stores.

The following information from the National Parkinson's Foundation, I found very informative. This is the information that you want to know all about PD but are afraid to ask.

In the United States, 50,000-60,000 new cases of PD are diagnosed each year, adding to the one million people who currently have PD. The Center for Disease control rated complications from Parkinson’s disease as the 14th leading cause of death in the United States. Worldwide, it is estimated that four to six million people suffer from the condition. There is hope, however, as scientists work towards a cure and make progress in identifying the best treatment options for patients.

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative brain disorder that progresses slowly in most people. The dopamine levels in the neurons are almost non-existent in persons with PD compared to normal persons. The PD drugs alleviate the symptoms by increasing dopamine levels. What this means is that individuals with PD will be living with PD for twenty years or more from the time of diagnosis with medications. Parkinson’s disease itself is not fatal, but complications could occur and can cause death. There is currently no cure for Parkinson’s; however, investigations on animal models, gene therapy and stem cells research are undergoing so those with PD can have a good quality of life.

Treatment approaches include medication and surgical therapy. Other treatment approaches include general lifestyle modifications (rest and exercise, stop smoking), physical therapy, support groups, occupational therapy and speech therapy. Recent studies have indicated that a treatment is better than no treatment. In other words, medications and therapies can modify the progression of Parkinson’s disease. Michael Fox and Muhamed Ali are the two world famous personalities known to be suffering with PD.

Reference: www.parkinson.org ( National Parkinson Foundation)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Philippine-American War and the Forgotten Genocide

It is time to share with you a little bit of Philippine-American history. I am particularly posting this article to all second and third generation Filipino-Americans who have little knowledge of Philippine history.

The Philippine–American War(1899–1902) was an armed conflict between the United States and Filipino revolutionaries. The conflict arose from the struggle of the First Philippine Republic to secure independence from the United States following the latter's acquisition of the Philippines from Spain following the Spanish–American War. The war was a continuation of the Philippine struggle for independence that began in 1896 with the Philippine Revolution.

Fighting erupted between United States and Filipino revolutionary forces on February 4, 1899, and quickly escalated into the 1899 Second Battle of Manila. On June 2, 1899, the First Philippine Republic officially declared war against the United States. The war officially ended on July 4, 1902. However, some groups led by veterans of the Katipunan continued to battle the American forces. Among those leaders was General Macario Sacay, a veteran Katipunan member who assumed the presidency of the proclaimed "Tagalog Republic", formed in 1902 after the capture of President Emilio Aguinaldo. Other groups, including the Moro people and Pulahanes people, continued hostilities in remote areas and islands until their final defeat a decade later at the Battle of Bud Bagsak on June 15, 1913.

Opposition in the U.S. to the war inspired the founding of the American Anti-Imperialist League on June 15, 1898, and made the expansion of the U.S. overseas (with the occupation of several other territories received from Spain as a result of the previous Spanish-American War of 1898, such as Cuba (later given independence in 1902) and Puerto Rico, as a major issue in the presidential election of 1900 when the Republican Party and President McKinley was reelected, just as it had also been in the 1986 election, as overseas tension rose and international entanglements grew.

The war and occupation by the U.S. would change the cultural landscape of the islands, as the people dealt with an estimated 34,000 to even possibly 1,000,000 Filipino casualties, disestablishment of the Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines, (as a "state Church - as previously in Spain), and the introduction of the English language in the islands as the primary language of government, education, business, industrial and increasingly in future decades among families and educated individuals.

Under the 1902 "Philippine Organic Act", passed by the United States Congress, Filipinos were initially given very limited self-government, including the right to vote for some elected officials such as an elected Philippine Assembly, but it was not until 14 years later with the 1916 Philippine Autonomy Act, (or "Jones Act") passed by the United States Congress, now under Democratic 28th President, Woodrow Wilson, that the U.S. officially promised eventual independence, along with more Filipino control in the meantime over the Philippines. The 1934 Philippine Independence Act created in the following year, 1935, the Commonwealth of the Philippines, a limited form of independence, and established a process ending in Philippine independence (originally scheduled for 1944, but interrupted and delayed by World War II. Finally in 1946, following World War II and the Japanese Occupation of the Philippines, the United States granted independence through the Treaty of Manila concluded between the two governments and nations.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Save Money on Your Prescriptions via Mail Service

You may be able to save a substantial amount of money if you buy your prescription drugs via mail pharmacy option of your insurance. However, be aware that not all mail order organizations are trustworthy especially if they operate outside the US.

I have a Federal Employee Program( FEP) insurance coverage under the Blue Cross Blue Shield, California Anthem insurance PPO program. Under this plan is the Mail Service Pharmacy program that I was aware of but have not been using because of the convenience of ordering drugs right in my door step via our local pharmacies such as, CVS, Walgreen, Costco, Walmart and other local pharmacies.

Under the mail order option of buying your prescription, there is a waiting time from 10 to 14 working days, so if you do not plan ahead, this is not the right option for you, unless you want to save.

I have been satisfied with my copay of the several drugs that my wife and I use until the other day, when one drug that my wife is using for her PD cost me $119.00 copay for 30 tablets. I was so shock, since most of the copay I pay for my other drugs varied from $2 to $ 25 for a 30 day supply.

I started inquiring from friends and neighbors, if they know of pharmacies that offer cheaper prices compared to my local pharmacy-CVS. A relative suggested Costco or WalMart. In the meantime, I asked my wife's Neurologist to prescribe her a 90 days supply instead of 30 days because normally you can save at least 10%.

I called CostCo and Walmart for their prices for a 90 days supply of the drug that my wife uses for her PD. Both Costco and Walmart informed me that the price is 3,589.00 (Three Thousand Five Hundred Eighty nine dollars). I almost fainted, because even if my insurance pays for 60%, my copay would still be around $1,435. It means that for a 30 day supply my copay will still be $478. This is about 4 times more expensive than the $119 that I pay at CVS. I also checked the whole sale price of the above PD drug from Raley's Pharmacy. I was quoted only $1,532 for the 90 day supply. So who says CostCo and Walmart Pharmacies are cheap? CostCo and Walmart Pharmacy Executives, can you explain your ridiculously super expensive pricing for the above drug?

With some luck, I did remember that about a decade ago, I have used the mail order pharmacy option of my FEP insurance and I remember I did save a lot buying by mail. I look at the back of my insurance card and lo and behold there is an 800 number that is listed for mail order pharmacy. To make the story short, I called the 800 number and after 5 minutes of talking to a computer, I was connected to live representative. I asked her what my copay for a 90 days supply for the above PD drug and she said $80.She even added that if I ordered this drug last year, my copay would have been only $70.

The representative informed me that there are two ways to get started ordering my prescription by mail. One way is to mail the hard copy of my wife's prescription to them and putting my ID number in the prescription. Along with the order is an invoice that I can pay as soon as I received my order.

The other way is to talk to my insurance representative to send me a form for ordering via mail or I could go directly to Mail order website and print out the form. I did both ways and besides ordering my wife her PD drugs, I ordered my other prescriptions that cost me more than $10 copay. Incidentally this mail order company is CVS Caremark. I do believe this is a trust worthy organization to buy prescription by mail. I will never buy my drug by mail from companies operating outside the US. .

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Do you Have Good neighbors?

It is essential for your safety, happiness and peace of mind to have good neighbors that are also friendly and caring. Whether you live in an apartment, condo, a farm, town house or in a subdivision with single homes, it is important to have good neighbors. In the seven places that we have resided here in the US since 1960, my family have encountered all kinds of neighbors from the unfriendly, neutral and caring neighbors.

Our first city of residence was Chicago, Illinois in the 1960's. I was still a graduate student at that time so we resided in a apartment managed and owned by the university. All of our neighbors were mostly students and others were employees of the University. We were lucky at that time to have good neighbors. My wife had joined a baby sitting cooperative with wives of other students students. We will have monthly pot lucks and picnics with the growing kids- the center of our social activities.

After graduation, we moved to Kansas City, Missouri, where I had my first industrial job. Our first rental single home was in a subdivision of mostly retired couples, so we did not have interaction with our neighbors. Our activity was centered in the Swim and Country Club two blocks from our house. We stayed in this house for one year since the owner decided to sell the house. We moved to another rental house about two miles away. Again, we did not have any interaction with our neighbors. Our third home in the Kansas City area was in Platewoods, Missouri. This was our first owned home. It was located in a subdivision with one and two acres lots in a semi-rural exclusive neighborhood. Our neighbor across the street was a teacher and was neither friendly or unfriendly. Our neighbor in the left side we never see. The only thing we saw in their backyard was a German Shepherd dog named Devil who barks when we approached the boundary lines of our fences. We have a distant neighbor about 4 blocks from us who were also Filipino-Americans and have two boys almost in the same ages with our children that we socialized.

Our next move was to Modesto, California, Stanislaus County- California Central Valley. We purchased our second 4-bedroom home in a newer subdivision. We have several neighbors but only one was friendly. We stayed two years in that subdivision then decided to sell the house so we can moved to a farm house with a barn that my wife converted into a Filipino Gift Shoppe. Our nearest neighbor was about 1/4 mile away. They have children who goes to the same school with our kids, but we never socialized.

Our fourth move was to Pinole, California in the East Bay when my employer in Modesto decided to close their agricultural research facility. We have purchased two homes in Pinole from 1974-1990. Our first home was a two story house in a subdivision with small backyards in the foot hills of Pinole. We have neighbors that are neither friendly or unfriendly. When I broke my Achilles tendon playing tennis and had a hard time climbing the second floor bedrooms, we decided to move to a ranch type home about 3 miles in another older subdivision. In this neighborhood, we have two very friendly neighbors. One was a Filipina married to a Caucasian. The one across the street was super friendly and very helpful. He was a handy man and was glad when he offers to help me in the minor maintenance of the house and our yard.

When I lost my job in the East Bay, our family moved to the Washington DC area where I worked for the Food and Drug Administration for 12 years. We purchased a 4 bedroom ranch style home with a full basement in a subdivision in Colesville, Maryland. We found in this neighborhood a very friendly and caring neighbor who was a widow. We socialized and invite each other in our homes and had a grand time.

Our last move was to the Sacramento area when I retired in 2002. We decided to rent first so we will know the neighborhood before we purchased our retirement house. Our rental home was a 4 bedroom ranch with a swimming pool. We stayed there for almost a year and were able to meet only one neighbor. He was a retired physician, an avid reader and has no prejudice against Filipino-Americans. We realized this is not a very friendly neighborhood however since our other neighbors never bothered to introduce themselves to us.

We purchased our retirement home in a neighborhood with another ranch type house. The subdivision was built in the 1980's and populated mostly by retirees. In this neighborhood, we are very lucky to have two friendly neighbors. Our first caring neighbor is a widow originally from Italy. She does not drive, so every now and then I will drive her to church and to the grocery stores. She goes with my wife and I to the nearby Casino almost once a week. In return she would cook my favorite dish- fried eggplant. The other day she gave us roasted duckling. She also watched all unusual activities in the area, and lists all licenses of cars she does not recognized.

Our second friendly neighbor is also a retired couple about ten years younger than us. The man of the house is a handy man and I hired him to fix minor repairs in the house. He is also a computer expert and had help me with my computers problems in two cases during the last four years. We love this neighborhood, because we have two friendly neighbors who watches our home when we are not around and are ready to help us in a second notice.. May I reiterate then, that for your piece of mind it is essential to have good and caring neighbors. How about you? Do you have good neighbors?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

My Neighbor Gave Us a Roasted Duckling

The other day, our next door neighbor surprise us by giving a roasted duck in exchange for the 2 lb whole Dungeness crab that I gave her recently. I have never cook duck by rotisserie, so I have no idea how it taste. My neighbor has an expensive rotisserie set-up. She said it was not that hard, but required an overnight of brining. THE COOKED duck THAT SHE GAVE US WAS delicious.

I searched in the Internet how to cook duck by rotisserie and here is what I learned. The duck is better if you brine it overnight before cooking it. All sorts of flavor can be added by brining. Orange juice, tea, cider, beer, wine, soy sauce and many other liquids can be used to replace the water. Then add complimentary herbs and spices to create your own special flavor blend. For directions on how to brine a duck, check out: whatscookingamerica.net/Poultry/BriningPoultry.htm

Typically a 5-pound duck will cook in 1-1/2 to 2 hours. The internal temperature at the leg joint should reach 175 degrees F. Also, check to see if the leg joint is loose and tender and juices run clear.

If using a table top rotisserie, set heat to medium-low. If using a grill, heat grill to medium and place a drip pan under the duck to catch the rendered fat.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

You Know You are Filipino When.....

It is time to make fun of ourselves. The following video I discovered in You Tube recently! Smile if you are a Filipino and Learn something about the Pinoys all over the world if you are not!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Pinoys are Food Crazy

The following article, I have read a couple of years ago. But today, a friend e-mailed it to me. I can help but smile and I decided to share it with you. If you have read this before, my apology. It was written by a British journalist, Matthew Sutherland, stationed in the Philippines. His observations are so hilarious but true!

Sutherland wrote about Filipinos craze of food! This reminded me of the latest tourism video advertising saying that, Filipinos would say "Have You Eaten Already instead of Hello or Hi"?.

"I have now been in this country for over six years, and consider myself in most respects well assimilated. However, there is one key step on the road to full assimilation, which I have yet to take, and that's to eat BALUT.

The day any of you sees me eating balut, please call immigration and ask them to issue me a Filipino passport. Because at that point there will be no turning back. BALUT, for those still blissfully ignorant non-Pinoys out there, is a fertilized duck egg. It is commonly sold with salt in a piece of newspaper, much like English fish and chips, by street vendors usually after dark, presumably so you can't see how gross it is.

Food dominates the life of the Filipino. People here just love to eat. They eat at least eight times a day. These eight official meals are called, in order: breakfast, snacks, lunch, merienda, merienda cena, dinner, bedtime snacks and no-one-saw-me- take-that- cookie-from- the-fridge- so-it-doesn't-count.

The short gaps in between these mealtimes are spent eating Sky Flakes from the open packet that sits on every desktop. You're never far from food in the Philippines. If you doubt this, next time you're driving home from work, try this game. See how long you can drive without seeing food and I don't mean a distant restaurant, or a picture of food. I mean a man on the sidewalk frying fish balls, or a man walking through the traffic selling nuts or candy. I bet it's less than one minute.

Here are some other things I've noticed about food in the Philippines :

Firstly, a meal is not a meal without rice - even breakfast. In the UK , I could go a whole year without eating rice. Second, it's impossible to drink without eating. A bottle of San Miguel just isn't the same without gambas or beef tapa. Third, no one ventures more than two paces from their house without baon (food in small container) and a container of something cold to drink. You might as well ask a Filipino to leave home without his pants on. And lastly, where I come from, you eat with a knife and fork. Here, you eat with a spoon and fork. You try eating rice swimming in fish sauce with a knife.

One really nice thing about Filipino food culture is that people always ask you to SHARE their food. In my office, if you catch anyone attacking their baon, they will always go, "Sir! KAIN TAYO!" ("Let's eat!").

This confused me, until I realized that they didn't actually expect me to sit down and start munching on their boneless bangus. In fact, the polite response is something like, "No thanks, I just ate." But the principle is sound - if you have food on your plate, you are expected to share it, however hungry you are, with those who may be even hungrier. I think that's great!

In fact, this is frequently even taken one step further. Many Filipinos use "Have you eaten yet?" ("KUMAIN KA NA?") as a general greeting, irrespective of time of day or location.

Some foreigners think Filipino food is fairly dull compared to other Asian cuisines. Actually lots of it is very good: Spicy dishes like Bicol Express (strange, a dish named after a train); anything cooked with coconut milk; anything KINILAW; and anything ADOBO. And it's hard to beat the sheer wanton, cholesterolic frenzy of a good old-fashioned LECHON de leche (roast pig) feast.. Dig a pit, light a fire, add 50 pounds of animal fat on a stick, and cook until crisp. Mmm, mmm... you can actually feel your arteries constricting with each successive mouthful.

I also share one key Pinoy trait --- a sweet tooth. I am thus the only foreigner I know who does not complain about sweet bread, sweet burgers, sweet spaghetti, sweet banana ketchup, and so on. I am a man who likes to put jam on his pizza. Try it!

It's the weird food you want to avoid. In addition to duck fetus in the half-shell, items to avoid in the Philippines include pig's blood soup (DINUGUAN); bull's testicle soup, the strangely-named "SOUP NUMBER FIVE" (I dread to think what numbers one through four are); and the ubiquitous, stinky shrimp paste, BAGOONG, and it's equally stinky sister, PATIS. Filipinos are so addicted to these latter items that they will even risk arrest or deportation trying to smuggle them into countries like Australia and the USA , which wisely ban the importation of items you can smell from more than 100 paces.

Then there's the small matter of the purple ice cream. I have never been able to get my brain around eating purple food; the ubiquitous UBE leaves me cold.

And lastly on the subject of weird food, beware: that KALDERETANG KAMBING (goat) could well be KALDERETANG ASO (dog)...

The Filipino, of course, has a well-developed sense of food. Here's a typical Pinoy food joke: "I'm on a seafood diet.

"What's a seafood diet?" "When I see food, I eat it!"

Filipinos also eat strange bits of animals --- the feet, the head, the guts, etc., usually barbecued on a stick. These have been given witty names, like "ADIDAS" (chicken's feet); "KURBATA" (either just chicken's neck, or "neck and thigh" as in "neck-tie"); "WALKMAN" (pigs ears); "PAL" (chicken wings); "HELMET" (chicken head); "IUD" (chicken intestines), and BETAMAX" (video-cassette- like blocks of animal blood). Yum,yum. Bon appetit."

My Personal Note: You know you are in the Philippines when you see restaurants of all class and types all around. For example in the Makati area there must be hundreds of restaurants per square mile, but they all survive and are profitable. When Pinoys get depressed they turn to food. I wonder what percent of the Filipino people are overweight?

Sunday, January 12, 2014

My Recipe for Blueberries/Banana and Mango Pancakes

I cooked my second blueberries pancake yesterday. Besides the blueberries, I added one overripe banana. In my previous posting about cooking, I wrote about my feeling of accomplishment after I cooked my first Filipino dish ( Chicken Tinola with Vegetables) with out the supervision of my wife. Please note that my wife was an excellent cook before her PD diagnosis, so during the last 56 years of our marriage, I never intrude in her kitchen( her territory) except to wash dishes.

I cooked this second pancake recipe with banana when I saw one banana getting overriped in the kitchen counter. I followed the instruction in the box, but modify the amount of water( milk in this recipe) because of the banana. Two days ago, I saw fresh blueberries in the Farmer's Market near us at the regular price of $3.99 a pint. They look so fresh and yummy, I purchased a pint even though it was a bit expensive.

Procedure: Mixed 2 cups pancake mix( Hungry Jack), 1 cup milk and 2 eggs in a bowl. Mixed thoroughly. Add the 1/2 pint of washed blueberries and one slice overriped banana. Mixed thoroughly mashing the banana. Scoop a big spoonful or two of the mix in a flat electric skillet set at medium heat. Do not forget to add cooking oil in the flat pan. Turn the pancake as soon as one side is brown. In 15 minutes I had 14 six inches blueberries-banana pancake for my wife and my breakfast. Easy and Fast.

Again, I can not believe, I can cook excellent pancakes without any sweat. Serve with bacon and brewed Baracco coffee from the Philippines. You can add butter or syrup or powdered sugar in your pancake if you wish. I feel accomplished with this recipe which turned out to be very delicious and very moist because of the banana.

In the Philippines, our cook used overriped mangoes instead of banana or blueberries. Blueberries do not grow in the Philippine's tropical climate and have to be imported. However strawberries are available, so you can use strawberries for pancake if you desire, although I have never cooked a strawberry pancake myself. Have You?

Friday, January 10, 2014

Balikbayan Box Wrecking Ball Parody

Time to smile for the second Friday of 2014. If you have Filipino roots you can identify with this video. If you have not heard about the Balikbayan box view this video and learn a new word about Filipinos all over the world. This is indeed funny, but most of it is true.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Justices versus Lawmakers

The is the latest news summary on the power struggle between the Supreme Court and the House of Congress in the Philippines. This drama could only happened in the Philippines. The small province of Marinduque is the focal point of this controversy besides the Pork Barrel Scandal Funds elimination by the Supreme Court. So is the Philippines a true Democracy or is it an Oligarchy?  Very Interesting Indeed!  
marinduque rising: SC enforces power to review congressional actions;...: YEARENDER: SC weighs people’s clamor, enforces power to review congressional actions By Edu Punay   (The Philippine Star)  |  Janua...

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Value of Asking Questions-Reina Reyes

This very inspiring video from a young Pinay scientist was forwarded to me by a member of the Philippine-American Academy of Science and Engineering( PAASE) from the Philippines. As a retired member of PAASE, My dreams and hope is that more of our young and talented Pinoys or Pinays dedicate their lives to science for the betterment of mankind and the world. I congratulate Reina Reyes for her achievements and hope many more of her kind will gave their talents for the betterment of science in the Philippines.

This video also reminded me of my childhood years when I asked myself why is the bitter melon (ampalaya) bitter( mapait in {longgo),why some varieties of mangoes are sweeter than other varieties and why aspirin cured my headache. Needless to say the above questions had inspired me to be an Analytical Chemist as my college major and Pharmaceutical Chemistry as my Graduate degree in my adulthood years.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Spaghetti and Smoked Salmon in Mushroom Sauce

Last Christmas, one of the gifts we received was a big box of smoked salmon. I have never cooked smoked salmon before, so I started reading recipes using smoked salmon in pasta in the Web. I found hundreds of recipes of pasta and smoked salmon in various sauces.

I was looking for a recipe that is easy and simple. The following recipe is my own creation inspired by the availability and abundance of fresh mushrooms in our local grocery store and the can of cream of mushroom soup and spaghetti pasta that I found in our pantry. Other kinds of pasta may be used. Garnishing with chopped green onions or parsley is optional.


2 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2/3 cup (160ml) dry white wine or vermouth
1/4 cup jicama (Mexican turnips or sincamas) finely chopped
1 can cream of mushroom soup diluted in 1 cup of water
4 big fresh white mushrooms chopped to about 1/4 inch
8-10oz (250-300g) smoked salmon, cut in 1/2-inch (1cm) pieces
garlic salt, to taste
1/4 lb. spaghetti( or other pasta such as linguine, farfalle etc)
parsley or green onions for garnishing (optional)


In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat and sauté the onions until golden and starting to caramelize, about 10-15 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté just until it loses its raw edge, about one minute more. Then add the chopped jicama. Saute until cooked (5 minutes). Add the chopped fresh mushrooms. Saute for 5 minutes. Then add the can of cream of mushrooms soup diluted with 1 cup of hot water. Pour in the wine and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat slightly and stir in the smoked salmon. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 more minutes, until the sauce is quite thick. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste.

Cook the spaghetti in the boiling salted water until just al dente. Drain the spaghetti and let it cool. Pour the sauce into the spaghetti and served immediately.
Garnished, if you like, with parsley or chopped green onions. Delicious and savory!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Blogging Has Saved My Life

Now that I caught your attention let me continue and finish the title by adding the phrases from boredom and feeling useless. I retired in the Fall of 2002 but did not start blogging until the summer of 2008. During that six years interval, I tried to keep busy by getting very involved with the daily management of my small beach resort business in Marinduque, Philippines. In between I helped my wife baby sat for our youngest grand daughter, Carenna Katague Thompson. When Carenna started kindergarten our involvement in her care became minimal and I found plenty of time during the day in this time period of my retirement years. I was starting to get bored and feeling useless.

A neighbor suggested, I should blog. At first I was apprehensive, that no one will be interested in reading my blogs. But I decided I should really blog to advertise my beach resort in Marinduque. Besides the business resort, I was not sure what other topics should I write. I asked the opinions of relatives and friends on what subject should I write and someone says write from your heart. It was a "no brainer" then, when my first blog was about my childhood experiences during the Japanese-American War in the Philippines*. This was followed by my complete autobiography, http://theintellectualmigrant.blogspot.com and http:davidbkatague.blogspot.com. Three others blog followed: http://marinduqueawaitsyou.blogspot.com, http://marinduqueonmymind.blogspot.com, and http://marinduquemyislandparadise.blogspot.com. The three blogs highlighted, my love for Marinduque, our second home.
Chateau Du Mer Beach Resort, Marinduque, Philippines

Later on I started http://lifeinus1960present.blogspot.com and my most recent blog is http://myfavoritepinoydishes.blogspot.com I have also two age-restricted blogs, Controversial and Award Winning Movies and Amazing and Sexy Images in the Internet

Today, I have an active writing account from Skrive.it and from squidoo.com. I also used to write for Viewshound, a writing site that is now defunct. I have submitted two articles for Socivate a new writing site. I have ads accounts from Googles, Infolinks and Chitika. My average monthly earnings from these three accounts is $10. This is just enough to buy me a cup of coffee from Starbuck and a half foot long sandwich from Subway. I have a Facebook account and more than 600 friends. Most of my FB friends regularly click the LIKE button in my articles. I wish though that these LIKERS will become CLICKERS of my ads.

As of today, I have written 1167 articles. I average about 500 readers per day in my nine blogs and have received more than 400 comments. I have a total of almost two million page views and readers from 166 countries Majority of my readers are from US and in the Philippines.

Blogging has indeed saved my life from boredom and feeling useless. Thank you again to all my readers all over the world for your support and specially your comments. Keep it coming!

*This article was a gold award winner of $50 given by ViewsHound in 2010.

Friday, January 3, 2014

My Grand Daughter is Now Blogging

Introducing my Grand Daughter Elaine Katague King
I am very proud of my grand daughter accomplishment so far as a new blogger.  
Teal With It: Everyone Deserves to Sparkle: Another New Years Resolutions Post: Happy 2014!!! You know what that means. Its time to talk New Years Resolutions. I don't normally do resolutions but I have decided ...

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Time for Some Movie-Saints and Soldiers

The film begins with the Malmedy massacre and the escape of American soldiers from their German captors. During the escape, Deacon (Corbin Allred) manages to disarm a German soldier but does not shoot him - even at the insistence of medic Gould (Alexander Niver).

Gould and Deacon are joined by two other survivors, Kendrick (Larry Bagby) and Gunderson (Peter Asle Holden). Gunderson explains it would be better to hide out until the Allies retake the area and the four hide out in an abandoned building. When a German patrol comes along, the soldiers hide under the floor. While there Deacon loosely translates a German message about a downed plane in the area. Leaving after the Germans, the Americans find British pilot Flight Sergeant Oberon Winley (Kirby Heyborne).

Winley explains he has important intelligence he has to get back to the Allies and the group decide to try and reach the Allied lines some 20 miles away. While on point, Deacon has a hallucination and breaks down. Gunderson explains that Deacon had inadvertently, when clearing a building while street fighting, killed two women and six children recently. Gould begins to criticize Deacon for not shooting the German and for being religious. Deacon offers him his Bible which Gould refuses. Deacon says that Gould is asking too many questions for someone who is not interested in faith.

Shortly afterwards, Kendrick falls through the roof of an old building that had been covered by the snow. Looking for shelter, Gunderson enters a house and finds a woman and girl who speak French, Catherine and Sophie Theary. A coming snow storm causes Gunderson to surmise that the Germans will be pinned down and immobilized. He suggests staying the night but Winley insists that he must get the information to the Allied troops and leaves during the storm. The others are sure he will die in the cold.

Catherine brings some bread to the soldiers. While with the soldiers, two Germans arrive and Catherine talks to them. One German starts scouting the building while the other attempts to rape Catherine. She yells and Deacon kills one German as the other runs into the woods. Winley returns with this German as his prisoner. Deacon recognizes the German as Rudolph, an convert during his mission serving as a minister for his Church in Berlin. Deacon understands then why he, who was well known for never failing to hit what he aimed at, missed Rudolph.

In the morning, Deacon has let Rudolph go, after Rudolf had told him where the Germans lines were and how to get through them. With captured weapons they set out but soon encounter a small group of German soldiers. Gunderson is fatally shot by a sniper, whom Deacon then kills. More Germans attack and Winley is hit in the leg. During the firefight the Allied group is split in two. While carrying Winley, Kendrick is shot in the stomach and dies. Winley kills the German and, trying to hobble away, falls into a river. Deacon and Gould find him. While they care for Winley, Rudolph finds them and tells them where there is a jeep, and an escape route they could use with it closer to the Allied lines, then goes off in the direction of the pursuing Germans.

The three remaining Allied soldiers, now dressed as German soldiers, get in the jeep and head toward the German lines. They manage to talk their way past a German guard (as Deacon speaks fluent German) but when they veer towards the American lines the Germans open fire. Speeding toward the safety of the American lines (where observers work out they are Allied soldiers) the jeep is overturned by mortar fire. Deacon gives covering fire as Gould and Winley head for safety. Deacon is killed by a sniper but the other two make it through and the important intelligence is passed on to headquarters.

As Gould sees Deacon's body being carried away, he takes out Deacon's Bible, places the photo of Deacon's wife into Deacon's hands and keeps the book, which Deacon had offered to him earlier. Gould encounters a now captured Rudolph, nods to him, and then helps an injured German soldier whom he recognizes from the massacre at the start of the film.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Filipino Traditions and Superstitions on New Year

Twelve kinds of round fruits should be in your table by midnight to bring good luck and prosperity to the Household

When I was growing up in the Philippines, my parents will tell us kids that on New Years Eve and Day, we should do the following for good luck. Doing these things will help insure that the coming year will be a happy and prosperous one. Many of these traditions and superstition are of Chinese influence, I believe.

1. Turn on all lights so that the coming year will be bright.

2. Make as much noise as you can to scare away evil spirits.

3. Debts must be paid off. Fill you wallet with fresh peso bills.

4. Open all doors, windows, cabinets and drawers to let good fortune in.

5. Scatter coins around the house, on tabletops.... inside drawers...

6. Clean everything including your body by taking a long bath, the closets and the whole house.

7. Wear polka-dots, preferably black and white. Anything round signifies prosperity.

8. Jump twelve times at midnight to increase your height. (Observed by Filipino children.)

There are five things related to food that we must do for good luck as follows:

1. Prepare 12 round fruits, one for each month of the coming new year ( see photo above).

2. Have a very round grape in your mouth at the stroke of midnight.

3. Eat a native delicacy made from sticky rice to make good fortune stick in the new year.

4. Eat long noodles (pancit) for long life ( definitely of Chinese origin). We should eat pancit also during our birthday.

5. Don't eat any chicken or fish. They are associated with the scarcity of food.

Then on New Years Day we should not clean anything, otherwise we might sweep away the good fortune. In addition we should not spend money at all. Our being thrifty that day will help us manage our money very well for the whole year. Do you have any New Years Eve tradition in your family? Please share!

Happy 2014 to All of You, my dear readers and FaceBook Friends!


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