Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Graduation Milestone in the Stages of Our Lives


Ian with Mother Dinah posed for a souvenir photo in our backyard on their way to the Graduation Ceremonies

The other day, our oldest grandson Ian Panda Katague-King graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Sacramento State University. Ian is our oldest grandson who has finished college and we are very proud of his accomplishments. Here's what he says on his FB page.

"Thank you for everyone who celebrated my graduation and thank you for everyone who said congrats. Its been along 6 years of school but now its time for the next chapter in my life". Here are some photos on this milestone in our life









Next month, our second oldest grandson Philip Winchester Katague, oldest child of our oldest son, Diosdado will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology from the University of California, Santa Cruz Porter College.

That same week, Philip youngest sister, Marina Brewster Katague will graduate from Northgate High School in Walnut Creek, California. Marina has been accepted and will attend California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo this Fall.

Our youngest grand daughter Carenna Katague Thompson will finish 6th grade this year from a local Catholic school and will start Junior High school in their neighborhood public school in Sacramento.

Our oldest grand daughter Elaine Katague King will graduate from Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon next spring. 2016

Last but not least is our other grand daughter Alix Katague who will be a Junior in Cornell University in Ithaca, New York this Fall.

The graduation of two of our grand children in college is another milestone in our life here in the US which started in 1960 and had been discussed in details in my personal blogs and writings.

Wishing you all a Happy Summer Vacation. May you continue following my blogs and make comments if you desire. God Bless You all!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Have You Heard of Gerphil Geraldine Flores?


She sings classical songs with a perfect pitch according to David Foster, one of the judges in the recent Asia's Got Talent Competition. Her songs I like as did millions of viewers who voted for her. However she was ousted in the Phlippine's Got Talent Contest because she sings clasical songs according to the latest news gossips. Here's some of her videos and judge for yourself.



Gerphil Geraldine Flores is a Filipina classical singer and a fifth-year student from the University of the Philippines, Diliman (UPD). She finished third in the first season of Asia's Got Talent (AGT), the first pan-regional edition of the global “Got Talent” format.

She became inclined to classical music at an early age. She began singing classical songs when she was only 8 years old. She never had any formal traning and her mother was her vocal coach.

In 2010, she joined Pilipinas Got Talent (PGT) where she only reached the semi-finals. When she auditioned for AGT, she sang “Speak Softly, Love” from the classical film Godfather. Her performance prompted David Foster to press the golden buzzer which automatically sent her to the semi-finals.

During the grand finals on 7 May 2015, she performed “The Impossible Dream” from the musical Man of La Mancha. It earned a standing ovation from the judges and audience members alike. Foster assured Flores of international fame.

In an interview with INQUIRER.net, Flores said that she dreamt of performing in opera houses like The Metropolitan in New York and La Scala in Milan. She also dreams to perform with Andrea Bocelli.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Old Photos from My Files

I was looking at my old photo files today. Old photos and sweet memories.
MAMA Pacing with Toto Efren, 1949, Barotac Viejo, Iloilo

Dolce building, ancestral home Barotac Viejo, 1953

Our wedding cake decor, Chapel of Holy Sacrifice, Diliman, Q.C.,
1957
Katague Clan 1958 without Eric and me

Above photo, Me and Amor, and Katague clan with Mama Pacing, 1976

UPSCANS with Fr John Delaney, University of the Philippines, Diliman QC.,1952

Mama Pacing and Me, Lapaz, Iloilo, 1976

Sunday, May 17, 2015

ROMANCE BY RUBENSTEIN

Today, Macrine wanted me to play her favorite piano music that she used to play during her teenager years in the Philippines. It is Anton Rubenstein, Romance. I have several piano version of this piece, but the two are violin and vocal versions. I hope you will enjoy it as much as we do.



Thursday, May 14, 2015

Today is May 14-Two Events to Remember

There are two events that I am celebrating and remembering today.

The first event is the 12th birthday of my youngest grand daughter Carenna Katague Thompson. I have written several articles on Carenna's activities and are very proud of her accomplishments in music and in drama.


The second event is the 27th anniversary of the death of my mother, Paz Barrido Balleza Katague.

I have looked at my photo files and here are 2 photos taken on May 14 of that year(1988). If you recognized anybody in the group picture, I will appreciate if you make a comment.

Taken at the Barotac Viejo Catholic Church after the funeral mass and services with the Balleza clan and other relatives. I am the first person on second line from the right.

This second photo was at the Barotac Viejo Cemetery and the Katague plot during the burial ceremonies.

I have written a tribute to my Mother that had been posted in my blogs. The most recent one was last Sunday in celebration of Mother's Day.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Philippines Schindler's List-An Update

The movie Schindler's List that I posted in my blog recently reminded me of the following article I wrote about four years ago, about the Philippines participation in saving more than a thousand European Jews from the Holocaust.



A friend from the Philippines forwarded this article via e-mail today. I was 5 years old when this was the news. I barely remember it from my parents conversation about World War II. Anyway, if you are a Filipino or Filipino-American, you should read this and be proud of the Philippines.

Monument in Israel honors Filipinos, For saving 1,200 Jews from Holocaustt, By Volt Contreras, Philippine Inquirer dated August 24, 2010.

"MANILA, Philippines—Before Schindler’s List, there was another document—the Philippine visa—that saved hundreds of Jews from the gas chambers and mass graves of the Holocaust.

In 1939, two years before World War II reached the Pacific, the Commonwealth government under President Manuel L. Quezon allotted 10,000 visas and safe haven to Jews fleeing Nazi Europe. Some 1,200 Jews made it to Manila before the city itself fell to Japanese invaders.

Before sunset on June 21, 70 years later, the first ever monument honoring Quezon and the Filipino nation for this "open door policy" was inaugurated on Israeli soil.

The monument—a geometric, seven-meter-high sculpture titled "Open Doors"—was designed by Filipino artist Junyee (Luis Lee Jr.).

At the program held at the 65-hectare Holocaust Memorial Park in Rishon LeZion, Israel’s fourth largest city south of Tel Aviv, the mere mention of "Taft Avenue" by one of the speakers brought Ralph Preiss to the verge of tears.

Preiss, a father of four now in his 70s, later explained that Taft Avenue was where a synagogue-run soup kitchen provided the first hot meals he had as a refugee. He was eight when he arrived from Rosenberg, Germany, with his parents at the port of Manila on March 23, 1939.

"If I stayed in Germany I would have been killed," Preiss, a retired engineer living in Connecticut in the United States, told the Inquirer in an interview.
"My cousin who lived in Berlin and whose father was a lawyer went to Paris [instead]. The Paris police handed them over to the Nazis, and they were sent to Auschwitz and got killed," he recalled, adding:

"I’m very grateful to the Philippines for opening the doors and letting us in."

‘Salamat sa inyo!’

THANK YOU, RP In gratitude for the Philippines’ ‘open door’ policy for Jews escaping persecution in Nazi Europe, a steel monument of three doors was unveiled last week in Israel. VOLT CONTRERAS




El Gamma Penumbra is a Filipino shadow play group from Batangas. The group, which was a finalist in the third season of Pilipinas Got Talent (PGT), earned rave reviews from the judges of Asia's Got Talent (AGT). By giving a tour all over the world through shadow play, the group received praises from all the four judges of the competition - 16-time Grammy winner David Foster, UK pop sensation and former Spice Girl Melanie C, Indonesian rock icon Anggun, and Taiwanese-American pop idol Vanness Wu. The group received a golden buzzer which means they will fast-track to the semi-finals of the show to be held at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore in May 2015.

AGT is the first pan-regional edition of the global “Got Talent” format. It is hosted by Filipinos Marc Nelson and Rovilson Fernandez.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Our Neighbor was Lucky at the Casino, Yesterday


Our next door neighbor that comes with us every time we go to the Casino won more than a thousand dollars playing the slot machine, China Shore, yesterday. She can not believed her luck she could hardly speak after the win. Macrine and I were not present when she hit 100 free spins and hit full screen ( Chinese red flowers- see video) and bingo she hit one thousand three hundred dollars. She almost fainted with disbelief as players nearby screamed with delight.

The casino manager asked her SS so she can pay taxes for her win. I told her to talk to the Casino office and ask for documentation of her losses during the last six months. She may be able to document that her wins is less than her losses for the last 6 months so that she may not have have to pay taxes for her win. She plans on talking to the Casino management the next time we visit the Casino, probably in two weeks.

Our lucky neighbor informed us that at about ten minutes before our scheduled departure, she had lost already about $250. While waiting for us, she decided to play again her favorite slot, China Shore located near the Exit Elevator and WOW she hit the 100 free spins. Ten minutes later we arrived and informed her we are ready to go as Macrine was getting tired. She was very quiet, but before we could reach the parking lot, she informed us of what happened. She asked us if we will accept a $100 gift( Balato) from her or she could treat us to dinner. We refused since we already had dinner at the Buffet. We told her we will take a rain check on that dinner invitation.



Personal Note: Do not go to the Casino if the money you gamble is needed to buy your groceries. Casino Gambling can be addicting.

Monday, May 4, 2015

The Town Where I Grew Up in the Philippines

Barotac Viejo, Iloilo, Philippines National High School. Me and My sister (Amor) in front of the Sign at the entrance of the school showing our mother's land Donation to the School

The other day, I was finally able to have a person to person talk with my part-time gardener during his lunch break. He is a half and half Japanese-American who grew up in a small town in Hawaii. His father is a Japanese-American with a typical Japanese surname, but his mother is Caucasian. He does not have a Japanese feature so by just looking at his physical appearance you will never associate or guess his mixed ancestry. However, his surname is very Japanese. I have good vibes with him specially when he mentioned about visiting the Philippines several years ago. We got to talk about the hometowns where we grew up.

My chit-chat with my gardener about our home towns has inspired me to repost the following article. I wrote this article about 3 years ago.

If you have not heard of this place, I do not blame you. It is a 4th class municipality about 60Km North of Iloilo City. Iloilo is one of the four provinces in Panay Island. Panay Island is part of the Western Visayas Region of the Philippines. The Visayas Region is the Central Part of the Philippine Archipelago. You may ask me why I am writing about Barotac Viejo, Iloilo (BVI) . Let me explained.

BVI is the town where I grew up. It is the town where I finished my elementary school years. It is also the town where I finished high school. In 1951 I graduated valedictorian of my high school class. It is the town where I have both pleasant and unpleasant memories of my childhood and teenaged years.

My childhood memories of the American-Japanese war occurred in the town proper, foothills and jungles of this town. ( http://davidbkatague.blogspot.com). My memories of my elementary and high school years as discussed in my autobiography , http://theintellectualmigrant.blogspot.com , (Chapter 2 and 3) also occurred in this town.

When I left BVI in 1951 to pursue my college degree in Iloilo City and later in Diliman, Quezon City, BVI was a 4th class town with less than 5000 residents. Today, Wikipedia states that is still a 4th class municipality, but with around 39,000 residents. When I left BVI in 1955, there was the elementary and high schools, public market, Cockfighting Arena, the Catholic Church, the Post office and one gas station, a couple of hardware stores, a Chinese bakery and may be 100 residential homes in the town proper. Today it is still a 4th class town with more buildings both for business and private homes. The local high school was named to be a national agricultural high school. Part of the land for the school was donated by my uncle ( Jose Balleza) and my mother Paz Balleza ( see photo above). There is a beach resort ( Balaring Beach) about 5 Km from the town proper.
Our ancestral home at the back of the Municipal and Post Office building, before it was sold.

When I left the town in 1955, the mayor of the town was Luis Tupas, a relative of my mother. Today the local politics, are still controlled by the Tupas family and their clan. When I left the town, my parents bestowed me a 12 hectare parcel of rice land as part of my inheritance, as discussed in my blog http://lifeinus1960present.blogspot.com. Today that land has been land reformed and I have not received a single centavo from the Philippine government. What was left of my inheritance is a 2-hectare parcel in the upland area without water irrigation and almost useless for crop growing.

So after all this years, almost 57 years, the town has not really changed. I found a Facebook Page about the town last year. Searching in Google, there is not much information about BVI. If you click on the Image Section, two of my pictures are in the first page.

In 2005, my wife and I accompanied by my sister visited our parents grave in the cemetery of BVI.Me and my wife and sister Amor at the Cemetery. Our old house (located at the back of the Post Office) was gone. The only thing that remained was the foundation stone with the engraving Dolce Building, 1952.

Tears from my eyes flowed like a gentle rain, when I saw that foundation, recalling the pleasant memories of my teen-age years. The house is gone but my memories of BVI will live forever. I wish for a better future for BVI and its residents. If you know of someone from Barotac Viejo, Iloilo, I will appreciate your comments.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Have You Heard of Mikey Bustos-An Update

Here's the latest of Mikey Bustos video. I really love this one.



For some reason or another, This is the first time I have heard of Mikey Bustos. So I did some Internet search, and here's what I learned.

Bustos is born from Filipino parents in the Weston neighbourhood of Toronto. Before Canadian Idol, he worked as a temp at the Bank of Montreal. He attended St. Michael's College School in Toronto.

Bustos placed seventh runner-up in the finals of first season of Canadian Idol in August 2003, despite Chart magazine's prediction: "If we were to lay our bets today, ChartAttack’s money would be on Toronto contestant Mikey Bustos, a slightly strange-looking young man with a shaved head and the voice of an angel. From his very first audition where he floored the four judges, he established the largest fan base early in the competition, and made headlines all over the country.

After competing on Canadian Idol, Bustos began performing throughout Canada and the US at many events and showcases at top venues. Mikey also had special guest appearances and interviews at numerous radio stations including CHUM FM, CFMT, Z 103.5 FM, Flow 93.5 FM, Mix 99.9 FM, AM 680 News, CHIN Ottawa FM, CKMS 100.3 FM Waterloo, and has several times appeared on CTV (Etalk Daily/ Canada AM Live), CBC Quebec, and local stations like Omni1 and Rogers .
I enjoyed very much his YouTube satires on the Filipino culture and way of life. Very funny,indeed!

Blog Archive

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

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

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About Me

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

Orchids and Statuaries in the Gardens of Chateau De La Mer

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