If this is your first time in my site, welcome! Chateau Du Mer is a beach resort with a beach house and conference Hall. The beach house could now accommodate 10 guests, six in the main floor and four in the first floor( air conditioned room). In addition, you can now reserve your vacation dates ahead and pay the rental fees via PayPal. I hope to see you soon in Marinduque- Home of the Morions and Heart of the Philippines. The photo above was taken during our first Garden Wedding ceremony at The Chateau Du Mer Gardens. I have also posted my favorite Filipino and American dishes and recipes in this site. Some of the photos and videos on this site, I do not own, but I have no intention on the infringement of your copyrights!

Marinduque Mainland from Tres Reyes Islands

Marinduque Mainland from Tres Reyes Islands
View of Marinduque Mainland from Tres Reyes Islands-Click on photo to link to Marinduque Awaits You

Saturday, March 16, 2019

A Short Tribute to My First Supervisor in FDA-Tony DeCamp

Dr Wilson ( Tony) De Camp. Ph.D.

Wilson (Tony) H. De Camp. PH.D. passed away the other day after suffering the scourge of Parkinson Disease for 15 years. He was responsible for my hiring at the Food and Drug Administration, Center of New Drugs, Division of Anti-Infective Drug Products in 1990. I was under his supervision as a Review Chemist and later an Expert ( GS-14) for almost five years. Tony was not only a good supervisor but was very kind to all the Review Chemists( 5) under his supervision. He was very smart, quit witted but very disorganized. His office room was always a mess, but if we asked him of certain documents, he can always retrieved it from the disorganized documents in his room. One day when he was out of the Office, all of his reviewers decided to tidy up his office. When he came back to work, he was not too happy that we clean-up his mess, but he did not reprimand us.

One of the greatest compliment he gave me, was his statement that one the best decision he has done during his leadership at the Division of Anti-Infective Drug Products was hiring me from the dozen of applicants during the FDA Job Fair in San Francisco. This statement was precipitated when I was able to upgrade and a get a discount for our group at the Marriot Hotel during one of the many chemistry conventions and Conferences that our group attend annually.

Later on in 1996, when I was promoted as Team Leader and now become his equal, we become friends and we continue our interaction as colleagues and not as boss and employee. Tony was responsible for my promotion as a GS-14 expert on anti-malarial drug products in 1994. I missed you Tony. May you rest in Peace, Amen!

For additional information on Tony's professional career read: https://www.researchgate.net/scientific-contributions/2093491089_Wilson_H_De_Camp

And for his obituary read:https://www.covenantfuneralservice.com/tributes/Wilson-TonyDeCampII

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

My First Moving Traffic Violation in 59 Years

Red Light Cameras

Last week, I incurred my first traffic moving violation in 59 years of driving here in the US. The sad part is I did not even realized I had run through a red light at the intersection of Sunrise and Folsom Blvd here in Rancho Cordova.

However yesterday I received a notice with pictures of my car and me in that intersection. There was a telephone # to call to pay for the fine without going to traffic court. The fine had to be paid in 90 days. I immediately called that number to find out how much was the fine. I waited for an hour for the answer but I was number 25 in the waiting list. I hung up and this morning I called at 8AM. I was still number 5 waiting on line. After 20 minutes, I was able to talk to the clerk and she gave the following information.

The fine was $500 payable now and within 90 days. This penalty maybe refunded if I signed up for traffic school. Signing up for traffic school I still have to pay in advance $552 and wait for a couple of months for a possible refund. Since I do not have the time to attend traffic school I decided just to pay $500 via my credit card and my case was closed. The $500 fine was a shock. I thought my penalty would be around $100.

How come I was driving at the Sunrise/Folsom Blvd intersection on March 3 at 11AM, about 7 miles from home? To be honest I was lost on my way to purchase a new dishwasher. I was on my way to the Sears Outlet store at the intersection Of Coloma Rd and Folsom. I do not have a GPS system in my car. I looked at the map quest prior to driving since I had not driven in that area before. I overshoot up to Sunrise and had to turn back to Coloma Rd. When I looked at the photo, I realized why I did not see the red light. The red light sign was at back of my car so I did not see it.

What a day that was! The dishwasher cost me $600 ( includes delivery and installation), but my fine of $500 makes it one of the most expensive kitchen appliance I have ever owned. Watch out for video cameras( Big Brother in the Sky) for traffic violation and enforcement.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Playing with Water-A Must Read Book about Marinduque Island

Playing with Water: Passion and Solitude on a Philippine Island (Twentieth Century Lives) James Hamilton-Paterson

I have read this book a few years ago. I have almost forgotten this book, until last month when a fellow blogger from Marinduque posted an article about this book. It triggered pleasant memories of Marinduque. So, if you are a true-blooded Marinduqueno, this is a must read book, even if you do not like to read books. I love this book so much, I read some chapters twice. I am not quite sure where the exact location of the author's cottage was. WHAT baranggay is it in Boac or Gasan? Perhaps other readers could give me a definite answer to my question.

The following two reviews summarizes of what the book is about. But to me, it is one of the best book, I have read about my island Paradise and My Retirement Home-Marinduque. It was written and published in the late 1990's but the lessons one can learn from book is still applicable today.

1. This review is from: Playing with Water: Passion and Solitude on a Philippine Island (Twentieth Century Lives) By schnedermann@msn.com (Munich, Germany),1998.

Paterson is living on a small island in the Philippines and he is joining the natives in diving (i.e. fishing) for a living. We scuba-divers, as we only come for 1-2 week vacations, often are not experiencing the reality around our dive sites. Paterson's book was helping me understanding more of the countries I was visiting. Very instructive are his personal insights about ecology in a third world country and the connections to the economical and social structure. I found it very valuable that the insights do not follow the well known beaten paths about the third world but are rather well founded, personal observations. This makes this book a much more interesting read than any other book about the subject that I have ever read before.

2. Go read...it's good!, September 21, 2002
By A. N. Teodoro III (River Edge, NJ, USA) - (REAL NAME) This review is from: Playing with Water: Passion and Solitude on a Philippine Island (Twentieth Century Lives)

I read this book so many years ago, but I can still remember how good it is. This book is not only about the underwater world but also about the goings-on in a typical barrio in the Philippines. It has a socio-economic aspect to it that I found quite realistic, having been born and raised in that very same third world country. It amazed and pleased me that a foreigner like Hamilton-Paterson could, quite accurately, capture the very essence of filipino rural society---like the old woman who he suspects isn't so aloof and taciturn as she seems and the children of the barrio who frolic in the water and in their humble amusements, oblivious of the shortcomings of a third world upbringing. The book is an unusual stew of underwater
adventure and an unpatronizing account of a life among barrio folk.

Other Reviews:

A work of such genuine commitment, balanced perception and responsive passion that it will certainly be condemned to become a classic. (New York Times Book Review )

A classic travel book...entirely original: at once astringently and gorgeously written... (Andrew Harvey )

Unforgettable. The Philippine landscape and these remote islanders are crystalline and at the same time mysterious; the writing itself superb. (Ronald Blythe )

James Hamilton-Paterson spends a third of each year on an otherwise uninhabited Philippine island, spear-fishing for survival. Playing with Water tells us why he does. Beyond that, it gives an account of life in that class-bound country as a whole. For it is in places like this rather than Manila of the international news reports that the underlying political and cultural reality of the Philippines may be seen.

About the Author: Described as one of the most reclusive of British literary exiles who shares his time between Austria, Italy and extensive periods over the last 30 years in the Philippines, is poet and novelist, James Hamilton-Paterson.

He is generally known as a commentator on the Philippine scene, where he has lived on and off. His novels on the Philippines includes “Ghosts of Manila”, and “America’s Boy” (1998), the latter setting the Marcos regime into the geopolitical context of the time.

One of his books, “Playing with Water”, sold more than 4 million copies, described in a book review by New York Times as “a work of such genuine commitment, balanced perception and responsive passion that it will certainly be condemned to become a classic.”

Note: This book is available on-line( Amazon) or your local bookstores as well as in your public library.

First Posting: 2011

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Fears of Retirement

Last week, one of my FB friends and Macrine's relative posted a big headline on her page that Preparing for Retirement is Not for Sissies. Her posting reminded me of my own retirement fears seventeen years ago.

I retired from the Food and Drug Administration in 2002 when I was 68 years old. Prior to my retirement my plan was to retire three years before( when I turned 65). However, at that time I had feared that retirement will ruined me financially. Retirement will make me feel useless and that my Social Security will not be enough. I also feared that I will miss the social and intellectual interaction of my colleagues and coworkers.

However, one month after my retirement all the above fears disappeared. How did I do it? I followed the suggestion in the article below. If you are in the process or near retirement, the following article is a must read.


Fearing retirement is a normal reaction, although it will change your lifestyles. Enjoy your retirement years dear friends and relatives!

Friday, March 1, 2019

Have You Heard of Manila, California ?

Manila, California
I believe a majority of Filipinos or Filipino-Americans have never heard of the two towns above. I did not know about these two towns until just recently, when one of my friends in the Philippines mentioned that he has a relative in Manila, California. So I went to Google and here's what I found.

Manila, California is a census-designated place in Humboldt County. It is located 3.25 miles (5.2 km) north of downtown Eureka, at an elevation of 13 feet (4 m). The ZIP Code is 95521. The population was 784 at the 2010 census. The town was founded at the end of World War II, and named after Manila in the Philippines.

The 2010 United States Census reported that Manila had a population of 784. The racial makeup of Manila was 686 White, 14 African American, 25 Native American, 5 Asian, 12 from other races, and 42 from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 30 persons.

Manila, Arkansas

There is another town called Manila in Arkansas. The original name of this town was "Cindy". There was a WWII war hero who hailed from the town of Cindy. He was serving in Manila, Philippines when he won a purple heart and saved his whole platoon. His town, Cindy, was so proud of him they renamed the city after the city in which he became a war hero, Manila, Philippines. There is also a life-sized statue of him on the corner of the highway and the business district that happens to be the smallest state park in the State of Arkansas. The population was 3,055 at the 2000 census. It was the hometown of World War I sniper Herman Davis. A park in the town honors his memory today. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.2 square miles (8.4 km²), all of it land.

Interesting indeed!

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Have You Been to Intercourse, Pennsylvania?

Last year, I posted in one of my blogs a list of unusual and delightfully named places in the US ( about 50 names) because of the implied connotation. In this list the most delightfully named towns in the US is Intercourse, Pennsylvania. Would you believe it is an Amish town? So, where in the heck is this town with a sexually suggested name? Here's what Wikipedia says:

Intercourse, Pennsylvania (pop. roughly 1,558) is an unincorporated village in Leacock Township, Lancaster County in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania, ten miles east of Lancaster on PA 340. As with the nearby towns of Bird-in-Hand, Blue Ball, and Paradise, Intercourse is a popular site for tourists because of its location in "Amish country" and its sexually suggestive name. The movie Witness was filmed in Intercourse as well as other parts of the surrounding area, and For Richer or Poorer was set there, though not filmed in Intercourse. Because of the town's unusual name, the sign posts for the town are frequently targeted by thieves.

Tourism and farming are major industries in the area. Small businesses sell Amish crafts, food, and give horse and buggy rides. The town thrives on thousands of tourists who visit the region each year. Most of the land surrounding the town is farmland.

Intercourse was founded in 1754. The community was originally named Cross Keys, after a local tavern. Intercourse became the name in 1814. The village website gives several theories for the origins of the name.

"Another theory concerns two famous roads that crossed here. The Old King's highway from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh (now the Old Philadelphia Pike) ran east and west through the center of the town. The road from Wilmington to Erie intersected in the middle. The joining of these two roads is claimed by some to be the basis for the town 'Cross Keys' or eventually 'Intercourse'. A final idea comes from the use of language during the early days of the Village. The word 'intercourse' was commonly used to describe the 'fellowship' and 'social interaction and support' shared in the community of faith, which was much a part of a rural village like this one."

The village's name is often the subject of jokes relating to sexual intercourse. Along with that of Blue Ball, Pennsylvania, the publishers of the Eros Magazine, sought mailing privileges from the postmasters of the town. Intercourse and Blue Ball are often named in lists of "delightfully-named towns" in Pennsylvania Dutchland, along with Mount Joy, Lititz, Bareville, Bird-in-Hand and Paradise.

Nearby sites of interest are: Amish and Mennonite Tourist Information Center, American Military Edged Weapons Museum, People's Place Quilt Museum Museums and Historic Sites, American Military Edged Weaponry Museum and People's Place Quilt Museum. Here's a short video for your viewing pleasure.

Let's go and have fun in Intercourse, PA this summer! It is not too far from Philadelphia, PA.

First Posted: 2011

Friday, February 22, 2019

Our Love and Hate of American Football

Having been born and raised in the Philippines until I was 23 years old, the game called American Football was not in my vocabulary when I was a teenager. It was only in 1960 when I attended graduate school at the University of Illinois that I learned what the game is all about. To me it is a very complicated game, compared to basketball or baseball the sports that I am familiar with. However, it was not after I finished my graduate studies, that I learned to enjoy this game. At first it was the college football, followed by the professional football( NFL) and later on the high school football games that I followed. I started following high school games when my youngest son started to play in the Pee Wee league (Grades 7 to 8) and then later on the Junior Varsity team( Grades 9 to 10). After the kids went to college, my wife and I lost interest in both the high school and college games. The only exception was the annual rivalry between the UC Berkeley Team( The Bears) versus Standford, known as the Big Game. This was because our youngest daughter was a cheer leader for UC Berkeley. It was only in the 1980 to 1990 when we move to the San Francisco Bay Area that my wife and I became avid fans of the SF 49's team. The names Joe Montana and Steve Young are names of SF quarterbacks that will always linger in our memories.

Joe Montana was the SF quarterback that made me love the game of American Football. Montana started his NFL career in 1979 with San Francisco, where he played for the next 14 seasons. Traded before the 1993 season, he spent his final two years in the league with Kansas City. While a member of the 49ers, Montana started in four Super Bowl games and won all of them. Montana was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2000, his first year of eligibility.

In 1989, and again in 1990, the Associated Press named Montana the NFL Most Valuable Player (MVP), and Sports Illustrated magazine named Montana the 1990 "Sportsman of the Year". Four years earlier, in 1986, Montana won the AP NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award. Montana was elected to eight Pro Bowls, as well as being voted 1st team All-Pro by the AP in 1987, 1989, and 1990. Montana had the highest passer rating in the National Football Conference (NFC) five times (1981, 1984, 1985, 1987, and 1989); and, in both 1987 and 1989, Montana had the highest passer rating in the entire NFL.

Noted for his ability to remain calm under pressure, Montana helped his teams to 31 fourth quarter come-from-behind wins. In the closing moments of the 1981 NFC Championship Game and Super Bowl XXIII, Montana threw game-winning touchdown passes. The touchdown at the end of the championship game was so memorable that sports journalists, fans, and many others, refer to the play simply as "The Catch". The touchdown in the closing moments of Super Bowl XXIII came at the end of a 92-yard drive.

The 49ers retired the number 16, the jersey number Montana wore while with the team. In 1993, Montana was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs and led the franchise to its first AFC Championship Game in January 1994. In 1994, Montana earned a spot on the NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team; he is also a member of the NFL 1980s All-Decade Team. In 1999, editors at The Sporting News ranked Montana third on their list of Football's 100 Greatest Players. Also in 1999, ESPN named Montana the 25th greatest athlete of the 20th century. In 2006, Sports Illustrated rated him the number one clutch quarterback of all-time. Montana was replaced by Steve Young.

From 1990 to 2002 we resided in the Washington DC area. Thus we rooted for the Washington Red Skins, but occasionally we still watch a 49'ers game. My wife and I lost interest in professional football games from 2003 to 2011 due to our other activities ( medical mission work in Marinduque, Philippines).

This year we are again rooting for the Niners and its new quarterback Colin Kaepernick from Turlock. For those of you who are not American citizens and have no idea what American football is, here a short information from Wikipedia.

American football, known in the United States simply as football, is a sport played between two teams of eleven with the objective of scoring points by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone by running with it or throwing it to a teammate. Points can be scored by carrying the ball over the opponent's goal line or catching a pass thrown over that goal line (6 points), kicking the ball through the opponent's goal posts (3 points), or tackling an opposing ball carrier (2 points) in his own end zone.

In the United States, the major forms are high school football, college football and professional football( NFL). Each of these are played under slightly different rules. High school football is governed by the National Federation of State High School Associations and college football by the National Collegiate Athletic Association. The highest level league for professional football is the National Football League.

American football is closely related to Canadian football but with some differences in rules and the field. Both sports can be traced to early versions of association and rugby football. It is also a contact sports, but totally different than soccer football popular all over the world. Here's a video, a typical reaction of a soccer football enthusiast from the other parts of the world ( Europe or South America).

First Posting:2013

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Are You Aging Gracefully?

I received this e-mail today. I do not know the author, but has been circulating in the Web. I can identify with the sentiments of this article. If you are retired this is a must read for you. If not passed it on to your older friends and relatives. An encouraging suggestion.....to share. Many people feel unhappy, health-wise and security-wise, after 60 years of age. Or 70! Or 75! Or whatever is your age now! Life can begin now, it is all in your hands! Many people feel unhappy, health-wise and security-wise, owing to the diminishing importance given to them and their opinions. But, it need not be so, if only we understand the basic principles of life and follow them. Here are ten encouraging thoughts to age gracefully and make life after retirement pleasant.

1. Never say I am ‘aged': There are three ages, chronological, biological, and psychological. The first is calculated based on our date of birth; the second is determined by the health conditions; the third is how old we feel we are. While we don't have control over the first, we can take care of our health with good diet, exercise and a cheerful attitude. A positive attitude and optimistic thinking can reverse the third age.

2. Health is wealth: If you really love your kith and kin, taking care of your health should be your priority. Thus, you will not be a burden to them. Have an annual health check-up and take the prescribed medicines regularly. Do take health insurance coverage.

3. Money is important: Money is essential for meeting the basic necessities of life, keeping good health and earning family respect and security. Don't spend beyond your means even for your children. You have lived for them all through. If your children are grateful and they will take care of you, you are blessed. But, never take it for granted.

4. Relaxation and recreation: The most relaxing and recreating forces are a healthy religious attitude, good sleep, music and laughter. Have faith in God, learn to sleep well, love good music and see the funny side of life.

5. Time is precious: It is almost like holding a horses' reins. When they are in your hands, you can control them. Imagine that every day you are born again. Yesterday is a cancelled check. Tomorrow is a promissory note. Today is ready cash - use it profitably. Live this moment; live it fully, now, in the present time.

6. Change is the only permanent thing: We should accept change - it is inevitable. The only way to make sense out of change is to join in the dance. Change has brought about many pleasant things. We should be happy that our children are blessed.

7. Enlightened selfishness: All of us are basically selfish. Whatever we do, we expect something in return. We should definitely be grateful to those who stood by us. But, our focus should be on the internal satisfaction and the happiness we derive by doing good for others, without expecting anything in return. Perform a random act of kindness daily.

8. Forget and forgive: Don't be bothered too much about others' mistakes. We are not spiritual enough to show our other cheek when we are slapped in one. But for the sake of our own health and happiness, let us forgive and forget them. Otherwise, we will be only increasing our blood pressure.

9. Everything has a purpose: Take life as it comes. Accept yourself as you are and also accept others for what they are. Everybody is unique and is right in his own way.

10. Overcome the fear of death: We all know that one day we have to leave this world. Still we are afraid of death. We think that our spouse and children will be unable to withstand our loss. But the truth is that your life on earth is not eternal, earth is not your home perpetually. Your love ones will miss you but the memories live on, you can be an example for them to carry on! Last but most important, you have a God who loves and cares for you! You have a future and a hope in Him....you have a choice...life can begin NOW..... So, are you aging gracefully or miserably?

First Posting: 2012
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