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

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Filipino Business Signs of Wit

A decade ago I received an e-mail from a Filipino friend listing 25 business signs in the Philippines. Most of them are still funny and humorous. The author was not listed. If you know the author please let me know so I can acknowledge his work.

1. The sign in a flower shop in Diliman called Petal Attraction.

2. Anita Bakery.

3. A 24-hour restaurant called Doris Day & Night

4. Barber shop called Felix The Cut;

5. A bakery named Bread Pitt

6. Fast-food place selling 'maruya' (banana fritters) called Maruya Carey.

7. Then, there was Christopher Plumbing.

8. A boutique called The Way We Wear.

9. Two butcher shops called Meating Place and Meatropolis.

10. A restaurant in Cainta district of Rizal called Caintacky Fried Chicken.

11. A local burger restaurant called Mang Donald's.

12. A doughnut shop called MacDonuts.

13. A shop selling 'lumpia' (egg roll) in Makati called Wrap and Roll.

14. Smart travelers can decipher what may look like baffling signs to unaccustomed foreigners by simply sounding out the 'Taglish' (The Philippine version of English words spelled and pronounced with a heavy Filipino accent)such as:

15. At a restaurant menu in Cebu:"We hab sopdrink in can an in batol" [translation: We have soft drinks in can and in bottle].

16. Then, there is a sewing accessories shop called "Bids And Pises" - [translation: Beads and Pieces--or-- Bits and Pieces]

There are also many signs with either badly chosen or misspelled words but they are usually so entertaining that it would be a mistake to 'correct' them like....
17. In a restaurant in Baguio City,the 'summer capital'of the Philippines: "Wanted: Boy Waitress"

18. On a highway in Pampanga: "We Make Modern Antique Furniture"

19. On the window of a photography shop in Cabanatuan: "We Shoot You While You Wait!"

20. And on the glass front of a cafe in Panay Avenue in Manila: "Wanted: Waiter, Cashier, Washier".

Some of the notices can even give a wrong impression such as:

21. A shoe store in Pangasinan which has a sign saying: "We Sell Imported Robber Shoes" (these could be the 'sneakiest' sneakers);

22. A rental property sign in Jaro reads: "House For Rent, Fully Furnaced" (it must really be hot inside)!

23. Occasionally, one could come across signs that are truly unique - if not altogether odd. A city in southern Philippines which said: "Adults: 1 peso; Child: 50centavos; Cadavers: fare subject to negotiation" .

24. European tourists may also be intrigued to discover two competing shops selling hopia (a Chinese pastry) called Holland Hopia and Poland Hopia - which are owned and operated by two local Chinese entrepreneurs, Mr.. Ho and Mr. Po respectively - (believe it or not)!

25.. Some folks also 'creatively' redesign English to be more efficient. The creative confusion between language and culture leads to more than just simple unintentional errors in syntax,but in the adoption of new words,says reader Robert Goodfellow who came across a sign... "House Fersallarend" (house for sale or rent).. Why use five words when two will do?

According to Manila businessman, Tonyboy Ongsiako,there is so much wit in the Philippines because we are a country where a good sense of humor is needed to survive. We have a 24-hour comedy show here called the government and a huge reserve of comedians made up mostly of politicians and bad actors.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Moving is an Adventure but Pain the "A"

photo from topviralpictures.com

Although, I have never worked for the US navy, army or air force, my family have moved twelve times from the 1960 to 2002. Most of these moves were paid by my employers. These moves are either intercity or interstate, voluntary or involuntary. Each move is for a different reason, but it is always an adventure, filled with anxiety and hopes for a better life and new experiences. The places we have lived are as follows:

Chicago, Illinois (2 moves), Kansas City, Missouri (3 moves), Modesto, California (2 moves), Pinole, California ( 2 moves), Silver Spring, MD (1 move) and Sacramento, California (2 moves). These averaged to about 1 move every 3.5 years ( 12 moves in 42 years).

Can we call the David Balleza Katague clan modern gypsies then? We lived the longest in Pinole, CA (16 years) and followed by Silver Spring, MD ( 12 years) with exception of our current residence here in Northern California, now in our 17th year).

Ditas Baptism Party published in the Kansas City Star, Gladstone, Missouri, 1965

Our first interstate move was from Chicago, Illinois to Kansas City, Missouri in 1964.After my PhD. graduation from the University of Illinois in Chicago, I got my first industrial job in Kansas City, Missouri. The move was paid by my employer, Chemagro Corporation. The movers packed and unpacked every thing we owned which was not much. We first rented a 3 bedroom house in Gladstone, Missouri, right in town. The family( Macrine and three kids) got involved with the local church and country club activities.

The house was right in town and after two years, our landlord wanted to sell his property, so we were forced to rent another house nearby. This house is more secluded with an undeveloped land in our backyard. At the back of the property is a small creek, where our three kids love to play. We are always on our toes if they play on the creek, since we are afraid an accident may happened.

An accident did happened, when our little David scrapped his knees and had to be driven to the emergency room for several stitches. Macrine was so scared ( too much blood), she did not realized she was driving in second gear on her way to the hospital.

On our fourth year in Kansas City, we decided to buy our first house in Park Woods, Missouri, North of Kansas City.
In front of our first house in the US with the 4D's in Kansas City,Missouri, 1967

The house was a 4 -bedroom ranch with a one acre of lot. We called it “The Nipa Hut”. Our Christmas Parties with the Filipino-American community in the area was featured in the two local newspapers, The Dispatch and Kansas City Star. We lived in the North Kansas City area for 5 years,.

Our next move was to Modesto, California. Modesto is in the heart of Stanislaus County, a part of California Central Valley- a farming community in 1969. This was a voluntary move. After five years of Midwest weather, I wanted to move to California for a better paying job and climate. With the move, I got a 20% raise and fulfill my wish to live in a warmer climate. My new employer paid again all our moving expenses, including relocation expenses. Shell Development Company also paid for our hotel expenses and help us in the purchase of a new home in Modesto, right in town.
Our Citizenship Party published in the Modesto Bee, 1972

By this time we had 4 kids and decided to apply for American citizenship. It was granted in 1972. Our citizenship party was featured in the Modesto Bee- a local newspaper. Macrine at this time wanted to have a gift shoppe where she could sell Philippine handicrafts and other gift products from the Philippines. So we decided to sell our house right in town and purchase a farm house with a gift shop in front at Skittone Rd, right in the border of Modesto and Salida. The gift shop was doing well, but after five years in Modesto, Shell Development decided to close their agricultural research and move all of it to Houston, Texas. Since we do not want to move to Texas, I decided to look for another job close to San Francisco or in the East Bay.

I was lucky to find another research chemist job with Stauffer Chemical Company in Richmond, California in 1974. We purchase a new house in Pinole, walking distance to the High School. We selected Pinole, since it had a “Debate-Forensic Program” that our oldest son wanted. When we move from Modesto, our oldest son said, he will never forget the fact, that we uprooted him from his high school at Beyer where he was active in the forensic team. So his requirement was that we move to a place where there is a local forensic team in the high school.

When all the kids graduated from high school, we decided to move from our 2-story house to a ranch type house in the same area. This was instigated, when one day, I sprained my ankle playing tennis and I had a hard time climbing the stairs to our bedroom. So we move to Silvercrest Rd up in the hill with a nice view of the San Pablo Bay. This time we do the moving ourselves. Since it was only about 2 miles from our former house, it was not a hard move, although we have to hire a local moving company for the heavy furniture and appliances. The expenses for this move came from our own pockets. In this ranch home on the hill with a view, we hold several parties for the University of the Philippines Alumni Association, Berkeley Chapter, when I was President at that time,1988-1989.

In 1990, my new employer, Chevron Chemical Company, decided to close their agricultural division in Richmond. This time I promised to myself, I will never work for a private company due to stability concerns. My goal was to work either for the State or the Federal government. My chance to work for the Federal government came when the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hired me as a review chemist and later Team Leader, after I attended a Job Fair in San Francisco in 1990. Luckily at that time, the Federal government had a budget for relocation expenses for employees under their Special Hiring Program. So without touching anything, the federal government paid for all our relocation expenses and also help us find a new house in Maryland. We found a ranch type home in Colesville, MD, north of Silver Spring. We live there for 12 years until my retirement in 2002.

This is our current residence here in US. Hopefully this will be our last move before our day to Return to Mother Earth (Dust thou art, to dust thou shall return)

The latest move we had was in 2002 from Maryland to Sacramento, California. Why retire in the Sacramento Area? We want to be near our children and grandchildren, so at least we could help in baby sitting. Our youngest daughter and husband live not too far from us. Our two other children lived in Walnut Creek, about a 90 minutes drive. This move was our hardest move. We had to pay for all the moving expenses. After a garage sale, giving away some of our possessions to friends, relatives and neighbors, we still have more than 500 boxes plus two cars to transport across the continent. Since we were not sure where to buy a house in the Sacramento area, we decided to rent first. After one year, we decided to purchase another ranch type house in the Eastern suburb of Sacramento. It is convenient to shopping malls, the casinos (Thunder Valley and Red Hawk) and of course to my Pangga, Carenna. For details about our life in the various locations listed above, please visit my web site. http://theintellectualmigrant.blogspot.com ( First posting in 2012).

Friday, July 5, 2019

My Banana, Okra and Pineapple Plants in Northern California

Pineapple Fruit Getting Bigger

Growing tropical plants such as bananas and pineapple is not easy here in Northern California. If we reside in San Diego or Florida, it will not be a problem. However, my potted pineapple plant appears to be thriving and its fruit is getting bigger every day. Hopefully it will mature before the winter chills arrives.

I have tried growing papayas and avocado in pots. However the winters chills was not kind to them. My dream would have to have a green house attached to our house, but at the stage of my life, that is not possible. I am just happy watching my banana and pineapple very healthy this year summer season.

This banana plant will never bear fruit as the climate here in Northern California is not hot enough and warm temperatures last only for about 7 to 8 months.

My Okra and Avocado in Pots.

This is my first year to grow okra from seeds. Our Filipina caretaker gave me the seeds. She has grown okra to maturity in her backyard. So I hope I will have some okra for my pinakbet or tempura by the end of this year.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Night Time Photos from Our Two Residences

Here are some of my favorite night time photographs from our two residences( in Northern California and in Boac, Marinduque, Philippines).

Night Time at the Main House-Chateau Du Mer

Two Moons from the front balcony of the main house, Boac

Night Time at the Beach House, Amoingon, Boac

Solar Lights in my Garden, Chateau Du Mer Conference Hall, Boac, Marinduque

Sunset at Chateau Du Mer, Beach House Bridge of Love

Beach House Bridge of Love at Night

Beach House Bridge at Twilight

Our Capiz Shell Parol, Northern California

Christmas Lights Decor

One of my favorite garden statuary at night, Northern California

Friday, June 21, 2019

My Formula for Success

My Younger years working in the Research Laboratory doing Pesticide Residues Analytical Methods development for a private company in the US.

Several years ago, I had a chance to chat( via FB) with a former student who was a Pre-Med at UP Diliman, Q.C in 1955. He is now retired and had been a successful surgeon in the US for many years. For those of you who have not read my autobiography, I did taught Chemistry courses to Pre-Med, Nursing and Engineering students as Instructor in Chemistry, UP Diliman from 1956-1959.

During our chat about retirement and our professional careers, he asked me If I had a formula for success. I thought for a moment and replied: Patience, Common Sense, Hard Work and Luck. The above four words did indeed apply to my success in my professional career. The first three words I used to obtain my Master and Doctorate degrees in Pharmaceutical Chemistry from the University of Illinois. Luck(Timing) when I become the Chemistry Team Leader ( first line Supervisor) for the Division of Ant-Infective Products, FDA when my supervisor was transferred to another division.

Image Credit: quotespictures.com

I am re posting today, excerpts from my article "The highlights of my Professional Career in Chemistry" just in case you have not read it in my blogs.

My picture used by Stauffer Chemicals in their Advertisement Brochures, 1981

"The type of work we choose defines who we are. The more we love what we do, the better we become productive and develop our skills on our chosen field. I have loved science and Math since I was young. I decided to major in Chemistry in college, and with persistence and hard work; I also completed my Masters and Doctorate in the same field.

It was not a surprise that I spent the next four decades working in the field of Chemistry. They were mostly exciting career moves, except for the three layoff experiences. A huge part of my work involved working with various types of people. The success of my former employers was due to the diligence and cooperation among its employees to improve workplace harmony and productivity.

In my more than 40 years of professional career, I have experienced both working rank and file, as well as supervising the work of subordinates. I have worked in four private firms and the Federal Government, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), where I retired. I enjoyed the challenges and difficulties of both types of job situations. This is the highlights of my work experience story.

My first job after completing my doctorate degree was a Chemist for Chemagro Corporation in Kansas City, Missouri. It was a subsidiary of Bayer Corporation, a German conglomerate. I worked for the analytical chemistry department comprised of about fifty people; half that number was either chemists or biologists. My specific task was to develop analytical methods for the detection of pesticide residues in plant and animal tissues. I worked on my own, similar to six other bench chemists, and we all reported to the same supervisor.

The firm sponsored my visa conversion from a student to a permanent resident, and I was able to legally work and reside in the United States with my family. The company generously took care of its employees. At the end of each successful year, everyone received a 13th month salary bonus. The employees and their families celebrated wonderful annual Christmas parties in a downtown Kansas City hotel, with dancing and free drinks for the whole night.

As much as I enjoyed and loved working for Chemagro for five years, I found a new job which offered a substantially higher pay. Due to my exemplary work performance, my supervisor lobbied for me to stay with the company. I had to turn him down because they could not match the package presented by my new employer. It was also a chance for me and my family to move and live in the US west coast, where the mild winter climate is bearable compared to the Midwest.

My next job was at the agricultural research division of Shell Development Company in Modesto, California. I was a Research Chemist, and again I worked individually, same as five other chemists who all reported to a supervisor. My specific duty was similar to my previous job. I worked for them for five years, until the company decided to get out of the pesticide business. They closed their research facility affecting the jobs of more than 200 employees.

My third industrial job was with the agricultural research division of Stauffer Chemical Company, located in Richmond, California. I was a Senior Research Chemist doing the same project as my two previous jobs. I worked for twelve continuous years for the company, with outstanding annual job performance. I became a Principal Research Chemist, the highest attainable non-supervisory position.

One day in 1986, my supervisor informed me that my job had been eliminated, and I had one day to vacate the facility. It was the most dreadful lay off experience in my life. I felt anger, sadness and humiliation to be dismissed from work with one day notice, after all the years of hard work invested for the company. This was an unforgettable incident and was the gloomiest point in my professional career.

One of the chemists was distressed and expressed his outrageous anger by threatening the company and its workers. He told his supervisor of his intention to bomb and burn down the laboratory. He was immediately escorted by the security staff out of the building and into his car. He was informed to leave behind his personal belongings; they will be mailed to his residence. He was warned never to show up again near the company premises or risk getting arrested.

My supervisor was kind and allowed me to take my time to pack up my belongings. It took me two days to clear up my workplace. I was provided clerical help and office space, in preparation to look for another job, such as updating resumes, and using the computer and copy machine. I did received six weeks of separation pay plus benefits.

Fortunately, with the help of a friend who is a Church parishioner, I found another job thirty days after leaving Stauffer Chemical Company. He hired me as a senior research chemist and as a group leader with two technicians to supervise. It was in the same field as my expertise in my previous three jobs spanning the last twenty one years. My new employer was Chevron Chemical Company, and which was located in the same city as my former employer.

This job gave me the introduction and basic knowledge of managing the work of subordinates. I worked for Chevron Company for four and a half years. The company decided to consolidate their research facilities in Texas, and lay off all its research employees. This time I had enough distress and agony from working, and eventually getting laid off from several private companies. To avoid going through any more miserable layoffs, I made a vow that I would never again work for a private company.

In the three private companies I worked for, I was able to publish scientific journals for some of the research studies and analytical methods which I developed for the respective companies of Chemagro, Shell Development and Stauffer.

After deciding and making a vow to avoid working in the private sector, I made my new goal which was either to work for the state of California, or the Federal government in Washington, D.C. Four months after I lost my job in Chevron, I was lucky and joyful to be hired by the Food and Drug Administration as a review chemist in the fall of 1990.

In 1994 I was promoted as an Expert Research Chemist with a GS-14 rating. My expertise was on Anti-malarial and Anti-parasitic drug products. In 1997, I was again promoted to Chemistry team leader, supervising the work of six Chemistry reviewers including five with doctorate degrees.

As team leader, I was responsible for prioritizing, assigning, and assuring the technical accuracy of all chemistry, manufacturing and control issues for all new drug applications submitted to the Division of Anti-Infective Drug Products, Center of New Drugs.

In 1998, I won the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Award. The citation reads, “For outstanding accomplishments in fostering the objectives of the EEO Program by hiring minorities and encouraging their professional growth while providing excellent leadership.” I have received numerous certificates of appreciation, awards in leadership and communications, commendation for teamwork and excellence in the accomplishment of the FDA mission. I have also received several letters of appreciation from private industry for my review work.

Managing the work of others has its challenges. Moreover, it develops one’s skill in handling and developing people, and the compensation rewards and benefits are better. Due to additional duties, responsibilities and leadership, supervisory work can be more stressful than working as a subordinate. However, supervisory jobs give one more personal growth and satisfaction, based on my personal experience. My work in FDA as a team leader managing the work of six scientists had been the happiest and rewarding work experience in my career in Chemistry.

Monday, June 17, 2019

A Poem for My 4 D's

Standing from L to R: Dinah, Ditas, Dodie and David E, 2014

I was touched reading the following poem from the Face Book page of a friend. Dedicated to our four children-Dodie, Dinah, David E and Ditas M. Thank you for your Father's Day Greeting and Gift yesterday!

On Children by Kahlil Gibran

Your children are not your children.

They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.

They come through you but not from you,

And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts.

For they have their own thoughts.

You may house their bodies but not their souls,

For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.

For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.

The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.

Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;

For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

Again, Thank you for your Fathers Day Greeting and Gifts-June 16, 2019

Saturday, June 15, 2019

My Potted Pineapple Plant is Starting to Bear Fruit

After almost a year of tending loving care, my potted pineapple plant is starting to bear fruit. I have protected it from frost and wind, fertilize it with 10-60-10 ( Schultz Bloom Plus) and water it diligently.

I feel like having my own baby-very excited. I hope it will mature before the end of the year.

I started this plant from the head of a commercial pineapple I purchased last year from the grocery store.

This is how it looked last year

For details read my previous post as follows:


Thursday, June 13, 2019

Donald Trump and Some Clever Anagrams

Photo Credit: twitter.com

In 2001, I received an e-mail from a friend listing several clever anagrams. The author was not listed, but my friend commented that whoever wrote or create the list has either a lot of time to waste or is deadly at Scrabble. There were eleven words and phrases listed.

In this posting I added my own anagram for our President(#12).

1. A Decimal Point: I'm a Dot in Place

2. Animosity: Is No Amity

3. Desperation: A Rope Ends It

4. Dormitory: Dirty Room

5. Eleven plus Two: Twelve plus one

6. Evangelist: Evil's Agent

7. Mother-in-law: Woman Hitler

8. Slot Machines: Cash lost in 'em

9. Snooze Alarms: Alas! No More Z's

10. The Earthquakes: That Queer Shake

11. The Morse Code: Here Come Dots

Photo Credit: imgflip.com

My own Creation #12: Donald Trump: Dolt and Rump

If you do not know the meaning of dolt look it up in your dictionary

In case you have forgotten, an anagram is a word or phrase made by transposing or rearranging the letters of another word or phrase. There should be no letter left over and using each letter only once.

I challenged you to create your own anagram for DONALD TRUMP. It is a good mental exercise!

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