WELCOME TO CHATEAU DU MER BEACH RESORT

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. You can now read the national and international news in this blog at the right side bar. 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 31, 2011

Orchids in Barbados and the Music of Beethoven

This orchid is not from Barbados but in the Front Yard of Chateau Du Mer in Boac, Marinduque

Here's a video of orchids/flowers from the Barbados Orchid Gardens. It reminds me of my orchids at Chateau De La Mer in Marinduque, Philippines. Why Barbados? I have a former classmates from Barbados and this posting is my tribute to him. I heard he passed away last week from FaceBook tweets/news. He was about my age and the news reminds of my mortality.

Do you know where Barbados is? It is at the other end of the world from the Philippines. See the map below and information about Barbados from Wikipedia.




I love this video not only because of the orchids but also the relaxing background music by Beethoven.

Barbados is an island country in the Lesser Antilles. It is 34 kilometres in length and as much as 23 kilometres in width, amounting to 431 square kilometres (166 sq mi). It is situated in the western area of the North Atlantic and 100 kilometres east of the Windward Islands and the Caribbean Sea; therein, it is about 168 kilometres east of the islands of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and 400 kilometres north-east of Trinidad and Tobago. Barbados is outside of the principal Atlantic hurricane belt. Barbados was visited by the Portuguese in 1536. They did not want to settle in Barbados and did not claim it for their country, but thought it would be a good place to visit now and again and they let loose a number of wild hogs to make sure that whenever they returned here they would have a good supply of meat. The first English ship, the "Olive Blossom",arrived in Barbados in 1625. They took possession of it in the name of 'James, King of England'. It became an English, and later a British colony.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Is there a Solution to Marinduque's Power Crises?



I hope so, for the benefit of our younger generations, there has to be a long term solution. For our current benefit a short time solution is needed immediately. How can you help? Continue Reading...

Yesterday, I posted an article, titled, Will the current power brown outs affect our snowbird lifestyle in Marinduque? In other words, will Marinduque still be considered an ideal retirement venue for balikbayan retirees from abroad? I indicated that if there is no solution by the end of the year, my wife and I will definitely shortened our snow bird sojourn to the island from 4 to 6 months to 2 months only next year.

One of my readers calling himself, A Marinduque Lover commented as follows:

"You do not turn your back and quit on your paradise. You have worked so long and to promote the place. You should help and find a solution to the energy crisis instead of threatening to avoid the situation. You are right, and the citizens of the island should petition the leaders such as the governor, mayors and congressmen to do something, and continuously bother them until it is solved. The people should take it in their hands to do something. You can use your blog as a tool to inform the people. Provide them with solutions, copy what is being done in nearby islands where power generation is sufficient. If Marelco management has to be fired, and so be it. Use cooperatives or let the people run the power company, there must be enough engineers in the island. Marinduque Lover "

Here's my response: Hi Marinduque Lover: I agree on your comment not to quit but help to find a solution to the problem. However, the problem has its roots so deep, it will take a miracle and the support of all Marinduquenos in all levels of society. Just in case you have not read the background behind this crises, several articles on the subject had been written by a blogger currently residing in Marinduque. If you are interested, let me know. Again, thanks for your comment and feedback

Thus readers of this blog, if you are from Marinduque, can you suggest a solution both short and long term to the power crises in our beautiful island? I will be waiting for your response.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Frequent Brown Outs in Marinduque, Again!

Candle Power-photo by Daisy Catague Cababasay

Here's the latest news on brown outs in Marinduque, by Eli Obligacion( from Marinduque Rising-marinduquegov.blogspot.com) posted July 20,2011. Along with this article (Notes below) are two comments from a Marinduque resident expressing his frustration on this irritating event in the life of all Marinduquenos. Fellow Marinduquenos, It is time again to tune up all our generators or purchase one, if you have not done it yet.

"Marelco informs that based on “Fuel Run Out Dates of NPC-SPUG” furnished by the Department of Energy (DOE) to the electric cooperative there will be an impending power interruption in Marinduque. Marelco, however, states that Marinduque NPC-SPUG based in Bantad has informed them that power interruption could take place beginning today (as it already has), “because of a defective unit at Power Barge 120” at Balanacan harbor.

It will be recalled that in May this year, Marelco announced that it published in March 2011, an invitation for bidders to participate in the bidding for the supply of a brand new Modular Type Diesel Hybrid Power Plant in Marinduque. Bidders were to have a capacity to initially deliver more or less 3,000,000 kwh per month to the Marelco system. During the annual membership meeting in May, it was then announced that at least three bidders have applied for eligibility and participated in the bidding.

According to Marelco’s schedule of activities, opening of bids and comparison with Best New Entrant Rate (BNER), was scheduled to take place last July 8. Negotiation and Award of a Power Supply Agreement (PSA), is to take place on August 9, 2011, with award of contract and issuance of Notice to Proceed (NTP), taking place on September 5, 2011. This new agreement is also to specify that commercial operation by the new power provider is to commence after 270 days from the award of contract - that is, by June 2012. No update on this matter has been released by Marelco, so far.

From the looks of it, therefore, the island-province of Marinduque is in for another year of power uncertainties during this transition period unless effective intervention is undertaken by the energy authorities now, repeat now..."

Note: This is a comment of a Boac resident who went to Manila to get away from brown out prone Boac showing his frustration. "It's good to be back in the city with electricity and water supply". May nagtanong sa akin-kailan ka po balik MDUKE? Sagot ko - kapag nasa saykopatik na ang mga taga MARELCO at NAPOCOR (Someone ask me when will I go back to Marinduque? My answer-as soon as the employees Of MARELCO and NAPOCOR are in the psychopatic wards.

MARELCO and NAPOCOR are the two entities involve with electrical power supplies to the island. To my readers who are pure tagalogs, please excuse my english translation of the tagalog commnents in bold.

Here's a second comment from the same resident above addressing it to the Governor of Marinduque, Carmencita Reyes. Below is my attempt to translate it in English for my non-tagalog speaking readers.

Dear Lola Carmencita; kayo din lang po ay mahilig magpakita ng Pugutan sa Mduke sana po pinugutan ninyo ng dalawang ulo si Manager Bueno ng Marelco kasama na ang mga Board of Directors - dahilan ng paghihirap ng mga mamayan ng Mduke sa bulok nilang pamamahala sa Kooperatiba. Sana rin po sa tuwid na daan na kayo dumaan at huwag na sa dating daan kung saan puro bayad pulitika at sariling interest lang ang iniisip.

Dear Grandma Carmencita: Since you are very enthusiastic in showing the Beheading of "Longinus" in Marinduque,(Pageant during Holy Week),I wish you would have also beheaded two-headed Manager Bueno of Marelco along with the Board of Directors. The people of Marinduque are suffering from their mismanagement of the Cooperative. I wish you would follow the right and correct way, not the old way which is based on pure politics and self-interest.

Source of Commnents: FaceBook

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Ylang-Ylang Trees in the Gardens of Chateau Du Mer

The Ylang Ylang Tree

I have two mature trees of Ylang Ylang in my garden at Chateau Du Mer. The two trees along with six mango trees were planted after the completion of the construction of our retirement house in 1990. When the trees are in bloom, you can smell the fragrance of its flowers to as far as 50 meters and even farther if the wind direction is favorable. It is one fragrance, that I will never forget at Chateau Du Mer in Marinduque. Its reminds me of the perfume, Channel No.5.

On the subject of Ylang Ylang Oil,I am proud to inform readers of this blog that my Master's degree thesis was the Analysis of the Volatile Constituents of Ylang Ylang Oil by Gas Chromatography. This was published in the Journal of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Vol.52, No.3 252-258 dated March, 1963.

I believe not too many non-Filipinos have heard of this tree and it fragrant flowers. Here's a short information from Wikipedia for your reading pleasure.

Cananga odorata, commonly called Ylang-ylang (pronounced /ˈiːlæŋ ˈiːlæŋ/, EE-lang-EE-lang), cananga tree, ilang-ilang, kenanga (Indonesian), fragrant cananga, Macassar-oil plant or perfume tree), is a tree valued for its perfume. The essential oil derived from the flowers is used in aromatherapy and in the manufacture of perfumes.

Cananga odorata is a fast-growing tree of the custard-apple family, Annonaceae, that exceeds 5 m (15 ft) per year and attains an average height of 12 m (40 ft). It grows in full or partial sun, and prefers the acidic soils of its native rain forest habitat. The evergreen leaves are smooth and glossy, oval, pointed, with wavy margins, and 13–20 cm (5–8 in) long. The flower is drooping, long-stalked, with six narrow greenish yellow (rarely pink) petals, rather like a sea star in appearance, and yields a highly fragrant essential oil.

The Chemical Composition Typical chemical compositions of the various grades of Ylang ylang are reported as follows:

Constituents Linalool, geranyl acetate, caryophyllene, p-cresyl, methyl ether, methyl benzoate, other, sesquiterpenes.

Etymology

The name ylang-ylang is derived from Tagalog, either from the word ilang, meaning "wilderness", alluding to its natural habitat, or the word ilang-ilan, meaning "rare", suggestive of its exceptionally delicate scent. A more widely accepted translation is "flower of flowers". The plant is native to the Philippines and Indonesia and is commonly grown in Polynesia, Melanesia and Micronesia.

Characteristics

The fragrance of ylang-ylang is rich and deep with notes of rubber and custard, and bright with hints of jasmine and neroli. The essential oil of the flower is obtained through steam distillation of the flowers and separated into different grades (extra; 1; 2; 3) according to when the distillates are obtained. The main aromatic components of ylang-ylang oil are benzyl acetate, linalool, p-cresyl methyl ether, and methyl benzoate, responsible for its characteristic odor.

The essential oil of ylang-ylang is used in aromatherapy. It is believed to relieve high blood pressure, normalize sebum secretion for skin problems, and is considered to be an aphrodisiac. According to Margaret Mead, it was used as such by South Pacific natives such as the Solomons where she did much of her research. The oil from ylang-ylang is widely used in perfumery for oriental or floral themed perfumes (like Chanel No. 5). Ylang-ylang blends well with most floral, fruit and wood smells.

In Indonesia, ylang-ylang flowers are spread on the bed of newlywed couples. In the Philippines, its flowers, together with the flowers of the sampaguita, are strung into a necklace (lei) and worn by women and used to adorn religious images.

The Ylang Ylang Flowers
Uses

Medicinal uses

Ylang Ylang is a common ingredient in the herbal motion sickness remedy, MotionEaze.

Circulatory System: Ylang ylang is recommended for treating palpitations and reducing high blood pressure

Nervous System : Ylang ylang is known for its ability to slow down over-rapid breathing and over-rapid heart beat. These symptoms are usually associated with shock, anxiety and anger.

Reproductive System: Ylang ylang has proven beneficial for treating PMS, especially associated with extreme mood swings that occurs just before the onset of menstruation. For this purpose, Fischer-Rizzi recommends blending Ylang ylang with clary sage and neroli. This blend should be used in a bath, massage oil or in a vaporizer.

Skin care: Added to the skin care preparation, Ylang ylang oil is beneficial in softening and balancing the moisture of the skin. It is recommended in hair care to treat split ends. It can be used in a shampoo base of massaged into the tips of the hair after shampooing with a base oil such as apricot kernel or jojoba oil. Ylang ylang is recommended for dry and oily skin and is reputed to have a balancing action on sebum production.
Here's a short video about ylang-ylang oil extraction.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Bananas in My Gardens at Chateau Du Mer, Marinduque

The Cavindish Banana
Do you know that there are over 1000 types of bananas in the world? These varieties of bananas differs slightly in appearance, size, taste and use. A main difference exists between two types of bananas, those that you can immediately eat, sometimes called dessert bananas, and those that need to be cooked prior to eating and are higher in starch, called plantains. I have six varieties of both dessert and cooking bananas in the gardens of Chateau De La Mer in Boac, Marinduque, Philippines.

Banana is the world’s favorite fruit, and banana plant is not a tree. It is the world’s biggest herb. Bananas contain three natural sugars: sucrose, fructose, and glucose. Banana gives an instant and sustainable boost of energy. They are a good source of potassium, fiber, 110 calories each, approximately 6 vitamins, and 11 minerals. Bananas have many health benefits.

Below are the six types of bananas that I have at the Gardens of Chateau De La Mer.

1. The Cavendish banana is the most popular banana in the U.S and Philippines. Sometimes it is also known as the Chiquita because Chiquita is the globe’s largest banana producer. America eats more bananas than any other fresh fruits. Banana usually eats fresh and can be use for many purposes such as bread baking, pie, muffins, yogurts, smoothies, puddings, and custards.
The Manzano Variety
2. Manzano Banana
The Manzano banana is short and chubby with a mild strawberry-apple flavor, and the skin is black when it’s ripe. It has a chunkier and heavier appearance than traditional banana. This banana is usually grown in Asia, South America, Mexico, Caribbean, and Africa, which also known as Apple banana.
Baby Bananas
3.Baby/Nino Banana
Baby/Nino banana is about three inches long. When they are ripe, they turn bright yellow and have a rich, sweet flavor, and creamy texture. This is one of the smallest and sweetest bananas around. It is a native of Colombia. It is an excellent source of heart-healthy vitamin B6. This baby banana can be baked, sauteed, broiled, and even grilled.

4.(Bongulan)The Green Banana
This variety is not as sweet as the baby banana. It is long and slim. When ripe, it just turns only light green with a yellow streak. It has a very strong aroma typical of ripe bananas. It does not keep long and gets over ripe faster than the cavendish variety. It does not shipped well also, so it is not commercialized or exported.
The Red Banana Plant with Fruit

5. The Red Banana
The Red banana is heartier and slightly sweeter than yellow banana. When ripe, they have maroon/purple skin to almost black, and the flesh is pinkish, or salmon color. The Red banana has a raspberry hint of flavor. It also contains more beta carotene, and vitamin C than the regular yellow banana. These are not too common in the Philippines.

Plantains

6. Plantain banana (locally known as sab-a)
The Plantain banana is starchy and lower in sugar. It has to be cooked before serving since it’s unsuited to eat it raw. Plantains are native of India, and grow mostly in tropical climates. Sometimes, it is preferred to potatoes or pasta in the Caribbean. Plantain usually has green color, when ripe, it is almost dark yellow. The flesh is creamy and yellowish or lightly pink. It is the main ingredient of turon, most popular snack dish of the Philippines.

Sources: http://healthmad.com/nutrition/six-most-popular-types-of-bananas/ www.wisegeek.com

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Will Marinduque Become a Not Ideal Place for Retirement for Balikbayans?

Darkened Skies of Marinduque
Unless the electrical power shortage crisis is solved, it will very likely that Marinduque will not be able to retain the Fil-Americans Balikbayans now spending from 4 to 6 months of their annual retirement years in Marinduque. In addition, it will be a high possibility that no new retirees will build retirement homes in the Island. If this happens, it will be the saddest and depressing development in the history of this beautiful island-I called My Island Paradise.

The last couple of years, I have seen more than a couple of Fil-Americans build retirement homes in Boac and Gasan. This excludes foreign nationals who are married to Filipino(a) citizens. Although these balikbayans spend only about 4 t 6 months of the year in Marinduque, just like us, our contribution to the local economy can not be taken for granted. As balikbayan retirees we hired caretakers, housekeepers, drivers, gardeners, cooks, laundry workers and spend our dollars for food, groceries gasoline and other living expenses. We patronized restaurants and contributes to our local church and charities. Some of us invest on local businesses that give employment to local residents. As balikbayans, all we are expecting in return is a reliable supply of electricity and other amenities conducive to our aging years.

I therefore expect, provincial officials to wake up, and solve the problem of the electrical power supply crises in the island as soon as possible. In the meantime, Macrine and I have decided that unless this crises is solved by the end of the year, we will be spending only 2 months of our annual snow bird lifestyle in Marinduque instead of our usual 4 to 5 months of stay next year. In addition, we will stop our drive to recruit other Fil-Americans balikbayans to build retirement homes in Marinduque.

Monday, July 25, 2011

I Love Balut! How about You? What is Balut?


My oldest son( Dodie) and oldest grandson(Ian) participated at a balut eating contest at Chateau Du Mer during our 50th Wedding Anniversary Celebration in Boac, Marinduque, Philippines in 2007

My American friends and acquaitances here in US and in the Philippines informed me they hate balut. But probably 99% of them have not really tasted it. They are just turned off by the appearance of an embryo and sometimes feathers. I love the 17-day balut( balut sa puti),because the embryo has no feathers yet- Yummy and tasty! So what is balut?

A balut is simply a fertilized duck embryo that is boiled alive and eaten in the shell.

Popularly believed to be an aphrodisiac and considered a high-protein, hearty snack, balut are mostly sold by street vendors in the regions where they are available. It is commonly sold as streetfood in the Philippines. They are common, everyday food in countries on Southeast Asia, such as Laos (where it is called kai ), Thailand (khai khao - ไข่ข้าว in Thai), Cambodia (pong tea khon in Cambodian) and Vietnam (trứng vịt lộn or hột vịt lộn in Vietnamese). They are often served with beer.

The Filipino and Malay word balut(balot) means "wrapped" depending on pronunciation.

Preparation

In the Philippines, balut eaters prefer salt and pepper and/or a chili and vinegar mixture to season their eggs. The eggs are savored for their balance of textures and flavors; the broth surrounding the embryo is sipped from the egg before the shell is peeled, and the yolk and young chick inside can be eaten. All of the contents of the egg may be consumed, although the white may remain uneaten; depending on the age of the fertilized egg, the white may have an unappetizing cartilaginous toughness. In the Philippines, balut have recently entered haute cuisine by being served as appetizers in restaurants, cooked adobo style, fried in omelettes or even used as filling in baked pastries. In Vietnam, balut are eaten with a pinch of salt, lemon juice, plus ground pepper and Vietnamese coriander leaves (southern Vietnamese style).


Chinese traders and migrants are said to have brought the idea of eating fertilized duck eggs to the Philippines. However, the knowledge and craft of balut-making has been localized by the balut-makers (magbabalut). Today, balut production has not been mechanized in favor of the traditional production by hand. Although balut are produced throughout the Philippines, balut-makers in Pateros are renowned for their careful selection and incubation of the eggs.

Fertilized duck eggs are kept warm in the sun and stored in baskets to retain warmth. After nine days, the eggs are held to a light to reveal the embryo inside. Approximately eight days later the balut are ready to be cooked, sold, and eaten. Vendors sell cooked balut from buckets of sand (used to retain warmth) accompanied by small packets of salt. Uncooked balut are rarely sold in Southeast Asia. In the United States, Asian markets occasionally carry uncooked balut eggs. The cooking process is identical to that of hard-boiled chicken eggs, and baluts are eaten while still warm.

Duck eggs that are not properly developed after nine to twelve days are sold as penoy, which look, smell and taste similar to a regular hard-boiled egg. In Filipino cuisine, these are occasionally beaten and fried, similar to scrambled eggs, and served with a vinegar dip.

The age of the egg before it can be cooked is a matter of local preference. In the Philippines, the ideal balut is 17 days old, at which point it is said to be balut sa puti ("wrapped in white"). The chick inside is not old enough to show its beak, feathers or claws, and the bones are undeveloped. The Vietnamese often prefer their balut mature from 19 days up to 21 days, when the chick is old enough to be recognizable as a baby duck and has bones that will be firm but tender when cooked. In Cambodia, it is eaten while it is still warm in its shell. It is served with nothing more than a little garnish, which is usually a mixture of lime juice and ground pepper.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Lowest and Highest Point in My Professional Career

Mt McKinley-the highest point in the United States

I have often been asked by friends and relatives, what were the lowest and highest point in my professional career as a Chemist here in US. Without hesitation and doubt, my most unhappiest moment or the lowest point in my career was when I was laid off with only one day notice (fired/restructuring) from my job as a Principal Research Chemist for Stauffer Chemical Company in Richmond, California.

Also without hesitation, I can state without doubt that the happiest moment or the highest point in my professional career was my promotion to Chemistry Team Leader in FDA including the award I received for expediting the manufacture of a burn ointment needed by the terrorist victims of the 9/11/01 bombing in New York and Washington, D.C.

The following are excerpts from my autobiography, on the two unforgettable events(low and high) in my professional life.(http://theintellectualmigrant.blogspot.com)

Lowest Point in My Professional Career:The Death Valley of My Life

In 1974, I had a choice of working for a private company or the Federal government. I chose to work for Stauffer Chemicals in Richmond, California because I needed the money (higher salary than what the Federal Government was offering me at that time). I started as a Research Chemist and after 10 years (1984) reached the position of Principal Research Chemist. This is the highest technical position ( without supervisory duties) attainable in the company at that time. In 1986, a mass of layoffs occurred at Stauffer Chemicals. The company was getting out of the pesticide business. I was one of 60 employees relieve of our duties after just one day of notice. I just can not described the feeling of being laid off after 12 years of service and good performance. You feel betrayed and unappreciated, and envious of the other employees not fired. How I wish I took the Federal job offered to me at the time. With this experience, I vowed I will never work for a private company*.

Death Valley-the lowest point in the United States

Highest Point in My Professional Career-The Mt McKinley of My Life

I was hired by FDA as a Research Chemist in 1990. In 1994, I was promoted as Expert Research Chemist( GS-14). In 1997, I was again promoted to Chemistry Team Leader, supervising the work of six reviewers ( five with doctorate degrees). As far as I know, I was the first Filipino-American who has achieved this position in FDA. 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. As team leader, I also give advice, instruct and promote high morale and teamwork in my group. 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.

In 1995, I was elected to the United States Pharmacopeia, (USP), Committee of Revision(CR), Standards Division. As an elected member, I was responsible for establishing standards of identity, safety, quality, purity of drug substances and drug products as well as in-vitro and diagnostics products, dietary supplements and related articles used in health care. Election to this body is a very selected process. It is held every five years. In 1995, there were more than 700 scientists nation-wide from academia, government, and industry who volunteered to serve. USP narrowed it down to 256 final nominees. Of the 256, only 128 were elected. Election to the USP Committee of Revision confirms that the person is both the national and international expert in the field of election. In my case, it was in the field of antibiotics, natural products and botanicals.

The University of the Philippines Alumni Newsletter congratulated me with this statement, “ We join with your colleagues and your family in congratulating you for this singular honor, which brings prestige to the Philippines as well”. In March, 2000 I was reelected for another 5 year term.

My career in FDA would not be complete if I do not mentioned the terrorist bombing of the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. I remember clearly what I was doing and how I felt afterward. That morning in September 11, 2001, The office of New Drug Chemistry had a joint meeting with representatives of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (PHARMA) at the Hilton Hotel in Gaithersburg, MD. At about 9:20 AM, we received an announcement that the meeting is canceled and we can go home, since the World Trade Center in New York was burning. All of the attendees went to the hotel lobby and the TV was announcing the news. I felt sick, depressed but helpless to see the burning WTC building. Later, I learned that the Pentagon in Washington DC was also bombed and another plane crashed in the field somewhere in Southern Pennsylvania. I also found out that this United Airline plane was intended for the White House. Had it not been for the courageous heroics of several passengers, the White House would have suffered the same fate as the WTC and the Pentagon.

The most heinous crime of the century produced thousands of burnt victims. Two drugs in my Division, Sulfamylon and Silvadene, approved for the treatment of burns were out of supply. A chemistry manufacturing supplement has to be approved as soon as possible to manufacture more of these ointments in a new facility. This required a review by the chemist, an inspection of the facility by a field inspector, my approval as the chemistry team leader plus the paper work by the project manager. The drugs are needed immediately, so we have to do an expedited review of the manufacturing supplement. It took us only 12 hours to approve the new facility and the review of the chemistry supplement and its manufacturing and control procedures. This review normally will take at least one month to three months depending on the availability of the field inspector and the schedule of the review chemist.

In December, 2001, the four members of my review team received a special cash award and recognition award from FDA management for our work on expediting review of two drugs, Sulfamylon and Silvadene. Of my more than a dozen awards I had, this one is the most appreciated. I felt that I have done my job as a public servant and had helped the victims of the terrorist attack in a timely manner. In January, 2002 I received another award for my work on Doxycycline, an antibiotic needed to treat anthrax victims due to bio terrorism activities from unknown terrorists.

*Afterthought: I should really thank Stauffer Chemical Company management for firing me even after 12 years of excellent performance. This experience gave me an incentive to work for the Federal Government, otherwise, I would probably be working in the laboratory all my life. FDA had challenged me to my utmost ability. I learned not only to be a "work" oriented but also a "people" oriented human being. My 12 years in FDA had been the most productive and satisfying years of my professional career.


Note: For continuation of my FDA employment experiences, read http://lifeinus1960present.blogspot.com or my autobiography above.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Will I Received My Social Security Check next Month?



Congress has until August 2 to raise the debt limit. If that does not happen, the federal government will have to make some tough choices on which bills to pay beginning August 3.

President Obama has warned that if the debt ceiling is not raised, Social Security checks may not go out in August. Obama also continues to warn that we may default on our debt if the debt ceiling is not raised.

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), a member of the House Tea Party Caucus, accused Obama of using “scare tactics,” and said that Obama is getting bad advice from people who are “lying” to him.

“There is money there regardless of what we do,” said Gohmert.

Others in the Tea Party Caucus also take the view that the debt ceiling does not need to be raised. Rep. Michele Bachmann, for instance, emphatically said in one of her presidential campaign ads that she will not vote for a debt ceiling increase.

Who is right? Will we default on our debt on August 3? Can we maintain our current level of debt without dire consequences?

Debt Default
An analysis of these questions was conducted by the Bipartisan Policy Center, a think tank founded by two retired Republican Senators, Howard Baker and Bob Dole, and two retired Democratic Senators, Tom Daschle and George Mitchell.

According to its report, the federal government will receive about $172 billion and have bills totaling about $307 billion in August. This leaves a shortfall of about $135 billion.

To keep from defaulting on our nation's debt obligations, the Treasury Department would first need to pay the interest on the treasury bills due in August, which will be about $29 billion. Since there will be $172 billion in revenue in August, there will be more than enough money to pay the nation's debt obligations and there will not be a default.

Jay Powell, who served as Under Secretary of the Treasury under George H. W. Bush and is a Visiting Scholar at the Bipartisan Policy Center, made this point in an interview on The Newshour.

“There's always going to be enough money to pay the interest on the debt, and it's very unlikely that there will be an actual debt default,” said Powell.

Tea Party Republicans are correct, therefore, when they say that there will be enough revenue to avoid a default. What about Social Security payments?

Social Security

Social Security payments in the month of August will be about $49 billion. If we subtract the interest on the debt ($29 billion) from August revenue ($172 billion), we are left with $143 billion, more than enough to send out Social Security checks.

Tea Party Republicans are correct again. There will be enough revenue in August to avoid default and to make sure seniors get their Social Security checks.

The available options after those payments are made, however, with only $94 billion left, get more difficult. As Powell points out, we may not default on debt, but we will “default on lots and lots of very important payments.”

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner will be in the unenviable position of trying to decide which payments will be made and which will not be made.

Note: My wife and I and the 60,114,000 social security recipients will be very unhappy if we do not get our SS check next month. Congress and President Obama( if he wants to be reelected in 2012) will not dare starve more than 60 million US citizens next month. Senior Citizens, let us unite to keep our SS payments on time.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Enjoy Marinduque For Less than $100 per Day For Two


The Beach House with a 180 degree Balcony overlooking the western Marinduque Sea

You do not have to spend a fortune( Bellarocca Resort) to enjoy the beaches, hot and sulfur springs, caves and underground rivers, cliffs and coral reefs, diving or snorkeling or just relaxing in your beach house balcony over looking the coral reefs of the Amoingon Coast, if you stay at Chateau Du Mer Beach Resort in Boac, Marinduque.

Note: Chateau Du Mer is a 3-bedroom HOUSE not a HOTEL Room. All rooms are either air-cooled or air-conditioned. There is a kitchen with small refrigerator and a microwave oven. There is hot water for showering. There is daily maid service. Massage therapy, manicure, haircut and transportation services are available with one day advance notice.


HOTEL rooms will cost around $20 to $40 per day depending on location and amenities in Marinduque.

A decent hotel room in Manila will cost you around $100 to $200 per day plus 12% tax. Bellarocca's Resort cheapest hotel room is about $329 per day without meals. Lodging and accommodation is a BARGAIN in Marinduque with the exception of Bellarocca. If you are not looking for night life, Marinduque is an excellent alternative to Boracay in Aklan ( http://marinduquemyislandparadise.blogspot.com)

The cost of the beach house for two is only $ 70 per day. Your food will cost you around $10 to $15 per day for two depending on the meals you desire. Transportation cost will vary from $10 to $12 depending on how far you travel from the resort.
The resort is owned and operated by David and Macrine Katague, Filipino-American Retirees who spend their retirement time half of the year in Marinduque and the other half in California, USA.

Here are some of the things to DO and SEE, while you are in Marinduque-My Island Paradise.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Chateau Du Mer Logo and Pictures of a Garden Wedding

Prelude to the Wedding- Celebration of Life Dance
Garden Wedding Altar
Garden Wedding Give-Away of the Bride by Parents
Bridge-Focal Point of Landscaping

The above pictures were taken during our first garden wedding at Chateau Du Mer Beach Resort and Conference Center. The last image is my CDM logo design by yours truly with the help of David III. Notice the butterfly design, recognizing Marinduque as the Butterfly Capital of the Philippines. This logo has been transferred to t-shirts, caps and mugs available for sale as souvenirs from the CDM Beach Resort and Conference Center.

Recent Photo of the Beach House

A recent construction is the third bedroom or meeting room for 30 at the bottom floor of the beach house. The room is air conditioned and can served as a room dormitory style for six. The daily rental is 4000 pesos. There is an adjacent terrace (18 sq. meters) facing the ocean. Two marble tables from Romblom is the focal and center point of the decoration in the terrace.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Sixteen Things I will always Remember at Chateau Du Mer




1. The chirping songs and cacophony of sounds of the birds(Mayas)as they fly from tree to tree looking for worms




2. Native fishes and tilapias thriving well on my creek that meanders to the ocean



3. Sunset and coral reefs at low tide seen from the balcony of the beach house



4. A Reflection of an almost full moon as seen from the balcony of the beach house



5. Thousands of fireflies illuminating the firefly tree on a moonless night, just like a Chistmas tree with flickering miniature lights



6. Monitor Lizard ( bayawak) looking for chicken or duck eggs. He looks scary, but actually harmless,unlike the Komodo dragons of Indonesia



7. A native hawk (lawin) diving from the sky for young chicks. This lawin is on a cage to do no harm to your chickens for the moment



8. Coconut rats feasting on young coconuts ( one coconut almost hit me on the head). Watch out for your head, specially on a windy day



9. Blue starfish and corals seen only a few meters from my back yard



10. Bougainvillas and orchids blooming in my front yard ( see picture of orchids on previous posting)



11. A sunset that takes your breathe away ( notice the two swimmers also enjoying the sunset)




12. A papaya tree with ripe fruits ( not yet seen by the fruit bats)



13. Mangoes loaded with fruits almost touching the ground because of its weight



14. Bananas and avocado trees loaded with fruits( no picture of avocados-see in previous posting)



15. The scream of an alley cat on “Heat” at midnight ( photo taken from the web), and last, but not least


16. The crowing of the rooster at 4:00AM everyday morning before dawn, a reliable alarm clock if you want to wake up that early

If you are from Marinduque, do you have things that you will always remember about Marinduque. I will be delighted if you share it with readers in this site.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

No More Brown Outs at Chateau Du Mer, Marinduque


Lately, I have received several complaints from tourists and residents about frequent brown outs in Marinduque. I have also heard that several visitors from Manila and abroad have second thoughts of spending their vacation funds just to arrive in Marinduque, then suffer the consequences of no electricity. I am proud to announce that my resort, Chateau Du Mer has its own industrial generator, so power brown outs is not a problem in the Beach Resort and Conference Center. Power black outs will not ruin your wedding reception parties or seminar, or your vacation just in case there is a brown out. There is no additionial fees for this convenience. The use of the GENERATOR is included in the rental fees.

However, I thoroughly agree with the complaints from several residents and tourists that this problem should be given the highest priority by the provincial government.
YOU CAN NOT PROMOTE TOURISM IF YOU HAVE FREQUENT POWER BROWN OUTS (BLACK OUTS)!

Monday, July 18, 2011

It is Cheaper to Get Married in the Philippines than in the United States


Last year, my niece got married here in the US. She spent around $35,000 not including a one week honeymoon in Bora Bora, Tahiti. I thought it was really an extravagant wedding, until I learned today that the average expense of getting married here in US is about $29,000. My niece by the way had two wedding ceremonies, one civil here in Northern California followed two months later with a Roman Catholic Wedding in the Philippines. The reception was held at Chateau Du Mer Beach Resort in Marinduque, Philippines. The US wedding was more expensive even though the guests were limited to 100. The Philippine wedding was much cheaper because the wedding venue was free ( my gift as the primary sponsor). Accommodation for some of her US guests was also free. There were around 350 guests at the reception. My niece and her Mom spent only about $3000 for the wedding ceremony in Marinduque not including the 5 days honeymoon in Boracay Island, Aklan.


Incidentally, Chateau Du Mer has been a venue of both Garden and Beach Wedding Ceremonies in the Philippines as shown in the above photos.

Note: The dollar figures quoted above are my educated guess. I am sure however that my niece sold some of her stocks and cashed in $50K. I do not know how much the groom contributed, but their 5 days honeymoon in Tahiti cost them 10K. Nine years ago, we have a family wedding. The cost at that time was 25K. So, how much are you willing to spend for a wedding in your family? Would rather save the expense and used it as down payment for a house or maybe a condo?

If you reside in the Philippines and money is not your problem, I highly recommend Bellarocca Resort in Buenavista, Marinduque as a wedding venue. However, be prepared to spend at least 2 million pesos( current exchange rate is 43 pesos for one dollar)or about $45,000.

You have however a much cheaper alternative. The rental for Chateau Du Mer for one day is only 7000 pesos or about $163. You may choose a Garden or Beach Wedding site.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Fruit Trees in the Gardens of Chateau De La Mer

The Mango Tree-I have three varieties in my Garden-The Indian, Guimaras and Carabao Mangoes
I have several fruit trees in the orchards of Chateau De La Mer. I have rambutans( 2),lanzones(2) and jack fruits( 2). The above fruit trees were given to me by Retired General Recaredo Sarmiento of Boac and Lucena about five years ago. General Sarmiento is the “atid” of my wife. “Atid” is the colloquial term for brother. Evidently, Macrine's father, the late Bernardo Jambalos was the Godfather of General Sarmiento during his baptism and comfirmation. Gen Sarmiento's hobby is orchard planting, reforestation and farming.

The other fruit trees in my garden are guayabanos, cashew, avocados, starapples, duhats, ates, guavas, mangoes( 3 varieties) and papayas as well as several varieties of bananas. Of the above fruit trees, my favorite is the guayabanos, also known as soursop tree known for its anti-tumor and anti-cancer properties. The following are photos of the fruit trees. My desire is to have a passion fruit tree in the near future. You are welcome to visit my orchard and flower gardens any time, if perchance you are in the vicinity of The Chateau Du Mer Beach Resort and Conference Center.
The Rambutan Tree and Fruits

The Lanzone Tree and Fruits

The Jack Fruit Tree
The following video is about unusual and exotic fruits. Enjoy!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Full Moon at Chateau De La Mer



One of the many things I will never forget at Chateau Du Mer is the full moon. During the summer, the moon shines so bright, it looks like day light. However, during the monsoon season, oftentimes, the moon is partially or completely covered with the rain clouds.

One of my favorite activity during full moon is to have a leisure walk along the beach with my dog. There is no need for a flashlight. You could walk for miles without getting tired.

Another activity is to light a bon fire (tapong) on the beach. You could roast marshmallows, drink beer or wine. For appetizer you could have barbecue pork or oysters and clams (if in season).

If I do not feel like walking, I just stay at the balcony of the beach house, plug in my boom box and listen to classical or Filipino music. Envious of this lifestyle?
I do not blame you. I should thank God, for giving me the Health and Time to enjoy the full moon in our retirement beach house in Boac, Marinduque

Friday, July 15, 2011

Sunset and Twilight at Chateau Du Mer Beach Resort


Notice the two swimmers also enjoying the sunset







My favorite time of the day in Marinduque is at sunset and at twilight. During this time and up to midnight, I could show case my more than 50 solar lights of various types around the resort. Besides the solar lights, I have installed spot lights in all of the statuary's and garden sculptures near the Conference Hall and also in the Main House. The three photos( taken at twilight) above focused on the bridge lighting (red and white). The bridge is the focal point of the landscaping design of the beach house.

The creek under the bridge is filled with native fish, crabs and snails during the summer season. Four years ago, I seeded the creek with tilapias in November. By May, it was already about 3 to 5 lbs. I feed the tilapias twice a day with commercial fish food. I told Edwin, my caretaker to harvest them before the rainy season, otherwise they will be flushed into the ocean, when the monsoon rains start around July-August. Edwin was able to harvest more than a dozen for his table. A couple of tilapias that remained in the creek were flushed into the ocean by August.

The top photo is one of my favorite sunset picture taken from the balcony of the beach house. Macrine and I hope to see you soon in Marinduque-our island paradise.
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