Welcome and Mabuhay

If you love Marinduque and want to contribute articles to this site, please do so. My contact information is in my profile. The above photo was taken from the balcony of The Chateau Du Mer Beach House, Boac, Marindque, Philippines. I love sunsets. How about you? Please do not forget to read the latest national and international news in the right side bar of this blog. If you enjoy this site, then help support it by also clicking on the ads below. Some of the photos and videos on this site, I do not own. However, I have no intention on infringing your copyrights. Thank you and Cheers!

Tres Reyes Island view of the Marinduque Mainland

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

I was a Good Neighbor, Yesterday-What Do You Know about Shingles?


I was a good neighbor yesterday. The other day I wrote about a neighbor who do not use a credit card by choice. Today's posting is another incident about another neighbor who also lives alone, also a widow and do not drive. This neighbor usually request her son who lives about 10 miles away to do errands for her. However, yesterday her son was not available, so she called me if I could drive her to the doctor about a mile from our house. She said she normally walks to the doctor's office but the last three days she had back pain and have a hard time walking. Luckily when she called, my son was off from work so I could leave my wife( Macrine) on his watchful eyes while I drove the neighbor to the doctor's office. For those of you who are just reading my blogs for the first time, Macrine my wife of 57 years had been diagnosed with Parkinson Disease about one year ago. She can not be left alone for a long time, because of danger of falling.

My neighbor's appointment was at 9:45AM. We left the house at 9:30AM. By 10:15 AM we were out of the doctor's office. Her diagnosis was shingles. She was prescribed anti-viral tablets. She has to take 5 tablets per day. From the doctor's office, I drove her to CVS, our neighborhood pharmacy. We waited for her prescription for another 15 minutes. By 11:10 AM, I was home, plenty of time to prepare for Macrine's lunch and relieve my son as the sitter. My son leaves for work at 1:00PM

The event above made me curious about shingles. I did some Internet search and here's what I learned about this disease.

Shingles is caused by the chickenpox virus. Once you have chickenpox, the virus remains in your nervous system. If your immune system weakens, the virus can reemerge as Shingles. As you age your immune system naturally becomes weaker. And we know that adults are at an increased risk for Shingles. Here's a more detail discussion of shingles from www.zostavax.com

The shingles rash can last up to 30 days, and for most the pain lessens as the rash heals. But some people who develop Shingles experience long-term nerve pain that can last for months, even years.

Most people recover from the nerve pain of Shingles as the rash heals. But one in five people who develop Shingles will experience postherpetic neuralgia, or PHN–nerve pain that can develop even after the rash heals, which can range from mild to severe and debilitating. This nerve pain can last from a few months to several years.

Shingles cannot be passed from one person to another. However, the virus that causes shingles, the varicella zoster virus, can be spread from a person with active shingles to another person who has never had chickenpox. In such cases, the person exposed to the virus might develop chickenpox, but they would not develop shingles.

The virus is spread through direct contact with the fluids from the rash blisters caused by shingles.

A person with active shingles can spread the virus when the rash is in the blister-phase. A person is not infectious before the blisters appear. Once the rash has developed crusts, the person is no longer contagious.

Shingles is less contagious than chickenpox and the risk of a person with shingles spreading the virus is low if the rash is covered.

I deliver my neighbor safely to her house after 11AM and wish her well. Hopefully her shingles will not cause her long term nerve pain. I feel good helping a neighbor and be a Good Samaritan yesterday. How about you? Have you been a Good Samaritan? I Like to hear of your story! Have a Great Day or Night my dear readers all over the world!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

2002: Photo Trip Down Memory Lane-My FDA Retirement

My FDA Retirement Party, October, 2002

More Retirement Party Picture

More Retirement Party Celebration

Paradise Valley Resort, Cabugao,Gasan, MRQ

Dr Shetty testimony of my supervisory and leadership style ( second paragraph). Dr Vithal Shetty is one of the five Review Chemists that I supervise as Chemistry Team Leader prior to my retirement from US FDA.

David III Putong Ceremonies, 2002

At the Moriones Festival, Holy Week, 2002

Releasing live butterflies during a Party-signifies life, hope and good luck-a Marinduque Tradition

Our pet dog Sock and pet pig for the Lechon of the future

Balanacan Sea Port, Mogpog, Marinduque

David III and my trips to Baguio and Tagaytay

Getting Ready to Return to the Main House after a whole day at the Beach House just relaxing and enjoying the sound of the waves

Monday, July 28, 2014

Living in the US without a Credit Card


Can you live in the US without a credit card? Yes you can, although you may not be able to travel via air or stay in hotels, but it is possible and perhaps inconvenient at times. According to a recent business report from 20 to 25 million residents
in the US have no credit cards. There are two types of non-credit cards holders, by choice and those who can not have a card due to poor credit, immigration status and other reasons.

My next door neighbor is a non-credit card holder by choice. She is a widow who lives in a debt-free house and pays everything in cash. She does not believe in credit cards because she wants to be debt free. Even her major purchases are paid in cash. She does not travel via airplane or stay in hotels, but drives to places within 3 to 4 hours and even pay for gas in cash. She has never used the computer or learned how to e-mail and has never heard of Facebook or Twitter. Unbelievable but true.

According to money.msn.com living without a credit card means you'll need to do a bit more financial planning than those who put everything on plastic. Every time you leave the house, you need to have an idea of how much you'll spend so you can make sure you have enough cash in your pocket.

If you have a debit card, there must a sufficient balance on your prepaid card or enough money in your bank account to cover your debit card purchases without incurring overdraft fees. This extra planning takes a bit more time and can be inconvenient. You may not be able to make purchases when it is most convenient

In my case, I only maintained one credit card and pay the balance every month so I do not have to pay the exorbitant interest that most credit cards charged to their customer. My credit card has a mileage reward or gift program redemption. For every dollar I charged I get one mile for air travel or a point for a gift redemption.

Today if you need to have a credit card comparecards.com has listed the following to be the best and most popular credit card this year. Please compare first before signing to save money.

1.Citi Simplicity® Visa Card

2 Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

3. BankAmericard Cash Rewards™ Credit Card

4. Chase Slate®

5. Discover it®

6. Chase Freedom®

The important fact is to budget and pay your credit card balance in full every month if at all possible.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

2001: Photo Trip Down Memory Lane-MI Inc Medical Mission

Lunch at the Dusit Hotel, Makati with Relatives, also celebrating our 44th Wedding Anniversary, 2001

MI,Inc. Medical Mission Dinner



Medical Mission Putong Ceremony

Medical Mission, Buenavista

Medical Mission, Gasan

Medical Instruments Donation

MI,Inc Meeting in Toronto, Canada

Welcome Picnic

Dinner Dance

More Dinner Dance Photos

Trip to Boracay Island Resort

Trip to Villa Escudero, San Pablo, Laguna

New Years Eve Party, Downtown Sacramento

Friday, July 25, 2014

Pains and Tribulations in Cashing Out My Wife's Retirement Fund


My wife has Parkinson's Disease and has a hard time communicating via telephone. As her primary care giver I am responsible not only for her physical needs but also her financial obligations and investments specifically her retirement benefits as a retired visiting Nurse here in Northern California.

This article chronicles my experience in trying to cash out a small amount of her retirement funds from a well-known visiting nurse organization here in Northern California. For the sake of security I will not mentioned the actual name of this organization, but just called it ST. ST does not have a local office that one can personally submit the paper work required for my wife's cash distribution.

On middle of June, I received a note from my wife's investment company (FI) asking for additional information and an update of our address etc.... This triggers my wife's memory that she had a small amount of retirement fund (a little more than $500) left from her former employer (AB) when she retired in 1994. AB no longer exists because it was acquired by ST several years ago. Thus ST should have all the paper work that I will need to cash out this small amount that my wife has almost completely forgotten.

Last July 15, I called ST ( human resources and the retirement section) for the initial inquiry regarding my wife's account. The person (PA) in the benefits section asked for my wife's employee number and I said she has retired a few years ago from AB . PA asked me to hold while she searched in their data base for my wife's name. She was not able to locate it. Then she asked for my wife's SS and again my wife according to their data base does not exists. I requested to talk to PA supervisor She refused to let me talk to her supervisor until she talks to my wife. Luckily my wife was besides me and she was able to talk to PA. PA then let me talk to her supervisor (JA). I told JA perhaps my wife's file could be under the investment company (FI). After about 5 minutes of holding, supervisor JA found my wife's file. There was minimum amount of information, but my wife's starting and termination date was on file and there was Plan number assigned but there is no employee number. JA said there is nothing that ST can do right now, but I should called the investment company FI. This was about 4PM, so I decided not to call FI that day.

The next day I called FI and after talking to a representative, he refused to talk to me unless he can talk to my wife first. My wife at this time was not feeling well, so I told him I will call tomorrow. The next day I called FI and a more understanding representative ( WW) entertained my request when I informed him of my wife's problem talking to the telephone. However, he was satisfied when I gave him the plan number, date of hire and termination from AB and my wife's SS. WW requested me to hold while he checked what form and procedure will be needed for the cash distribution of an account that was so old, it was almost lost in the paper work fiasco. After 10 minutes WW informed he found the right form and he will mail it to me. I should receive the form in 4 to 5 working days.

July 18th:, I receive the four-page form with a self-addressed envelop with a note that ST should approved this before I return it to FI. I called ST and behold the person I talk to again can not find my wife's account. I requested to talk to supervisor JA, but she is gone for the day. I was told to call the next day.

July 22: I called ST and another person answered me( NA). The first few minutes I was asked for my employee number. I said I have none since I( my wife) retired in 1994. The usual question of asking my wife's name and her SS started again. After a few minutes NA found my wife's file and asked me of how she can helped. I told her I have received the form from FI but there is an item that ST has to approved it. She said I could FAX the properly filled form or send it via E-mail as an attachment after I scan it. Since I have a scanner I decided to send it via e-mail. I asked for ST E-mail. The E-mail address sXXXXLLL@ST.org. XXXX are four numbers and LLL are letters. I asked if there is a person I could send as ATTENTION of, but NA said no.

I waited for a couple of days to call ST. When I talked to a representative from ST named DE, I found out I sent it to the wrong e-mail, so ST has not received the cash distribution form from FI investment. DE gave me the correct e-mail and for my additional security gave me a FAX number. I resend the form that same day.

The next day I received a call from ST from a person named SE. SE informed they got the form and need a copy of my wife's driver license to verify her signature. I told her my wife no longer drives and has no driver license but has her senior ID card. SE said the senior card will suffice.

July 24, I called ST today. The person who answered my call is again a new person.( AP). I requested to be connected to either SE or JA who seemed to have no trouble finding my wife's file. Neither SE or JA is available, so AP asked me if she can help. Again the same standard routine, my wife's name her SS, her plan number, her employee number. I asked AP that all I want to know is if ST has received my wife's Senior ID card. After a few minutes AP said they have. So I asked the obvious question when will I hear from ST or FI. She said perhaps another 10 working days. ST will take care of sending the form to FI.

I will be anxiously waiting the next 10 working days for the check. Is this trouble worth the $1000 I will be expecting in the mail. Indeed as a retiree with a fixed income, any amount coming is welcome.

Note I can not believe that a large organization such as ST, does not have an office that one can submit in person paper work related to retirement benefits for its thousands of employees here in Northern California. I was told there are no local offices for personnel activities because all personnel activities are now centralized, so all business is done on line.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

2000: Photo Trip Down Memory Lane-Trip to Spain

Trip to Spain

Trip to the Alhambra Gardens, Granada, Spain





Ditas Appointment as Assistant Secretary
in the State of California Department of Transportation etc...

Marinduque International Meeting in Las Vegas

On Wings of Song Welcome Party at Ambassador Ernesto Maceda Residence in Washington, DC

Farewell Number from the Wings of Songs Concert

Dancing the Rigodon in Boac

Dancing the Waltz

The Rigodon March

Getting Ready for the Mayflower Grand Ball

Nissan Maxima purchased via the Internet

The Salvo's 30th Wedding Anniversary in Boac

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

1999: Photo Trip Down Memory Lane-Washington DC Activities


Philippine-American Foundation of Charities PAFC) Annual Parade in Washington DC

Parade with Macrine as Marshall down Pennsylvania Ave and me the Driver of the Red Toyota Convertible

Dr. Tony De Camp ( my supervisor) and wife attending the Trade Fair and Exhibits

Macrine in the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

At the Gala Ball, Ditas and David III also attending

Ian Katague King First Communion

Macrine reading her Opening Address

VP Arroyo visits Washington, DC

On my Way to Work

My favorite Orchid-The Princess Mikasa

Macrine and I dancing the Tango

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