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Location: Chicago, United States

I am now at the prime of my life and have been married for the past 25 years. Sickly at times, but wants to see the elixir vita, so that I will be able to see my grandchildren from my two boys.

Monday, April 30, 2007


Dear Auntie Patti Koh,
I am undergoing thyroid problem. My endo told me that I have hypo thyroid at this time after he saw the results of my blood chemistry. I was expecting it, and I don't get bothered about it so easily. One has to take his chances on what has been given to us by the Great Architect of the Universe. I will not complain. Anyways..... my son was telling me to do more exercise because I am beginning to show in the waist. At first I told my son I don't care because I have been married with his mother for the past 27 years now and who will I be showing off.

My son said it is not the matter of whom I will be showing off but the issue of health problem because we have high blood pressure and heart problem in the family. So I have to listen to my son. Now that I am semi-retired, I really need more exercise. So this morning since the weather is awfully nice, I decided to take a long walk with my dog Bombolini. I call him Bombo for short. We walked along the shores of Lake Michigan, and after exercising my dog at the beach front are for the dog, I decided to explore further the park at Moraine and check the artworks that abound the area. Very nice and beautiful art works. I am sure you will agree with me that me standing besides the artwork is not a piece of art anymore. I am so big in the tummy. I really need some help.

And so Auntie Patti Koh, I am not starving myself but traying to do some sensible exercise to at least be able loose some weight. So I will do my best I promise and next picture that you will see, maybe my shape will be like that of the artwork where I am standing.

Sincerely yours,
In Fraternam Meam

Sunday, April 29, 2007


My nephew with my dog Bombolini along the shores of Lake Michigan

My nephew again, holding Bombolini infront of the sign that sez Moraine Beach for Dogs.

Dear Auntie Patti Koh,

It was a very nice day today, the weather was so beautiful after the many days of rain and even snow. It was 82 degrees F, and I cannot complain about it. It is a nice and swell time to go out and do some exercise. I went out walking with my dog Bombolini, a mix Maltese and Shitzhu and just turned one year last month. I love this dog very much because he is very loving and very attentive.

After I have walked for at least three miles, I met my nephew who just came from work. He is a private nurse for two elderly patient, husband and wife and the husband just came out of surgery from the hospital on slip disc. He told me that he is not tire and not sleepy even he did a full not shift at the house of his patient. I asked him if he want to go to Moraine Beach for the dog and he said he will just changed and wants to come and join me and my dog to the dog beach.
I was so happy, it was early and there are no dogs insight in the area that we have picked. There are some dogs that I can see from a distance but the area that we have picked is all to ourselves. Bombolini and my nephew had a good time along the shores of Lake Michigan. My dog was frolicking along the shoreline with my nephew and even took a dip on the cold water of Lake Michigan that does'nt seem to bother my dog. I love this dog beach, because there are fence that was erected to hold the dogs unleash and they cannot go around and disturb the other beach goer. This is their beach and it was really intended for the dogs. There are even plastic bags provided for the dog owners to pick up after their pets and bagged it and dump it on the garbage provided.
After 2 hours of fun in the beach, we decided it is time to go home and dry my dog so that he will not wet the uplholstery of my car.
And so Auntie Patti Koh, another day of relaxation and fun and this time it was even with my dog. Tomorrow, the weather man said, the temperature will drop down again and there will be rain. I am so confused with this weather. April brings so much changes. April showers is very common and it is good I have just cut my grass and cleaned the front lawn.
Sincerely yours,
In Fraternam Meam



Dear Auntie Patti Koh,
I was having a severe constipation and no matter how I tried to take care of it, I still cannot relieve myself. I took the pills to soften the blow, I was told to use suppository, but to no avail. My nephew nurse told me the only last recourse is the enema. Hell no I said. I will do some alternate solution and see if if will do. The two pain killers that I am taking is causing my stool to harden so much to the point I really cannot relieve myself in its natural way.
Then I met my Chinese co-worker and explained to her the situation. She said that I don't have to worry about it, she will take me to the local Chinese drug store in China town and the chinese herbalist is her Uncle. So I went with her, since I have heard so much good news and story about the Chinese herbal medicines. I related to the herbalist what is happening with me and what I have eaten. I told him how it all started and the pain that I am undergoing to relieve myself. He was listening intently and then wrote some Chinese character on a piece of paper and started checking all the cubicles on the walls of the Apothecary. Then he pulled some dry stuff from each individual boxes, placed it in a white paper and started weighing the ingredients. Then he wrapped it individually and advised his niece in Cantonese how to explain to me the ways and means on how to take such herbals during dinner time.
I did follow the instructions and mix all the dried ingredients in a steaming water and mix it altogether and waited for the water to absorbed the herbals that was in it. Then the color of the hot water changed in color and smell and it was not a bad smell. I took a sip on the hot tea like brew and the taste is just like an ordinary tea. After consuming the whole mug, I settled down and read and did some stuff in my computer. After a period of 30 mins. I was being called to the bathroom and was able to relieve myself easily with no problem and with nothing being inserted in my renal canal.
And so Auntie Patti Koh, I am a believer now in Chinese herbal medicine. It did me good and I feel great and have no problem with my stool and relieving myself.
Sincerely Yours,
In Fraternam Meam

Friday, April 27, 2007


Dear Auntie Patti Koh,
Finally, my tulips are blooming and not longer confused with all the weather that is so strangely happening in my neck of the woods. First, my daffodils started to bring forth their colors ant then suddenly we had a very heavy wet snow last week. I think my flower bed became confused and the daffodils got frozen. There was frost on the ground and I really cannot understand the weather.
Now that there is constant rain, but the temperature is alright, we suddenly had hale. At least it is not as big as golf balls, but it is like pebbles and I hate it when it falls on the cars at my back yeard.
Now finally, we have some nice weather, in fact I was able to walk my dog for a long walk and admired all the different flowers in my neighborhood that has already came out from the ground. My tulips finally made it, although it is not that much, at least they are no longer confused with the weather. I am now awaiting for the blooms in my apple trees. I have a feeling it wont bear much fruit this season.
So Auntie Patti Koh, I wish you can see all my tulips and the different flowers I have on my flower bed infron of my house. It is very pleasant to look at. I will be adding up some more blooms when there is no more rain. We are having plenty of April showers. It's good for the ground anyway.
Sincerely Yours,
In Fraternam Meam

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


View of the Richmond Harbor with my aunt and cousins

Entrance to the Quay with my wife
The entry point going to Canada from Blaine, Washington,USA

Dear Auntie Patti Koh,
I was so bored with my semi-retirement, so I told my wife to get some time off from her work and we will visit my relatives from Surrey, BC Canada a suburb of Vancouver BC.
The weather was fine and it was so beautiful. The flowers are all abloom and the smell of the pine trees is really very gratifying. So we stayed for four days and we decided to explore again those places that we often visit everytime we come to Vancouver.
We went to the harbor and check on the fresh harvest of the sea from the fishing boat docked at the Richmond Harbor. It was so strange to see, there are lots of Vietnamese fishermen at the dock selling fresh shrimps and fish roe that is at the container inside their fishing boat. The Canadian fishermen are selling big fishes, like salmon and flounder. The latter one is still alive and kicking from the container onboard their fishing vessel.
We went and explore the city of Richmond and saw the many constructions being undertaken for the Winter Olympics that will be hosted by Vancouver. There is also a train that is being connected to the airport that is connected to the entire railway system of metropolitan Vancouver.
And then we took the bus to Seattle and one of the picture is showing the entry to Canada from Blaine,Washington.
And so Auntie Pattie Koh, I am sharing you these picture to tell you that we had a wonderful weekend. But the sad part after this respite is going back to reality and back to work and the salt mines.
Sincerely Yours,
In Fraternam Meam

Thursday, April 19, 2007


Dear Auntie Pattie Koh.

I have taken a respite with all my busy schedules at home and visited my Uncle and Aunt in Vancouver BC, Canada. They have a nice a house on the hilltop side of Surrey BC, overlooking Blackmountain and Whistler Mountain from their balcony. Beautiful scene and the weather is awesome.

We will be here until Sunday. I am so excited with all the new things that is happening in Vancouver. They will be hosting the winter Olympics and the projects and infrastructures that is being done here is awesome. The airport is now being expanded and there is now a rail system that is now being built and connected to the airport which in turn is connected to the other rail system. There are lots of hotels that is being built and roads to the mountain is being widened and constructed. They even have snow maker built and installed up in the slopes in case there wont be enough snow for ski.

The aiport is so beautiful and there are now wings that is already taking shape.

And so Auntie Pattie Koh, I will be going around and check some of the progress and take some pics and then i will post it so that you can see it.

Sunday, April 15, 2007


Dear Auntie Patti Koh,

I took this picture last Thursday when I went to Chicago dowtown with my nephews. The Philippine flag was showing. Too bad the wind blew it that is why the colors are not visible. Awhile ago, the flag can be seen but there is slight breeze from Lake Michigan, so it moved a little bit, but then I have already pressed my camera. Anyway, I am sure with close scrutiny, one can see the color of the Philippine flag. The building has a very nice location. It is across from the Millineum Park of Chicago, facing Lake Michigan, along the famous Michigan Avenue. During the time of the Marcoses, this office is beautifully decorated with so many printed materials showing the many beautiful places to see in the Philippines.

I went inside and wanted to see if there have been any changes. It is still the same, from the last time I walked into this Philippine Consulate 10 years ago, when I accompanied my sister in law to change her Passport.

The signs are still there "Special Longaniza for sale...Please call for order", "Empanada for sale, call for order",
"Morcon and Embutido Special"....etc!!

I was tempted to call the numbers written down and see if these are the phone numbers of relatives or employees of the Consulate but decided not to.

This office is in this building ever since I could remember. Maybe they have a better deal with the ownere and management of this building.

And so Auntie Patti Koh, I wanted to post also a sign at the board that I make "Puto Bumbong, Kalamay na Ube, Sapin Sapin" and other delicacies...but decided not to. Maybe one day I will just come and bring samples for the staff and samples for those who comes to the Consulate to do business with them.

Saturday, April 14, 2007


Dear Auntie Patti Koh,
Remember I told you that I went at the downtown Chicago with my two favorite nephews with me and wanted to unwind and stroll around and see the many projects and dvelopements that has been done in Chicago which is trying to vie for the venue of the summer Olympics.
My nephew with eyeglasses, who just graduated from Nursing back home in Pinas, is his first time in Chicago and so I was showing him around and the other nephew of mine is studying at the Dowtown Chicago School of Music and Cinema Production.
We were strolling around the financial district and it was so dammned cold. The sun was shining but the cold breeze is coming from Lake Michigan and is really cold. I was taking the picture and my hands is freezing. While the two boys was posing infront of the Sears Tower, this old man approached me and asked me if I was a Filipino. He was such a nice man and immediately answered with pride, that I am a Filipino-American.
His name was James and he told us that he was in Olongapo, Philippines during the Vietnam War because he was in the navy. He was telling many stories about his many nice and good experiences everytime his ship comes to dock at Olongapo Bay and then they will be given their Liberty to go ashore and enjoy the night life in Olongapo. He said he retired from the Navy but still wanted to work, so he is still working at the Sears Tower Maintenance. Then I told him that my dad was a survivor of the infamous Death March in the Philippines, attached to the U.S.Army. He hugged me and told me that he admired those heroes of the Bataan Death March. He was telling my two nephews about the war and was telling both of them to be good and be proud of their heritage.
You know, Auntie Patti Koh.... hearing such good comments from a man like James, an African-American, gives me the greatest pleasure. After all those years, he still remembers and still respects my father, who is still alive and retired in the Philippines, and now age 89 years old. I told James that my nephew who is working as a private nurse in the Western Suburbs will always be passing my the Sears Tower because his Metropolitan train stop is only ablock away from the Sears Tower, will always pass by and look for him. He likes it very much and said will look for it.
Each of us gave James a big hug and bid him farewell and told him that we will always look for him everytime we pass by the downtown area and at the Sear Tower.

Friday, April 13, 2007


The stage at the Millenium Park. We are all ready to be chosen for the venue of the summer Olympics.


Dear Auntie Patti Koh,

These are my two nephews who came with me this morning to the downtown area of Chicatgo. I love these kids very much and they have become a fixture in myhouse since my two boys have already went on their own. I needed somebody to fill in the void in the house which sometimes is too much for me. I have awonderful dog in the house to keep me company, but I cannot talk to my dog all of the time and for sure will not get any response except barking and jumping up and down. My wife is always at work and I am left at the house the whole day until its time for me to work in the evening.

These two young kids are always in my house and eats there and hang out all of the time and I love it very much. The younger one with a gray fidora on the picture is a student at Columbus College, Dept of Music. He knows how to play five instruments and still wants to learn more and wanted to be a musician for film and cinematic background music. He is such a joyful character to be with and laughs with much gusto that makes me happy and laugh also. The other one with eyeglasses on, is two years older, who just graduated from nursing and is now reviewing to take the board exam. Another joyful kid and full of fun and laughter. He wants to pass the nursing exams he told me so that he could make more money and send it to his mother back in Pinas, so that his younger sister can finish college. What a noble deed, I should say.

And so here I am Auntie Patti Koh, with these two fine young man and we explored the Millenium Park in Chicago and very hopeful that tChicago could be chosen as the venue for the summer Olympics. That will be awesome, because we are prepared to host it. Look at these two fine boys fooling around trying to pretend they are carrying the Bean at the Millenium Park in downtown Chicago. They look like they have no worries in life at all. Ilove these two nephews of mine and my two sons also, of course.


Look at this giant bean, located at the Millenium Park in downtown Chicago. It is still cold, that is the reason there's not much people yet. This is along Lake Michigan and it is 21 degrees F when I took this picture
at 1:00 am Central Time. This is one among the many things Chicago can offer to tourists and locals and of course to all the people in the world when we get chosen as the venue for the Summer Olympics.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Dear Auntie Patti Koh,
I was in Manila,Philippines last mMarch and of course I wandered around nice places and see what is new. I was checking my camera this morning and found a picture that I have taken at Hotel Sofitel Philippine Plaza which was formerly the Westin Philippine Plaza Hotel.
I went with my wife to their restaurant called, Spiral which was located at the lower level of the hotel lobby. The restaurant is a buffet style place and I was relly shocked when I saw the arrays of food in abundance at this place. It was beyond compare with the buffet at any of the hotels in Las Vegas.
They have Japanses, American, Spanish, Arabic, Indian, Korean, Chinese and Pinoy cuisine that is in abundance not to mention the sweet table that has also varieties of desserts that is sugar free.
I was so engrossed to this partiuclar seafood setting, which picture I have taken. It is a big couldron with all the fresh seafood varities planted on ice. There are the tiger prwans (cooked) there are also Kuracha( a type of crab that is found in Zamboanga only, Southern part of the Phils.), there are also oysters, mussels and other type of seafood varieties that I don't know the name. When I took the picture of this couldron, the hotel security guard approached me and told me that I cannot take picture without the permission of the Food & Beverage Manager. So I told him, that I will stop taking the picture because I have no intention of asking permission from anybody. I was explaining to him that they should be happy that me being a returning resident (Balikbayan) I am so elated with the setup. One thing I noticed, they did not stop the tourists and other foreigners taking the pictures of the place and the surrounding tables where all the food was displayed. I asked this hotel security about this and he does not know what to answer me. So I just drop the whole thing. I have no intention on arguing that evening because I was there to eat.
And so Auntie Patti Koh, that actions and policies of this hotel seems does not apply with any of the tourists and foreigners that is in this hotel restaurant. I was being discriminated in my own country. When I was paying the waiter, I told him about the incident and he told me not to worry about it. I told him that I was worried because I felt I was discriminated. And the strange thing about this, I was paying in cash and the tourists and foreiners are paying with their plastic money. I was sick to my stomach.
So, I will not return back to this place and will tell some of my relatives not to do so also. I don't want them to be discriminated in their own country by their own Kababayan.

Saturday, April 07, 2007


Dear Auntie Patti Koh,

I told you on my previous letter to you about my wife's nephew who just arrived from the states and is a graduate of nursing. He was looking for a job while reviewing for the nursing exams in Illinois. He just applied on-line and is now doing review.

I was able to get a work for him while reviewing at the same time. I was able to get a home care job for him to look after a 92 year old man, who is married and his wife is 87 years of age. They live in the suburbs of Chicago and the old man needs somebody to help and assists him in the house and at night when he needs to stand up and use the washroom.

I took him to the house of this old man and wanted to see for myself what kind of house and what kind of people are these whom my nephew will be staying every Saturday thru Tuesday. They are nice looking people and they live in a very nice community. I was impressed about it. The present nurse that is taking care of these elderly couple gave my nephew the pointers on what to do and what these couple needs and wanted to be done for them and at the house.

My nephew was told that they only eat breakfast and dinner and does not eat lunch. Knwing that we Pinoys have a habit of eating, was thinking about what to do about it, since my nephew will be staying with them for three days and three nights. So, I told my nephew that I will take care of it when we finally bring him to start his work this saturday. So we did brought him this morning saturday and I packed lots of food stuff for him to bring to the house of these elderly couple. I told him to inform the couple that he will place his food in one corner of the fridge and advised them that he cannot skip lunch.

I even told my nephew to bring his review materials and his manuals for review so that when he is not doing anything to read the review materials and study. I even told him to bring some writing tablet papers and write letters to his parents back home, his sisters and brother and his friends on what he is doing and the things that he has seen and visited so far in Chicago.

So Auntie Patti Koh, this morning we dropped my nephew to the house where he will work, and handed him over to the nurse that he will relieve for the weekend. Then he brought his stuff inside the house and came out from the back door of the house, approached me and my wife inside the car, epen the passenger door and hugged kissed my wife, then he opened up the driver's door and gave me a big hug and a kiss also. Then I told him if he is ever lonely to call me on my cell fon and try to recall the nice things we have done together and his many nice evenings with his cousins so that he will not be lonely. I told him, it will be hard but he needs to sacrifice and not to cry when loneliness is eating him up. I told him, if any of the couple raised their voice on him to call me any hour of the day or night and I will pick him up immediately.

Then he waved goodbye to us. I felt the same way when I left my son at his dorm when he went to college which was 6 hours drive from us and has to stay inside a dorm. I was touched on how he looked back to us and wave his hands.

Then I just said to myselk...."hang on there kid, be brave and take the challenge"

Thursday, April 05, 2007


Dear Auntie Patti Koh,

I have just called my nieces back home in the Philippines and they were telling me that they are doing the ritaul of "Visita Iglesia". They were telling me that it is so hot and humid at their place and it is so hard to handle the humidity. But they told me they are used to it already.

I told them, we are all bundled up here and we just had some snow yesterday and we are still going to have some more this coming saturday. The weather is still cold and the sun is not showing at all. The weather is so gloomy.

They were all telling me that it is a Holiday back home and everybody is in the provinces trying to cool off and there rest are just in the city enjoying the freedom of mobility because there's not much traffic since lots of people have gone to their respective provinces to spend the Lenten season.

I have explained to them that we still work and we cannot take some time off from work even during the holiest days of the Lenten season.

I miss those Holy Days of obligation and I really wanted to see again those religious processions.

And so Auntie Patti Koh, I went to visit this photo blog in the computer to see some pictures of the many traditions that we have in the Phils. I want to recall the times when I was a small boy bein a participant in al these religious festivities.

Monday, April 02, 2007


Dear Auntie Patti Koh,

My wife's nephew from the Phils. arrived last friday at the house of my mother in law. He is a graduate of nursing back home and wants to find what we call his "Kapalaran" in the states. He is such a good and polite kid. He is only 23 and I have never seen such a young gentlemanly and very polite young man. My wife at the dinner table was telling me she was surprised when this kid, who was with me to pick up my wife from work, step out of the car, and opened up the door of my SUV for my wife. My wife entered the front seat, looking at me and even her was surprised about it.

While we were inside the car on the way home, we were talking to him and he was using the polite "Po" and "OPo" on all the things that he says and reply to us. He is also using the polite plural and it was so strange to hear that from the new breed of young Pinoys. This is unheard of. Then I found out from my mother in law, this kid's Lola that they grew up with a very loving parents but stern disciplinarian in their character and they were molded up very nicely by both parents. That is an A plus for me.

I introduced him to all of my friends who works at the different nursing home and assisted living community, and these friends of mine has position in the respected place of work. They were all so happy also when they met this young man because all of them was telling me that this kid is very polite and very gentlemanly. Okey.

I was teaching him how to use the washing machine and dryer at the basement and how to use the fabric softener, which he said they never used at hom because they don't have any of the machines that we are using. He was telling me that they hand wash, including him their clothes at home. So, we were sorting out all his clothes, there was not much to sort. The entire wardrobe was only into two small load in the washing machine. Then I found out that he has only two pants with him, four pairs of white socks and 4 pairs of underwear that includes what he is wearing. He was telling me that they was and wear his undies from shirts and underpants at home. I was so devastated. Here I am and my children with all the convenience in life and all the things that we have, and here is this young man who is so happy and contented with what little he has with him. I was really touched.

And so Auntie Patti Koh, I was so touched also when he told me that when he gets a job in the states, the first thing he will be doing is to send the money back home, so that his younger sister could finish college. I was telling my wife about this and both of us agreed that this is a fine young man. Then I have to bring him to the store to get two bags of undies for him and one bag of socks. He was so embarrassed and so to make him feel at home with me, I told him to think of me as his father in the states. And then this boy gave a big hug and thanked me.

Ay Tiya....que pobresito tambien!!