Archive for the ‘Notes’ Category


Youngsters deliver homemade PPE to Chicago Police

May 1, 2020

“Thank you so much for being here and sharing your innovations and public service with us,” Chicago Police Supt. David Brown said. “What you are doing for us is saving lives.”

(From left) Sisters Arianna, Sariah and Alessandra Stagen demonstrate how they made a batch of homemade hand sanitizer to donate to the Chicago Police Department during a press conference with Supt. David Brown at CPD headquarters, Wednesday afternoon, April 29, 2020.
(From left) Sisters Arianna, Sariah and Alessandra Stagen demonstrate how they made a batch of homemade hand sanitizer to donate to the Chicago Police Department during a news conference with Supt. David Brown at CPD headquarters Wednesday afternoon, April 29, 2020.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

New Chicago Police Supt. David Brown offered his gratitude Wednesday to four children who crafted and donated personal protective equipment for police officers.

“Thank you so much for being here and sharing your innovations and public service with us,” Brown said. “What you are doing for us is saving lives.”

“We should get you on ‘Shark Tank,’ and have you pitch other ideas you might have.”

Sariah Stagen, 9, and her sisters, 7-year-old twins Arianna and Alessandra, met the superintendent Wednesday at police headquarters. The girls, who live with their parents in Humboldt Park, brought with them a batch of homemade hand sanitizer and gave Brown a demonstration of how they made it.

James Stagen, the girls’ father, is a Chicago police officer assigned to the Shakespeare District on the Northwest Side.

Arianna Stagen, 7, of Humboldt Park, demonstrates with her sisters how they made a batch of homemade hand sanitizer to donate to the Chicago Police Department during a press conference with Supt. David Brown at CPD headquarters, Wednesday afternoon, April 29, 2020. Arianna Stagen, 7, of Humboldt Park, demonstrates with her sisters how they made a batch of homemade hand sanitizer to donate to the Chicago Police Department during a news conference with Supt. David Brown at CPD headquarters Wednesday afternoon, April 29, 2020.Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

To read the full article, click the link:


Happily sharing with you my grandnieces’ efforts at an early age to do their part during this pandemic times. We are as proud of them as much as their parents Jojo and Ting Stagen!!


Philippine Navy’s Three-Volley Salute

April 21, 2020

Five days before the lockdown of Metro-Manila due to the covid-19 pandemic on March 17, 2020 my brother was luckily timed not to undergo the current and sad experiences of those who die these days whether caused by covid 19 or not. Now, it has become mandatory to bury or cremate a person within 12 hours. The traditional wake – the last tribute of Filipino families to a loved one – that lasts oftentimes from three days up to a week cannot be observed anymore. Such cultural practice is gone! Well, probably until a potent vaccine anti covid-19 is discovered. More disheartening is, if a loved one gets infected by covid virus, relatives won’t be able to get near him, hug or comfort him such that survivors say it is hell to be in isolation, and be far from their families. For some, it has become a second lease to life.

The Philippine Navy gave my brother funeral honors having served the country for 20 years before becoming a seafarer until his retirement. It was my first time to actually witness what is oftentimes mistaken as the 21-gun salute — the three-volley salute. I only have good and loving memories of him as a person, and as a dear brother.


Amazing Grace by Andrea Bocelli

April 14, 2020

“Amazing Grace” is part of Andrea Bocelli’s Easter performance at Duomo di Milan… The live-stream’s instigator, the mayor of Milan, came up with the idea with the intention of uplifting his home country, Italy, the one hardest hit in some of the critical weeks of the coronavirus pandemic.

(For the full article, click)
How Andrea Bocelli’s Easter Live-Stream Became an Unexpected Global Blockbuster


Dried Cocos, Grasses, Husks, Shells as Christmas Decors

December 18, 2019

In front of the Municipality of Castillejos, Zambales is a public park where creatively and meticolously designed Christmas tree decors and Belen (Holy Family) are displayed. Fourteen villages or barangays are in competition and vying to win the best-designed  decor as part of the town’s Christmas celebrations. They were required to use nothing but dried coconut shells, grasses, coco husks, dried leaves, and other recycled materials. Here are some of them:

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Oye, the Mountaineer Strikes Again!

November 20, 2019

After posting Eirene “Oye” Bautista’s mountaineering adventures at Mt. Everest in Nepal, Mt. Fuji in Japan, Mt. Apo, Pulag, Kabunian and Mt. Buntis here in the Philippines, she sent me photos this time shot at the second highest mountain peak in Taiwan (3886m above sea level) called Snow Mountain (Xueshan)! You’ll never ever know where Oye shall land next time!! What an awesome life!


“…Sa dagat at bundok sa simoy at sa langit mong bughaw
may dilag ang tula at awit sa paglayang minamahal
ang kislap ng watawat mo’y tagumpay na nagniningning
ang bituin at araw na kailan pa may di mag didilim…”

The Snow Mountain had no snow as you might have noticed on the photos, because the snow season is supposed to be from December to March.

Ay naku! I can only but forever  dream and imagine being atop mountains!!!


What Joy!!! (Look at her expression!)



Mountaineer OYE and Volunteerism with the Library Hub Philippines

October 14, 2019

I have a mountaineer niece who loves the arts, pomeranians, nature untouched, baking, music, theater, volunteerism, and numerous others I know not what. We fondly call her OYE. God-fearing and positive in outlook, she is always fun and joy to be with. You wouldn’t perceive that behind the happiness she exudes when with you, there are health and physical challenges she is facing / had in fact already faced — and mind you, head-on! A brave soul indeed!!

I feel proud and always so happy for her whenever I hear that she would be climbing mountains either with her family or pal hikers for that’s something I can only dream of. Actually, when I see photos of mountaineers in general, I can’t help but imagine the adventure of trekking towards the unknown and having to face the elements of nature — sometimes great, sometimes harsh. Timing must be a great consideration. For them, endurance, determination and the will to triumph in order to reach the target goal are musts. I quietly rejoice whenever she successfully does that as that would mean, for sure, an invisible trophy of personal triumph.

I have asked for her favorite photos taken in some of the many mountains she had hiked. And I just love those that give surreal feeling and shots that wowed me, like the photo taken at Mt. Pulag in Benguet, Luzon’s highest peak at 2,926 metres (9,600 ft) above sea level, but the third highest in the Philippines; and the amazing shot of her sitting — Grabe!!! kakalula!! How did you do that? — on the edge of Mt. Apo, the highest mountain in the Philippines.


With the clouds seemingly within an arm’s reach at Mt. Pulag, Philippines

Mt. Apo2

At Mt. Apo, the highest mountain in the Philippines. Why did you have to sit on the mountain edge? Kakatakot!!!

OYE_Mt Fuji2

The triumphant look, no less!!! And for me? the triumphant feeling of conquering fear, if I were the one who was standing there. Haha! Wish ko lang!

OYE_I Luv U Lord

In Nepal at Mt. Everest Base Camp upon reaching the altitude of 17,600 ft. praising the Lord!

The ascent via the southeast ridge begins with a trek to Base Camp at 5,380 m (17,600 ft) on the south side of Everest in Nepal. Expedition members usually fly into Lukla (2,860 m) from Kathmandu and pass through Namche Bazaar. (Source: Wikipedia) Who would have thought that someone in the family would one day be able to go up the mountain we only used to read about as the highest on earth? Nadie!

Though I am someone who fears sliding down hillsides, it excites and thrills me no end to think that if I were to escape the city jungle like those mountaineers, I would be able to wallow in the beauty of natural landscapes, be awed by different mountain forms, shapes and colors, perhaps even perceive beyond what they actually are; trek and walk past river streams, breathlessly gasps in seeing the variety of floras, anxious in encountering not-so-familiar faunas perhaps while passing through forest trees, seeing beauty even in treeless mountain parts, and in wondering at mounds of all sorts, etc. New sights and experiences in every trip!!! OYes!! Photos of Oye’s adventures that she shares are for me enough to enjoy as much in being with Mother Nature…

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Up the mountain summit, I imagine the touch of the gentle breeze; hear the whistling winds; wonder at the vastness and beauty of Nature; feeling God and glorifying His greatness. For feeling tiny against the greatness of His creations makes God’s presence even more real just as when I was once traveling by sea at the midst of which I could see no horizon line that divides the land and the sea. During those moments, I drowned in feeling like a speck of sand and at one’s nothingness; at the same time, how great God is.


Oye rests awhile at Mt. Buntis in Maragondon, Cavite

Anyway, in between mountain climbing, Oye finds time on the ground to do volunteer work with the Library Hub Philippines, whose advocacy is to introduce interest in reading, update educational resources of children, and build libraries for members of the marginalized communities. To reach a Dumagat community in Tanay, Rizal, which is not that remote from Manila but not easily accessible, the group consisting of nine members including Oye went to Nayon Sta. Ines armed with books to read for the Dumagat children. As there were no straight paths leading to the place, they had to cross 12 rivers.

!Pure JOY with Dumagats of_2

As Library Hub Philippines’ volunteer, animated Oye interacts with the Dumagat children as she reads stories for them.

!Pure JOY with Dumagats of

Look at the attentiveness of the children, and the joy of innocence on the boy’s face!

OYE_dumgat community

Eirene “OYE” Bautista (3rd from right, front row) and the other volunteers of the Library Hub Philippines with members of the Dumagat tribe residing in Nayon Sta. Ines, Tanay, Rizal led by its Chieftain Tatang Amang Lope

Only last year in 2018 that two individuals formed a volunteer organization called the Library Hub* Philippines “to help, serve, and make a difference.” One of the founders is Oliver Pe, a mountain hiker like Oye. Believing in their advocacy, Oye joined their initiative and volunteered to share her time to help in advancing their mission that will benefit children from the marginalized sectors. It was getting exposed to the needs of communities inaccessible to services that they should be receiving from the government, that the library hub was formed.

According to the Library Hub Philippines: “Our cause aims to tackle the inequalities borne out of conflict, misrepresentation, discrimination, calamities, and the disparity of the social conditions in the nation. By engaging and building relationships with these communities, in a deliberate manner, we try to address their specific needs and dreams by giving the youth access to equalizing and updated educational resources. By re-/constructing these Library Hubs we are creating safe spaces and incubating environments that fosters the spirit of community.

LIB HUB movers

Library Hub Movers

Our advocacy also deals with human capital. We have realized the power of the individual to make a difference. Every peso, every book, every second of service through volunteering, and every talent offered can be made to a good use. Our advocacy has led us to connect with a diverse representation of society all sharing the commonality of wishing to help, serve, and make a difference.”

*Due to lack of libraries, the “Library Hub Project” was first initiated in 2006 by the Department of Education. It aims to establish a library hub in every public school division across the country. Its target is to set up at least 300 hubs in 184 school divisions in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao by the year 2010. (Read more at
The Institutionalization of DepEd Library Hub Project in All Regions and Schools Divisions Nationwide was finally formalized on June 15, 2009 under DO 64, s. 2009 (

Raising Goats Without a Farm?

October 2, 2019

One of “my” goats under Rula Boer Farm’s Paiwi program

The idea of goat raising seemed impossible!! I live in the heart of the city where any type of animal raising activity is not viable. But that’s what I got myself into after all! Imagine currently having some 31 goats without owning any farmland? I was born in the city and live all my life here. Rural life is something I have always dreamed of. When I was small I used to love singing the children song “Bahay-Kubo”; living by imagining everything that are in it: the nipa hut, the vegetable garden…I used to draw mountains and trees, carabaos, dogs and cats, goats, rice planting and the like. Yes! I loved everything rural!!

Fast forward!! One early morning, I heard Mr. Dexter Villamin over the radio. He was talking about the “paiwi” program of DV Boer Farm International in a radio program that centers on agriculture. It is called Magsasaka TV. I got interested to know more about it, especially when it was stressed that it would help farmers. Paiwi is a Tagalog word which means “paalaga.” It literally and generally means looking after, or taking care of someone or something living, i.e. a people,  pets, animals, plants, etc.

Reading online and inquiring personally to know more about the paiwi program finally led me to Rula Boer Farm. I finally decided to invest and entrust my savings by partnering with them. I just needed to buy goats which they would have to look after for three years at the end of which, they would buy all 31 of them when the contract ceases. Before that however, RBF shall make four payouts. On April 1 of this year, I signed a partnership contract with Rula Boer Farm (RBF), founded, run and managed by Mr. Rupert Salas. Located in Baras, Rizal, it is an accredited subfarm of DV Boer International. The transaction were all done online and by phone. Until now, I haven’t seen in person any of those I transacted business with.

Anyway, below are some photos of goats that are under their care. Well, I would like to think that my paalaga goats are among them…

Rula2Rula1When sunny, goats are placed in an area where they can play, roam, eat and run around. This is their playground.

Rula4-Taking photo

A worker takes photo of the goat ear tag while a co-worker holds its head.

I wonder if that doe above is mine as I have asked RBF to send me close shots of my goat’s ear tags to know how they look like. Below are some of the goats that were assigned to me showing their respective ear tags and numbers (RBF-0934-65) to easily distinguish one from the other. Ear tagging takes only a few seconds. It is akin and as fast as stapling action.

RulaEar tag2Goat tending undergoes the following major phases: 1) Within three months after signing of the contract, acquisition of does or female goats aged 8 months and above shall be done. 2) They will then be sent to a quarantine area where they shall be ear tagged, medically observed to see if they are free from colds, coughs, with pink eyes, or if they are free from any infectious diseases. The length of their stay shall depend on their condition.

Rula4-Farm workers

The Quarantine Area. This is where the goat’s health will be observed, checked, and proper condition maintained before sending them to the goat house after a month or two.

Rula33) Breeding then follows from 11th month onwards. If healthy, they are expected to breed and multiply. The time from mating to kidding is called the goat’s gestation period. This usually lasts for five months.

RBF is one of the nearly 100 DV Boer farm International sub farms that are found in almost all regions in the Philippines. I chose Rizal because it is closest to Manila. Below is the picture of the people that help make things happen for us paiwi partners.

RBF Slideshow8

Seated at the center is RBF founder Rupert Salas [7th from the left] and his wife [woman with a hat on her lap]. The lady in red boots is Ms. Arlene Dela Cruz who untiringly sent me photos and information about RBF.

Take a few seconds’ trip to Rula Boer Farm in Baras further by looking at the photo slideshow below:

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Magsasaka TV featured RBF in their 2nd Video Episode found in You tube video. The segment starts at 00:30 seconds.

I would like to thank Arlene Dela Cruz of RBF for sending me all the photos that I used in this post, especially the individual pictures of all my ear tagged goats. You may contact her for inquiries and details at Tel. #(02)3301539. After October 6 though, an additional digit #8 shall be added to 7-digit PLDT lines. To read more about RBF, here is the link to their website:


Meeting “DAHLIA”

September 24, 2019

Dahlia 2This is my first time to see Dahlia flowers up close as I just bought one today. It actually took me a lot of time before finally settling to buy this pot of awesome flowering plant.

Surprisingly, when I searched online to know something about it, the first thing that I read was that 2019 is the Year of the Dahlia!! Isn’t that amazing?


The Wonder of Nature

“Dahlia is a genus of tuberous plants that are members of the Asteraceae family; related species include the sunflower, daisy, chrysanthemum, and zinnia. They grow from small, brown, biennial tubers planted in the spring…. dahlia flowers can range in size from petite 2-inch lollipop-style pompoms to giant 15-inch “dinner plate” blooms. Most varieties grow 4 to 5 feet tall.” (Excerpts from “Growing Dahlias” at

Dahlia 1




Gen. Charles E. Kilbourne Initiated the Building of Malinta Tunnel in Corregidor?

June 28, 2019

General Charles E. Kilbourne

Oh well, that’s what I just read today from an article about Malinta Tunnel building on Corregidor Island — birthplace of my forefathers, father and siblings. It was Gen. Charles Kilbourne, then re-assigned to assume the Harbour Defense Command in 1929 who revived the idea of building the tunnel under the Malinta Hill in December 1931. He worked on its realization, initiated and finally got the approval of the building project on January 14, 1932. To lead the construction work, Lt. Paschal N. Strong of the US Army Corps of Engineers was sent over. He arrived in the Philippines in 1932.

So, the idea which got hatched in 1921 started to get realized only in 1932 not 1922 as stated on a sign displayed outside Malinta Tunnel. The use of prison labor from Bilibid prison was said to be also his idea leading to building of prison stockades. The photo of Dr. Selma Harrison Calmes’ father with the prisoners that she graciously allowed me to use in my documentary TIGA-ISLA (The Islanders of Corregidor) is included in the same article simply captioned “Bilibid stockade.”

To read all the details, here’s the link to the article of Mr. John Moffit written on December 12, 2012:

Incidentally, I found just a few days ago, a letter already eaten up by silver fishes written by Gen. Charles E. Kilbourne in reply to I do not know exactly who. Was it my father, or my historian brother who wrote to him? Since Juan Medina whom he mentioned in the letter were grandfather to both, I wouldn’t know until I find a copy of the welcome letter sent to the General that he was referring to. Anyway, what is clear was that he was on a visit here at the time the undated letter was written. Knowing that he died in 1963, I would assume that he was in the country sometime in the 50s for a sentimental journey.

Gen. Kilbourne sounded how well he knew my great granduncle Juan Medina, former municipal president (mayor) of Bo. San Jose, Corregidor. Lolo Juan and my father’s father Mateo were brothers. The latter was appointed as Corregidor municipal councilor in 1906.

Kilbourne Letter_Front

Letter of Gen. Charles Kilbourne in reply either to my father, Ricardo M. Medina Sr. or my historian-brother Isagani R. Medina, both Corregidorians

Kilbourne Letter_Back

kilbourneGen. Kilbourne “was responsible for much of the military development of the island fortress of Corregidor. During his third assignment there [Philippines], from 1908 to 1913, he established the first artillery garrison on Corregidor.” (

We have two other letters written by Gen. Kilbourne, one dated 1936; the other written from Maryland that is undated. Both original copy of the letters were deposited in 2004 at the Pacific War Museum on Corregidor Island. In addition, the Certificate of Appointment of my grandfather Mateo dated 1906, and written in Spanish is also at the museum. Currrently, they are under the care of Corregidor Foundation, Inc.


Lips to Lips: The Evolution of Kissing Scenes in Philippine Movies

June 22, 2019

“Every imaginable taboo, once unspoken and forbidden, has been depicted in graphic ways in Philippine movies,” says Alex Castro.


From Alex Castro’s “Lips to Lips: The Evolution of Kissing Scenes in Philippine Movies”

In his lengthy, impressively researched and well- documented article — flavored with trivia notes at times — about the evolution of kissing scenes in Philippine movies, readers, particularly film history buffs journey with Mr. Castro from way way back, when yes! it was taboo for lovers to kiss, even hold hands in public; the reason why it was so shocking for the viewers to watch kissing scenes, especially when first shown in the movies. Now, it is so common a segment without it and lovemaking would render a film incomplete. It has become part of the formula.


Vicente Salumbides and Sofia Lota in “Fate or Consequence” (1926) from Salumbides’ book “Motion Pictures in the Philippines” (1952)

Reading about Mr. Vicente Salumbides in the article, I couldn’t help but recall my interview with him. He did say how jealous her then-future wife was, Rosario Panganiban when his film, “Fate or Consequence” showing him kissing actress Sofia Lota was shown. Mr. Salumbides was hard of hearing at that time. To communicate with him, I had to write each question on a piece of paper and gave it to him one at a time. He would read it, then would reply to whatever question I handed to him. I was then working as a researcher for the UP Film Center, and about to start a documentary on him when unfortunately our house burned. The flames ate up all the materials that I gathered from my interviews with him, Alejandro Celis, one of his silent movie actors, and Atang de la Rama. At that time, Mr. Salumbides was living somewhere in Fairview, Quezon City, BF Homes, if I am not mistaken.

To read Alex Castro’s full article, please click the link below: