In Memoriam – Matthew Morgan – Jan. 5, 1927 – May 4, 2020

Matt on the Great South Bay
Matt on board the Lauren Kristy, a paddle wheel boat at the Great South Bay, Long Island on one of his friend’s wedding anniversary parties.

It is with sadness that I announce the passing of Matthew Morgan on Monday, May 4, 2020. He was 93. He is survived by his wife, Rosalinda Morgan and their two sons, Matthew R. Morgan and Alexander R. Morgan and a daughter by his first marriage, Marianna Paolini and three grandchildren, Nina Paolini, Beth Paolini and Claire Paolini.

Matt was born in New York City to Robert W. Morgan and Carol Kobbé Morgan, daughter of Gustave Kobbé, an opera critic for the New York Herald Tribune and author of Kobbé Opera Book. He was named after his great uncle, Matthew Morgan, first minister to Russia. He grew up on the Long Island South Shore, in East Islip, NY. After he married the second time, he moved to the Long Island North Shore, in Oyster Bay, NY.

At age 8, he went to boarding school at Malcolm Gordon School in Garrison, NY and then to prep school at Storm King School in Cornwall on Hudson, NY. Upon high school graduation, he enlisted with the U.S. Navy and served on U.S.S. Fiske for three years. After the war, he went to Harvard University, Class of 1950 and then to New York University where he obtained his MBA in Finance.

He worked on the floor of the American Stock Exchange, and then the New York Stock Exchange as a floor broker. After 25 years on Wall Street, he got tired commuting and went on to become a tax accountant.

He loved the water and his family always had a boat when he was growing up. He loved cruising on his boat on the Great South Bay. His last boat was Alice V., a 45-ft clam boat, now on exhibit at the Long Island Maritime Museum in West Sayville, NY. He was well-traveled and loved to read. He was the only person Linda knows that read the whole series of The Story of Civilization by Will Durant, all 11 volumes.

Matt was not a rich man but possessed great wisdom, rich in character and integrity. He was a great disciplinarian to his sons, very strict with their upbringing and their school activities and taught the boys excellent work ethics. Linda remembers the time when in elementary school, he told the boys’ teacher that if they misbehaved in school, they were authorized to punish them. In high school, all their tests had to be countersigned by the parents and so Matt will read them and signed off with comments to take points off if their spelling and grammar were wrong. You could hear the boys said, “Dad!” “They had to follow grammar rules, not just in English class! It’s the only way, they’ll learn how to speak correctly.” At home, table manners were important at family meals. He reminded the boys all the time to sit up straight, no elbows on the table and chew your food with your mouth shut. Matt was that kind of parent and it paid off in later years.

 

Alex Graduation Party
At Alex’s Graduation Party in the garden

 

He was kind and enjoyed helping others, always volunteering and very supportive of his wife in all her volunteer work, especially with the rose societies, both in New York and in Charleston. Matt took pride in their rose garden of about 200 roses in NY which was the venue of fundraising events at their Annual Ice Cream Social for 20 years in Oyster Bay. He did his part in the garden, digging the holes and Linda took over from there. He enjoyed sitting in the garden and loved the beautiful roses.

He was a member of the Sons of the Revolution (descendants of those who were in service during the American Revolution in 1775-1783) and an active officer of the East Norwich-Oyster Bay Kiwanis Club for years. He served at various school boards, from his boarding school and prep school to his children’s school boards. He was involved at their sons’ sports teams, having coached his sons’ winning teams. He was a tough coach but they always won and the team loved him. He was the treasurer of the interreligious group in Oyster Bay, where they had toy drives and food drives during the holidays. When we left for the south, some of their friends said, “What will Oyster Bay do without the Morgans?” of which he replied, “They’ll survive!” At Whitney Lake, after they moved south, he was a member of the Finance Committee of Whitney Lake during the early years. He would be more active had it not been for the fact that he was diagnosed with Acute Kidney Disease five years ago.

He was easy-going, had a great wit, had loads of hilarious verses which he recited in unexpected moments. He possessed a quick and dry sense of humor. He was at ease in the company of both the poor and the rich and made it easy for them to talk to him. He had that infectious laugh that everyone loved. He’ll be remembered by some people as “Lou Holtz” which he had an uncanny resemblance. He even got a picture from Lou Holtz himself last year after Lou found out about Matt being mistaken for him.

Never in his life did Matt thought he’d make it to his 90s, but Matt made it to 93 and had a great run. He died a few days before their 50th wedding anniversary (May 29).

Due to coronavirus social distancing, there will be no wake. J. Henry Stuhr Funeral Home is handling his cremation and he will be buried at the Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn, NY at a later date.

He’ll be greatly missed!

Easter Blessing from Alitagtag, Batangas

Happy Easter Everyone!

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This is my hometown church, Invencion de la Sta. Cruz Parish Church in Alitagtag, Batangas. All photos are from the church Facebook page.

Invencion de la Sta. Cruz Parish

Because of the social distancing, I watched the mass via live video from this church last night. Here is a picture of the altar.

Alitagtag Church Easter 2020 2

Here is the priest’s blessing at the end of the mass.  The church was empty except for the priest, the servers and the choir.  Beautiful mass in a magnificent setting!

Alitagtag Church Easter 2020 3

Maligayang Pasko ng Pagkabuhay to everyone!

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The Dogwood Tree and its Legend

One of the most beautiful sights that grace the landscape during spring is the dogwood tree. The dogwood tree is one of my favorite trees.

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Photo Credit: https://www.fast-growing-trees.com

To many gardeners, dogwoods are the most beautiful of all flowering trees. These delightful trees often begin to blossom when they are only 4 to 6 feet tall, and their spectacular flowers are so tough that they often stay colorful for three or four weeks, twice as long as the blossoms on other trees. But the flowers are not the trees’ only attributes, for dogwoods have other traits that extend their usefulness well beyond the flowering season. The white or pink flowers are followed by bright red fruits, which are relished by birds; the dark green leaves of summer turn deep orange in autumn, and the horizontal tiers of branches are attractive throughout the year. Even during winter, the upturned ends of the twigs look interesting, since they are tipped with fat greenish buds that will become the next season’s flowers. Dogwoods usually grow from 6 to 8 feet with an equal spread in about five years.

I had a palmetto tree on my front lawn that I never liked. Last fall, it looked so bad, I told the HOA landscaper to take it down. At some point, I thought of getting a magnolia tree, but then a fellow gardener told me to be prepared to rake the leaves all the time. That made me go for a dogwood tree instead.

I bought a small dogwood tree from Fast Growing Trees, which I planted during one of those warm days in the Fall. In late December, I called the supplier and told them that the tree lost all its leaves and looked dead. They assured me it was OK. We’ll see how it does this season.

There is a legend to the dogwood tree.

At the time of the Crucifixion, the dogwood had been the size of the oak and other forest trees. So firm and strong was the tree that it was chosen as the timber of the cross. To be used thus for such a cruel purpose greatly distressed the tree, and Jesus, nailed upon it, sensed this, and in His gentle pity for all sorrow and suffering said to it:

“Because of your regret and pity for My suffering, never again shall the dogwood tree grow large enough to be used as a cross. Henceforth it shall be slender and bent and twisted and its blossom shall be in the form of a cross. . . two long and two short petals. And in the center of the outer edge of each petal there will be nail prints, brown with rust and stained with red, and in the center of the flower will be a crown of thorns and all who see it will remember.”

Dogwood Flower

Photo Credit: https://www.fast-growing-trees.com

So if you have a space in your yard, plant a dogwood tree. You’ll love it. I planted a Cherokee Brave Dogwood.

People of Cordillera Mountains Show the World that We Heal as One.

Sadanga – A Model Community of Compassion and Sustainability

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Sadanga Mayor

Photo Courtesy || Gabino P. Ganggangan @ DSWD – CAR

I saw this on the Baguio City Facebook page and it is a must share to show the world of how compassionate and considerate Cordillerans are. At a time when the world is suffering from COVID-19 and everyone is worried about their lives and their loved ones, this is one bit of good news. Kudos to Sadanga people and their good Mayor, Gabino Ganggangan. The municipality of Sadanga does not depend on relief goods because of their rich culture and tradition of bayanihan spirit that is very much alive.

Read Full Statement Below.

A Public Notice

(March 30,2020)

Today I was informed by our MSWDO (Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office) that some relief food packs sent by the DSWD region are now available at the PDRRM office in Bontoc for lgu’s that might be requesting.

However, I decided and…

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Is ‘Quarantine’ Really in the Bible? Are We Experiencing God’s Wrath?

I often wonder since the world is going Godless.

Pastorbluejeans Unplugged

The Think Twice Series

Think Twice is a series of reflections on faith, culture, and tradition that may affect a person’s way of thinking and judgment.
It invites the readers to hold their judgment and reconsider the matters at hand – Think Twice!
The blogs in this series are solely the author’s personal views and reflections.

These past few days I’ve been receiving messages supposedly related to COVID-19. One message says that ‘quarantine’ is in the Bible, another one claims that God has a direct hand in what we are experiencing now. We will consider the first issue in this blog and the latter will be dealt in the next.

The claim that ‘quarantine’ is in the Bible was taken from Isaiah 26:20, “Go home, my people, and lock your doors! Hide yourselves for a little while until the Lord’s anger has passed.” (NLT)

Context

Isaiah 26 is…

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Chinese and Japanese Revolts Against the Spaniards in the Philippines during the 17th century

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Chinese Settlers Chinese vendor serving noodles to the Filipinos Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Many foreign powers threatened the Spanish colony during the early years of settlement, mainly the Portuguese, Dutch, Chinese, and Japanese. The Spaniards successfully resisted Portuguese efforts to drive them from Cebu. Later the Spanish King annexed Portugal to Spain, closing Portuguese ports to the Dutch traders, who then sought new trading centers in the East Indies. Soon the Dutch were plundering Spanish vessels in the Philippines. In the first half of the 17th century, repeated Dutch attacks were made on Manila, but all were successfully dealt with by the Spaniards with the help of Filipino warriors.

The Spanish colonization of the Philippines required more skilled laborers and they recruited Chinese immigrants. The Chinese community was vital to the welfare of Manila, as the city surrounding Intramuros came to be known. The economy became highly dependent upon the Chinese…

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Lemery, the only town in Batangas named after a Spanish official, and its history

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Lemery Map by HueMan1

Photo Credit – Wikipedia by HueMan1

Archeological finds at ancient gravesites in Lemery include pre-Hispanic artifacts and that the people of this region, called Bombon, conducted a lively trade with Arab, Chinese and Indian merchants over the centuries. Upon the arrival of conquistadores Juan de Salcedo and Martin Goiti in 1570, the Bombon inhabitants were easily subdued. Delighted by the rivers and “excellent meadows,” the Spanish soon granted tracts of land (encomienda) to individuals and used Catholicism to spread their cause. A century and a half would pass before the locals, annoyed that Augustinians and Jesuits had snatched their land, began revolting against the class-conscious Spaniards.

During the early part of the 18th century, adventurous settlers from Taal, northern Mindoro, and southern Cavite were attracted to the vast plain near the shores of Balayan Bay because of its abundance in fish and other marine life. Salting and drying…

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Jeepney – A symbol of Filipino Ingenuity

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Jeepney by commons.wikipedia.orgImage Credit: Commons.wikipedia.org 

At the end of WWII, with public transport virtually nonexistent, the U.S. Army released surplus jeeps, and enterprising Filipinos converted them into passenger vehicles called Jeepney by lengthening the bodies. Garishly colored jeepneys are as essential and ubiquitous in the Philippines as double-decker buses are in London. The jeepney gets you everywhere you want to go. Etymologically speaking, jeepney combines jeep with jitney to offer low-cost, high-pollution public transit.

What began as the sensible recycling of U.S. Army surplus jeeps, the Jeepneys have grown into a form of traveling pop art. No self-respecting jeepney driver would allow his beloved vehicle to crawl naked through the streets of Manila. A full dressing up is of utmost importance. The chrome bodies, either buffed to a shine or painted in vibrant colors, exhibit a wealth of brazen embellishments: from small silver horses (thick horsepower) on their hoods to non-functional antennae…

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February 22-25, 1986, The People Power Revolution

The event that ended Marcos’ dictatorship. . .

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A large crowd of people

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Photo Courtesy by Reddit

This weekend marked the 34th anniversary of the People Power Revolution, also known as the EDSA Revolution which was a series of popular demonstrations in the Philippines, mostly in Metro Manila, from Feb. 22-25, 1986. EDSA or Epifanio de los Santos Avenue, is the giant ring road encircling Metro Manila where majority of the bloodless demonstrations that toppled former dictator, Ferdinand Marcos took place.

EDSA Revolution involved over two million Filipino civilians, as well as several political and military groups, and religious groups led by Cardinal Jaime Sin, the Archbishop of Manila, along with Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines President Cardinal Ricardo Vidal, the Archbishop of Cebu. Confronted by tanks and troops, they brought their personal weapons of prayers, smiles, rosary beads and flowers to bear on the forces of discredited authority.

Appalled by the bold and apparent election irregularities in the 1986 snap…

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Cockfighting – How the game is played

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A small bird walking on grass

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Photo Credit: Cavite.gov.ph

I know this is a controversial post for Westerners so please be warned that some parts of this post might be offensive to some. Unlike football which I consider violent sport and never a fan of it, football players end up with head injuries that can kill the players or cause dementia or Alzheimer in later years but cockfighting ends up with a meal on the dinner table. No harm done to human.

When the bird is in peak condition after having trained for months, he is taken with pride to the arena and is held by the tail feathers while cockers negotiate among themselves for a suitable match. Before a fight, the spectators scrutinize each bird. To stir each bird up, the head of one cock is held in the hand, with the neck outstretched for the other bird to peck. After a few minutes, the…

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