Saving Wentworth Hall to be released soon

I’m happy to announce my new book, “Saving Wentworth Hall” to be released in a few days. Stay tuned.

Long Island Past and Present

During the Roaring Twenties, fabulous estates dotted the Long Island Gold Coast. Peek through the gate and discover the lifestyle of the rich.

This novel is about the coming of age of Spencer Wentworth, a young scion of a New York banking family, and his sister, Emma. Born into one of the old and privileged families of the Long Island Gold Coast, they enjoy the lavish lifestyle money can buy. Three years into Spencer’s European Grand Tour, he gets a telegram to come home, which changes the direction of his carefree life. Is he up to the challenge of what lies ahead?

If you like Downton Abbey, you’ll love this.

Watch for the release of the Paperback this coming week. The ebook edition is now on pre-order at Amazon. Other venues will be available at a later date.

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Engaging LGUs in economic development


IF I WERE THE NEXT PRESIDENT (Part 11 of a series)


Founder, Buklod National Political Party

At present, the Local Government Units (LGUs), with their Internal Revenue Allotments (IRA), are hardly mobilized to get directly involved in economic development.

The LGUs have been decentralized since 1991, or a period of 30 long years. With the decentralization, they have been given 40% share of the Bureau of Internal Revenue collections computed on the basis of the collections of three years ago. This allocation will be augmented beginning 2022 by an additional 40% of the customs duties collected by the Bureau of Customs in compliance with the Supreme Court decision in 2018.

The total IRA for 2021 is P695 billion and is allocated among the provinces, cities, towns, and barangays based on established proportions and methods of subsequent sub-allocation. The LGUs are required to spend 20% of their…

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Francisco Rodriguez and the first Philippine bank


BPI branch at Plaza Sta. Cruz, Carriedo, Manila
Photo Credit: By noel Gonong (Wikipedia Takes Manila participant)

While some Filipinos think that the Bank of the Philippine Islands (Banco de las Islas Filipinas, commonly known as BPI) is the first bank in the Philippines, it was not. BPI was founded on August 1, 1851, during the Spanish colonial era of the Philippines. It was called “El Banco Español Filipino de Isabel II, named after the Queen of Spain, Isabella II, the daughter of King Ferdinand VII.

The first bank founded by a Filipino was the Rodriguez Bank, circa 1831. Francisco Rodriguez was quite a wealthy man living in Manila when in 1823, he was wrongly accused of being involved in a local conspiracy spearheaded by three Mexican-born Spanish army officers in the islands. These officers were charged with harboring rebellious motives due both to Mexico’s new status as an independent…

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Leapfrogging to Higher Economic Growth (2)


IF I WERE THE NEXT PRESIDENT (Part 10 of a series)


Founder, Buklod National Political Party

Investments, and in the case of the Philippines, foreign investments, is a big factor in driving economic growth. Unfortunately, for the past many years, the country has been behind most of our neighboring countries in attracting foreign investments. This low performance is a major reason why the Philippines has lagged behind most of the ASEAN countries in historical economic growth. We simply have not been competitive.

There are several reasons why we have not been competitive. The major one, I believe, is that the costs of doing business in the country is comparatively higher. I have discussed the more significant of these higher costs in Part 9 of this Commentary Series (this current Part is a continuation of Part 9). These are: the cost effects of the business interruptions and…

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Imelda Marcos- a study in a power grab, corruption and ill-gotten wealth during the Marcos Era – Part II


Imelda Marcos – Photo taken during an interview at her Makati residence on July 29, 2008. Photo Credit: Wikipedia

In 1978, the administration Kilusang Bagong Lipunan party fielded Imelda as a candidate in the Philippine parliamentary elections of 1978. Because most opposition candidates were either in jail or had limited mobility due to Martial Law, Imelda Marcos easily won a seat as a member of the Interim Batasang Pambansa (National Congress) representing Calabarzon.

On August 7, 1982, Marcos appointed Imelda to his executive council. He assigned presidential powers to the executive council in the event of his death.

Imelda, who shared his delusions of grandeur, contemplated the commissioning of a panoramic mural of the country’s history in which every face would be a Marcos family resemblance. Consonant with all this, Marcos dreamed of founding a royal dynasty. His feckless son, Ferdinand junior, known as Bong Bong, whom he named Governor…

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Leapfrogging to higher economic growth


IF I WERE THE NEXT PRESIDENT (Part 9 of a series)


Founder,Buklod National Political Party

Since about five decades ago, the Philippine economy has gone what appears to be an irreversible downward spiral in comparison with our now 9 ASEAN neighbors. As shown in a World Bank report, in 2020, the Philippines ranked No. 6 in per capita income (gross domestic product) at almost US$3,000. Vietnam appears to be catching up on us soon, making us No. 7 and just ahead of Laos, Myanmar, and Cambodia. We used to be No. 1.

We have been overtaken by Indonesia, which now has about one-a-half times our per capita income; Thailand, a little bit more than double; and Malaysia by almost four times, not to mention Singapore which is way, way up, and Brunei which is also quite high.

This continuing cascade certainly gives the Filipino a…

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Ave Verum Corpus

Beautiful hymn we sang at all the choirs I was in years ago!


Ave Verum Corpus has often been described as one of the few perfect pieces of music ever written. It is a mere three minutes long and simple in musical structure but ranks among Mozart’s best works. Ave Verum Corpus (Hail, True Body), (K. 618), is a motet (a short piece of sacred choral music, typically polyphonic and unaccompanied) in D major composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in 1791.

Mozart composed the motet in 1791 in the middle of writing his opera Die Zauberflöte. He wrote it while visiting his wife Constanze, who was pregnant with their sixth child and staying in the spa Baden bei Wien. Mozart set the 14th century Eucharistic hymn in Latin, Ave Verum Corpus, to music to be used in the Baden church. He wrote the motet for Anton Stoll, a friend of his and of Joseph Haydn. Stoll was the musical director of…

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Playing cards made history

Interesting facts about playing cards!

Pacific Paratrooper

Playing cards to pass the time

War can be hell… and war can be absolute boredom.  There are few better ways to pass the time than by playing cards.  They’re easy to carry: small and lightweight, they fit into a rucksack, duffel bag or Alice pack without having to sacrifice any piece of essential gear.

Plus – they’re cheap!

Wartime decks have been used to help soldiers in the field learn about their enemies and allies, to identify aircraft and even teach American history.  In the 2003 invasion of Iraq, American forces used playing cards to identify the most wanted members of Saddam Hussein’s regime.

The U.S. Army and the United States Playing Card Company cooperation goes way back.  But it was their brand Bicycle that took it to a whole new level.

During WWII, Allied Intelligence officers contacted the card company to produce the most clandestine deck of cards…

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Imelda Marcos – a study in a power grab, corruption and ill-gotten wealth during the Marcos Era – Part I


Imelda Romualdez Marcos with former President Ferdinand Marcos and family during the 1965 inauguration- Photo Credit: Malacañang Palace

Imelda Romualdez Marcos isa Filipina politician and convicted criminal. She married Marcos in 1954 and became the First Lady of the Philippines when Ferdinand Marcos became President of the Philippines in 1965 until they were deposed in 1986. While in power for21 years, Imelda and her husband stole billions from the Filipino people, and that the amount they stole could have paid off the entirety of the Philippine foreign debt. By 2018, the Philippine government had recovered about $3.6 billion of this ill-gotten wealth through compromise deals or sequestration cases.

Upon becoming First Lady, Imelda often asked members of the Blue Ladies to accompany her on her trips out of the country. Imelda’s Blue Ladies, specifically Maria Luisa, a daughter of the wealthy Madrigal family and Daniel Vazquez’s wife, contributed…

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Transforming Agriculture


IF I WERE THE NEXT PRESIDENT (Part 8 of a series)


Founder, Buklod National Political Party

Improving Philippine agriculture, which includes fishery and forestry products, has been a persistent major issue since much of the 20th century. Unfortunately, we still continue to struggle to come to grips with it.

So many official and academic studies as well as private commentaries and opinions abound on how to deal with this extraordinarily important issue. I chose as reference for this commentary a recent study issued by the World Bank in June 2020, “Transforming Philippine Agriculture During COVID-19 and Beyond”. This report provides a high level analysis of the present state of Philippine agriculture and a discussion of policy options to transform Philippine agriculture. Accordingly, unless otherwise specified, the data cited in this commentary come from this source.

Based on data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP)…

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