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Posts Tagged ‘Marife Saldana Roa

Operation Birthday !

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After Action Report – A Success !

Operation Birthday”

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME CRYSTAL_1259_resized

"Happy Birthday To Me Crystal !"  –  Christy Warren dug up this crystal out of the ground in Arkansas, August 19, 2005, on her 40th Birthday  The crystal came from the ground near a crystal mine close to the Crater of Diamonds State Park, in Murfreesboro, Arkansas.  When Christy dug the big crystal out of the earth, she smiled and sang, "Happy Birthday To Me !"  The crystal still shines in her home in Leyte, Republic of the Philippines.  Nikon D 70 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr,

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Cooking. The reason Christy Warren was not looking forward to any birthday celebration this year came down to one word: “cooking.”

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Rinald cooks a dish for Christy Warren’s birthday.

Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Through the years, Christy, has always been the person, who almost always does the “cooking” for family and friends birthday celebrations. And, when “Her Day” arrives, she was the person, who did the “cooking” for her own birthday celebration.

Born a Leo, Christy, like all Leos, likes “being in the spotlight.” It helps to share your birthday with a famous American president: William Jefferson “Bill” Clinton, born August 19, 1946. Christy Warren entered this life, August 19, 1964.

Like all Leos, Christy has the natural inclination “to keep an eye” on a project that she is in charge of. In her case, that usually means that she steps in from the “sidelines” and actually does the job herself. Military concepts like “Unity Of Command,” “Span Of Control,” and “Delegation Of Authority,” doesn’t conform to her “hands-on-do-it-yourself” approach.

Sunrise, August 19, 2012, while she had her morning coffee, I once again brought up the subject, “. . . so, what do you want to do for your birthday ?”

Fortunately, this year, there were options to the traditional birthday celebration. Rinald, a cook was available to cook for the celebration. Family stood ready to help: Marife, Christy’s sister, Ramon, Christy’s brother, Lanail, her sister-in-law, Ann Ann, a neighbor, and, of course, Christy’s husband, Sam.

One major factor in the Philippines, that isn’t always a issue in the United States with it’s “temperate climate” is “heat,” which is the hot and humid temperatures of the Philippines that always steps into place at sunrise. Air conditioning is not always as prevalent in the Philippines as it is in the United States.

Thus, the people working in the kitchen will have to endure the daily temperatures, as well as, the heat that the process of cooking gives off. Thus, imagine trying to prepare food for a birthday celebration in a sauna and you understand a major effort that goes into preparing the food.

Christy admits that one factor in her decision to move forward with the birthday celebration is Mac Mac Roa and Glen Roa. Mac Mac had a birthday, August 6. Glen had a birthday, August 8.

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Liraniza Abano, Christy Warren’s second cousin, and Catalina Saldana Mora, one of Christy Warren’s aunts visit with Christy before the party.

Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Unfortunately, daily activities did not allow for a birthday celebration, so I explained to the boys, that we would have to “postpone” the birthday celebrations. Thus, with Christy’s Birthday: we now had a chance to “set the record straight” and celebrate all three birthdays.

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Rachel and Randolph Mora and their mother, Babysel Mora, visit with Christy before the party.  Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

While the cooking staff began their preparations, Ramon, Gilbert, Ranillo and I are ready to go to a bakery in Palo for the birthday cake. Once, we start to travel down the Barangay Road, I tell Ramon, that I want to check out a bakery in Tacloban City.

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Nelda Lago . a neighbor, visits with Christy before the party.  Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

We go to “Pannys” for the mocha birthday cake. Then, aware that children like “surprises” for their birthday parties, I come up with the idea of the Piñata. We head for the “578 Emporium” to find a “Piñata.” A salesgirl shows me the Piñata that has to be filled with toys and candy.

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Christy’s Aunts, Magdalena Patanao and Catalina Mora supervise the birthday buffet line, Jimmy Navoa and Kmar Patanao, Christy’s first cousins, start off the birthday buffet line.  Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

while supervise When I describe the slender wood tic-tac-toe device that I had in mind, she replies, “You want a Pabitay (pronounced “pah-bee-tie).” She points at the box of oversized tic-tac-toe wooden frames at the end of an alise. You still have to find the toys to tight to the pabitay, but, I was now one step closer to my idea.

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The kids “jump” up to get the toys that hang from the pabitay. 

Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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Gilbert and Ranillo help me shop for the trinket toys to tie to the pabitay. Whistles, yo yos, a couple of packs of balls and jacks, and a couple of small bottles of bubbles as well as Dragon ball trading cards compose the trinkets for the pabitay.

I always like to try and add some things that will catch the eye and inspire the kids, so I find a set of metal racing cars at a good price, a couple of magnetized chess travel sets and, after a quick visit to the nearby, Gaisano store, a die-cast metal miniature friction motor 747 airplane.

The toy manufacturers of the world really don’t seem to be all that creative in creating small trinket type toys for girls. Fortunately, I like a challenge. Since I remain “a kid at heart,” I know I will find something. I stroll into the doll section and begin the intense browsing procedure. I find a package of plastic rings and a card of play makeup for girls with two tiny lipsticks and a small compact.

Back at home, I ask Gilbert and Ranillo to put the toys into bags to tie to the pabitay. While they go to work in fixing up the pabitay, family and friends begin to arrive to help Christy celebrate her birthday.

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Andres Cinco, Analyn Natividad’s husband, looks over the pabitay.  He raised and lowered the pabitay to allow the children to “jump” up and get the birthday surprises.  Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Time for “Sam The Photographer.” I pick up the Nikon D 100, format the media card, and begin looking for moments that will become memorable photos.

Renald, the chef, prepares the Pancit Bihon, which is a classic Filipino dish that at birthday celebrations always symbolizes “the wish for a long life.” The Pork Asado, Filipino Sweet Potatoes, Steamed Rice are some of the dishes that find their way to the birthday table. Years of celebrations, suggest that the most efficient way to serve a large number of people quickly is to set the dishes and silverware at the end of the table and to allow the guests to select their own choices like in a buffet style restaurant.

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The Birthday Cake for Mac Mac Roa, Glen Roa and Christy Warren.  Mac Mac blew out the candle on the cake.  Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

After the birthday dinner, while the adults visit, the pabitay is hung up, so that it can be raised and lowered to allow the kids to “jump up and grab at the toys.” The kids get the toys and the destroyed pabitay is put aside for the recycle pile.

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Mac Mac Roa, Junea Tanhale and Vanissa Saldana play chess after the birthday party.  Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

While the adults talk, the birthday celebration stretches into the evening hours. Christy has managed to stay out of the kitchen all day and allow other family members to do the “cooking.” For “a hands on person”, like Christy, to be able to “delegate authority” to allow someone else to do a job is not a common condition.

Later, Christy logs on to facebook and reads the birthday wishes from some family and friends.  Those birthday wishes and the nieces and nephews birthday cards really added to the overall success of Christy’s birthday, this year, Sunday, August 19, 2012.

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Surprise of the Day  – While I had tried to plan all the surprises for my wife’s birthday party; my nieces and nephews delivered the surprise of the day.  They had created birthday cards for their Aunt Christy.  Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Looking around at the guests, I rate “Operation Birthday – A Five Star Success !”

Sam

“Happy Birthday, Marife !”

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Happy Birthday, Marife !

May 29, 2012

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

The Birthday Girl – Marife Saldana Roa, the birthday girl, opens her birthday cards. The kids and Tito Sam used their best creative efforts to make some birthday cards for the special day. Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Marife Saldana was about 14 when she came to Angeles City and her sister, Christy, enrolled her in Dau Academy.

The Sisters — Christy Warren and Marife Saldana Roa, the sisters, talk and joke for a fe moments, before the birthday party gets underay. Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

I met Marife, when she was the teenager.

Like her friends in the school’s white uniform blouses and required green skirts they talked about the things teenage girls talk about like: boys.

It was the late 1980s, so cell phones had yet to be invented, thus, classmates talked about things on the way to and from school

“Girl Talk” — Pina Gempis and Marife Roa talk in the kitchen. Pina spent the morning, cooking spaghetti and pancit canton for the birthday party. In the Filipino culture, pancit canton is the Filipino dish you expect to find at a birthday party because tradition states that pancit canton is a symbol of a long life. Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

and on weekends because “texting” had yet to be invented.

May 29 is Marife’s birthday.

Even as a teenager, Marife had a smile and a quiet personality. In 2012, Marife is married to Ninoy Roa and the mother of four boys: Gilbert, Glen, Chrismar and Mac Mac.

“Happy Birthday to you.” — Christy Warren lights the candles on the birthday cake.
Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Today was a milestone, other than age. The last time Christy bought a birthday cake and had a birthday party for her sister, Marife, she was 16. Christy returned to the Republic of the Philippines in December 2011, and this was the first opportunity, she had to have a birthday party for her sister Marife.

Although Marife Saldana Roa is my sister-in-law, I have always believed, “She is the daughter I should of had.”  As a teenager, Marife was always respectful to her elders, did well in school, and never hesitated to use her English skills to tell me what was going on in school.  As a teenager, she always treated me like a father and since our return to the Philippines, Marife continues to be the daughter I should of had.

The Good Morning Bakery Birthday Cake. Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

May 28, Christy went to the “Good Morning Bakery” in Palo and ordered the birthday cake. Christy looked through the pictures of the birthday cakes and picked out the design.  The selection of the birthday cake became a Major Military Operation because I went along to order the birthday cake.  I’m one of those people, who as a child was always “picky” about the kind of food I ate and “where I ate.”  As a senior citizen, I remain “picky” about my food from birthday cakes to anything I eat.

While the bakers were discussing the cake with Christy, I had questions about the size and flavor.  Christy remembered that Marife like vanilla.  One of the baker’s assistants brought out a cake pan to show up the size.  I took one look and figured three people would get birthday cake and everyone else would watch them eat.  I smiled and asked bigger.  The assistant then explained that they had a cake pan about twice the size.  I nodded, “Texas size.”

When selecting the novelty to place on the cake, Christy remembered as a teenager that Marife liked the TV show, “Darna.”  Darna is a Filipino super heroine, whose American counterpart is “Wonder Woman.”  Like “Wonder Woman” in the United States, “Darna” is a character in the Philippines that is always portrayed by the most beautiful Filipina actresses of every generation in the movies and on TV.  Darna has always been a positive role model for Filipina girls.

Back in the 1980s, whenever a Darna TV show or movie came on, I plopped down on the sofa beside Ramon and Marife to watch.  Thus, the Darna super heroine doll stood tall in a corner of the cake.

The Good Morning Bakery birthday cake was pleasing to the eye.  I was impressed by the taste.  The vanilla cake was moist to the tongue.  Regardless of where I have been in the world and had birthday cakes or wedding cakes, one thing I always remember is that sometimes the cakes are dry.

Once the cake comes in contact with your tongue you dash like a man in the desert for the nearest source of liquid to quench your steel wool thirst.  Christy overcomes the dryness problem with cakes by using butter to keep the cake moist.

Christy Warren serves up a helping of birthday cake and pancit canton to Edwin Mora. Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

I do not know how the Good Morning Bakery kept this cake moist, but it passed my tongue test and I enjoyed the cake.  Naturally, I would of liked the cake to be a tad more moist, but, when it comes to food I am “picky.”  I am a Scorpio, but, when it comes to food, my taste buds and stomach are obviously Virgo in the extreme – my eyes and digestive system give new meaning to the phrase, “Attention To Detail” and the word, “Perfection.”

The smiling faces of the attendees and the second-helpings were a testament to the flavor of the birthday cake.  And the icing was a favorite with the adults as well as the kids.

Marife is not the only Saldana relative, who celebrates May 29 as the birthday. Randy Abano, a second cousin, is a close family member, who also shares the Gemini day.

All Western astrological signs have their positive and negative values and Gemini is a sign often considered to be “moody.”  However, Marife and Randy remind me of  the famous American Gemini, who served as a United States Navy PT boat commander, who went on to become a great American President – John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

Before the birthday party began, Ranyiel Saldana handed one of the pet pigeons to Randy Abano to examine. Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Randy is a quiet young man, who is always ready to help out.

Perhaps, he is “picky” about dating because he is still a single man.

Before I conclude this birthday article, I leave my readers two points to ponder.

Point Number One

In my lifetime, at birthday parties, I have always noticed that usually it seems the birthday boy or the birthday girl is expected “to cut the cake.”  Why is that ?

The birthday is the day of days, when the individual can truly celebrate the anniversary of their birth into this world.  It is the one time every year, when every man, woman and child should be respected as one of “God’s unique gifts to the Universe.”  While family and friends usually do try to honor the person, the glitch always seems to come at cake time.  Instead of a family member or friend stepping up from the ranks to do the honor, the birthday boy or birthday girl is usually left positioned behind the cake to decide how to cut if, while the fate of the Free World and human civilization hangs in the balance.

Someone hands them a knife, and leaves the birthday boy or birthday girl to decide, “How do I cut the cake ?”

On my birthday, I always smile, step back and would hand the knife to my mother, Cousin Donna, or my wife, Christy, and reply, “I do a lousy job of cutting a cake.”  I knew my talents in life did not include cake cutting, thus, one of my trusted love ones had to have a more precise skill of cake cutting than I would ever master.

In my experience, most people usually stand there bewildered until some hungry family member takes pity and decides to step up to assist.  I am no protocol person, but on someone’s special day, the goal is to honor and celebrate their birthday.  Thus, it should already be decided long before the traditional song is sung, who will step up to assume command of “The Cutting Of The Cake.”

Point Number Two

Most often a Wedding is an expensive personal ceremony that ranks right up their with Presidential Ignauration Ceremonies.  All the planning, pomp and circumstance goes into planning weddings as though it were a re-enactment of “The D-Day Landing.”  After the traditional “cutesie moment” of the bride “smushing” cake into her new husband’s face and him doing likewise to his new wife, then, the marvelous machinery of the wedding celebration rockets into high gear and the wedding cake is quickly distributed to the masses.

Unfortunately, Birthday Celebrations are sometimes one of those “Fly By The Seat Of Your Pants” events that suggests you are making it up as you go along.  The best birthday celebrations always seem to collapse like a fallen cake at serving time.  One reason maybe the absence of the ingenious device – “The Cake Server” – a utensil shaped like a pizza slice with a laid back L shaped handle that allows the utensil to slide in under the cake and raise it triumphantly in one piece up into the atmosphere.

Without the cake server, people’s stomachs always override their sense of logistics and spoons and forks are stabbed at the cake like prehistoric cave people trying to free the charbroiled dinosaur bone from the family flame pit.  It is a given, that the piece of cake will wobble and collapse like a badly constructed tower, near, and sometimes actually in the plate.  My solution is to use a knife and a fork or spoon to actually “balance” the piece of cake to the nearby plate.  My crude forklift tactic usually prevents the cake from becoming a Tower of Babble re-enactment.

The Royal Imperial Professional College of Birthday Cake Taste Testers — of any country is kids. The Saldana and Roa kids enjoyment of The Good Morning Bakery of Palo’s birthday cake quickly attained a positive five-star rating from the M &Ms, to the vanilla flavor and the icing. Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Of course, Marife and Randy’s birthday party went off without a hitch because Christy Warren is a natural born protocol officer.  I suspect my wife must have been a protocol officer at a Royal European Court in one of her past lives.

Thus, when it came time to blow out the candles Marife and Randy made their wishes and blew out the candles.

The Birthday Dignitaries – Marife Saldana Roa and Randy Abano gather around the birthday cake, while Ann Ann Natividad watches in the background. Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Happy Birthday, Marife ! Happy Birthday, Randy !

Sam

Wingman To The Angels

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Wingman

To The

Angels

By Samuel E. Warren Jr.

I can die a happy man !

I don’t have a son.

I don’t have a grandson.

I had the honor of any father or grandfather, as I stood and walk alongside my nephew in his commencement exercise.

“What Mothers Do” – Lanail Saldana holds a graduation gown, while Marife Saldana Roa, the mother of Glen Roa, checks the precise alignment of the flower on her son, Glen’s graduation gown before commencement exercises. Canon 40 D Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

I walked alongside my nephew, Glen Roa, on the day that he underwent a monumental turning point in his life.

March 29, 2012, I strolled alongside my nephew, Glen Roa, in his formal graduation procession of the Juan Villablanca National High School, in Pastrana, in the Republic of the Philippines.

The joy inside my heart, mind and soul, I describe as, being promoted to the rank of “Seraphim” and given the opportunity to fly Combat Air Patrol off of the left wing of Saint Michael, the Archangel.

As a writer, monumental moments in my life, I always put on paper or place in my electronic journals, the “Sam I Am Blog” and my “Samuel Warren The Writer” blog.

A writer feels emotions like his fellow man and fellow woman, but, a writer has the passion to translate that emotion into words and to commit it to print for future generations.

For me, walking alongside Glen in his commencement exercise gave me a supreme sensation of pride that could only be explained as being assigned to the military ranks of the Heavenly Host.

What greater tribute could there be in the Afterlife for a military man or woman than to be designated a “Seraphim” and authorized to fly alongside the Archangels ?

I am not a religious man. I try to be a spiritual man.

This event, gave me, the Pride, to feel like I had the honor to serve: as “Wingman To The Angels.”

“The Walk” — Samuel E. Warren Jr., strolls alongside, Glen Roa, his nephew, in the formal procession on Glen’s Graduation Day. Canon EOS 40 D Photo by Christy Warren.

The nature of the ceremony, obviously, made the day a monumental moment in Glen’s life.

The day was obviously – “Glen’s Day.”

Glen Roa accepts Communion at the church, before joining his fellow students in the formal graduation procession to the auditorium. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

However, Glen’s American uncle felt the tremendous positive energy flowing from the universe into the graduates, their parents and relatives.

A magnificent, positive energy that reminds people, you can change the world, you can move mountains. You simply need the faith in yourself and your convictions to move you along the path to greatness.

I stood next to Glen and felt like one of God’s Seraphim standing on a majestic mountain peak bathed in golden sunlight. The rays of the sun, moved along my angelic breastplate and tunic. My wings opened to the sunlight. I stood ready to serve in the immortal ranks of The Heavenly Host.”

My feet stood in the Real World on the soil of the Republic of the Philippines, but, my imagination takes flight. I draw my sword and spread my wings. At altitude, I bank in the sunlight and fly through the ranks of the seraphim. I soar and sail among the formation of the archangels and move into position to fly off the left wing of Saint Michael, the Archangel.

Today, I am Saint Michael’s Wingman.

Back in the Real World, I stand alongside Glen. The sweltering heat and sunlight reaches the point that it is uncomfortable to just be standing outside. Yet, Glen stands in the long white line of students selected to graduate.

“The Long White Line ” — boys and girls in caps and gowns move along the route of the commencement exercise procession toward the goal of graduate. Photo by Christy Warren.

I have always been a persistent, passionate writer. When I pick up my camera for a news or important photography situation, I enter my Michelangelo mindset and try to figure out how I will be able to capture a photo that will remain a moving work of art to stand the test of time. The photography mindset is never a conscious act as much as a mental urge to be in the right place, at the right time, to capture a moment of history to stand the test of time.

My calling in life had always been to be the best reporter and photographer that it is humanly possible for me to be.

My writer’s mind, tells me God and Saint Michael, took the necessary actions to move me to this point in time.

In November 1988, I reported to Clark Air Base, Republic of the Philippines. I was a single American G.I., in pursuit of the dream of earning a Pulitzer Prize for writing or photography. Born a Texan and raised an Ozarks country boy, my ambition in life was to be a world-renowned photojournalist.

Life is an assignment that takes a serious of missions to put you in the right position to attain success and contentment. On duty, in the Real World, the United States Air Force would issue orders that would take Christy and I to Japan, Alabama and finally to retirement in Missouri.

Mount Pinatubo’s noxious sulfur fumes had changed the blanket of air over Clark Air Base into the pungent, persistent, almost choking stench of “rotten eggs.”

The slight shudder of the earth beneath your feet in February had grown to an intensity that seemed Mother Earth was being racked with strong contractions like a woman in labor by the month of May.

Before the rebirth of Mount Pinatubo into a volcano, Christy and I had taken the military orders and landed in Japan.

Mount Pinatubo had been nature’s “bunker buster bomb blast” that severed all Real World communications between Christy and her family in the Republic of the Philippines.

The status of all Christy’s relatives were “Unknown” – Missing In Action.

In a matter of days, Mount Pinatubo had devastated a section of a nation with a force usually displayed by nations at war.

And, the aftermath of Mount Pinatubo’s action, took 21 years for Christy to finally locate and determine the fate of her family in the Philippines. Marife and Ramon had had their own families.

With communications reestablished the Warrens in the United States and the Saldanas in the Philippines were becoming a family separated by a body of water called the Pacific Ocean.

Like United States Army General Douglas MacArthur, Christy Warren was determined to “Return To The Philippines.” General MacArthur had a mission. Christy Warren had family in the Philippines.

Glen adjusts his robe and straightens his mortarboard graduation cap, I smile and realize that at last Life had brought us to this point.

Glen, the young man, had grown up hearing stories about his “Tita Christy and Tito Sam.” Since our return to the Philippines, he had seen we were not fictional characters, but real people.

My grandfather, Joseph Samuel Warren, had been an East Texas farmer. My father, Samuel E. Warren, had served in the European Theater of Operations and the Pacific Theater of Operations, during World War II. Dad had earned two Silver Stars and assigned to the United States Army Signal Corps had installed some of the first telephone lines through the jungles of the Republic of the Philippines, during the war.

Glen had told his mom, he wanted to join the military. I hope the stories of my dad’s military service had inspired Glen to understand that military service is a calling of patriotism and compassionate devotion to one’s fellow citizens.

Glen’s confident smile reminded me of my exciting days at Clark Air Base back in the late 1980s. I looked at Glen and was reminded of General Fidel V. Ramos. I had been fortunate enough to take a photo of General Ramos on one of his visits to Clark.

When I arrived at Clark in the 1980s, I landed in the Philippines in the aftermath of the EDSA People Power Revolution and it was an exciting time.

The Global News Media had labeled former President Ferdinand Marcos an “evil dictatorial strongman.” Since President Marcos had always been a reliable and devoted ally to the United States Government in the Pacific and Asia, people in the Philippines were suspicious of the United States Government and most all Americans.

Life in the Philippines had became a constant topic for the global news media. Since the revolution in 1986, the world watched to see what would happen in the Philippines.

Corazon Aquino, a housewife and widow, had become the President of the Republic of the Philippines. While President Aquino had been educated for a few years in the United States, Americans as a rule, really knew nothing about the new president.

At Clark, we performed out military duties and wondered if we would get orders to pack up and head for “home” – the United States. In 1988 and 1989, I went to work each day in a country that was in transition as a new government established itself. It seemed everyday the international news media had stories of political intrigue originating from the Philippines.  Americans back home in the United States were confused about the news coming out of the Philippines. 

Every couple of weeks I would call my mother back in the United States, who would usually be upset because she had seen television coverage about the actions of the New People’s Army and had seen on television and in newspapers the coverage of protests demanding “Get US troops out of the Philippines” and, of course, the television footage was always shot outside of Clark or Subic on the days that protestors showed up, a few minutes before the global news media arrived with their television cameras and radio microphones.

I remember seeing a photo of General Juan Ponce Enrile, in uniform, on the cover of “Time” magazine. Despite the news going on around us at Clark, the names of two prominent Filipino generals always seemed to emerge in a positive light: General Juan Ponce Enrile and General Fidel Ramos.

I looked at my nephew, Glen and wondered if he would rise in life to have the admiration and respect of his comrades in arms like General Fidel Ramos. Then, we began walking in the procession toward the auditorium.

In my writer’s mind I had been elevated to the position of “Wingman To The Angels.” In the Real World, my nephew, Glen walked the symbolic pathway that led him through the doorway to decide which path he would take in life.

Glen Roa, steps to center stage, during his commencement exercises to accept his diploma. Samuel E. Warren Jr., his uncle. crosses behind him to stand beside him on the stage. Canon EOS 40 D Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

He stepped on to the stage and bowed to the audience.

I stood at his side and bowed.

As we stepped off the stage, I was confident, that Glen would be a young man, who would make a name for himself, and serve his fellow citizens.

To the reporters of “USA Today,” the “New York Times,” the “Washington Post,” “Time,” “Newsweek,” the “Manila Bulletin,” the “Philippine Daily Inquirer” the “Philippine Star,” Reuters and the Associated Press, I would suggest, “Get your cameras ready,” my nephew, Glen Roa, is a young man, who will make headlines and history.

Congratulation, Glen !

Written by samwarren55

May 26, 2012 at 10:52 PM

Posted in Bloggers, Blogs, Current Events, Editorial, Family, Leyte, Observances, Philippines, Photos, Tourism, Tropics, Vacation

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Uncle Sam In The Philippines

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Uncle Sam In The Philippines

Uncle Sam Restaurant 009 Photo by Samuel E Warren Jr_resized

The familiar silhouette of Uncle Sam on the sign above the streets of Tacloban City advertises a restaurant with a truly American cuisine.

Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Out of the corner of my eye, I had noticed the silhouette of Uncle Sam. The words: . . . wings, burgers, shakes and floats had flashed pass my eyes. By the time, I turned my head to look, the van had moved on and I could only remember the famous name: “Uncle Sam.”

On trips to Tacloban City, I kept looking out the passenger window looking for the familiar image and the words, “Uncle Sam.” I could not remember the street. But, I definitely knew that I wanted to stop in and look at the menu.

Saturday, March 3, 2012, I glance out the passenger window and see the famous silhouette. “Here ! Stop, here,” I shrieked !

Uncle Sam Restaurant 011 Photo by Samuel E Warren Jr_resized

If you stroll along Santo Nino Street in Tacloban City, the bright red paint is the first indication that you have found the Uncle Sam Restaurant.

Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Christy, Ninoy, Marife, Ranyiel, Mac Mac and Chrismar entered the restaurant behind me.

Americana Decor

Beneath my feet, I stood on a blue and white checkerboard pattern. Around me, red and white stripes unfurl around the walls. Above me, I stare up into a star spangled sky. Uncle Sam Restaurant A001 Photo by Samuel E Warren Jr_resized

The feeling of being in an American Graffiti restaurant in the 1950s came over me.  For an instant, my “ride”. a 1957 Plymouth, I call “Christine” is parked outside.  Teeny boppers in ponytails and poodle skirts pop their bubble gum and fidgeted with their pony tails.  The smell of Brylcream fills the air as the combs of young men pass through their slicked down hair and they do their best Marlon Brando impression to flirt with the young girls. The sizzling of thick, juicy hamburgers gives way to  Wolfman Jack screaming through the radio about the latest 45 to top the charts.  Then, the jukebox whirls and the Elvis Presley, the “King of Rock and Roll” sings. I glimpse out the window to make sure Suzanne Somers is not driving past in a white 1957 Ford Thunderbird.

A portion of the Star Spangled Sky of the Uncle Sam Restaurant in Tacloban City stretches out over the customers. 

Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

I stand smiling, for a moment. I look again at the walls I feel at home in the new surroundings. For an instant, I feel like I’m back in the “Good Ole USA.” The center wall montage immediately catches my eye. Uncle Sam stares out of the center flanked by the Statue of Liberty, Mount Rushmore, the space shuttle, the Las Vegas sign and the Golden Gate Bridge.

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“Uncle Sam”,the classic American icon that Political Cartoonist Thomas Nast created to represent the American people is the centerpiece of this United States montage that honors national landmarks and challenges customers’ sense of history as to the significance of the national symbols.  Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Impromptu History Lesson

The waiter came to take our order, but I had dashed to the center wall to look at the familiar images. I called to the boys to come look at the wall. Poor kids. It is Saturday and their uncle suddenly bursts into an American history lesson.

I pontificated how Uncle Sam had been a Chicago, Illinois meat packing inspector named Sam, who put the letters U.S., on the crates. Then, how American political cartoonist, Thomas Nast came along and began drawing Uncle Sam as a character for newspapers. And, how that popularity carried on and in World War I, the United States Armed Forces began using the image of Uncle Sam on military recruiting posters.

While the boys looked around at the décor, like an excited history teacher, I explained how the Statue of Liberty was a gift from France to celebrate America’s 100th birthday and then, I pointed out George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Theodore Roosevelt on Mount Rushmore.

My wife, Christy, looked at the menu. She smiles and shakes her head – she knows how I enjoy talking about history. The boys looked at the large screen TV, which had been switched to the Cartoon Network.

 

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This wall in the Uncle Sam Restaurant hosts the photos of famous American celebrities like Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe, Madonna, Michael Jackson, and, of course, the famous historical photo of United States General of the Army Douglas MacArthur and the official party wading ashore in the Leyte Gulf, a few kilometers, outside Tacloban City. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Hollywood History

However, their “Uncle Sam” called to them to point out the Americana on the walls. I explained to them that the young Marlon Brando photo had the actor playing a rebel on a motorcycle and it made him an “American Bad Boy.” The photo of James Dean was of a young actor, who earned the title of being “The Rebel.” I point at the Frank Sinatra photo and explained that the actor and singer, was known as, “Old Blue Eyes.” Marilyn Monroe was the blonde screen goddess of the United States in the 1960s.

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This wall of the Uncle Sam Restaurant contains framed movie posters of some classics of American cinema from “Pretty Woman” to “Titanic.”  Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr,

I pointed out Madonna and Ranyiel recognized, “Michael Jackson !” Riding the history wave, I directed the boys to the photos of American films on the walls from “Meet Joe Black” to “Titanic.” Of course, I added my movie critic comments for each of the framed movie photos. Uncle Sam Restaurant 012 Photo by Samuel E Warren Jr_resized

This red sidewalk with gold stars is the “Walk Of Fame” that leads you to the Uncle Sam Restaurant in Tacloban City.  Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Finally, I freed the boys from my impromptu history class to allow them to take their seats, watch cartoons and wait for their meals.

I am no food critic. But, I was smiling when I looked at the American dishes on the menu.

Christy and the rest of the family ordered the Buffalo Wings. And, I ordered the Very Berry Strawberry shakes for everyone.

Righteous Ribs, Superb Sauce

I enjoyed the ribs. I’m one of those people who considers ribs “a finger food,” so my silverware sat untouched as I used my fingers to pull apart the tender, succulent meat. My polite nephews and their parents diligently used their knives and forks, despite my suggestion that “ribs is one of those foods best enjoyed by using your fingers.”

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Ribs, mashed potatoes and corn on the cob.  Back in The Ozarks, my folks, would call this dish a good “home cooked” meal.  This dish at the Uncle Sam Restaurant in Tacloban City was delicious.  Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

I love the taste of the sauce. I loved the taste of the sauce so much, that I did something completely out of character for me . . . “I licked my fingers.” I describe the meat as righteous ribs and superb sauce as the waiter trades my white napkin for a fresh red one.

The corn of the cob tasted as fresh as if it had been picked off the stalk and cooked.

Mashed Potatoes

Country boy, that I am, I was ecstatic to see “mashed potatoes” on the menu.

Potatoes in the Ozarks is like rice in the Philippines because a meal is not a meal without that dish. While rice is used in many dishes in the Philippines, the same is true of potatoes in the United States. I went through the door with my mouth watering for a “home cooked” big, juicy hamburger. But, my eyes focused on the ribs and “mashed potatoes.”

I’m sure Emeril and the great French chefs would not consider “mashed potatoes” a dessert, but, they haven’t gone for a couple of months without being able to plunge a spoon into steaming mashed potatoes and have the mashed potatoes melt in your mouth.

I could not help but smile when the waiter told us that the restaurant opened for business on “The Fourth Of July” 2011.

My appetite for “home cooked American cuisine” had me smiling as I put the napkin to my lips. I raised my hand to call the waiter for the menu.

My intent was to feast my eyes on their menu once again. Christy spoke up and reminded me that we still had some errands to run. I nodded and promised myself to return with a hearty appetite in the near future. 

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My wife, Christy Warren, ordered the Uncle Sam Restaurant’s Buffalo Wings, rice pilaf and the grilled tomatoes. If you have a Texas size appetite for a thick juicy steak or some ribs, then, you should definitely visit Uncle Sam in Tacloban City. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

I did return

I did return – Tuesday afternoon. My wife, Christy ordered the mango shake. Fe ordered a banana split. Ninoy and I ordered the Angus Beef Burger. For a country boy, who grew up in rural southwest Missouri in the Ozarks, surrounded by Black Angus, Red Angus and Brangus cattle, the juicy hamburger brought back memories in every bite.

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The succulent Angus Beef Burger satisfied my appetite for a thick, juicy hamburger.  Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

The Uncle Sam Restaurant in Tacloban City is on Santo Nino Street. The Uncle Sam Restaurant is my five star choice when I want American cuisine.

Uncle Sam Restaurant 008 Photo by Samuel E Warren Jr_resizedFor the latest information about the Uncle Sam Restaurant in Tacloban City, Republic of the Philippines type in your computer search engine: facebook Uncle Sam Restaurant or click this link: Uncle Sam Restaurant, Tacloban City, Philippines  Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

If after you read this article and you stop by the Uncle Sam Restaurant for a meal tell them, “Uncle Sam” sent you.

Uncle Sam”uel E. Warren Jr.

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My Momma Is A Welder

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My Momma Is A Welder – Opal M. DeLong Warren served as one of the welders in the Todd Houston Shipyard, in Houston, Texas, during World War II. Momma encouraged me to refine my welding skills when I took vocational agriculture in high school.  And, now, Ramon, in Leyte, is using his welding skills on the farm.   Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

My mother, Opal M. DeLong Warren was a welder in the Todd Houston Shipyard, in Houston, Texas, during World War II.

Today, February 28, 2012, is momma’s birthday. She was born on this day in 1920, the year the Show Me State gave women the right to vote.

Born in Peach Tree Holler, near Reeds Springs, Missouri. She rode a horse called, “Shorty,” to the Bear Den school.

She grew up on the farm in southwest Missouri. During World War II, momma and a friend got on a Greyhound bus and decided to see where it would take them. They did it on a whim. The girl got off the bus in Dallas. Momma didn’t like the looks of Dallas so she got back on the bus. When the bus stopped in Houston, she decided she liked the looks of Houston and got off the bus.

She knew no one in Houston.

She would often tell me the money she had in her pocket only allowed her to eat bread and drank water until she got a job about a week later. She saw an ad in the newspaper for welders.

She didn’t even know what a welding machine looked like.

First Day Of Welding School Story

Todd Houston officials sent her to welding school. “The first day of welding school all I had to wear was a white satin blouse. The sparks from the welding rod burned several holes in my blouse. I had to ride the bus back across town home. I was so embarrassed,” said Opal Warren.

Momma loved to tell her “First Day Of Welding School” story, especially years later when I took welding in vow-ag in high school.

She said she was proud of the U.S. Navy ships that she welded on, but admitted that it was sad when they launched because with the war on she knew “some of the boys that served on the ships probably wouldn’t be coming home.”

Momma would have been 92 today.

“Momma’s Boy”

But, she left this life Friday, June 11, 2004 in Springfield, Missouri. Being a “Momma’s Boy,” her spirit lives on. Today in Leyte, Philippines, my wife, Christy and I talked about momma to her brothers, sister, nieces and nephews. Now, The Legend Of Opal Warren will live on – on two continents – the United States and the Philippines.

In the United States, I had adopted the Filipino Death Anniversary custom to observe my mother’s passing each year. But, since her passing, Christy and I usually just talk about Momma and light a candle at 6 p.m., to honor her memory.

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The Death Anniversary Custom involves placing a favorite drink, a plate of food or a favorite food, by a candle.  If the person smoked a pipe or cigarette then the custom suggest that tobacco also be placed by the food.  This year, the candle burns, in front of a small Santa Nino and a larger Santa Nino.  Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

In her lifetime, momma always commented, “I’m too old to celebrate birthdays, so, I just quit having them.” Still,if it looked like we had forgotten momma’s birthday, then, she would get solemn. Of course, when the guests started showing up, a smile would come to her face. Regardless of what she said, momma did enjoy celebrating her birthday and she truly enjoyed friends and neighbors stopping by to share her day.

Beyond Birthdays

My mother was always important to me. She still is. And the lessons she tried to teach me, I now pass on in the form of Stateside wisdom to my nieces and nephews.

We went to the open air Tacloban City Public Market, the Palo Public Market and shopped in Tanauan today.

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A  Lantsa boat is tied up in the waters of Pedro Bay in Tacloban City, Leyte, Philippines.  The Tacloban City Public Market is in the background.  Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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The Tacloban City Public Market Fish Section is located beside the bay.  Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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Stroll along the corridors of the Palo Public Market to shop for fresh fruits, vegetables, eggs, fish, rice and other merchandise.  Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

When we returned home, Christy, her sister, Marife, cousin, Pina and Ann Ann prepared supper : Pork sticks, pancit bihon,pancit canton, rice, sweet and sour fish, cake and ice cream. At dinner, Christy and I talked about Momma.

 

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Pina Gempis

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Marife Saldana Roa serves the chocolate cake.  Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

I’m convinced Momma’s spiritual presence showed up early this morning. Yesterday, we bought a welding helmet and Ramon rented an arc welder. Today, was the day he placed together pieces of pipe to weld a gate for his hog pen. In my childhood, momma raised 25 head of hogs on 10 acres and each one of the old sows usually had a litter of 8 to 17 pigs. Momma had Yorkshire, Hampshire and Duroc hogs.

Here in Leyte, Ramon has a Yorkshire sow that has six pigs, (or piglets as they are called in the Philippines). I can imagine that when Ramon was welding the gate today there was probably a presence looking over his shoulder and whispering, “Not so fast. Take your time. Make small circles with the molten metal. Concentrate and you can run a nice bead.”

After all, My Momma Is A Welder.

Happy Birthday, Momma.

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