Sam I Am Blog

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Posts Tagged ‘Pastrana

“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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Photography Patrol – Pastrana Sari–Sari Store–Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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Pastrana Sari-Sari Store

PASTRANA SARI SARI STORE_0744_resized

Pastrana Sari-Sari Store – Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.  Pastrana is pronounced “Pah-strah – nah.”  And the words, sari-sari, are pronounced, “Sorry – E, Sorry – E.”  A sari-sari store in the Philippines is like a General Store in rural America or a small convenience store in an American city.  This little store a customer can actually walk into and shop.  Some sari-sari stores are more like a bank teller’s window at the drive thru lane of a bank.  You tell the store operator what you want and they either give it to you for a certain amount of pesos or they tell you they don’t have the item.

A sari-sari store’s merchandise varies from store to store, but, they can have everything from double A batteries to detergent to candy to rice to Coca Cola, Pepsi, Merinda or Royal orange soda to San Miguel beer.  Americans love the term “small business.” but to truly appreciate how small a business can be and still make a living for a family, you have to shop at a Philippines’ Sari-Sari Store.  Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Philippines Commencement Photography for grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles and cousins

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Philippines Commencement Photography for grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles and cousins


Glen in Cap and Gown in Ornamental Frame.jpg

Glen Roa, a 2012 Juan Villablanca National High School graduate in cap and gown. 

Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Ornamental photo frame graphic by Photo Frames Online.

 

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

I’m a photographer. My mother loved the “Kodak moments” of life. I don’t believe a family birthday, anniversary, wedding or graduation ever passed that momma didn’t slip a camera out of her purse and take some snapshots.

It took me a few years to inherit momma’s photography habit, but, I did. I have also noticed in life sometimes when those monumental moments happen, grandparents and mom and dad get so wrapped up in the event they forget to bring a camera.

I don’t know if the relatives of Mohon Elementary, Pitogo Elementary and Juan Villablanca National High School remembered their cameras for these commencement exercises for the 2012 school year. There were a multitude of cell phone photographers and videographers at each of the events.

Mohon Elementary School Graduation Exercises March 27 2012_resized_A1199 Photo by Samuel E Warren Jr

 

At JVNHS there was a professional photographer, wearing a khaki AGFA vest, who photographed the students in the Saint Francis of Assisi Parish church mass to the students leaving the stage at the JVNHS auditorium.

I trained as a news photographer, so I shoot photos like a reporter and not an official portrait or wedding photographer. Thus, for those family photos to frame and hang on the wall or to place in family photo albums, people will want to seek out the official event photographers.

 

Leniel Saldana smiles, while her son, Rayniel Saldana poses for a photograph at the Mohon Elementary School Graduation March 27, 2012.  This photo is an example of one of the photos that I lightened using software, before posting the photo to the web.  Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

My Canon EOS 40 D camera and I were at Mohon, Pitogo and Juan Villablanca because Uncle Sam had nephews graduating. In case, grandparents, mom, dad, aunts, uncles and cousins forgot their cameras, then, you can visit Picasa Web Albums Samuel Warren or facebook Samuel Warren to see the photos

My wife, Christy Warren, also took some of the photographs at Pitogo and Juan Villablanca National High School..

There is a variety of photo sizes in the posted photographs because my camera is not a full frame 35 millimeter that usually prints out the 4 x 6 and 5 x 7 prints. I am a newsman, which means when I look at a photo I always see it through an editor’s eyes – thus, I tend to crop out distractions such as people walking into or out of a photo as the shutter snaps.

In all photographic situations, I take the light into account. After all, photography, is actually two Greek words that translate into “writing with light,” thus, I am always aware of the lighting conditions.

I use Irfanview and PhotoScape in working with photographs. I edited some of the Mohon and all of the Pitogo photos for light, which will explain why the Pitogo photos should appear brighter. If you glance at the Mohon photos, you should be able to tell that I only made the time to lighten up three or four.

Pitogo Elementary School Graduation Exercises March 27 2012_A1011 Photo by Samuel E Warren Jr

 

 

Mac Mac Roa whirls like John Travolta in “Saturday Night Fever”, during this dance number at the Pitogo Elementary School Graduation Exercises March 27, 2012.  This photo is an example of  trying to crop the photo to bring attention to the dancer.  In group photography situations involving movement, it is always a challenge to try to isolate the subject or subjects without getting obvious distractions in the background of the photo. 

Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

I have explained my photography editing routine for any relatives, who want to download any of the photos. Be aware that the photos are different sizes if you plan to download a photo to a printer.

While I have used software to compensate for lighting in the photos, a relative may wish to use their favorite software program to enhance a photo that they would like to keep for a memory.

The Mohon Elementary School Graduation Exercises and the Pitogo Elementary School Graduation Exercises have already been posted to the web addresses I mentioned above. Good Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise and I should have the Juan Villablanca National High School Commencement Exercise photos posted in a few days.

I’m a naturally curious person, so if you do download a photo, a few photos, or all of the photos, for your scrapbook or to post to your blog, I would ask that you send me an email to samuelwarren55@gmail.com because I’ would just like to know if the photos were important to a mom or dad, who might of forgot the camera.

Visit my blogs, the “Sam I Am Blog” on Word Press, my “Samuel Warren The Writer” blog on Blogger or my “The Knight Writer” blog on Tumblr for articles and photographs on life in the Republic of the Philippines.

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