San Jose Church, Las Pinas
sa inyong lahat
From The Family Of Humildad
Photographers: The Family; Editing
Consultant: Maximino E. Dionisio
Narrator, Researcher & Web Constructor:
Magdalena D. Guerrero, M.D.
The past and the present
continuously shape the future.
Magdalena E. Dionisio Guerrero, M.D.
(6) * Manuel Ma. Guerrero III. M.D. * Renee & Jean
Maximino E. Dionisio (1) * Susan
Tantamco * Nik & Clem
Col. Leonardo E. Dionisio (7) * Teresa
Sta. Maria (4) * Paulo Miguel, David & Laura Mae
Manuel E. Dionisio (2) * Amelia F.
Cayetano (3) * Cricket (5),
Newt & Kim (8)
30 September 2003: Our mother
expired. It was time to gather the family in the Philippines.
First stop: 1 October 2003:
Vancouver, Canada to get ready
for the long trip and ordeal.
2 October 2003: The oldest of my brothers, Diony (Maximino) and I flew 14
hours to Manila, arrived at 4:15 am, 4 October 2003 at the Manila International
Airport. The middle brother, Narding (Leonardo, Dionix) picked
us up at the PAL terminal, briefed us on the current situation and
schedule, then took us to what was our parents house, now the
residence of the youngest brother, Noel (Manuel) and his family.
Some issues were
quickly discussed. Noel opened his birthday presents from us We
"tested" his new blood pressure monitor and said "Oh! Oh!".
4 October 2003: After a few hours of rest, we were in
the middle of relatives and friends at the Garden of Memories Chapel in
Pateros, Metro Manila. Manang, our mother's newer caregiver was
there ahead of us. The conversation quickly drifted to accounts of who
is ill with what. It took just a little arithmetic and logic to
conclude that a lot of us are doomed to have some kind of a
cardiovascular disaster sooner or later. Cancers cropped up starting with
the generation before ours. Alsheimer's Disease also started
then. There is one case of Macular Degeneration and one of Retinitis pigmentosa plus a couple of severe Myopia. Of course
there were the usual Osteoarthritis, Gout, Bronchial Asthma and
allergies. Diabetes was introduced by some who married into
the family. It was a long day. I did better than I thought
but had to escape close to midnight.
5 October 2003: Back at the Garden of Memories Chapel
for the mass and funeral services. Messages and contributions
arrived from different sources. Narding reviewed our thank you
note. The priest's theme for the mass was "... sa muling
pagbalik at huling pagkabuhay". Noel did the second reading.
Narding did the third. Diony escorted me to the podium. I
read the "Thank You" message.
5 October 2003: The Memorial Tree was planted
later. After the funeral we drove to our paternal grandfather's
home now belonging to Tia Tale. Tia Nena and family live with
6 October 2003: It was time for errands, shopping for
a camera that allows me to see the image reasonably well through the
viewfinder and on the LCD screen indoors and outdoors plus promised
souvenirs. I had my eyebrows tattooed also. Novena prayers
started late that evening.
7 October 2003: Diony and Narding played golf at Camp
Aguinaldo. We did major revisions in our daily schedule to try to
resolve conflicts. Caloy arrived towards the end of the evening
prayers. It was his only time to escape from the office.
8 October 2003: Noel's actual birth date - We postponed
his party to coincide with the 9th day of the novena to allow the
Taguig folks to celebrate both occasions with us. So, we had lunch at the
Boodle Bar at Camp Aguinaldo. We went with him later to pick up
Kim. He opened Narding's gift while waiting for the school gate
to open. The 8th day of the novena went well..
9 October 2003: The combination birthday party
for Noel and 9th day of the novena. Mama Ampy was picked up by
Noel early. Narding's driver went to Taguig to pick up the
relatives there. The car broke down on the way to Crame IN THE
RAIN. Tia Alud was with them. Being a Thursday, the
Mysteries of Light or the Luminous mysteries were recited with the
prayers. I asked Col. Sionosa about the specific names of the 3rd
and 5th. I ended up with 2 copies of the "new rosary".
Inday Diutay also talked more about a family tree plan discussed the
10 October 2003: We escaped for much needed R&R to
Tagaytay Highlands. One of Narding's friends offerred the use of
his luxury log cabin for the weekend. Diony and I were picked up
by Narding's driver and met Narding and Tess at Alabang Hills.
There we "visited" our mother's Memorial Tree planted after the
funeral by Narding in the park area just outside his property line. Then we proceeded to Tagaytay in their car.
Noel's family and much needed maid were to go on their own after
picking up Kim from school. We stopped at a roadside fruit stand
to buy fresh pineapples and then a local eatery to get bulalo, Tilapia
and a few other dishes. With a promise to return the coming
Sunday to hire a boat and boatperson from them, we carried off the ox
(legs, knees and ankles) bone soup in a huge metal caserola. Tagaytay
Highlands was like a displaced Alpine village nestled in evergreen
trees atop verdant mountains with a sweeping view
of Taal Lake through huge picture windows. If the guards did not
speak Tagalog, I would have been very confused. It felt as cool
as Baguio City and was also slightly covered with fog making it difficult to
spot the fabulous Taal Volcano in the middle of the lake. We
cooked rice while waiting for the rest of the crew. Narding
the room assignments in our "cottage" and arranged the signing privileges at the
resort. After our "typical" dinner we discussed the details of
the next two days' schedule. I had San Miguel cerbeza for the first time
11 October 2003: Noel and family, Tess and I explored
the area, There was a choice of eating places, gardens,
equestrian trail, animal park and a rolling golf course. You can
guess where Diony and Narding went. We toured on foot, shuttle,
cable car and funicular.
Who retrieves the balls from the bottom of the hill?
The striped caddy!!!
After lunch, Diony broke away from the game and went
with us to San Jose Church in Las Pinas to see the ONLY BAMBOO ORGAN
IN THE WORLD. We entered the convento on the right side of the
church. Immediately evident were the old sliding capiz windows.
The walls of the church were made of volcanic stones. Inside we went up the choir loft. Tess noticed the stained capiz window depicting St. Joseph. We
wondered what the rest of the windows and chandeliers were made of.
Kim pointed to the split bamboo ceiling. The main altar was
directly in front of us. The visible part of the organ was to our left
rising from the church's main floor with the visible pipes reaching
the upper wall.. There were 1031 pipes. 902
were made of bamboo and the rest were metal covered with bamboo. They were strategically dispersed
on the wall, all around,
above and across the main organ body and mostly hidden from the
public's eyes. The keyboard looked short. Tess counted
twelve pedals. Two electric powered bellows were in the choir
area. Prior to 1932, two teams of three men each used to pump the bellows
manually taking turns while the organ was in use. It took Fray
Diego Cera de la Virgen del Carmen eight years (1763 - 1830) to
complete this musical Obra Maestra. Diony and Noel
sat at the bench for a while. It was Tess who had the courage to
actually play two pieces from the music book. We then went to
the gift shop. I tried to suggest attending the wedding mass at
4 pm but someone pointed out that it was not an anticipated Sunday
service. Bummer! We could have heard more organ music.
Kendrick Fuerte played some pieces earlier but I wanted more. Of
course, we were NOT invited to the wedding so we left.
12 October 2003: Armed with the metal caserola we
borrowed from the eatery, we left for the place to have a local style
breakfast, return the cooking vessel, and
hire a boat with boatperson to take us to the Taal Volcano Island located in Taal Lake. We donned our life vests and
filed into a small dugout canoe type boat equipped with a motor and
Viking style decorative pointed posts at the ends. They are for
holding on to when jumping in and out of the boat. We saw a circle
of islands which in my fantasy could have been remnants of the
original crater rim. One island at 2 o'clock position has a more
conical shape and a scooped out portion at one side of its top.
In my mind, if this were not the crater it probably was one of them or
will be so later on.
Now, Taal is the smallest active volcano in the world.
However, it was a prehistoric18,000 foot monster which collapsed on
itself after a massive explosion in 1572 forming a 30 km. (18 mi.)
diameter caldera. Taal Lake which almost fills up the caldera had a communication
with Balayan Bay. A big eruption in 1754 that lasted close to
six months may have closed the channel. There were sharks and
sea snakes in the lake before 1930. Tawilis and maliputo which
lived in the lake were thought to be of marine ancestry. They
may be extinct by now or close to it. 33 eruptions are on
record. 1977 was the latest but the last damaging one was in
1965 causing 200 deaths and formation of an explosion crater.
The 23 sq. km. ( 38.18 sq mi.) Volcano Island contains 35 cones and 47
craters including a 1.9 km. (1.1 mi.) main crater with a lake in the
crater. The first recorded scuba diving expedition in 1986 revealed a
cone at 60 ft. depth. It is possible to swim in the lake but not for
long. The water is diluted sulfuric acid plus magnesium,
aluminum and sodium salts. The pH is 2.3 to 2.5.
We landed where we can proceed to the crater viewing
spot. Here, we haggled for horses and trainer/guides. No
one dared release a hand or two to snap a picture while on horseback.
I did not bring my camera to begin with.
Per Diony's directional analysis, The above picture
was taken with me standing in front of the crater opening facing the
camera and my back towards the crater. A small and shallow
portion of the inner surface of the far rim of the crater is visible
When I return, I shall view the crater's lake from a
helicopter or a balloon and photograph it with a binocam.
However, I need to get my eyes fixed first and get a ride next.
It has to be on a very clear and sunny day.
13 October 2003: Traditional buffet and good old
fashioned family fun at Shalene's.
14 October 2003: Narding brought some prints from his
camera and Gracia Burnham's book "In the presence of my enemies".
15 October 2003: Diony and I visited old Camp Crame.
General Crame's statue greeted us. There were more buildings
everywhere. From the layout of the streets we tried to pin point
our old home from 1957 to 1964. OQ 21 was the closest guess.
We found Camp Crame Elementary School, the Firearms section, stockade,
chapel, hospital but forgot to look for OSJA. The parade ground
seemed crowded with trainees. The HQ building was still in
place. We were there when it burned down and when this new one
went up. Narding's name was on display. There was no trace
of the previous generation.
We then drove outside the camp to look at the street
behind our old quarters. Atlanta Center on 37
Annapolis St. was probably the closest structure behind it. It
rained. We decided to look for postcards and a replacement clip
on pair of eyeglass shades.
When our father retired from the Philippine
Constabulary on 9 January 1964, we simply jumped over the back fence.
Col. Sionosa followed suit. Col Tutay followed later to join us
on the front center of Old Timers' Row. Tio Carding used to own
the twin houses at the corner. We completed the balance of our growing up
process semi-retired from camp life. Later, the family members
left behind found themselves at a prime observation point during the
People Power Revolution and subsequent commotions. They had to
evacuate once when fighter helicopters went into action directly above
them. When Buyungan Bungkak, an Abu Sayaf suspect, killed
a hostage and two other cops last Oct. 7, 2003 at CIDG, I heard the
shots for sure but I thought they were just part of the daily barrage
in the underground firing range just within the fence. They
start as early as +/- 4:00 am. I used to think that the revelie and
mess call at the old PMA grounds were too early!!!
The most constant feature of our civilian residence is the
driveway. Everything else changed. At least I have the
walls, doors and windows for landmarks. There always is the
dependable real home life and Filipino cooking. The food vendors
stopped coming. We asked Helen, long time caregiver of our
mother, to make camote cue and banana cue
a few times.
16 October 2003: It was time to leave the
Philippines again. Narding was on red alert in preparation for
President Bush' state visit on the 18th. The driver took us to the airport
where we shopped for souvenirs and a snack in a bid to spend our last
peso and centavo. WE did.
We departed from Manila on Oct. 16, 7:30 pm and
arrived after a 12 hour flight in Vancouver at 5:00 pm the same date.
It was an extra long and confusing day thanks to the time and date
change at the international dateline. It was pouring rain for
the fourth day in a row. with a promise for more. We still managed to
shop for boots and go sightseeing. We went to the Queen
Elizabeth Park which used
to be an open pit overlooking the Grouse Mountain which we visited
years ago. The yellow color of the leaves were "washed out" by
the rain. However we saw a red and a white tree standing side by
side. Behind them is the Macmillan Bloedel Conservatory which
houses exotic plants and trees like orchids and bananas! Stanley
Park shows a peninsula with an all around view of the water, skyline,
lighthouse and even raccoons. We had a shushi dinner one night
and a Malaysian one the next. We look very pleased.
19 October 2003: It was time to fly back to good old
Arizona, USA My flight departed 11:55 am and after a plane
change in Portland arrived in Phoenix at 4:22 pm. Nole' (my
husband, Manuel. Manny) was waiting at the gate. Now. to actively modify
the future ...
Step 1. Lower Cholesterol: (modified
Things you do
Things I like
Visible fat on
Pork chop with
fat trimmed off
Beef roast with
fat trimmed off
Avoid fat, skin
or eat cold water fish 3 oz 2x a wk maximum because of
possible hi mercury)
Warm water fish
fat and skin (Tilapia, tuna, trout, shrimps not included)
steam, bake in regular or microwave oven
Cheddar, hi fat cheese/spread
Soy milk, 2% milk
regular halo halo
refined and/or hydrogenated coconut oil, add corn starch or substitute flavor;
use small amounts of fresh coconut or virgin coconut oil
made with refined and/or hydrogenated coconut oil product
“butter”, plant sterol 2 – 2.5 Gms/da (1+ teasp Benecol spread 3/da)
hydrogenated oconut. oil, Canola (?) oil
Soy milk, black
Same as above
Soy protein 20 gms/day, fish or chicken without skin/fat, egg white
milk and dairy products, transfats
Low fat fruit
oven baked potato strips
apple sauce for half the fat
desserts, croissants, coffee cakes
Green tea &
cups/day. Soy protein 25 gms/da, exercise 1 hr/day
Step 2. Learn more about Alsheimer's Disease (AD) and
Definition: Neurological condition characterized
by progressive memory difficulty specially of recent events, gradual
deterioration of administrative functions, and inability to perform activities of daily
Age of onset: after age 65 years
Gender involvement: more in females than in males
Hereditary and spontaneous
Current theory: Nerve toxicity followed by
Pathology: Inflammatory tangles and plaques in
Trigger: Oxidative stress
Contributing factors: age, cholesterol level,
chemicals (Monosodium glutamate, Hydrolyzed protein, some pesticides,
alcohol, aluminum??), cigarette smoke?? Chronic use of Aspartame may
lead to neurotoxicity. AD may occur with Parkinson’s Disease, other
Neurologic diseases and dementias, Down’s Syndrome.
Sociological contributing factors: low
educational level, low economic status, lack of mental stimulation,
lack of physical activity
Symptomatic treatments: Choline esterase
inhibitors (ex: Aricept) for moderately severe cases, only for two
years, NMDA inhibitors: recently proposed for moderate to severe cases
(Anti glutamate toxicity drugs) (ex: Memantine; may cause Schizophrenic
like reaction), Vitamin E 2000 IU daily
Experimental treatment: Chelation therapy,
Coenzyme Q 10 (need large doses and may actually increase oxidation of
nerve cells at critical time). Idebenone 40 mg 3 – 4 times a
day acts as a super Co-enzyme Q 10 but prevents the damage to nerve tissues at
low oxygen level unlike Co-enzyme Q.10.
Prevention: Vitamin E 1000 IU daily, Vitamin B6, B12
25+ mg daily (may include all the B Vitamins at the same dose), Vitamin
C and different antioxidants, Green tea 5 cups a day, enzymes (ex: Bromelain 500 mg a day usually combined with Quercetin 1000 mg a day),
anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) and foods (?) (ginger, mustard, cumin, horse radish, red peppers (Capsacain); lower cholesterol (all subdivisions except HDL which should be
increased), Folic Acid 400 mcg daily. (highest = 1 mg daily, mental
and physical exercise, social activity, strong family or similar
environment. There are less cases of Alsheimer’s Disease in women on estrogen
replacement therapy. However, combined estrogen and progestin therapy
may increase the incidence of dementias. Avoid red meat and milk.
Diagnosis: Clinical, mental function tests (not
definitive, some complicated and some time consuming. Draw a clock –
easy self test
Important tests for monitoring risk for
Alsheimer’s: Disease: Lipid Profile (must have normal total cholesterol, LDL,
VLDL, high HDL >>35 for males, >>45 for females, the closer to 80 mg%
the better), Plasma Homocysteine level less than 14 nanograms/ml,
Serum Fibrinogen level 215 - 519 mg/dl
Advanced imaging studies: MRI – usually normal in
mild to moderate cases, useful as a baseline study or to determine the presence
of other causes of neurological disease and evidence of vascular
disease, not routinely done for predicting Alsheimer’s Disease risk or
diagnosing early cases. However, a New York group of
Radiologists announced on 11-25-03+/- that software assisted measurements
of thinking and memory portions of the brain seen on MRI at least a
year apart may help predict future cognitive dysfunctions. This
technique may be available first to drug companies to assess effects
of some drugs on some subjects. PET Scan, glucose utilization scan – show
poor function of affected areas (temporo-parietal in AD) – useful in
different stages of disease, not being used routinely to predict risk,
Recent findings: Some antidepressants (Prozac) increase
the size of the hippocampus (part of the brain) . Molecules (Sialic
found in red meats (beef, pork and lamb) and milk find their way into
human cells. Antibodies (a Galactose) produced against them
accumulate over time, cause inflammatory reactions in Neu5GC
containing cells and may be linked
to later development of cancers, autoimmune (Asthma, allergies,
Diabetes, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus,etc.) and age related diseases (AD?,
Parkinson's Disease (?), etc.).
Step 3. Re-focus on us
Step 4. Pray
High fiber (lots of vegetables, fruits, some
whole grains, nuts and seeds, plant sterols}
intake lowers cholesterol, cardiovascular and some cancer risks.
A low animal fat diet can lower the risk for hypertension, stroke,
heart attack and Alsheimers' Disease as well as some cancers (breast,
intestines). Sialic Acid (Neu5Gc), usually found in red
meats (beef, pork and lamb) and in milk when ingested find their way
into human cells and are later found in some cancers and to a less
extent in normal cells. Antibodies (a Galactose) to
this substance also form and increase in time possibly causing
inflammation of Neu5Gc containing cells and may be related to the
development later of autoimmune and age related diseases.
Cooking/burning animal fat in high temperature (broiling, ihaw) may produce
carcinogens. High soy protein consumption may increase memory,
lessen cholesterol, menopause symptoms, lower the risk for
Osteoporosis, breast, endometrial (lining of the womb), intestine and
prostate cancer. R&R, interesting and worthwhile projects, mind
and body healing arts and prayer do the rest. Speaking of prayer ...
say a lot for
or we really would know what stress can do. As Ying balances Yang, we have reasons to rejoice and an
equal amount of things to worry about as well. It is up to us to
overcome the individual challenges.
Leny (Magdalena, dr G)
For the Family
All Rights Reserved
Magdalena D. Guerrero, M.D. (dr G)
Last Updated 7 August 2006