Camp Crame

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 Above: Taal Volcano                 Below: The New Survivors




San Jose Church, Las Pinas

        Salamat po sa inyong lahat

From The Family Of Humildad Eleazar Dionisio

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 her.

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 previous day.

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 planned 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 in years.

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 behind me.

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 10-15-04)



Things you do not like

Things I like

Vegetables and fruits

Visible fat on meats

Pork chop with fat trimmed off

Liempo, lechon, langonisa

Skinless chicken


Beef roast with fat trimmed off

Crispy tapa

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)

Sinigang, laga, steam, bake in regular or microwave oven

Fried foods, adobo, ginisa

Skim cottage cheese

Cream cheese

Mozzarella or parmesan cheese

Cheddar, hi fat cheese/spread

Soy milk, 2% milk

Whole milk

Sorbet, regular halo halo

Ice cream

Cook without refined and/or hydrogenated coconut oil, add corn starch or substitute flavor; use small amounts of fresh coconut or virgin coconut oil

Bibingka, Latik made with refined and/or hydrogenated coconut oil product

Jam, Apple “butter”, plant sterol 2 – 2.5 Gms/da (1+ teasp Benecol spread 3/da)

Solid margarine; butter

Olive oil

Lard, tropical, hydrogenated oconut. oil, Canola (?) oil

Soy milk, black weak coffee

Non-dairy coffee creamer

Whole grain cereal/bread

Boxed cereal, white bread

Quaker oats

Same as above

Soy protein 20 gms/day, fish or chicken without skin/fat, egg white

 Red meats, milk and dairy products, transfats

Regular low fat yogurt


Low fat fruit flavored yogurt

Whipped cream

Microwave baked potato chips

Potato chips

Microwave or oven baked potato strips

French Fries

Puto, substitute apple sauce for half the fat

Cakes, baked desserts, croissants, coffee cakes

Green tea & ginger 5 cups/day. Soy protein 25 gms/da, exercise 1 hr/day

Celebrities’ coffee

Italian HDL

Current family genes

Step 2. Learn more about Alsheimer's Disease (AD) and prevent it

Definition: Neurological condition characterized by progressive memory difficulty specially of recent events, gradual deterioration of administrative functions, and inability to perform activities of daily living

Age of onset: after age 65 years

Gender involvement: more in females than in males

Hereditary and spontaneous

Cause: unknown

Current theory: Nerve toxicity followed by degeneration

Pathology: Inflammatory tangles and plaques in the brain

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

Cure: None

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, expensive,

Recent findings: Some antidepressants (Prozac) increase the size of the hippocampus (part of the brain) .  Molecules (Sialic Acid) (Neu5Gc) 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)

November MMIII

Last Updated 7 August 2006