Saturday, 28 June 2014

General Douglas MacArthur And His Dimples

General Douglas MacArthur And His Dimples

         I learned much about General Douglas McArthur in school.  He was the general wearing Ray-Ban Aviator sunglasses and was always photographed with a corncob pipe.  He was the Commanding General of the United States Army Forces in the Far East (USAFFE) when the combined American and Philippine troops took their last stand in Bataan and Corregidor.  After uttering that famous line "I shall return", he made good his escape to Australia.

General Douglas MacArthur wearing his favorite Aviators (Life photo; caption is mine)

The Fall of Corregidor Island on May 6, 1942. Photo shows American and Filipino soldiers being held captive by Japanese soldiers. (wiki; caption is mine)

The ruins of Corregidor Island after the Battle of Corregidor in 1942 (wiki)

Japanese soldiers rejoice after the fall of Bataan on April 9, 1942. (wiki; caption is mine)

         And he did return to the Philippines after more than 2 years. Leading the American forces that landed in Palo, Leyte one day in October of 1944, he made that historic landing more dramatic with his statement: "People of the Philippines, I have returned. By the grace of the Almighty God, our forces stand again on Philippine soil." He and his men then liberated Manila and other key areas from the Japanese Imperial Army. He became a hero to every Filipino then, receiving endless accolades and adulations. A long highway in Central Luzon was named after him.  Today, MacArthur Highway remains as one of the most passable highways of the Philippines.

The American Forces under General MacArthur approaching Leyte in October, 1944 (wiki; caption is mine)

The American Forces under General MacArthur land at Palo, Leyte in October, 1944. (visitpinas; caption is mine)

General MacArthur accepts the official surrender of Japan on board the USS Missouri. (g'gle; caption is mine) 

General MacArthur was one of the heroes of WWII.

          When he was appointed as military adviser to the Philippine Commonwealth, an entire floor of the plush Manila Hotel was reserved exclusively for his use. It was his residence for several years. Today, there is still a MacArthur Suite at that 5-star hotel near Manila Bay. Life-size figures in Tacloban, Leyte depict his historic landing in 1944. There is also a McArthur Bridge in Sta.Cruz, Manila. General MacArthur Academy in Bulacan was named after the famous General.

The Leyte Landing Memorial in Tacloban Leyte (; caption is mine)

The MacArthur Suite at the plush Manila Hotel (; caption is mine)

Sta. Cruz Bridge in Manila was renamed MacArthur Bridge. (pagenation; caption is mine)

The MacArthur Monument near MacArthur Bridge (wikimapia)

            What I didn't learn in school was that General Douglas McArthur had "Dimples". My history teachers, from grade school to college, didn't tell me that. It was only from my barber that I learned that General MacArthur had "Dimples".  Dimples, here, refers to a lady named Elizabeth Cooper, a Filipina-Scottish beauty who was a vaudeville dancer and part-time actress. The General met Dimples in Manila in 1930, fell in love with her and took her as mistress. Douglas was then Chief of all US troops based in the Philippine Islands. The Philippines, at that time, was under American rule. 

Isabella Rosario Cooper or Elizabeth Cooper (

Framed photo of Elizabeth Rosario Cooper, nicknamed Dimples (ionart; caption is mine)

            Dimples was then 15 years old while Douglas was in his early 50s. When MacArthur flew back to the States, he took Dimples with him. Dimples was kept in an apartment in Washington, D.C. where MacArthur worked as Chief of Staff of the US Army. She was not allowed to go out as it was supposed to be a secret affair. The general didn't want others to get wind of their relationship as it was a ground for disciplinary action. He was a divorcee then. And he knew that his old mother would not allow it. Douglas was a mama's boy.

Douglas MacArthur married divorcee Louise Cromwell Brooks in 1922. They divorced in 1929.  Louise was one of Washington's most beautiful women. She was also rich. (g'gle; caption is mine)

General Douglas MacArthur's mother, Mary "Pinkney" Hardy. (macarthur memorial; caption is mine)

           When boredom was starting to creep in, Dimples was demanding that her family be allowed to stay in the United States. She kept badgering him about it. And when two journalists threatened to expose the scandalous affair, MacArthur felt the pressure all the more. He gave Dimples a plane ticket for her return trip to Manila. The general wanted to end it all. But Dimples had another plan. She didn't fly back to the Philippines.  She traveled to the midwest and stayed there for years before settling in California.  Nothing was heard of Dimples from then on until 1960 when news came out that she committed suicide.  She had an overdose of barbiturates. And what about the general?  MacArthur married Jean Faircloth in 1937 when he was serving as military adviser to the Philippine government.

Douglas MacArthur married Jean Faircloth in 1937.  At this time, he was military affairs adviser to the Philippine Commonwealth gov't. He was also Field Marshall of the Philippine Army. He was recalled to active duty in the US Army in 1941. (nightscribe pic; caption is mine)

Jean and Douglas MacArthur (historic images)

General MacArthur with wife Jean and son Arthur IV visiting the Philippines in 1950 (g'gle; caption is mine)

          Now, all these years that Dimples was staying in California, was there a time that she met the illustrious general? Did they meet for old times' sake?  Wait, let me ask my barber.  He certainly knows. And then I'll let you know. Okay?

General MacArhur's memorabilia (macarthur memorial)

General MacArthur's staff car in Tokyo (nepaidpascores)

President Quezon provided General MacArthur with a service vehicle with plate #1 while the General was serving as adviser to the Phil. Government. The vintage car is now on display at Baler Park.  (timawa pic; caption is mine.)


Most pics/pertinent details from google

Monday, 23 June 2014

Something Fishy At Mama Ting's

Something Fishy At Mama Ting's 

                    I was with the little dogs again, walking through the streets of Marikina City and threading erstwhile unknown, narrow alleys.  The tiniest one was pulling back as she wanted to take a different path.  What I did was to change direction.  I decided to cross the street.  Upon reaching the other side, I began to smell the aroma of fish being fried.  We were nearing Mama Ting's store famous for its Rellenong Bangus.  You see, this city is known not only for shoes but for good food as well.

                  Mama Ting's cooks the best Rellenong Bangus in the city. Rellenong Bangus is stuffed milkfish that is deep fried.  Mama Ting's has been specializing in this traditional food  for quite some time and its good reputation has spread far and wide. Mama Ting's is unrivaled when it comes to Rellenong Bangus.  No other else does it better than Mama Ting's.  And once you taste it, you crave for more.

                 The preparation and actual cooking of Rellenong Bangus can be a tedious process.  After selecting the desired size, the fish is pounded and the meat is separated from the skin.  The fish bones are taken out. Ingredients are added to the meat that is stuffed back and sewn.  Then it is fried until it is golden brown.  But the problem is you can't eat right there at Mama Ting's.  All orders are for take out only, no dine-in. But, wait, I forgot to tell you.  They also make delicious Everlasting which is similar in taste to the Embutido.

                I have always been telling the grandmother of my grandchildren that she does not need to take the trouble of going to the market to buy fish.  She does not have to debone that fish.  She does not have to scrape the meat from the skin using a spatula. She does not have to buy a large amount of cooking oil and deep fry the fish. Everything is time-consuming. All she has to do is to ride that old Japanese bike and take the narrow street that leads to the Big Church at the city proper.  Mama Ting's is very near the Big Church.  Near the Shoe Museum. And then buy the big Rellenong Bangus which is freshly cooked.  All she needs then is steaming white rice.  Nagugutom na naman ako.......

- Konted

Whether riding a bike or walking with the dogs, the walkway along the banks of the Marikina River is a short and safe way to the city proper.

The old house of Kapitan Moy who is regarded as the founder of the Marikina shoe industry. The house of Kapitan Moy along J.P. Rizal St. is only a few steps away from Mama Ting's store.

The Our Lady of the Abandoned Church at the city proper. Mama Ting's is only a few meters away from the church.

Whenever I pass by the Big Church, I dip my fingers into the stoup and sprinkle the Chihuahuas with holy water.

The Marikina Shoe Museum houses the countless pairs of shoes of Madame Imelda Marcos and other well-known personalities.  The Shoe Museum is near Mama Ting's store.  And Mama Ting's is just a bike ride away from any part of the city.

The little dogs take a rest in front of the Shoe Museum.

Mama Ting's store along J.P. Rizal Sta. Elena

Mama Ting's food counter

Varying prices for varying sizes

Mama Ting's cooking area.  You can watch from the counter while waiting for your order.

Menu board

Prices in tarpaulin

Jumbo Rellenong Bangus in standard wrapper

Deep fried till golden brown

Slicing the bangus in several portions is easy.

Super Jumbo Rellenong Bangus still in wrapper

Super Jumbo sells for P250.

The best in Marikina

The Everlasting tastes like the Embutido. It is a popular Marikina dish.
Leche Flan at P100

Boiled beef soup to go with the Rellenong Bangus

The three little dogs rest near the Our of Lourdes Grotto along the banks of the river.

Ashley with the three little dogs in front of Kapitan Moy's house

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

My First Converse Shoes

My First Converse Shoes

                 Like Forrest Gump, I was sitting on a bench in front of the Shoe Museum when a group of high school students passed by. They were wearing colorful rubber shoes.  And there was no mistaking that the shoes were Converse rubber shoes.  That triggered something. That made my mind wander to a day in 1961 when I wore my first Classic Converse high cut basketball shoes. I was then 11 yrs old, going 12. 

                Banking on the assurance of classmate and teammate Bombo Joven that I would be fielded in the next scheduled game, I asked my father for a brand new pair. I had been riding the bench in the past games and this could be my 15 minutes of fame. You see, Bombo played basketball so well that our class adviser assigned him as team captain and delegated some of the coaching chores to him. At a very young age, Bombo had basketball moves comparable to that of all-time great Kenneth Duremdes. If Bombo took basketball seriously, Duremdes would have been a mere copycat. And we looked up to him as team leader. Game time came and I was wearing my first Classic Converse All Star.

               The first few pairs of Converse rubber shoes were introduced to the public in 1908 by the Converse Rubber Shoe Company owned by Marquis Mills Converse.  They were primarily intended as winter shoes and not as sports shoes.  It was in 1915 that the company started manufacturing tennis shoes.   And two years later, the classic Converse All Star basketball shoes were manufactured and made available in shoe stores. When the company engaged the services of basketball star Chuck Taylor as member of its sales staff several years after, Converse All Star made an impact on the sporting world. Taylor's signature was added later on the patch of the high cut shoes. Whereas before, only white and black shoes were manufactured, we now see different colors of Converse shoes. Today, Converse is owned by Nike.  Nike bought the company in 2003 to the tune of $309 million.

               The original Converse factory is in Malden, Massachusetts. Converse boasts of having sold approximately 800,000,000 pairs of Chuck Taylor All Star rubber shoes since the early 1900s.  Prominent personalities who have been associated with Converse, at one time or another, were Wilt Chamberlain, Julius 'Dr. J' Erving, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson.  Holder of the Guinness record for the largest collection of unique Converse shoes is Joshua Mueller of Lakewood, Washington.  Joshua has 680 pairs of Converse shoes.

               Back to the ball game.  As expected, I was not one of the starting five. The 1st and 2nd quarters ended with our team trailing by more than 10 points. I was telling myself that anytime during the second half, Bombo would ask me to substitute for another player.  And I was bracing for that eventuality.  As what I had been hearing the day before, I was to act as reliever to another classmate Jerry Singson, younger brother of Chavit Singson. But Jerry was playing one hell of a game, and displaying one hell of a fight. He was sizzling. Not to mention that the team was still trailing behind. The buzzer sounded and we lost by a single digit.  I had no opportunity to seize the moment, to show my basketball wares, to dive for loose balls. There was no dirt, no stain on my Converse.  The shoes remained immaculate white.

              Now, my story does not end there.  As I walked home after the game, I was uneasy. I was perplexed. What would I tell Bok, our errand boy? I was bragging that morning before leaving the house for school: "Bok, I'll drop the bombs today."  But more importantly,  what would I tell my father?  For sure he would want to know what transpired during the game.  And true enough, before twilight time, I could hear my father's car horn blaring: beep...beep beep. I ran upstairs and, through the railing of the stairway, I could see him enter the side door.  He was in his usual all-white attire and holding his medical leather bag with the stethoscope dangling.  I could hear his voice:  "Hey, kid, come down...come here....tell me what happened. ..How many points did you score today?  Did you feel comfortable with your new Converse? How was it, tell me...."  I remained upstairs, slumped on the vinyl floor tiles.  I refused to go down the stairs. There was nothing to tell my father.  There was nothing to tell about my new Converse. Holding the Converse shoe box, I went inside the room and locked the door.  I had my dinner at 10pm when my father was fast asleep. My 15 minutes of fame remained elusive.


The low-cut Chuck Taylor All Star Converse shoes

The low-cut Converse shoes are comfortable shoes.

This pair sells for P1,800-
The standard white high cut Converse All Star

Converse shoes on display at the SM department store

Converse shoes are durable shoes.

Various styles and various colorways. Colorway means a combination of colors.
Converse Store in Boston (g'gle)

Strong red color (g'gle)

Julius "Dr. J" Erving makes a slam dunk, wearing Chuck Taylor All Star Converse shoes. (g'gle)

Legends Larry Bird and Julius "Dr. J."Erving were Converse boys. (g'gle)

Joshua Mueller holds the Guinness record for the largest collection of Converse shoes. (g'gle)

Miley Cyrus in Beverly Hills (complex pic)

Justin Bieber is seen wearing Chuck Taylor Converse All Star shoes in London (complex pic)

Paul Walker wearing Converse during a photo shoot of 2 fast 2 furious.(complex pic)

Tommy Lee wearing two-tone Converse shoes (complex pic)

Will Smith in 2004 (complex pic)

Kate Winslet in Italy in 2004 (complex pic)

Sylvester Stallone in Rocky (complex pic)

Kevin Bacon in Footloose (complex pic)

Some pics/pertinent details from google