Friday, April 17, 2015 Biography of Cecilia Manguerra Brainard

Someone forwarded this Biography of me in The bio mentions the name of the street I grew up, a name that is known to few people --- the name of the street has changed -- so I'm curious how the writer even knew about this.  I do like the reference to the Babaylan, a powerful female figure in the Philippines. Here's the bio:

Cecilia Manguerra Brainard Biography

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Namibia by Elaine Sweet, American Peace Corps Volunteer

Herero Ladies from Namibia

My friend Elaine Sweet, American Peace Corps Volunteer, who had served in Azerbaijan and the Philippines, is now in Namibia, a country in southern Africa. I have her permission to reprint her Easter letter and pictures taken in Opuwo, the capital of Namibia. Her report is fabulous, so enjoy, dear Readers!

Thank you Elaine, for allowing me to share your wonderful Namibia Easter letter and pictures.

From Elaine Sweet:

Easter in Opuwo,
I have now been in Namibia for three months.  It is the new “normal."  I have learned the basic methods of transportation to get around in my area.  First I ask the teachers at my school for a ride to the paved road. Then there are taxis which are constantly going back and forth between the main travel points.   It is not as difficult as I first perceived it to be.  On non-school days, the local people traveling the gravel road will stop for passengers.  There are established pay rates for travel to different points.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Goodbye for Now - Maryknoll College Reunion in Las Vegas

Goodbye for Now - Maryknoll College '68 Mini-reunion in Las Vegas

Here are some pictures of South Point Casino and Spa in Las Vegas. It's a good place to stay in Las Vegas - new, clean, reasonably priced. The only downside, which may not be such a negative thing, is that it's not on the Strip, which means you have to drive to get to the main drag of Las Vegas. It's a straight route on Las Vegas Blvd. and not difficult at all.  

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Update Maryknoll Reunion in Las Vegas - College Quezon City

 l-r: Becky Marfil, Tina Borja Heiter, Baby Navarro Ciocon., Cecilia Manguerra Brainard,  Boots Besa Browne, Marissa Munda Tay

Baby Ciocon picked the venue in Las Vegas -- South Point (very good choice!)-- and Tina Heiter invited Lina, Becky, and Boots to join the group of us who had driven to Las Vegas. Boots in turn arranged for us to visit another classmate in Las Vegas, Carol Valencia, whom many of us have not seen in years.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Maryknoll Reunion in Las Vegas - College Quezon City

A group of Maryknoll graduates from the college class of 1968 met in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The picture above shows l-r: Lina Flor Dimayuga, Baby Navarro Ciocon, Becky Marfil, Tina Borja Heiter, Boots Besa Browne, Cecilia Manguerra Brainard, and Marissa Munda Tay. Lucy McGinley is expected to join the group.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Las Vegas: Elton John and Green Nails

Elton John

We're in Las Vegas for a reunion with some Maryknoll friends. We arrived a day ahead to see the Elton John Concert (Rocket Man, Bennie and the Jets, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, etc). It was very entertaining. Performance was fine; the stage was glitzy; the drummer/percussion man was exceptionally good. 

Restaurant Review: Dim Sum at Ocean Seafood, Chinatown, Los Angeles, California

We've been having Dim Sum at Ocean Seafood (750 N. Hill St., LA, 90012) in Chinatown, Los Angeles, for years. To those who don't know, Dim Sum is Chinese food which is served as individual portions in carts. Servers, usually women, wheel the carts around the restaurant. All one has to do is look at their display and decide which dish to order. The server lifts the container, places this on one's table, and marks the bill on the table. There may be three or four pieces in a container, so it's perfect for two or three people to share, allowing all to sample various dishes.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Creative Writing:What To Do When Your Work Goes Flat

Writing Tip: What To do When Your Work Goes Flat

Listen up Creative Writers, here's something I learned: Writers Need to Listen or Tune in to Their work. Let me elaborate.

Warning: Novelist at Work, Bystanders May Be Written into the Story


Novelist at work
Bystanders may be written into the story

I'm working on my novel, so this is all for today, please check back!

Please note the fair warning above. And please, never, never piss off a novelist because it's not "may be written into the story" but "will be written into the story."

Read also

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Native American: My Good Luck Storyteller Dolls

 I have three Storyteller clay figurines that give me good luck with my writing.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Philippines: Vintage Postcards of Filipino Women

Filipino Washerwomen

Monday, April 6, 2015

Family Easter Pictures - 2015

We celebrated Easter yesterday, April 5, 2015, with food, drink, stories, and ... PINATAS, one for the children, another for the grownups.  We had picked up the pinatas in the pinata district of downtown Los Angeles, from a shop called Amazing Pinatas. This shop has pinatas of all sizes, candy, and other party goods.  

Here are some pictures. Click on the picture to make them larger.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Restaurant Reviews: Manny Gonzalez Reviews San Francisco Restaurants

Happy Easter!

The following reviews of some restaurants in San Francisco, California are reprinted by permission of the author, Manny Gonzalez.  A resident of Whistler, Canada, Manny Gonzalez is a Director/shareholder at the Plantation Bay Resort and Spa in Mactan, Philippines. He travels extensively and enjoys reviewing the hotels and restaurants he's visited. 

These reviews first appeared in TripAdvisor.Thanks to Manny Gonzalez for sharing these reviews in my blog.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Barcelona, Spain: Salman Rushdie and Manny Gonzalez Reviews

This is a picture of Salman Rushdie and me, taken at a PEN Conference in Barcelona, Spain. His novel, The Satanic Verses, had just earned the ire of the Muslim community and there was a fatwa on him at that time.

Here also are reviews of some restaurants in Barcelona, Spain by Manny Gonzalez.  This is his second review of restaurants in Barcelona. 

A resident of Whistler, Canada, Manny Gonzalez is a Director/shareholder at the Plantation Bay Resort and Spa in Mactan, Philippines. He travels extensively and enjoys reviewing the hotels and restaurants he's visited. 

These reviews first appeared in TripAdvisor.Thanks to Manny Gonzalez for sharing these  in my blog.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Christianity: Good Friday and the Stone of Anointing

I took this picture of the Stone of Anointing at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. It is said that Jesus' body was anointed there before His burial. There is liquid (oil?) on the stone, which visitors sop up with handkerchiefs and other pieces of cloth.

When we visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre or Church of the Resurrection in 2008, I was surprised to find various religious orders taking charge of portions of it. There were Franciscans, Greek Orthodox, Armenians, Coptic Orthodox, Syrian Orthodox,and Ethiopians. Curiously, the custody of the door and the key for the church is entrusted to two Muslim families (Nuseibeh and Judeh); this custodial line dates back to 1244.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Christianity: Holy Thursday and the Garden of Gethsemane

 I took these pictures of the Garden of Gethsemane in 2008 during our visit to Egypt and Israel.

It's Holy Thursday now, and Christians recall the Passion of Christ that culminated in his Crucifixion and Resurrection.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

What Household Things Make You Smile?

I pose the question: What household things make you smile?

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Entertainment: Confessions of a Game of Thrones Addict

I'm getting ready for Season 5 of Game of Thrones, which starts on April 12, 2015.

I must admit that I'm a Game of Thrones addict. My son had introduced me to the books years ago, and I approached the reading with caution. I generally prefer literary fiction to commercial. I later realized that the writer, George R. R. Martin, created interesting characters and situations. In fact, the books are skillfully done.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Syrian War: Will the US Negotiate with Syria's Bashar Assad?

Kerry's statements regarding the US willing to negotiate with Assad are misunderstood. He's not saying the US will negotiate with Assad NOW. What he said was, "Well, we have to negotiate in the end."

"End" is the key word here.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

House and Garden the San Miguel Allende Way

I've always admired the houses and gardens in the Spanish Colonial City of San Miguel Allende in Mexico. I find them "alegre" and well... bold. We have copied some of the elements that we like, color being on top of the list.

We had our courtyard painted yellow recently, and we have rooms with colors in our house.

I'm sharing pictures showing the San Miguel Allende influence in our house and courtyard.

The courtyard is very yellow, but I expect it to fade a bit. It's brand new. Enjoy the pictures.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Restaurant Review: Fisherman's Outlet of Los Angeles, California

We had lunch at the Fisherman's Outlet at 529 So. Central Avenue, Los Angeles, California. 

Friday, March 27, 2015

Philippines: Manny Pacquiao Others Want Balangiga Bells Returned

I just wrote about the Bells of Balangiga which the Americans took as war booty in 1901 during the Philippine American War.

There is a campaign to bring the bells back to Eastern Samar, Philippines. Boxing Champion and Congressman, Manny Pacquiao,  is the Honorary Committee Chairman of the group working for the bells' return.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Philippine History: Lyman J. Carlock, First American Judge in Cebu

Judge Lyman Judy Carlock

After the Philippine American War, at the turn of the century, my great-grandfather, Mariano Albao Cuenco, was appointed Clerk of Court in Cebu by Governor Llorente. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Writing: LA California's Algonquin West of Eve La Salle Caram

 I'm in a writers workshop lead by esteemed novelist and teacher Eve La Salle Caram. There are six people in the group, informally called the Algonquin West, and we are all working on book length writing projects.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Fashion: Gray Hair is In!!!

I was at my hair dresser's last week and was surprised to see a young man of around 35 years getting his hair grayed.  Yes, gray as in GRAY.  Apparently Gray Hair is IN.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Remembering Milette Estrada - Maryknoll College, QC 1968

Milette Estrada born 5/19/50 died 12/17/14

Some graduates of Maryknoll College's Class of 1968 had a Memorial Mass for Milette Estrada on March 23, 2015 at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, 1015 Baker Street, Costa Mesa, CA 92626. 

Those who attended were: Maria and Sim Ciocon, Lorna and Raul Cruz, Marie and Pat Cruz, Tina and Andy Heiter, Lucy and Patrick McGinley, Esther and Owen Parker, Chona Preston, Milette's relatives were there: Zari de la Torre, Jinky Estrada, and Francis dela Torre. There were approximately 45 people at St. John's church for the Monday Mass, officiated by two priests who had known Milette.

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Philippines: How Tall is the Filipino Woman?

According to this 2008 study, the Filipino woman's average height is 151.8 cm. or 4' 11.8".

To have some perspective here are the heights of women from some other countries:

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Sam Dunn Article and Family Tree of the Writers Program, UCLA Extension

 My husband received the UCLA Magazine, April 2015 issue, and he called my attention to an article by Samantha Dunn about the Writers Program at UCLA Extension.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Philippines: Massacre of Bud Dajo, Jolo, Sulu

My recent blog had to do with the Massacre of Balangiga in the Philippines during the Philippine American War.  I came across another massacre of Filipinos by the Americans at the turn of the century. This was was in Jolo Island, Philippines, specifically Mount Bud Dajo.