Friday, October 9, 2015

Some Filipino and Filipino American Books and Journal to Read

Here are some books on my Reading Pile:

Front l-r:  

Jaime Alonso Yrastorza's From Fire to Freedom: Childhood in Colonial Philippines to Post-WWII Adulthood in America, Tate Publishing, 2015:

"From Fire to Freedom narrates an insight into the tapestry of the life of Dr. Jaime Alonso Yrastorza. His weave of reminiscences begins in his idyllic upbringing in the Philippines. He reflects on the legacies that centuries of turbulent Spanish and American colonial overlords had influenced the mores and traditions of the present-day Filipinos..."

Lisa Suguitan Melnick's #30 Collantes Street, Carayan Press, 2015: 

"In #30 Collantes Street, author Lisa Suguitan Melnick experiences unexpected takes on both the foreign and the familiar of her ancestral roots. The stories reflect astute observations and discoveries and experiences in Cebu, Negros, Mindanao, Palawan, and Bohol. Melnick's pieces also represent rites of passage gently evocative of the author's childhood...."

Filipino American StarBlazers & Top Hats Event, San Diego

Cecilia says - I'll be at the Starblazers & Top Hats Event this Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015! Thanks for choosing me as an honoree.

Guess Who?!
An award winning author, an attorney general, a doctor, a businessman,  
a captain of a ship (no need to guess that – but wait…we have two), a lawyer,
an educator, a congressman, a banker and a candlestick maker.

Come celebrate with us in honoring them!! 
This Saturday, the 10th of October 6:00 P.M.
  Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Interview: Cecilia Brainard's Novel "Magdalena" Revealed

The protagonist in my second novel is a woman who defies Philippine society and takes on a lover. Following is a student interview regarding my novel, Magdalena.

Interview Questions from Shiela Mae P. Abas, BA Literature IIIA:

When did you realize that you wanted to be a writer? 
Did someone push you to become one, or was it your will as it was your dream since you were young? 
Are there authors who influenced your work particularly Magdalena? Who are they? 
What/who inspired you to write the book, Magdalena
Could you give us an insight into your main character? What does she do that is so special? 
Did you use real-life facts based on true stories? 
Who is your target reader? 
As a literature student myself, what is your advise for young writers like us? What motivates you to write?

Cecilia Manguerra Brainard's Response:

1. I seemed to always like to write. After my father died when I was nine, I wrote him letters to update him of my life. When my sister gave me a lock-and-key diary, I started journal writing, something I do up to now.  (I have a lot of information about this in a YouTube interview of me - go to YouTube and search my name)

No one pushed me to become a writer. This was something I thoroughly loved then and now.

2. Many writers have influenced me. These are some of them, but there are many more whom I like: Graham Greene, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Gustave Flaubert, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, and our Cebuana writer Lina Espina Moore. These writers taught me how to write. For instance Graham Greene is excellent in handling dialogue. I like the "surprises" in Marquez's work. Espina Moore taught me about "voice." They all taught me that character development is very important in story telling.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Picture: Tai Chi at San Francisco's Civic Center

Tai Chi at San Francisco's Civic Center

When you see excellence, you should try to surpass it.
When you see the opposite, examine yourself.
-   Lao Tzu

Read also 

Tags: health, medicine, natural treatment, exercise, alternative medicine, #health

This is all for now,

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Recap 3rd Filipino American International Book Festival in San Francisco

Lisa Suguitan Melnick at the mic, and Edwin Lozada behind her

THE 3rd Filipino American International Book Festival was held in San Francisco last October 2-4, 2015. It was presented by PAWA (Philippine American Writers and Artists), the San Francisco Public Library, the Filipino American Center (SFPL), in partnership with the Consulate General of the Philippines in San Francisco and other community organizations.

l-r: Nikki Alfar, Dean Francis Alfar, Penelope Flores, Veronica Montes, Cecilia Brainard, Lisa Suguitan Melnick

Leave Me Alone, I'm Only Speaking to My Cat Today

On Grove Street, in San Francisco, I saw man wearing this sweatshirt and it's now on my "To Buy" List:



I want it!

Read also

     Tags: pets, cats, kittens, animals, t-shirts, sweatshirt. #leavemealone

      I'm still recuperating from the San Francisco trip so this is all for now,

Monday, October 5, 2015

Hitting the Road to Go South - (Writeup of the FilAm Fest forthcoming)

Monday morning and I'm going to hit the road with my traveling companion to go South.

I'll be posting more pictures and do a writeup about the 3rd Filipino American International Book Festival, so stay tuned!

The picture above shows the writer Nikki Alfar and me striking a pose to show off our sister-boots. This was taken at the 3rd Filipino American Book Festival in San Francisco.

Read also

    Tags: driving, Cecilia Brainard,Nikki Alfar

     This is all for now,

Saturday, October 3, 2015

More Pictures: Filipino American International Book Festival in San Francisco

L-r: Staff members left four, Edwin Lozada, Cecilia Brainard, Eileen Tabios, Luis Francia, Barbara Jane Reyes, Erin Entrada Kelly, Nikki Alfar, Lisa Suguitan Melnick, Dean Francis Alfar

Here are a few more pictures taken at the Filipino American International Book Festival in San Francisco.

HOT OFF THE PRESS participants Seated l-r: Jeannette Yniquez, Jaime Alonso Yrastorza, Luis Francia,Eileen Tabios, Tony Robles, Mg Roberts, Tessie Jayme, Daniel Roddick; Standing l-r: Barbara Jane Reyes, Cecilia Brainard

l-r: James Sobredo, Barbara Jane Reyes, Candy Gourlay, Cecilia Brainard

Friday, October 2, 2015

Pictures: Filipino American International Book Festival

l-r: Penelope Flores, Nikki Alfar, Dean Francis Alfar, Veronica Montes, Cecilia Brainard, Lisa Suguitan Melnick, Marie Romero

The Third Filipino American International Book Festival had a reception and program on Friday night, October 2, 2015.  I was delighted to see literary folk I know as shown in these pictures. 

l-r: Veronica Montes, Luis Francia, Cecilia Brainard

On my Way to the Filipino American Book Festival in San Francisco


I'll be taking off soon on my trusty steed to San Francisco for the THIRD FILIPINO AMERICAN BOOK FESTIVAL, Oct. 2-4, 2015!

I'm looking forward to seeing a lot of talented and interesting people.

I'll be moderating the Filipino American Literature in the 21st Century Panel with Barbara Jane Reyes, Luis Francia, Eileen Tabios, and Erin Entrada Kelly. This will be on Saturday, October 3, 11 a.m. at the Koret Auditorum, San Francisco Main Library, 100 Larkin Street, Civic Center, San Francisco, CA 94102.

And I'll also be moderating two literary readings as follows.  Hot Off the Press Literary Readings are very popular. These will also be at the Koret Auditorium.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Pet Pictures: Two Cats at My Desk!!!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Philippine American Literature: The Halo-Halo Review and The Mangozine

Here's an announcement from Eileen R. Tabios who is a poet, fiction writer, editor, critic, and publisher. 


We’re delighted to announce the debut of THE HALO-HALO REVIEW (HHR) and its zine, The Mangozine

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Philippine Literature: My Novel Short-Listed for the Cirilo F. Bautista Prize for the Novel!!!

Good news this morning --- my novel, Dead Priest in the Creek, is 1 of 8 Short-Listed for the Cirilo F. Bautista Prize for the Novel. The winner will be revealed on October 12, 2015 ---- but as far as I'm concerned I'm already a winner!

Thank you judges for finding merit in my new novel, which is as of yet unpublished.

Announcing: The Short List for the Cirilo F. Bautista Prize for the Novel
Warm felicitations! The winner will be revealed on 12 October 2015.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Invitation to the 2015 HOT OFF THE PRESS Literary Readings, FilAm Book Fest

I'll be moderating the HOT OFF THE PRESS Author Readings on Saturday October 3 and Sunday October 4, at the Koret Auditorium, see schedules below. These literary readings are part of the Third Filipino American Book Festival, Oct. 2-4, 2015, San Francisco Main Library: 100 Larkin Street, Civic Center, San Francisco, CA 94102

I'll also be moderating the panel on Filipino American Literature on Saturday, October 3, from 11-noon (a discussion on the direction of Fil Am literature in the 21st century, with Panelists: Barbara Jane Reyes, Luis Francia, Eileen Tabios, Erin Entrada Kelly.)

Here's the lineup of the 2015 HOT OFF THE PRESS Literary Readings:

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Blood Moon from Santa Monica, California, September 27, 2015, 9:47 p.m.

Blood Moon from Santa Monica, California, September 27, 2015, 9:47 p.m.

Blood moon or supermoon lunar eclipse is when the moon hits peak fullness in the midst of a total eclipse. This hasn't happened in 33 years and won't happen again until 2033.

Read also

Filipino American Event: Starblazers & Top Hats - October 10, 2015

I'm proud to be a Top Hat 2015 Honoree. Thanks to the Selection Committee of PhilAm Bid for selecting me along with Zeny Agullana, Fresas Flores Balistreri, Gemma Rama Banaag, Chris Cate, Rafael Joel Consing, Jr., Paz Gomez, Hon. Irma Gonzalez, Bill Gore, Linda Jordan, Marily Ysip Orosa, John Pack, and Karl Thomas.

The event is scheduled on Saturday, October 10, 2015 in San Diego, as noted.

Read also

Tags: Filipino, Filipino American, Philippine, Philippine American, PhilAmbid, civic organization, San Diego, California, USA

This s all for now,

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Pictures: Cat at My Desk!

Philippine Literature: "Fiction by Filipinos in America" Spotted at Manila Book Fair

Spotted by Marla Galuaran at the 36th Manila International Book Fair!

Fiction by Filipinos in America
Collected and Edited by Cecilia Manguerra Brainard
New Day Publishers (1993)
Available at  Kindle and NOOK

Fiction by Filipinos in America is a highly acclaimed collection of stories by established and emerging Filipino and Filipino American writers. World Literature Today says, "(Editor) Manguerra Brainard's selection is a delight. Some of the stories are masterly, especially those written by such reliables as Carlos Bulosan, Linda Ty-Casper, N.V.M. Gonzalez, and Alberto S. Florentino. None is less than highly competent, and all are worth reading. Manguerra Brainard has done an excellent job of mixing critical judgement and personal taste."

Woman with Horns and Other Stories
Short stories by Cecilia Manguerra Brainard
New Day Publishers (1988)
Now Available at  Kindle and NOOK

Woman With Horns and Other Stories is the first short story collection by Cecilia Manguerra Brainard. Called "a welcome addition to Filipiniana" by the Manila Times, the stories draw from historical and contemporary sources. Many of these stories set in mythical Ubec, Philippines, explore the clash of Philippine culture with foreign influences that reached the archipelago during different historical periods.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Swiss-based Filipina Artist Tina Heiter Writes About the European Refugee Crisis #refugeecrisis

My artist friend, Tina Borja Heiter, who had attended Maryknoll College and who is now a resident of Switzerland, sent in her comments re the European Refugee Crisis.  Tina Heiter is a Switzerland-based Filipino artist who exhibits her art in Zurich. Tina holds a degree in Foreign Service majoring in Political Science and History, thus her keen interest in politics. Tina has held several exhibits in Switzerland and is presently preparing for another solo exhibit in Galerie am Schanzenbgraben in September 2016. Follow her link at


This refugee crisis has consumed my interest.

Europe is overwhelmed with the mass exodus from Syria and Africa. Europe is being criticized by the US media, particularly by CNN, for not doing enough. The unpreparedness of the EU -- just reeling from the Greek crisis as well as the mass immigration from Africa entering via the Italian borders for economic reasons, and then having to face the huge number of refugees from war-torn Syria and Iraq -- is epic. 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Philippine literature: Review Fiction by Filipinos in America, Edited by Cecilia Brainard

Now Available at  Kindle and NOOK


Edited by Cecilia Manguerra Brainard

New Day Publishers, 1993, softcover, 240 pp.
ISBN 970-10-0528-X

A collection of fiction by 23 Filipinos in America, including Linda Ty-Casper, N.V.M. Gonzalez, Juan Dionisio, Bienvenido Santos, Cecilia Manguerra Brainard, Manuel Viray, Carlos Bulosan, Ligaya Victorio Fruto, Jean Vengua Gier, Alberto Florentino, Michelle Cruz Skinner, Jessica Hagedorn, Paulino Lim, Jr., Samuel Tagatac, Virginia Cerenio, Julia Palarca, Oscar Penaranda, Erlinda Villamor Kravetz, Nadine Sarreal, Marianne Villanueva, Manuel Olimpo, Nenutzka Villamar, and Luis Cabalquinto


World Literature Today

Fiction by Filipinos in America. (book reviews) Al Camus Palomar.

Full Text: COPYRIGHT 1994 University of Oklahoma

The stories in Fiction by Filipinos in America, as editor Cecilia Manguerra Brainard puts it, "deal with oppression, flight, dislocation, unrequited love, longing for an idealized home; these are stories of humans dominated by values that run deep, of fierce loyalty for family and friends, and always that Filipino tenacity to deal with life's hardships and remain undefeated. Together these stories paint a gigantic picture of the Filipino, whether in the Philippines or in America, and it is a wonderful picture, this of a person who struggles, fails at times, but keeps on, a most resilient human being." Resilience is a quality long associated with Filipinos. As a poet once said," A Filipino is pliant like a bamboo." Neither typhoons nor monsoons could break the Filipino spirit; like the bamboo, it sways and bends with nature's relentless onslaughts, but it refuses to yield or die.

Philippine Literature: The Centenary of N.V.M. Gonzalez

The centenary of the Filipino National Artist for Literature, N.V.M. Gonzalez was celebrated last September 8, 2015. Dr. Adelaida F. Lucero from the University of the Philippines had invited me to write a tribute, which she included with others and which she shared at the university celebration. The following is what I wrote:

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Opinion: Celine Arvisu-Quinio On the European Refugee Crisis #refugeecrisis

Celine Arvisu-Quinio

Continuing the conversation on the current European Refugee Crisis, I'm posting comments by Celine Arvisu-Quinio, another graduate of Maryknoll College, Philippines. Celine is currently in Italy to do communications work for the Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) Commission of the Union of Superior Generals (heads of congregations of men and women religious) with headquarters in Rome.


Cecilia Brainard:  Is the current refugee crisis affecting you?  How?

Celine Arvisu-Quinio: Yes. No matter where I might be in the world, I cannot ignore the anguish and suffering of the millions of people fleeing their country in fear for their lives. Survival is what drives them to leave despite the uncertainty of what lies ahead. “There is no wall you would not climb, no sea you would not cross if you are fleeing violence and terror.” (Dimitris Avromopoulos, EU Commissioner for Migration)

Syrian War and Doomsday Seed Bank

This news item sounds very futuristic, only it's happening now:

"Doomsday Vault" Request: Scientists Seek over 100,000 seed samples from Arctic Bank for Middle East

"A Lebanon-based seed bank formerly located in war-torn Syria has requested 116,000 crop samples from an international “doomsday vault” in Svalbard to re-establish the collection elsewhere. It is the first such request since the facility opened in 2008.

Forced from its research farm in Aleppo in 2012, the International Centre for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas’ (ICARDA), which provides seed stock for dry Middle Eastern countries, wants almost 130 boxes of seed samples out of the 325 it had deposited in the vault in recent years." - quote from Reuters, 9/22/15 

Photos courtesy of Wikipedia

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Monday, September 21, 2015

Opinion: Aurorita Mendoza On the European Refugee Crisis #refugeecrisis

"In my dealings with migrant communities ...I find that they are just like you and me." 
~ by Aurorita Mendoza, International Consultant on International Affairs

AURORITA MENDOZA, an International Consultant on International Affairs, answers my questions about the current European Refugee Crisis.  Aurorita attended Maryknoll College in the Philippines and worked for years at the UNAIDS as Regional Program Adviser and Advocacy Adviser. She now lives in Switzerland.

She says she is not an unbiased stakeholder on issues related to migration. For several years now, she has been engaged in the field of migration, particularly from the perspective of migrant health, doing research, policy and program development, and collaborations with institutional and civil society mechanisms. Her area of specialization is the Southeast Asian region, but the factors fueling migration as well as migration policy and program issues cut across regional borders.  Her perspectives are based on interactions with Bhutanese refugees during her three years in Nepal and working on migrant issues in the Mekong region. This engagement is the basis of her belief that the response to migration/refugee crises in any part of the world must be a non-discriminatory and humanitarian one.