Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Author Cecilia Brainard Gives a Talk on UBEC: CEBU REIMAGINED, Cebuano Studies Center


Hi, I'm giving a zoom talk for the Cebuano Studies Center, as part of their Vicente Sotto Lecture Series.  I'm hoping you can forward this information to teachers, students, and those interested in Philippine literature. If you're in the media, I hope you can plug this lecture in your column.

It should be a lively talk about the background of my mythical setting Ubec, and I'll have a few slides about Cebu and some people who inspired my writing. 

Thank you. And I hope you are all safe.. 

From the Cebuano Studies Center:

After a brief hiatus, the Vicente Sotto Lecture Series will resume with a lecture by renowned writer Cecilia Brainard on February 19, 2022 from 10:00 -11:30 AM, Philippine time.

NOTE: Philippine time; Sat. Feb. 19, 2022, 10-11:30 a.m. is California time: Fri, Feb. 18, 2022, 6 -7:30 pm.

In her lecture titled "Ubec: Cebu Reimagined" Cecilia Manguerra Brainard talks about how she created her mythical setting of Ubec, which she uses in many of her short stories and her three novels: When the Rainbow Goddess Wept, Magdalena, and The Newspaper Widow. She explains how creating this mythical setting freed her up to reimagine Cebu and its inhabitants. She talks about some of the fictional characters who were inspired by people of Cebu.

Click this link to register: https://forms.gle/Jgo7ZtmxJELXbBJh8. Zoom details will be sent to your email once registration closes. 

#Philippineliterature #Cebuanoliterature #Filipinoliterature #Filipinoauthor #Philippineauthor 

Monday, January 17, 2022

Remembering Dr. Herbert Zipper World War II Survivor


In around 1992 I met an elderly gentleman Dr. Herbert Zipper, who had been a Jewish composer-conductor in Germany in the 1930s when Hitler was chancellor. Zipper was picked up and sent to Dachau where he organized an orchestra that gave clandestine concerts from an abandoned latrine. He was released from Buchenwald and he went to Manila to marry the love of his life Trudl Dubsky. Zipper became the conductor of the Manila Symphony Orchestra.


When the Japanese invaded Manila, he was interrogated and held prisoner for five months. Upon his release, he worked for the underground. A few weeks after Manila's Liberation he held the famous orchestra on the ruins of Manila.
I met him in the 1990s because he was looking for a publisher for his wife's World War Two watercolor caricatures. A big publisher had accepted the work for publication in 1964-65 but backed out for what seemed to be political reasons. Crossroads School went on to publish Trudl Dubsky Zipper's book.
I've been watching World War Two documentaries and just realized what a privilege that was to meet Dr. Zipper.
Further, I felt proud that the Philippines had provided refuge to some 1,200 Jews just prior to the brunt of World War Two, the Zippers among them.

tags: #WorldWarTwo #WWII #Manilasymphonyorchestra #Manilaners , Jews in Philippines 

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

In Memoriam F. Sionil Jose Philippine National Artist for Literature


Author Cecilia Manguerra Brainard writes a tribute for Philippine National Artist for Literature F. Sionil Jose who passed away last January 7, 2022:


The article also appeared in Sunstar Cebu with more pictures:


 "After several years of not seeing Frankie Jose, I met him again in Cebu in 2013 at the opening of the musical production of his short story “Progress.” Hendri Go was the man behind the show about an unappreciated government clerk. Hendri had invited me to the musical.

The program went well, and afterwards, I went up to greet Frankie. I was feeling a bit guilty because I had not seen him nor Tessie for well over a decade, and indeed the first thing he said, was something like, “Where have you been?”

I had launched my first two books at Solidaridad, the iconic bookshop owned by Frankie and his wife Tessie. The first launch in 1988 (for Woman with Horns and Other Stories) had been arranged by Cebuana writer Lina Espina Moore, who had taken me under her wing. In 1991, I also launched the Philippine edition of my first novel, Song of Yvonne (aka When the Rainbow Goddess Wept) at Solidaridad; I recall that was the day Mt. Pinatubo had exploded, so the evening had a strange and memorable quality with fine dust falling outdoors and blanketing streets and cars. Despite the volcanic eruption, the top floor of Solidaridad where the launch was held was packed; events at Solidaridad were always somewhat bohemian, cultured, and exhilarating.

I was surprised that he and Tessie cared whether I visited them or not, given how busy they were. The two of them were like royalty amongst Manila’s literati and intelligentsia; and they had numerous events and people to see. Aside from that, they had Solidaridad to run; they published books; Frankie headed PEN Manila. By this time, Frankie had authored some thirty books, with his five-book Rosales Saga novels published and translated by big international publishers. He had a string of awards including the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Journalism, Cultural Center of the Philippine Centennial Award, the Chevalier dans O’order des Arts et Letters, Pablo Neruda Centennial Award, and the National Artist for Literature...." 
Read on in the Yahoo link please. 

Tags: Philippine literature, Filipino literature, Filipino authors, Philippine authors, Filipino novelists, In memoriam, Tribute 

Monday, January 10, 2022

F. Sionil Jose's Article about Cebu and Cebuanos - Hail, Cebu


l-r:  F. Sionil Jose, Cecilia Brainard, Tessie Jose, photo taken 2013

I read this for the first time. I am deeply touched. I did not know that National Artist for Literature F. Sionil Jose had written about me in his Hindsight Column, September 7, 2014.

"The café is also a meeting place of the Cebu culturati and it was there where I met again old acquaintances like Resil Mojares and Cecilia Manguerra Brainard.
"Cecilia dropped by recently for a tête-à-tête. An excerpt of her next novel was published by Joel Pablo Salud in his Graphic magazine but she did not know about it so I gave her a copy. The novel — her third — is a fictionalized account of a real event: a murder that has haunted her. It is also a story of the violence and conspiracy that happens in the best of families. She is writing it, she said, like a mystery novel and it was at this point that we talked about the narrative — how so many writers, in their attempt to be original, have abandoned the narrative for flashy and fractured prose which soon numbs the reader who then stops reading. I shared with her this thinking: the narrative is what grabs the reader and compels him to read to the very end. How often have I dropped a book, lovingly reviewed by other writers, adorned with obtuse prose and technique but so wanting in tension, I got bored. Cecile belongs to that special tribe of Cebuanos, rooted in the land and writing about it..."

Please read the entire article about Cebu and Cebuanos here: 


 tags: Philippine literature, Filipino literature, Filipino writers, Cebuano writers

Thursday, January 6, 2022

Rest in Peace, F. Sionil Jose Philippine National Artist in Literature


Photo taken August 2016 at Solidaridad, l-r: F. Tessie Jose, F. Sionil Jose, Cecilia Brainard

 From the Varsitarian, UP:  BREAKING: National Artist for Literature F. Sionil Jose has passed away.

Jose, 97, died in his sleep Thursday evening at the Makati Medical Center where he was supposed to undergo an angioplasty Friday, Jan. 7, according to his wife, Tessie Jovellanos Jose.

I just learned about Frankie Jose's passing and am still processing this. I feel really really sad. Instead of trying to put words into my sorrow now, I'm posting some joyful pictures with him. Rest in peace, Frankie! My sincerest condolences to his wife Tessie, their children, Cesar, and the other Solidaridad staff, and all those whom he mentored and supported who are now feeling deep grief. ~ Cecilia Brainard

July 6, 2019 book launch of When the Rainbow Goddess Wept at Solidaridad, with l-r: standing: Tillic Lorayes, Cynthia Posa, Virgilio Reyes Jr., Cecilia Brainard, Paulo Angelo Lopez Apolinar, Charlson Ong ; Seated l-r: Nelson Navarro F. Sionil Jose, Amado Ma. Guerrero.

Photo taken June 24, 2017, book launch for Brainard's novels Magdalena and The Newspaper Widow: seated l-r: Paul Matcott, Cecilia Brainard, National Artist F. Sionil Jose; stand l-r r: Brenda Matcott, Cynthia Posa Maribel Paraz, Lynley Ocampo.


Friday, December 31, 2021

Happy New Year to All of Us - 2022



An Old Irish Blessing

May the road rise up to meet you.

May the wind always be at your back.

May the sun shine warm upon your face,

and rains fall soft upon your fields.

And until we meet again,

May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

#happy2022 #filipinoauthor #happynewyear 

Saturday, December 18, 2021

Author Cecilia Brainard Talk University of Santo Tomas CCWLS


Filipino FilAm Author Cecilia Manguerra Brainard gives a talk for the University of Santo Tomas Center for Creative Writing and Literary Studies. This is part of their UST International Writers and Scholars Series.

This same video can be viewed in the Facebook site of UST Center for Creative Writing and Literary Studies:


Following is the transcript of Cecilia's talk:

Celebrating Writing and My Selected Short Stories

For the International Authors Series of UST Center for Creative Writing and Literary Studies

by Cecilia Manguerra Brainard, copyright by Cecilia Brainard

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

1873 Antique Map of Cebu Philippines


I'm sharing an old map of Cebu from my personal Cecilia Brainard Collection. It's noted as "Plano de la Ciudad de Cebu -- 1873." I hope you can make it bigger because it's really interesting.

#Cebuhistory #Cebumap #antiquemap #Philippinemap #Antiquephilippine 

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Author Cecilia Brainard on Reading for Philippine National Book Week 2021


Author Cecilia Brainard talks on Why You Should Read for the Capiz State University Library for the 87th National Book Week 2021


Tags: #nationalbookweek # 

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Poems by Valorie Slaughter Bejarano


The following came from Dulce Capadocia. It is the manuscript of a poem by Filipino American writer, Valorie Slaughter Bejarano.
Writer's Bio: A poet/writer, Valorie Slaughter Bejarano was born in Cebu, Philippines on October 15, 1950. She grew up in the Los Angeles Filipino communicty. A self-proclaimed "Temple Street Brat," she attended Belmont High School and UCLA. Her writings were published in Journey of 100 Years: Reflections on the Centennial of Philippine Independence; Making Waves: An Anthology By and About Asian American Women: Urthkin; Electruim; Misc. Magazine; Ang Katipunan; and others. She wrote two chapbooks: Ladies First and Before the Sun Comes up. Valorie co-wrote two poetry shows: Voices from the Other Side of the Wall and Lovers Make the Worst Ex-Husbands.

Valorie co-edited two children's books: Seven Stories From Seven Sisters, and The Beginning and Other Asian Folktales, both PAWWA publications.

In November 1989, she was the only Asian woman and Los Angeles poet to perform with the celebrity cast of the Hollywood Women's Political Committee's Pro-Choice rally in Rancho Park as a representative of Asian Pacific's for Choice. She was also a member of Asian Pacific Women's Network and founding member of PAWWA (Philippine American Women Writers and Artists). And advocate for Amerasians, she founded Amerasian C.H.I.L.D. (Committee to help Include and Legalize Dependents) which helped many orphans in her beloved Cebu.

In her last years, Valorie was active in politics, serving as Parks and Recreation Commissioner for the City of Hungtington Park, California. She was editor and publisher of the Kiwanis Script.
She was awarded Woman of Courage for the Year 2000 under Assemblyman Marco Firebaugh. She was also the recipient of a Community Access Scholarship at the Writer's Program, UCLA-Extension.
Valorie passed away last November 26, 2000 at the age of 50.

Here are other poems by Valorie:



I remember the hot light

On that hot night

(Sometime in July '65)

And an acned blond

in a pink, plastic lei

Hustling old men & sailors

At 50cents a dance.

Things were really hopping

At Roseland.

It was a luau night and

We were cooking flip food

Adobo, rice, pancit & bibingka

$2 a plate no seconds

While Don Ho bubbled a little too loudly

Over a P.A. with only one good speaker

Booming from the corner behind me.

Manongs in their faded

Al Capone suits

Did the twist

Shuffling across the dance floor

Man they really had it

Things were hopping

Fingers popping

At Roseland.

WHY I'M NOT AFRAID OF THE DARK(Another in a Continuing Series of Life's Mysteries Explained)

I like the comfort of quiet dark rooms

Where shadows wrap themselves around you like lover's arms

Heavy with silence

Inviting you in for a small suicide in the afternoon.

No sighs, no tears

No intrusions.

The tyranny of time winds away

Spiraling back into the womb

Sanctuary inviolate as a fetal heartbeat

My eyes cat glow in the dark

My secrets are my own again

Safe in the breathless hush, my defenses fall away

Without the gauntlet, my hand is small and soft

Lacerated in brutal daylight.

There is kindness and healing in the dark


And sleep

Sweet, wine laced and opiated sleep.

(Valorie Bejarano
February 26, 1992


Picture of PAWWA (Philippine American Women Writers and Artists) - Valorie is third from left. 

Tags: Filipino American poetry #FilAmpoetry #FilipinoAmericanpoetry #filAmauthors 

Monday, November 22, 2021

Old Photos of Woman With Horns Book Launch 1988

 Old Photos taken at the 1988 book launch of my first book, WOMAN WITH HORNS AND OTHER STORIES, held at the Casa Gorordo in Cebu. The Cebuana author LINA ESPINA-MOORE helped organize the event and was there at planning meetings and the event itself.

l-r: Lina Espina Moore, Concepcion Cuenco Manguera, Cecilia Manguerra Brainard

l-r: Concepcion Manguerra, Mariano Manguerra Jr. Cecilia, Lina

l-r: Cora Seno, Cecilia

#philippinebooks #philippineliterature #cebuanowriters #womanwithhorns

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Cecilia Brainard Book at the Manila International Book Fair #MIBF


Here's the short video promo I did for the Manila International Book Fair on behalf of the University of Santo Tomas Publishing House. This is airing today along with others by USTPH authors, live on the MIBF site. I'm sharing this video for your convenience.

My book and my other USTPH Titles (SELECTED SHORT STORIES BY CECILIA MANGUERRA BRAINARD, WHEN THE RAINBOW GODDESS WEPT, MAGDALENA, and THE NEWSPAPER WIDOW) are available in the Philippines from Lazada and Shopee. In the US, these are easily available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble.
Enjoy the video!

The picture above was taken a nunber of years ago, by Doreen Stone 


tags: #MIBF #MIBF2021 #Philippinebooks #filipinoauthors #filipinobooks 

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Book Review of THE BETRAYED by Reine Arcache Melvin


Passion in the Time of Revolution

Book Review by Cecilia Manguerra Brainard

Book Title: The Betrayed

Author: Reine Arcache Melvin

Published by Bughaw/Ateneo de Manila University Press 2018

For complete article in Postiviely Filipino - click here 

The Betrayed is a complex and rich novel that focuses on the lives of two sisters and the man they love. The story is set primarily in the Philippines; it fictionalizes historical events of the 1980s: the EDSA Revolution; the ousting of dictator Ferdinand Marcos; the election of the widow of his political enemy, Cory Aquino; the coup d’états; and the pervading violence and political unrest of that era. Melvin’s main characters are members of the ruling political families in the Philippines, and their lifestyle reflects their extreme wealth and the corresponding poverty of the general population. These characters also reveal the feuding, violence, negotiations, and tentative alliances they engage in to maintain their wealth and power.

Lali and Pilar are the sisters whose father, Gregorio, had been jailed in Manila then hustled out of the city with his family to live in exile in San Francisco. The novel begins after Gregorio was gunned down by “the General’s men.” Now the prospect of ending their eight-year exile is possible, and Lali marries Arturo, a wealthy and powerful young man -- a member of the political opposition -- so she (and her mother and sister) can return to Manila where they can presumably resume their privileged life.Lali gets her Mercedes Benz and her lavish parties. Pilar, the more cerebral of the two, works on documenting the life of Gregorio, who is considered a hero of the government opposition – the communists, the extreme-right faction of the military, the religious left. Pilar lives in their neglected family house along the river, an area which used to have Spanish colonial mansions but has been taken over by factories and warehouses. (continue reading in Positively Filipino)

Tags: Philippine literature, Book Review  

Monday, November 15, 2021

Filipino Author Cecilia Brainard Talks About Four of Her Books


In this short video, Filipino American Author Cecilia Brainard talks about four of her books: SELECTED SHORT STORIES, WHEN THE RAINBOW GODDESS WEPT, MAGDALENA, and THE NEWSPAPER WIDOW. Published by the University of Santo Tomas University, University of Michigan Press, and PALH, these are all available from Lazada and Shopee in the Philippines, and they are also available in the US from Amazon, Barnes and Noble and others.


Tags: #filipinoauthors #filam authors #pinoylit  #filipinonovels #filipinofiction #Philippineliterature  

Saturday, November 13, 2021

Signed HB First Edition of Brainard's WHEN THE RAINBOW GODDESS WEPT Available


PALH has a few Signed First Edition of the hardbound WHEN THE RAINBOW GODDESS WEPT (Dutton 1994) - as new $79, including US shipping. Contact palh@aol.com or palhbooks@gmail.com
Amazon has this listed for over one hundred.

BOOKLIST Review by Kathleen Hughes
Yvonne Macairag is a nine-year-old living in the Philippines during World War II. She plays contentedly with her cousin, Esperanza, and spends quiet evenings on the veranda with her grandfather. Her family life is idyllic. All of this is lost when the Japanese invade the Philippines. Yvonne flees to the jungle, where her father joins the resistance movement, the guerilleros. Life is hard in the jungle, and Yvonne is often exposed to the atrocities perpetrated by the Japanese soldiers. As the child encounters scenes of wartime horror, she remembers and recites the epic stories of her ancestors. She uses the ancient fables to bolster her courage and to help herself cope with the horrors of the war. Overwhelmed by the superior Japanese firepower, the guerilleros hope the American soldiers will arrive and assist in expelling the Japanese. The American soldiers eventually do, but not before the guerilleros realize that ultimately Filipinos are responsible for the destiny of the Philippines. Like the epic legends, this story tells the tale of the essential courage and wisdom of the Filipinos. A beautifully written novel in which the words flow smoothly across the pages, weaving a story that is half lyrical myth and half brutal reality. Enchanting throughout, this novel will mesmerize the reader right up until its victorious ending.



Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Certificate of Recognition from LEAP, Inc. 2021



Thanks to the Literature Educators Association of the Philippines. Inc. for this Certificate. The leaders did everything gracefully and efficiently, and really it was my privilege to share what I know to Literature teachers. I wish them the best in their important work of teaching young people, not just how to write or read fine literature, but to think critically.

 Read also: 




Monday, November 8, 2021

Cecilia Brainard Talk to Literature Teachers, International Conference LEAP ICLE2021


Video of Cecilia Brainard Talk to Literature teachers, International Conference LEAP ICILE2021, Part 1

Cecilia Brainard's Talk "Literature as a Coping Strategy", Delivered at the International Conference on Literature Education, Oct. 28, 2021. The conference aimed to address the pressing concerns of Literature Teacher on teaching literature during this time of Covid. It likewise sought to provide a platform for discussing the significant shifts in literature teaching and redefinitions of the 21st Century literature teachers. The conference connected vital discussion areas important to the theme to draw a clear and critical understanding of the concerns and challenges that literature teachers face toward the new normal. #education #teachers #literature

PART 1  Video link 


 PART 2: Video Link


PART 3 - Video Link


Transcript of Cecilia Brainard's Talk "Literature as a Coping Strategy, delivered at the Int'l Conference on Literature Education 2021, LEAP, Inc. -  


Certificate from LEAP, Inc. https://cbrainard.blogspot.com/2021/11/certificate-of-recognition-from-leap.html



 tags: #Philippineliterature #Literatureteachers #literatureconference #Philippineeducaton 

Saturday, November 6, 2021

"Death Is Nothing At All" by Henry Scott Holland


By Henry Scott Holland 1847-1918 Canon of St. Paul's Cathedral


Death is nothing at all.
I have only slipped away into the next room.
I am I, and you are you.
Whatever we were to each other, that we still are.
Call me by my old familiar name, speak to me in the easy way which you always used.
Put no difference in your tone, wear no forced air of solemnity of sorrow.
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together. Pray, smile, think of me, pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was.
Let it be spoken without effect, without the trace of a shadow on it.
Life means all that it ever meant. It is the same as it ever was; there is unbroken continuity,
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? I am waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just round the corner.
All is well.
Prayer at the Funeral Service of our friend Les Grossman, may he and all those who have died rest in peace.

Photo by Cecilia Brainard

tags: grief, mourning, funeral, memorial