Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Montreal -- St. Joseph's Oratory & Underground City, by Cecilia Brainard

The last time I visited Canada was in October 2007, and I don't know if it was the colder weather that gave me the impression that Canada was slightly depressed. By this I mean the place and people looked sadder than now.  I must say that this visit, Toronto and Montreal seem very vibrant and optimistic.

The weather this last day of July has been warm and pleasant; and it's delightful to see people in summer clothes basking in parks and sidewalk benches.  This is wonderful summer weather.

Today, we went on a pilgrimage to St. Joseph's Oratory on Mount Royal, the largest church in Canada. The Basilica is huge, towering on the mount so one has wonderful views of Montreal from above. There are two levels to the Basilica; and there are many areas for prayer in the complex. The bottom floor has the crypt of St. Andre Bessette, a humble  brother who had a devotion to St. Joseph.  It is said that he was prompted to build a church in honor of St. Joseph, and he placed a statue of St. Joseph on the ground and told the saint that if he wanted a roof over his head, he would have to help.  A chapel was built, then a church, and now the huge basilica stands. The feeling of holiness and peace permeate the Basilica.

Aside from the crypt, there is a church in the bottom floor.  Upstairs is the Basilica proper, a huge handsome modern church.  Outside there is a small chapel honoring St. Andre.

After praying, we had lunch and proceeded downtown to visit the Underground City.  There is something like 40 kilometers of interconnected complexes that exist under Montreal.  In the winter, this is practical as it is warmer underground; and some 500,000 people use the Underground City during this time of year.  A man reportedly lived for seven years underground.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Montreal - The French Connection!!


The dish, Poutine, is big in Montreal, and here's a recipe:
Servings: 4

Units: US | Metric
1 quart vegetable oil (for frying)
1 (10 1/4 ounce) can beef gravy
5 medium potatoes, cut into fries
2 cups cheese curds

Heat oil in a deep fryer or deep heavy skillet to 365°F (185°C).
Warm gravy in saucepan or microwave.
Place the fries into the hot oil, and cook until light brown, about 5 minutes.
Remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain. 
Place the fries on a serving platter, and sprinkle the cheese over them.

Ladle gravy over the fries and cheese, and serve immediately.

Seriously, we only had Poutine once, although it's the National Food in Quebec Province (of which Montreal is the largest city.) Be vigilant! It may soon enter the Philippine market in no time at all, when Evelyn Morales Del Rosario moves to Manila. Remember you heard about Poutine for the first time from this blog.
Today, the four of us set forth and dared take the bus to get into the city proper.  Montreal is an island with a lot of construction, and so we were actually glad not to drive into town because many exits have been closed off (Barre Sortie!).

Monday, July 29, 2013

Monday in Montreal with Friends, by Cecilia Brainard

Our small group in Canada includes close friends from high school days when we went to St. Theresa's College, San Marcelino. We were a close knit class, and a cluster of us in the back row were closer still, bonded by the secret notes we passed around during class hours and our occasional giggling fits.  The friendship has remained through the years. It is amazing. Sometimes we go for years not seeing one another, but when we are together it's as if time had stood still.

Evelyn Morales Del Rosario who lives in Montreal had been inviting us, and now finally before she leaves at the end of the year, we decided to do so.  Chit and Albert Acayan drove from Connecticut; Guia Lim flew in from Manila; and I (Cecilia Manguerra Brainard) also flew in from Los Angeles.  We met in Toronto and spent a few days there.

Today after a seven hour drive with stops from Toronto, we made it to Montreal before dark.  It had rained in Toronto and we wondered if Canada really is this cold, even in the summer.  But fortunately when we arrived Montreal, the sun was up and even the slight nip in the air did not dampen our excitement.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Assad is Reponsible for Carnage in Syria, from Washington Post


  I'm posting an excerpt from this fine Washington Post article. You can read the entire article from WP - links below

From the Washington Post Opinion

Assad is responsible for the carnage in Syria

The writer is a professor at the University of Otago in New Zealand. His most recent book is “Lebanon: A History, 600-2011.”
In late June, in the course of observing aid to refugees, I visited the Azaz displaced persons camp on the Syrian side of the Syrian-Turkish border. The sun-baked rows of tents march away in the dust. At 104 degrees in the shade, life’s fortunes are reduced to whether a tent happens to be in the shelter of an old concrete hangar. Here, thousands wait forlornly for the chance to enter Turkey.

The immensity of death, flight and destruction in Syria, with these refugees being among the more fortunate flotsam, has not been a natural catastrophe. The all-encompassing criminality of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the clique around him remain the central reality of the evolution in Syria since March 2011. Unfortunately, this truth has been obscured, even sidelined, by the standard “post-modern” impetus in the West to equalize parties to conflicts and to indulge virtually any self-serving narrative or conspiracy theory. The West can thereby walk away from what has become the crime of the 21st century.

Read my other blog entries about the War in Syria

tags: Syria, war, conflict, revolution, women, rape, violence against women, children, Homs, Aleppo, Damascus, Middle East, Civil War, Conflict, Assad

Sunday in Toronto with Friends, by Cecilia Brainard

I've visited Canada before -- Vancouver, Montreal, Quebec, Canadian National Parks -- but never had the chance to spend time in Toronto until today. Toronto is a young modern city, peopled by a lot of immigrants (50% according to one guide), and probably because of this, it's quite vibrant, with a lot of energy. I like Toronto. The city is sprawling and has interesting sections. It has high rises and old 1800s buildings, and right now there's a lot of construction going on.  I would say Toronto has "attitude."  It has a nice university, it's own castle, lovely old churches, a movie and entertainment industry, and a thriving tourist industry.

Today we had dim sum in Rol San Restaurant in Chinatown, which TripAdvisor has down for a high rating of 4.5. The dim sum was really good; favorites were siomai, spare ribs, eggplant, beef slices, and various dumplings.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Maids in the Mist!! (Canada Visit)

Dear Readers,
I am in Canada with my high school friends, Guia Lim, Evelyn Del Rosario, Chit Acayan!  Chit's husband, Albert Acayan, is with us as well, as our driver, cargo carrier, and harem king!

Seriously, the five of us converged in Toronto yesterday, getting into our hotel at midnight and running off to eat the best Chinese food at New Sky Restaurant, which is open until 5 a.m.  When we left at 3 a.m. some people were just coming in to have dinner.  This was excellent Cantonese food, fresh, not greasy, and super-tasty!  Our choices featured steamed crab on rice, Chinese broccoli with sliced beef, mushrooms with pea blossoms, and fried tenderloins. The chef/waiter seemed amused (or charmed) by us and threw in soup, rice dessert and orange slices, along with very auspicious fortunes in our fortune cookies.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Haggling in Peru, travel article by Cecilia Manguerra Brainard

Dear Readers,
For a change of pace, I'm sharing a personal essay, which is part of my collection, Out of Cebu: Essays and Personal Prose (University of San Carlos Press, 2012). It is available in Kindle and Nook. Enjoy! ~ Cecilia 

by Cecilia Manguerra Brainard
Copyright 2013 Cecilia Brainard, all rights reserved

          “Talk to him, will you?” my husband says, standing aside.  He’s referring to the taxi driver in Cusco, Peru.  We’ve just seen the magnificent Inca ruins of Sacsayhuaman and Qenko, and now it’s drizzling, we’re tired and want a ride back to our hotel.
          Cuanto cuesta …” I wave toward the city, “Plaza de Armas Hotel.”  My Spanish isn’t great but I look enough like a Peruvian, I figure they won’t jack up prices as badly as they would for my Gringo husband.
          The man casts a glance at my husband.  Diez soles,” he says.
          My eyes grow large in surprise, and with a dash of indignance I protest, “Pero, costar only quatro soles to get here from la ciudad!”

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Rape of Women and the War in Syria, by Cecilia Brainard


Today I’d like to look at the plight of women as a result of the Syrian War. 

Reports indicate that in Syria the rape of women is used as a “weapon of war” and perpetrated “by all sides,” according to UN official Erika Feller. 

She says:  "This displacement (of civilians) is not only about loss of homes and economic security. It is also, for many, accompanied by gender-based crimes, deliberate victimization of women and children and a frightening array of assaults on human dignity...

"Reports are revealing that the conflict in Syria is being marked by rape and sexual violence employed as a weapon of war to intimidate parties to the conflict destroying identity, dignity and the social fabrics of families and communities." (source: Displacement in Syria...)

Another organization,the International Rescue Committee (IRC), a US based NGO, confirms that rape is “a significant and disturbing feature of the Syrian civil war." “These rapes, sometimes by multiple perpetrators, often occur in front of family members,” the report states.
Another organization, Women Under Seige reports that:
  • 80 percent of the reports include female victims; 20 percent of reports include male victims
  • Ages of female victims ranged from 7 to 46
  • Gang rape allegedly occurred in 40 percent of the reports about women
  • Nearly 50 percent of reports about men involve rape, while 25 percent detail sexual violence without penetration, such as shocks to the genitals

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Children and the War in Syria, by Cecilia Brainard


Children in a war is a topic close to my heart. My first novel, When the Rainbow Goddess Wept, is a coming-of-age story about a young girl, Yvonne, during World War II.  While writing it, even though I was born after the war, it was as if I too had experienced some of the awfulness of that armed conflict. Of course that was fiction.

Right now millions of children are suffering because of the Syrian war. I'm quoting from London-based SAVE THE CHILDREN'S Report, "UNTOLD ATROCITIES: THE STORIES OF SYRIA'S CHILDREN." Save the Children had interviewed children and parents in the refugee camps and communities that are now home to those who have fled the violence in Syria.

Save the Children
1 St. John’s Lane
London ECIM 4AR
Click to view the complete report "Untold Atrocities..."

This following is 14-year-old Hassan’s story:
I was at a funeral when I first heard the rocket that caused a massacre. I think it was targeting the funeral. My cousin and my uncle died that day.

Dead bodies along with injured people were scattered on the ground. I found body parts all over each other; and when we reached the mosque we found tens and tens of dead bodies there. We started to rescue people in need.

Dogs were eating the dead bodies for two days after the massacre. There were tons of people in the mosque too. They were dead, all of them. I was afraid, of course I was afraid.

I was devastated. I hated my life, and I hated myself. I lost my uncle and my cousin, Me and my cousin used to do everything together, and I lost him – my cousin used to stand always by my side.

My house was burnt down. Everything was gone. I wanted to run in, but I couldn’t – it was still too hot. I looked around and everyone was so devastated, no-one could look at each other.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Syrian Revolutionary Poem & Destruction of Khalid bin Walid Mosque

I've been keeping track of news in Syria, which continues to be dire. I found this Syrian Revolutionary Poem, which I'm sharing with my readers. The original is in Arabic, and I used Google Translator and the help of a consultant to translate it into  English. 

from the Syrian Revolution 2011 site

In Homs, since the beginning of the revolution,
We have learned to distinguish the sounds of missiles and bombs,
But we have not forgotten the songs of birds nor the bustle of school children;
In Homs, we have learned the odor of gunpowder and toxic gases,
But we have not forgotten the scent of jasmine and the smell of rain on the ancient streets;
In Homs, we have learned to shut windows so as not to see death by the side of the road,
But we have not forgotten the birds in the sky and white snow in January;
In Homs we have learned the taste and feel of torment and sadness,
But we have not forgotten the taste of apricots, eggplant, and licorice on Ramadan;
In Homs we have learned to look at the wounds of children and feel their warm blood,
But we have not forgotten how to peer into the hearts of ordinary people;

In Homs, our five senses have taught us what freedom is.
We miss you Homs
We miss the call to prayer from the Khalid bin Walid Mosque
And the sounds of the bells of the Church.

We will return, beloved Homs!

Monday, July 22, 2013


As you can see from my other blog postings, I'm crazy about bees.  I love them, have no fear of them, and can go very close to them. They don't mind me at all.

Sometime after 2006, I learned that the bees (especially the domesticated ones) were dying; the syndrome was dubbed Colony Collapse Disorder.  Basically bees abandoned their  hives and some would be found dead or flying about looking confused before dropping dead. The situation has been so bad that the agricultural industry has felt the economic impact.  Many plants rely on bees for pollination.  These poor domesticated bees are shipped long distances (at times from one country to another) to pollinate huge farms, almonds, okra, onion, celery, beet. mustard, cabbage -- the list is long (click here for a list of crops pollinated by bees).

Talking About Jet Lag, by Cecilia Brainard

OK, I'm really, really jet lagged. I got in Friday night, and it's early Monday morning and I'm not back in gear. The time difference between California and the Philippines is 15 hours, meaning it's around 2 a.m. in California, and it's 5 p.m. in the Philippines. And I'm wide awake.

I hate this. I can feel panic rising in me as the clock ticks forward and I'm not one whit sleepy.

I had been laying in bed, staring at the dark ceiling, and finally I gave up and now I'm staring at the computer screen, trying to coax some words out of me.

"Jet lag is a result of alterations to the body's circadian rhythms because of long distance travel."  I got that from Wikipedia.  And Wiki goes on to say that "The condition of jet lag may last several days until one is fully adjusted to the new time zone, and a recovery rate of one day per time zone crossed is a suggested guideline." 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Who was Right - Mahatma Gandhi or Che Guevara? Question of Violence vs Nonviolence, by Cecilia Brainard

It is 2013 and I continue to ask the same question about Violence vs Nonviolence, which I had asked years ago. I simply don't have the answer.

I'm reprinting here some earlier thoughts I had about the matter:

1.  Mahatma Gandhi Quote - (from my May 10, 2013 post)

"When I despair, I remember that all through history the ways of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants, and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall. Think of it--always." ~Mahatma Gandhi

2. In June 18, 2011   I was asked by a newspaper interviewer, what question would I ask the Philippine National Hero, Jose Rizal, if I could. Here is my question:

 Peace or revolution? “Knowing what happened to the Philippines after your death, which would have been more effective in achieving independence from Spain - non-violence as Gandhi used, or a bloody revolution?

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Shoes, Champagne, and Young German Students - photos by Cecilia Brainard

We have some visitors, German students from Bremen. Here are some pictures. Top photo, l-r: Sandra Wolf, Celine Moenhs, (host) Stephanie Lee Groverland; and bottom photo shows, High- heeled shoes and Champagne; bottom picture l-r: Sandra Wolf, Chris Brainard, Stephanie Lee Groverland, and Celine Moenhs

tags: students, Bremen, Exchange students,California, Germany, summer school

My "Boys" - Che and Tesla, by Cecilia Brainard

My "Boys" - Che and Tesla, by Cecilia Brainard

I call them "my boys" and they are not real boys at all, but a couple of gray alley cats that we adopted two years ago.  Their adoption came after a grieving period for a beautiful orange tabby who died of poisoning.  It was a terrible death, one I fortunately missed because I was out of town.

We have always had cats, from the time we lived in San Francisco and then in Santa Monica, some alley, some Siamese pedigrees. They were always outdoor cats.  After we got over Kiki's death (read Kiki, a Story about our Cat), we decided to get a kitten, and we rescued Mao, a beautiful classic Tabby from the pound.  In fact, it was an unusual adoption, with around six interested parties and we had to bid on Mao. I bid high, to make sure we'd get him; and I recall two women who snidely came up to me and said they could take better care of Mao than I would (or something like that).  I remembered their bitter words when Mao died of poisoning.  Mao was an indoor cat, but one Sunday when my son and his children were here, he escaped and roamed outside. We suspect he licked drippings of radiator fluid from our neighbor's car.  In any case, he died a horrible death, and we spent almost a year grieving over him. We swore we would never have another cat again.

Friday, July 19, 2013

I'm Back in the USA! by Cecilia Brainard

 Hurrah! I'm back in the USA!

This is how the travel from Cebu to Los Angeles goes, on Philippine Airlines.

You have to be at the Cebu airport two hours before departure. The flight to Manila is one hour. When you arrive Manila, you have to exit the Domestic building and walk up to the International departure area. You have to be screened all over again. You pay your terminal fee of P550, then go stand in another line to go through the Immigration officials. You're screened one more time, then you're in the terminal section with the various departure gates.

You're screened one last time to get to a smaller holding area.  Another wait, then you get on your plane, and it's a little over a 13 hour flight from Manila to Los Angeles. When all is said and done, it takes around 18 hours to get from one end of the world to the next. There's time change, so you leave and arrive on the same day. (You lose a day.)

But I made it back without any problems!  Yaay!

More tomorrow then, if I'm not too jetlagged.

These pictures are from the US of A, showing Arches, Bryce, Sedona, Sedona again, and Taos.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Part 3- Pictures of Historic Cebu Philippines, by Cecilia Brainard

Click here for Part 1 - Pictures of Historic District, Cebu, Philippines
Click here for Part 2 - Pictures of Historic District, Cebu, Philippines

This is the last set of the pictures I took in the Historic district of Cebu, Philippines

Here you see Magellan's Cross in the kiosk, a charming little park (Senior Citizen's park), a department store, the historic building that used to be the Presidential house in Cebu (now condemned because of a strong earthquake two years ago), the Fort San Pedro, and some random shots of people, a fruit cart, and a fighting cock.

Enjoy the pictures!

Part 2 -Pictures of Historic Cebu Philippines - Santo Nino Basilica

This is Part 2 - Pictures of Historic Cebu, Philippines

Click here for Part 1 - Pictures of Historic Cebu, Philippines
Click here for Part 3 - Pictures of Historic Cebu, Philippines

I'm posting more of the pictures I took of Historic Cebu.

These were taken in the Santo Nino Basilica, the oldest church in the Philippines, founded in the 16th century.  As a newborn I had beri-beri and was basically dying when my mother danced her prayer to the Child Jesus to beg for my life. I survived.

While she was alive, my mother always reminded me I owed my life to the Santo Nino and whenever I was in Cebu, would take me to visit Him.  I continue to visit the Santo Nino when I am in town. The Child Jesus is considered miraculous by many, and numerous pilgrims visit daily. They line up to make their way to the statue of the Baby Jesus, which is ensconced in a separate altar, and when they are there, they kiss a relic as they say their prayers.

There is a custom here in Cebu, which I find endearing. People wave hello and goodbye to the Child Jesus, as if He were a live person.

The pictures show the exterior of the basilica, the main altar, the side altar with the Santo Nino, people showing devotion, the cloister, an oil painting depicting the arrival of the Spaniards in 1521, exterior picture, and people lighting candles to show their devotion.

Two Degrees of Separation -Dinner With Cebu Friends

 I have known some of the people in the picture all my life. We are all "children of Cebu" and what that means is that we know not only one another, but one another's families. What would be "six degrees of separation" for other cultures would only be two degrees of separation in Cebu.
 Everyone is related to everyone else; you just have to go through your genealogies to find the connections.

So it is that every time I visit Cebu, I must sit and sup with friends and relatives, because we are all interwoven as one.

Here's a picture taken at a dinner with old friends.

Seated l-r: Chinggay Utzurrum, Terry Manguerra, Cecilia Brainard, Inday Blanco, Chona Bernad; Standing l-r: Ferdinand Ventura, Louie Nacorda, Lyn Ocampo

tags: Cebu, Cebuano, Visayas, Philippines, society, family, friends

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

FLIP GOTHIC YouTube Renditions by University Students

I found these two YouTube Renditions of my short story, FLIP GOTHIC, which is used by many teachers. I didn't put the links in because they won't show - some technical matter that's beyond my head. The performance clips are by University of San Carlos students:
And here's the link again to my blog entry with the complete story of FLIP GOTHIC
tags: Philippine literature, Filipina, Cebu, author, writer, fiction, short story, Flip Gothic, Cecilia Manguerra Brainard, University of San Carlos

Pictures of Historic Cebu, Philippines - Part 1

Yesterday I walked around the Historic District of Old Cebu to take pictures. I can't get enough; the place is very photogenic. I'll post these in sections; so this is Part 1.
You can google for more information about these places.

Here also is a link to an earlier article I wrote: Walking Tour of Old Cebu 

Click here to see pictures Part 2 - Santo Nino Basilica 
Click here for Part 3 - Pictures of Historic Cebu, Philippines


1. The 1730 Jesuit House

2. The Yap-Sandiego House
3. Heritage Monument of Cebu

4. Humabon Park - statue shows Rajah Humabon, leader of Cebu when Ferdinand Magellan and his crew appeared in 1521. He was a Pintado, or Tattooed One

5. Cathedral Museum - there's a glare but am choosing this because of the jeepney in front

6. The Cathedral of Cebu
7. Small street near the Santo Nino Basilica that has always sold flowers and food

All for now, thanks for stopping by.  I'll post more tomorrow,

Read also
The Bachelors and Femina Days of Cebu - Memorabilia photos
Old Photographs and Memories 
The Schools I attended, Part 1, St.Theresa's College
The Schools I attended, Part 2, UP & Maryknoll
The Schools I attended, Part 3, UCLA

Saying Goodbye to Papa
Where the Daydreaming Came From 
Death of a Carnival Queen

tags: photographs, pictures, Cebu, Philippines, downtown Cebu, Historic Cebu, tourism

Syrians fleeing war at rate not seen since Rwandan genocide: U.N. - Reuters & Other Media Updates

This is disturbing news coming from Syria. The civil war there continues to escalate, and I'm wondering what the rest of the world is doing. There are some petitions at the bottom of the page from  Read and choose carefully.

(Reuters, July16, 2013) - The number of people fleeing the conflict in Syria has escalated to an average of 6,000 a day during 2013 - a rate not seen since the genocide in Rwanda nearly two decades ago, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres said on Tuesday.

Fiction - Flip Gothic, by Cecilia Manguerra Brainard

Fiction - This short story is part of Brainard's collection, Acapulco at Sunset and Other Stories, available from Kindle and Anvil.

by Cecilia Manguerra Brainard

Dear Mama,
Thank you for agreeing to have Mindy. Jun and I just don’t know what to do with her. I’m afraid if we don’t intervene, matters will get worse. Mia, her Japanese American friend, had to be sent to a drug rehab place. You’d met her when you were here; she’s the tiny girl who got into piercing; she had a nose ring, a belly ring - and something in her tongue. Her parents are distraught; they don’t know what they’ve done, if they’re to blame for Mia’s problem. I talked to Mia’s Mom yesterday and Mia’s doing all right; she’s writing angry poetry but is getting over the drug thing, thank God.
There’s so much anger in these kids, I can’t figure it out. They have everything - all the toys, clothes, computer games and whatever else they’ve wanted. I didn’t have half the things these kids have; and Jun and I had to start from scratch in this country - you know that. That studio we had near the hospital was really tiny and I had to do secretarial work while Jun completed his residency. Everything we own - this house, our cars, our vacation house in Connecticut - we’ve had to slave for. I don’t understand it; these kids have everything served to them in a silver platter and they’re angry.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Schools I Attended - Part 3, UCLA

The Schools I Attended -Part 3, UCLA

Click here for Part 1, St. Theresa's College
Click here for Part 2, UP & Maryknoll

My mother, who was widowed at the age of 47, had the vision of sending her four children abroad after college, to round out our education. The oldest daughter and only son were sent to the US; the second daughter went to Spain; and since I was going to be a film maker, I had to be near Hollywood.

So at age 21, I got on an airplane and headed first for Hong Kong, then Honolulu, where I hooked up with two other Filipinas. Together we went to San Francisco, then on to Los Angeles. With their help, I made it to the UCLA (University of California at Los Angeles) campus.

UCLA  was huge and sprawling, with a student population of around 40,000. I arrived in the spring and the campus was gorgeous. The huge trees, shrubs and flowers were lush and blooming; the old part of the campus had handsome buildings made of brick; the newer buildings were also nice. There were a couple of provocative modern fountains. On the Westwood Village end was the medical center and med school, and scattered all around were buildings for geology, business administration, law, liberal arts, and so on – a city in itself.

I lived first in a boarding house and later in a shared apartment. It took me 20 minutes to walk to the Film department.

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Schools I Attended - Part 2, UP & Maryknoll

The schools I attended – Part 2, UP (University of the Philippines) & Maryknoll College

 The reason I considered being an engineer was because my father was a civil engineer.  I wanted to be chemical engineer. It had gotten into my head that I wanted to make perfume, an idea that sprung from my attempts as a child to make scents from our sweet-smelling jasmine flowers.   

My mother should have known that my mind was not suited for engineering, but she liked the idea and she accompanied me to the University of the Philippines in Diliman to enroll. I did not think about it until later that my mother had a strong attachment to the UP. She had attended it; and my father had been an engineering professor and Advisor of the Tau Alpha Fraternity at the UP. (I never quite appreciated the importance of the latter, but I would hear about his having been Advisor decades after he died, so it must have been significant.) 

Since my SATs and high school grades were good, I was accepted without any problem. We lived in Malate, which was very far from Diliman, and so Mama placed me in a UP dorm, the Ilang-Ilang if I recall right, where I shared a room with three or four other young women.  The deal was that I would go home to Malate for the weekends.  Since students at the UP wore “civilian” clothes, Mama had many clothes sewn for me, which made me feel like a kind of fashion model.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Schools I Attended, Part 1 St. Theresa's College

The Schools I Attended - Part 1, St. Theresa's College Cebu and San Marcelino

Click here for Part 2 - UP & Maryknoll
Click here for Part 3 - UCLA

First there was St. Theresa's College in Cebu, which was run by Belgian nuns. My mother, who loved business, entrusted us children to the Belgian nuns. She enrolled me in kindergarten when I was four years old.  The alternative was to leave me in the care of yayas (nannies) and maids and Mama figured the nuns would do a better job of rearing us.

The Belgian nuns (Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary) were strict disciplinarians. Early on we learned about rules and regulations and respecting authority and doing homework.  We were also taught that we were privileged and had to give back to society, an idea that stayed with many of us. 

We wore blue and white uniforms, starched stiff, with a blue ribbon at the collar, and with a school pin right smack in the center.  The white blouse had long sleeves, and thinking about it makes me wonder how we survived the tropical heat, given we played hard before and after class hours and during recess.  There was a playground with a merry-go-round and swings, and the campus had all sorts of interesting cubbies like the grotto area and a mysterious bamboo grove, more or less forbidden to us and which therefore became highly attractive.