Friday, January 31, 2014

My Cats Miss me!

I hear my two cats miss me!
Look at them, sitting on my office chair in front of my computer!

(In fact, they are thinking: What the...?  Where's our "staff" -- the one who feeds us what we want, plays with us at night, and does everything we want her to?)

All for now, this Saturday in Makati

Gung Hai Fat Choy! Happy New Year of the Horse!


Hello again, from Makati.  Happy Chinese New Year! It's the Year of the Wooden Horse.

I took these pictures in Glorietta, Makati. There are dragon dancers and a lot of decorations in the Mall. I spotted a couple of my books in Powerbooks - Behind the Walls and Angelica's Daughters. The circular building is Greenbelt Chapel, which is a nice refuge at the end of the day.

And the group picture of three shows l-r: Guia Lim, Cecilia Brainard, Araceli Lorayes having lunch at Apartment 1b in Rockwell, Makati. Very nice restaurant, by the way.

Read also
Chinese New Year celebrations around the world

tags: New Year, Chinese New Year, Makati
Thanks for stopping by,

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Pictures of Friends - Eric Lachica, Brenda Arroyo, Mayen Tan

 Whenever I visit the Philippines, I see my friends.

Top photo is Eric Lachica and me, taken in front of Mesa Restaurant in Makati.Years ago, Eric and I were involved in the anti-Marcos movement in Los Angeles. Eric is now an officer of the US Medicare PH Inc.  (

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Cebu Travel Pictures: Friends, Cats in Fruit Basket, Magellan's Cross Kiosk

Here are more pictures taken in Cebu City.
The cats in the fruit basket amused me, but I don't know about eating those mangoes and bananas!
And the kiosk of Magellan's Cross suffered from the October 7.1 Magnitude earthquake and is being reinforced.
The picture with my friends show l-r: Terry Manguerra, Inday Blanco, Chona Bernad, Chinggay Utzurrum, and Cecilia Brainard. We ate at Busog, which has good Filipino food.

Read also
Walking Tour of Old Cebu
Life in Old Parian
Cebu's 1730 Jesuit House
Finding Jose Rizal in Cebu

tags: travel, toursim, Historic Cebu, Heritage, Cebu City, Philippines, culture, tour, Asia  
All for now,

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Cebu Travel Pictures: Cathedral, Santo Nino, Night Market, Historic Section, Motorcycles

I took these pictures last Sunday evening. I noticed that there are more motorcycles in the Cebu now and I assume that's because motorcycles are more affordable than cars.  Cebu is starting to look like Vietnam or India, with families of four riding bikes.

Monday, January 27, 2014

TYPHOON HAIYAN UPDATE: Father Desuyo from Odlot, Northern Cebu

This the third blog entry about my trip to Northern Cebu which was punished by super typhoon Haiyan or Yolanda.

Our last stop was a visit to Father Romeo Desuyo, parish priest of the small seaside village of Odlot, near Bogo, also in Northern Cebu.  Ninety-two percent of the homes of the people was damaged by Haiyan. Father Desuyo was among the first who brought food, water, and help to the people, and not just to Odlot but to Bantayan and Ormoc. Driving back and forth from the City of Cebu, he and his friends were able to provide some relief to the people.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

PHILIPPINES TYPHOON HAIYAN: A Northern Cebu Couple's Story of Survival

The northern tip of the island of Cebu was right on the path of super typhoon Haiyan and the place was badly hit. The ravaged areas include Bogo and surroundings, the islands of Bantayan and Malapasqua. Daanbantayan, which is part of the mainland of Cebu was battered. Fortunately there was no storm-surge and people did not drown.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

TYPHOON HAIYAN AFTERMATH: Northern Cebu, Philippines Update, Israeli Medical Mission

I visited Northern Cebu, which had been badly hit by super typhoon Haiyan or Yolanda last November 8, 2013.  I have many pictures and stories, which I'll have to break up.

To give you an overview, this January 2014, Cebu as well as the rest of the Philippines is experiencing an unusual cold snap with temperatures ranging from 68 degrees to the low 70s.  This may not sound cold to some of you, but this is around 10 degrees cooler than usual, and this temperature change is enough to damage some crops and apparently kill some animals although the deaths of the cattle and others are being investigated further.  My friends, Lyn and Lautrec Ocampo , who brought me to Northern Cebu, were surprised to see fog in the farmlands of Bogo.

You can trace our route on the map: Cebu, Mandaue, Danao, Carmen, Bogo all the way to Daanbantayan.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Philippine Literature: The Phenomenon of "Woman With Horns"

I'm calling this a "phenomenon" because this is a case where a story has taken on a life of its own.

I'm referring to one of the first stories I wrote "Woman With Horns."This was inspired by a woman in Cebu, where I was born and grew up in. This woman was rumored to have horns. When we ran into her, the older folks would whisper that she hid her horns under her bulging hairdo.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Comparing my Sony RX 100 with other Cameras and Cell Phone

I have a new Sony RX 100 and for fun I'm posting images below taken by it, a cell phone, my old Canon Supershot, and my Canon G12.  The image by the Canon G12 seems to be the sharpest but then this was taken during the daytime.  I'll use my RX 100 to take daytime pictures as I check out Cebu, and let's see what kind of images this new camera takes.

If you have any tips on how I can get better pictures with this RX 100, let me know.  Don't be intimidated by the Comments section of this blog.  It checks to make sure you're not a robot, and I have to approve it. I get a lot of spam, dear Readers, which is why this is setup this way.  But I do get blog comments and I approve them if they're not spam.

Seriously, let me know!

 The above image was taken by my new Sony RX 100, on automatic setting.

The above image was taken by my niece's cell phone.

Hello, from Cebu, Philippines! - Update Sinulog and Super Typhoon Haiyan


Dear Readers,
Here I am in Cebu, Philippines! I haven't had time to look around but I'll be blogging about my Philippine stay, so stay tuned.

I hear the Sinulog Festival was a rip-roaring success, and I quote from the local Sunstar:

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Guest Blogger: Award-winning Author, JON PINEDA Shares His Poem "MATAMIS"

 Our Guest Blogger is JON PINEDA, winner 
of the 2013 Milkweed National Fiction Prize for his novel Apology. I had the privilege of meeting Jon last October at a book festival in San Francisco. I was very impressed with this talent and charm. 

Thank you, Jon, for sharing your work.
Introduction by Jon Pineda

It’s been ten years since my debut collection Birthmark won the Crab Orchard Award Series in Poetry Open Competition, and even though I’ve gone on to publish another poetry collection, a memoir, and a novel, I look back on this poem “Matamis,” which opens Birthmark, and am grateful for a number of reasons.  The moment it seeks to capture is very much the thing that keeps me writing.  Rooted in the speaker is an uncertainty, a silence.  I find this silence often, especially when working on a new poem or a new story.  But, like all writers, I know I must push through in the language, to search for what is more than silence.  The final gesture of the father (my father, who is from the Philippines) continues to sustain me. 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Anvil Publishing's Featured Author - Cecilia Manguerra Brainard

Thank you Anvil Publishing, Inc in the Philippines for featuring me.

Please click on the Anvil site to get to their featured page, including my books which they have published:

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Syrian War, Philippines Haiyan - In Death, We are the Same

photo taken in Tacloban, Philippines

photo of Ghouta chemical massacre

When super typhoon punished the Philippines and images surfaced of the human toll, I could not help but compare the pictures with those who died from the war in Syria. 

The shrouded bodies, the faces so still. 

In death, we are the same.

photo of Haiyan victims

photo of Assad Chemical attack victims

All for now,

Saturday, January 18, 2014

SYRIA WAR: Kerry Accused Assad of Funding Hardline Fighters

 From Recent Syria News:

Speaking on Friday, Kerry accused Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of funding and ceding territory to hardline fighters in order to increase fears surrounding rebel groups.
"Nobody is going to be fooled," Kerry said. "They can bluster, they can protest, they can put out distortions, the bottom line is we are going to Geneva to implement Geneva I, and if Assad doesn't do that he will invite greater response".  ~ from Aljazeera, Arabnews, rappler, and many other sources

 Read also
The World Supports Syria- Day of Solidarity with Syria January 11, 2014-pictures

tags: Syria, Syrian, war, revolution, Middle East, Geneva, Aleppo, Homs, Damascus, Assad, Al'Qaeda

I am praying for peace in Syria and where there is unrest!
 All for now,

Friday, January 17, 2014

Manicure and Pedicure at Vietnamese American Nail Salons

I love getting a manicure and pedicure. There was a time when mani-pedis were expensive, but the Vietnamese Americans got into the nail salon business and made these affordable. In the Los Angeles area, a  Deluxe Manicure and Pedicure is only $38, excluding tips. The deluxe includes a lovely massage!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

CEBU, PHILIPPINES: The Old Families of Colon Street

The oldest street in the Philippines is reportedly Colon (named after Christopher Columbus) in Cebu. My mother's family, the Cuencos, lived in Colon. The first floor of their house was used for their publishing business, the Imprenta Rosario - I've highlighted this information in the article. I find it particularly interesting that my great-grandmother Remedios, whom I never met, was the first woman publisher in the Philippines (the article says "Cebu" but that should be the "Philippines"). It happened by default - her husband died and she took over in managing and running the business.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Thinking of Mama, Concepcion Cuenco Manguerra, Cebu Carnival Queen 1931

My Mother, Concepcion Cuenco Manguerra, was Cebu's Carnival Queen in 1931. The top picture is part of Lucy Miller's coffee table book, Glimpses of Old Cebu

I saw this picture only when I got a copy of Lucy's book. Many of Mama's old photos were destroyed during World War II.  The few pictures I have came from other people who knew her. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

SYRIA WAR: Father Paolo Dall'Oglio. S.J. May be Alive!

While looking at the pictures posted in the Facebook site of Days of Solidarity with Syria I caught this picture from Italy and realized that Father Paolo Dall'Oglio, the Italian Jesuit priest who was kidnapped last July 29, 2013 may be alive.

Monday, January 13, 2014

The World Supports Syria - Day of Solidarity with Syria January 11, 2014 - Pictures

It is beautiful to see members of the world's community support their suffering brothers and sisters!

The following pictures are courtesy of the Facebook site of Day of Solidarity with Syria. The worldwide event was held last January 11, 2014, and you can see that people from all over the world responded. You can click on the pictures to make them bigger. There are more pictures at the Facebook site of Day of Solidarity with Syria.

"You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty." ~ by Mahatma Gandhi

Sunday, January 12, 2014

China's One-Child Policy and Karma

In 1979, China established their one-child policy as a means of controlling China's population to address social, economic, and environmental problems.

One of the offshoots of this policy was female infanticide because many couples preferred boys over girls. Because of the killing of girl fetuses/babies, there are now more young men than young women. There is actually a shortage of girls so that many of the beloved "emperors" will have no prospect of ever getting married!

Saturday, January 11, 2014


If you read my earlier blog, you will know that I lost my camera and money in an internet scam.  I sent my camera (Canon G12) and $89 payment to Cameras and Parts or last September, and despite repeated phone calls and emails, I never got my camera back.

Before dealing with them, I had checked the internet and found a lot of "positive" reviews/feedback about them, which made me trust them. Now I realize their employee(s) posted these positive reviews about in various sites and discussion groups. The accurate negative reviews are diluted by their false positive comments.

I've gathered some customers' complaints about Cameras and Parts so readers can consider more clearly what these people do to customers and be properly warned.

Their information, as listed in the Better Business Bureau, El Paso, TX, is:
Cameras and
1605 George Dieter, PO Box 574
El Paso, TX 79936
Contact: Mr. Ryan Eisenberg

If you've already lost your camera and money to Cameras and, file complaints to the Better Business Bureau of El Paso, TX, the US Postal Inspection Service,  the Internet Crime Complaint Center, the Federal Trade Commission, call and report them to the El Paso, Texas Police Department, 1-915-832-4436, among others.


No refund, and the camera is lost!

I have found a repair service called Cameras and Parts, and decided to send them my camera for a repair. They ask for a pre-payment, so I wired them the money. One month later and still no news from anyone – I called them up and asked where is my camera. They said that they never received it (!!!) and they do not carry any responsibility for the lost camera. I am very upset because this camera was expensive! And now they won't even refund me the money i paid them FOR NOTHING! ~ from ReviewsTalk
Do not use this bunch of crooks. Complete and utter rip off. Send these jokers your camera at your peril. Do some research and above all do not use this bunch of crooks. ~by Nioman, Complaints Board 
THIS is a SCAM. I lost my camera and my money. When I didn't receive my camera in a month and a half, I contested the payment with PayPal. I got a call back from Mike and he was so "nice" and said he would expedite the repair, I just needed to go back to PayPal and have the dispute resolved. Once I did that, PayPal doesn't let you go back again. I lost the $$ and never got my camera! ~Ollim, Complaints Board

Friday, January 10, 2014

Which Travel Camera Should I Buy?

As some of you know, I lost my Canon G12 to an internet scammer and so I thought I'd get a good point-and-click camera, for travel.  I contacted my techie son who sent me the following information:

Thursday, January 9, 2014

SYRIA: Khawla Bint al-Azwar - 7th Century Muslim Woman Warrior

While reading about the confrontation between ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham) and the other rebel groups in Syria, I came across the name of Khawla Bint al-Azwar, whose grave had been bombed by the ISIS:

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

BEWARE OF in El Paso, Texas

Last September 2013, I sent my Canon G12 to be repaired at Cameras and Parts (or in El Paso, Texas. I included a check for $89, payment for the repairs to:

Cameras and Parts
1605 George Dieter, Suite 574
El Paso, Texas 79936


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Wicked Catholic Nuns of my Youth?

I've seen a couple of movies featuring some pretty evil Irish nuns. The first movie, Philomena, has Irish nuns running an orphanage. The movie, supposedly based on a true story, focuses on a mother who is searching for her son whom she had to give up while living at the convent. The story implies that the nuns ran a business of "selling" babies to wealthy people looking for babies to adopt.

Monday, January 6, 2014

My Engineer Story and Other Engineer Jokes

A friend posted the joke about the Engineer and the frog (see below) and I remembered my conversation with my son who's a civil engineer.  Our discussion was about the red Mercedes Benz that used to belong to my husband and which I was driving. It had stalled on me a couple of times and I wasn't sure what to do with it.

My son who disliked that car said I ought to get rid of it because it had also stalled on his Dad, and it stalled on me and would continue to do so. He went on to enumerate the problems with the car in the most logical way.  He's a civil engineer, after all.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Philippines Post Typhoon Haiyan - Update Northern Cebu as of January 5, 2014


I received this update from a friend in Cebu. She is a devotee to Our Lady of Remedies in Odlot, Northern Cebu: 

"Signs of destruction and devastation brought upon by Yolanda are still clearly visible. Some parts of Bantayan (Northern Cebu) are still without electricity. Some houses and schools are still roofless. We saw some UN tents along the way. I heard from my cousin that relief goods are still being distributed.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Medicine and Health: Herbs as Natural Remedies

In the Philippines where I grew up in, people used herbs for natural treatment.
As children, when we had skin rashes, Mama would boil the young shoots of Guava leaves, and use the "tea" to wash the affected skin.