Friday, February 28, 2014

Sunshine Break in Fiji - Hurrah!

The tropical storm blew away from where we are and for most of the day we had beautiful sunshine.  The beach looks trashed however, with driftwood and debris on the beach; the water has also risen, a phenomenon that surprised the locals working in the hotel. (I worried: is this a baby-tsunami?)

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Tropical Storm in Fiji Continues

It's still raining in Fiji. In fact there was a cyclone warning earlier today. There are two tropical depressions which are expected to create a cyclone over the weekend.  The people are warned to move to higher ground; all sorts of preparations are in place.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

It's Raining in Fiji Paradise!

It's raining in Fiji, dear Readers. It started raining yesterday afternoon, a soft rain in this warm weather. It was very pleasant in fact. We took a cab to the small touristy village nearby and had dinner at a Cajun restaurant.  Lauren swears their chili was the best he's ever had.  The village complex has a post office, supermarket, shops, cafes, restaurants, and these sprawl out with a lagoon and ponds in the complex.  Lovely!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Cultural Night at the Fiji Palms Resort

I know these cultural nights at resorts can be hockey, but sometimes, they're all you've got to get clues about a people's culture. We attended Fiji Palms Resort's cultural night, which included a buffet of their traditional food and folkloric dance and music.  Here are some pictures. Please be patient as my high-res pictures take forever to download.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

First Impressions of Fiji and Fijians

We arrived Nadi Airport of Viti Levu Island, Fiji, on Saturday morning. The International airport is small and hassle free. Following the advice of other travelers, we picked up some items at the Duty Free Shop.

The Palms Fiji Resort, where we are staying, is on the other side of the island and a resort van picked us up and took us on a lovely coastal ride toward Suva city.

How can I let you know my first impressions of Fiji and Fijians?

Thursday, February 20, 2014

En route to Fiji - First Stop - Honolulu

Resting in Waikiki Beach during a 12-hour layover in Honolulu

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Coming up -- the Fiji Islands!!!

I know my travel schedule is crazy, dear Readers, but soon after getting back to California, a trip to the Fiji Islands was proposed.  I couldn't refuse. Still jet lagged, I'm taking off to Fiji. In fact, I haven't tried hard to get back into California time, so I'll slip back into Pacific Time easily.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Watch out for Windows Scamners re Malware!

Yesterday, I got a phone call from a man with an Indian accent who said he was Stephen from Microsoft Windows. He was calling because my computer was infected with a lot of malware. He told me to go to my computer and to press the keys "Windows" and "R" which led me the Windows Run dialog box, and then he had me enter "eventvwr", which revealed a list of repetitive "Information" listings, so-called infections, he said. Then he had me visit a site of AMMYY, after which the person wanted to control my computer.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Still Resting!

Still resting!
I'm miserably jet lagged!
Thanks for your patience. Let's hope my brain functions tomorrow.

All for now,


Sunday, February 16, 2014

Resting Today!

I'm resting today after the long flight!

First, there was the two-hour flight from Cebu to Hong Kong, followed by an hour's layover, then the 11 1/2 hour flight from Hong Kong to Los Angeles, followed by the 1 hour customs processing at LAX.  They have a new system in place that requires passengers to walk far from the airplane to a long line waiting to have your passport checked by officers. After that you get your luggage and join another long line to have still another officer quizz you if you have anything to declare. The ones he suspects of lying need to have their suitcases x-rayed -- that's another line too.

A young military wife with two dogs in containers aside from her bags almost went ballistic, until fortunately the military made phone calls and she was placed in a priority line.

The rest of us shuffled through the tedious lines.

All for now,

Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Difference Between Male and Female Cats



Read also
My Cats Miss Me!
Kiki, a story about our cat
"My Boys" - Che and Tesla

All for now,

Friday, February 14, 2014

Dining with More Friends and a Dog Named Shakira!

Here are a few more pictures with friends:
Top photo was taken in Makati, l-r: Cecilia, Cynthia Posa, Mila Santillan, Marily Orosa;

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Justice Court "Al Fresco" in Cebu City, Philippines


Do you remember that horrific 7.2 or 7.1 Magnitude Earthquake that hit Bohol and Cebu last October 15, 2013?

It destroyed many churches and buildings in both places.  In Cebu, the Justice Building had cracks and determined unsafe.  For almost four months now, the regional courts have been holding sessions outside the building, in tents -- see pictures. Out there, next to the parking lot and the street, is where the judges, lawyers, detainees (the guys in yellow), and cops go for court sessions.   

Book Launch: Filipinotown: Voices from Los Angeles, Sat. Feb. 15, 2014

I'm honored to be part of a Filipino American anthology, Filipinotown: Voices from Los Angeles.

The book launch is on Sat, Feb. 15, 2014, 10 am to 3 pm, at SIPA, 3200 West Temple. Los Angeles 90026. 

Thanks Carlene Sobrino Bonnivier. Gerald Gubatan, and Greg Villanueva for including my work. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Cebu Philippines - Two Funny Signs Seen in the City

 Only in the Philippines!

The bottom sign is courtesy of Lynley Ocampo.
 It reads: "A 10 Tion, Do not urinate this Area. I'll cut penis."

tags: Cebu, Philippines, signs, funny

All for now,

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Typhoon Haiyan: Love Package for Northern Cebu, Philippines Arrived!

I belong to a Prayer Group to Our Lady of Velankanni,and once a month we meet and pray at the house of Maria Ciocon. When super typhoon Haiyan or Yolanda hit last November, we raised some money, which we sent to Father Romeo Desuyo, parish priest of Odlot in Northern Cebu.  Odlot lost 92% of its homes to the super typhoon.

We also gathered clothes, shoes, other things for the survivors, which we mailed via LBC. LBC travels by boat, which takes around a month.  Father Desuyo received the first box, and he took a couple of pictures, which he posted in his facebook account.  There are two more boxes on the way.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Proposal for a Filipino to Make Brazilian-style Hammocks!

Do you remember that hammock I lay on, in Manaus, Brazil?

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Hot Stone Massage in Cebu, Philippines

Since I enjoyed the Island Spa in Resorts World, I thought I'd try a spa in Cebu. My friend and I went to Meddah Spa at the Crossroads Mall in Banilad. This place offers a lot of services, including hot stone massage. 

Tent City for Haiyan or Yolanda Survivors in Cebu, Philippines

After super typhoon devastated Central Philippines, Cebu City provided shelter to some refugees from Tacloban, Leyte. They were housed in gymnasiums, and on December 21 a Tent City was opened to provide temporary shelter to the Haiyan survivors.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

SYRIA WAR: John Kerry's Statements

..each and every day that the barrel-bombing of Aleppo continues, the Assad regime reminds the world of its true colours.

Friday, February 7, 2014

MAKATI: Discovering Greenbelt 5's Kimpura and Peking Garden

I like to explore Makati with friends. Now, for years, I've walked through Greenbelt 5 in Makati, not really paying too much attention.  I didn't know there are good restaurants on the top floor of Greenbelt 5.  I thought the Makati restaurants were mostly in Greenbelt 3 and 4 - Mesa, Bizu, and Barcino's being favorites in that part of Makati.

Ahhhh! The Luxury of an Island Spa Massage

Before today, I had a total of two massages. One was a Thai massage in Thailand and a full body massage at the Bee Farm in Bohol.  Both massages were painful and left me with bruises.

When my niece Edith Manguerra and Baby So invited me to a spa for a massage, I wasn't sure if I'd end up bruised as I had been.

In any case, my friend Tillic Lorayes and I went with Edith and Baby to the Island Spa in Resorts World Manila.  The decor of the place has a restive Asian theme. We were greeted with soothing ginger tea. The room that Tillic and I shared was spic and span with an elegant serene feeling. There was piped-in tranquil music, and a huge TV, which we turned off. It was more restful to listen to the soft music during the massage.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Seeing the Musicale "Wicked" in Manila!

What a treat!

My friend, Guia Lim, had an extra ticket and invited me to see the Musicale "Wicked." I'd seen "Wicked" in New York, and for some reason, it was more enjoyable this second time. (The plot is convoluted and perhaps seeing it the second time clarified some plot lines.) The Australian company was great. The performer who played Glinda was particularly good.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Stories for Haiyan/Yolanda Victims "Outpouring: Yolanda Relief Anthology"

When super typhoon Haiyan or Yolanda struck Central Philippines last November 2013, I was completing a chapter from my novel-in-progress. I submitted the chapter about Pilar Echeverria, "a toothpick-of-a girl wearing a pink cotton dress, her long brown hair tied in the back with a matching pink ribbon" to Dean Francis Alfar who was editing a fundraising anthology.

My story/chapter,"Pilar Echeverria"), is part of the collection of stories, Outpouring: Yolanda Relief Anthology.  Here's information about the collection. All proceeds will be donated to the Philippine Red Cross for Haiyan or Yolanda victims.

 "Outpouring: Yolanda Relief Anthology" is now live at the following ebookstores:

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

An Afternoon with Philippine National Artist for Literature, F. Sionil Jose

Tuesday afternoon, I visited Philippine National Artist for Literature, F. Sionil Jose, and his wife Tessie in their bookshop, La Solidaridad, in Ermita, Manila.

I take some pride in the fact that I'm allowed to call him"Frankie" and that I get to kiss him and his wife on their cheeks to greet them.

They are very kind to me.

There was a time when I didn't visit them because of Manila's awful traffic, and he let me know he wasn't happy about my absence. Ever since, I've made it a point to brave the traffic from Makati to Ermita to visit Frankie and Tessie.

Monday, February 3, 2014

SYRIA WAR: Thoughts on "Starvation Until Submission Campaign"

A friend sent me this link about Syria: "People Are Eating Cats: Starvation, Deaths Plague Syria Camps."

In fact, many Syrians have been starving for some time now because the Assad government has been using starvation as a war tactic. Assad supporters refer to this as the Starvation Until Submission Campaign. I quote from Reuters:

HEALTH: How to Make Tea from Hibiscus or Gumamela Flowers

I've been recommending hibiscus tea to lower high blood pressure.

In the Philippines, hibiscus is known as gumamela. Many Filipinos are not aware that you can make tea from gumamela flowers.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

My Father Receives Award 33 Years Later!!!

My father, Mariano Flores Manguerra, was born and raised in Santa Rosa, Laguna, in the island of Luzon, Northern Philippines. When he married my mother, Concepcion Cuenco Manguerra, they lived for a few years in Manila, but when World War II broke out, they went to Mindanao where Papa was a member of the guerrilla movement.  After the war, they settled in Cebu, Southern Philippines. We, their children, grew up in a Cebuano culture, which is different from the culture of the Northerners. For instance, we spoke Cebuano, not Tagalog. Food preparation was slightly different in both places; behavioral styles were also slightly different.

Because we grew up in Cebu, we knew little about my father's family. My older siblings knew more than I did; it was my mother's family whom we spent time with and knew firsthand.  Consequently, my father's family turned into names I had heard or seen in the bits and pieces of genealogical information that I've collected.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

ARCHITECTURE: House of Philippine National Artist Ramon Obusan

Saturday, I visited the house of Philippine National Artist Ramon Obusan in Manila near the airport. The internationally acclaimed choreographer, dancer, stage designer and artistic direcor had built a cluster of three houses on land that belonged to his family. Obusan used antique pieces and designed the houses to look old.