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Thank you judges for finding merit in my new novel, which is as of yet unpublished.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

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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


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.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Cambria, California: A Glorious Day in Cambria #cambriacalifornia

A glorious day in Cambria, California!

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Mural in Steward Street, Santa Monica, California

Tags: Southern California, pictures, photos, travel, Cambria, Central California, #california, #travel

This is all for now,

Friday, September 18, 2015

I'm Resting Today - Check Back!

I'm resting today --- check back!

To the Readers who are my Facebook Friends, I've created two Albums -  2015Travel to France, and Travel to Hawaii, which you can access in FB.

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This is all for now,

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Opinion: Michaela Keck On the European Refugee Crisis #refugeecrisis

Dr. Michaela Keck

The refugee crisis in Europe has dominated the news ever since the the Syrian child, Aylan Kurdi, drowned. The image of his dead body came to symbolize the refugee crisis in Europe. Daily we read of migrants drowning as they journey across the short but turbulent stretch of the Mediterranean. We read of the tension between the refugees and Hungarian police. We read of the heightening of border control in European countries as they try to figure out how to deal with the surge of asylum seekers.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

I Love My Roomba Robot Vacuum Cleaner

Our sons introduced us to the Roomba, a home robot, which  vacuums the floor. What fascinated me about this gadget is that it was (reportedly) first created to help in military defense. Specifically it was used to clear land mines!

From, I quote: "More than 5,000 of the company's defense and security robots have been delivered to researchers, military and civil defense forces worldwide, performing thousands of dangerous search, reconnaissance and bomb-disposal missions while protecting those in harm's way."

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Los Angeles: It Rained in Southern California!

It might as well be a News Flash -- it rained last night through most of this morning! In Santa Monica, we had 1.74 inches of rain. Downtown Los Angeles had 1.70 inches. That's a lot of rain for us.

Southern California is in it's fourth consecutive year of drought and rain like this is welcome even though it causes floods and some havoc.

Monday, September 14, 2015

LA, California: Opinion Re Los Angeles Mobility Plan 2035

The City Council of Los Angeles approved a Mobility Plan 2035, which would reshape the streetscape of Los Angeles, "adding hundreds of miles of bicycle lanes, bus-only lanes and pedestrical safety features as part of an effort to nudge drivers out from behind the wheel" according to a New York Times article.

The following is an Opinion article written by Alex Brainard, a Los Angeles resident, stating his reasons why he disapproves of the Mobility Plan 2035:

Five Reasons why Los Angeles’s Mobility Plan 2035 will not work:  

1.      It will cause even more traffic than we already have.  The Mobility Plan 2035 will double the number of intersections where traffic crawls most slowly in Los Angeles according to city estimates.  Some of the streets which will lose lanes include Sunset Boulevard, Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Van Nuys Boulevard , Sherman Way, Venice Boulevard, and Huntington Drive to name a few.  Doubling the bad intersections means it’s going to take twice as long to get anywhere. 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Weekend Update: Our Lady of Velankanni and Blue Daisy Cafe

A Selfie of Cecilia and Lauren Brainard Taken at the Blue Daisy Cafe

On Saturday, my prayer group celebrated the Feast of Our Lady of  Velankanni at Maria and Sim Ciocon's house where Father Eric said Mass. Our group has stayed together for over four years now. Special thanks to the Ciocons for consistently hosting the prayer meetings.

Father Eric saying Mass at the Ciocon Home

2011 picture of l-r: Sim Ciocon, Father Sebastian, Maria Ciocon

Friday, September 11, 2015

September 11 Attacks: Remembering 9/11

Remembering 9/11

The day this happened, our contractor told my husband by phone about what was going on in New York. We turned on the TV and watched the twin towers burning.

Not understanding the gravity of the situation, we went ahead and did what we had planned to do that day. I went to my dermatologist and was told they were closed. The freeways and streets had relatively few cars. Back home the television kept showing the same New York images over and over so these are seared in my mind.

We would learn of the other attacks as the day went on.

Tags: September 11 attacks, UA175, UA93, Twin Towers, attacks, Pentagon, al Qaeda, Qaeda, #9/11

This is all for now,

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Health: Cinnamon Helps Diabetes and High Cholesterol

I didn't know until recently that there are many species of cinnamon. What I was familiar with was cassia cinnamon, which is used as commercial spice. Apparently 90% of what we buy at the market is cassia cinnamon. This is what we sprinkle on our coffee cakes and desserts.

Cinnamon comes from the inner bark of a cinnamon tree; the bark is ground up. This spice has been used for thousands of years.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Sexual Violence Against Women During War

When I visited Berlin last year I found the city gray and dreary, with an edge, as if the ghosts of World War II still hovered about.

I experienced this edgy feeling once again when I watched A Woman in Berlin, a 2009  movie directed by Max Farberbock. Based on a diary by a woman journalist, the movie documents the last days of World War II when Berlin fell to the Soviet Army. The movie is well-done but dark and tense. Several times I threatened to stop watching it because of its relentless lack of cheer, but the history was fascinating.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Religion: Feast Day of Mother Mary September 8

September 8 commemorates Mary's birtday and it's also the feast day of Our Lady of Velankanni.  I'm posting the Novena Prayer to our Lady of Velankanni, also known as Our Lady of Good Health.

Some friends and I have been praying to Our Lady of Velankanni who has showered us with many gifts.

Novena Prayer to Our Lady of Velankanni 

Oh Most Holy Virgin! You were chosen by the Most Adorable Trinity from all eternity to be the most pure Mother of Jesus. Permit me, your humble and devoted servant, to remind you of the joy received in the instant of the Most Sacred Incarnation of our Divine Lord and during the nine months you carried Him in your chaste womb. I wish most sincerely that I could renew, or even increase that joy, by the fervour of my Prayers.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Refugees from the Middle East #refugees

Refugees from the Middle East

I took the picture of a papyrus image of the First Family (Jesus, Mary, and Joseph) that I bought from Egypt. It refers to their "Flight to Egypt."

Tags: refugees, #refugees, refugee crisis, #refugeecrisis, #syria, Syrians, Syria, war, Iraq, Middle East, Africa, flight to Egypt

Read also
Jewish, Russian, and Indochinese Refugees in the Philippines
Jews in the Philippines
Vietnamese Boat People and Lee's Nail Salon
Syrian Revolutionary Poem
Syrian Revolutionary Poem #2
Poet and Song Writer, Ibrahim Qashoush, Victim of Syrian War

This is all for now,

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Jewish, Russian, and Indochinese Refugees in the Philippines - #refugees

Many people are unaware that the Philippines provided safe haven to Jewish, Russian, and Indochinese refugees.

In the late 1930s, 1,200 German and Austrian Jews fled the Holocaust of Europe and found refuge in Manila. The plan for the rescue reportedly came about during regular poker games which included Philippine President Manuel Quezon, an American official Paul McNutt, Col. Dwight Eisenhower, and the Jewish-American Frieder brothers. The Philippines offered visas to Jews who most likely would have died in Nazi Germany. Shortly after the Jewish refugees settled in the Philippines, the Japanese invaded the Philippines and the refugees found themselves in another war. However, the Japanese accepted the Jews as Germans (their allies) and did not persecute them.

For the aid the Philippines extended to the 1,200 Jews, Israel created an "Open Doors" monument in Rishon Lezion Memorial Park just off Tel Aviv.

Friday, September 4, 2015

'Watchman' a Disservice to Author Harper Lee

I was in Costco recently where I saw a pile of hardcover copies of Harper Lee's new-old novel Go Set a Watchman. I picked up a copy, but decided not to buy it.  I had read that this novel is set in the 1950s with Scout as an adult and her father Atticus Finch an older man, and -- a racist. Further, the other characters in the second novel aren't that likable and the writing is poorly done.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Heartbreaking!!! - Syrian Boy Drowned


"Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me."  ~Matthew 25: 40

Read also
Father Recounts How He Tried to Save Drowned Boys and Wife

Syrian Revolutionary Poem

Prayers for Peace in Syria, Iraq, the Middle East

Feastday of Our Lady of Velankani on September 8

Tags: Syria, Middle East, Iraq, #syria, boy drowned, syrian refugees

This is all for now,

The 4th Power Girl Band from the Philippines Wows X-Factor

Photo grabbed from Facebook

I found myself quite amused by the success of a Filipina Girl Band, 4th Power, also known as The Gollayan Sisters and The Cercados.

The young women, ages 19-27, have been performing for several years now, but they recently wowed the judges at the X-Factor, a UK talent show.

There are accusations that the young women were a fix, that is that their performance wasn't an audition but that the producers had actually brought them in. In response there are articles stating that the ladies never hid their professional background in Asia. Filipinos relate this bickering to "crab mentality," referring to how one crab pulls another down as they try to make their way up.

The quarrel continues, but my guess is that the bickering has come about only because the ladies were such a hit and quickly got 4 million YouTube hits of their UK performance.