Sunday, January 31, 2016

Friends and Mermaids at the Plantation Bay Resort and Spa #Cebu #travel


Here are more pictures taken at Plantation Bay Resort and Spa.

The picture above shows a group of us posing next to a horsedrawn carriage and driver, left to right: Chona Bernad, Terry Manguerra, Cecilia Brainard, and Chinggay Utzurrum.

Here's a picture of me with my host Manny Gonzalez. 

Saturday, January 30, 2016

A Weekend Retreat at the Plantation Bay Resort and Spa

This weekend I'm enjoying what the 5-star Plantation Bay Resort and Spa in Mactan has to offer: sun, sea, fresh air, fine hotel accomodations and food, excellent spa treatments, and the company of my cousin Manny Gonzalez and his friends. 

Friday, January 29, 2016

Philippine Literature: Some Words with the Wild Woman: A Conversation with Cecilia Manguerra Brainard

I'm looking forward to having a dialogue with the students, professors, and guests of the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, Philippines on February 9, 2016,  from 3-5 p.m.

The program titled, "Some Words with the Wild Woman: A Conversation with Filipino American Fictionist Cecilia Manguerra Brainard," is a take-off from my short story, Woman with Horns, which is part of the literature curriculum at UST. The students have also made some films based on this story - see links at the bottom of this blog entry.


in cooperation with the
and the


Some Words with the Wild Woman:
A Conversation
with Filipino American Fictionist

Cecilia Manguerra Brainard

February 9, 2016
3:00 – 5:00 pm
Tanghalang Teresita Quirino
Benavides Building
University of Santo Tomas 
Manila. Philippines

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Tags: Philippines, literature, writer, author, novelist, Filipino, Philippine American, Cecilia Brainard, UST

This is all for now,

51st International Eucharistic Congress in Cebu Philippines #Catholic

The City of Cebu is hosting the 51st International Eucharistic Congress from January 24-31, 2016. 
 The event gathers delegates and speakers from all over the world, including: New York Archbishop Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Los Angeles Auxiliary Bishop Robert Barron, the Pope's Envoy Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, Bombay Cardinal Oswald Gracias, and many others.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Syrian War: An Open Letter to Father Paolo Dall'Oglio

Father Paolo Dall'Oglio is an Italian Jesuit priest who had worked in Syria and was kidnapped by ISIL last July 29, 2013. A recipient of the Peace Prize from the Italian place of Lombardy for his extraordinary work in peacebuilding, Father Paolo was a fierce advocate for peaceful democratic change in Syria. His fate in the hands of ISIL has never been definitively determined.

Following is an Open Letter by Marie Peltier addressed to Father Paolo. The letter, courtesy of Revolucion Syrienne en Francais, is a translation from French.  Father Paolo's photo is courtesy of Wikipedia.

Letter To Paolo - Marie Peltier

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Cebu Philippines: Bell Tower of Santo Nino Basilica Fixed

In October 2013, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit Central Philippines destroying the bell tower of the Basilica Santo Nino, a beloved church that dates back to 1565.

I was happy to see that the bell tower has been restored.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Greek Islanders to be Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

A small boat in water, with land on the horizon behind. Many people are on its outside in orange life jackets, some carrying inner tubes as well. A few are in the water swimming toward the camera. In the foreground a man in a red and back wetsuit has his hand out to them.

"On remote Greek islands, grandmothers have sung terrified little babies to sleep, while teachers, pensioners and students have spent months offering food, shelter, clothing and comfort to refugees who have risked their lives to flee war and terror." 

The quote above is from the petition for the Greek Islanders to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. From The Guardian, I continue:

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Two Selfies this Saturday Afternoon

Two Selfies this Saturday Afternoon

I'm experimenting with the camera app of my Lenovo laptop and here are a couple of selfies.

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  Picture: Sunrise in Santa Monica, California
       Tags: pictures, photos, selfie, #selfie

      This is all for now,

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Picture: Sunrise in Santa Monica, California

Sunrise in Santa Monica, California - Photo taken from our deck at around 6 a.m.

"The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy." - Psalms 65:8

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            This is all for now,

Monday, January 18, 2016

David L. Brainard and the Greely Expedition of 1881-1884

My husband has a relative who was part of the historic Greely Expedition of 1881-1884.

David Legge Brainard was 25 years old when he joined the Greely Expedition also known as the Lady Franklin Bay Expedition led by Lieutenant Adolphus Greely. Brainard was first sergeant and proved to be an important leader in this ill-fated expedition where only six of twenty-five men survived.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Manila: The Power of Pen Food Writing Workshop February 13, 2016

Transforming your Food Passion into Words

On a daily basis, we always deal with food. It inspires us in more ways than one. We cook, we plant, we harvest , we enjoy taking photos and we even write about it! 
To develop each of these interests takes an effort and great joy on the part of any human being. There is pure love and satisfaction in writing! 

Los Angeles Chinatown Herbs for Thousands of Dollars #California

We were in Chinatown in Los Angeles and stopped by a high end store. I've been hearing there are many wealthy Chinese in Southern California, and it must be true because some of the items for sale were incredibly expensive.

The picture below shows herbs in a box priced at $1,288; above there are two boxes at $3,500 and $3,300 a piece.

I saw ginseng, mushrooms, seahorse skeletons, dried parts of a deer, and many other mysterious things. I just hope they didn't have parts of endangered animals in there -- rhino or tiger. This would be too sad (not to mention illegal).

Thursday, January 14, 2016

#Dog Birthday Cakes and Cookies at The Dog Bakery

I thought my cats are spoiled, but dogs apparently are more so.

Take a look at pictures I took at the Dog Bakery in Venice, California Their staff members were baking cookies and cakes for dogs. They had a  full display of cakes and cookies, which they assured me, will sell that day. 

Note the bone-shaped dog birthday cake.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Are there More Casualties Now than in other Wars?

With all the dire news of wars, bombings, terrorism, I have been wondering if the world is worse off now than in the past.  I looked up the number of casualties in various wars, and here's information from the internet:

American Civil War - 1.5 million military and civilians

World War I - 38 million military and civilians

World War II - 60 million military and civilians

Vietnam War Casualties - 1.5 million to 3.6 million estimates

Monday, January 11, 2016

Cat in Frog Vase Pottery - #catpics

Every day my two cats make me laugh.

Recently I found my cat Che nestled in my vintage frog vase!

He wouldn't move, even when I took the vase (and him) down from the kitchen window.

I had to gently pull him out of the vase. Thankfully he did not resist. When I returned the vase to the kitchen window, I had to cover the opening to discourage him from settling in it again.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Health: Chartreuse Elixir Vegetal in my Morning Smoothie

I've added something new to my morning smoothies.

My usual ingredients have been: banana, apple, orange, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, ginger (just a bit), and tomatoes. The nuts are: almond, pistachios, and walnuts. There can be variations, depending on what I have available. My goal is to include as many different fruits, nuts, and even vegetables in the smoothie.  I also add flax seeds, powdered Brewer's Yeast, and powdered Moringa.  I add water and blend.  

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Syria: Raqqa Syrian Journalists Killed

I have been following news about the RBSS (Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently), a citizen's group that has been reporting on life in ISIL-occupied Raqqa, Syria. RBSS is just about the only source for reliable news in the area.  For instance RBSS reported about the failed US Special Forces raid to save American journalist James Foley and other hostages; RBSS also covered news about the Jordanian pilot who was burned to death by ISIL.

In retaliation, ISIL has been liquidating RBSS members, calling them spies. A month after RBSS began their work, Al-Moutaz Bellah Ibrahim was kidnapped and killed by ISIL. On October 30, 2015, Ibrahim Abdul Kader and his friend Fares Hammadi were stabbed and beheaded in Urfa, Turkey. On December 16, 2015, Ahmad Mohammed Al Mousa was murdered in Idlib, Syria.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Weather: El Nino in Southern California

El Nino begins!
Here in Southern California we are expecting storms today through Thursday.  
We've had a drought for years and the El Nino rains is expected to cause landslides and other problems. El Nino is not expected to erase California's four-year drought however. 

Monday, January 4, 2016

Cecilia's Movie Reviews 2015 Films

I saw a number of movies over the holidays. Here are some comments about them. I'm rating them from 1-5, 5 being the best.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens -

I made my contribution to the makers of this movie, which really isn't that great. From the start, people were running around, ships were zooming about, cliches flew left and right, and there wasn't very much originality to this latest Star Wars episode. People hardly talked in this movie, and by "talk" I mean exchange ideas, beyond just discussing where they should go next. The older characters (Han Solo, Princess Leia, and Luke Skywalker) were supposed to evoke fuzzy nostalgic feelings, but except for Han Solo, I was simply stunned by their lack of vitality. I rate this movie 2 or 3 at the best for old time's sake.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Starting the New Year with a Bug