Monday, January 29, 2018

A Zulueta Cat Story by Cecilia Brainard

A Zulueta Cat Story
By Cecilia Brainard

One stormy night several years ago, I heard a kitten meowing and shrieking nonstop. In the morning, Vidal, the chief jefe here in my Zulueta place, said a mother cat and her four kittens had been dumped on the sidewalk by neighbors. The mother cat went off to find a home, and then she proceeded to transport her kittens, except for the one who cried all night.

In the morning, when we inspected the kitten (with heavy rain crashing down on us), we saw that its eyes were still closed. It was a newborn.

We covered the kitten with a box to try to keep it dry, and we waited for its mom to come back for him.

By late afternoon the kitten was still meowing away in great distress. We  decided the mother cat would not return for the kitten and so we took it in. Vidal fed it milk via eyedropper, and we brought it to the vet for shots. Vidal took excellent care of the kitten and Milagro grew plump and handsome.

 So plump and handsome that one day months later someone stole him.  

We were heartbroken, Vidal especially.

Never again, I declared, never will I get emotionally involved with a rescue animal like that.

But yesterday a scrawny little kitten crawled into our garage. He looked half-dead. We had to take care of him. We are taking care of him.

So, here we go again, cleaning the kitten, feeding him, and helping him. His eyes are open and he can walk around. He even has the good sense to poop and pee in the garden soil.

 Since the kitten found us and needs help, we will do so but I hope this little guy does better than the other rescue kitten.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Magnificence -- Short Story by Estrella D. Alfon - Writer from Cebu, Philippines

Short Story by

There was nothing to fear, for the man was always so gentle, so kind. At night when the little girl and her brother were bathed in the light of the big shaded bulb that hung over the big study table in the downstairs hall, the man would knock gently on the door, and come in. he would stand for a while just beyond the pool of light, his feet in the circle of illumination, the rest of him in shadow. The little girl and her brother would look up at him where they sat at the big table, their eyes bright in the bright light, and watch him come fully into the light, but his voice soft, his manner slow. He would smell very faintly of sweat and pomade, but the children didn’t mind although they did notice, for they waited for him every evening as they sat at their lessons like this. He’d throw his visored cap on the table, and it would fall down with a soft plop, then he’d nod his head to say one was right, or shake it to say one was wrong.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Melancholia in Cebu by Cecilia Brainard

Where did that melancholia come from, that grief that swept over me as I moved around Cebu yesterday?

I found myself remembering tinseled memories of this place where I was born and raised -- my first home. It seemed smaller then, and simpler, and more "homey" in the way we visited one another throughout the day to eat together, share tidbits heard here and there, weave the fabric that bound us together in this small seaside place.

Now, while Cebu remains small, it's crowded and busy and people rush here and there as they do in Manila and big cities. Most of the people are strangers to me. Even the idioms they use and their mannerisms are unfamiliar to me. And worse of all, many of the people I once knew are gone - moved to other places, to Manila or Canada or Europe or America as I did.  Some have died.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Seminar Workshop at Cebu Normal University with Cecilia Brainard

Here are some pictures taken at the whole-day Workshop held at the Cebu Normal University and conducted by Cecilia Brainard (Jan. 26, 2018). Thanks to Dr. Reynaldo Caturza and other organizers. 

I did a PowerPoint Presentation about my roots as a writer. Afterwards, I talked about the Narrative Voice and also covered the elements of creative writing.  The participants had several writing exercises with sharing.  We had a very productive and joyful day.

The University presented me with a Certificate of Appreciation.  I gave them some of my books for their library.

There are more pictures, but internet is slow, so check back.

Stay tuned for more pictures.  In fact, you can see most of them in Facebook and Instagram.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

PAAWWW - Pacific Asian American Women Writers West - Reading and Panel Discussion

Seated l-r: Jude Narita, Joyce Nako, Amy Uyematsu; Standing l-r" Diane Ujiiye, Miya Iwataki, Cecilia Brainard

Timothy Toyama organized a reading and panel discussion of PAAWWW (Pacific Asian American Women Writers West), a group I belonged to back in the late 1980s.

It was a dynamic group of talented Asian American women who were poets, fiction writers, script writers, actresses, producers, and directors, including: Emma Gee, Momoko Iko, Jude Narita, Joyce Nako, Naomi Hirahara, Amy Uyematsu, Akemi Kikumura, Velina Hasu Houston, Miya Iwataki, Diane Ujiiye, June Chim, Chungmi Kim, and others. Many of these women went on to make significant contribution in their communities and the arts.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Early Writings of Cecilia Brainard - Diary of Cecilia #literature #Philippines

These are the journal notebooks I wrote in when I was in high school and college (and beyond). I edited them into the book, Cecilia's Diary: 1962-1969 (Anvil 2003). I've included a news account from Philippine Star about the book - read below.

Catholic school girl’s diary is vivid account (Philippine Star, May 19, 2003)

 Anvil Publishing releases another book by Cecilia Manguerra Brainard, internationally celebrated and award-winning author and editor.  Cecilia’s Diary: 1962-1969, is a faithful record of Brainard’s days as a young colegiala.  It is refreshing and funny, replete with references to a religious upbringing and a privileged lifestyle.  Reading a diary may seem like voyeurism, but the inner thoughts of Catholic girls make for an interesting study on teen angst.

On dating, the young Cecilia writes “Jun said I’m much prettier than Priscilla and more intelligent too. I asked him what he thought of a girl who’s intelligent but not pretty.  He said it takes an intelligent boy to fall for an intelligent girl.

“I think that I’ll marry (if I marry) an engineer or businessman.  …It would be perfect, if I become an industrial engineer. …Help me, dear God. I’ll always remember the small but important things Sister Miguela told us: always be neat, learn how to cook, save money, how to work, how to sacrifice.  Real love is self-sacrifice.  I wonder if I shall learn to sacrifice to someone.

“Oh dear God, whoever, wherever my future husband is, please protect him. Keep him pure, holy, and good. May we meet each other properly, and may everything turn out fine. Help him, dear God.  Thank you.”

Cecilia’s Diary inspires a comparison of the different generations of Filipinas.  Regardless of time, the book is a vivid account of growing up, to which all young Filipinas can identify with.  It can also serve as a valuable reference to high school students who are keen on starting their own journals.
As Cecilia aptly puts it “Age is a state of mind.  The more one thinks of what was, the older he is.  The young are the ones who think of tomorrow.”

Copies of Cecilia’s Diary from are available at all National Bookstore and Powerbooks branches.   A special student edition is available for adoption in the high school level.  For inquiries, please call Anvil Publishing at 6719235/6711899.

Cecilia's Diary is available in Kindle - click on link

Tags: #goodreads #Philippineliterature #philippines #librarygirl #pinoyreads #fiction #shortstories #Cebu #Manila 
 Read also:

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Cecilia Brainard Upcoming Literary Events, #Reading, #Writing Workshops

Cecilia Manguerra Brainard's Upcoming Literary Events - 2018:

Saturday, January 20, 2-4 p.m. -  "Afternoon of PAAWWW (Pacific Asian American Women Writers-West)"
Nisei Veteran's Memorial Hall, 1964 W. 162nd Street, Gardena, CA 90247
1-310-324-6611; info

Friday, January 26, 8 a.m.- 5 p.m. - "The Narrative Voice: A Seminar-Workshop" at the Cebu Normal University, Tandang Sora Hall, Cebu, Philippines

Monday, February 5, 1-2 p.m. - "Journey as a Woman Writer" Little Theater, Miriam College, Quezon City, Philippines

Thursday, April 26,  8 p.m.- Featured Performer of Paris Lit Up Open Mic Reading, Culture Rapide, 103 rue Julien Lacroix, 75020 Paris, France

I'll be posting future literary events in this page, so check back. Thank you.

Tags:  #openmic #literature #Philippines #writer #novelist #Cebu #Paris #California #SpokenWord #author

Read also

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Short Story by Cecilia Brainard about the Dog "Romeo" ๐Ÿถ #literature #Philippines

I'm sharing my short story about a dog, a mother, and #Philippine life in #Manila during the #Marcos Dictatorship. This is part of my short story collection, Vigan and Other Stories (Anvil, 2012). The collection is available from and Kindle ( ~ #CeciliaBrainard ๐ŸŒด

Cecilia Manguerra Brainard 
It’s Sunday evening and my mother has just returned from the 5:30 Mass at Malate Church. In the past, after Mass she and I would have walked to the Chinese restaurant on Remedios Street where we sat on the table against the mirror, away from the crowded doorway. Mama would have ordered fried rice, sweet and sour pork, pancit, and a crab and lobster dish swimming in white sauce. While we ate, she would ramble on about the Indonesian tenant in the house in Bel Air complaining about a roof leak, or her court case with her uncle, or she would complain about my brother and sisters needing money from her. While she talked I would daydream about going away after graduation, to America or Europe. 

๐ŸŒžKnitting To Relax #crafts

I picked up #knitting again. It's a great way for a #writer to relax. ๐Ÿ“š

This scarf is a simple K3, P3. When I get the hang of it, I'll do popcorn and more complicated designs. ~ ๐Ÿฅ€#CeciliaBrainard

Friday, January 5, 2018

๐ŸˆCats Planning Escape #catpics #ceciliabrainard

๐Ÿˆ๐Ÿพ๐Ÿพ๐ŸพChe and Tesla planning an escape but getting sidetracked by #CeciliaBrainard 's novels: ๐Ÿ“–When the Rainbow Goddesses Wept, Magdalena, The Newspaper Widow.

Check out: #Amazon #Philippine Expressions # SolidaridadBookshop #MtCloudBookstore

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Mactan, Fifty Years Ago and Now, by #ceciliabrainard #VietnamWar

"The American servicemen overran Mactan and Cebu for a few years. Before the Vietnam War ended in April 1975, the huge number of Americans in Mactan and Cebu petered out. Eventually, the Mactan Air Base was turned over to the Philippine Air Force. The honky-tonk bars and colorful girls vanished along with the young men who had walked the streets – my streets -- of Mactan and Cebu. Now, 50 years later, the memory of the American Air Base and the Americans in Mactan has grown dim and distant, like ghosts, almost forgotten." 

๐Ÿ“š~ Cecilia Brainard

From “Mactan, Fifty Years Ago and Now”
Read the whole article at:…/mactan-50-years-ago-and…

Tags: #ceciliabrainard  #Vietnam #war #Cebu #Philippines #military #goodread

Read also:

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

A Line from The Newspaper Widow by Cecilia Brainard #novel #murdermystery

This is a line from my #novel, The Newspaper Widow, published by the University of Santo Tomas Publishing House. This #literary #murdermystery is available from Solidaridad Bookshop, Mt. Cloud Bookshop, #PhilippineExpressions, #books #murder #bookworm#librarygirl #librarylife #historical #crimefiction #widow

The Newspaper Widow, a novel by
Cecilia Manguerra Brainard

published by the University of Santo Tomas Publishing House, and distributed in the US by Philippine American Literary House, it is available from
Softcover $18.95 (238pp)

While at first glance The Newspaper Widow seems like a standard historical mystery, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Cecilia Manguerra Brainard’s novel is full and complex, overflowing with textured, fully realized characters who drive the Read also
Ines Maceda, the “newspaper widow,” aims to clear her son’s name. He has been accused of murdering a priest. In addition, Ines grieves for her deceased husband and combats the lingering trauma of earlier miscarriages. Her development is one of the shining elements of the novel—she feels tangible, rooted in the story and the setting.
The Newspaper Widow offers a nuanced glance into Filipino society circa 1908. It is a world rich with history, myth, and ritual; descriptions pulse with life, providing crucial insights into aspects of Filipino culture and world colonial history, such as encounters with the “Island of the Living Dead,” sectioned off to contain those inflicted with leprosy, and once the world’s largest leper colony.
While on the surface the book is a crime story, the plot is actually layered and unique. One of the novel’s greatest strengths is how it raises interesting, complicated questions about morality and justice while Ines searches for the priest’s true killer: Is death ever an apt punishment for a crime? Is revenge moral, or even necessary?
Refreshingly, nothing is black and white.
For all of The Newspaper Widow’s greatness, sometimes there are too many layers to the plot, and the ending falls a bit flat in comparison to the rest of the narrative. But flaws are minor; overall, this is a solid, satisfying work of literature.
Cecilia Manguerra Brainard displays masterful storytelling skill in The Newspaper Widow, a unique, memorable mystery.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Happy New Year - #2018


I'm wishing everyone peace, joy, and good health this 2018 and always!