Sunday, April 28, 2019

#CeciliaBrainard Drawing: Old Haunted House in Cebu Philippines

I'm sharing a corrected version of the Old House in Cebu, my interpretation of the Villalon House. This sat on a hill in Cebu and I used to stare at this last thing at night and wonder about the ghosts and enchanted people that supposedly occupied the house. Sometimes the house would be lit up and the next day people would say the spirits had a party. This was all part of my growing up in Cebu. 
Thanks to those who follow my progress in Art, a new field to me. In this pen and ink, I widened the surrounding yard because a dear friend wisely gave me feedback that the house looked like it would slide down the hill. I also made other corrections. Then I made a mistake on the stairs (fire escape?) and turned it into a woman (ghost?).

Tags: #CeciliaBrainard #Drawing #Sketch #PenandInk #House #HeritageHouse #Cebu #Philippines #Cebuano #hauntedhouse #villalonmansion 

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Easter -- Coloring Easter Eggs

We colored these Easter eggs by drawing designs on hardboiled eggs before dying them. I used food coloring in hot water with a bit of vinegar. The results are pleasing. 

Happy Easter!

#easter #eggcoloring #crafts

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Remembering the Notre Dame Cathedral of Paris Before the Fire

Like most people I am heartbroken at the fire at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris yesterday. April 15, 2019. Today the experts said it may take 10-15 years to rebuild. I've had the privilege of visiting the Notre Dame and even hearing Masses there. Now I realize those were gifts and I am grateful.

Here are some pictures I took of the Notre Dame during various visits to Paris.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Guest Blogger: A Theatrical Experience by Evelyn Morales Del Rosario

My guest blogger is Evelyn Morales Del Rosario who shares her piece, "A Theatrical Experience". The writing is part of the collection of essays, Behind the Walls: Life of Convent Girls (Anvil, Ed. Cecilia Brainard and Orosa).


by Evelyn Morales Del Rosario

We were a Theresian family. All three of my father’s sisters were Theresians. We were the Morales clan, and we all studied at St. Theresa’a Manila from Kindergarten through High School. We were nine girls. My father loved the nuns, and the nuns loved him.

This was not always a benefit for my sisters and me because the nuns knew each one of us individually. Every other class had a Morales student, and every class had either one of us or one of our cousins. We were clearly identified and could never get away with anything.

I was the fourth daughter and had the misfortune of coming after my sister Bunny who was every teacher’s ideal student. She was beautiful with a very sweet and charming personality. I was the awkward one with big feet. Bunny was the president of her class and of the Student Council. I was lucky to have been voted secretary. Bunny breezed through class with high honors while I struggled to keep awake while studying the most boring of all subjects, history. I was a romantic, a dreamer.

The one thing that fascinated me in school was the theater. I volunteered to join any kind of play and ended up having to beg my father to allow me to be part of the production team. I had to sacrifice all other activities just to satisfy the call of a theatrical production. I never thought I was particularly talented, I just wanted to be part of it all. I loved practices that ran until evening. We used to scare ourselves silly with stories of a headless nun roaming the corridors. Of course we never saw anything.

We had a fascinating teacher, Tita Radaic who taught ballet and modern dance. The year I was fourteen, the school decided to interpret in dance, the Song of Songs, more commonly known as the Psalms of David. This was a very radical and modern decision, and it attracted a lot of attention in the local media. Naturally I wanted to be a part of this production. I could not dance, so did not audition. But I was asked to read the Psalms before each dance segment. I was giddy with excitement; I could not believe this was happening to me. Of course I said I would do it and decided to worry about getting my father’s permission later.

It took me about a week to build up the courage to approach my father, and when I did, he said no, I could not do it. He worried about my being in school late at night. I was an indifferent student, and he was afraid I would not be able to keep up. The family was also scheduled to go to Baguio during the performance dates. I was devastated. I had to tell Sister Hilde that my father refused. I prayed harder at Mass every morning, lighting votive candles in San Marcelino church before class and promising God everything I could think of just to make my father change his mind.

Without my knowing, Sister Hilde called phone my Father and asked him to come and talk to her about my involvement in this production. She planned her arguments well, promising Father that my homework would be done between rehearsals, and offering to let me sleep at the dormitory during the performance dates. Father finally agreed. I was ecstatic.

I loved the rehearsals. I would practice my lines and study my lessons every evening. I had never done so well in my classes. We were informed that our presentation was going to be filmed and aired on television. We were awed.

The night of the dress rehearsal came, and my father brought me to school and turned me over to Sister Hilde. I felt like an orphan. Here I was, the lector of the school main production of the year, and my own family would not even be there to see me. I started to feel very sad. But that was nothing compared to the angst I would experience that night. I had not realized that the dormitory would be literally empty except for me. It was a long weekend, and all the boarders had gone home. I was brought to this large hall lined with beds. The mosquito netting was rolled up over each bed. I was given a bed in the middle of the hall, shown how to untie the straps holding the netting up, and how to tuck the netting under the mattress. I had never slept under a mosquito net before. Father always kept our bedrooms at home freezing cold so that we shivered under woolen army blankets. I had brought my long white flannel nightgown, but the dorm was so hot. The nun in charge of the boarders told me that her bedroom was down the hall. I was to sleep in the dorm all by myself.

The dress rehearsal ended at 8:30 pm, and I made my way to the dormitory, half running and trying to keep my head down and my eyes half closed. I was so afraid of seeing the headless nun or some other ghost. I arrived at the dorm shivering from fear. I had to go to the bathroom, but did not want to risk it. I was in agony. Finally I decided to sing my prayers and tiptoed to the bathroom. Afterwards, I ran back to the dorm and slid into bed. I had a flashlight with me, but it made such eerie shadows that I felt less afraid when I turned it off. I pulled the sheet over my head and willed myself to sleep while praying the rosary. I sincerely regretted ever even wanting to take part in this presentation. I had one more night of this torture to live through.

It turned out that the show was a success. I was tickled to see myself on television. But I still shudder whenever I remember those two nights alone in the dormitory.


BIO: Evelyn Morales del Rosario studied at St. Theresa's College in Manila from kindergarten through high school. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Connecticut. She completed a year of law school at the Ateneo Univerity and obtained an MBA from De La Salle Univedrsity. She completed all coursework for DBA at De La Salle University.
She has worked in the airline industry, has been a food author and food stylist. She has extensive managerial, marketing and corporate communications experience. She has lived and worked in Germany, Geneva, and now lives in Montreal. 

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Guest Blogger: Agape by Tony Robles

My Guest Blogger is Tony Robles who shares his personal essay, "Agape." This story is part of the book Finding God: True Stories of Spiritual Encounters (Ed. Cecilia Brainard). The book won the 2019 Gintong Aklat Award in the Philippines. 

Tony Robles

The race was lost before it began. There I stood next to the starting blocks waiting for the fellow in the white cap to say, “Runners, on your mark, get set. . . BANG!” How did I get into this situation—all those white faces in the stands. Who were they? I stood on the track with five or six other boys—all a bit older, all a bit pink in the oppressive Florida sun. I glanced at them and wondered what they were thinking. I looked up at the sea of white faces in the stands and became nauseated. My intestinal discomfort wasn’t primarily due to the sea of white faces surrounding me as it was the fact that I knew I was in a race I wouldn’t— no, couldn’t win. Somehow I wished the fellow in the white cap would just pull the trigger and get it over with. As I stood, I entertained the thought of the fellow in the white cap shooting me—perhaps in the leg or in the ass—then I’d have a legitimate excuse not to run. They would just cart me off and I’d be forgotten quickly.


Thursday, April 4, 2019

Guest Blogger: Thank you by Raquel Villavicencio Balagtas

My Guest Blogger is Raquel Villavicencio Balagtas whose moving personal essay, "Thank You", is part of the book, Finding God: True Stories of Spiritual Encounters (Edited by Cecilia Brainard & Orosa, Anvil 2009).  The book won the Gintong Aklat Award for 2010). Thank you Raquel.



by Raquel Villavicencio Balagtas

It was February 2006, two years and five months to date, when I read a pamphlet titled, “How to Avoid Purgatory.” It was given to me by Sister Lily Natividad of the Divine Endeavors Organization (DEO) exactly one year earlier, February 2005, when I went home to Manila.

I said thank you, took it back with me to Charleston, SC, and set it aside, with no intention of reading it at all. I was, still at that time, what I would describe as a “last in, first out Sunday Mass goer,” a cradle Catholic. 

I was cleaning my book shelf, February 2006, when I saw the pamphlet again. I read it and my life has never been the same again. Like St. Augustine, in many ways, I can say to God: “Late have I loved You.”

I was fifty-nine years and two months old, still married to George, but residing separately. I found myself first in New York in 1990. Then I moved to Charleston, SC in 1993 and have been here ever since.