Friday, August 28, 2020

The Eye of the Needle, short story by Gilda Cordero-Fernando


Gilda Cordero-Fernando b 1930-d 2020

Gilda Cordero-Fernando passed away on August 27, 2020. To honor her, I am reprinting her story, The Eye of the Needle, which is part of the collection Growing Up Filipino: Stories for Young Adults (ed Cecilia Brainard, published by PALH, 2003).  Reprinted by permission of PALH.

Please read "Literary Luminary and Cultural Icon Gild Cordero-Fernando Dies at 90".

Following is the excerpt with her story from the anthology.

Gilda Cordero-Fernando was born and raised in Manila, Philippines. She received her B.A. and B.S. in Education from St. Theresa’s College; and her M.A. from the Ateneo Graduate School. She wrote short fiction in her "early housewife" years, from 1952-1970, then put it behind her to go into non-fiction and publishing. Her most recent collection is entitled Story Collection (Anvil 1994). As publisher, Gilda trailblazed with big and beautiful illustrated Filipiniana volumes such as Turn of the Century, Culinary Culture of the Philippines, and History of the Burgis. She was the Patnubay ng Sining awardee for literature in the 1993 Araw ng Maynila, and the Cultural Center of the Philippines' Gawad awarded for literature and publishing in 1994. She has also produced children's books; she has painted; she has organized fashion shows ― Gilda's ways for artistic expression have been boundless.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Good Night, Gilda Cordero Fernando

 Standing: Cecilia Brainard, Marily Orosa, Felice Sta. Maria; seated Gilda Cordero Fernando

I must confess that I hardly slept last night, and it had to do with the passing of Gilda Cordero Fernando. That with the stresses of Covid and politics kept me awake until around 4 am.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Kindle Release of Two Novellas by Eve La Salle Caram & Cecilia Brainard


PALH (Philippine American Literary House) announces the Kindle release of two novellas, PLEASE, SAN ANTONIO! by Eve La Salle Caram & MELISANDE IN PARIS by Cecilia Manguerra Brainard:

The book. a Special International edition of PALH, collects two delightful novellas written by award-winning authors about women who journey to Rome and Paris and find creativity, identity, love, and healing. 

Fundamentals of Creative Writing by Cecilia Brainard, now on Wattpad


For educational purposes, Cecilia Brainard has decided to make her book, Fundamentals for Creative Writing, available for free in Wattpad. It's available in Kindle format and Anvil may still have hard copies, but this free digital form will help students and educators. 

Here's the link:

Tags: writing, how to write, creative writing, creative nonfiction, fundamentals of writing, how to write, literature, fiction writing, personal essays

Herminia Meñez Coben Reviews The Newspaper Widow by Cecilia Manguerra Brainard

Book Review by Herminia Meñez Coben, Ph.D.

Professor Emerita from California State University of Sonoma

Title: The Newspaper Widow

Author: Cecilia Manguerrra Brainard

Publisher: University of Santo Tomas Publishing House, 2017, Beato Angelico Bldg., Espana, Manila, Philippines; 

Available from Amazon in hard copy and in Kindle format

Number of pages: 234 pages

Softcover, $18.95 in the US


            The Newspaper Widow, a fast-paced, multi-layered novel of romance and mystery, presents an international cast of characters: a Spanish friar; an ill-fated lawyer; an expatriate Frenchwoman and her gay friends, a Tagalog and a Catalan; an American doctor and researcher at the leper colony; and finally, the enterprising publisher widow of the novel’s title, Ines Maceda.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

PALH Kindle Release of Veronica Montes Short Story Collection


For your Summer Reading:

PALH (Philippine American Literary House) announces the Kindle release of "Benedicta Takes Wing and Other Stories, a short story collection by Veronica Montes. 

It is also available in paperback and hardcover from Amazon.

Monday, August 24, 2020

Cecilia Brainard's Popular Books


Cecilia Manguerra Brainard is the author and editor of over twenty books. Cecilia grew up in the port city of Cebu in Central Philippines, a place that retains its Spanish-Colonial influences, inspiring Cecilia to create her mythical setting called “Ubec” which echoes the Santo Niño Church, triangular Spanish fort, and old buildings and streets of the real Cebu. 

Her three novels — When the Rainbow Goddess Wept, Magdalena, and The Newspaper Widow are set (even partially) in Ubec. Ubec also appears in her three short story collections — Woman in Horns and Other Stories, Acapulco at Sunset and Other Stories, and Vigan and Other Stories. 

Friday, August 21, 2020

Interview of Cecilia Brainard by 95.9 Star FM Bacolod


INTERVIEW OF CECILIA MANGUERRA BRAINARD by DJ Billie of 95.0 Star FM Bacolod about Life in the US during Coronavirus Here's the interview:
Interview by Ve Ann Joy D. Lumangyao,.LPT (DJ Billie)
Disc Jockey
95.9 Star FM Bacolod
707-2836 I 441-1670; 09957924803

1. Greetings:  I am Cecilia Manguerra Brainard, writer -- please see my site for bio:

2.Kamusta ang buhay niyo dyan sa America?
As of August 21, 2020, here in California, we no longer have a lockdown and the economy is opening up. California is not doing well; as of today there are 227,346 confirmed Covid19 cases in Los Angeles, with 5,446 deaths. In my city, Santa Monica, it is mandatory to wear masks once you are outside your house. Only outdoor restaurant dining is allowed and so you see parking lots of restaurants converted for outdoor eating.

Thursday, August 20, 2020



I’ve collated election information for battleground states here. I got the links online. Please double check information.
Act NOW because of postal delays. Vote in person or use official ballot drop box.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

California Voting Information for Nov. 2020 (compiled by Cecilia Brainard)


Here is information as of 8/15/2020. I will continue to add information in this note, so check back.
Vote early
California voters can also vote before Election Day. The early voting period runs from Monday, October 5, 2020 to Monday, November 2, 2020, but dates and hours may vary based on where you live. Early voting and vote-by-mail ballot drop off locations may be found on the Secretary of State's Early Voting website.
Vote on election day
All registered voters in California will receive a ballot by mail. However, in-person voting locations will be available to voters. Polling locations may be found online by visiting the Secretary of State's My Voter Status tool.
Vote early
California voters can also vote before Election Day. The early voting period runs from Monday, October 5, 2020 to Monday, November 2, 2020, but dates and hours may vary based on where you live. Early voting and vote-by-mail ballot drop off locations may be found on the Secretary of State's Early Voting website.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Larger Portrait of Remedios Lopez Cuenco by Ceciia Brainard


I made a larger portrait of my great-grandmother Remedios Lopez Cuenco as reference. I had made a smaller study a few days ago.

Here is an excerpt from my grand-uncle’s biography that touches on the life and background of Remedios, who inspired me to write my third novel, The Newspaper Widow:

“From Archbishop Cuenco Autobiography, pages 1–3:

I was born in the little town of Carmen, Cebu province on May 19, 1885. I received Baptism in the same Church on May 27, 1887, and was confirmed by the Spanish Bishop, Most Rev. Martin Alcoser of the Franciscan Order. My parents were Mariano A. Cuenco and Remedios Diosomito. They did not enjoy a long and thorough education in the school as we understand it today. My father attended classes at the Normal School for teachers in Manila just for one year. This school was directed by the Jesuit fathers. My mother was no more fortunate than my father. While a young girl, she studied in Cebu at the old Inmaculada College run by the Sisters of Charity. There she learned the three R’s. For one reason or another she quit schooling. Hence she just stayed at school for one year. But both of them were gifted by nature with natural talent and ability. They specially possessed a tactical and common sense.


Friday, August 7, 2020

Portrait of Remedios Lopez Cuenco by Cecilia Brainard


I made this portrait using the photo of my great-grandmother Remedios Lopez Cuenco as reference.  Remedios was the mother of my grandfather (Mariano Jesus Cuenco, who was the father of my mother Concepcion Cuenco Manguerra.  

Portrait of Filomena Alesna Cuenco by Cecilia Brainard


I made this portrait of my maternal grandmother, Filomena Alesna Cuenco, in prisma color and pastel, size 9 x 12.

Filomena Alesna Cuenco from Carcar; born May 1, 1882, parents: Evaristo Barcenilla Alesna and Cresencia Ynosencia Sanchez Villarosa; parents died when she was young and she and her 2 sisters were raised by 2 old maid aunts; her older sister Placida married Mateo Noel; her younger sister Josefa married Isabelo Montesclaros; Filomena married Mariano Jesus Cuenco; they had 8 children (6 survived to adulthood: Manuel, Lourdes, Concepcion, Carmen, Consuelo, Teresita; the two who died as children were Maria and Corazon); had a stroke and died during wartime (WWII).


Read also:

Tags: Filipino woman, Filipina, art, sketch, portrait, Cebu, Philippines

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Filipinos #CopingWithCovid - Elizabeth Ann Besa-Quirino

 Elizabeth Ann Besa-Quirino

The following is part of Cecilia Brainard's series, Filipinos Coping with Covid.

Responding to my interview questions, Filipino American author Elizabeth Ann Besa-Quirino describes life in New Jersey, USA, during the time of coronavirus. This was written on May 24, 2020.

Update August 4, 2020 by Betty Ann Quirino: New Jersey is still on partial lockdown, even if some places opened. Gyms and bars are still not allowed to open. And masks are mandated in every building, park or public place.

We are still working from home and practicing social distancing as we did in March.