Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Fil Am Writers Gather in Santa Monica, CA


A group of us had lunch at my home with the writer Brian Ascalon Roley (author American Son) who's visiting Santa Monica, CA. Present were: Joselyn Geaga-Rosenthal, Brian Roley, Marilyn Alquizola (America is in the Heart: a Personal History revised), Jaime Geaga, Noel Alumit (author Letters to Montgomery Clift), and me.
We had such great fun talking about literature, politics, being Filipino/Fil-am, and other topics.
We are planning another get together when Brian returns, and that will be in Historic Filipino Town, LA.


I'm sharing photos that we took. The selfie shows, l-r: Noel, Jaime, Cecilia (in red) , Brian, Joselyn (in yellow), and Marilyn.
We missed Herminia Menez Coben,  Paulino and Barbara Lim.




Tags: Filipino American writers, FilAm writers, FilAm literature

Magnificat - Mary's House in Ephesus, Turkey

The ferocious wildfires in Maui have destroyed most of Lahaina, but miraculously, the Maria Lanakila Church remains standing. This event reminds me of how Mary's House was spared during a 2006 fire  in Ephesus that wiped out 1,200 hectares of forest but stopped just meters away from Mary's House. 

I'm sharing my writeup as a testament of Mary's greatness. This is part of MAGNIFICAT: MAMA MARY'S PILGRIM SITES, a book I edited. The publisher Anvil has some copies online, and you can also find it in ebook form (Kindle). 

Mother Mary, pray for us!


Cecilia Manguerra Brainard


            IN 2006, my husband and I were on a cruise to the Baltic. We had a one-day stop in the port of Kusadasi, Turkey and we took a day tour to Ephesus, where we saw the ruins of this great Roman city. We also visited the Basilica of St. John, where the traditional tomb of St. John’s was located under the central dome. Although now in ruins, the Basilica made me understand that this site was where John the Beloved and Mother Mary had settled, after Christ’s Crucifixion. I recalled how Christ had entrusted Mary to John, and John to Mary, with His words: “Behold your mother. Woman behold your son.”

Saturday, August 12, 2023

Magnificat - Lahaina's Maria Lanakila Catholic Church Survived Maui Fires


Maria Lanakila Catholic Church in Lahaina remains standing following horrific wildfires. Some are calling its saving an "act of God."  from New York Post  https://nypost.com/2023/08/12/historic-lahaina-church-stands-miraculously-untouched-by-maui-wildfires/

I am happy to share the news that Lahaina's Maria Lanakila Catholic Church, Maui, Hawaii seems to have survived the recent wildfires.  
Maria Lanakila is a Marian Site featured in the book I edited, MAGNIFICAT: MAMA MARY'S PILGRIM SITES (Anvil 2012; copies available in Anvil's online site, and also via Kindle), which has an imprimatur by then Archibishop of Manila, Luis Antonio Tagle.  I am sharing the article by Millicent Dypiangco about Maria Lanakila, indeed a place where prayers are heard and answered.  



Millicent Dypiangco 

THE IMPACT of my visit to the Marian site of Maria Lanakila did not occur in one instance. There were no apparitions of the Virgin that appeared to me, nor were there dramatic changes within me at any given moment during our visit. Rather, I would call the influence of this site as prompting a perpetual transformation that continues to exert its power over me to this day.

My first visit to Maria Lanakila was in January 2001. It was actually my very first visit to Hawai’i, to the island of Maui, taken on a family trip with my husband and his parents and youngest brother. It would be the first of many future family trips taken with the Dypiangco clan. I say “clan” because we have now grown to be a family of sixteen…who make it a point to go on a family vacation every other year…together…thanks to Mom and Dad. Prompted by the idea to finally visit what many call “paradise,” I for one was very excited to visit Hawai’i, and to finally go on the real honeymoon that Joe and I never went on after our wedding eleven years prior…complete with my husband’s parents at that!

As I do on my vacations, I try not to have any expectations of the place so that I may be pleasantly surprised at each turn. Pleasantly surprised was exactly what I was at each spot we visited. I experienced the peace and serenity of Hawai’i, particularly the island of Maui, which swept me right off my feet and made me want to linger, savor, and soak in every single experience.

From the very first greeting of Aloha, something stirred in me and I knew that this place was going to be special. I think that the first impression of this place for me was its simplicity, and how for me, felt as if I had finally gotten what I have been craving for so many years. The simplicity and purity of the island melted away all the stress from my body. I felt it from that first day, that first meal of kalua pork, as I sat gazing at the blue Pacific from the shores of Lahaina Village. I think that the only thing that broke that pattern was the row of hotels that lined Kanapali where we opted to stay. However, it only acted as our home base as we explored everything else that Maui had to offer.

Of course, we could not go on a vacation without spending time at mass on Sunday. And it was our practice to attend mass that led us to Maria Lanakila. Maria Lanakila stood in its simplicity in the residential area of Lahaina. Its architecture reflected the ease and purity of what surrounded it. It drew me in.

Upon entering this little church, I immediately felt at peace. My frame of mind had totally changed. My mind was quieted as I sat in the pew and reflected before, during, and after the mass. The hectic life that I lived in Los Angeles was forgotten and I gave thanks. Thanks for the opportunity to finally be here in “paradise,” thanks for the family who had accompanied me, thanks for my health, my home, my livelihood. I was grateful for many things and I made sure that I said those prayers of gratitude. Most especially, I prayed for the one thing that weighed very heavily in my heart. I prayed for a child. Despite all the blessings that I have received, I knew that there remained an emptiness in me. And that emptiness was to bear a child, to become a mother, and to love like I have not loved before.

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Old Photographs 4 - Cecilia Brainard - 6-7 Years Old


 My childhood seemed to have stretched out longer than human time. Those childhood memories have a dreamlike quality.  I have memories of the time when I was perhaps three, perhaps younger. I even have an infant memory, although I am not sure if this is a true memory, of me laying on the bed and a big dog entering the room and everyone getting excited. I remember being with my Yaya Yvonne in the second floor of our house in Capitolio and looking down at a group of carolers singing outside our gate. My Yaya Yvonne was the one who taught me to eat green onions.  Yaya Yvonne got into trouble for stealing and I was told she ended up in jail - a point that my older sister used to rib me about -- "Your yaya ended up in jail."