Friday, March 6, 2015

Santa Monica, California: Harrison Ford Plane Crash in Penmar Golf Course

Thursday evening, we walked down to nearby Penmar Golf Course to check out the Harrison Ford Plane crash. It was around 6:30 p.m. when we got there, four hours after Ford's plane crash, but the airplane, police cars, and numerous media vans were there. Of course the lookie-loos like us were also there. The road closest to the plane was blocked off from traffic.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Filipino Cooking: Recipe for "Mochiko" Bibingka

From Carol Ojeda-Kimbrough who had shared with us her Cornbread Bibingka, here is another bibingka recipe:

Favorite 2014 Family Pictures

 Fiji, l-r: Chris, Lauren, Bryn, Cecilia

Dear Readers,
I'm working on my fourth novel, which is eating up my time, Forgive the short blog entries. My mind is in Ubec, 1910, most of the time.

Here are some favorite Family Pictures taken in 2014.

Thanksgiving l-r: Juana, Alex, Lauren, Cecilia, Dylan, Swapna, Drew, Stephanie, Bryn, Chris

Christmas morning Seated l-r: Alex, Juana, Robert, Dylan, Swapna, Drew.
Standing l-r: Luke, Chris

Thanksgiving l-r: Lauren, Cecilia

Read also

  • Sphagnum Almost Killed My Orchids
  • Typhoon Haiyan: Jews in the Philippines - 1940 & 2013
  • Post-War Cebu Life - More Memorabilia Photos of Cecilia Brainard
  • Creative Writing: The Importance of Sensual Writing
  • Syrian Revolutionary Poem & Destruction of Khalid bin Walid Mosque

  • Creative Writing: Journal Writing and my Pink Lock and Key Diary

  • Tags: family, pictures, photos, Cecilia Brainard

    This is all for now,

    Tuesday, March 3, 2015

    Sunset in Los Angeles, California - Michael Connelly Quote and Pictures

    I took a couple of pictures from the 405 Freeway at sunset.  The black object in the sky is the Goodyear Blimp. And here's a quote by Michael Connelly about Los Angeles at sunset.

    The setting sun burned the sky pink and orange in the same bright hues as surfers' bathing suits. It was beautiful deception, Bosch thought, as he drove north on the Hollywood Freeway to home. Sunsets did that here. Made you forget it was the smog that made their colors so brilliant, that behind every pretty picture there could be an ugly story.” 

    ― Michael ConnellyThe Black Echo

    Read also
    Los Angeles, California: The Fairfax District and Canter's Deli 
    Historic Chez Jay Restaurant in Santa Monica, California
    Santa Monica City's New Tongva Park

    Tags: picture, Los Angeles, California
    This is all for now,

    Monday, March 2, 2015

    Interview of Cecilia Brainard "Good and Bad Reasons for Being a Writer"

    I'm reprinting this interview that appeared in Students and Campus Bulletin in the Philippines.

    Interview of Cecilia Manguerra Brainard for the Students and Campus Bulletin in the Philippines

    In this interview, Ms. Brainard shares her expertise on the one subject she's passionate about: writing.

    Students and Campus Bulletin (SCB): Are they any good and bad reasons for being a writer?

    Cecilia Manguerra Brainard (CMB): The bad reasons are for fame, money, immortality, and revenge. The good reasons are because you have no choice but to write; for self-expression, to keep sane, to create something beautiful out of something painful or unpleasant; to educate others and ultimately to educate yourself. 

    Sunday, March 1, 2015

    Guest Blogger: Manny Gonzalez Reviews Black Sheep Restaurant, Taguig, Philippines

    Some people think the Philippines is a poor country, and it is; but Metro Manila has all the amenities of a metropolis, including expensive shops, restaurants, hotels, housing, and so on.  

    When I was there, I went to a couple of high end restaurants in Makati: The Black Bird, and Sala, which I critiqued briefly. Just to reiterate, The Black Bird had wonderful ambiance and service, but the meal portions were very small. Sala was fair. In balance though, these restaurants are really very expensive to those earning in Pesos.  

    Our Guest Blogger, Manny Gonzalez, reviews another high end restaurant in Metro Manila, the Black Sheep RestaurantThis article first appeared in Trip Advisor and is reprinted by permission of the author. A resident of Whistler, Canada, Manny Gonzalez is a Director/shareholder at the Plantation Bay Resort and Spa in Mactan, Philippines. ~ Cecilia Brainard

    Saturday, February 28, 2015

    Golfers Take Note - Golf Rage Picture

    Is it a bird? Is it a plane?

    It's a golf club stuck in a net!

    This is a picture of a golf club stuck up in a net. It was taken by Lauren
    Brainard while playing golf.

    He says, "I did not, I swear, throw this club."

    Read also
    My Engineer Story and Other Engineer Jokes
    The Rats and James Dean's Porsche
    Jesuit Jokes

    Tags: golf, golfing, sports, jokes, pictures

    This is all for now,

    Friday, February 27, 2015

    Taking a Walk in Santa Monica, California

    I used to do step exercise, swimming, and yoga for my workout, but dropped out.  Now I walk, do stationary biking and stretching. 

    Thursday, February 26, 2015

    Talking About Living Ghosts with Lina Espina Moore - #Paranormal

    Lina Espina Moore

     I'm remembering the time I talked to the novelist, Lina Espina Moore, about her stay in the Cordilleras, Northern Luzon. This was when she was married to Kip Moore, manager of a lumber company in that mountain area. Lina was very happy there, and she was also very productive as a writer there.

    Wednesday, February 25, 2015

    Excerpt from Archbishop Jose Maria Cuenco's Autobiography

    My granduncle, Archbishop Maria Jose Cuenco, published an autobiography, Archbishop Cuenco Autobiography, in 1972.  Very few people (including his relatives) have copies.  I'm taking the liberty of reprinting sections that give information about the Cuenco Family. Archbishop Cuenco was the older brother of my maternal grandfather, Mariano Jesus Cuenco.

    I have not made changes to the text. I have added related url links. ~ Cecilia Manguerra Brainard


    Tuesday, February 24, 2015

    Lunch at Brophy's in Santa Barbara, California

    On our way back to Santa Monica from Cambria, we had lunch at Brophy Bros., 119 Harbor Way, Santa Barbara, a popular seafood restaurant and clam bar. 

    Monday, February 23, 2015

    How My Great Grandmother Remedios Lopez Cuenco Died

    Remedios Lopez Cuenco, right

    I have become the keeper of my family's genealogy. People share information about my father's and mother's families. The recent information I got came from my aunt, Teresita Cuenco Gonzalez, about my Great Grandmother Remedios Lopez Cuenco. Remedios married Mariano Albao Cuenco; they were parents of my maternal grandfather, Mariano Jesus Cuenco; they were the grandparents of my mother, Concecpcion Cuenco Manguerra.

    Sunday, February 22, 2015

    Visiting Cambria, Central Coast, California

    It's a 4 1/2 hour drive from the Los Angeles area to Cambria, Central Coast of California. Because there's construction along the coast, we drove inland, through the Central Valley, referred to as the breadbasket of America, although California's severe drought has affected its current agricultural production.

    We drove through Kern County with its numerous oil fields. There were also orchard fields of almonds and other plants, with boxes of domesticated bee hives. These poor bees are shipped from all over the world to pollinate these fields. 

    Saturday, February 21, 2015

    Where Does Happiness Come From? #psychology, #selfhelp

    I was sick for several weeks, and perhaps because of the illness (asthma, coughing), I felt depressed. Not terribly depressed, but lethargic and gloomy.  I didn't have the zest, the curiosity, the desire to explore and discover new things, see old friends, as I usually do.  Then, my asthma and cough cleared up and I discovered that the depression lifted. I returned to writing; I enjoyed doing my daily tasks once again; I laughed, I felt good about life, about myself.  I felt more generous to others.

    Friday, February 20, 2015

    Health: The Wonders of Malunggay or Moringa Oleifera

    My mother used to make soup with boiled chicken, ginger, and malunggay (or moringa oleifera) leaves. Malunggay leaves come from a tree that grows easily in the Philippines. We had several trees along the fence, and when we needed some leaves, the maids would cut off some sprigs. Malunggay was considered a poor man's food, but my mother used to rave about how good it was for our health and we would have it perhaps once a week.

    Thursday, February 19, 2015

    How Are Honey Bees Doing this 2015?

    Honey bees worldwide have been dying in great numbers. In late 2006, this phenomenon was called "Colony Collapse Disorder or CCD." The situation was so bad that in a place in China, farmers were hand-pollinating plants.

    I have been following this news and have changed some of my outdoor plants into bee-friendly plants to help the wild bees. I also have containers of water for them. It is a joy to see them buzzing about my garden.  At some point, I considered raising bee hives and looked into it but I still feel intimidated. It's supposed to be fairly easy, but one has to lift heavy boxes, and more important we have a neighbor who's a biddy and I'm certain she'll go into hysterics if we have bees. So for now that project is on hold.

    I tried to find news about how bees are doing this 2015, but I didn't find much. It's still very cold in large parts of the US and bees are still in their hives. I read that the cold weather will be tough on the bees; they use up a lot of energy hunkering down and flapping their wings to keep their hive warm.

    Wednesday, February 18, 2015

    2015 Year of the Sheep - Happy New Year!

    Gung Hay Fat Choy!

    The Chinese New Year begins on February 19, 2015 until February 7, 2016. This year is the Year of the Sheep or Goat or Ram, known for its docility.  Here's the astrological forecast from Fortune:

    Tuesday, February 17, 2015

    Losing One of Us: Milette Estrada's Passing

    We had lunch for some Maryknoll classmates at my house in January, and we had wondered why we didn't hear back from one of our classmates, Milette Estrada. Since she was a travel agent who organized pilgrimages, we thought she was away on a pilgrimage, and thought nothing of her silence. It was only recently when we heard, in a round about way, that she had passed away. For the longest time, we did not know when and how exactly she died. It was strange how disconcerted we, her classmates, felt being in the dark like that. The feeling of wanting to blame someone lurked about, not full-blossomed, but it was there: how come those of you in Southern California didn't know? How come her sister said nothing to us? Why?  What happened?

    Monday, February 16, 2015

    Two Hot Topics in the Philippines: Pope Francis and Mamasapano Massacre

    I just returned from a visit to the Philippines. While I was there, the two hot topics of conversation were:

    Sunday, February 15, 2015

    I'm Back in California!

    I'm back in California! There's a bit of a heat wave, but the weather feels good. Last night, we already visited our favorite little restaurant, Eddie's, for my calamari and Cesar salad with nice Chilean wine. I slept in, and in the early afternoon, we had brunch at another small little restaurant, Lazy Daisy, for Eggs Benedict. 

    I have a lot of catching up to do, but it's nice to be back home!

    P.S. -- Despite how my Literary Cats look like in the pictures, they are very happy to have me back!

    Read also

  • Sphagnum Almost Killed My Orchids
  • Typhoon Haiyan: Jews in the Philippines - 1940 & 2013
  • Post-War Cebu Life - More Memorabilia Photos of Cecilia Brainard
  • Creative Writing: The Importance of Sensual Writing
  • Syrian Revolutionary Poem & Destruction of Khalid bin Walid Mosque

  • Creative Writing: Journal Writing and my Pink Lock and Key Diary

  • Tags: Home, family, California

    This is all for now,

    Friday, February 13, 2015

    Flying Home - Check Back!

    Tuesday, February 10, 2015

    Open Letter re Homeless Problem in Cebu's Historic District

    Open Letter to Amelia Kent, American Peace Corps Volunteer, who started Shepherd's Heart Cafe in Cebu City's Historic District

    Dear Mimi,
    Finally I had the chance to stop by the Shepherd's Heart Cafe with my sister-in-law.

    We had coffee and sandwiches and chatted with the young women who were serving. Despite the sudden death of the sister in charge, the place is operating well. The place is tidy; they are now selling souvenir items, cookies. clothes and so on.  I am delighted that the air condition I donated does a good job cooling the place.

    Friends in Cebu, Philippines

    Seated l-r: Terry Manguerra, Helen Misa, Lucy Garcia
    Standing l-r: Cecilia Brainard, Chona Bernad, Teresita Huete, Chinggay Utzurrum

    I had dinner and lunch with some friends in Cebu City, Philippines.

    The picture above includes my circle of friends who are involved in heritage work in Cebu: Terry Manguerra, Chinggay Utzurrum, Chona Bernad. We have been missing dear Inday Blanco who was part of our circle and who unfortunately passsed away last January 20.

    Monday, February 9, 2015

    Solving a Mystery Regarding the Cuenco Family of Cebu

    This picture of my mother's family, the Cuenco Family, includes a girl with a bow in her hair, seated far left. I was told she was Maria, one of my mother's siblings who died shen she was young. I had also heard of a child named Corazon who died young. I was never sure if they were one and the same person.

    Sunday, February 8, 2015

    Manila: Dinner with Maryknollers Marily Orosa and Maribel Paraz

    During our college days at Maryknoll, the “lanai” as we called it was a popular place for gathering and chatting. This was a porch that ran a long length of the school, facing the entrance. This was where we people-watched. We didn’t know it, but it was also where lifelong friendships were forged.

    Saturday, February 7, 2015

    Air Quality of Metro Manila - #Makati, #Manila

    Makati: I continue to cough and I hear many people in Manila/Makati coughing.  I looked up "Quality of Life in Manila" and found this site;

    Here's an excerpt from the  December 2014 study:

    Pollution in Manila, Philippines

    Air Pollution
    89.17Very High
    Drinking Water Pollution and Inaccessibility
    Dissatisfaction with Garbage Disposal
    Dirty and Untidy
    80.36Very High
    Noise and Light Pollution
    Water Pollution
    87.50Very High
    Dissatisfaction to Spend Time in the City
    Dissatisfaction with Green and Parks in the City

    Apparently the study is based on Visitors' feedback for the past three years.

    Hmmmm ......

    Read also
    Government site re Air Quality in the Philippines

    Tags: Manila, Makati, Philippines, air quality, quality of life

    This is all for now,

    Friday, February 6, 2015

    Manila and Makati with Guia Lim and Tilic Lorayes

    l-r: Tillic Lorayes, Cecilia Brainard, Guia Lim

    It’s become a tradition that when I’m in Manila, my friend, Tillic Lorayes, and I go to the Island Spa at the New World Hotel to have a massage, followed by dinner with our other friend, Guia Lim. Friday, we did just that: one-hour foot massage, followed by a one hour Swedish massage – very relaxing. (In the past we had enjoyed Island’s Stone Massage and a Mixed Massage.)

    Thursday, February 5, 2015

    Manila: Malate-Ermita District and Evelyn Bosch

    l-r: Evelyn Ramirez Bosch, Cecilia Brainard, Cynthia 
    Posa, Mila Santillan

     I attended high school at St. Theresa’s College in San Marcelino, Manila, right across the Adamson University and near the San Miguel Brewery. We used to smell the brewing beer while we did Math or Sciene. Four years I went to that convent school. And there I made friends who remain my friends even now. 

    Wednesday, February 4, 2015

    Visiting The Philippine Graphic and Alma Anonas-Carpio

    I visited Alma Anonas-Carpio at her office at the Philippines Graphic, where she works as Associate Editor. I stopped by to pick up copies of the Graphic that published my work, The Incident, a chapter from the novel I’m now rewriting.

    Dinner with Maryknoll Friends at Blackbird Restaurant, Makati, Philippines

    l-r: Meldee Perez, Nini Arzadon, Cecilia Brainard, Marily Orosa

    I had dinner with some Maryknoll friends at the new Blackbird Restaurant in Makati.  The restaurant is located in what used to be the Heritage Library (I was sad to learn the library closed), and is aviation-themed. It's a high-end restaurant with lovely indoor space and even lovelier outdoor spacious patio.

    We sat in the patio and tried their antipasti: the ribs and crab cakes were favorites. We had pasta and the one with anchovy was delicious. We had cheesecake for dessert.

    The food was all right, not memorale though. The portions were rather small for the price. The ambiance and service were great.

    Internet is slow in Manila, so if you don't hear from me, check back, dear Readers.

    Read also:

    Philippines: The Forty-four Elite Commandos who Fell in Mindanao

    Tags; restaurant, Makati, Blackbird, food, drink, Maryknollers

    This is all for now,