Sunday, July 5, 2015

Philippines: In Manila with Tropical Storm Egay!





I’m in Manila and it’s been raining because of tropical storm, Egay. I’ve forgotten how hard it can rain, and how relentless the rain can fall. What amazes me is how people can go about their business despite the rain.  In Makati this afternoon, people went shopping as they probably do every Sunday afternoon. When the rain fell harder, they stayed indoors, waiting I presume for the rain to let up.

Actually the rain feels good. It seems to have cleaned Manila’s air that’s pretty polluted. The last time I was in Manila I had asthma, and I am certain it was because of the bad air. Many people in Manila have respiratory problems because of the pollution.

Stay tuned, dear Readers.

Read also

Egay Triggers Floods in Northern Luzon

Egay Unleashes Floods Submerges La Union Towns

Tags: Manila, Philippines, Egay, tropical storm, typhoon, weather, rain

This is all for now,
Cecilia

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Odlot, Northern Cebu Almost Two Years After Super Typhoon Haiyan



Last November 2013, when super typhoon Haiyan or Yolanda struck the Philippines, the small town of Odlot in Northern Cebu was devastated. Homes were destroyed, trees uprooted; the church of Odlot lost its roof and suffered a lot of damage.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Promoting the Beatification of Bishop Camomot of Cebu, Philippines





The Philippines is one of two Asian countries with a predominantly Catholic population (the other is East Timor).  Eighty-six percent Filipinos are Christians, with eighty percent being Roman Catholic. Religion plays a large part in their lives. In shopping malls for instance, a loud speaker will blare the Angelus prayer at 6 p.m. Many shopping malls will have a chapel with regular Masses.



Thursday, July 2, 2015

Philippines Architecture: Heritage Houses of Carcar, Cebu


We visited two heritage houses in the the City of Carcar, which is around 45 km southeast of Cebu City. These houses are privately owned and we had to ask permission from the owners. 

My grandmother came from Carcar and these well-preserved houses allowed me to imagine how life might have been for her. Please take time to look at the pictures to appreciate the architectural detials and antique furniture in these houses. 

The first house is the Balay na Tisa, a Spanish Colonial house built in 1859. This is reportedly the oldest house in Carcar, Cebu.


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Proud to be Part of "Filipino Woman Writing" by Cristina Pantoja Hidalgo



I'm proud to be part of this book by Cristina Pantoja Hidalgo who wrote:

"This was waiting for me on my desk Monday morning. Great way to start the week!

"Here's the blurb:

'Twenty years have passed since this groundbreaking book was first published. In 1994, there was hardly any "life writing" being published in the Philippines, let alone critical commentary of it. Hidalgo retrieved what she called "autobiographical narratives" by Filipino women from their essay collections, columns, and sundry other publications, and focused on how they wrote and rewrote themselves while writing of their "homes." The UST Publishing House has decided to re-issue Hidalgo's book, with a new Introduction by the author, because the field remains relatively unexplored today (despite the publication of many more memoirs by Filipinas) and its insights remain fresh and relevant.'



Photo of first issue Filipino Woman Writing courtesy of Pinay Van Alemanya


Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Philippines: Cebu's Monsoon Season Has Begun, Drought Ended



There was a severe drought in Cebu so much so that corn farmers lost their crop.

A May 13, 2015 article in the Cebu Daily News says, "The Cebu City Council yesterday  declared 31 upland barangays  under a state of calamity because of the effects of the dry spell. This will enable the city to tap disaster funds for relief operations in   areas  which need it, said Councilor Gerry Carillon."

Monday, June 29, 2015

Cebu Philippines: Cleanup of Parian River Begins!


Photo courtesy of Sunstar Cebu

I was delighted to read that part of the Estero Parian (or Parian river, canal, or creek) will be dredged beginning this Wednesday. Cebu's City government is doing this to partially address the severe flooding in the downtown area. The estero, which has not been cleaned in 20 years, has silted up to 2 meters deep.  Further, people have built structures along the river, and they have been dumping garbage and human waste into the waterway.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Philippines: Seeing Old Friends in Cebu, the Franco Sisters


Seated l-r: Gina Kahler, Helen Franco Misa, Lucy Franco Garcia, Jean Franco Teves
Standing l-r: May Tan, Teresita Franco Barte, Cecilia Manguerra Brainard

I spent Sunday evening with old friends, the Franco sisters (and their family and friends). 

To appreciate the friendship, you need to take a look at our picture below. That was taken at a Hawaiian luau at my house in the 1960s. My friendship with the Franco sisters spans decades. Teresita Franco and I went to elementary school together. And even before we were born, our parents had been friends. That is how Cebu is. Families will have generational connections.


Seated l-r: Cecilia Manguerra, Lucy Franco
Back l-r: Teresita Franco, Jean Franco, Agnes Sotto (kneeling), Diana Franco, Helen Franco (kneeling)

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Rich and Poor in the Philippines




I snapped this photo from my taxi. What caught my eye was the sidewalk advertisement for a barber shop that says: "Haircut with free massage P40.

Forty pesos is worth around 90 cents.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Cebu Philippines: Awesome Boy Studies on Sidewalk



This picture has gone viral. It shows the image of a child studying on a makeshift table on a sidewalk.

Joyce Torrefranca, a medical student at Cebu Doctor's University, took this photo of a nine-year-old boy named Daniel. She posted the picture in Facebook and it's been trending.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Cebu Philippines: St. Pedro Calungsod and the Parian of Cebu City







The first Visayan Roman Catholic saint is Pedro Calungsod who lived in the 17th century and who was canonized in 2012.  He was a seventeen-year-old sacristan and missionary catechist who, with Father Diego Luis de San Vitores, was persecuted and martyred in 1672 in Guam by the Chamorros.


While it is not known where exactly Pedro Calungsod was born, it is accepted that he was a Visayan (i.e. a resident of the central part of the Philippines which includes Cebu). Many Cebuanos are certain that he had spent time in Cebu City. Father Diego,with whom he worked with, was a Jesuit missionary, and Jesuits had jurisdiction over the Parian district in Cebu City.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Cebu Philippines: Update Parian Fiesta 2015 San Juan Bautista

photo courtesy of Kingsley Benedict Medalle

It rained at the fiesta of San Juan Bautista or St. John the Baptist, but people took this as a blessing because:

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Cebu Philippines: Celebrating the Parian Fiesta of St. John the Baptist

 Parian Church that was torn down

One of the reasons I'm in the Philippines is to celebrate the fiesta of my small community, the historic Parian of Cebu City. June 24 is the feast day of St. John the Baptist, patron saint of the Parian.  I'm a member of the co-fradia led by Louie Nacorda and Val Sandiego.


Monday, June 22, 2015

Sports: More on Philippine Basketball - Rafe Bartholomew's Book, Pacific Rims



In 2011 or 2012, I helped organized a literary reading/signing for a Filipino American Book Festival. One of the participants was a young American, Rafe Bartholomew, who talked about his new book Pacific Rims. Lauren bought a signed copy. Lauren has been raving about the book and has lent it to his friends, sports fans, like him.

Rafe Batholomew (photo courtesy of his Facebook Site)

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Travel: Flying to Another Adventure!



Please check back. 

I'm in the air making my way to another adventure!


Read some popular postings in my blog:

Cecilia's Recipe: How to Make Gugo or Gogo Shampoo

Fiction by Guest Blogger Erlinda Kravetz, "Song from the Mountain"

Filipino Cooking: Recipe for Carol's Cornbread Bibingka

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Tags: Cecilia Brainard, blog

This is all for now,
Cecilia




Vintage Pictures of Zamboanga, Mindanao, Southern Muslim Philippines




I'm doing more research on how places in Southern Philippines looked like in the 1900s. These pictures were taken in Zamboanga, Mindanao. I visited Zamboanga in the 1990s, as part of a USIS (United States Information Service) lecture route. Zamboanga did not look like this; it was more crowded with other types of housing.  These images present a tranquil and pristine place.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Vintage Pictures of Jolo, Sulu in Southern Muslim Philippines



I've been looking at vintage pictures of Sulu and Mindanao to help me with my current novel-in-progress.  It's part-research and part-imagining where some of my characters could have lived.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Taking the Day Off!!!





I'm taking the day off, dear Readers.

Please check back!


Read the some popular postings in my blog:

Cecilia's Recipe: How to Make Gugo or Gogo Shampoo

Fiction by Guest Blogger Erlinda Kravetz, "Song from the Mountain"

Filipino Cooking: Recipe for Carol's Cornbread Bibingka

Tags: Cecilia Brainard, blog

This is all for now,
Cecilia


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Cooking: My Own Spice Box and Doreen Gamboa Food Writing Competition



 I found a nice spice box from India at the Somosa House in Culver City where we had a nice casual dinner one evening. This vegetarian restaurant has good Indian food, and the annexed market has wonderful spices and Indian goods, including this stainless steel spice box.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Finally - My City of Los Angeles Award for Filipinotown Arrived!


 It's a bit late but it's great that I got this City of Los Angeles Award from Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell of the 13th District.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Asian American Writers: LA Literary Scene in the 1980s and Naomi Hirahara

Pacific Asian American Women Writers-West (PAAWW-West) - 1980s Photo taken after a reading that included Wanda Coleman
Front L-R: Amy Uyematsu, Akemi Kikumura, Joyce Nako, Naomi Hirahara, Emma Gee, Momoko Iko
Middle row L-R: Pam Tom, Velina Houston (behind Joyce), Cecilia Brainard, Ardis Nishikawa
Back Row L-R: Jude Narita, Fe Koons, Wanda Coleman, Chungmi Kim


I had a wonderful time last Saturday at the launch of Naomi Hirahara's new book, Grave on Grand Avenue, second of her Ellie Rush series. The event was held at the Japanese American Library in downtown Los Angeles. There were bento lunches for those who wanted to eat, followed by Haiku readings by some Japanese American writers. Naomi then did a power point presentation of her evolution as a crime writer. She was articulate, funny, informative, and had the audience in the palm of her hand.

There was book signing afterwards.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Did Philippine Muslim Women Cover Their Heads in the 1900s?



Group of upper class Muslim women, Sulu, 1900-1910 (heads not covered)

My current novel-in-progress has Muslim women characters in the Philippines in the early 1900s. I am not sure how they would have dressed. In particular, did they cover their heads?

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Sports: Philippine Passion for Basketball



The question of the history of basketball in the Philippines popped up because  my third novel (the literary mystery), mentions three young men playing basketball in the plaza. The novel is set in 1909 in my mythical place, Ubec, Philippines. My husband did not think basketball would have reached the Philippines as of yet.  He said basketball first started in 1891, in Springfield Massachusetts.

Friday, June 12, 2015

More re Reading at Skirball Cultural Center for UCLA Extension's Writers' Program




These two photos were taken when I was reviewing my piece for the Reading at Skirball Cultural Center for the Writers' Program of UCLA Extension. Each reader had 5 minutes, which makes for a difficult selection. 

I read from a chapter of my third novel, and I'll post that piece in my blog sometime - "The Incident."


The readers in order of appearance were: Barbara Abercrombie, Harry Youtt, Mike Buckley, Shawna Kenney, Liz Gonzalez, Laurel Ann Bogen, Nancy Spiller, Ian Randall Wilson, Rachel Kann, Cecilia Manguerra Brainard, Peter Serchuk, Colette Sartor, Suzanne Lummis, and Lou Matthews, with Linda Venis as moderator.

The readers shared poetry and excerpts of personal essays and fiction. One and one-half hours flew!

Photo shoot before the literary reading




As always it was fun, and I have to thank Linda Venis and the staff of the Writers' Program for hosting the annual publication party.



Read also
Tags: literature, writing, reading, Writers' Program, UCLA Extension

This is all for now,
Cecilia





Thursday, June 11, 2015

Preparing for a Literary Reading at the Writers' Program UCLA Extension





I'm getting ready for a literary reading tonight, dear Readers.  

I'll be reading from a novel excerpt, "The Incident" that first appeared in the Philippine Graphic.  The excerpt is part of my third novel, a literary mystery, titled "Dead Priest in the Creek."

I'm looking for a literary agent to market this novel, by the way!

Here's what writer-professor Brian Roley says about it:

"I’ll just say here that it’s a terrific book. I’m not just saying that. This is one of the books I’ve long wanted to have written—a crime novel set in the Philippines that seamlessly brings in US colonial history in a way that would be interesting to both US and Philippine audiences, and with engrossing characters. Congratulations." ~ by Brian Roley, Author, Professor




Read also
     Tags: literature, novel, literary, reading, Cecilia Brainard
    This is all for now,
     Cecilia


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Guest Blogger: Peace Corps Volunteer Elaine Sweet Writes about Namibia

My Guest Blogger is Elaine Sweet, American Peace Corps Volunteer, who had served in Azerbaijan and the Philippines, is now in Namibia, a country in southern Africa. 

She says, "I need to wrap up the vacation odyssey because I have gotten a green light from the Peace Corps to set up funding for the Library Resource Center for my school."

Here is one of her final reports about her stay in Namibia.
I have her permission to reprint the following:
~~

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Travel France: The Most Precious Images of the Trip to Paris



When all is said and done, 
these are the most precious images of our trip to Paris.



Monday, June 8, 2015

Invitation to UCLA Extension Writers' Program Publication Party

I'll be reading at the UCLA Extension Writers' Program Publication Party. I hope to see some of you there - this Thursday already, at the Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 North Sepulveda Blvd, LA, call 310-825-9971 to RSVP.





Read also

Tags: UCLA Extension, Literary Reading, reading, literature, Los Angeles, California, Writers' Program, Cecilia Brainard

This is all for now,