Admiral George Dewey, 1 May 1898


Admiral George Dewey defeated an outdated and woefully under-equipped Spanish fleet at the Battle of Manila Bay, 1 May 1898

“Don Alfredo and Jose Rizal” in Sou’wester, Spring 2007:

  • As Jose Rizal was lined up before the Spanish firing squad, labeled renegade and underground solidarity worker, George Dewey entered Manila Bay.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

#amreading: Manuel D. Duldulao

  • The greatest link . . .  to the Spanish past is Intramuros. For almost 400 years until its destruction, Intramuros was Manila.

The Filipinos, Portrait of a People, by Manuel D. Duldulao

#amreading: Carlos Bulosan, AMERICA IS IN THE HEART

America is in the Heart is about a Filipino migrant worker who lives in the itinerant camps and moves up and down the west coast, following the harvests.

Chapter XXIII:

I tried hard to remain aloof from the destruction and decay around me. I wanted to remain pure within myself. But in Pismo Beach, where I found Mariano, I could not fight anymore. He and I slept on the floor of a small cottege, where two others were living.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Current #wip: The History of War On An Island (Working Title)

About the occupation of a Philippine island during World War II:

Honorato was sent to the mountains. He had just turned 18. His father worried because he was tall, because he was good-looking, because he was the eldest and bore the hopes of his parents on his narrow shoulders. So, hide, his father told him. Hide as far away from the city as you can.

Originally, this was even longer than my other historical novel, Blue Water, Distant Shores. But, a month ago, I broke it apart and it’s now very fleet: just under 250 pages.

Stay tuned.

Beloved: The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 31 January 2018

Can you believe January 2018 is over? Self can’t.

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is BELOVED.

We’re asked to “share a photo of something that is dearly loved.”

Here are a couple:

Museums. Self loves museums. This one is a picture of the last museum she visited, in the University of Santo Tomas, the oldest university in Manila (founded 1611):


The Art and Natural History Museum, University of Santo Tomas

Another thing self loves is history. And the University of Santo Tomas having been founded in 1611, there’s a lot of history there. Here’s the Main Building:


Main Building, University of Santo Tomas

Last but not least, she loves her son. Here she is with him, in a picture taken about 10 years ago. He lives in southern California and last October married a wonderful girl, Jennie, who hails from New Mexico:


Andrew and Self at the Beach Chalet off the Great Highway, in San Francisco. The picture was taken approximately 10 years ago.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.


Silence: Antonio Vivencio del Rosario Heritage Library, University of Santo Tomas, Manila

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge (as of 17 January 2018) is SILENCE.

I love having time to myself — solitude re-charges me . . .  I had never really immersed myself in a long stretch of silence beyond my occasional hour-long meditation sessions. I went to this hermitage on a silent retreat for uninterrupted, unstructured time to think, to walk, to read, and just be.

— Cheri Lucas Rowlands, The Daily Post

The University of Santo Tomas is the oldest university in the Philippines. It was founded in 1611.

During a recent three-week sojourn in Manila (city of her birth), self had the privilege to drop by the University a visit. Her first stop: the Antonio Vivencio Historical Library, named after self’s great-grandfather.

How her heart ached to see these precious books, 30,000 volumes (which had been carried out of Intramuros by hand, just before the Battle for the liberation of Manila, at the end of World War II).

If she could, she would happily spend the rest of her days in that library.

But she is back now in San Francisco. When will she return to Manila? Who knows.

The answer is: SILENCE.



Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Weathered in the Philippines


Volumes of Manuel Blanco’s FLORA DE FILIPINAS


The trees in the Quadrangle of the Ateneo de Manila University (self’s alma mater) have been there for decades. So have the stone benches.


#amwritinghistoricalfiction: BLUE WATER, DISTANT SHORES, p. 14

“You have been spreading falsehoods. You are a wicked child. Why do you cause your mother so much grief? What evil has infected you? Do you delight in making her miserable? What does it serve?”

Matias is so frightened that he cannot speak a word. “Do you know what mortal sin is?” the priest continues. He rises from the desk. He looks immense, immovable as a boulder.

#amwritinghistoricalfiction: Blue Water, Distant Shores

The language may be a bit portentous. Nevertheless, here is from p. 7:

So the story begins. It is a story of churning oceans, ships, dragon’s breath, siren calls. A story of leviathans and faith, about islands and the building of ships. About Hell and Paradise. About blood and fever. And greed, of course. That, above all.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.


#novelinprogress: Blue Water, Distant Shores

This novel is going to live and die on the strength of the voice. It doesn’t matter that it’s set in the 18th century. All self knows is that if the voice isn’t true, it will never work.

She writes things set in the distant future, and those too are voice-driven. Like her story, This Is End, where the hero’s Friends-With-Benefits, Her, tells him: He ended me. Big ended me.

Or when she wrote about the Legazpi expedition of 1571 and crammed her story full of Spanish: De las Islas Filipinas. Paganos. Esta tierra fué la primera. La primera misa.

So of course, Blue Water, Distant Shores is voice-driven. Hard to sustain for 300 pages. Took her three years. Flash is really her jam.

pp. 7 – 8:

  • By the eighteenth century, Spain is already exhibiting signs of exhaustion, its sulky mind tossing and turning, preferring already the deep, fathomless sleep of history’s graveyard to the turbulence of exploration. In the Islands, the Church suffers grievous wounds. Perhaps there is no saving it.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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