(December 2009) Filipinas Magazine Articles Self Most Enjoyed Reading

Self has been subscribing to Filipinas Magazine since Issue # 1.  She’s glad to see it has survived, and this evening she’s decided to catch up with back issues.  Let’s see, she’ll start with the December 2009 issue, the one with Oprah discovery singing sensation Charice.  All the Read the rest of this entry »

Better Late Than Never: Mila D. Aguilar on Cory Aquino

Self happened upon Mila D. Aguilar’s first-person account in the September 2009 issue of Filipinas Magazine.  (Self is proud to say: she’s been subscribing to the magazine since the very first issue):

My President has been laid to rest. Now I can break my silence. For the one who presently sits on her manufactured throne is not my president. She never was.

My President is she who freed me from a Marcos prison in 1986. I know that she alone is not responsible for 1986, for the Read the rest of this entry »

Gemino “Jimmy” Abad: “Parable of Stones”

The August 2009 issue of Filipinas Magazine contains an article by Yvette Tan on the Read the rest of this entry »

Reading for the Day: Alex G. Paman on Philippine Literature of the Fantastic

Self still bleary-eyed from the trip to San Luis Obispo!  But she is at least upright and ambulatory (that is, when not reading a newspaper or typing on zee laptop)

Here, dear blog readers, is an extremely interesting article written by Alex G. Paman for the May 2009 issue of Filipinas Magazine.

Fantasy and horror movies have always been staples in Filipino popular cinema.  A quick glance through the DVD rental section of any Fil-Am grocery reveals a wide variety of the most current ghost stories, martial-arts superheroes and native fables fresh off their initial broadcast in the Philippines.  These uniquely Pinoy films, however, are often low budget and quickly made, imitations of current trends that lean more toward showcasing attractive leading stars than producing quality native fiction.

But away from the American superhero parodies, recycled fairy tales and derivative Japanese horror imitations, there is a growing literary movement in the Philippines that seeks to dispel the camp of pop Pinoy sci-fi.  Composed of award-winning journalists, writers, artists, and editors, these masters of science fiction, fantasy, and horror are now endeavoring to make a statement within mainstream literature, taking their place among the world’s top storytelling traditions to express the Filipino imagination.

“Fantasy and horror are deeply rooted in our oral traditions,” says award-winning author Dean Alfar who, along with his wife Nikki, co-edit and publish the annual Philippine Speculative Fiction anthology.  “We are storytellers and listeners.  It’s in our blood.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

5:26 p.m. on a Wednesday Evening in Redwood City

Self still on the Nicholson Baker-ish focus on minutiae.  Soon she’s going to have to start thinking of what to cook for dinner.  She successfully saved fingernails from further splitting by digging only one hole today in the backyard (and leaving it unfinished).  She obligingly stayed home all day, thereby avoiding temptation to spend —  for books, magazines, plants, yumi yogurt, what-have-you.  Son says he isn’t sure yet if he’s coming up tomorrow or Friday.  Self inquires if he and his friend are planning to spend Memorial Day here, and he says probably not.  The washing machine’s still broken, but there’s been progress on this front:  Now self has managed to convince hubby that we cannot continue one more week with a broken washing machine.  She called a plumber, she called Best Buy, she read Consumer Reports.  She’s marshalling all her facts so that when hubby comes home tonight, she can present him with her case, her case for buying the $759 washing machine that self feels will best keep the clothes and bedding smelling nice and fresh.  In the meantime, back to the cooking.

Self decided that, because of all the side trips she’s been making lately to Dairy Queen and Yumi Yogurt, she needs to go on a diet.  Besides which, she read in Filipinas Magazine’s “Expat’s Kitchen” that “there’s no denying that Filipinos, especially those living in America, are high up in the susceptibility level of such modern ailments as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart diseases.”

She likes that rather unique phrase:  “susceptibility level.”  Self has a “high susceptibility level” for over-eating.  Especially when it comes to ice-cream.  As she simply can’t live through summer without it.  Anyhoo, she continues with the Filipinas Magazine article:  “It is commonly believed that Filipino food is unhealthy, because of the high sodium and fat content that popular dishes require.”  Oh.  Next!

Self lands on Chowhound, which is one of the sites she could lose herself in, for hours and hours.  Today she sees a post from the parents of a Cal Poly junior, who are soliciting restaurant suggestions for San Luis Obispo.  The mom writes that they tried a Japanese place downtown, that she and her husband were among the very few “over college-age kids” in the restaurant, and that she “blushed several times just overhearing some of the boisterous conversations from adjacent tables.”

Which led self to muse on son, who was here only a few days ago and who will be back this weekend with friend Rebecca.  Son is so decorous at all times (and so poker-faced, as witness his demeanor when self dragged him to 10:05 Digital Projection screening of “Star Trek” at RWC Century 20 last Saturday:  while self laughed uproariously with the rest of the audience at practically every wisecrack, son was so quiet that self actually took to poking him in the ribs.  Bad Mama!  Bad Mama!).  Self sometimes wonders whether son is just pulling her leg.  Go crazy, son! it’s always been on the tip of her tongue to say.  Just go hog-wild!  Your Mama doesn’t want to see you turn into a 40-year-old walking-talking mid-life crisis!

Self has absolutely no idea how we arrived here, dear blog readers.  She was supposed to be blogging about what to cook for dinner.

Stay tuned.

Conversations: Luisa Igloria on Juan Luna

Self missed Luisa Igloria’s reading with Karen Llagas, Joi Barrios and Barbara Jane Reyes, Dec. 6 at the San Francisco Main Library. Luisa’s book, Juan Luna’s Revolver, has just been published by the the University of Notre Dame Press, and self was absolutely ecstatic to get her copy signed, by the author herself, the day before Luisa left the Bay Area.

So there we were, sitting together in self’s humble living room, and self was telling Luisa how much she adored her poetry, and how she loved the collection’s title poem, and Luisa told self that there was another Juan Luna, apparently a mass murderer in Texas who’d had his killing spree at a McDonald’s, and when you google “Juan Luna,” more than likely the hits you get are all about the murderer. Which information self found extremely fascinating. (And, just to show why self can never, ever be a reporter, Luisa Igloria sends self a gentle correction this evening: “The other Juan Luna was a guy in Palatine, IL, who went on a shooting rampage with his high school buddy in a Brown’s Chicken fast food place there – I think this was sometime in 1993 — !!!)

Juan Luna, bless his heart, was apparently so dismayed by reports of his wife’s purported infidelity because he never considered her attractive. So, to make up for this really unforgivable oversight, he killed both his wife and his mother-in-law, but apparently did not serve time in jail (how fortunate for him), but didn’t live long, either, afterwards.

And, self perusing the latest issue of Filipinas Magazine this morning, sees that — whoa! — a newly discovered painting by aforementioned painter/cad/murderer was unearthed and auctioned off by Christie’s Hong Kong (painting is entitled “Las Damas Romanas” and features two European ladies languidly posed on some marble/stone steps, while one of the ladies restrains two very thin, whippet-like dogs on a leash). And this work, which was signed and dated “Luna Roman 1883” fetched over a million US dollars.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

Brain Cloud: Clive Owen, Lav Diaz, and Gayle Romasanta

Self was so tired yesterday that she canceled a dentist’s appointment and at 6 p.m. was already in her pajamas, on the couch. She made popcorn. She watched her Netflix movie, “Shoot ’em Up,” with Clive Owen and Monica Bellucci (over-the-top great). By the time hubby came home, at 8 p.m., she’d had dinner and was dozing it off. He nearly tripped and fell over two boxes that had been left on the doorsill. Oh! The Food Saver Vacuum Sealer! Self’s old one, which she bought after watching an advertisement on Spanish TV when she was in southern Spain in ’96, had given up the ghost a month ago. At first, she thought she could do without it, but all the food she left in the fridge mouldered there for days. Now self’s going to go through everything in the fridge, sealing everything in little plastic pouches. How relaxing!

Anyhoo, self was truly, deeply asleep by about 10 p.m. Which is why she is wide awake now, at 4:30 a.m. Self loves these pre-dawn hours. There was a time when she tried to make herself NOT get on the computer until 7 a.m., just to see if she could get in some serious writing, but alas she could never withstand the siren call of the internet.

This morning, self is reading Filipinas Magazine. She reads with pleasure a letter from the editor, Greg Macabenta, who reports that “next year, we might even show a modest profit.” On p. 10, she reads about an eight-hour film by a Filipino Director named “Lav” Diaz that won Best Film in the “Orizzonti Section of the 65th International Film Festival in Italy.” If only self knew what “Orizzonti” meant! Anyhoo, the selection was unanimous, and the film “was also picked to be the closing film of the festival.” According to Filipinas, “the movie focused on examining the reason for so much sadness and so much madness in the world.” Congratulations, Lav.

Then self moved a few pages down and saw a picture with a face that looked vaguely familiar. And, yes, it is Robert Divina, who self just saw in Gayle Romasanta’s musical, “Love in the Time of Breast Cancer.” Self was so glad she got to see the production, for it was very, very good. Afterwards, when everyone was milling about on-stage, self told Gayle that she wished it would be shown in more places, she really liked it. Robert Divina played the lead character’s love interest, a Spanish photojournalist, and afterwards, when self and Edwin and Karen were leaving the theatre, Edwin said “hi” to an extremely tall person who turned out to be Robert Divina in regular clothes. On-stage, he didn’t seem so tall, but next to regular Filipinos, he seemed like a giant. Also in the vicinity was the female lead, Esperanza Catubig, who is even lovelier than she was on-stage, because she turns out to have a profusion of long, shiny black hair (which during the play is hidden by a head-scarf at all times). And, wouldn’t you know, Edwin knew her as well. Edwin knows everybody! It took us a good half-hour to cut short the hellos and good-byes and make it to our respective cars.

So, it’s been an extremely busy but fulfilling week, dear blog readers. Day after tomorrow, self embarks on epic road trip with Dearest Mum. Stay tuned.

Food Places to Check Out (When Self Goes to Manila in January)

The latest issue of Filipinas Magazine arrived in self’s mailbox ripped and torn (perhaps a neighbor’s dog got to it —  ha ha ha!).  Still, self was able to read most of the pages (except for the cover). Self’s been clipping articles and putting them aside for her upcoming trip.  On p. 9, she finds a list of food recommendations by Claude Tayag, who started out as a painter, who has built himself a stunning house — which self was fortunate enough to visit, with son, in 2004 —  filled with his artwork and handmade furniture, and who is now, according to Filipinas, “the Philippines’ most renowned food expert/restaurateur”.  Wow!  Talk about a fascinating career arc!

Now, Claude has drawn up a list of the best “hole-in-the-wall” food joints in the Philippines (Yum!  Yum!)

There are places in Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur, Pangasinan and Pampanga, Negros Oriental and Cebu.  But the places self is really interested in are the ones in Iloilo City (birthplace of self’s Dear Departed Lola, as well as self’s mother-in-law) and Negros Occidental (birthplace of self’s Dear Departed Dad).  Here are those places:

  • In Iloilo CityTatoy’s and Breakthrough, “a toss-up for the best seafood” (If only Claude had included street addresses, for it might be a tad difficult for self to find some of these places —  that is, if they are indeed true hole-in-the-wall eateries)
  • Again in Iloilo City:  Deko’s or Ted’s, another toss-up for the best batchoy (Hey, that’s self’s nickname!  What the @@##!!)
  • Bacolod City:  Enting’s Special, for its “several kinds of kinilaw” (our home-grown version of the Peruvian cebiche)

God, self’s mouth is watering, so great is her anticipation about sampling these places.  Only two more months to go!  Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

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