Body Beautiful

In a recent virtual Christmas party with my Toastmasters International Club, we had fun answering impromptu questions asked during the Ms. Universe 2021 competition but with a twist, assigning each participant a country, such as Ms. Russia to a member who’s based in Moscow and Ms. France to me for having been posted in Paris…

Pan de Salawal, joie de vivre, and the Filipinos

A mysterious child with healing powers. A septuagenarian ravaged by a kidney disease contemplating ending his life. A community of people with various maladies and unreached dreams, living in a poverty-stricken section of the city. These were my observations in the first few minutes of the movie Pan de Salawal, an official entry to Cinemalaya…

Pista (Fiesta)

Ngayon ay bisperas ng pista sa aming lugar sa Albay. Sigurado, marami na naman ang abala sa paghahanda ng mga pagkain para sa pamilya at para sa bisita. Marami rin ang naglilinis ng bahay at bakuran para handa sa pagdating ng okasyon. Tuwing pista ay ipinagdiriwang ang santa o santong patron ng isang lugar sa…

Kain Tayo!

It is a rainy Saturday afternoon in Paris now and because of the cold weather, I suddenly craved for special goto with chicken strips, tuwalya (ox tripe), sliced century egg, spring onion slices and toasted garlic bits. With calamansi (Philippine lemon) extract, it tastes heavenly. But I guess, I have to set aside my culinary…

Philippines: Un Pays au Pluriel (A Country of a Thousand Faces), 1987

When I first found the French-English book Philippines: Un Pays au Pluriel (1987) from the bottom shelf of the Embassy library, it seemed like just any other book about the Philippines with pictures of nature, tribes wearing their traditional garments, and Filipinos wearing beautiful smiles. But when I read the description of the author Jean…

Happy 2021!

You woke up on January 1st 2021, your eyes still heavy with sleep. You wrapped the soft, woollen blanket more tightly around you and felt the soft mattress with your feet enclosed in the warmth of your Christmas socks. While lying in bed, you glanced at your window covered with pastel-colored drapes with tiny flower…

Dr. Jose P. Rizal Day 2020

On December 30, 2020, the Philippines celebrated Rizal Day, which commemorated the life and works of Dr. Jose P. Rizal. It is also the 124th year since Rizal, the national hero of the Philippines, was shot by a firing squad in Bagumbayan (present day Rizal Park) because of the charges against him for playing a…

Happy Weekend!

It is December 12 now. I can’t believe that it will be Christmas Day in just two weeks! 🙂 I attended my usual but always awaited Saturday morning (15:00-17:00H Philippine time) meeting with my fellow UP Manila Toastmasters Club members/friends and I would like to share some of our photos and messages today. ❤ Despite…

Life Vignettes

There are moments when a certain episode in life crosses your mind for whatever reason, even when you’re not seriously thinking about it or even when there was no event on that particular day that connected to the previous experience. I would like to share some of these. I am not sure if it’s because…

A Tale of Two Women: A look into mental health

Let me tell you about Tasyon and Conching. Tasyon and Conching were well-known in my hometown in Albay, Philippines. They were alike yet different–Tasyon, with her waist-length black hair and simple dresses, and Conching with her neatly-combed short hair, nice dresses with a belt accentuating her petite frame, and a dainty hand bag. Tasyon was…