Category Archives: Talk Story (a.k.a. “blog”)

“Talk Story” is a.k.a. MY BLOG.

MANILA TRAVEL DIARY: Electrosurgery on My Milia and Flat Warts

My sister, Dr. Belen Lardizabal Dofitas, dermatologist extradordinaire
My sister, Dr. Belen Lardizabal Dofitas, dermatologist extradordinaire

TRAVEL DIARY: March 7, 2016 – No pain, no gain! My dermatologist-sister, Dr. Belen Lardizabal Dofitas, made me “Plastic Woman” by putting cellophane tape over the facial anesthesia applied to areas of my face and neck. The tape was placed so that the anesthesia would be absorbed for an hour before she performed electrosurgery, zapping my many “milia” on my face (those tiny white bumps are cysts made of keratin) and flat warts on my neck. This particular procedure was almost painless, that is, you could smell some minuscule burnt skin, feel some slight needle pricks and heat as she zapped the milia. Afterwards, she placed antibiotic on all the zapped areas and told me not to wash my face and neck until noon tomorrow (24 hours after the procedure). The total waiting time from anesthesia to electrosurgery: Possibly three hours, not including the traffic.

Lorna, Plastic Woman
Lorna, Plastic Woman

You can see some redness on my face. In a couple of days, I will see some dots (scarring) which will then just fall off. The milia inside those dots will also jut out and fall off. The others will be easy to scrape off during my next facial (just like blackheads and whiteheads). My sister had used a needle on one of the larger and harder milia above my left eye. My gain is that I can now put on my eye make-up without having tiny bumps. The only downside is that I have to keep wearing sunscreen (SPF 50 to SPF 70) forever.

Lorna, after electrosurgery
Lorna, after electrosurgery

This procedure was done at QualiMed, FMAB Building (Faculty Medical Arts Building) at PGH (Philippine General Hospital). The cost? It is easier to estimate it this way: Zapping up to 10 milia is PH1,000. So, if you have 20 milia, it is PH2,000 (or $42.55, PH47=US$1). It could be less. This is just a good ballpark figure to remember.

I will have more work done during my next trip this October. I need to tighten my chin and my neck so this means saving PH20,000 to PH30,000 ($426-$638.30). Belen would like to use laser on some of my darker freckles so they would look lighter.

Pricing, as always, is subject to change without any notice.

Does anyone want to join me for a skin care medical tourism journey this late October/early November? This is a personal invitation since I am such a believer…

There are many doctors to choose from — depending where you will be staying. Belen has many dermatologists she can recommend us to — especially since most of them are her former students.

There are other clinics such as Clínica Manila (Dr. Hernan Delizo’s “baby” and the visionary behind the ONE HEALTH CARD) that can help you. I have experienced the services of Clínica Manila and QualiMed — and I can share with you that medical tourism in the Philippines is such a good experience with value-packed pricing.

I look forward to what Cebu has to offer!

One day after Lorna's electrosurgery
One day after Lorna’s electrosurgery

TRAVEL DIARY: March 8, 2016 – One day after the electrosurgery on my face (performed by my dermatologist sister at QualiMed-FMAB at PGH) to zap the tiny milia (the cysts made out of keratin). The scabs will fall off before I leave for the US next week.

You need to know how to walk with confidence. I wasn’t even aware that people were staring at me politely. I bet you they couldn’t decide if I had chicken pox scars, right? LOL

The Basics of Backpacking for Women and Girls

As a real road warrior, lessening the “carbon footprint” is a matter of necessity. I travel by plane, train, bus, and automobile. One of my mentors say, “You get to see places many of us don’t!” It’s true!

I hope you enjoy this content curation!

Ro Khanna – The Book, Entrepreneurial Nation: Why Manufacturing is Still Key to America’s Future

The first time I met Ro Khanna was sometime in early 2012, when NaFFAA Region 8 was busy helping out in a Santacruzan event at Seasons Marketplace at Landess. I recall meeting a gentle, personable young man who was interested in helping us, Filipino American advocates, make this cultural event a success. I have some of my small videos on this event somewhere in my files. When I make the time, I will include them in one of my blogs.

I have yet to have my book (I bought it at Amazon.com) autographed by Ro.

Google+ Hangouts is a PLUS for Meetings, Conferences, and Online Broadcasts

In preparation for Federation 2013, I reminded Noel S.V. Omega, the FPACC Vice President for Conferences, that using Google+ Hangouts would work well with the planned panel discussions. Noel has been busy experimenting with fellow Filipino American Chamber members. I promised him that we would host our own google+ hangout and chat about his passion, VOICE OVERS.

In the meantime, check out what I’ve curated.

David, Are You Ready To Conquer The World? An Essay written on June 6, 1998

David Lardizabal, my youngest brother, visited me for two days at my Fisherman’s Wharf-San Francisco apartment in 1998. I memorialized his visit by writing an essay. My original intention was to use this essay as the introduction to my chap book about “Effective Networking.” Perhaps, one day, I will write this book. I am more interested in passing on my knowledge and experiences to my nieces and nephews.

Last night, in Columbia, Missouri, I asked David to scan the pages of the original essay that I had found in one of my gazillion boxes. I lost the original soft copy.

Today, I believe I am a more “evolved” Lorna when it comes to the basics of Networking. I feel that there is more caring and compassion in how I interact with people compared to my lifestyle in 1998… and that is a good thing!

David V. Lardizabal: Are You Ready to Conquer the World? By Lorna L. Dietz, June 6, 1998 by Lorna Dietz

As of today, David has been honored twice as “Teacher of the Year.” The first one was given to him at Cleveland Clinic and the second one was at the University of Missouri.

In 2012, David was honored with a National Award for Innovation in Education.

Lardizabal recognized for developing simulation training and online teaching tools

A University of Missouri neurologist is being recognized for his innovation as a teacher. David Lardizabal, MD, assistant professor of neurology at the MU School of Medicine, has been selected to receive the 2012 Clerkship Directors Innovation Award from the American Academy of Neurology (AAN).

Lardizabal is receiving the honor for his development of online teaching tools and simulation training for neurology education. He received the award at the AAN Annual Meeting in New Orleans.

Continue reading here.

Looking Back at Kulinarya 2011, A Filipino Culinary Showdown in San Francisco, California

Here I am, writing “backwards,” i.e., documenting my work for KULINARYA 2011, A Filipino Culinary Showdown in San Francisco, California. The event was held on January 21, 2012 at the Carnelian by the Bay Restaurant (Behind Ferry Building at The Embarcadero), San Francisco. The PILI nut was the food ingredient that took center stage and the Philippines’ KULINARYA TOURS were also highlighted.

Of course, I am “drooling” over the prospect of KULINARYA 2012, the 3rd Filipino Culinary Showdown, being convened later this year — but I promised to keep my mouth shut until the organizers make their official announcements.

I am making more time to document some of my written works and audio-visual creations in this personal blog. I keep reiterating to my nieces and nephews that all I can give them are my experiences (through this blog) and sharing my memories and learnings, whenever we reconnect… I miss them! Fortunately, nowadays, I interact with three of my nephews almost every day — and sometimes, in between my viral marketing and public relations work, I get to share my culinary experiences with them.

FOR EXAMPLE: Last night, it was all about PASTA. I taught Christian that the only way to learn if his spaghetti noodles are cooked “al dente” IS to actually taste them, semi-raw — and then done to perfection. Of course, I did not teach him how to throw a spaghetti noodle against the wall to see if it would stick or not. And yes, I also taught him how to “refresh” his refrigerated noodles inside a colander — over hot running water in the sink.

I hope to share more of these culinary experiences with my nieces and nephews.

In the meantime, this is what I did for our hardworking professionals at the Philippine Department of Tourism in San Francisco. Thank you, Rene de los Santos, Debbie Gallano, Gabby Agcaoili, and the rest of the team for giving me this opportunity to sharpen my culinary writing skills and PR capabilities.

FIRST, here is the promotional video that I created for the event. There is also a youtube video: http://youtu.be/QEa5FTfHRUw

SECOND, I was given the writing assignments on a Friday — and I had to turn all of them in on a Monday. It was quite an exhilarating writing adventure for me with this KULINARYA magazine BUT I had my recent 3-month trip to the Philippines that helped me with some of my writings as well as the permissions of my friends in the Philippine tourism industry for their photos, words, etcetera.

The KULINARYA Magazine was a supplement inside the San Francisco Examiner Magazine on its Thursday, January 19, 2012 edition. More than 80,000 copies were distributed throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and copies were also available at The Examiner racks on the same date.

I wrote and I edited the following:

1. About the 2nd Kulinarya (summary, a mash-up; the “higher notch in the culinary world” didn’t come from me; whoever edited this, thank you! You made my original “higher good” relevant and meaninful to foodies)

2. The Pili Goes Gourmet! (article based on research and mash-up; I didn’t write the top portion or recipes in this page)

3. Philippines: Where Green Cuisine Means A Healthier Lifestyle (article)

4. TRENDING: “It’s More Fun in the Philippines!’ (article; the original article went viral on youtube by pinaswatcher6, who had uploaded a GMA News broadcast re: the new slogan on January 8, 2012, and had asked my permission to use my article — after I asked their permission to quote them; see http://youtu.be/kkbW-w5UkMI). As of today, August 25, 2012, this video, with my accompanying article has 8,574 hits on Youtube.

5. Top 10 Things to do in the Philippines (edited from Gab Agcaoili’s beautifully-written 2,000+ words to a precise 500 words)

Come to the Jan. 21, 2012 2nd Kulinarya: Filipino Culinary Showdown in San Francisco, CA!

I am looking forward to KULINARYA 2012!

:-)

For those foodies who want to learn more about Filipino cooking in conjunction with all the good, the “bad” and the healthy cuisines, here are some blogs for you to consider:

Lorna Lardizabal Dietz’s Diabetes Life Notes

Noemi Lardizabal Dado’s Pinoy Food, Pinoy Cooking, Filipino Food Recipes and Photoblog

Noemi Lardizabal Dado (mother) and Lauren Lardizabal Dado (daughter) in Pinoy Food & Other Cuisine: Food PhotoBlog and Events

:-D

I also have some content curations that you can embed in your own blog or save in your foodie archives.

Cake Decorating Ideas for Nilda Tudtud Abellanosa and Nardith Obera Fuentes

The KAPUSO’s Sweet Taste of Success: Ice-Cream and Desserts in the Bay Area

Gluten-Free Recipes for my niece, Lauren Lardizabal Dado

Mga Bisaya, Bisdak, Cebuano: Here’s the Philippine National Anthem, NASUDNONG AWIT, Lyrics by Jess Vestil

Battle of Mactan - Photo by Dionesio Grava (taken from Fort San Pedro, Cebu)
National Flag of the Philippines

Thank you to Dionesio Grava and the rest of the Facebook group, Mga Bisaya, for answering my question about the Visayan version of “Lupang Hinirang” (Tagalog) or the Philippine National Anthem.

NASUDNONG AWIT
Lirika ni Jess Vestil
(Pasalamat ngadto ni HG sa Bisaya group)

Yutang tabunon
Mutya nga masilakon
Putling bahandi
Amo kang gimahal.

Mithing gisimba
Yuta s’ mga bayani
Sa manglulupig
Among panalipdan. Ang mga bungtod mo ug lapyahan
Ang langit mong bughaw
Nagahulad sa awit, lamdag sa
Kaliwat tang gawas

Silaw sa adlaw ug bitoon
Sa nasudnong bandila
Nagatimaan nga buhion ta
Hugpong nga di maluba.

Yutang maanyag, duyan ka sa pagmahal
Landong sa langit ang dughan mo;
Pakatam-ison sa anak mong nagtukaw
Kon mamatay man sa ngalan mo!

Philippine National Flag by Dionesio Grava

:-)

July 9, 2011: Here is the Lupang Hinirang from GMA Network, Inc. (I am a Public Relations Consultant for GMA Pinoy TV, GMA Life TV, and the forthcoming GMA News TV International Edition). Go to GMAPinoyTV.com — and if you haven’t subscribed yet, all the information is right there!

Myrna Lardizabal de Vera: Councilmember, City of Hercules, California

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January 26, 2011

Today is my 25th anniversary of my arrival in the United States of America, having landed in “air-conditioned” San Francisco, California on January 26, 1985 — without any clue that I would be staying here. I flew in at that time to be my sister’s official family representative during her wedding. Our father had an untimely massive stroke in October 1985 — and aside from a pregnant younger sister, Noemi, who couldn’t travel, I was the only one who could fly to San Francisco at a moment’s notice.

Today is also the day that I announced to some of my mentors the following message: http://bit.ly/eYEhqZ (details are found in this link)

My sister, Myrna de Vera, is officially Vice-Mayor of Hercules, CA, thanks to fellow councilmember John Delgado’s nomination. Congratulations! Ang galing ng Pinay — and thank you to my special friends whose role as “villagers” in a “village raising a child” really helped out. Before you get too puzzled, those of you “who mentored me” know that I passed on many of your lessons, experiences, mistakes, and advice to my sister. From Alex E., Ben M., Rozita L., Yolanda S., Jose P., Loida N.L., Greg M., Mohinder M., Marily M., Jon M., Charito B., to Larry F. and other unmentioned villagers in the hundreds, thank you! Let’s keep building “the next generation of community advocates in an intergenerational environment” in every community worldwide! See the fruits of your labors (put on your headsets for the livestream!) at http://naffaar8.com/technology-in-empowerment-e-2010-naffaa-9th-live-on-ustream-on-nov-20/

I don’t know how the scheduling of mayorship works. Myrna, can you enlighten us with more information? If you are Vice-Mayor in 2011, then are you still scheduled to be Mayor in 2013 (one-year term)?

For those of you who are interested in Myrna’s platform (yes, she built her own political campaign website using a Google website template), here is her website: http://citizensformyrnadevera.com/

December 14, 2010
7:00 p.m.

Tonight, my younger sister, Myrna Lardizabal de Vera, is officially sworn in as a Councilmember of the City of Hercules, California. My brother, David, and my sisters Noemi and Belen, and I won’t be around BUT we are there in spirit. We spent time with Myrna, campaigning and experiencing the thrill of knowing that she was most likely going to make it.

Spending more than a month in the San Francisco Bay Area at that time was definitely worth it because we had our first-ever sibling reunion in the United States. Although I was very busy with my volunteer work as one of the core organizers of the E-2010: 9th NaFFAA Empowerment Conference, I brought all my work to my sister’s dining table, quite stressed yet relieved that I was present and engaged in her campaign process. Yet, it was my two sisters based in the Philippines who stood with Myrna in the early mornings when they took to the streets and waved at all the commuters.

We may not always be together — but we did take the time to have our family photo taken at Sears Studio in Concord, then happily made our way to Seafood City to shop for my brother’s Filipino groceries.

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Of course, Adin Martin Villanueva, who handles Seafood City’s Northern California events, and veteran politician (and our acknowledged Senior American Idol) Rudy Fernandez convinced Myrna to make a public service announcement about her candidacy.

Now that Myrna is officially going to be a Councilmember tonight, together with another Filipino American, John Delgado, I can now say that there are THREE Filipino Americans (out of five) Councilmembers in Hercules, California. Is this a record in American political history books — or what? Tonight is a celebration of sorts. Myrna is also the FIRST FILIPINA AMERICAN to become vice-mayor in 2013 and then, will be mayor in 2014. She told me that Hercules has a good history of electing Filipino mayors. Let see, is she going to be the 6th Filipino American mayor of Hercules in 2014?

When I had initially written Myrna’s press release announcing her “feelers” about running for office in July 2010, I had also intentionally not mentioned other Filipinos running for office. Perhaps my own intuition guided me (o.k., I’m giving myself a pat in the back especially since I had known about the reality of the Filipino vote when my mentor, Ben Menor, had ran for Councilmember in the City of San Jose in the early 1990′s but the Filipino vote was split with another dear friend; i.e. they both lost!).

Everyone ran on their own merit, thank goodness! John Delgado, 1/4th Filipino by ancestry, lives in Hercules and works in San Francisco. Ditto with my sister. They got to know each other very well during their individual campaigns. So, all’s well that ends well. No negative Filipino split vote here. We learned, didn’t we, Ben?

Myrna also had a hard-core, dedicated group of campaign volunteers. Her husband, Manuel de Vera, multi-tasked as the campaign manager. There are many people to thank BUT I think I’ll let my sister do the honors. All I know is that all my friends who have been my worthy companions in our political empowerment activities these past many years have had a hand in helping Myrna reach “her place on the table.”

We truly are like a “village that raised a child,” my friends.

Here is the “thank you” video that my sister, Noemi, and I worked on (truly, I produced it while Noemi was the creative) that was shown to appreciative volunteers during the post-election party at Myrna’s home on November 2, 2010. I remember the night so well because I had to prepare for the Giants victory parade the next morning, dragging my Manila-based sisters with me for — work-related stuff! (This really does happen in the life of a public relations consultant!)

I took some Flip videos during the street rallies (a tradition in Hercules, California). This is the first time I’m making them into a movie.

While I wait for the photos to arrive in my INBOX for my Filipino American press friends, I decided that I could, at the very least, share my unedited article that I had written for Zee Lifestyle a few months ago, while Myrna was still going through the graduation activities of her three sons. The final article was edited to fit the space requirements. Someone had taken the photo of Myrna from the magazine. Here it is.

Myrna de Vera - article in Zee Lifestyle Magazine June 2010

Myrna Lardizabal de Vera: Living A Life Worthwhile
“the unedited version”

By Lorna Lardizabal Dietz
For Zee Lifestyle Magazine
http://zeelifestylecebu.com/
Originally published in June 2010

I thought that writing about my younger sister, Myrna Lardizabal de Vera, was going to be a “cakewalk” — easy and sure. I was wrong. My first profile about my self-assured sibling was a relatively effortless assignment. The article had been published by a Filipino American newspaper five years ago, heralding Myrna’s debut into politics when she was sworn in as a Planning Commissioner in the City of Hercules, California.

The perfect opportunity arrived when one of Myrna’s friends, Jojo Soriano, asked me for information about Myrna’s impact on our family life in Cebu City — from Mabolo to Lahug. Eureka, my “writer’s block” disappeared after his request! I just needed to capture the essence of Myrna’s metamorphosis from the “dollhouse” to the “powerhouse.”

The night Myrna was honored with a special recognition, Jojo’s introduction took her by surprise.

“You, however, were known as the ‘Pretty One!’ — a label you struggled with, growing up, since your family values intellectual prowess rather than external beauty. But this compelled you to do and be more,” Jojo informed the audience.

Our parents, Joe P. Lardizabal of Sariaya, Quezon and Sally Veloso Lardizabal of Mandaue City, did not encourage descriptive labels for us during our teenage years. Our friends were relentless. I was considered the “Friendly One,” Noemi Dado was teased as the “Sexy One,” and Belen Dofitas was praised as the “Intelligent One.”

“Tonight, your community and the Hercules Chamber of Commerce present you the SPECIAL RECOGNITION award. We’re simply saying to you, Myrna, that your father’s beautiful spirit lives on through you. Your sister Lorna’s mentoring and your creative response to tragedy have shaped you and made you the person who ‘responds beautifully’ to life’s circumstances; and we, too, recognize the healing effect of creativity amidst life’s painful circumstances. Your generosity to help out in front of the public or behind the scenes, we recognize, as well as having an abundant mentality. Give and it keeps flowing through you. And this is why, Myrna, you are the Special Recognition award recipient.”

“This moment is a major milestone in my life. I feel I have arrived ‘full circle,’” Myrna responded with a hint of validation. “Your award also means so much to me because you recognize me as a person — for all that I do, as Sylvia Serrano explained to me — not just as a woman OR not just as a Filipina.”

It had been a very hectic week for the woman previously acknowledged as “The Pretty One.” Three days before the event in Hercules, Myrna de Vera had been honored, together with nine other women from West Contra Costa County, at the John & Jean Knox Center for the Performing Arts in nearby San Pablo. The West Contra Costa branch of the American Association of University Women and the Contra Costa College established the on-going CCC National Women’s Program to show appreciation to some of the local women who were making a difference in their communities.

Supervisor John Gioia mentioned, “The women on this stage are great role models for young women. They really seem to care about the community.”

Myrna explained how she had garnered the accolade for her community development work. “I think that the City Council appreciated my contributions in the Planning Commission for the past five years, where I served as the Chair for a couple of years. I am currently the Vice-Chair of the Commission. In fact, we rotate leadership roles in the Commission. My community is showing its gratitude for my volunteer work as the treasurer of Filipino-Americans of Hercules, my Pastoral Council and Fundraising Advisory Board membership at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Rodeo, California as well as my Chamber efforts, to name a few of the projects I’ve been involved in.”

A few months before her “double honors” week, Myrna received a working award from the Filipina Women’s Network. As one of the “100 Most Influential Filipina Women in the US for 2009,” Policy Makers & Visionaries category, my sister promises to “womentor” one or more US-based Filipina women for a top leadership role in government, industry, or non-profit.

“It’s a very ordinary story,” Myrna insists, as she describes her transformational journey from being the shy, precocious child that Cebu raised to evolving as the confident, compassionate, and personable mommy citizen leader that the City of Hercules nurtured.

Since I am the oldest Lardizabal sibling, I recalled some little-known details. “When Myrna was about four years old in our first home in Mabolo, Cebu City, our brother, Oscar, would take her out on a ride inside his home-built car, which was really a chair placed upside-down on the floor. Our creativity and imagination were somewhat forced on us because we didn’t have many toys to play with.”

St. Theresa’s College in Cebu City was Myrna’s educational environment until our mother transferred all of us to her alma mater, the University of the Philippines. After spending her junior and senior years at the UP Cebu High School, Myrna studied at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City, and finished with a B.S. Architecture degree. As a licensed architect, she worked in Manila-based architectural firms before moving to the United States.

During her first year in San Francisco, Myrna met another new immigrant, her husband, Manuel “Manny” de Vera, an Ateneo de Manila graduate with deep roots in Manila. During the first year of their marriage, Manny became an exclusive agent for Allstate Insurance in the Excelsior District, San Francisco. Myrna continued working for a couple of civil engineering companies where she learned CAD (computer-aided design). In the meantime, Mark was a bundle of joy for the first-time parents.

When the twins, Christian and Emmanuel, arrived three years later, Myrna opened her own Farmers insurance agency in Hercules. She enjoyed volunteering at the Hercules Chamber of Commerce. Although she was her customers’ “peace of mind” specialist, Myrna closed shop to become a full-time mother in 1999.

Myrna listed her duties like badges of honor. “Treasurer and registrar of the Hercules-Pinole Cub Scouts. Team Mom for some soccer games and Little League baseball games. Faith Formation teacher once a week at St. Patrick’s. Full-time chauffeur and chief cheerleader of my ‘boys,’ taking them to their games as well as martial arts classes and tennis matches. I was contented to be my children’s mommy citizen leader,” she noted.

Inspired by the resiliency of our family when faced with a series of deaths, Myrna found out that she could grieve and unleash her creative writing talent by attending a class at the Hercules Community Center. She discovered several books relating to ancient Filipino and Asian practices about dealing with water curses in the well-stocked Pinole Public Library. Myrna is still working on her first yet-to-be-published novel.

My sister’s desire for a simple family life was interjected with friends’ suggestions for her to be of service. Myrna said, “It took a resident of Hercules four years to convince me to volunteer. My excuse was that the boys were still so young.”

In 2005, Myrna decided to apply for the Planning Commission since she had the requisite credentials. Today, as a seasoned commissioner, Myrna de Vera is involved in approving various projects in their conceptual to final stages of planning.

“Empty nest” is a common word in the de Vera home after celebrating three graduation ceremonies. Mark graduated from the University of San Francisco with a B.S. in Business Administration degree, Minor in Performing Arts and Media Studies. Christian and Emmanuel have just left De La Salle High School in Concord, California.

Myrna discloses the importance of the family’s next milestone. “My hopes are that they discover their place in this world, have a positive impact, find true love, be safe and healthy, and be financially-independent. Right now, our utmost priority for the twins is preparing them for the universities they will enter during the Fall — after making such an important decision that can change one’s life.”

In 2009, 10 years after she closed the doors of her Farmers Insurance agency, Myrna purchased an existing Allstate Insurance Agency and its “book of business” in the busy corridor of 19th Avenue in the Sunset district, San Francisco. Her nascent entrepreneurial endeavors are starting to bear fruit.

Myrna de Vera’s inner powerhouse of energy, talent, intellect, and experience is waiting of the next chapter of her life story.

The “Cebuana” and “Americana” — formerly known as The Pretty One — isn’t ready to reveal her plans. My sister chose to share snippets of her acceptance speech when she was honored as ‘Woman of the Year’ of Hercules, California during the West Contra Costa County event.

“I believe that every woman is a citizen leader. She listens, she facilitates, and she arbitrates. In my ideal world of writing women back into history, I envision more mothers stepping out of their comfort zones and finding a vocation in community development, such as a planning commission. A mommy citizen leader would know how to work with dissonant voices in her community — and help all stakeholders find the common ground they can work on.

As author Marianne Williamson wrote: ‘We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.’

My message to all women and girls, wherever you are: ‘Be fearless! Just do it! And shine! Thank you!’”

____

About the blogger, Lorna Dietz (in case you’ve noticed, my ABOUT LORNA DIETZ section isn’t updated). You can check me out at http://www.linkedin.com/in/radiantview.

Oct. 10, 2010: GMA Pinoy TV’s Celebrity Chef, Ron Bilaro, of “Life…Pinoy Style” Runs Race To End Poverty

CELEBRITY CHEF RUNS RACE TO END POVERTY

Chicago, IL—Chicago-based, celebrity chef Ron Bilaro runs his first ever marathon on Sunday, October 10, 2010 for the benefit of Gawad Kalinga (meaning “to give care”), a global anti-poverty movement that was founded in the Philippines.

Bilaro, the host of the popular Fil-Am TV show, “Life…Pinoy Style,” which airs on Comcast and GMA Pinoy TV, is a long-time supporter of Gawad Kalinga. He has been preparing for the 26-mile Bank of America Chicago Marathon since March.

Running the marathon is not the first of Bilaro’s efforts to raise funds for the poor in his native country. In recent years, he has exhibited his culinary talent by preparing sumptuous dishes for private dinners benefiting the movement.

Born and raised in the Philippines, Bilaro has found success in the United States. He is one of the top graduates of the Le Cordon Bleu Program of The Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago (now called the Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts).

After schooling, he worked his way up in restaurants first as a line cook and then as pastry chef. He became sous chef to Art Smith, who was then Oprah Winfrey’s executive chef. This opened doors for him as a much sought-after event planner and personal chef to prominent corporate personalities in the windy city and the west coast.

For a couple of years, Bilaro was also a food columnist for the Chicago Tribune, and published his first recipe book in 2009, and is now working on his second.

While the Fil-Am chef prepares expensive meals for his affluent clientele, he remembers the less fortunate back in his homeland, where 45% of the population lives on less than two dollars a day.

“Not many people know about the Philippines or the Filipinos or the poverty that is plaguing the country. I want to be able to help get the message out and somehow make a difference,” Bilaro says.

Gawad Kalinga builds homes and sets up livelihood, nutrition, health, and other programs for the poor, not only in the Philippines but in other countries as well, including Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, and Cambodia.

To make a pledge in support of Chef Bilaro’s run, please go to: www.active.com/donate/GKHeroesRun2010/chefronforgk.

Life...Pinoy Style host Ron Bilaro Nov 09
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Barry Picazo of Intramuros Restaurant Honors Pinoy Street Food With a 10-10-10 Festival

The first time I met Barry Picazo of Intramuros Restaurant, it was through Anthony Cruz Legarda of “Arkiteknik” fame who insisted on introducing both of us. Barry, a young retired financial wizard (at least, that’s what I thought of him) decided that his love for Filipino fusion cuisine was luring him to unexpected places, such as a Financial District “food court” on Third Street (about 25 steps away from Market Street) in San Francisco, California. His foodie experiment at that time was called “Mango Bay Cuisine.”

A few years later, Barry went on to help launch Patio Filipino Restaurant in San Bruno, California. It is well-known for its cozy ambience and Filipino-Spanish cuisine in a patio-like setting.

Then again, another restaurant concept that took advantage of multiple rooms and exponentially, more function room space, convinced this intrepid entrepreneur to take another leap of faith. Thus, a fine dining concept with banquet facilities named “Intramuros Restaurant” was born in South San Francisco, California.

I thought that Barry was quite innovative in using his social media techniques when it came to promoting Intramuros Restaurant. He would make me salivate with his short video clips on his Facebook wall about the lunch buffet specials, happy hour menus (It’s super-valued that I called them dinner menus!), Crab Feasts, Karaoke Nights, and lots of entertainment — from the classic to pop culture.

One of my friends once told me that Intramuros Restaurant is this decade’s version of the defunct Tito Rey’s Restaurant or the Mabuhay Gardens, where Filipinos and Filipino-friendly gourmands would gather to eat and make merry… and yes, especially to see who among their friends would drop in.

It’s all worth it, Barry! The late hours, the juggling of schedules, and aligning common purpose and vision with your business partners. I am so proud of your growth as a restaurateur (this is the foodie speaking!) because you have succeeded in making the Intramuros Restaurant an elegant “five-senses” delight that makes me proud to bring in my family and friends. I feel as if I’ve been a part of your growth… Yes, I still have some recipes to share but that will come during one of my visits (that is, if you can spare the time to foodie-chat).

Keep the Filipino cuisine coming! My cousin, Marisa Abad, was so happy that we took the time to enjoy your dining room (leisurely!) that she brought her friends there to celebrate someone’s 80th birthday party. Another classmate, Cynthia Bernaldez Gaabucayan, also brought her family there. So many friends are flocking to your sacred space in Filipino cuisine. Wait till I take my momblogger sister (aka a very popular food blogger in the Philippines with two blogs, Pinoy Food Blog and Food Photo Blog) to enjoy your exquisite culinary delights. I’m not saying anything to her. We’ll just go unannounced — and I will just have to see what my food blogger-sister has to say about the Intramuros Restaurant.

I’ll be coming back to this blog posting so I can update it.

Let’s ring in the TRIPLE 10 Celebration — on October 10, 2010 — or 10-10-10 — when Barry Picazo invites us to celebrate in style — where else? — at the Intramuros Restaurant in the San Francisco Bay Area. Bon appetit!

Pinoy Street Food Festival at Intramuros Restaurant, South San Francisco, California
Pinoy Street Food Festival at Intramuros Restaurant, South San Francisco, California

I’m also including one of your Crab Fest posters as a souvenir in my blog.

Intramuros - Crabs

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For those of you who want to know how to cook Intramuros Restaurant’s Crispy Binagoongan over Grilled Eggplant, click here for the recipe.

Here’s Christina Dunham from Filipinas Magazine Online with Barry Picazo in an episode from the Filipinas Magazine Show on GMA Pinoy TV.