Monthly Archives: August 2007

Filipina Travel Blog: Carol Lim Dayonot’s Magnificent Adventure in the Philippines

Carol Lim Dayonot, photographed by Owen Donnahoo at the Pistahan 2007 Festival in San Francisco ( better than a Filipina American friend to tell us her story — for first timers, vacationers, eco-tourism aficionados, or homesick travellers to the Philippines? When I received Carol’s e-mail a few months ago, I was so fascinated by her “talk story” that I just had to ask if I could feature her e-mail as the first travel diary to be showcased at

The “travel blog” is one of my marketing and public relations strategies. I want to entice internet friends and travel bargain hunters to read about my friends’ adventures (and perhaps, misadventures) during their travels to Asia. The way Wikipedia describes it: “Travel blogs provide a platform for researching destinations as they offer real-world travel experiences undertaken by individual travellers and offer a focused and interactive way of sharing travel experiences within the framework of a like-minded travel community.”

I almost gave Carol’s travel blog another title: “Carol and her pearls travel to the Philippines.” However, I thought you might not get the private joke. Carol, wherever she goes, stands out in a crowd. Her choices of fiery, earthy colors and fusion-fashion designs match her one-of-a-kind pearl jewelry creations and her ebullient, charismatic persona. I’ve seen some friends love her original creations so much that they would buy them off her wrist or her neck.

I’ve chosen a photo that Owen Donnahoo, a member of the Filipina Women’s Network, took of Carol at this year’s Pistahan Festival (with her permission, of course). This is how I remember meeting Carol Lim Dayonot for the first time: wearing one of her eye-catching, unique, and colorful shawls.

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The Power of Blogging in the Filipina Blogosphere: The Aftermath of Malu Fernandez’s Comments about OFWs

August 26, 2007

This morning, I received an e-mail from one of my friends in the Filipina Women’s Network 2006 Future Search Summit google group about the Malu Fernandez fiasco. I decided to write a blog entry a week after the Pinoy blogosphere rocked cyberspace with the story. This is because I wanted to find out what gifts we received from this miserable situation.

I dedicated this blog, TALK STORY, to my nieces and nephews. After all, 50 years from now, their children and grandchildren will be able to read my stories straight from the heart, hopefully reaching out to their offspring across several generations.

The article from People Asia Magazine

People Asia Magazine & Malu Fernandez’s Article Page 30 People Asia Magazine & Malu Fernandez’s Article Page 31

Here is the e-mail I sent out this morning to some of my friends in the Filipino American community (slightly edited).


This matter about Malu Fernandez has already been resolved. She just resigned a few days ago from the publications she is affiliated with. I had been following the events during the past week because the person who started a call to action —the boycott movement — Nick of, asked the help of Philippine-based bloggers.

During this past week, as I read the comments at, I was both happy and disappointed. I heard more OFW voices speak out, but I also saw the worst of the comments, the ones that commented on Malu’s physical attributes. It got bloody personal. And out of control.

I didn’t ask for a boycott. I recommended a public apology and a suggestion that Manila Standard send Malu off for three months on a writing assignment, based on her experiences as an OFW (to work as a domestic helper overseas). My commentary was also picked up by Joseph Dominic, who quoted me in full (it’s all right, Dominic, I’m honored that you decided to quote me), who then re-posted my comment at Manolo Quezon’s blog, wherein many bloggers didn’t think a boycott was warranted. The other bloggers weren’t as kind.

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For Wanna-Be Investigators: Did some of mainstream TV media fake the 9-11 videos?

This posting is for the Sherlock Holmes-type friends in my Filipino American Universe. The question: Did they really fake those videos?

Whaddya mean?

I’m referring to the 9-11 disaster that became a monumental milestone for paranoia worldwide. I can say “paranoia” because 9-11 brought me back to the past: my martial law upbringing as a Filipina in the Philippines (from September 1972 to January 1986). After September 11, 2001, this tragedy kicked in my claustrophobic paranoia about “somebody’s out to get us, guilty or not!” — multiplied by 10. Shortly thereafter, one of my Filipino American media friends revealed to me that he had been suspicious about the sudden rise in marriages between Filipino Muslim women from Mindanao and Muslim men from other countries 10 years before 9-11 happened. “Watch and see!” he had cautioned his fellow journalists in the Philippines. “There’s something brewing here!”

I didn’t get any updates about these Muslim marriages that my friend was referring to. In my personal universe, I am grateful to know some of the most remarkable Muslim friends from Mindanao who are passionate about their work in propagating peace worldwide.

Who would have thought that terrorism could be propagated by marriage? Not everyone. Especially when there are many of us who believe that human beings are generally peaceful, loving people.

Let’s investigate this latest “perception of reality” situation.

CNN, CBS, and Fox are some of the USA’s most revered TV networks. Hey, CNN actually got its present-day notoriety from its live coverage of the EDSA Revolution, ak.a. People Power Revolution, in the Philippines.

For sometime now, there’s been a conspiracy floating out there that the mainstream media cooperated with the current administration so the US could justifiably go to war with Iraq.

I don’t know how long these videos are going to be available online. John Evans of my FilAm Voters yahoo group e-mailed us on August 19, 2007 to alert us about the first video below. A lot of comments that praised or decried this mini-documentary are found at, the website that John’s e-mail directed us to.

Click here to go directly to

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Video – Barry Schwartz: The Paradox of Choice (a.k.a. when an abundance of choices makes you miserable)

I went to WordCamp 2007I am what-people-in-the-blogosphere-call an emerging Filipina blogger in the Filipino American community. Right now, I am reviewing my WordCamp 2007 notes for WordPress users. Robert Hoekman, Jr. had spoken about “Designing The Obvious” on Day One of WordCamp 2007 so I decided to visit his website, a sacred space where I could educate myself about designing blogs to meet my needs. Yes, I want to make Robert’s Rules of Design Order (my words!) work for me in all my advocacies — non-profit and professional.

I like James Key Lim’s live blogging of Robert’s session because I don’t have to rewrite my notes. Whew! Thank you, James, for your efficient bullet-pointed summary!

A provocative YouTube videoclip on Robert’s website appealed to me: Barry Schwartz and his 20-minute talk about his book “The Paradox of Choice.”

According to TEDTalksDirector, the person who uploaded this videoclip, “Barry Schwartz is a sociology professor at Swarthmore College and author of The Paradox of Choice. In this talk, he persuasively explains how and why the abundance of choice in modern society is actually making us miserable. (Recorded July 2005 in Oxford, UK. Duration: 20:22)”

Here’s a little backgrounder about Barry’s talk. TED is an acronym for Technology, Entertainment, Design. Since 1984, this annual conference attracts the “best of the best” in these three industries — and at the same time is an inclusive gathering because they allow other industries to participate. According to the organizers, “The annual conference now brings together the world’s most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes).”

In my meditation lessons, I had learned that it is good to have choices so that we could step back and figure out what decisions to make. However, in this industrialized society, when I’m given so many choices for my techie toys (like my cellphone or PDA) or make-up (Sephora) and skin care products (is it Clinique, Shiseido, Mary Kay, Avon, etc.?), are my expectations higher? Or, is this adage outdated in terms of relevance? “Everything was better when everything was worse.”

Ask yourself these questions:

1. Is it possible to feel miserable because you have too many choices to select from?
2. Is there more freedom when you are given more choices?
3. Is this the secret to happiness: having low expectations?

Are you intrigued? Then, watch the video — and let me know what you think.

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Arkiteknik, The Reality: October 21, 2012

Wow! As a Filipina creative writer, I don’t get to appreciate my own work until many, many years later. A serendipitous meeting with Florence Mendoza in Los Angeles — through the kind introduction of Marivic Anonuevo of Ayala Land Inc. during our first-ever Ayala Land roadshow in 1999 — resulted in a profound connection with Anthony Cruz Legarda, Ariketeknik’s primary visionary and fashion designer. “Arkiteknik, the new cultural landscape.” The staccato-sounding name was created by Cookie Hiponia, a celebrated Filipina American poet.

In the year 2000, I accepted a creative writing assignment for Arkiteknik’s fashion theatre production at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. This was a project spearheaded by Bayanihan Movement, Inc. Writing was no easy task. I didn’t know anything about the history of Filipinos in America. Undaunted, I researched for books and internet articles that educated me about the Filipino Americans’ historical milestones in the United States.

It is now 2007 — and the Arkiteknik saga continues. Anthony Cruz Legarda is expected back in San Francisco this September, complete with a new collection after a working trip to the Philippines, just in time for the New York Fashion Week. We can wait for Anthony to make his announcements when he gets back into town, won’t we?

I was going through my computer files today when I unearthed a “rejected” short story that I had written about “Arkiteknik, The Vision,” dated May 25, 2002. Rejected — because Anthony wanted a more traditional type of introduction for the coffee table book Bayanihan Movement, Inc. was producing for this project. When I read this visualization-type story that I wrote about a couple of Arkitekniks in the year 2012, it occurred to me that what we all dreamed about many years ago is fast manifesting into reality.

Arkiteknik - Models: Marie & Chris, Photography by Stella Kalaw,

Like many Filipino advocacy groups that have been birthed through the years, this art and lifestyle movement has seen its volunteers leave indelible marks of their legacy for future generations of Arkitekniks. Since Arkiteknik is as mainstream as apple pie and the Star-Spangled Banner, this new cultural landscape is definitely here to stay — and it will continue to evolve into a global presence.

The Arkiteknik coffee table book and its accompanying DVD is sold at the Filipinas Magazine catalog. Look for Books, then “Filipiniana.”

Read my story, Arkiteknik.

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The Ifugao Music & Dance Ensemble Of Banaue Are Coming To the San Francisco Bay Area — First Time Ever!


August 17, 2007

This morning, I was delighted to receive an e-mail from the luminous Filipina dance theater artist, Alleluia Panis, Artistic Director of Kularts, a presenting multi-arts organization in the Filipino American community. Although Anthony Cruz Legarda, the visionary of the ARKITEKNIK fusion-fashion and lifestyle movement, had waxed poetic about his enlightening interactions and friendship with Alleluia, it wasn’t until June of 2005 when I actually met the internationally-known artist and cultural activist. Alleluia talked about bringing in an Ifugao group later that year — and she needed the Filipino community’s support since it would be the first time that the Ifugaos would be visiting the San Francisco Bay Area in an official, artistic, and cultural ambassadorial capacity.

Two years later, the Ifugaos of the Philippines are finally making their way to the San Francisco Bay Area — and in a very big way!

Kularts, as of press time, is open to collaborations with organizations that can bring the Ifugao group to other parts of the Bay Area, such as the South Bay, for instance. Please contact Alleluia at (415)-239-0249 or e-mail her at [email protected]

Let’s support this amazing performing group that comes straight from the rice terraces of Banaue this September and October of 2007.

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Hah-Choo! Cat Appreciation Day

Oreo, Myrna’s catLet’s share cat stories for Cat Appreciation Day. This special occasion occurs only when I declare that a celebration be prepared for honoring cats, your cats, and everyone’s cats — the domestic kind, I mean. If we have a Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, then we need a Cat Appreciation Day. Simple logic. If you feel like sharing your favorite photos of your pet kitty-cats or cats, please press the comment button below this entry.

I haven’t had a kitten or a cat for company since I was in my 20-something years. My first cat’s name was “Kitty.” I was 10 years old then. Quite an unimaginative name, but oh well, I liked it. “Kitty, Kitty, Kitty!” I would call out and miaow for her to meet me. Before she started giving birth to many (countless, I think) kittens, Kitty would sleep on my bed, nestled by my chest or between my legs.

My younger sisters shared my “cat love.” Our feline friends were role models for independence, assertiveness, and elegant pride. They were there during our times of celebration and grief, gently flicking their furry tails between our legs, listening to our venting monologues with meditative attention, and purring comfort into our arms. Although I haven’t had a house cat for at least a couple of decades, I’ve made friends with my sisters’ cats through the years.

Today, for Cat Appreciation Day, I’d like you to meet Oreo, Myrna’s cat.

Oreo and Kate Spade - Myrna’s birthday gifts (May 2002)

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The Filipina Says, “Breastfeeding Is Sexy!”

August 15, 2007

In my marketing, public relations, community service, and event management worlds, the keyword “sexy” means “attractive,” “appealing,” “hip,” “trendy,” “in vogue,” “fashionable, “in style,” “contemporary” and all the positive adjectives you can think of.

Belen Dofitas, Filipina mom, and her son Matthew at the Synchronized Breastfeeding Event last August 8, 2007

Dr. Belen Lardizabal-Dofitas, a gorgeous, multi-talented Filipina mom (a.k.a. my youngest sister) from Quezon City, Philippines breastfeeds her almost-five years old son, Matthew. When Belen was in Oxford, England last year for three months, upon her return to the Philippines, Matthew couldn’t wait to get his fill of mother’s milk. Mind you, Matthew has been my favorite poster child since he was born. When he barely turned two years old, Matthew and I bonded — and guess what, it was about constructing sentences in the English language, with the correct subject and verb placements. I could see the “aha!” lightbulb expression on his face as we cheered him during our Christmas English lessons… But I am digressing! Matthew is Belen’s fourth breast-fed child, and yes, he’ll most likely be breastfeeding when he’s five years old. Mama mia! I asked myself, “When is he going to stop?”

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“ are you innit?” The Network For Trained Creatives Who Vote For A Best Ad Each Month

Roger Pe’s DDB Malaysia Creative Team and their anti-domestic violence ad for Kabayanihan: “How Some Men Treat Women” – For you to appreciate the ad, “How Some Men Treat Women,” please look at the full-size ad and click here. This provocative ad forces us to think about what we can do to end domestic violence worldwide. This is a plug for KABAYANIHAN, with a call to action: “If you are a victim of abuse, please report to hotline number 603-2143 3361 and we will help.”

AGENCY: DDB International Malaysia
TRAFFIC: Victoria Lim

Ever since my stint as Executive Coordinator of the highly-successful Third Global Filipino Networking Convention, which was held at the Waterfront Hotel in Cebu City, Philippines on January 20 to January 22, 2005, I’ve had the good fortune of staying in touch with some of our most brilliant creatives in the Asian advertising industry. One particular creative is Roger Pe, who used to work at DDB International Philippines. Roger masterminded the creative aspects of the Third Global’s TV broadcast ads that were aired at the GMA Network, one of our media sponsors for the event.

Currently, Roger is based at DDB International Malaysia. He is someone whose “out of the box” creative concepts has earned his team some well-deserved awards and recognitions in the competitive advertising industry. In my marketing and public relations world, I consider DDB Worldwide as one of the most respected and prominent cutting-edge global creative advertising agencies.

If you are a “trained ad-monkey,” this is the network for you to bond and check out the best ad of the month. And since Roger is THAT talented, don’t be surprised if his team’s work gets the “Best Ad of the Month” vote often.

Mabuhay Ang Pilipino!

How To Honor Your Host’s Request For You To Speak For Only Two Minutes Onstage At A Major Event

Mohinder Mann speaks during the Katrina Disaster Fundraising Event’s press conference, Northside Community Center, Sept. 2005

This is every event organizer and public relations practitioner’s issue: When you’ve invited many speakers to talk before an audience and you want to adhere to tight time management guidelines for this particular function. I am not a protocol or etiquette expert. However, I write “sequence sheets” or “time schedule slash scripts” for some tightly-produced events, taking into account that I need “wiggle room” for overtime.

To my friends in the Filipino American community, and especially to Filipina women organizers “who’ve been there, done that, did this,” I would like to hear your happy anecdotes and horror stories about these “two minute” speakers.

We’ve all been there.

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