CEBU, Philippines - It was a nice intimate just before sunset gathering, when California-based author Cecilia Manguerra Brainard launched her latest book entitled Out of Cebu at the Casino Español de Cebu.
The book showcases 28 essays about the author’s Cebuano ties, including memorable experiences with her mother’s family, the Cuencos, a prominent, well respected political dynasty in Cebu.
The program started with welcome remarks by Jobers Bersales of the University of San Carlos Press. This was followed by short readings from the book. Louie Nacorda read “My Grandfather” while executive lifestyle editor of The FREEMAN Mayen Angbetic Tan brought to life “Death of a Carnival Queen”. Dodong Cañete, Pia Mercado , Gavin Bagares and Father Jun Rebayla, SVD narrated “Where the Daydreaming Comes “ , “Diaspora in Italy”, “Kiki” and “Museo Sugbo,” respectively.
The book has received early praise from the educator, Dr. Edmundo Litton of Loyola Marymount University who says. “These essays celebrate pride in a heritage. Brainard is clearly proud of her Cebuana heritage and this pride shows in this magnificent collection of essays”.
Likewise, Dr. Susan Evangelista of Palawan State University comments, “I knew Cecilia Manguerra Brainard first as a fiction writer, from the United States, but grounded in the physicality of Ubec, Cebu of course. Later when I got to know her as a friend, I discovered another layer which involved her deep interest, research in and thinking about Filipino history, particularly Magellan, who died in Cebu”.
The author, Cecilia Manguerra Brainard was born and raised in Cebu. Her parents were Mariano Manguerra, an engineer and Concepcion Cuneco Manguerra. She attended St, Theresa’s College in Cebu and San Marcelino. She continued her studies at Maryknoll College where she obtained her AB in Communication Arts. She went on to do graduate work in film making at UCLA, but later went into writing when she was a young wife and mother. Aside from writing and editing, she teaches at the prestigious Writers Progam at UCLA Extension.
Brainard has written nine books, including the internationally acclaimed novel, When the Rainbow Goddess Wept, which chronicles the coming of age of a young girl in Ubec (Cebu backwards) during World War II, a novel inspired by her own parents’ experiences during the war. Brainard first coined the mythical place, “Ubec” in her first short story collection Woman with Horns and Other Stories, and she continued to use this setting in her other works of fiction, Magdalena, Acapulco at Sunset and Other Stories, Vigan and Other Stories.
Brainard has received a California Arts Council Fellowship in Fiction, a Brody Arts Fund Award, a Special Recognition Award for her work dealing with Asian American youths as well as a Certificate of Recognition from the California State Senate, 21 st District. She has also been awarded by the Filipino and Filipino American communities she has served. She received the prestigious Filipinas Magazine Arts Award and the Outstanding Individual Award from her birth city, Cebu Philippines.
After a sumptuous merienda which gave invitees the chance to mingle and share their thoughts, the author graciously signed dozens of books.
Brainard’s book, Out of Cebu, Essays and Personal Essays is available at Cebu’s University of San Carlos Press.
Get your copies now! (FREEMAN)