#AskGi No. 2: “Should I forgive my wife of one month; she hit me with a bhangra stick,…” #AskWednesday

On a whim, I decided to check on my Twitter again a few days back and somehow, Damyanti Biswas (@damyantig) reminded me of Quora. So for today, I decided to add another Ask Gi post. I wasn’t really asked this one, but it honestly annoyed me so I decided to give the OP (meaning Original Poster in Quora world) a piece of what I thought. My written answer was honestly the cleaner version of what I was really saying to him in my mind. Seems like others felt the same way.

Here it is. Read on then share your thoughts in the comments, if you will. Click on the image if you want to see what everybody else was saying.

“Why is manga viewed as better than comics?” #AskWednesday

I was going to make an #AskGi post, but I saw this question posted on Quora. I never even knew that there was this thing about manga or Japanese comics being viewed as better than American comics. So I checked out the first answer I saw and I was really impressed by the amount of info I got. Not saying one is better than the other–I’m not a credible source when it comes to that–but I learned from reading. That explained something about the movie (originally manga) I am Hero to me, with regards to the comics industry in Japan.

If you’re interested in this and other answers, feel free to click on the image. Then share your thoughts, whydoncha? 😉

(Not My) Interview with Kathy Reichs #AskWednesday #atozchallenge2017

As I am typing this now, I just clicked on a subscription confirmation link sent to me through email. The link for what? Well, I just signed myself up for inclusion in author Kathy Reichs‘ mailing list, that’s what.

Kathy Reichs is really the reason I restarted my Maya story (although I still have to work more on that). Or maybe the more appropriate word is “cause”, not “reason”. You see, my story had been sitting around for years because several things discouraged me and I did not know how to proceed. I could, but the mere thought that it would probably just look like another Filipino story due to elements very similar to many others’ works discouraged me. I wanted something different.

Then I met BONES. If you’re not familiar with it, it was one of those earlier forensic science TV shows. Kathy created and produced the show. It ran for 12 seasons, but recently ended for good, sadly (yet, who really knows?). Now, I’ve always loved sci-fi and other science-related shows, plus I’m a sucker for adventure and detective stories. So. when those interests collided, BOOM! Bones got me so hooked!

It took me a while to learn that the show was based on a novel written by an author named Kathy Reichs. Google did its thing and I learned that Author Kathy is actually Doctor Kathy, forensic anthropologist extraordinaire. Of course, I was so impressed. I mean, since she knew her stuff, then surely, the science in her book (and the shows) was more real than fictional. And that’s when it hit me. I realized what I wanted for Maya.

It was not going to be just a fantasy-paranormal thing. I was going to add more mystery and throw in forensic science as well! I mean, currently, in the local setting, no one has done anything like that yet. If someone comes up with one in the future, remember, I thought of it first. If it’s very similar to my idea, s/he and I will need to talk.

It’s science-meets-paranormal and they don’t have to overshadow each other. Kathy caused me to do a kind of story overhaul to fit my idea. I was going to make a better version of Maya. I went back to previous drafts, totally changed several parts, and continued. I changed scenes, added characters, improved characterization, began doing research (I need to be credible after all). Well, the story is far from done, but I am working on it. I have Kathy to thank for it…

Now that that little background story is over, I am sharing an early interview with her that I found online. In fact, it’s posted on her own website. It talks about why and how she started writing, her main character Dr. Temperance Brennan, and what she thought of the show.

Kathy Reichs Interview

“I just thought the time was right for a strong female heroine and for forensic science…I started ‘Dejá Dead’ in 1994. I had made full professor at the university so I was free to do whatever I wanted to do and I had just worked on a serial murder case which had some pretty intriguing elements to it, so I thought I would give it a shot. I thought it might bring my science to a wider audience.”

I was part of that wider audience, thankfully. If my request to receive the entire Brennan book series in my Dream Crate isn’t proof enough that I’m a fan, I don’t know how else to show it.

Has any writer/author ever influenced a story you wrote?



This post hits two birds with one stone. It’s a post for #AskWednesday, and it’s a post for the A to Z Challenge. Yes, April is gone, but as promised, I am going to finish the challenge, starting with this letter I skipped:

K is for “Kathy Reichs”

This piece serves as my Letter K post for the A to Z Challenge 2017. I am currently catching up with other A to Z participants. I owe them that, first of all. Second, I do want to connect.

For my previous 2017 challenge-related posts, kindly visit my A to Z Challenge 2017 page.

“As writers, have you ever had ideas only to find out later that others beat you to them? What were they?” #AskWednesday

Well, despite me saying last week that I wasn’t planning on joining Quora, I went ahead and actually started answering and answering questions! And I decided to join because I realized what it could do for my blogging, for #AskWednesday, for instance. It’s easier to interview this way. You will usually get immediate feedback.

So I posted my first and so-far-only question:

“As writers, have you ever had ideas only to find out later that others beat you to them? What were they?”

I kind of knew there would be yes answers, but I thought it would be interesting to find out writers’ personal experiences. Well, so far, I’ve only had several replies (I’m popular like that), from four published authors, but they are good answers. 

First, we have Jesse Frankel a.k.a. J.S. Frankel, a Young Adult Fantasy writer. His works include Twisted, Star Maps, Picture (Im)perfect, The Catnip series, and The Nightmare Crew trilogy.

quoraq1Mr. Frankel went on to enumerate his novels and describe what they are about, to emphasize his point (click on the image to read them). I am admittedly an adult who enjoys YA literature, so I think these are quite interesting, based on the backgrounds he gave.

Lastly, he said, “Now, are any of those ideas new or revolutionary? Nope, it’s the way you write about the characters and the situations that makes them special.”

To this, I agree. No one has complete intellectual rights over an idea unless it is very unique, which is, as implied, very rare. And until you’ve had it recorded in audio or print or some other way, you’ll have nothing to prove it’s yours.

Next is a short but sweet answer from Crissy Moss, author of Witch’s Sacrifice, Small Bites, and many novels and short stories.


I realized that’s true. I mean I’ve known it before, but this really emphasizes it. I told her, “Yes, you’re right! Even before Shakespeare ever thought of R&J, folk lores were already rich in many love stories resembling R&J’s. So in that respect, even William’s story isn’t so unique…”

Elaine Calloway follows. She is the best-selling author of the Southern Ghosts series. I’m posting her whole reply.


Good insight about being aware that you’re idea is not unique. And I think that’s the challenge, to still make it your own by adding in your own unique treatment and twists. She also mentioned about writing prompts, which a lot of blogger-writers are all too familiar with. Her example sure is interesting. And I love what she said at the end!

Note to Self: Read on those 7 plots…

Now, I saved this for last. I really love her specific answer! Classic!

Deborah Ross a.k.a Deborah Wheeler wrote the sci-fi novels Jadium and Northlight, various short stories, the Sword & Sorceress and Darkover anthologies, The Seven-Petaled Shield, and many others. I’m posting the complete answer as well.quoraq1dMy reply: “Your account about someone having a very similar story is quite interesting. I mean, who would think anyone else would have a similar idea about a mother-daughter-octopi relationship??? I can imagine that you probably felt like a pale of icy-cold water hit you when you heard the editor. I do hope he didn’t think you stole somebody else’s idea…”

I certainly would hate it if anyone accuses me of stealing ideas! I do love the last bit that she said. I guess that’s really the mature way to handle it.



So, did you like this one? Many more to come! And how about you, fellow-writers, can you share some information from your own experiences?

“What was the strangest thing you found cleaning out your parents’ house after they died?” (post-)#AskWednesday

Until I read Debbie The Doglady’s post, I could have forgotten this. I had planned on posting this sometime ago but never had the right time or chance to do so. I did think of sharing it for Valentine’s, but I also felt it would have been kind of a sad reminder for some who are still grieving for our parents, so I didn’t.

I was doing some legit research one day, I don’t remember what about, but as most researches went, I stumbled on something else. I found this question posted on Quora:

“What was the strangest thing you found cleaning out your parents’ house after they died?”

My parents on New Year's Eve 2011

My parents on New Year’s Eve 2011

I could have answered, but I wasn’t planning on joining Quora. Also, I didn’t think I had any answer to that. I still don’t.

My father had a mild stroke when I was 20 and since then, he was unable to go to work, work being a teacher in elementary Math, Physical Education, and Gardening & Shop (I have no idea what those subjects were called then exactly and I think they have new names now). So maybe, whatever secrets he could have hidden, if there were any at all, my mother had long ago gotten rid of them. I know of one I found when I was young, but that doesn’t count because he was still so alive back then. So when he died in May 2012, I didn’t find any strange thing that belonged to him.

Meanwhile, my mother, who was a Geometry and Trigonometry teacher, had nothing physical to hide either, not to my knowledge, nothing strange that I found, at least. There were several secrets about her personal experiences that I found out after she died in July 2012, some things she did not tell me because she knew I would get mad that she let people do that to her, but they were nothing near strange.

I think the reason that I still haven’t found anything “strange”, surprising or shocking is because I have lived in our family’s house all my life (well, except when I was/am gone the whole week working). Non-Filipinos may go, “What???” and think “Adult and still living in her parent’s house?” Let me tell you now that Filipinos are family-oriented and living with one’s parents doesn’t necessarily make him/her dependent and useless. It is common in our culture, especially the extended family culture…

My parents were teachers and most things that I find that belonged to them are clothes, personal effects that I mostly knew anyway, various school-related stuff like books for lesson plans, IDs, lovely notes from students (especially for my mother, whose hoarding tendencies I happen to have inherited). I’m just thinking maybe I’m better off not knowing anything in case it happens to be something I’ll regret finding out.

Now that I have answered the question, I am sharing to you some of the worthy answers I found on Quora. I’d rather share the nice ones because I’d rather that we remember our parents fondly. Click on them to get to the actual pages if you want to.

quora1Click on the image so you get to be redirected to the link he gave and see what he’s talking about.

quora3This is something that I would have liked to have found. I wish I could learn more about my parents, their experiences, their thoughts, their worries, their dreams…This only emphasizes how important it is to not wait and get to know your parents more while they’re still alive, because time will come that they won’t be able to tell you anything anymore. Except for their lesson plans, my parents did not seem to have inclinations towards creative writing, which is most probably why there are no journals for me to visit in the first place.

quora4Again, one of the things I regret is emphasized here. I regret to not having video-recorded my parents (I tried, but my low-tech phone wasn’t much help,…I could have found a way and borrowed, but didn’t. Sadly.). I did not even record their voices! Now all my sister and I have of them are like the Jim Croce song: ‘Photographs and Memories’. It would have been better to see and hear them alive and talking and laughing once in a while when we’re missing them…

quora5Finding such bills would have been awesome, I gotta admit 🙂 Anyway, my father had quite a sense of humor, too, which I would not have known had he not gotten sick. It seemed he went back to his former and younger self and in the next years of his life, I got to know more of how he was as a younger man. I’m sure he was like that to his friends before the mild stroke, but at home, he was stricter. So the “change” was somehow drastic.

quora2Alright, I couldn’t help it. This one’s kind of sad in the end. Still, the mother thought of buying gifts for her children…


Make sure you click on this to see the whole of it…This reminds me of my parents, especially my mother whom her students adored. I found similar letters and cards given to her, but I really was not surprised. I had known since I was little that she was getting such expressions of appreciation from her beloved students.



I hope you liked what I shared.  How about you, “What was the strangest thing you found cleaning out your parents’ house after they died?” Again, the comments section is for your perusal 🙂

**NOTE: I thought I’d add this since I mentioned the song. It has always made me sad even before losing my parents, but now it means so much more to me. I actually just teared up having listened to it. It’s a lover’s love song, but it can very well be a song for a loved one who has gone on before you.

Oh, My 2016! (Not My) Interview with Myself #AskWednesday #ThrowbackTwenty16

It’s near the end of January and Chinese New Year’s really near. Thought it’s time to post my 2016 review that I had been intending to do.

However, I did not want to do it the traditional way. And because it’s Wednesday, I thought why not an interview? Not just an interview, but an imagined one with myself. Not just an imagined one, mind you! I asked a few peeps last night (your Wednesday morning, I suppose) to ask me any questions regarding my 2016. Some of them actually gave it much thought. A few silly questions here and there, but we all need silly from time to time.

So, here it…

(Not My) Interview with Myself

Was 2016 good for you?

Yes and no. It’s funny that most of the world unofficially officially declared 2016 as a bad year, The Worst Year, even The Worst Year Ever in History (well, maybe modern history). I understand. 2016 was mean to me and my family and the world in general.

I am rather amazed, though, that I’m not hating on 2016 all that much, regardless of the fact that the negatives certainly outweighed the positives. Must be because I mindfully kept trying to be positive. No more letting depression in my life especially now that I have people counting on me. Maybe that should be my annual goal.

Who were your inspirations in 2016?

MY FAMILY. Family is never cliche, and I know a lot of people would give the same answer because that is the truth. Difficulties and issues aside, family is most precious to me. My husband, our kids, my sister…

Were your finances okay/great?

On the contrary, my dear Watson. Sadly.

What improvements did you do to yourself?

Work-wise, I added a few online-related skills, thanks to our company. On a more personal note,…

  • I read a little more.
  • I blogged more and wrote a little more, though most writing I did was for work. You can check out my monthly recaps, just search for #MonthlyRecap.
  • I opened up more by sharing more personal stuff. Hey, I even made public my Blogspot, although that’s not really making me famous either, LOL!.
  • My bad temper lessened. Change was not easily noticed, but I promise you, it’s there. You can’t really rush these things.

Tell us anything totally new/surprising that you did last year.

  • Became a contributor to My Trending Stories. I’m supposed to say “regular contributor” but I’ve stopped. Just trying to put my mojo back on.
  • Joined a poetry-writing contest. Didn’t win, but at least, I got in.
  • Joined the Cherished Blog Fest for the first time.
  • Raised my voice at half of a fourth-grade class and told them to keep their act together…in front of their mothers! I’m not ashamed. I needed what needed to be done and, by George, it got done! One day, I’ll tell you this little story.

Did you learn something new about yourself? What?

Change is always constant, but I’m probably basically same old-same old. I did learn something quite trivial. I have a terrible sense of direction. That’s not really what I learned as I’ve known that for years. I did learn I’m not just one of a few, rather, there are many of us.

The struggle is real! We become lost to the point of looking stupid. What bothers me, though, is finding out it may not have been always like that, but the brain could have suffered some kind of damage (big or small) that was enough for it to not function the way it’s supposed to. I told you, I can really relate with the woman on that BuzzFeed video.

Best advice you received last year?

“Be patient with the kids.” I have to admit, I still need to keep heeding that advice.

Who would you like to thank (basing on 2016)?

I always thanked people. I really appreciated those who helped me in some way, be it in material ways or just through giving me moral and spiritual support. There were some who gave help without batting an eyelash and demanding for more explanations. There were even those with whom I just happened to tell my problems and they surprised me by volunteering to help. And some, they weren’t able to help in the material sense, but they lent their ears to listen and offered great advice and prayers.

They’re very good people, in my book. They did not willfully ignore me or give me the runaround or criticize me even (a few did, so thankfully, I now know how they are).

What was the biggest fear that held you back in 2016?

Fear to offend certain people so they would not get mad at me and we could keep that little amount of peace among us. In my efforts to avoid conflict, I let them force certain “rules” on me that they actually violated themselves from time to time — how selfish was that? I only did that to keep the peace even though it seemed I was becoming a pushover.

Nevertheless, as I expected based on past history, I may not move an inch from a corner and they would still find something to complain about and try to enforce more rules on me. Worse, they included others in the issue that they put those others’ health, well-being and own relationships at risk. I would not stand for that. So I let them know that I could be civil to them but would not be a pushover.

Of course, I know they are mad right now. Honestly, it’s them creating their own ghosts and problems. I’m just trying to deal with them as civilly and peacefully as I can.

What was the biggest challenge you overcame last year?

Losing my second baby. I really wouldn’t call it “overcoming”. It was something that happened and did not leave me any choice. I still think about her almost everyday. I don’t even care that I’ve got a big tummy now because it reminds me of her. I’m not even sure I’m willing to overcome this. The real challenge is to not be sad looking at babies.

How many Koreanovelas (Korean dramas/TV shows) did you watch?

I’m not exactly a fan of Koreanovelas in general, but I do watch from time to time. Last year, I watched two with my closest roommate (I live in a boarding house on weekdays as I go to work). Watched Healer and Oh, My Ghost. I’m currently kind of following The Queen of the Office (a.k.a. Goddess of the Workplace), Korea’s version of an original Japanese show.

Most embarrassing moment in 2016?

I was thinking about getting ignored, criticized and the runarounds, but no, those were humbling experiences. I can’t think of any answer at the moment, truthfully.

What new life lessons did you learn from 2016?

I tried to rack my brains out, but to be honest, I don’t think I learned anything new and substantial. If anything, the year only emphasized to me what I already knew, be they good or bad. Okay, maybe because of this, I did learn something: to never be complacent about things. 2016 was my eager reminder.

Some reminders:

  • Keep positive.
  • Prioritize family.
  • Don’t be sensitive–deal with it gracefully.
  • Always say thank you to kind people and be sincere about it.
  • Say sorry and be sincere as well.
  • Keep calm, but don’t be a pushover.
  • Recognize the wolves in sheep’s clothing and never forget they are around.
  • There will always be people who will put you down either face-to-face and mostly behind your back, so don’t mind them much. It’s their time they’re wasting.

What makes you thankful for 2016?

Just the fact that we are still alive and kicking.


That’s it, my 2016. So, how was yours? 🙂

(Not My) Interview with Neil Gaiman #AskWednesday

I wanted to post something on Monday. Didn’t happen. I decided to post on Tuesday. Didn’t happen, too. So now, I’m making THIS happen!

When I started #AskWednesday, I did say that aside from doing interviews myself, I also was going to share interesting interviews from the Net. And here it is!!! This interview with THE Neil Gaiman is too good to pass up.  I admit, I have yet to know more about him and read more of his stuff, but you know of one’s brilliance by how his followers adore him. In fact, I intend to know more. Research, research, research!

It isn’t really an interview, but the contributor collected Q&A exchanges from him and fans from his Tumblr account. This could be could for #ThursdayTips, too, but I’m so into posting mode!

As writers, I think all can learn a thing or two from him. I think I even learned more.

Neil Gaiman Shares Writing Advice To Fans On Tumblr


Plenty of stuff to share! Till tomorrow, my friends!

The Warrior Teacher #AskWednesday

Welcome back to #AskWednesday!

Today, we’ve got Lynette Carpio-Serrano. We went to the same high school, took up the same bachelor’s degree, and then worked for the same college radio where her monicker, Glitch, came from. We were even in the same archery class and I know for a fact that she got high grades for her precision in shooting arrows. I was secretly envious.

I mean, I knew she was already brainy, and she sang beautifully with the school chorale, but she was great with arrows, too?!!! THEN, she’s blessed with that wonderful radio voice…So. Unfair. #BitterMuch…Kidding aside, she is currently helping shape younger minds as a faculty member of the UPLB College of Development Communication.


Lynette doing intense Muay Thai training. Copyright © Augusto Lee Mendoza

This is Lynette, in her own words: “I write. I take pictures. I teach. Occasionally, I kick and punch. Lately, I’ve been making comic strips.” (2011) She’s added “kick and punch” in her wonderful resumé. And that is why she is here, to share a bit about her love for Muay Thai. (BTW, will add another pic soon so you can see her better, he he) I never would have guessed she’d take Thailand’s hard-style martial art (MA); heck, I never would have guessed she’d take any martial art at all! But in this brief interview, she proves me wrong…

1. What made you decide to take up martial arts? Who or what made you decide on your chosen MA?

My love affair with Muay Thai started way back in 2010. I only tried it because a bunch of girl friends from Baguio invited me to join them. I wasn’t expecting to have fun, and I never really saw myself as someone who would learn to love martial arts. The training was difficult, but something in my head clicked.

So I came back a couple more times. Then I signed up for a monthly membership and started training two to three times a week. When I moved back to my hometown, I wanted to continue training. I asked around and found a gym with a Muay Thai team that offered training. That’s the Pugilist Muay Thai – Biagtan. I’ve been practicing on and off since.

 2. Why choose Muay Thai in particular? What do you like about it or get out of it?

It was completely by chance that I tried out Muay Thai. I guess it could have been Tae Kwon Do, or Judo, or any other martial art. I tried it out of curiosity, and realized that it was good exercise (it combines cardio, strength and flexibility). It’s also a good way of clearing my head and managing stress.

It’s brutal–I’ve lost count of the sprains and bruises I’ve had to recover from (but thankfully no broken bones)–but it’s also taught me that physical stress can be a productive thing. It  can make you stronger and faster.

3. What does your MA require of its artists? What separates it from others?

I think it requires the same of its practitioners as other martial arts: discipline, humility, and a willingness to push yourself to your limits. What makes MT different from other martial arts is, they call it the art of eight limbs: we’re taught to kick, punch, and also to use our elbows and knees to strike our opponents.

4. How has it helped you? Have you been able to use your knowledge/skills? In what way?

I’ve always been a pretty clumsy person. MT has improved my body coordination and sense of balance. It’s also raised my tolerance for pain. But if you’re wondering if I’ve ever had to hit or kick someone in self-defense, thankfully, no. It’s helped me in other ways though: it’s good exercise, and it’s good for my mind.

MT was also helpful because I was physically fit when I got pregnant. Although I had to stop because of doctor’s orders. I didn’t have such a hard time shedding the post-pregnancy baby weight. Went back to MT when my little boy turned two, and now I’m getting stronger and more agile again. (Ed. That’s good advice. I actually want to do the same and train for MT, but some things I don’t have right now. I haven’t hung up the gloves yet, though, figuratively speaking…)


Science or art? You decide

5. Other people say MAs are violent. Has anyone ever said that to you? Do you agree? If yes, why do/did you continue?

You don’t have to know a martial art to be violent. I guess what I’m trying to say is, knowing MA doesn’t automatically make a person violent. If anything, it teaches you discipline and respect for other people. It also teaches you to control yourself. If you’ve been on the receiving end of punches, kicks, and strikes, and if you see the kind of damage they do in the ring, you know it’s not something you take lightly.

6. Are you trying out other MAs? Or any other MA you’d like to try? Why?

At the moment, no. MA training takes time, and at the moment, I have to balance taking care of my family, work, etc. I try to train a couple of times a week, but there’s just not enough time to learn a new MA.

That dance at the start is the Wai khru. Now, I know it’s an exhibition, but that girl is still bad***!!!


According to Lynette, Muay Thai is about “discipline, humility, and a willingness to push yourself to your limits”…I think this guy here is Muay Thai artist and Ong Bak movie star Tony Jaa based on the look


Thank you so much, Lynette, for granting us an interview!!!

For more interviews, just do a search on “#AskWednesday”. Do check them all out!

Born to Sing #AskWednesday

More than two weeks ago, I promised to let you know more about singer Hanna de Guzman. Perhaps you missed that post, but that’s when I shared her awesome duet with A Great Big World’s Ian Axel.

I already gave a bit of intro from that page. I think I’ll let this interview do the talking, so to speak (and pun intended) 😉


The beautiful Hanna De Guzman

1.  When did you realize that you were born to sing? Did someone influence you?

I’ve known since I was a child actually. According to my mom, Jessie Retizos, when I was just about ten-months-old (I guess), I would just throw away my feeding bottle whenever I heard music and start humming to the tune of any song from the radio. Then at three, I would just get her hairbrush and use it as microphone while I stood on a table, singing any popular song during that time. At five, I would be singing as Mommy played the piano.

Sometimes, I accompanied her to band rehearsals, so I grew up with that kind of environment where my uncle would play bass guitar and drums and Mommy would play the piano, especially when she composed songs for Ms. Pilita Corrales and the late Didith Reyes


Exhibit A: Hanna, aged 8 then, singing her heart out as uncle Nato Burog played lead/bass guitar

Music has always been a part of my life, it has been my passion since I was a child. My mom did not really influence me, it’s just that I really grew up with that kind of environment. And if there was someone who might have influenced me to really sing, it was my uncle, the late Renato Burog, who was a great musician (singer, pianist, bass guitarist). When Tito Nato (Uncle Nato) first heard me sing at six, he told my mom, “At last, we have a singer in the family!”

2. When was the first time you joined a singing contest? Kindly share to us…

Tito Nato urged me to compete in an amateur singing contest in San Pablo City, where all my fellow contenders were aged 20+ and, believe it or not, I was only eight-years-old at that time. Good thing there was no age limit! He was my first voice coach during that time and the first winning piece I sang was “Tomorrow” by Lea Salonga. I was so happy then because I was the youngest contestant yet I won a consolation prize!

It was indeed an unforgettable experience for me because at such a young age, I competed with not just amateurs but even professional singers already. That was the time I really told myself, I was really born to sing… 🙂

3. How would you describe to us your singing voice? What are your advantages and limitations, if any?

Eversince I was a child, I’ve always had a somewhat husky voice. When I joined a chorale group back in college, which was the UPLB Choral Ensemble, they classified my voice as Alto 1, Soprano 2.


The current UPLB Choral Ensemble. Image is is copyrighted to them, of course

Alto voice had always been my comfort zone and when I started to learn some techniques and developed a wider voice range, that’s when I began to also sing some parts of Soprano 2 where I have/had to use falsetto (false voice). I guess being able to sing as both a Soprano 2 and Alto 1 is an advantage. [Ed. But where’s my advantage??? I’ve always said I’m Alto 1, Soprano 2. I think I am Alto 1, my high school music teacher–and this was the same director of the Glee Club from which the Ensemble originated–she would say Soprano 2…But why, why, WHY don’t I have Hanna’s kind of voice??? *envious-much*]

My limitations, well my voice sometimes gets affected whenever there is a weather change since I have allergic rhinitis, so I see to it to really stay away from drinking cold beverages and eating too much sweets especially when I have a performance.

4. I assume that singing has helped you at least once in your personal life. Can you share to us how, please? How about in your more professional life?

Whenever I have personal problems and am feeling lonely and depressed, I just sing to release my emotions. Singing has been my outlet. It really fills the emptiness in me.

In my professional life, singing puts back the balance in my life. I really enjoy it whenever we have company parties and programs because I get to sing again. It lessens the stress and pressure from work and helps me to remember I am still a normal human being. My best way to de-stress is through singing again.

5.  Any plans of becoming a recording artist or maybe following in your mom’s footsteps? How about doing on-stage musicals?


The equally beautiful and very talented Jessie Retizos, Hanna’s mom

At my age? Well, we can never tell. I never stop dreaming of becoming a recording artist, because that has always been my ultimate dream. I guess I am just waiting for the perfect opportunity.

To follow in my mom’s footsteps, I once tried to compose a song, so back in 2003, I joined a jingle-making contest sponsored by a wellness-and-beauty products company. I composed the music and wrote the lyrics for the song “Achieve” that I also interpreted. Luckily, I won the Grand Prize…As for on-stage musicals, back in college, I once auditioned for Repertory PhilippinesMy Fair Lady, unfortunately, I did not make it to the final screening.

6. You joined the popular Tawag ng Tanghalan competition back in March. I personally felt you should have won that round, bias aside. But how did you find the whole experience as an actual participant?

Joining Tawag ng Tanghalan was such a good learning experience for me. It was not exactly planned after all. I just happened to watch one of their episodes and I challenged myself to see if I could still do it even at the age of 40. So I secretly auditioned alone and luckily got in. Honestly, my goal in joining TNT was not to win, really, but just to be able to perform on national TV without being “gonged”. [Ed. Many much-older singers have joined and even won, for the record. Meanwhile, being gonged literally means that: the judges decide to not let you continue if they don’t like your performance and you usually find out the hard way–someone hits a giant gong and your several moments of glory are finished.]

[Ed. UPDATE: Sorry if the vid seems to be delayed. I think they’re just screenshots. The sound is working well, though. The original vid I shared when I posted this is now set on private, for some reason. It’s got me peeved, but…Oh, well…]

I just wanted my kids to watch me on national TV and that would be it. So when I saw the face of the Chairman of the Board, Mr. Rey Valera, enjoying while I was singing, I felt I was a winner already. Being able to sing the whole song with no flat notes or by not being out of tune, I felt it was already a big achievement. I learned my lesson, though. Next time, I will not just aim to perform well, but to really WIN and Go for the Gold!

7. What about this Smule-ing thing, what made you decide to do all those duets? And where do you get all those awesome singing friends?

I just missed singing then and upon checking my Smule account, I found out I had been getting numerous invites already from one of my best friends, Richard Delos Angeles, who now resides in Italy and happened to be one of my contenders in the Inter-School Singing Contest back in high school. So when I listened to some of his recorded songs and saw that I could do a collab with him, I immediately recorded songs with him. Then I also did a collab with another best friend, Chriselle Samiano, who’s in the USA and we did a recording of the song “All of Me”…

Of course, I miss our duets of years before, so thanks to Smule, though we are a thousand miles apart, we get to have our virtual duets.

8. Were you at all surprised about the invitation  from A Great Big World? How did you feel?


Hanna gets to sing a duet of “Say Something” with artist Ian Axel

At first, I was surprised since I was just a new user of Smule. I checked them out in YouTube, they had a duet with Christina Aguilera with that song “Say Something”, that’s when I realized how lucky I really was to be invited to have a collab with them. And I really enjoyed singing that song with Ian!

9. Is there anything that should stop you from singing?

I cannot think of any…As long as I live, I will keep on singing and praising the Lord through my songs!

10.  What is your biggest achievement as a singer? What do you still hope to achieve?


The Happy Family. Mommy Jessie, Hanna and the kids

My biggest achievement as a singer was to be able to serve the Lord through my songs. I used to be a Psalmist in San Pablo City Cathedral and whenever I sang the words of God, I realized my purpose, that was to sing not just to entertain people, but to evangelize as well and touch their hearts, singing the words of God. Another achievement is being able to pass on my God-given talent to my two kids. Seeing them singing and performing like me is priceless.

I hope I can still continue to serve the Lord through my songs and to make my kids be good performers, realize that their purpose of having their talents is to share and use our voices for God’s greater glory!



Thank you so much to Hanna for sharing herself and her talent! You are so blessed 🙂

BTW, all images, save from that of the chorale, belong to Hanna…For more interviews, just search for #AskWednesday using the search box, easy does it. Meanwhile, perhaps you’d like to share about yourself as well. Feel free to email me at j.gi.federizo@gmail.com and provide me a background.

Interview with a Komikero REWIND #AskWednesday

And we’re back!!! Got quite a lineup for interviews with a horticulturist, a singer, another martial artist, and hopefully, a dancer (she doesn’t know it yet, he he). Incidentally, I’ve noticed that so far, I’ve got all girls. I did send a message to one guy and because he doesn’t seem to be the active kind of Facebook user, he hasn’t yet seen my message at all. For today’s hash, though, I am sharing excerpts from my initial interview with comic book artist (komikero) Andoyman.

Andoyman, Andy for those of us who know him personally, is the owner of Andoyman Komiks (obviously) and the creator of ANG SUMPA, a local detective story with some forensics stuff thrown in. He’s been doing some other stuff and he currently draws for Rappler, too. A lot has happened since this interview so I will do an update interview sometime soon (he also doesn’t know this yet, ha ha!!!). Meanwhile…




Excerpts from the original interview:

J.Gi: “Andoyman”…Why Andoyman? Why not Andoy, or your nickname Andy?

Andoyman: Andoyman kasi ’yan yung itinawag sa akin nu’ng isa kong kaklase noong college noong humihingi siya ng favor sa akin. (“Andoyman was the name a classmate in college called me by whenever he asked for favors.”)

J.Gi: (So now we know he’s a pushover, but I won’t tell him that, at least not until I post this) How about your alter ego’s “caricature”? What’s with the farmer-look? And why the mask?


This is the farmer-look

Andoyman: Farmer-look, ‘cause it’s simple, and my inspiration before was the picture in my first year high school Filipino book. There was a poem with it titled Takada ni Islaw Palitaw by Lamberto Antonio and that’s my favorite poem. Come to think of it, I just realized its significance. A farmer is hardworking and persevering in planting crops, patiently waiting for months for the harvest. Parang pagko-komiks lang. (“Just like making comics.”) So, for every drawing of panels, of characters, of places, of emotions, of the story on every page, it takes a lot of time, maybe days, weeks, months, years! That’s before you finally finish your comicbook, before you harvest.

As for the mask, I felt lazy drawing the face. Just three circles, voila! You’ve got a face – I mean a mask! At saka di ko lang trip magpakita nang mukha. (“And I’m just not keen on showing my face”)

J.Gi: Did you already know you were going to make comics when you were young?

Andoyman: Actually, no. My first dream was to become a doctor, then an architect, then an engineer. But all that time, I was already fantasizing about doing a comic novel.

J.Gi: When did you find out you wanted to really do this?

Andoyman: Several months after I graduated from college. The frustration of finding a job related to my course (degree) caused something to snap inside me. It made me cry and feel regret for not trusting the thing I loved to do with all my heart, the thing closest to my heart, and that was doing comics.

J.Gi: I just had to ask as it’s common knowledge that being an artist does not necessarily translate to getting a bigger salary. Di ba, there’s a term called “starving artist.” Do you believe that?

Andoyman: I believe all artists go through that stage…Sir Pol Medina, Jr. said (about that): Magpursigi lang kayo kasi magugutom kayo sa una, tiisin n’yo lang ‘yung gutom nang kaunti, at kung natiis n’yo ‘yun, ibig sabihin may passion kayo sa ginagawa ninyo. (“Keep on persevering though there will be hunger at first, bear with the hunger just a little bit more, and if you are able to bear it, that’s what passion for the craft is really all about.”) And I think every artist should remember what Sir Medina said.


J.Gi: You said you love to draw and tell stories. Which do you prefer more? and why?

Andoyman: Creating comics because I love both.

J.Gi: …you don’t mind doing collaborations with others writing the story instead of yourself?

Andoyman: Yes. For me, it’s exciting. I have actually done my first collaboration with my first idol in writing, Doc Ronibats. We did Palimos ng Kulangot (“Begging for Booger”) and was released and distributed for free during the Summer Komikon, then later posted online, on his website.

J.Gi: Kindred spirits having a mutual understanding…So which is harder, coming out with your own drawn story, or drawing somebody else’s ideas?

Andoyman: Drawing somebody else’s ideas, because they’re not my own in the first place. Somehow, I’d like that person to be pleased and satisfied with my interpretation of his words, of how I think he sees the story, and I want to give justice to his intentions and story.

J.Gi: Detective stories, mysteries…Can you tell us about this indie comics that you’ve been posting about for so long, you’re killing us with the suspense??? [Ed. We were talking about ANG SUMPA]


ANG SUMPA is a detective-mystery comicbook that dares to be different. Story and Art by Andoyman, Edited by SuperGi. Copyright © Andoyman Komikero

Andoyman: Ah, yes. It’s about the fictional President of the Philippines who is found dead in his private house with a few capsules of some sort of drug beside him. Everyone thinks he committed suicide. “But did he really commit suicide?” is the question in the mind of the protagonist, an NBI investigator as well as a childhood friend of the president. The mystery gets deeper and darker as he discovers secrets and conspiracies while one by one, his friends and people in power are dying, either through suicide or accidents.

J.Gi: What makes this different from the usual stuff you do?

Andoyman: Everything must be logical. The investigation, the crime, the events must be convincing then progressively suspenseful and exciting. This is not a one-shot comics, by the way. What makes it fun is it forces me to think hard and imagine what should happen next. That’s what I love about it, the thinking, the creativity that comes with the imagination. It is hard for a newbie like myself to do something like this, but I love everything about it. I love the challenge it brings.

J.Gi: Thanks for the interview and don’t forget me when you’re famous.

Andoyman: Who are you again?

J.Gi: Thanks, Andoyman!…I think.


[Read the whole interview HERE]



Hope you liked these excerpts.  Go ahead, click on the link above to see what else we talked about.In the spirit of transparency, and I have shared this several times already, I am the one editing the story of ANG SUMPA. And, BTW, all images copyrighted to him.

If you want to see more interviews, check out The NBSB Interview, where I was the interviewee, and The TKD Princess. More to come!