First Celebrity Interview Published: “THE SUN ALSO SETS FOR THE DAWN”

Day 29 of the #NaNoPoblano2021 challenge, now a.k.a. “NaJanPoblano2022” (heee….) . Major Theme: “A Few of My Earliest Things”. New sub-theme: “First Published”. Related post: My Evolution as a Writer.

This was my first celebrity interview ever, which could be the only celebrity interview I’d have in this lifetime. (I lost my chance at interviewing Lea Salonga much, much later.) I have my first-ever editor in college to thank since she assigned this to me.

I did have a partner or co-writer. I didn’t mind since I was still new to the school paper and needed to learn the ropes. He knew more about the music, plus, he was much cooler than me. Honestly, I wouldn’t really know if I could do the interview without him. We were interviewing celebrities…! We were to interview THE DAWN, “pioneers of Post-Modern Rock” here. I’m not sure who came up with that one (“pioneers of…”), my co-writer Butch or me, or if we got that somewhere. But pioneers, they really were.

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The concert ticket, front…

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…and back

They were doing a concert at our university. So the paper got permission from the organizers for the interview, which they arranged and made happen. We were allowed since the band had an important album out so, you know, it’s still publicity, however small. It was actually maybe an hour or so before the concert. They let us go inside their parked bus to meet the members. Unfortunately, for some reason, Jett Pangan, the main vocalist, was kept busy outside the bus. Usually, it’s really the vocalist who’s the main face of the band, right? So it was a bit of a downer that we couldn’t talk to him. I only have three out of four autographs. No cellphone yet, no camera, so no photos 😦

Not that we didn’t enjoy the interview! Of course, we did! I didn’t particularly know all of them then. I really just knew them as The Dawn. I just hoped I was asking the right questions. So thank goodness, Butch was the enthusiast. It wasn’t me who described Jett’s voice as “nasal”, though. (It’s true, Butch, so please don’t come down from heaven and scare me.) I wrote the first draft, he did the final draft where he added everything else. I do disagree about the description. We went to the concert (for free!) after the interview and, despite my headache caused by being near large loudspeakers, Jett sounded fine to me. Many years later, I would watch Baby The Musical and hear Jett sing live on stage again — great voice and definitely not nasal!

Being a writer does have its perks sometimes.

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First Book Published: “TELENOVELAS: A LOOK ON HOW A FILIPINO COMMUNITY SEES FOREIGN TV DRAMAS”

Day 28 of the #NaNoPoblano2021 challenge, now a.k.a. “NaJanPoblano2022” (heee….) . Major Theme: “A Few of My Earliest Things”. New sub-theme: “First Published”. Related post: My Evolution as a Writer.

I was going through my stuff (I never finish going through things…) and realized that I did publish my first book! Like many of my alma mater’s alumni, I published one. I think there are only three copies in total — one for me and two for the school. So I have my copy with me. One is in my college’s library. The last one, I am not sure. Probably in the university main library.

I’m referring to my undergraduate research/thesis. It has a wordy title, which I used in this post’s title. My study focused on telenovelas, or telenovela, which is Spanish for TV soaps. But specifically, as stated in my book’s Definition of Terms, a telenovela referred/refers to “a foreign (Spanish-speaking) TV drama serial dubbed in Tagalog.” For those who don’t know, Tagalog is one of the Philippines’ many dialects and is generally regarded as the one most understood.

I may not have watched everything on TV. However, because I liked to observe and know things, I was often updated about local television. So even if I didn’t really watch telenovelas at the time, I knew all the titles of those that were showing back then. I was well aware of which came first before what, and how the mostly-Mexican soaps made it to local TV.  That was long before K-Dramas invaded our screens. Also. the first telenovela, “La Traidora”, was the first-ever foreign soap that was dubbed in our language!

“Filipinizing” or “Tagalizing” (both coined terms) began with several Japanese live-action shows that used to be English-dubbed. Next, they Tagalized an anime of a children’s classic story. We didn’t have to wonder how far the new practice would go. Soon, it was Mexican soaps! We did not really have them on TV since the general public would not understand conversational Spanish. TV networks probably did not care to create captions because the general public was not keen on reading subtitles either. Again, this was waaaaay before K-Dramas, or Koreanovelas as we call them.

The start of Tagalized Mexican soaps was such a big surprise. Translating and dubbing TV shows using the local dialect paved the way for Spanish-speaking soaps to enter the scene. I will not anymore discuss Philippine TV history here, though. We’ll save that for another day.

That said, my study was actually my thesis adviser’s idea. I had a different one that was going nowhere (I don’t even remember what it was about). I think that was mainly because I was at a rough time in my life. Rough time or not, I had to force myself to concentrate. I had to graduate! It would have been a waste (and stupid!) if I didn’t graduate just because of one unfinished requirement. Honestly, I’m thankful that he gave me the idea. It sparked my interest more. And because I am a writer who loves to do research, I actually enjoyed writing my research. The interview parts weren’t fun, but no pain, no gain, right? To be frank, it was not a hard topic at all.  I didn’t/don’t care. I had fun writing it and it allowed me to graduate.

I took to heart the quote that I put on page 3:

“I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul.”
(William Ernest Henley)
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“TELENOVELAS: A LOOK ON HOW A FILIPINO COMMUNITY SEES FOREIGN TV DRAMAS” An Undergraduate Research By Jennifer Del Barrio Federizo (a.k.a. Me)

First and Only (So Far) Advertorial Published

Day 27 of the #NaNoPoblano2021 challenge, now a.k.a. “NaJanPoblano2022” (heee….) . Major Theme: “A Few of My Earliest Things”. New sub-theme: “First Published”. Related post: My Evolution as a Writer. Related page: Critic’s Corner.

When I worked for a tertiary school, I had experience copywriting a few things under the PR & Advertising Office. My next job, which was a joke, for lack of a better term, got me as Copywriter. I copywrote stuff for them but I will never know if or when and where they were published. This is a whole different story that will have to wait to be told. But let me emphasize that because that second one was a joke, I don’t count it as employment (I didn’t get paid either).

Published or not, not any of my previous works qualified as an advertorial. The online Oxford Dictionary defines “advertorial” as:

  1. a newspaper or magazine advertisement giving information about a product in the style of an editorial or objective journalistic article.
  2. early 20th century (originally US): blend of advertisement and editorial.

It is safe to say that I only had my FIRST ADVERTORIAL PUBLISHED when I joined the cancer-focused publication. There was an ex-deal and I was assigned to write the advertorial. But here’s my problem: It was basically a medical advert. Medical...Of course, I could not say no, however much I wanted to. It was my job, right?  But I was very skeptical of the would-be outcome. I wasn’t sure I could write a good advertorial. I did not want to humiliate myself. Mostly, I did not want to humiliate my bosses and cause a problem with the clients. I had to try my very darn best!!!

I was to write about a particular drug that’s for a particular type of cancer. I was to advertise, editorial-style. The good news was I was given materials to read about it. The bad news? The materials were thick. The words were quite medical and scientific. And I had to balance the medical/scientific jargon with the layman’s terms.

I remember spending nights at the dormitory’s common area reading and trying to write. Mind you, at that time, I had no laptop. I had to write notes and underline things on the photocopied pages. Cellphones weren’t that sophisticated yet back then plus, for the longest time, I used analog phones. So guess what? No access to the Internet outslde work unless I went to the Internet Cafe. That could help me understand things more but I did not want to spend my own money for that.  Surprisingly, I found that I was not nearly as ignorant as before about cancer as I thought I would be. So I wrote it.

It was not like I would just write it then we’d publish in the upcoming issue. The pharma had to check my output, which was very understandable. I did want them to check the advert so they could correct errors and I could revise things. The biggest surprise to me, however, was they hardly changed anything! I don’t even remember that they did. You wouldn’t know it just by looking at me, but inside, I was kind of dumbfounded. I didn’t expect it to be that “easy”. It gave me more confidence in myself.

That’s the advert below. I blurred the title that carries the name of the drug and the logos of the pharmaceutical company. I’m just not sure if they’d be okay with it. The words in the article are also tiny so I suggest you don’t check anymore. Personally, if I were them, I wouldn’t mind as that would be free advertisement. I’m not them, though. Additonally, I’m not sure if the product is still out there.

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First Book Review Published: “WHAT TO EAT IF YOU HAVE CANCER (A GUIDE TO ADDING NUTRITIONAL THERAPY)”

Basically, I’m just supposed to be continuing what was supposed to be finished last November. But heck, I’m so near-finished now and I’m loving this theme I came up with, anyway. It’s making me want to continue writing again. I just almost gave up a few weeks ago (more on that some other time). I’m happy to share more of myself. So, to continue…

Day 26 of the #NaNoPoblano2021 challenge, now a.k.a. “NaJanPoblano2022” (heee….) . Major Theme: “A Few of My Earliest Things”. New sub-theme: “First Published”. Related post: My Evolution as a Writer. Related page: Critic’s Corner.

Until I joined the Philippines’ first (and maybe only) cancer-focused magazine, I had never really done a book review outside school. It was not something I was sure I was good at. Honestly, I’m still not sure I’m good at it. The best I can say is “I try.” I had no plans of writing any until the Publisher/Boss asked me to review a book that someone recommended to her. So I did and had my FIRST BOOK REVIEW PUBLISHED.

The book was “What to Eat if You Have Cancer” by nutritionist-authors Maureen Keane, MS and Daniella Chase, MS. I hardly imagined that I’d review a book for cancer survivors, let alone, a book giving dietary guidelines. I’m a fiction girl, ergo, I expected to review fiction if I would ever. But there I was. I also tended to write longer, so writing this short one was a challenge. I did it, though. I survived my initiation. The book is most probably very outdated now. I haven’t checked if they’ve written any updated ones.

After that, I would go on writing two more cancer-related non-fiction reviews. Surprisingly, it was I who volunteered! Those were books that I found. One was “My Breast” by former journalist Joyce Wadler and the other, “Cancer Schmancer” by comedienne Fran Drescher. I have shared both reviews here in my blog. These experiences gave me the courage to try and join a call for book review submissions. If you are interested, I reviewed Alice Walker’s “The Color Purple” and Victor Hugo’s classic “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”.

Anyway, I think it’s possible to read the words on the image that I have provided if you just enlarge it, except I just found out now that light reflected on some parts. Sorry! I know I have the soft copy somewhere but I have to find it first.

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I First Published This Because I Wrote It

It’s my anniversary at work (well, WFH for now) today, YAY!!! So I decided to finalize my last sub-theme for this challenge and post (finally!).

Day 21 of the #NaNoPoblano2021 challenge, now a.k.a. “NaDePoblano” (heee….) . Major Theme: “A Few of My Earliest Things”. New sub-theme: “First Published”. Related post: My Evolution as a Writer. Related page: Poetry Nook.

Anyone who’s followed me long enough already knows about this. But since I am doing this as part of a challenge, and I also have new followers (thank you, all!!!), I am sharing it again. This is a translation of the popular Filipino lullaby SA UGOY NG DUYAN. This was first published on my Multiply account, not here. But I am sharing it because I WROTE IT. It was I who translated it in English.

While it is one of the various translations, it is currently the most popular. I say this not to brag, only to emphasize that I, at least, own the translation. It’s been used/posted by others without giving credit. They should, at least, say that they found it online. Anyway, read on and I hope you like my translation…

The End Justifies the Journey

On January 3, 2005, I shared through Multiply one of my favorite Filipino songs, Sa Ugoy ng Duyan. As many of my contacts were non-Filipinos, I thought I’d share a translation. However, at the time, I could not find any worthy translation, so I decided to create my own called The Lulling Cradle, which I included in a previous post (check the last video). I was quick to mention it was an unofficial translation. From what I now remember, there were two to three people who asked permission to share my translation, so I said YES, as long as I got credited.

Fast forward to a few years after, and then a few years more, I have found out that my translation is kind of making the rounds online, without proper credit and no explanation that it is just one of more translations. I don’t expect or plan…

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First Photo Essay Published: “THE MASKED ANGELS”

Day 20 of the #NaNoPoblano2021 challenge, now a.k.a. “NaDePoblano” (heee….) . Major Theme: “A Few of My Earliest Things”. New sub-theme: “My Firsts”. Related post: My Evolution as a Writer.

The publication I worked for was focused on cancer awareness and one of its major sections focused on children with cancer. I am not sure now if the original plan was, indeed, to create a photo essay for that issue, but I wrote an essay-slash-vignette. I don’t know if I pitched the idea of using it or the inspiration came because I was assigned the section. The bosses liked it, though. This came out in the same issue as that of the article I shared last time. I guess that technically, this should be my first published article as a professional. I didn’t/don’t really consider it that way, though. For me, it’s a story.

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Now, I didn’t want to make anyone cry, but I heard feedback that it did make a few people teary-eyed. I felt good and bad–good that it was effective, bad that I didn’t want to make people cry at all, not because of cancer. I now realize while I write this that it wasn’t the first time I’d been told I made people cry. If memory serves me right, this was the fourth time that something I wrote (song, story, essay) had a similar effect. I don’t know why that is, to be honest.

The End Justifies the Journey

NOTE: This was written as a photo-essay about children in the cancer ward for The Big C magazine (January-March 2006, Children’s Hour section)

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Here where many wage wars, little heroes fight their own battles armed with a dash of hope and sprinkles of innocence, coated with a touch of loved ones’ tender loving care. Every smile has a story.

Imagination takes flight and little Masked Angels make where sweet dreams lie, to bask under the morning sun or traipse on a moonlit night calling out to friends hidden behind trees or under makeshift carton houses. “Pung! Huli ka!” they cry out racing towards the base to be saved.

They run and laugh and play. Sometimes they tumble. But heroes are made of sturdy stuff. After every fall they take a stand against unseen enemies in defiance. Sometimes, imagination flies back to the classroom—there’s the little girl he loves to…

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First Solo Article Published: “SIRUFUS”

Before we start. I KNOW it’s past November. But I still want to continue this challenge. The point is to try to keep blogging till I’ve posted 30. Anyway,…

Day 17 of the #NaNoPoblano2021 challenge. Major Theme: “A Few of My Earliest Things”. New sub-theme: “My Firsts”. Related post: My Evolution as a Writer.

This may not be my very first published article (that was last time), but it was my very first SOLO article. Granted that it was just one piece that was a part of one whole collaboration. We featured eateries and restaurants in and around campus back then and I was assigned this. I don’t know If the place is still there.

It is still one whole writeup, however short. Feel free to laugh at “Of course, the restaurant also has chairs.” I’M laughing!!!

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First Ever Article Published “AWIT NG PAKIKIBAKA” (“PROTEST SONGS”)

Day 16 of the #NaNoPoblano2021 challenge. Major Theme: “A Few of My Earliest Things”. New sub-theme: “My Firsts”. Related post: My Evolution as a Writer.

I know I have been skipping days again. I have been trying to go through things and find writing-related stuff. I was looking for something else that I remembered but in doing so, I found THIS.

This was my very-first published article. I just joined the college paper and was put in the Culture (‘Kultura’) section. My very first editor, a friend whom I had known since childhood, assigned me the topic. (DISCLAIMER: There was no nepotism involved, okay?). I worked with someone else on the article but who cared? I was excited. I was happy to be part of the paper. I was happy to write about relevant things. I was happy doing research, enjoying my time at the library, and writing what I could about protest songs, their history, and their relevance to the Filipino people. I was tickled pink when it came out!

Here it is, titled Awit ng Pakikibaka: Plakard, Tinig at Gitara” (“Protest Songs: Placard, Voice and Guitar”), my editor’s idea. Maybe for seasoned journalists who write and/or speak Tagalog, this looks amateurish. I understand. It was. I just wish I remembered it last November 30. That would have been a fitting tribute to one of our greatest national heroes, Andres Bonifacio, on his commemoration day. He wrote one of the best protest poems ever. It was turned into a song in the ’70s or ’80s (will check which exact era).

I am just sharing a photo of the article because I don’t have it on Word file. No time to re-type, and definitely no time to translate into English.

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My first full article in the school paper

First Legit Blog Post: “Effanineffable 1: The Brain”

Day 14 of the #NaNoPoblano2021 challenge. Major Theme: “A Few of My Earliest Things”. New sub-theme: “My Firsts”.

I was wondering what to post. I’m glad I found this!

The End Justifies the Journey

This was one of my very first actual posts in my history of personal blogging. That was way back the Multiply platform days. But time sure does fly!

As explained in my homepage, “If you don’t get what ‘effanineffable’ means, congratulations, you got it.” The great T. S. Eliot came up with the word for his work Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats. It’s a kind of weird word, a play at the original “effable” and at “ineffable”. As to the assigned number on the title, I wanted it to be a kind of series, like my weekly hash potatoes (no Twitter yet in those days). From what I know, there’s at least one more that followed this. Anyhoo, this was just me being goofy 😉

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The Hunchback of Rural High #MondayMemoirs #KwentongUPRural

I was never popular in high school. If I ever was, that could be because I was considered weird, which never offended me. I welcomed being voted as Weirdest Girl in Class two years in a row. For me, that meant I was not one to conform just to be called cool. Besides, when you’re a writer, people just tag you as weird. Hollywood fed us that idea.

Most probably, though, if I ever was popular, it was because I was the Hunchback of Rural High. I was the short girl looking like Quasimodo.

I didn’t use to be like that. I did not have a humped back prior to high school. I was a shy kid in grade school who only started coming out of her shell in fourth grade. By sixth grade, I was jumping from tables, singing the oldie La Bamba shamelessly…Then a teacher sent me back into my shell, accusing me in front of the other kids because she supposedly didn’t like something I said about her favorite student.

I was dumbfounded and confused. I did not even understand what she meant until days later! Worse was, she thought wrong as I was not referring to him. Unfortunately, my self-esteem already suffered because of it. Why a teacher should even get offended by a student practicing the right to choose who to like or not is beyond me. By the time I reached high school, I was starting to develop the humped back.

Well, that was my backstory, no pun intended. High school started and soon, boys from my batch would sing the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT) theme song whenever I passed by. But I never hid or ran away; I just passed by poker-faced. I knew they’d get tired of it one day. Thankfully, the bullying didn’t go further than that. But of course, I resented what they did; I had feelings, too. Some years ago, an old teacher reminded me of the time I had the guts to tell him to tell those boys, whom he was friends with, to get off my back (again, no pun intended).

The funny thing was, to be honest, I resented them because I thought they were referring to the “mutant” part, which, for me, translated to “uber-ugly girl”.  It was months after that I realized they didn’t exactly mean it that way. They meant something else. Surprisingly, that lifted my self-esteem a bit. I was glad they were referring to something else that I could do something about.

So, I did do something about it. I started trying to fix my Quasimodo posture. If you think it was easy, it wasn’t.

It took a lot of effort and self-awareness to prevent the slumping whenever I walked. I could actually feel the physical pressure every time I tried to keep my back straight. If you were near me enough, you’d probably hear me groaning a bit. It worked, though. I may not walk straight as a model, but I got my intended result. I didn’t know the reason for the humped back until Home Economics in the fourth year: a book explained that slumping was a sign of insecurity. I thought, Well, that figures.

The teasing stopped. A boy in senior year attempted to revive it by singing the TMNT song as I walked nearer. It was the classic case of someone bullying somebody else to compensate for his own low self-esteem. Instead of feeling hurt or getting mad, I was amused and tempted to say, “What, you’re still not over that?“ He never tried again.

 

My whole high school life was like everyone else’s. I had to struggle with different issues (body changes, grades, crushes, friendships, lack of confidence). However, if there’s one thing that made me different, it was this early experience.  It hurt emotionally and physically, but that was part of what made me, me.

I don’t resent those boys anymore. I forgave them a long time ago. I’m thankful they somehow taught me to stand up straight. Take it figuratively, take it literally, it’s up to you. Besides, I kind of liked the ninja turtles 😊

 

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Usually, I don’t follow the Philippine time when I post stuff. But I wanted this posted already before I forget or lose interest again. While it’s still Sunday in most readers’ part of the world, it’s already Monday here, so this counts as a #MondayMemoirs post.

I’ve already mentioned about my turtle “background” before, but this is a bit more revealing and personal. I wrote about it because our high school reunion is coming and I’ve been asked to write my HS experience for our unique souvenir programme. I was able to submit three write-ups (Rattling Cages and two trivia pieces). Unfortunately, this one did not meet the deadline. I was supposed to share this after the reunion, but since it’s not going to be part of the programme anyway, I went ahead and shared it. (By the way, my school was the U.P. Rural High School, ergo, the use of the “Rural” word.)

I do have a DISCLAIMER: I don’t, in anyway, hate my old school. This is not to speak ill of it. I shared this because (1) my growth was important to me, and (2) to show that things like this happen anywhere. Ultimately, it is up to us to choose which life lessons we’re going to keep and how we will use them to our advantage.

Any comments or thoughts? I won’t mind. Let me know below! Or maybe share your own experiences? 😉