Writer’s Block Philippines is turning 1!

1-year-anniversaryTo welcome in the new decade, Writer’s Block is going to start off 2011 with a month long celebration!

We’ve got gift packs from our friends at Nivea, free Imelda Tours from our favorite tour guide / performance artist Carlos Celdran and discounts on writing tools.

And that’s just the beginning! We hiked off to Tagaytay to plan the activities for 2011 and we’re raring to set off 2011 with a line up of workshops and networking nights. We’ve got the best of the old faves like “Jumpstart Your Freelance Writing Career” plus new ones like photojournalism, and one of the biggest trends the years to come — publishing. 

Writer’s Block Philippines is committing 101% to making sure that you start 2011 on the write foot!

Check out our website, follow up on Twitter or Facebook to get regular updates. Trust us, you’re not going to want to miss a thing!

Writer’s Block Philippines is turning 1!

1-year-anniversaryTo welcome in the new decade, Writer’s Block is going to start off 2011 with a month long celebration!

We’ve got gift packs from our friends at Nivea, free Imelda Tours from our favorite tour guide / performance artist Carlos Celdran and discounts on writing tools.

And that’s just the beginning! We hiked off to Tagaytay to plan the activities for 2011 and we’re raring to set off 2011 with a line up of workshops and networking nights. We’ve got the best of the old faves like “Jumpstart Your Freelance Writing Career” plus new ones like photojournalism, and one of the biggest trends the years to come — publishing. 

Writer’s Block Philippines is committing 101% to making sure that you start 2011 on the write foot!

Check out our website, follow up on Twitter or Facebook to get regular updates. Trust us, you’re not going to want to miss a thing!

Quote of the Day

We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, “O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?” Answer. That you are here – that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play *goes on* and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?

~ Robin Williams as John Keating in Dead Poets Society (1989)

Quote of the Day

We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, “O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?” Answer. That you are here – that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play *goes on* and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?

~ Robin Williams as John Keating in Dead Poets Society (1989)

A Year of Superlatives: My Top 10 moments for 2010 (Part 1 of 2)

This was reposted in full from the author’s blog, The Art of Changemaking


As I’ve said in previous blog posts, my 2010 has been absolutely superlative. It was the year I turned 30, the year my husband and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary, the year I was able to stretch myself and explore many facets of my creative horizons. In many ways, it was the best year of my entire adult life to date, and I only hope that it gets better from here. To mark the year-end and to thank the Universe for all this abundance and self-actualization, I share with you my Top 10 moments for 2010 (in chronological order).

1. Being front and center of a game-changing national campaign.

Ever since immersing in school politics in college, I have always wanted to be involved in national politics in a big way. This year gave me that opportunity when my boss, Sen. Kiko Pangilinan, was appointed Campaign Manager of the Liberal Party senate campaign, and when I was tasked to run the New Media Bureau of the senatorial slate. It allowed me to integrate all the skills, knowledge, and talents that I had acquired through the years, over one INTENSE and GRUELING period, thus forcing me to learn and unlearn things on the spot and stretching me to my personal and professional limits. It was my best professional experience so far, and to anyone who is thinking of getting involved in an electoral campaign in the near future, I’ll say: GO FOR IT!

Working on the campaign trail
Working on the campaign trail

With my team and Optimus, our satellite, live-streaming the Rock the Vote concert from Dagupan, Pangasinan
With my team and Optimus, our satellite, live-streaming the Rock the Vote concert from Dagupan, Pangasinan

2. Nurturing my passion for the written word while empowering fellow writers through Writer’s Block Philippines.

This year also saw the birth of Writer’s Block Philippines, the organization I run with fellow writers Ana Santos and Nikka Sarthou. The three of us met at Anton Diaz‘s Maven Secrets class at AIM last year, and ever since deciding to work together to educate and empower fellow writers, it’s been a frenetic, adrenaline-fueled, feel-good trip for us all. We spent 2010 juggling our respective careers, social lives, and love lives while organizing and conducting workshops; meeting clients, editors, and deadlines; and working while traveling to different parts of the world. There was even a time when we were planning a workshop while each of us was in Asia, Europe, and the United States! Thank goodness for Skype!

Writers Block Philippines founders Ana Santos, Nikka Sarthou, and Nina Terol-Zialcita with DJ Vince Golangco of Mellow 94.7 & When in Manila | Photo by Ena Terol
Writer's Block Philippines founders Ana Santos, Nikka Sarthou, and Nina Terol-Zialcita with DJ Vince Golangco of Mellow 94.7 & When in Manila | Photo by Ena Terol

Jumpstart Your Freelance Writing Career 2 (Aug 2010)
Jumpstart Your Freelance Writing Career 2 (Aug 2010)

3. Falling in love with jazz, exploring yet-undiscovered rural areas, rediscovering the Sarawak rainforest, reconnecting with my Malaysia media family, and taking my first couple of foreign trips with just my sister while covering the Miri International Jazz Festival and the Rainforest World Music Festival.

I first traveled to Malaysia as a journalist when I covered the Rainforest World Music Festival at the same time my now-husband Paul performed there in 2008. This year, I once again covered the Rainforest World Music Festival, as well as the Miri International Jazz Festival (now known as Borneo Jazz) with my photographer sister, Ena. It was an absolute trip (literally and figuratively) getting to travel for free to cover musical events while bonding, dancing in the rain, hanging out with musicians and fellow journalists, and drinking lots of Heineken. (I don’t drink beer, but Heineken, I enjoyed very much!)

Dancing and sloshing around in the mud with media friends at the Rainforest World Music Festival | Photo by Suchens SK
Dancing and sloshing around in the mud with media friends at the Rainforest World Music Festival | Photo by Suchens SK

Borneo Jazz: May 13-14, 2011! | Courtesy of the Sarawak Tourism Board
Borneo Jazz: May 13-14, 2011! | Courtesy of the Sarawak Tourism Board

4. Spending a week in Prague for a journalism program and meeting fellow young journalists from all around the world.

A really high point for me in the second half of 2010 was going to Eastern Europe for the first time, thanks to a scholarship slot in the European Journalism Institute based in Prague, Czech Republic. Prague is a lovely, progressive city, and although the locals hardly speak English and all the road signs are in Czech, I found myself enjoying my trips downtown and, on one occasion, exploring Hradcany Square (where Hradcany Castle and the cathedrals are located) all by myself after losing my class tour group while fiddling around with a borrowed camera. Czech pivo (beer) is a must-try, as is exploring Old Town Square and visiting the many museums that dot the city. It was also while in Prague that I met some of the most interesting young journalists on the planet, as well as an inspiring mentor, Professor Laura Kelly. Of all my 2010 highlights, the Prague experience was certainly higher than most.

The view from Hradcany Square, Prague | Photo by NTZ
The view from Hradcany Square, Prague | Photo by NTZ
With classmates from the European Journalism Institute (thats me--the smallest one!) | Photo by Labinot Hajdari
With classmates from the European Journalism Institute (that's me--the smallest one!) | Photo by Labinot Hajdari

5. Visiting France for the first time through a 24-hour pit stop in Paris (which got published in a three-spread magazine article) and, later, a short “retreat” with a dear friend in the French seaside town of La Rochelle.

After spending a week in Prague, I trooped with my broken luggage to Paris, where I spent all of 24 hours visiting the must-sees and chronicling my day-long adventure for asianTraveler magazine. I have to admit, though: Paris left me quite melancholy, after seeing graffiti-filled train stations, litter on the streets, hostile commuters on the Paris metro… and while lugging around all my bags and having to manage my camera while going around all by my lonesome. A low point was finally getting to the Louvre a few hours before my train was set to depart for La Rochelle, then realizing that I couldn’t have photos of myself taken because I was all alone with my newly purchased luggage and couldn’t entrust my friend’s DSLR to just anyone I saw on the square.

However, the trip to La Rochelle more than made up for part of the Paris gloom, and I quickly fell in love with La Rochelle’s older-than-old world, pure, rustic charm and beauty My friends took me to an abbey that was built sometime in the 10th and 11th century, and we rowed Le Venise Vert (The Green Venice) in Marais-Poitevin, the second largest marsh in France. As I had been telling my friends: If Prague was brain food and Paris was eye candy, La Rochelle was, hands down, food for the soul. It’s the perfect retirement place for the creative soul in me. (How to actually move there is another story altogether.)

Le Vieux Port, La Rochelle at sundown (about 9PM!) | Photo by NTZ
Le Vieux Port, La Rochelle at sundown (about 9PM!) | Photo by NTZ

Le Vieux Port in La Rochelle, France during the day | Photo by NTZ
Le Vieux Port in La Rochelle, France during the day | Photo by NTZ

Rowing on the Green Venice | Photo by M. Tandoc-Pichereau
Rowing on the Green Venice | Photo by M. Tandoc-Pichereau

Quote of the Day

Beware of self-indulgence. The romance surrounding the writing profession carries several myths: that one must suffer in order to be creative; that one must be cantankerous and objectionable in order to be bright; that ego is paramount over skill; that one can rise to a level from which one can tell the reader to go to hell. These myths, if believed, can ruin you.

If you believe you can make a living as a writer, you already have enough ego.

~ David Brin