Category Archives: Others

Book Review: Return to Sender – Julia Alvarez

Hardcover, 327 pages
Published January 13th 2009 by Knopf Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 2009)

Blurb: After Tyler’s father is injured in a tractor accident, his family is forced to hire migrant Mexican workers to help save their Vermont farm from foreclosure. Tyler isn’t sure what to make of these workers. Are they undocumented? And what about the three daughters, particularly Mari, the oldest, who is proud of her Mexican heritage but also increasingly connected her American life. Her family lives in constant fear of being discovered by the authorities and sent back to the poverty they left behind in Mexico. Can Tyler and Mari find a way to be friends despite their differences?

In a novel full of hope, but no easy answers, Julia Alvarez weaves a beautiful and timely story that will stay with readers long after they finish it.

It’s been a while since I posted something here. It was hella busy for me at work and I didn’t have any access with my laptop for sometime. Anyway, I was at the National Book Store Book Blowout last February when I chanced up this book with an award sticker at the Children’s section. Apparently, the book is one of the two winners of the 2010 Americas Award for Children and Young Adult’s Literature. The awards sticker did catch my attention but more than anything, its blurb is what made me decide to grab it apart from it being on sale.

This story is a timely read especially with what’s happening with immigrants around the world particularly in the United States where immigration and border issues has become one of the focal discussions of the administration.

The story revolves around two families – a farming family and a migrant working family and the friendship that developed between Tyler, a Vermont farm boy and Mari, daughter of illegal immigrants and how this bond will push through the boundaries of their differences.

I loved the way the author took different approaches in telling the story through Tyler and Mari. We get two different point of views in two different styles. I loved how we get a closer glance via Mari’s letter and diary entries and then we have Tyler with his no-nonsense outlook about the faces illegal immigration. I loved that we get to see different perspectives leading us to understand more and be able to empathize with both sides.

I’m first to admit that what’s happening with the Mexican immigrants and immigrants around the world in general and tare things I only see on TV, hear on the news and mostly see online especially with the advent of social media, so I am just basing my opinions on what I see and what I feel towards the matter but in a way, this book made me realized that there’s more to it that we do not understand through the perspectives of the immigrants, on why they do the things they have to do, on why they do these ‘sacrifices.’ The story was quite heart wrenching at times but also hopeful. It tends to be a bit preachy but over all, I though it’s a good representation of what’s happening now. It is a lesson our young ones as well as the uninformed on how we’re all just human despite of our differences. This is an absolute-must read since it’s very timely and the resonance of the story will transcends race whether one is an immigrant or not.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

About The Author
Julia Álvarez was born in New York City. Her parents moved back to the Dominican Republic when Álvarez was 3 months old and she was raised there until she was 10, when the family moved back to NYC.

She is currently writer-in-residence at Middlebury College and the owner of a coffee farm named Alta Gracia, near Jarabacoa in the mountains of the Dominican Republic. The farm hosts a school to teach local farmers and their families how to read and write.

Book Review: The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho

Published May 1st 1993 by HarperCollins (first published 1988)
Paperback, 197 pages
Original Title : O Alquimista
ISBN13: 9780061122415

Blurb: Paulo Coelho’s masterpiece tells the mystical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure. His quest will lead him to riches far different—and far more satisfying—than he ever imagined. Santiago’s journey teaches us about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, of recognizing opportunity and learning to read the omens strewn along life’s path, and, most importantly, to follow our dreams.

So, I’ve finally picked this up after procrastinating for years and it was also my very first read of the year. I’ve heard of the author since I was in high school (that was in the late 90’s) but never had the time to read any of his works for some reason or I didn’t actually try to pursue them. I’ve read some passages from his books over the years and I’ve read the last chapter of By The River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept by accident but never fully read it. So at the dawn of the new year, I decided that it’s time for me to immerse myself to the works of Coehlo and for a first read, I find The Alchemist just about the perfect introduction to his works.

I did not expect to enjoy the book as much as I did. I was able to finish it in just a few hours and I was in deep contemplation right after. I loved the narrative of the story from the beginning to the end. I find it inspiring and insightful at the same time. I also find it a bit emotional in terms of the humanity of Santiago through his encounter with the king, the thief, the glass shop owner, the alchemist and him trying to get a firm grasp to what he’s been looking for all his life.

Though I find it preachy at some point, I still find myself enamored by the story. I was rooting for Santiago and his search for his damn treasure. I was rooting for him when he discovered love and I was rooting for him when he felt the fulfilment of his destiny. I’m on a fence about destiny and all of those things but I’m such a sucker for a happy ending.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

About the Author
The Brazilian author PAULO COELHO is considered one of the most influential authors of our times. His books have sold more than 165 million copies worldwide, have been released in 170 countries and been translated into 80 languages.

‘Alab at Dangal’ Patriotic Earcuff by Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray!

It was the most beautiful day in the Universe yesterday as another Filipina was yet again proclaimed the queen of the Universe 💕🇵🇭

Catriona Elisa Magnayon Gray was able to clinched the 67th Miss Universe title and the fourth crown for the Philippines besting 93 delegates across the globe.

All throughout her journey, Catriona have shown to the world the beauty of the Philippines most especially its indigenous fabrics and patriotic designs through her OOTDs! One of the most talked-about piece since her Binibining Pilipinas days was her Three Stars and the Sun earcuff and our newly crowned Miss Univese together with Tessera Jewelry just elevated the patriotic earcuff and added a pair of golden south sea pearls studded with diamonds and rubies! Wow! How’s that for a queen?!

Truly, we stan an artistic queen and I cannot wait until these accessories becomes available to the public!

For Inquiries:

WhatsApp/Viber/SMS: +639171793352 or e-mail them at sales-tessera@gmail.com

Or follow them on Instagram and Facebook at @jesserajewelry!

Mabuhay ka Catriona! 🇵🇭👑

Kelsey Merritt becomes the first Filipina to walk the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show!

Yasss! Filipino-American model Kelsey Merritt makes history today as she was finally revealed to be walking for the annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show this November!

Kelsey was rumored to join the past couple editions of the Binibining Pilipinas pageant but decided to pursue modeling in the US instead and it obviously paid off!

She is represented by Wilhelmina Models in London; Women Milano in Milan, Italy; Supreme Management in New York, and Nomad MGMT in Miami, Florida and Los Angeles, California.

Have you met Dario Yazbek Bernal? #JuliandelaMora

You might have heard of the new Netflix craze The House of Flowers (Originally, La Case de las Flores) released just a couple of weeks back and gaining tons of fans from across the globe as we speak. In it, you may also be one of the enamored viewers with the very adorable Julian de la Mora played by Dario Yazbek Bernal. If you’re like me who’s completely unaware of this guy before this series, I gathered some info about him that may very well interest you aside from the current stalking that you’re probably doing now. Hah!

Dario Yazbek Bernal was born in 1990 in Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico. He is best known for his 2009 debut role Daniel y Ana, a film based on a true story about siblings kidnapped and forced to have sex with each other.

He is also the younger half-sibling of Mexican superstar Gael Garcia Bernal. He is the youngest amongst the three children of Mexican actress Patricia Bernal and Mexican cinematographer Sergio Yazbek.

Dario with older brother Gael Garcia Bernal. (photo by Ian Gavan)

His Vimeo profile says that he’s “working in film and music, MA in history and hating academia ever since. Currently living in a suitcase. Marriage material.”

He was also apparently in a band but this information would have to be confirmed.

So far, these are the only information I was able to gather online. Any additional information are very much welcomed. 🙂

Tell me about it, por favor!

Film Review: 4th Man Out (2015)

On his 24th birthday, Adam comes out as gay to his three best friends – Chris (Parker Young), Nick (Chord Overstreet), and Ortu (Jon Gabrus). Naturally, the three freaked out but immediately reassured Adam that nothing is going to change between them.

The whole film actually seems to be about Adam finding a boyfriend and his male pals acted like Adam’s long lost fairy godmothers intent on finding a guy for him. They’re even more knowledgeable than Adam about the gay scene. Like seriously? There are a bunch of cringy moments in it and a number of funny scenes too. I still liked this movie. It is something that you could watch to combat boredom but it didn’t deliver its intended message. More like, the film didn’t actually have a message at all.

Director: Andrew Nackman
Cast: Evan Todd, Chord Overstreet, John Gabrus, Parker Young, Jennifer Damiano, Jordan Lane Price, Kate Flannery, 

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Burt’s Bees Beeswax Lip Balm Review (Philippines)

I seldom post product reviews but I thought ya’ll should know how satisfied I am with Burt’s Bees Besswax Lip Balm. It’s the first lip balm I’ve tried that works well with me after being a ‘petroleum jelly’ user for years! Yes! Kind of icky but I’ve been using it for my lips for several years now disregarding its eventual negative effects! I hope that I’d still be able to counter said effects overtime.

I got the classic Burt’s Bees Beexwax Lip Blam with Vitamin E and Peppermint from Watsons in Megamall for P225. It maybe pretty pricey compared with other lip balms out there but I’d sya it’s worth it.

Upon application there’s this tingling feeling of mint at first until it disappear and bye bye dry and chapped lips for the day! I usually apply it whenever needed. It’s so different from Petroleum Jelly and other lip balms I’ve tried since it doesn’t feel icky that you barely feel that you applied it on your lips.

I’ve been using it for a week now and loving it so far!

ICYMI: Trans Model Angela Ponce Wins Miss Universe Spain 2018!!!

A model from Sevilla, Angela Ponce will be the very first transgender to compete in the Miss Universe Pageant this year.

In 2015, Angela participated in Miss World Spain where Miss Barcelona Mireia Lalaguna took the title and went on to win the first Miss World crown for the country.

Ponce completed her transition in 2014 after years of hormone therapy, according to Mail Online.

Ponce will now have the distinction of becoming the first transgender woman to ever compete at the Miss Universe pageant.

Back in 2012, a landmark case was established by then Miss Universe Canada transgender contestant Jenna Talackova when she was initially denied by the organization to participate. The Miss Universe Organization then announced that as long as she meets the legal gender recognition requirements of Canada and the standards established by other international competitions,” then she gets the approval to participate in the pageant.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe – The Movie

Okay, calm down. We all need to calm down for a bit. Over the weekend, the ever so lovely Mr. Saenz tweeted a photo of him with Henry Alberto – the guy who apparently got the nod from our beloved author into writing the screenplay of the award-winning Young Adult book, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. I mean, screenplay. Like screenplay! Are we just months or years away from the very own movie of our dear Ari & Dante? Gosh! I was hoping for this for the longest time since I’ve read the book and I do know that eventually it’ll be translated into the big screen but having an acknowledgement that it would indeed be on the silver screen in the future is such a euphoric feeling!!!

Now, let’s just zoom past into the future as to who should be playing the main lead! If I were the casting director, it’d be awfully difficult for me to cast this once in a lifetime roles!!! Who are your Ari & Dante?

ICYMI: The Three Stars and the Sun Ear Cuff by Catriona Gray & Tessera Jewelry Now Available!!!

Yes, you can now have your own piece of the iconic ear cuff worn by Catriona Gray during the Binibining Pilipinas 2018 coronation night where she won the Miss Universe Philippines title!

The ear cuff is prices at a very low price of P999 only!!!

For Inquiries:

WhatsApp/Viber/SMS: +639171793352 or e-mail them at sales-tessera@gmail.com

Reserve yours now for they only have limited stocks on hand!!!

Yasss Queen!!!