Amazing Woman and WOMEN

When Columbia University announced early this year that journalism professor Sheila Coronel will be the new dean of the Columbia Journalism School, arguably one of the country's best, I secretly strutted like a stage mother basking in reflected glory. 

Sheila is way up there in my personal list of amazing women -- she's a terrific journalist, a wonderful person and obviously a superlative academic. She and I go a long way back, when we were part of an informal group called Women Writers in Media Now (WOMEN). The group, composed of some of the biggest names in Philippine journalism in the '80s -- among them Marites Danguilan-Vitug, Ma. Ceres Doyo, Jo-Ann Maglipon, Sylvia L. Mayuga, Neni Sta. Romana Cruz, Marra Lanot and Paulynn Sicam, all still actively writing and publishing in Manila -- was formed in response to the harassment by the Marcos government of journalists who dared write about the real situation in the country then (Sheila, Jo-Ann, Ceres, Sylvia and Arlene Babst-Vokey, another WOMEN member, were interrogated by the military).

Some WOMEN members have since moved out of journalism to other advocacies; others, like me, have left the country. But we continue to be in touch, more as a barkada now, our friendship solidified by a shared past and a common penchant for food, laughter and interesting conversations. With Sheila's ascendance in academia (see Ben Pimentel's "Blazing a Journalism Trail"), we are all genuinely proud. 

Another reason for Filipino pride this week is the Bratpack, a Filipino blues band that broke barriers at the 2014 International Blues Challenge. Watch them as they display their mettle during a brief stop in San Francisco, where writer France Viana managed to get a video of them. 

For foodie balikbayans, Naga City in Camarines Sur offers dishes and desserts that are sure to whet your appetites. Excel Dyquiangco takes you on a food trip in "Coconut and Spice and Everything Nice.”

Gemma Nemenzo

Editor, Positively Filipino