Chocolates, Books and Beauty Contests

In 1990, Jessica Hagedorn, a Filipino American author, came out with her novel with the controversial name, Dogeaters, which became an instant bestseller, acclaimed by critics and winning for the author some plum awards. Now, 25 years later, Jessica is bringing the colorful characters she created for Dogeaters to life in a play of the same name that she wrote herself. Opening on February 10 in San Francisco and running for three weeks, "Dogeaters" the play, has actually had several incarnations from its first staging in 1990 to the current version. In "Dogeaters Comes to the Stage," contributing writer Elaine Elinson interviews Hagedorn on the evolution of the play, her transition from novelist to playwright and her inspiration in capturing the "wackiness and complexity of the [Philippine] culture."

Speaking of cultural wackiness, Filipinos' fascination with beauty pageants is in full focus in Positively Filipino Correspondent's Myles A. Garcia's "And You Thought You Know Everything About Beauty Pageants." From the first Miss Manila Carnival in 1908 to the current crop of beauty pageant winners, Myles traces the drama, the romances, the rivalries that make beauty contests almost like blood sport.

In this January of nature's fury, how about hunkering down with a box of Jade Chocolates, created by Mindy Fong of San Francisco, who draws upon her Chinese and Filipino heritage for her award-winning chocolate flavors. Contributing writer Manzel Delacruz takes us to Mindy's shop in "Jade Chocolates, Among the Best, Bar None."

And if snow or rain keeps you stuck at home, a good match for good chocolates is a good book. I've listed some of the amazing books that came out in 2015 in my blog, "The Pick of 2015."

Our Happy Home Cook feature this week is Breaded Tofu with Peanut Sauce from Rene Astudillo.

Our Video of the Week, enjoy Filipino crooner Arthur Manuntag's rendition of "How Do You Keep the Music Playing" which he performed at the beautiful Smetana Hall in Prague to commemorate Frank Sinatra's 100th birthday in December 2015. 

Gemma Nemenzo

Editor, Positively Filipino