Saturday, March 31, 2018

A Trip to Tanay, Rizal

A view of Laguna De Bay
Holy Week is a time for reflection and vacation for the family. An overnight trip at Tanay, Rizal on Holy Thursday was what we did. Going to Tanay from Manila is very convenient because the roads are smooth and well-paved. On the way, we had lunch at Paseo - Rizal, an art gallery and restaurant. Lunch of sinigang na ulo, fried tilapia and sizzling gambas filled our hnugry tummies. The food was great and the ambience was cool but the loud music from the karaoke-style singers was a little irritating. It would be better if soft and relaxing instrumental music be played instead.
Lunch at Paseo-Rizal

Paseo-Rizal is both an art gallery and a restaurant
Next stop was our final destination, a vacation house at Pililia, Rizal. The place was quiet and had a good view of Laguna de Bay. The plan was supposed to set-up a tent for sleeping but the room and bed of the vacation house are so comfortable that we skipped that plan and took advantage of the comfy beds. We spent the night reading our favorite books. The following morning, breakfast with a view of the Laguna de Bay was exhilarating and refreshing.
Apple - reading a book and coffee with a view
Winding roads to and from Tanay, Rizal - a cool alternative to Tagaytay or Baguio.
Back to Manila at 9:00 AM but first a stop-over for early lunch at Pico de Pino along the zig-zag roads at Baranggay Cuyambay.  Lunch of calamares, fish fillet and sinigang (again) with ice cream and coffee was lovely and relaxing. The place is popular among travelers because of its cool ambience and lovely huts.

Pico de Pino is a good stop-over to unwind and relax.
 It was Good Friday and a visit at Ateneo's House of Jesu and a station of the cross at the Ateneo's ground was a fitting act to glorify our Lord.
The station of the cross at ADMU grounds infront of the House of Jesu

"We are NOTHING, and yet GOD sent His Son to die for our sins."

Sunday, March 11, 2018

My Top 4 Fiction Writers

Reading novels is one of my hobby and past time. My love for reading was ignited when I was in high school. Our English teacher, Mr. Razon required us to read a novel and write a book review. I don't remember now the title of the novel I reviewed but it was an action and mystery novel. After that iI started reading Agatha Christie's books about Hercule Poirot and Jane Marple. Another influence to my love of reading was my mom. She has a collection of novels like Irving Stone's Lust for Life, Airport, Madame Bovary, The God Father, to name a few  at home and during summer vacation I spent my time reading those novels. In college, I came to like Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes (books borrowed from the UP Library) because of the influence from my UP friend, Roger Esquivias. Anyway, I want to share my top 4 novel writers. When I say my favorites because after reading one novel, I thirst for more. I either buy from or Book Sale or even download for free if available. My list is not according to any order.

1. DANIEL SILVA. My first on the list is Daniel Silva. I came to discover this author while browsing for books on sale at National Book Store. I found his novel, "A Death in Vienna" on sale for P50.00 (That's good news, Daniel. If the book was not on sale, then I will not discover Gabriel Allon and buy more of your novels). After reading this novel, I learned more about the Holocaust. His narration is like non-fiction. Daniel Silva's novel is about Gabriel Allon, an Israeli spy, painter and art restorer who is a friend of the Roman Catholic pope. Daniel Silva is described as "finest writer of international intrigue and one of the greatest American spy novelists ever." After that first book of Daniel Silva, I make it a point to buy all his books and every year he releases an Allon novel which I purchase and upload on Kindle. There are talks in the internet on a movie or TV series under MGM TV about Garbiel Allon and there are already suggestions on actors  who should be in the series. If you want international espionage, read Daniel Silva!
What is nice about Daniel Silva's novels about Gabriel Allon is that his characters evolve - they get old,some get married and  and some retires. It's like  Harry Potter who started as a child and ended as an adult.
2. JOHN GRISHAM. I think I started reading Grisham novels after watching several movies based on his books like The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, The Rainmaker and A Time to Kill . Grisham is popular for legal thrillers but I also love his novels about football like Playing for Pizza and Bleachers. Grisham's characters are interesting and when he describes a place, a picture of the place is captured in your memory and there is a feeling that you want to visit that place. If you love legal thrillers, John Grisham is it!
Reading Grisham repeatedly is not boring.
3. LEE CHILD. The novels of Lee Child are centered on Jack Reacher, a former major of the US Army police corps who roams the US and always get entangled and investigates suspicious and dangerous situations. He is actually a big guy not like Tom Cruise who played Jack Reacher in several  Lee Child-based movies. A Jack Reacher book is action-packed and full of violence - it's usually a good "cop" versus corrupt and violent characters. My collection of Lee Child books are more e-copies downloaded on Kindle.  :-) If you want action and suspense, Lee Child will entertain you.
I have almost a complete set of Lee Child's books on my Kindle - downloaded for free!
4. DANIELLE STEEL. I am a late fan reader of Danielle Steel. While looking for a novel to read on Kindle, I found  Danielle Steel's "Big Girl" on my Kindle and started reading. After the first chapter, I never stopped reading her books. I finished  four more Kindle books - Legacy, Family Ties, Hotel Vendome and Dangerous Games ( I purchased at Amazon). Then I bought more books from Book Sale and I now have 6 more to read. Danielle Steel's books are more on relationships and conflicts. She has colorful and interesting characters and whenever I read her book, there are instances where I feel emotional and a tear drops from my eyes. Steel is predictable and her novels usually have happy endings. And that's great!
Steel's list of novels is long!
My runner-ups. I read them when they are available but sometimes I don't finish the book because I loose interest due to various reasons like the book is too long, predictable or dragging - DAVID BALDACCI, MICHAEL CRICHTON, KEN FOLLET and HARUKI MURAKAMI.

Books that I find very trivial: James Patterson. He will give you a ride of suspense, horror and violence but no redeeming value!

What about you, who are your favorite fiction writers?