(Left-Right Top-Bottom) May Robles, Tanya Llana, Karen Rodriguez, Myrna Ragasa-Habana, Jena Gonato, Cherry Raneses, Paula Aberasturi, Wina Hernandez and Sunshine De Leon

I was fortunate to be part of the last batch of Barbara Gonzalez’ Joy of Writing Class. This blog post pays tribute to our graduation session in Lily Pad. To graduate, we had to write a 1,500 to 2,000-word article about our family and read it aloud to the entire class. It was a touching and memorable experience for all of us.

Through that class, I learned the art of clustering, which enabled me to write easily and naturally. My heartfelt thanks to Barbara for teaching us her writing style and technique.

Jena lost a page from her graduation piece, so she was catching up on the way to Lily Pad, Calamba, Laguna.

Upon arrival, we were welcomed by the display of appetizers and dalandan juice.

Crispy Tapa Beef and vinegar

My favorite appetizer in Lily Pad.

Local Boquerones or Botarga

A perfect match with crackers. A bit malansa though.

Crispy shrimp with vinegar

My second favorite.

After appetizers, Barbara gave us a grand tour of the house. One interesting art display is this double saya (traditional Filipino dress) from her Lola with Christmas lights.

Barbara’s room with her bookshelf and a staircase access to the loft, which serves as a bodega.

Barbara is starting to be known for her “Anting-Anting” necklace collection.

The best-sellers are the anting-antings for sexiness and seduction. 🙂 Ask Barbara about it.

Lunch was served in the floating dining area, which was surrounded by the pond.

Fresh Organic Salad with vinaigrette


Crispy Duck from Oscar’s Farm

Highly recommended! 🙂

Pasta with mushroom sauce

I like the mushroom chunks.

Grilled Salamin Fish

Pecan Pie

The best part of the meal!

After lunch, everybody was tense about reading the personal pieces to the entire group. By the way, I was the only guy in the class, so I had to bear all the girl talk and male bashing.

It was a very emotional session — we couldn’t help but bond after the graduation. I was planning to share my graduation piece but my editor friend advised me not to because it is too personal.

We all received our certificates that day but, more importantly, most of us were “liberated” by our graduation pieces.

To my classmates, thank you for sharing your personal stories with me. Thanks to Barbara for teaching me the art of writing naturally. I personally hope we can publish the Joy of Writing Book to immortalize our masterpieces.
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Live an Awesome Life,  

Text and Photos by Anton Diaz. Copyright 2009. 

blog: www.OurAwesomePlanet.com
prof. blog: AntonDiaz.com
mobile: +63917-LOVEOAP (5683627) 

P.S. Barbara Gonzalez is now teaching her Joy of Writing class in Enderun.