A Tribute to the Last Batch of Barbara’s Joy of Writing





(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.
Related Post:

Live an Awesome Life,  

Text and Photos by Anton Diaz. Copyright 2009. 

blog: www.OurAwesomePlanet.com
prof. blog: AntonDiaz.com
mobile: +63917-LOVEOAP (5683627) 
email: anton@diaz.ph

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

29 thoughts on “A Tribute to the Last Batch of Barbara’s Joy of Writing

  1. WOW! I wish I could also attend a writing workshop to improve on writing ;p Any recos on other workshops anton? 🙂

  2. Anton, congratulations to you and Sunshine for finishing this class. Bigger congratulations to you for surviving a classroom full of women. You make me proud of Filipino men, Anton. Another guy would’ve dropped out. That’s real strength, a quiet strength masked by a reserved exterior. Most people are the opposite, tough & loud on the outside, weak on the inside. Your two sons definitely have a great male role model here. Cheers!!!

  3. Hi Anton, I was just wondering: was your batch Ms. Gonzalez’ last workshop? I would’ve wanted to take up her class, too. 🙁

  4. I recognize May, though she probably doesn’t remember me at all. She was an alumna by the time I joined our org, UP Samaskom, but her reputation as an actress/comedienne preceded her. I saw her perform a monologue, and she’s hilarious!
    I agree with Tina — bravo for sticking it out despite being the lone male! And yes, you’re a wonderful role model for Aidan and Josh. 🙂

  5. I enjoyed Barbara’s writing class 2 years ago and it’s helping me write my posts! She taught me to write from the heart. Hope she changes her mind and have her writing class again!!! Great pics anton!

  6. ….WOW {lol!}….this lady is certainly very creative and she’s hitting all the right spots right this lady/teacher/tutor/host/writer/artist/personnalized chef-cook/plant-garden enthusiast/architectural lover/self help psychological artist/art designer/painter/sketchers/a minimalist in nature{though has some cluttered looking areas}/a natural spiritualist/jewelry designer-maker/book collector/interior-exterior designer by nature etc.etc.WOW what an accomplishments WHAT CAN I SAY more but see her in philippines history books along with anton diaz & families

  7. Too bad this is her last. I have been an avid follower of her articles in the newspaper since High School. Would love to attend her class. I like her style of writing, her articles truly come from the heart and hit a string in you somehow…Had I known, I really would have joined.

  8. sayang nga eh… I’m looking out for other writing classes out there. I’ll
    let you know if I find an interesting one.

  9. Wow, si May ay artista pala. I didn’t know. It was difficult to defend the
    male race from these girls. But I survived 🙂

  10. Thanks Tina 🙂 Sunshine was hilarious everytime. Now, I know what you mean
    that she is a touch of New York in Manila…

  11. just some ideas..nature lovers usually go to forest collects dried/smallest tree top like branches like a miniture dried christmas tree glued semi thicker/heavier 2 small sticks on both sides or under it to hold the foot to hang jewelries like rings/necklaces that way they are not spread like food in any tables but i use hand painted porcelain/bone china lifesize hands to hang my bracelets rings a flat one to hold calling cards that way no need to write when busy with other guest so just HELP YOURSELF TO ONE i am a fan of classics but can be laid back styles oversized upholstered furnitures so when i fall asleep i never worry of any neck o body pains etc. but very few only minimal needs if can be help lol wall corners are of course best use as mini private filipino libraries normally divided into standing books on both sides as some flatten books w/photo frames o porcelains crystals mini vases o toys o other types of ornaments on top of it} in the center creates different angles/styles all large books are half placed on top & bottom shelves the smallest books are in the middle or vice versa lol for the perfectionist eveything can be also angled thru color coordinations besides heights or relevance of all items and best bed is your best LIFETIME investments bcoz we spend more time in bed than any other one activity so use therapeutic beds the kind where a full crystal glasses of waters/juices will not spill if it is standing as it is next to you while sleeping cheapest one is around {2}two thousand u.s. dollars but forever healthy & yours lol

  12. she did not mentioned that that around 2,000,00 u.s. dollars worth of bed lifetime investments is just one smallest MATTRESS of that therapeutic kind and maybe that could be a sale item she’s talking about because those kinds costs way more than that with the bed frame or way even more than double if not triple the price if you add the other parts of the bedroom set this way no public surprises

  13. Congratulations! So did you find your voice? 🙂
    I attended Tweetums’ Joy of Writing workshop years ago. It was one of the best activities I ever experienced. I still bring with me what I learned from her class — clustering, trusting your voice… those Saturdays were super wonderful!

  14. Well yes. I like the clustering technique which empowers me to write faster
    using my natural voice. It was a nice class, but we were the last batch.
    Buti nakahabol pa ako.

  15. Hi! I recognized Dr. Habana from the pics she’s my OB with my eldest before, we’re so happy to see her she’s a cool OB.

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