Shameless plugging

April 23, 2007 at 9:07 pm 39 comments


I am currently the featured blogger at  So please go check it out now before I ask them to pull down my picture. 🙂  I told you, this is shameless. 🙂 

This is the first time I have been featured anywhere.  So this is really exciting for me.  Especially, since I have been feeling kinda down lately.  Something like this can definitely lift up one’s spirits. 

Thanks again,

Updated on January 30, 2008

Here’s the full article as it was published at Philippines Today:

A Warm Place for the Heart

There are blogs that tug at the heart, blogs that tickle your funnybones, even blogs that inspire your soul to reach for higher heights. And then there are blogs that seem to be permeated with such heartwarming stories and thoughts, invariably uplifting and cheering those who are sad and in need of a friend. If there is such as a thing as a “hearth” in the Filipino blogosphere, then Niceheart’s Journey to Honeyville would doubtlessly be endowed with this title. For such is how her blog could be described – a place that truly warms the heart. Niceheart writes with such compassion and heartfelt passion, which is the power that draws people from all around the globe to her site. Niceheart delivers warmth to her online readers, ironically from chilly Winnipeg, one of the coldest regions in Canada.

Niceheart is a very busy working mom who works as a group benefits examiner for one of the leading insurance companies in Canada. She has been enjoying working at home for the last six years now, which gives her more time to spend with her three boys. Her oldest son is 17 and will be starting university this Fall. He is pursuing a career in Jazz Music. Her middle guy is 12 going on 13, and is passionate about basketball. And her youngest is nine, so sweet and adores his two older brothers.

She has been living in Winnipeg since 1989. Her mother and only sister and her family are also in Winnipeg. Together with the other Filipinos in the area, they form a rather large Filipino community there. According to Niceheart, this is “what makes it bearable to live in this city that has long and very cold winters – the closeness of my family and the warmth of my friendships with fellow kababayans.

In this exclusive interview for Philippines Today Online, Niceheart offers us a glimpse into the person behind Journey to Honeyville’s success.

When and why did you start blogging?

In 2004, I chanced upon Joey Alarilla’s “Blog Addict of the Week” at Before that, I’ve never heard of the word blog. I would visit the blogs featured by Joey and then I realized that this is what I wanted. I already have a personal website where I post family pictures and articles about our life here in Winnipeg. I found out that it’s a lot easier to publish entries in (my host before I migrated to where my most recent entry appears on top of the older ones. At, I have to create pages and links to make that happen.

So I signed up on during the Christmas holidays in 2004. But you’ll notice that I have entries from August of that year. That’s because I started journaling regularly in August with the intention of posting them at “Catherine’s Corner,” my personal website. When I found out about Blogger, I pre-dated my entries and published them there. If you’ll also notice, nobody visited my blog then because it took me a long time to muster the courage to comment on other people’s blogs and it was only after leaving comments on their blogs did I also get a visit and comments from them.

Why did you choose the title “Journey to Honeyville” for your blog?

I was born Catherine Villamiel. My online name, niceheart, is actually an anagram of Catherine. One of my fondest memories as a child was playing scrabble with my family. It was during one of our scrabble games when my father explained what our last name means in Spanish. Villa is village or town and miel is honey. Thus, Villamiel is town of honey. So that’s how I came up with Honeyville.

I don’t use the name Villamiel anymore. I am not just a daughter, but also a wife and a mother. But what I found out is that as I go through life’s journey, and as I raise my children and watch them grow, I am always reminded of what I was like when I was at their age. And these are the kind of things that I like to write about in my journal. My childhood experiences, how they affect me not only in raising my children, but also in the way I go about in this journey that we call life.

What benefits do you derive from blogging?

I have been working at home for about six years now and I don’t get the chance to interact with people that often. But through blogging, I have met many bloggers from all over the world right here at the comforts of my own home. It’s been great bouncing back ideas with people who have the same interests as I do. I’ve enjoyed exchanging ideas, as well, with anybody who didn’t agree with me. It’s also nice to share experiences with other parents, especially mothers who understand the joys and pains of raising children.

Also, writing about my past, my very painful childhood, has been sort of healing for me. I have never really talked about it with anybody. But sharing my feelings to the world, well, at least to my blogging circle, and hearing not only from those who had the same painful experiences but also sharing to those who are willing to “listen” is very therapeutic. I have never been to counseling but I think that that’s the kind of thing one gets from such sessions.

Do you find anything disadvantageous about blogging?

Yes, blogging can be really addictive. I’m always thinking of something to blog about. It can also take up so much time to visit all the people in my blogroll. Another thing that I found out in blogging, is that if they visit my blog, it’s just common courtesy to visit theirs too and leave a comment so that they know I was there. If I don’t pay them a visit, they won’t visit me, too. It can be time consuming and I usually end up staying up late at night.

What were the highlights of your blogging activities in the past year?

It was in May last year when I received a sudden increase of visitors in my blog and I have been busy not just posting but also blog-hopping since then. And then again in November there was a sudden increase once more and by that time, the number of visitors have doubled. Although the numbers are not that much compared to other blogs, I was overwhelmed and I actually felt that I was popular. Imagine, there are bloggers visiting my blog from different parts of the world!

Do you have any specific plans or goals for your blog? If so would you like to share them with our readers?

I don’t really have any specific plans for my blog. I just want to continue writing about my daily life, as boring as it may sound to others, and to share about my experiences and views on different topics.

What is the most passionate subject that you have blogged about?

I have a few posts about my father’s alcoholism – how he was physically abusive to my mother when he was drunk, how it destroyed our family, the anger and pain that it brought and later on the forgiveness and healing that we all went through. People have different reactions when I write about my painful past. Why relive it, some would ask. But for me, it’s part of the healing process. Yes, I am still going though it. I think it’s a life-long process. Also, I want to share my story to people, so that they may learn from my experience as well.

A few years ago, my mother’s goddaughter went through a hard time when her parents split up. Her mother later on re-married and she felt neglected, alone. She went through a stage of depression and even attempted to end her life. I understood what she was going through. My parents also split up when I was a teen-ager and I was torn because I loved them both equally, yet I had to live with only one of them. I also felt alone when people didn’t understand me why I still loved my father dearly in spite of his actions. And I know that there are a lot of kids out there whose parents are splitting up and experiencing the same feelings and emotions. I just want them to know that it’s not the end of the world. That things will get better. That eventually they will get past that stage and there is hope for a happy life.

How long do you think you will keep on blogging?

I don’t know. There are times when want to cut back on blogging because of the many things that I have been neglecting to do. And there are also times when I keep writing posts after posts. I still have many things to share, so it will probably be still a long while.

Do you have any words of advice to aspiring bloggers?

Just simply, write from the heart.


Entry filed under: About Me.

Birds of a feather Spring cleaning

39 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Kyels  |  April 23, 2007 at 10:07 pm


    I will go and check it out now. Congrats!


  • 2. Wil  |  April 24, 2007 at 12:42 am

    Congrats, niceheart! Well-deserved. 🙂

  • 3. Rach  |  April 24, 2007 at 1:52 am

    Congratulations Catherine! I checked out the site and read the post about you. I agree, your blog is certainly a warm place for the heart.

    It must feel great to be a main feature on that site. It’s a wonderful recognition that you truly deserve.

    This is off topic but just wanted to thank you for your comment on my blog regarding “Friends Gone Astray.” I appreciate that you shared your own personal experience. I’m sorry to hear about your loss friendship. I know that a reconciliation may not be easy as it sounds but I share your heart’s wish. I hope that our roads will cross with them and have a nice ending.

  • 4. tin  |  April 24, 2007 at 4:44 am

    Congrats Niceheart! I checked it out. 🙂 And its true, this blog is really a warm place for the heart. Congrats again Niceheart!

  • 5. sesame  |  April 24, 2007 at 5:54 am

    Hey congrats! That’s great. Not shameless and even if you are, you’re not alone. I would do the same!

  • 6. kathy  |  April 24, 2007 at 6:01 am

    Congrats niceheart – you truly deserve this recognition. More power!

  • 7. eric aka senor enrique  |  April 24, 2007 at 6:20 am

    Congratulations, Irene! You deserve this timely recognition!

    Would you believe that this is the first time I learned about ‘Honeyville?” All along, thought it was derived from some classic book or something 🙂

    You do write from the heart and have always been an inspiration!

    Keep up the good work!

  • 8. rachel  |  April 24, 2007 at 8:08 am

    Congrats, another ace up your sleeves eh? Dumadami na ang recognition mo and you deserve all of them. The feature article was well written as it speaks of how your write ups or what they call ‘blogs’ can attract and get readers like me hooked on your site.
    It’s also amazing that you came up with words like ‘niceheart’ from your name and ‘honeyville’ from your last name – very creative mind!

  • 9. melai  |  April 24, 2007 at 9:37 am

    wow congrats 🙂

  • 10. julie  |  April 24, 2007 at 11:22 am

    Congratulations! Very apt to have niceheart as your acronym. Your post are heartwarming and inspiring. Cheer up and keep on smiling! 🙂

  • 11. ipanema  |  April 24, 2007 at 4:21 pm

    Oh di ba? That’s alright. Is this the same online web who featured verns?

    Congaratulations! 🙂

  • 12. pining  |  April 24, 2007 at 5:29 pm

    wow! way too cool 🙂

  • 13. zeroimpact  |  April 24, 2007 at 8:24 pm

    Still there ah
    Must go and have a look

  • 14. Karen  |  April 25, 2007 at 1:15 am

    cool! congratulations 🙂

  • 15. Sidney  |  April 25, 2007 at 2:30 am

    Congratulations !!!
    You and your blog deserves the attention !
    Keep up the good work !

  • 16. verns  |  April 25, 2007 at 3:02 am

    love the article Niceheart..congratulations! I know that niceheart is an anagram of Catherine. I gotta tell my sister because her name is also Catherine 🙂

    So happy for you and whatever it is that makes you feeling down right now, I know it will pass.


  • 17. sexy mom  |  April 25, 2007 at 5:35 am

    i could not believe it!

    and congratulations! you really deserve to be there in the Philippines Today. am so proud to be one of your blogfriends! do continue to share your nice heart…

  • 18. Hsin  |  April 25, 2007 at 10:10 am

    Congratulations!! This is fantastic and not shameless at all. You should be so proud.

    Nice to finally know your name. I do come by and read fairly often, but I don’t leave comments any more because as you mentioned in your interview, this is the most time consuming part of blogging actively.

    Incidentally, I must say you must be so proud of your oldest son – off to university soon to pursue his dream! Well done, both you and him!

  • 19. annamanila  |  April 25, 2007 at 11:30 am

    Congrats! It couldn’t happen to a nicer person. Willl see what they say about you. 🙂

  • 20. ladybug  |  April 25, 2007 at 12:14 pm

    Congratulations niceheart! Or should I say Catherine. Keep up the good work. 😀

  • 21. Shoshana  |  April 25, 2007 at 11:53 pm

    Wow! Congrats niceheart…what a nice thing to have!

  • 22. Belle  |  April 26, 2007 at 1:47 am

    niceheart, wow! i read the article. congratulations! you truly deserve this recognition.

    actually, when i first stumbled on your site, i felt sincerity, and compassion in each of your post, reason why i keep returning. but, you are right about how blogging takes so much of our time. i need to slow down, too, to attend to other important matters like gardening and spring cleaning. but how?

  • 23. tutubi  |  April 26, 2007 at 3:49 am

    ay ang galing!

    nice! 🙂

  • 24. Ferdz  |  April 26, 2007 at 9:42 am

    I just read the interview! Congratulations! had to rearrange the letters there to find out it’s an anagram. hahaha. More power on blogging!

  • 25. vic  |  April 26, 2007 at 11:35 am

    Right on, niceheart, write from the heart!!!

  • 26. bw  |  April 26, 2007 at 12:32 pm

    Congrats to you ! Now I will recognize Niceheart if we bump into each other in the streets of Winnipeg 🙂

  • 27. Misyel  |  April 26, 2007 at 1:34 pm

    Congrats Niceheart! Galing! I’ll check that one 🙂

  • 28. Toe  |  April 26, 2007 at 9:19 pm

    Congratulations Niceheart! You were one of the first people in my blogroll and your blog was one of the first I frequented. I think I’ve told you this before that I actually learned how to blog by studying your blog. Honest! I would read your entries and think… ah ganun pala! I could talk about the everyday things that happen/ed in my life and it would be really good. I totally agree with you about your advice and I know that you follow it to the letter… that is, to write with your heart.

  • 29. Jayred  |  April 27, 2007 at 3:28 am

    Congratulations on your first online newspaper feature, Niceheart! (There is nothing wrong with the photo at all. You look so pretty and young there…such nice skin).

    Nice to know the origin of your blog’s name. I didn’t know that Nicehart is the anagram of your real name, Catherine. Galing.

  • 30. rhodora  |  April 27, 2007 at 7:12 am

    Irene! Congratulations!

    And do you still feel down? Gosh, if I was the one featured in any newspaper, I’d be in Cloud Nine! 🙂

  • 31. niceheart  |  April 27, 2007 at 7:22 pm

    Thank you for all the comments and kind words everyone.

    You have all been nice to me and I appreciate my interactions with each and everyone of you. Am unable to respond to each individual comment because time doesn’t permit me. Will drop you guys a visit when I get the chance.

    Happy weekend everyone! 🙂

  • 32. Daphne  |  April 27, 2007 at 11:21 pm


    Your name pala is Catherine – how beautiful and it was interesting to read about your many travails in life as well as the story behind your blog. 🙂

  • 33. ann  |  April 29, 2007 at 5:11 am

    Wow! Di ka na ma reach ha. Congrats.

  • 34. niceheart  |  April 29, 2007 at 9:11 am

    Thank you Daphne. I happen to like my name. 🙂 And I think Daphne is also a beautiful name. 🙂

    Ann, I’m sure you can reach me. I’m not tall. 🙂 Thanks.

  • 35. niceheart  |  April 29, 2007 at 11:24 pm

    This blog is number 100 on April 23, 2007 on this list –

  • 36. Lazarus  |  May 3, 2007 at 10:04 pm

    congrats Niceheart! this blog has gone a long long way na. di na ma reach!

  • 37. haze  |  May 4, 2007 at 12:45 pm

    BRAVO NICHEART ! Your experiences, ideas and opinions have reached and touched everyone’s heart ! This is indeed one of your greatest achievement in blogsphere, you should be proud about it 😉 ! Pa autograph naman dyan 🙂 !!

  • 38. niceheart  |  May 5, 2007 at 8:34 am

    Thanks, Lazarus. You’re the second one to say na di na ko ma-reach. 🙂 What are you talking about guys? He he he. Of course, I can still be reached. Only reason I haven’t been much around, if that’s what you’re referring to, is cause I’ve just been really busy with work and personal stuff. 🙂

    Thank you also Haze. It’s also because of you guys, your visits here, that gave me this recognition. 🙂

    Thank you to all of you. 🙂

  • 39. Garage Sale « Journey to Honeyville  |  August 23, 2007 at 9:16 pm

    […] This is another shameless plugging. […]


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