Category: General

What We Know For Sure by Lia Ocampo

Every now and then, we make available on our website publications by Philippine authors to further expand their reach to every kind of readers. Recently, we have gotten in touch with Ms. Lia Ocampo, who recently published an inspirational book- What We Know For Sure: Inspirational Stories of Filipino Special Immigrants in America. This book is an inspiration about living, about reaching your dreams, and the spirit of helping others.

We did an e-mail interview with Ms. Lia Ocampo to discuss her writing journey and up to the publication of her book.

When did you first realize you wanted to write this book?

It all started as a vision six years ago when I was a new immigrant in New York. It’s one photo on my vision board, along with other things I wanted to accomplish. Back then, I already had a book title which was similar to my published book. I kept it there on my vision board. After six years, I saw it happening.

Then I traveled to Africa on my 50th birthday. I created a mission I called “Mission Africa” during my trip. That mission was to meet five teenage girls, teach them how to set their goals and how to achieve their dreams. That mission was successful. It inspired me to create another mission I called “Mission Philippines” and that is this book “What We Know For Sure.” My new mission through this book is to guide, educate, comfort, mentor and inspire potential immigrants and immigrants on their journey in America. In addition to my goal in helping immigrants, this book is also for other Filipinos who are looking to read some motivation, as well as other nationalities who can benefit from Filipino resilience.

Received her “Employee of the Month Award” in 2009. Public Affairs Office, American Embassy, Philippines

What did you learn when writing the book?

This book features my story and 25 stories of former colleagues. That means I was dealing with 25 individuals to submit their input, information, and edits. If your book would be similar to mine and if you have a timeline to finish your project, know that there can be delays and you need to have options and persistence. This kind of format can be tedious, so patience and perseverance are necessary.

Find the best person to help you. For example, you have to hire the right editor who can boost your skills and motivation. It is important that you have the right team and right publisher to help you achieve your goal.

Thorough research is important to your confidence and outcome of the project. In my experience, I realized I could have done better on this book, but there’s always a room for improvement. We have lessons learned to use, so the next one – the next book or the next experience would be and should be better.

Satisfaction and acceptance are important. Be grateful to people who helped you achieved your goal and celebrate that accomplishment or milestone. When you do that, it motivates you to accomplish more.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs office, where Lia ended her career at the U. S Embassy before immigrating in 2012.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I travel to visit my kids and friends. I am taking a break as a flight attendant so I am using this opportunity to do my book projects. But when I return to flying, I would have less time to focus on my writing. I love both flying and writing. I try to balance my time by working, traveling, and spending time with my kids. I love reading too, but now that I have more things to do with this book and another one in the making, I have less time to read. I love to spend a few hours on volunteer work. I use that time to give back and make a difference to other people. Driving is also one thing I love to do. I enjoy my quiet time on the road while using my alone time brainstorming and meditating. I walk on the beach early morning and I set up my beach chair late afternoon with a magazine.

Tell us an interesting story about yourself, anything really.

After I turned 49, I wanted to celebrate my 50th birthday with few more accomplishments, to remember a milestone in my life. I challenged myself to finish traveling 50 countries, finish exploring 50 lighthouses and complete 50 hours of volunteer work. I set my mind to accomplish my goals. Because I had a similar goal to complete exploring the 50 states in 2015, I knew I could do this, too. I believed, I focused, and I worked hard. I am proud to say that I did it! When you have faith, focus and hard work, there’s no doubt you can achieve your goals.

I have a passion for sunset and used it as my pen name during my CNN iReport days. I take photos of every sunset I encounter. My favorite place (maybe one of my favorite places) is Santorini in Greece where sunset is majestic and one of the most famous sunsets in the world. One of my biggest accomplishments was the “CNN iReport Spirit” award in 2013. My years of experience and exposure with CNN iReport trained me to develop my passion for writing and photography. One revelation that I don’t brag about is that I don’t cook. Or a better way of saying it, I don’t know how to cook. I have a proof – a big scar on my left hand that I call a “world map tattoo” on my hand.

Birthday trip in Santorini, Greece, 2015.

Do you have any suggestions to other Filipino writers on how to publish their first book?

The key is to write what you are passionate about. You’ll have to put your heart into it. If you work on something important to you, you’ll not easily give up. You’ll put your best effort and the result would be satisfying. Know that publishing your first book is always a learning process. I did learn a lot and still learning. You hope that the next one will be better. Giving yourself a timeline to finish your book may be good in a way. In my experience, I set myself a goal to finish it in few months. In four months I have the finished product. Setting a timeline would set your mind to keep going, not to diminish your motivation, until you see the outcome. One thing I highly recommend is to give yourself enough time, not too short but not too long to finish your goal.

Lia’s book fresh from printing at Digital Publishing of Florida.

Anybody who loves to read, has a passion for writing , and has a story tell, can author a book. An experienced writer or author started as a novice writer. There are ways and people to help you express that idea in writing, or maybe improve your work. Begin with a thought, then find that motivation to keep you doing it, work hard, focus, and believe that you can do it. But there’s one more thing you need to have – it’s the vision that you already have it – your first book on your hand.

This strategy works for me. It has worked for me and it will work for you, too. I know this for sure.


What We Know For Sure by Lia Ocampo is available in our online store and ready to ship anywhere in the Philippines. For international orders please contact us.

Lia Ocampo
Inspirational Author

Facebook: Author Lia
Twitter: booksbylia
Instagram: booksbylia

Other Links:

Fil-Am author releases ‘inspirational book’ for immigrants
Interview on CNN Philippines: It’s a New Day, August 25, 2020 (Facebook link, starts at 22:12)
Persistence leads Batangueña to meet childhood dreams in US, back home

Field Notes 2016 Limited Editions

The Field Notes 2016 limited editions are now available for purchase on our website. Take this opportunity to grab hold of the following:

Field Notes Sweet Tooth, Spring 2016

Field Notes Byline, Summer 2016

Field Notes Lunacy, Fall 2016

Field Notes Black Ice, Winter 2016




From Field Notes:

If you follow our exploits, you know that we love to explore materials, inks, printing processes and other special effects with our Quarterly Editions. At first glance, you’ll see we’ve taken foil stamping to an extreme. We’ve stamped Sappi’s premium McCoy 100# cover stock with a silvery-black metallic foil, covering the whole book, everything but the spine. That portion features a stripe of vibrant orange ink with a soft-touch varnish. The cover text is embossed, giving the whole book a retro-futuristic machine feel.
But the biggest difference between Black Ice and our usual Field Notes is a bit less obvious if you don’t look closely. This is our first pocket memo book without staples! The books are PUR-bound, using an advanced polyurethane adhesive that’s both stronger and more flexible than regular perfect binding. We’ve been wanting to try out PUR binding for a while and this paper/color combination seemed like a perfect fit.
Inside, you’ll find “Bright White” Finch Fine Smooth 70# text paper, a brighter-white version of the paper found (and beloved) in our “America the Beautiful” limited edition. It’s ruled in “Frost Gray” with a double-rule of “DDC Orange” up top.

It all turned out to be a very complicated printing process, involving a lot of testing, lots of steps, many press checks and some serious challenges for our printers. In the end, they came through and really nailed it. These books look simply amazing.



From Field Notes:

Our 32nd Quarterly Edition for Fall, 2016 is a perfect example of an idea that started simply and then got a bit out of hand. Okay, maybe more than a bit. Originally, our basic concept was to do a 3-Pack of Memo Books celebrating the Harvest Moon. Then somebody asked, “What about highlighting the phases of the Moon?” Somebody else said “DIE-CUT!” which was followed quickly by a chorus of “Matte Varnish!” “Embossing!” and “Let’s make sure that people know how to avoid becoming a werewolf.”

This is the aptly-titled “Lunacy” Edition. There’s lots to love about this release. The embossed covers are made from Neenah’s Classic Crest “Epic Black Stipple” which features a gorgeous, almost leathery finish. For the first time ever, we’ve die-cut the covers, using individual dies for each of the three books. One reveals a full moon, one a half moon, and one a crescent.

The moon that’s visible through the die-cut is printed in 4-color on a glossy flyleaf which also includes facts and folklore about earth’s constant companion, as well as a lovely shot of the dark side of the moon in the back of the books. The Field Notes logo is embossed with a subtle hit of varnish, and the back cover features an embossed full moon. The books are bound with black staples (of course), and the 48 body pages feature a reticle pattern on light grey “Moondust” pages.

“Lunacy” is available now in 3-Packs featuring full, half, and crescent moons.


Field Notes is proud to present their 31st limited release: The “Byline” Edition, for Summer 2016. You’ll find they’re excellent for taking notes at work or in class. They’re Wire-O-Bound and lay flat, so they’re perfect on your desk or kitchen counter, or on that table near the door where you always leave your keys. And of course, if you’re getting the scoop on deep-background from an anonymous source for your next big front page story, well then, the “Byline” Edition is just the ticket. As usual, the inside covers are jam-packed with helpful information.

We studied existing Reporter’s Notebooks and updated and improved just about every facet of the design. Classic Reporter’s Notebooks have always felt a touch clumsy in our hands. We’ve trimmed the width a hair to make it easier to write with one hand while holding it with the other.

We’ve created a cover which protects the wire binding, so it doesn’t get caught on fabric or stuff in your backpack. Traditional notebooks are Gregg-ruled which, to our eyes, is too wide and too dark. We’ve moved to a lighter Collegiate ruling. The diameter of the binding has been customized, as have the die-cut holes that the binding passes through, for maximum “flippability.”

A handy pocket has been added to the back cover which makes for a thicker and more stable hand-held writing surface, and also gives you a place to stash a shred of evidence or a receipt for the cocktails you bought to ply a reluctant witness.


From Field Notes:

The Sweet Tooth edition features French Paper’s Pop-Tone line “Blu-Raspberry,” “Banana Split,” and “Tangy Orange” for both the 100-lb covers and extra-beefy 70-lb text pages. The covers are stamped in matching shiny metallic foils from Crown Roll Leaf Inc.
The body pages are plain, and perforated just the right amount. Not so much that you’ll notice it while using the books, but just enough so that, with a quick fold, the pages come out neat and clean. The books are bound with black staples.
All Sweet Tooth 3-Packs feature the same three colors, but we mixed up the stack order just to keep things interesting.


Field Notes 2015 Limited Editions

The Field Notes 2015 limited editions are now available for purchase on our website. Take this opportunity to grab hold of the following:

Field Notes Two Rivers, Spring 2015

Field Notes Workshop Companion, Summer 2015

Field Notes Shenandoah, Fall 2015

Field Notes Snowblind, Winter 2015




From Field Notes:

You know how when you turn your face up into the bright sunlight, even on the coldest winter day, it can totally lift your mood? Well, that’s what our latest limited-edition, seasonal release is all about.
The Winter 2015 COLORS edition (our 29th) fulfills our ongoing promise to “try new things.” At first glance, it’s a wintry white-on-white, along the lines of our “Northerly” edition from a few years back, but take “Snowblind” out into the sunlight, and it’s a whole different story.
The covers (100# Sappi McCoy Silk cover stock) are silk-screened (a COLORS first in itself) with two custom inks. The Field Notes logo is a pearlescent “interference” ink that glimmers and sparkles, and the rest of the book is coated in a nearly-magical “photochromic” ink that changes color when exposed to sunlight. Indoors, they’re white, outdoors they’re blue!
The body pages are 60# Finch Opaque text paper marked with a very faint gray graph, and the books are bound with glossy white staples.





If you want paper that’s one color on one side and another color on the reverse, the simplest thing to do is to start with white paper and print a different ink on each side. We’ve done that, it’s simple, it works well. But we’re Field Notes; if there’s a more difficult, expensive, and awesome way to achieve the same result, we will find it. In this case, it’s called duplexing. Using brute force and adhesives, you take two different colored papers and fuse them together so that they become one.

We’ve used duplex paper before (in our American Tradesman and Raven’s Wing editions) but this time we had specific paper and colors in mind, and an off-the-shelf solution wouldn’t work. So for the very first time, we made our own.


The Shenandoah edition features three green French cover stocks that match the leaf color of three trees found at Shenandoah National Park: the Sweet Birch, the Chestnut Oak, and the Red Maple. Our new friends at Platinum Converting in Itasca, Ill. fused each of the green papers to a contrasting French text-weight paper that matches the tree’s fall foliage.

These extra-sturdy duplexed covers have a classic, beefy feel to them, reminiscent of early Quarterly Editions like Mackinaw Autumn and Just Below Zero. Beefier, actually, since we’ve upgraded our body paper to 60#T Finch Opaque “Bright White,” with a 3/16″ graph. Each features an illustration of a leaf on the back with some facts about the tree. The belly band is real birch veneer, just because it looked so darn good with all that green.



From Field Notes:

The right tool for the job isn’t always drop-forged from chrome vanadium steel or plugged into a 220-volt outlet. Whether you’re rebuilding the engine in a 1967 Pontiac GTO or converting the home office into a nursery, any big project starts with careful planning. Step away from the power tools and collect your thoughts, specs, and calculations with the new Summer 2015 Field Notes Workshop Companion.

This 27th Quarterly Edition is a set of six books, boxed in a sturdy 60-pt custom slipcase with a sheet of crack-and-peel decals. Each of the books focuses on one DIY discipline Wood Working, Automotive, Gardening, Painting, Plumbing, and Electrical — each containing tips, reference materials and the usual Field Notes wise-cracking.

The six covers are color-coded to compliment six tones of 100-lb cover stock from the French Paper Company’s terrific new “Kraft-Tone” paper, their first new grade in five years. The 70-lb text Kraft-Tone “Standard White Kraft” body pages feature our dot-graph, and are bound with tough brass staples. Anyone fixing a switch, planting a bush, or painting a door jamb will find these books make a nice addition to their workbench, junk drawer or toolbox.


From Field Notes:

Field Notes loves printing, history, Americana, and a good Wisconsin brandy old-fashioned, so the Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum is our kind of place. We reached out to our friends and neighbors at French Paper Co. of Niles, Michigan, who are also big fans of the museum, and they gladly agreed to help.

After months of planning and several trips north, our love for the museum and the town grew even greater, and we couldn’t be happier to support their work with our 26th Quarterly Edition.

French Paper supplied four cover stocks for these books: Pop-Tone 100#C “Lemon Drop” and “Sno Cone,” Speckletone 100#C “True White,” and Dur-O-Tone 80#C “Packing Brown Wrap.” We hand-set several designs using Hamilton’s collection of vintage type and ornaments. Hamilton then printed our designs in two random colors on a 1961 Heidelberg GT 13″ × 18″ windmill press. Randomizing the designs, papers, and colors resulted in thousands of variations. Further variations were introduced thanks to the nature of wood type, letterpress printing, and the music playing in the print shop during the 200+ hours on press.

Back in Chicago, our logo and specifications were added with a hit of “Broadside Blue-Black” ink. Then the books were bound with 48 pages of Finch Opaque Smooth 50#T featuring our “Double Knee Duck Canvas” graph grid. Three copper staples hold ’em together. As always, they’re all-U.S.A.-made, with a lot of love from the shores of Lake Michigan.