Poetry by | February 26, 2017

Haplas or liniment in English
reminds me of my Nanay
from Vicks to Efficascent
from White Flower to Betet
she always had a stock of them
hidden in her brown colored box.
Whenever I travel
from our place to Davao
she would always hand me
the latest of her Haplas
telling me to use them just in case
and I would remember thanking her
and instantly see her face lit up.
So nights like this
when I lay in my bed
chest hurt from coughing
or legs sore from prolonged standing
like instinct I would grab a Haplas
and it works most of the time
Thanks to Haplas.
Thanks to Nanay.

Abi Andoy is an alumna of Ateneo de Davao University. She’s a “haplas user” for as long as she can remember.


Poetry by | February 26, 2017

for Fernando Solijon

History remembers you now
not as the martyr
for an Abstract chained to purses and legalese
but sprawled mind-blown all over newsprint, arms
spread in a reverse hallelujah. Before sunlight
hits gridlock you once scalded with your tongue
the morning grind, and sailed through
headlines and commentary, but croaked
when you couldn’t find their roots.
It is said that anchors hit the unseen floor
to keep the ship upright
as the waves rock it.
Instead, some thought you would tip the ship over,
not knowing the point was to show the muck
that came beneath the current:
“Expensive houses and cars!” “Off-country vacations!”
“Fancy restaurant dinners!” “What happened
to the foreign aid?” “How much
of the budget are their Majesties juggling
from their air-conditioned thrones?”
And then, a phone call: “Capin is ready for you.”
The answers, always,
are another matter. Anyone can write them
or proclaim them on air but they break wills.
They leave bloodstains and broken bones
over brash words hitting air but sing praises
to paintjobs on broken stones,
even claiming to solve our woes and know
who we should vote
come next election.
It is said that Fate
missed you three times in your life—
two from murky waters, another
from the murky waters of politics. When She didn’t,
that evening She came by motorcycle, serving
canned death for dinner, the tins left by the door.
As you run aground, we are told, we must commit
to keep alive longing for truth. We hear static.
You see bloodstains on broken stones.

John Oliver Ladaga is currently a fourth-year student taking up BA English at the University of the Philippines Mindanao. He likes warm soup and is attracted to flowers growing through cracks in the wall. He is from Iligan City.


Poetry by | February 26, 2017

for Izumi Shikibu

If I could cup
in my hands
the way you
bottle pain
in five words

I would be

Mary June Tesorero-Miguel is a graduate of the Creative Writing program of the University of the Philippines. She works in local government.

Katas ng Pawis

Fiction by | February 26, 2017

Umiikot sa ilaw, nararamdaman nya ang init nito. Kumuha siya ng tubig at binuhos ito sa nagliliyab na apoy. Ang bato ay nanghina, napolbo, naging abo at usok sa sanlibutan.

Saksi ang kawayan. Malapista ang saya. Amoy pasko na ang kapaligiran. Sisig, ibang klaseng maanghang na pagkain na nanunuot sa aking lalamunan. Ang tinatagpi-tagping kahoy ay nagsisilbing upuan na bakat na bakat pa ang ugat nito. At sa saliw ng musika ay sabay-sabay na umiindayog ang mga dahon sa kawayan. Samantala ang haligi ay tayung-tayo sa kanyang kinalalagyan.

Ako ay nasisilaw sa liwanag na nanggagaling sa butas ng bintana. Tanaw ko ang liwanag na pumasok sa pagiwang-giwang na pintuan na gawa sa kawayan. Ang hangin ay maaring hindi galing sa langit o baka ito ay bunga lamang ng isang panaginip.

Gusto kong ibuhos ang aking galit sa awit at sayaw. Sa sinuman na kaya akong mahalin ay naaaninag ko ang walang pag-asa sa buhay. Ang lalaki ay hindi sigurado sa kanyang paa ganoon din ang babae.

Gusto kong takasan ang apoy, ang pagawaan ng kutsilyo, ang pagawaan ng uling. Kailangan ko rin ang tunay na pag-ibig. May karapatan ang sinuman mahalin at magmahal. Sadyang hindi lang pantay ang mundo.

Continue reading Katas ng Pawis

Mga Naiwang Tagpo at Tala sa Talaarawan Nitong Huling Dekada ng Kalungkutan

Poetry by | February 19, 2017

Nakatira ako sa tuktok ng bundok
kung saan abot ng dalawang talampakan ko ang mga ulap.
Isang umaga, pagkagising, narinig ko ang himig ng mga tutubi
Na salit-salitang dumadapo sa mga nakatitig na bulaklak.
Hinuli ko ang pinakamatandang tutubi,
Pinitas ang mga pakpak nito, ikinulong sa palad, at iniuwi.
Marahan ko itong inilagay sa bilog na garapon,
At saka buong araw itong tinitigan at pinanood,
Habang ang kulay nito’y nagbabago-bago,
Berde, pula, asul, at ang ‘di maipintang kulay ng buwan
Tuwing makikipagsiping ito sa kasintahang bituin.
Iyon ang unang pagkakataong nakahuli ako ng tutubi,
At simula nang araw na iyon, lagi na akong dinadalaw ng kanilang lupon
Sa panaginip, nakikipag-usap at nagtatanong:
“Bakit nga ba napakaraming kalungkutan sa mundong ito?”
Kumurap ang kaliwa kong mata, kumurap din ang kanan niyang mata.
Isang pagkahaba-habang hikab ang ibinalik ko sa tutubi,
At saka malakas na malakas na pagtawa,
At ang tawang iyon ay para sa lahat ng hindi marunong tumawa.

Continue reading Mga Naiwang Tagpo at Tala sa Talaarawan Nitong Huling Dekada ng Kalungkutan

CALL FOR POETRY, PROSE, AND PLAYS: Libulan: Binisaya Anthology of Queer Literature

Editor's Note | February 12, 2017

Poster Artwork by Jegi Nero

“Libulan: Binisaya Anthology of Queer Literature”, named after a gender fluid deity of the precolonial Bisaya cosmogony, is now accepting poetry, short stories, flash narratives, literary nonfiction, critical essays, and one-act plays written in the Binisaya language. Translated works from other languages are also welcome. The literary anthology is born out of the need to assert the underrepresented and non-visible queer identity in Binisaya literature. It seeks contributions from emerging and established writers in Binisaya who identify themselves as LGBTQIA+ — lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersexual, asexual, and others in the spectrum.

Submissions, either previously published or unpublished, may be any of the following: 1–2 poems (not more than 70 lines each); 1 one-act play; 1 flash narratives, i.e. flash fiction and flash nonfiction (500–1000 words); 1 short story (2500–4000 words); or 1 literary essay, i.e. nonfiction memoir, personal essay, travel writing, or other hybridized forms (2500–4000 words). Critical essays about queer works and writers (1500–4000 words in the MLA format) are also welcome. All prose and play submissions should be in Times New Roman font size 12, double spaced, in MS Word format. The anthology is also looking for works of visual art—paintings, illustrations, graphic design, digital photography, and typography—that will be considered for the anthology’s cover art and other pages. For previously published works, indicate publications where these have appeared.

Send manuscripts and/or artworks as email attachments to libulanqueeranthology@gmail.com together with a cover letter indicating your full name, email address, mobile number, home address, and a short bio note in the email’s body. Deadline of submissions is 1 September 2017. Inquiries may be directed to the email address above.

Continue reading CALL FOR POETRY, PROSE, AND PLAYS: Libulan: Binisaya Anthology of Queer Literature

CALL FOR APPLICATIONS: DLSU Announces the 17th IYAS La Salle National Writers’ Workshop

Editor's Note by | February 11, 2017

The Bienvenido N. Santos Creative Writing Center of De La Salle University-Manila (DLSU) is inviting writers to submit their application for the 17th IYAS La Salle National Writers’ Workshop, which will be held on April 24 – 27, 2017 at the European Documentation Centre, Henry Sy Sr. Hall, DLSU-Manila. The IYAS La Salle National Writers’ Workshop this year is in collaboration with the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC), and supported by the DLSU Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation. The workshop director is Marjorie Evasco, and the project coordinators are Raymundo Pandan, Jr. and Shirley Lua.

The workshop fellowship screening committee accepts creative work in Hiligaynon, Cebuano, Filipino and English. Fellowships are awarded by genre and by language. Creative writing entries that explore the problematic human relations with the environment will be given preference for these fellowships. Ten (10) applicants will be chosen for the workshop fellowships, which will include transportation subsidy and board and lodging (for non-Metro Manila based fellows).

For workshop fellowship applications to be considered, the following requirements must be complied with: 1.) Submit original work in only one chosen literary genre and language: either 6 poems, 2 short stories, or 2 one-act plays. 2.) Send works in two (2) computer-encoded hard copies, font size 12 pts., double-spaced. 3.) Include in the folio a page that would have the applicant’s complete mailing and electronic contact address, contact number, and a short resume. 4.) Mail by March 6, 2017 the hard copies and all requirements to Dr. Marjorie Evasco, Iyas La Salle National Writers’ Workshop Director, c/o Bienvenido N. Santos Creative Writing Center, De La Salle University, 24o1 Taft Avenue, Malate, Manila 0922.

For inquiries, please call BNSCWC (632) 5244611 local 233; email bnscwc at dlsu dot edu dot ph or iyas17workshop at gmail dot com.

Cruel February

Fiction by | February 5, 2017

Today is the first day of February. But unlike the previous Februaries, this one is not merely the second month of the year having twenty-eight or, as in the case of leap years, twenty-nine days, this month might be daddy’s last.

The smell of newly applied paint could have lured me to stay longer. I like the house better now with its green walls and white ceiling. However, the stench of the canal continues to permeate the house. The living room, empty of appliances, creates a dull and muffled sound to my ears. When I suggested that either the radio or the television should be returned to the sala, I was told that a sick man does not really need much.

I went to visit daddy today. They finally resigned to put his bed in the living room. Hospitals are for those who could afford to postpone death. I would like to think that we can’t instead of we won’t.

He looks thinner now than he did when I last saw him. Strength abandoned him completely. Daddy cannot tuck his cigarette between his middle and forefinger anymore.

The problem of a human mind, I think, is the idea of free association.

We watched an action movie after dinner. Before the lead actor goes into battle against a major drug syndicate, Mama suddenly wailed. She claimed that the actor (his mestizo features, compact physique and arrogant stance) looks like daddy. I agree with the claimed similarities.

But there is a difference. Continue reading Cruel February

CALL FOR APPLICATIONS: The 2nd Cagayan de Oro Writers Workshop

Editor's Note | January 31, 2017

The Nagkahiusang Magsusulat sa Cagayan de Oro (NAGMAC), in partnership with Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan’s Department of English Language and Literature (XU DELL), CHED Center of Development in Literature in Mindanao, is now accepting applications for the annual Cagayan de Oro Writers Workshop to be held from 03 to 07 April 2017.

Fourteen (14) fellowships are available to emerging writers who were born and/or are currently based in Northern Mindanao — Bukidnon, Camiguin, Lanao del Norte (including Iligan), Misamis Occidental, and Misamis Oriental (including Cagayan de Oro). An all-expenses paid event, fellows will also be provided with food, stay-in accommodation, and workshop materials for the event’s entire duration.
Continue reading CALL FOR APPLICATIONS: The 2nd Cagayan de Oro Writers Workshop

The Feast at Barangay Bagontapay

Nonfiction by | January 29, 2017

The news that someone had gotten into a motorcycle accident at Bagontapay Crossing, two kilometers away from our house, reached our neighborhood a few minutes after it happened. It was just after the second power outage that day. I was sitting in our terrace when Ante Doday, who lives across our house, walked toward our rusty pink gate and casually informed me about the accident. She is a wellspring of information in our area, spending most of her day sitting on a wooden bench attached to her small sari-sari store and talking to customers who dish out the stories.

Bagontapay Crossing, where the “roundball” or traffic circle is located, became an accident prone area after its construction. According to my father, who had worked in the road construction, the original road junction – three triangle islands – was safer because of its limited size and intricate course that slowed down the vehicles. It’s interesting how we, taga-Bagontapay and other nearby places, call the roundabout, “roundball.” I guess it is because of the circular concrete wall that looks like a big wishing well in the middle of the intersection. This also reminds me of how we call the sickle, “cycle,” because, again, maybe of the rotating movements of the hand when cutting long grass.

After hearing the news, I remained still in my seat, just waiting for my parents to come home from work. Because it happens all the time, news of the accident didn’t bother me. Unless, of course, I know the person involved or it happens in a very strange way like that time a husband was caught by his wife early in the morning in another woman’s house at the market. I was more worried about how I would spend the remaining one month of my long school break before I go back to Davao City for enrolment. In fact, I couldn’t wait to be a second year college student.
Continue reading The Feast at Barangay Bagontapay