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Call for applications to the 15th IYAS National Writers’ Workshop

Editor's Note by | January 21st, 2015

The University of St. La Salle-Bacolod (USLS) is inviting young writers to submit their application for the 15th IYAS National Writers’ Workshop which will be held on April 26 – May 2, 2015 at Balay Kalinungan, USLS-Bacolod.

Applicants should submit original work: either 6 poems, 2 short stories, or 2 one-act plays using a pseudonym, in two (2) computer-encoded hard copy of entry, font size 12, double-spaced, and soft copies in a CD (MSWord). Short stories must be numbered, by paragraph.

These are to be accompanied by a sealed size 10 business envelope, inside of which should be the author’s real name and chosen pseudonym, a 2×2 ID photo, and short resume. Everything must be mailed on or before February 16, 2015.

Entries in English, Cebuano, Hiligaynon, Tagalog or Filipino may be submitted. Fellowships are awarded by genre and by language.

Fifteen applicants will be chosen for the workshop fellowships, which will include partial transportation subsidy and free board and lodging.

This year’s panelists include Grace Monte de Ramos-Arcellana, Glenn Mas, D.M. Reyes, Dinah Roma-Sianturi, John Iremil Teodoro and Marjorie Evasco as Workshop Director.

Please submit your application to: Ms. Rowena Japitana, IYAS Secretariat, Special Projects Office, University of St. La Salle, La Salle Avenue, Bacolod City. For inquiries, please email

IYAS is held in collaboration with the Bienvenido N. Santos Creative Writing Center of De La Salle University-Manila and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.

Paper Airplane

Fiction by | January 4th, 2015

The first crash was accidental.

A boy sitting atop a tree, hidden in a tangled mess of browns and greens.

A girl lounging in the enormous roots of a tree that has been there since forever.

Bored out of his wits, he folded that awful piece of paper marked F-, and thus a paper airplane.

‘Blow, Blow, swish…’

“Fly away you blasted piece of paper and don’t come back until you give me an A+!”

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Ang Pamalandong Sa Pinulongan

Nonfiction by | January 4th, 2015

Ang pinulongan ang pinakadako nga pundasyon sa usa ka kultura. Tungod sa pinulongan nakuha sa tawo nga makigtipon sa ubang tawo, makigstorya kanila ubp. Mao nang pinaagi aning pinulongan magkahiusa ang usa ka katilingban tungod kay pareha ang ilahang pagkasabot sa mga butang, ideya, ubp. Tungod niini, ang kultura adunay dakong kalambigitan sa usa ka nasud o katilingban. Masulti nato nga ang pinulongan maoy usa sa mga importante nga ginagunitan sa nasud, kultura ug mismo sa tawo. Kung wala ang pinulongan walay matukod nga maayong kultura, nasud, og balaod kay mismo sa pinulongan nga ginagamit dili magkasinabtanay. Usab makasulti kita na ang pinulongon maoy makasulti sa gigikanan o kasinatian sa tawo. Kung ang tawo nagagamit sa Cebuano masulti nato nga siya kay Bisaya, Cebuano, ubp. Pwede usab, kini nga tawo aduna’y kasinatian sa kultura sa Cebuano o sa laing lugar nga naga-istorya sa maong pinulongan.

Sama sa uban, ang pinulongan pud adunay mga straktura og balaod nga ginagamit. Mao nang usa ka pagbinastos o insulto ang mahitabo kung ang pulong sa uban kay magamit nato sa mali. Aron makagamit ta sa ubang pinulongan sa ubang kultura, kinahanglan natong tun-an kini og maayo.

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a year after yolanda

Poetry by | January 4th, 2015

Let me say Goodbye
Let me say goodbye- properly.
But how do I do it if you don’t see me
Although I see you?
How do I say goodbye without words and
waving hand?
If I kiss your forehead- would you feel it?
It will just be like a touch of soft air on your hair.
How would you know it’s me?
You must know, that now, I can listen to your silent prayers:
Before you go to sleep (whenever you can),
when you are alone anytime of the day or
even when you are in a group
when suddenly you broke into silence and whisper a silent prayer.
I hear all these my love.
Even when you have said goodbye – I can’t count how many times-
In truth, and I’m grateful and amused, you are keeping me.
And you’re not contented keeping me in your heart-
I hear you say, ‘you want to keep and hold me physically’.
Amazingly, and this makes me smile,
Your ardent longing to hold me, keep me and never let go- doesn’t show on your face.
Some friends say, and I also hear them say, you have moved on and accepted
Our fate when Yolanda made us apart.
My love, how can I tell you I never left you?
For even if you don’t see me- I am with you.
How can I tell you that we both have survived the wrath of Yolanda.
That I did not leave you and there’s nothing to let go or move on to.
While you survived and continue to live
I, too, survived and have another life.


Blessed with two lives
My love, if there is one thing that Yolanda
Made it clear- it is that
we are blessed with two lives.
One that I still live now
And one that, I dearly pray, I will live- with you.
My love, my love… wherever you are
Please know that I hear you
Every minute of the day
Ever since my hand slipped loss with your hand
When the third wave separated us.
For two weeks, and even after that when I no longer counted the days-
For days are the same,
I never thought that our separation would be
between heaven and earth.
Often, just to make us closer,
I started believing
That heaven is here on earth.
So that- if you are in heaven
You are also here with me.
My love, my love..I hope it’s painless to be in heaven.
For I don’t like you to be in pain
When you see me struggling-
Palms above each other pressed to my chest-
Longing, my love…longing, my love…
For it’s really a magic
How absence makes one closer.
Now I must admit
that you are
ever more present
Than when you share
your life- here with me.
Oh, my love..Is it crowded in heaven?
Is there a place for Yolanda victims?
There must have been a sudden surge of migrants
From here to where you are right now.
With the number who, like you, have migrated,
Are you in one Barangay?
Please tell me all these.
If you have an address- please tell me about this-
Please whisper this in my dream tonight.
Or since I still have your number, please text me your address.
Please, please my love, tell me where you are?
For I will surely look for you in heaven.
And I will make it certain I will go to heaven.
Yolanda made me a better person. God surely knows about this.
I also told our kids to be good children
So that when our days are gone here
We will be together again
In a place where no Yolanda can ever separate us.
Please guide us along the way.
And keep us in the right path-
The path that will bring us to you-
For certain, we will follow.


Children are angels
My love, I hope I can tell you this,
For it is amazing and surprising.
And I will do my best to whisper this into your dreams.
Please tell this as well to our friends,
Especially those who lost their sons and daughters.
Please tell them this:
Truly, children are angels
On earth as it is in heaven.
Truly, children are angels
On earth as it is in heaven.
Believe me my love, children don’t need to have wings
To be angels.
They also do not need to wear white robes or a halo above their heads
They are, as they are, angels.
Through them flows real light of love
They speak with love.
They walk with love.
They eat with love.
They play with love.
They dance and sing with love.
They cry with love.
They pray with love.
They sleep with love.
And they have no need in defining love.
To them, life is love.
Please tell our friends,
Grieve enough but not too much
For there is no need to worry
There sons and daughters are ever happier now.
Tell them, the mass graves buried the flesh but not love.
Please tell them that it is not possible to bury love.
And its love that brings another life.
Their children live as angels on earth as it is in heaven.
To you my love,
I hope I can share a piece of heaven
While living with our angels.


Rest (assured) in peace
My love, today I remember you
More than I remember Yolanda.
Your turf is the kitchen
And I see you cooking.
Your dance, though awful,
Makes us burst to laughter.
Your ‘privilege speech’ (as you call it)
Here, while doing breakfast remains-
Of which you never miss
To speak about ‘good manners and right conduct’
Or at times a phrase
From the ‘Ten Commandments’.
And I’m keeping what you said:
“It’s not enough to love your neighbour.
It is also important to receive love
and give thanks to the one giving it.”
This to you is the eleventh commandment.
And now- I know you’re right.
Thank you for giving me love.
It keeps me going.
And keeps you alive.
Thank you for this love.
It is now a never ending spring.
It gives me hope and lightens my load.
My love, I hope I have given you love.
I hope it is now a never ending spring
That keeps you in peace.
Let me hug you, my love, like I drink water.
Let me hug you, my love, the way I breathe air.
Let me hug you, my love, like I keep you in my heart.
Let my hug, my love, rest you in peace.

October 2014

Yul works for peace and the right to education of children.

Like I Did, Part 2

Fiction by | December 28th, 2014

Continued from part 1


“David! I’m giving you a client for work,” it was James, my childhood best friend. He was successful, all right, unlike me. He owns the shop where I work as a lay-out artist.

But I don’t understand why he’s calling me now and entrust me with a client. He called me off of work for leaving clients in the middle of progress that he had to pay them back their money. I remember him reminding me what a donkey I am, and how it brought me to where I am now.

Of course it was all true that it hit me right through my every bone. But I don’t have plans letting myself be dipped down by people, even by my own best friend. So I, with my forehead up high, thanked him and told him I’m never coming back.

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Moving Away

Poetry by | December 28th, 2014

I am moving away from home.
Away from clanging pots and pans
of morning rush, from all the sizzles of
preserves deep fried in ancient cooking oil. From
the sudden clings and clangs of plates being
washed nearby to the ticks and tacks of
the old-fashion clock in our living room.
Away from the meaningless yapping of my
mother and how she babbles about my soiled
clothes scattered on the floor that she ends
up washing, the long winding hours of looking
after the store and even away from the morning
routine of my grandmother waking
me up for school or from a bad dream.
Away from the smell of sinigang cooked
for dinner, the sour smell of boiled sampalok
and singkamas and from the familiar
face waiting patiently behind the battered green
door every night.
I am moving away from home and into
the strangeness of age. With no sinigang to
eat for dinner. With no one to
wake me up from a bad dream.
I am moving.
Hoping to find a familiar face waiting
behind the polished wooden door when
I get home late.

Sums is a graduating English major by day and a majestic, black unicorn by night.

Why I Never Sit At The Back Of The Jeepney Anymore

Poetry by | December 28th, 2014

Whenever I ride the jeepney these days,
I always sit in the front.
It pisses me off when I get to sit with the other passengers
Where I get to forward the fare and the change back.
Once, you handed me your fare.
That was when I met you.
I hate sitting at the back
where I can’t help but hear the same, tired talks.
The same stories we shared whenever we’re in the same jeep heading home.
Except that you told them so well and repeated them as if they were new
And we could ride through kilometers in seconds
only to end them with “Here is my stop. See you.”
I hate sitting at the back of the jeep
when it is bent on breezing to the ends of the fast lane,
While I sit next to the lady with the long damp hair whipping my face.
If it was your hair, I would let it whip my face
until the scent of your shampoo sticks on my collar
so I would wear it like cologne.
I wished to see you not only in the jeep.
I wished we could have sat somewhere more comfortable.
on the grass perhaps, with your friends perhaps
So we could burn through a thousand topics.
So we could tease, laugh, and touch. And maybe,
while we head home, we could let our emotions take a different route.
I settled instead with sitting at the back of the jeep
Waiting for something to happen.
The second-to-the last time we rode together, We ran out of stories.
And the last time that we did, we no longer knew each other.
That is the thing about riding jeepneys. Nothing really happens
Except for waiting until you reach your stop. Or miss it.
Whenever I ride jeepney these days,
I always sit in the front, safe and comfortable.
Not because I do not want to remember you
but to reject the possibility of sitting next
to someone who looks like you or
of touching another’s fingers when she hands me her fare
and forgetting what yours felt like.

Fred Layno is a graduate of Creative Writing from UP Mindanao and an emotional commuter.

Things to Do

Poetry by | December 21st, 2014

treadmill for thirty minutes
after a five-round brisk
walking at the plaza
prune the duranta
its leaves cover
the window’s horizon
do the laundry
whites first,
coloreds next
pay the electric bill
arrears only
to avoid disconnection
cut cauliflower, broccoli,
carrots and cabbage
for four seasons
iron uniforms
take a rest
dream a dream
these tasks
will disappear

Raul as been a fellow to various writers workshop and won several awards for his fiction and poetry. Writes from Cagayan de Oro.


Poetry by | December 21st, 2014

Gilabnot ako ug ang uban pa,
gikan sa kinasudlan sa manok,
tapad sa batikulon,
gi-abrihan, gisusi, gikuot, ug giwaswasan,
giharinahan, giprito, ug gituhog,
tag-lima sa usa ka bikog.
Sa wala pa gilunsad,
sa bulaw nga mayor,
ang pagpahapsay sa dalan,
makita mi nimong nakalaray,
nag-atang sa mga busawang,
sama nimong,
gamulo na ang tiyan,
sa pagpangaslum sa kagutom.
Kabalo ko unsa imong gusto:
init, bus-ok, ug barato.
Ayaw og kaulaw.
Ayaw og panghugas.
Kinawboy ni nga stayl.
Wala lay utangay.
Hulbot lang og maskin singko,
daw itunol sa tindero.
Ituslob ko sa sawsawan.
Daghan kang mapilian niini:
halang, tam-is, aslum.
Andama ang palad,
sa pagsalo,
sa mutulo nga sarsa.
Kab-uta ang puso.
Lami na ipares nako.
Walay platuhay.
Dinamak ni nga stayl.
Pangitaa lang mi sa suok.
Naa ra mi sa Pabayo gatapok.

Mai is a founding member of NAGMAC (Nagkahiusang mga Mambabalak sa CDO), a community of local poets that mounts CDO Poetry Night. She is also a fellow to the recently concluded Davao Writers Workshop 2014. In her spare time, she hangs around milk tea shops and eavesdrops on people, hoping to write a play about strangers.

Like I Did, Part 1

Fiction by | December 21st, 2014

It’s all I know.

“So… This is goodbye?”

No, this isn’t. No, this’ll never be. My mind started to encode the words, waiting to be spoken. But instead I moved my head to gesture a no.

I love Jasmine. I really do. She was smart and beautiful inside-out. Her eyes told me the existence of something real. Her smile promised rainbows after heavy rains. Her laughter sang melodies in the midst of my noisy life. Her touch never lets me feel alone in this lonely world. That she was there. She’d be just there.

Of all people, she understands me the most. She’s patient and uncomplaining. I receive no pressure from her. She doesn’t nag, or pester, or irk with issues big or small. But I can hear her cry in my mind, because she never cried and probably will never cry with me around.

And above all, she loves me more than any girl has made me feel, and probably no girl will ever do.

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