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.

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


Poetry by | January 22, 2017

ko alam kung ano
ang nasa pagitan natin
noong gabing iyon
habang ginagalugad
kung saan pahihimlayin
ang mga salita

o baka naman wala
talagang nasa pagitan
katulad ng nawalang paligid
habang naghahanap
ng mga signos
sa pagitan ng sulyap
at usap

sa sugat ng ngayon
at nakaraan
ang pamamaalam

may ngiting nais
sa mga mata ko
subalit sinaway ito
ng mga mata mo

kilala nila ako

kapag ganito
kakorni ang simula
trahedya ang wakas
ng hinahabing
tula at kuwento.

German V. Gervacio is a Palanca award-winning author who teaches at the Filipino Department of MSU-Iligan Institute of Technology. He is the incoming representative of Northern Mindanao in the National Committee on Literary Arts for 2017-2019.

Eh di Howl! (after Ginsberg)

Poetry by | January 1, 2017

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by Internet memes, historical revisionist Youtube clips, dragging themselves through the darkest, amnesiac streets of remembering, Marcos apologist hipsters and bloggers burning to ashes the miserable memories of Martial Law,

who bared their image-driven brains to froth for the good-looking grandson who was London-educated but undeniably unknowledgeable about undervoting,

who Facebook-floated across virtual Wi-Fi waters and stayed on top Twitter trends, contemplating the alleged cheating in the vice-presidential race in order to pave and force the way of the unapologetic son to Malacañang,

who unwittingly sent their souls to Hell for promoting the banality of evil and saw Mephistophelian angels promising the hero’s burial and ascension of the wax-and-plastic-and-formaldehyde-long-rotten patriarch, but didn’t see the irony,

who passed through illumined universities yet spent more time in status-symbol coffee shops, discussing fashion styles and sheers, crop tops and jogger pants, ending up inadequately informed or misinformed or uninformed about the naked and obscene terrors of the autocratic rule and the detritus thereof,
Continue reading Eh di Howl! (after Ginsberg)

Panahon ang Lumay

Poetry by | December 25, 2016

Usahay ugtas
ang atoang kaagi
sa kahiubos

mga pasangil
sa pakyas nga pasaad
lugda mipisil

sa kadugay sa
oras, gaduhaduha
kun mupadayon

ang gugma nato
ma wahig ug pagbati
mawad-ag awog

apan kani ra
akoang maingon sa
imo pangga, ko

Kung igarapon
ang tui-g nga miagi
sama sa lana

mahimo kining
ang pinakakusgan sa
tanang gayuma.

Glorypearl Dy is a filmmaker based in Davao City. She was a fellow at the 2011 Davao Writers Workshop.

Where He Left

Poetry by | December 25, 2016

The room smelled like the pomade
Grandpa put on his hair
the moment
he got out of the shower.
The vines he used to trim
in the mornings
had crawled
to the grills on the windows
from the rusty gate
where he stood by
as he watched
me and my cousins
play hide-and-seek
along Almond Drive
on Sunday afternoons.
Mama was cleaning out
his medicine box
when I realized
all the containers
had not been emptied out.
Uncle carried
the plump luggage
to the top of the closet
filled with naked hangers.
Grandma could not seem to fold
the blanket on his bed
the way he used to do it-
corner to corner, edge to edge.
Tony Orlando started squeaking
when the CD player played
“Tie A Yellow Ribbon,”
but Grandma listened
and danced with the air
in the same way
she danced with Grandpa
at the wedding reception
of their golden anniversary.
I hold this scarf
that he wrapped himself in
as he sat on his wheelchair
one windy afternoon
when we drove him
to the beach.
Nobody dared to sit
on the rocking chair
in the balcony
where he used to nap
during sunny days
that reminded him, he said,
of the Panglao beaches
where he used to play
when he was young.
But now he’s rested
somewhere peaceful,
where I could no longer
massage his feet
as he rocked himself to sleep.

Marie Crestie Joie Contrata is a Creative Writing student from the University of the Philippines Mindanao.

Didto sa Route 8

Poetry by | December 11, 2016

Ang bus
parahon, palabyon
sakaan, kanaugan
lingkuran, tindogan
piyongan, kamathan
sukaan, pangugmohan
tabian, hiloman
motulin, moliko
makaligis, mabanggaan
molarga, moabot
sa terminal , sa terminal.

Jann Dainver “Deejay” Maravilla is an AB-English graduate of MSU-IIT. He is now a visiting lecturer at Jose Rizal Memorial State University-Main Campus, Dapitan City. He has recently been selected as a fellow to the 2016 Davao Writers Wokshop.


Poetry by | December 11, 2016

Sway the leaves while you breathe
And your mind rests after long days
Keeping watch from your marbled walls
Are memories, stolen as polaroids
You wait for the night storm to pass
But realize the magic in the air

Like a wave, rain crashes
As angels’ wings beat for drumline
A musical surge on your roof
Transmitted straight towards your apex beat
And as you lay there, wondering
Will this beautiful downpour ever end?

Yes, if you wanted to
But tears of heaven have calmed you
Never was any soothing sound
That your own ears enjoyed and learned to love
Your own pleasure of symphony
While you drown yourself in rain’s
Orchestrated confessions

Monique graduated from UP Mindanao.