Poetry by | April 2, 2017

You stroked the line
from my neck
down to my spine
and stopped
at every bump
of bone.

You traced
the ink planets
and kissed them
to life.
They rotated
with the flutter
of your fingertips.

Their weather
changed with every
hiss of your breath.
The room went dark.
Pin lights
started to appear

and the worlds
orbited along
my stomach
in the expanse
of my room.
The weight
of the universe
is off my back.

Marie Crestie Joie is a creative writing student from UP Mindanao.



Poetry by | March 26, 2017

At Riverrun our stream of words never run dry
We pedal bikes down empty mountain roads
That ends on a pavilion of rundown train cars
Just beside our wooden cabin
Have I told you
that while you slept, I had dreams of myself
buying a thousand ice cream cones for you?
We have been the best of friends
Now we’re nothing but lovers
Who draw ourselves against the other
Like a pendulum
And despite hours
And ourselves
We repeat
And again

Maica is a graduate of the Creative Writing Program of UP Mindanao


Poetry by | March 26, 2017

I am in love with you
And I don’t have any plan
Hiding it. I have loved
You now, I have loved you
Ever since. Right before we
even knew that love exists
Between us. The kind of
Love that vacates the world’s
Complexities. The kind of love
That echoes beyond time, beyond
Essence, beyond anything that
Limits. I have come to seize
the moment of immense recognition
of the love that resides within us;
A frolic butterfly who just emerged
From its hiding.
I thank whatever entity or
Immortal being who made me
Choose to realize that the love I’ve
Been looking for is here, sitting
right under
My nose.


Sums is an English teacher who decided to leave all her baggage in the insitution, and sail away to the universe-knows-where to chase her firebird.


Poetry by | March 26, 2017

I climb the old Balatukan peak
Home-breath of the Higaonon
Warm welcome fills my cup of brewed kapi
Warmer still are the smiles of the children
And the tubao-topped timuays.

We sing melodies of the earth
Pluck the higalong,  rap the dasang
Bare feet pounding the parched ground
To the deafening sound of drums and gongs.

Around the fire,  the children curl up
Hear the sagas of painted baylans and alimaongs
Ancient tales of Apo Entampil
Forefather of the people of the  living mountains
Mountains where forests are no more.

The clouds break at dawn
Lightning flashes, thunder roars
Rivers and gorges swell
And sweep down
The old Balatukan  mountains.

Nelson D. Manigo is an associate professor of  the Ateneo de Davao University. He got his bachelor’s degree  in Philosophy from the University of San Carlos and master’s degree from the Ignatian Institute of Religious Education (IIRE)-AdDU.


Reflections Before a Waterfall

Poetry by | March 19, 2017

From the pulpit crag,
the waters rush to the rocks below
where they churn and foam
like Styx boiling.
Dead leaves and broken twigs
and the carcasses of dogs and cat
plunge likewise in the maelstrom,
engulfed by the angry swirl below.
And the waters clash and seethe
against the stuboorn rocks
clipping off their defiance
bit by bit,
in a slow and painless death.

Even the rocks will someday crumble
to the furious persistence
of the waters.
Can I hurl myself
into the swirling depths below
and emerged unscathed,


Teresita V. Guillen taught in UP Los Banos and UP Mindanao. She is also busy with her five dogs and one cat.

Lupad, Langgam sa Kalinaw

Poetry by | March 19, 2017

(2.24.2017. Poet-activist Don Pagusara  sang the lyrics of the poem Lupad Langgam sa Kalinaw during a unified call to resume peace negotiations. Photo by Jhoanna Lynn B. Cruz)


Lupad, langgam sa Kalinaw
Ipamukway ang mga pangindahay
Lupad, dumdoma ug subaya
Ang tanang dalandalan
Sa langit ug kahanginan.

Lupad, langgam sa Kalinaw
Tultola ang mga suok sa langit
Dugmoka ang tanang mga dag-om
Nga naghasi ug nagsalimbong
Sa dalisay nga kahayag.

Lupad, langgam sa Kalinaw
Sum-oka ang tanang mga panganod
Lupad, ipabuhagay ang damgo
Nga dugay nang gitan-ogan
sa kasingkasing sa katawhan.

Lupad, langgam sa Kalinaw
Ipamukway ang mga dalisayng mithi
Lupad, isabwag ug isangyaw
Ang mga hamiling binhi
Sa hardin sa kasaysayan.

Lupad, langgam sa Kalinaw
Ikapakapa ang putling pangandoy
Nga gihuni sa imong mga pako —
ang huni sa tiunayng Kalinaw.

Lupad, langgam sa Kalinaw Lupad! Lupaaaaad!


Don Pagusara is an award-winning poet and playwright. He has been an awardee of the Unyon sa mga Magsusulat sa Pilipinas and the Don Carlos Palanca Memorial for Literature.


Poetry by | March 12, 2017

Ali, ambak diri sa Sabang.

Naghulat ang tubig-parat
sa dagat,
mahimuot ang isda
sa bula nga mokisiw
sa imong pagtugpa apan,

ang imong kalipay
sa pag-ambak
dali ra mahanaw,
sama sa pagkawala
sa bula, taod-taod
mubalik napud kag katkat
sa kabatuhan,
aron bation usab
ang samang kalipay.

Public school teacher Jan Vernix M. Atix is a fellow of Ateneo de Davao Writers Workshop. He integrates local color in  his writings  to promote Samaleño culture. Sábang, which also means river mouth,  is visited by local and foreign tourists for a diving thrill and cliff jumping.

On Separation

Poetry by | March 12, 2017

Your parting kiss fell
like a mote of dust leaving
a bruise in my heart.

~ ~ ~
I still dare not move
the empty cup of coffee
you marked with your lips.

~ ~ ~
Her fragrance lingers—
dancing in the room, bottled
by the falling rain.

~ ~ ~
Years on, I’d still flinch
from hearing the song she sang
on the night we met.

~ ~ ~
A room full of stillness

Like volumes upon volumes of books—our words,
the ones we left unsaid—in a beautiful, lost library.

Gabriel is a graduate of UP Mindanao’s Creative Writing Program. He currently works as a web content writer.


Water Lilies of Tukanalipao

Poetry by | March 5, 2017

Under lilies’ round leaves
He hides
From bullets racing,
Left and right.

His pistol
Firm in his fist. The fiendish
Water stifles his breath.

The sun slowly ascends
Despite a spoilt slumber.
He rises

From the refuge
Of the river,
Witnessing fallen,
Armored comrades.

A revengeful morning!

In the mosque, he shoots
Presumed foes. Four
Defenseless carcasses
In their blood.

The water
Lilies in the river
Unmoving, but living.

Nassefh Macla is a Kaagan-Moro from Panabo City, Davao del Norte. He is a Creative Writing graduate from University of the Philippines Mindanao. This is in commemoration of the January 25, 2015 Mamasapano incident.



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.