Chicken Time!

Poetry by | May 14, 2017

One landed on the roof
with a dull thud that i thought
was a fleeting second of thunder
crumpling against the clear sky
just as the three-o’-clock prayer
was airing: “You died, and yet
your well of life sprung forth”
onto the afternoon gone quiet
save for the drunken laughter
gathering in the backyard
where twelve reddened fingers pointed
towards their newfound feathered friend
flailing and crowing thrice
before snapping its neck, after which
I was called out with one thought
in their minds: “Supper!”

John Oliver Ladaga is currently taking up BA English in UP Mindanao. He likes poetry and wallflowers, and doesn’t like being sad.


Poetry by | April 30, 2017

(for Lola Mommy)


Everything passes

from this life

on to the next.

Everything moves

toward something better.

It’s natural to lose some things.


This is the lesson

I remember

from our little chats

on quiet afternoons

in your old house

when it was just the two of us.


You told me to travel.

You said go

before age would interfere;

see the world.

You said you could wait

before your great grandchildren would arrive.


It’s been a year

since you left us—

since I learned that I had tarried.

Sometimes I regret that

I had not hoarded our times together.

Time was not on our side.


But today in the warm breeze

I feel your presence.

Your words echo in my memory

in this foreign land.

Even in your absence

you continue to shape me.


— from Marina Bay, Singapore

(23 March 2017)


*pronounced /æ.pəˈtoʊ.sɪs/ (“apo-to-sis”)

Genevieve Mae Aquino was born in Manila but calls Davao her home. She has a clutch of diplomas in molecular biology and genetics. She was fellow for Poetry in English at several national creative writing workshops. She currently works as a university researcher at the University of the Philippines.

Sa Kasakit Ug Sa Pag-antos

Poetry by | April 23, 2017

Ang kahapsay bag-o napahiluna
Molusot usa sa gamayng lungag
sa dagom nga gitawag nga kamatuoran.
Walay naanak nga puya
Nga dili matugaw ang paginusara
Sa mga bituon sa kagabhion.
Ug wala kini migawas nga nakabiste
Sa matag Domingong pang-simba.
Asa ka kakitag puya
Nga wala gihabolan sa dugo
Sa iyang kaugalingong inahan?
Asa ka kakitag inahan
Nga wala nagkundasingot sinyagit sa pag-utong?
Kay ang tanan makigharong sa kasakit ug pag-antos
Aron lang molahutay sa taas nga panahon.
Wala mimata ang unang tawo
Sa kaharuray ug sa kahayahay.
Mingsubay kini una sa kalisod
Ug niining mga kalisod ug mga pagsulay
Migiya sa unang tawo
Nga makatukod og sibilisasyon
Sama sa natagamtaman nato karon.
Kay sa kasakit ug pag-antos lang
Matukod ang bag-ong ugma, ang bag-ong paglaom.

Si Gil Nambatac kay usa sa mga BisDak nga nagtubo sa Mindanao, gikan sa Dakbayan sa mga Busay, Dakbayan sa Iligan City, nga nagdamgo nga puhon mahimong usa ka magsusulat nga lehitimong magbitbit sa naratibo sa panagbisog sa mga linupigan ug gipangdaogdaog sa katilingban. Nahimong fellow sa Cornelio Faigao Memorial Writers Workshop ug sa Iligan National Writers Workshop para sa mubong sugilanon. Padayon siyang gaapil-apil sa lain-laing workshop sa nasod para makahimamat ug makighugoyhugoy sa mga banggiitang magsusulat ug mailhan ang uban pang sama niya nga adunay damgo nga mahimong magsusulat sa nasod nga dili hilig mobasa.

Palangga Ta Ka

Poetry by | April 23, 2017

Hambala ko nga nadumduman mo
kon san-o ta una nagkita,
kon paano ta gastorya;
kon gaano ta sang-una.

Hambala ko nga waay ka
nalipat sa mga adlaw nga
kanami pa sang imo pahiyom
sadtong mga adlaw nga
napasanag mo ang dulom.

Indi ko pag hambala
nga waay ka na kahinumdum;
nga nalipat ka na
nga gipalangga ta ka.


Emmylou is a 4th Year BA English Student at the University of the Philippines Mindanao. She is a feminist, and an activist; a solemn hero with a fragile heart.


Poetry by | April 16, 2017

The first time I saw you, you had liquid emeralds for eyes and they desired me. They lusted over my thick hide and rich meat that could save your family for the winter. So when I felt the cold steel of your knife pierce through me, I did not fight back. I let you take my life so you could save yours.

The first time I remembered you, your hair was slicked back but a lone, stubborn curl refused to cooperate, making my left hand itch. You smiled at me, flashing a dimple, and called me, “Ma‟am.” And oh, how eager you were to fly. So I watched. I watched you join the biggest con game on earth—war, just to leave the ground for a while. I also watched as your plane was blown into smithereens.

The first time I knew I loved you, you did not exist. I looked for you in the sky, in the ocean and in every nook and cranny of the land. I married a girl with freckles and had twins. While I was happy, I knew I would always wait for you.

The first time you found me, I knew the wait was going to be a part of my lives. I opened my eyes and there you were, smiling, as if you knew, too. We broke our mother’s body but she loved us with every bone she had, nonetheless. That was one of my happiest lifetimes; chasing shadows, getting into brawls and learning every line on each other’s palms. But the best part would always be waking up every morning, certain of your love for me.

The next time I met you, we were both adults and life had come first. I was hard, ambitious and stern—more so than you. You managed to keep that reckless glimmer in your eye somehow. While it was easy for you to discard your armor, mine was molded deep into my skin. You took your time anyway, as if making up for the other lifetimes. And before I knew it, you left galaxies between my thighs and unmade every lesson life had taught me.

Some lifetimes, I would find you with your heart in another soul’s hands. To watch you kiss your wife to work and dress up as a ridiculous Santa to your kids’ delight was an exquisite joy on its own. But to watch you wait for the grinning boy incapable of happiness in Pinto was the second hardest thing I ever had to do. He did not arrive and yet, years later, there you still were.

Other lifetimes, we never even meet. I learned not to look for you in a child’s laughter, a model’s hips and a scent in the train. I just had to be so you can return to me just as I would return to you always.

But for now, I am content to have you in my arms, your dark hair spilling over your pony tail, tickling my nose. “Which was your favorite?” you ask. I look up at the vast emptiness of the universe and trace my fingers over your night skin. “Different bodies, same souls. Same love.”

Viel is a BA Communication Art student at the University of the Philippines Mindanao. She is now on her fourth year and will graduate on June.


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.