The Pilot’s Vantage Point

Nonfiction by | April 2, 2017

“I know a planet where there is a certain red-faced gentleman. He has never smelled a flower. He has never looked at a star. He has never loved any one. He has never done anything in his life but add up figures. And all day, he says over and over, just like you: ‘I am busy with matters of consequence!’ And that makes him swell up with pride. But he is not a man – he is a mushroom!”

~ The Little Prince

When temperature went down during that ber-month, I was in the living room scrolling through my FB while the TV showed some teleserye I was not interested in. A lot of posts were on fright nights. There were people posting Halloween costumes, make up tutorials for Halloween. Team Kramer was in all black. That was cute.

Scroll down more.

There was a photo of Canada’s Prime Minister Trudeau dressed as the Pilot and his son, the Little Prince. Fallen leaves were on the ground. Behind them, the leaves of the trees were yellow with hints of orange.

How fitting. The foliage almost imitating the sunset.

That was all it took and a distant memory replayed.

Hands were passing around glues and scissors. Scented papers of various colors and cut out pictures were scattered on the floor where eleven students were sitting and chatting. The troublesome flower accessories and yarns were lost in the mess.
Continue reading The Pilot’s Vantage Point


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.


Of Memories and Letters

Nonfiction by | March 26, 2017

I live to write letters. I have lived because of letters.

When a parent decides to leave, there is infinity of questions. Inside my head was an avalanche of questions. When I was five, the black jar, a familiar fixture in our living room, accidentally got broken, spilling over my brokenness in scraps of paper scribbled with love letters to a father who decided to leave. This memory regurgitates in conversations with my mother and in spite of the heartbreaking back story, she uses this story to lovingly prod that writing is just as important as breathing. I must live.

I wrote letters to express my love for family and friends because certain moments merit not only non-verbal expression, they deserve to be documented, reconstructed and reread in my small universe. Writing is my human attempt to immortalize fleeting moments of happiness.

My passion to write and my stubborn impulse to document my thoughts are evidenced in various notebooks I have collected over the years. I write notes to my past, present, and future self. When I accidentally come across these old letters, I often find myself smiling, as if reading a letter from another who writes with raw and shameless honesty. It is overwhelming at times. I find that the letters to my younger self are most difficult to write, as she has been through a labyrinth of thorns – she deserves a good one.

I have written countless letters to my mother, many of these I have given to her, the others I kept somewhere. There is infinity of words but there are number of people who deserve my letters – just as the ink from my pen bleeds when I write my letters, my heart bleeds as well. There are infinite words but finite number of years. Words must be written. Pain, the breaking, must be transformed in written form.

Just as there are infinite characters and words, humans have finite number of days. The freedom to write must not be wasted – the other one, the intended receiver has to know. My mother once told me that she loves my letters but could not find the words to respond. I told her that my letters demand no answers and require no affirmation.
Continue reading Of Memories and Letters

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.

History Matters

Nonfiction by | March 19, 2017

In August 2016, I finally submitted the approved manuscript of my PhD thesis. In the weeks after my final defense, I took a deep breath of relief, knowing that at last I can finally return to a normal life. Now I am able to sleep at normal hours, watch my favorite HGTV or do whatever fancies me without the guilty feeling of an impending deadline dominating my every waking moment.

To take advantage of this new status, I decided to resume reading fiction and picked up George Orwell’s 1984. Some people, who have been in similar circumstances, would understand the need for some time away from any scholarly undertaking.

I have been acquainted with Orwell’s writing, but it was a mistake on my part to plunge into his landmark novel at this time. Just a few pages into it, any conception of light reading flew out of the window. This book was dark, to say the least. It is a tragic illustration of what can transpire if we do not guard our democratic freedom to speak and think.

The novel is set in 1984, in the state of Oceania, one of the three super-states fighting for global dominance while engaged in harsh, domestic suppression. Where individual thought is forbidden and only Big Brother, the totalitarian leader, is allowed to reason and make decisions. The story revolves around Winston Smith, an employee of the Ministry of Truth, which operates in keeping with its motto that “Ignorance is Strength.” His job is to search old newspapers and other records for facts, then delete or “unfact” those that are politically inconvenient in the eyes of Big Brother. Winston is well-skilled at “doublethink,” which he defines as being “conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies…consciously to induce unconsciousness.” Completing the political realities of this society are the Thought Police – secret police that monitor and punish any “thoughtcrime” rejected by the Party. The citizens of Oceania know they are being watched, but no longer know how to care. Except for Winston, who starts to question these actions and writes down unauthorized information in a diary.

Thinking about the recent celebration of EDSA, it was not much of a leap to imagine a similar situation of “doublethink” working in some version of Oceania’s Ministry of Truth, gliding through the fake news that circulate through social media in our time.
Continue reading History Matters


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.