Maguindanao: Ang Aking Pagkakakilanlan / Maggindanao: My identity

Nonfiction by | June 18, 2017

“Ang bayan ng gulo at dahas…” ganito kung ilarawan ng iilan ang bayan ng Maguindanao. Marahil ito ang larawang nakikita lamang ng hubad na paningin ng iilan ngunit hindi ng kanilang malawak at mapag-unawang kaisipan at karanasan. Marahil ganito kung ilarawan ng mga taong hindi alam ang aking kuwento, hindi dinanas ang aking paglalayag bilang Maguindanaoan, at hindi kilala ang aking pagkakakilanlan bilang Muslim at bilang Pilipino.

Isa sa mga barangay ng Maguindanao ang Kitango, Datu Piang. Bayang aking sinilangan, kinamulatan, at kinalakhan. Ito ang bayang itinuturing kong paraiso. Bayang sinisidlan ko ng bawat kamalayang tangan-tangan ko tungo sa pagbubuo ng aking pagkatao at pangarap sa buhay. Ang bayang lagi nang laman ng dyaryo at balita. Bayang tinatakpan ng bawat hibla ng masalimuot na kaganapan sa hindi maintindihang kadahilanan. Bayang magpahanggang ngayon ay pilit kong iwinawagayway ang bawat matiytingkad nitong kuwento. Ito ang bayan kong pilit na pinapatugtog ang bawat ritmo ng kulintang at agong sa ihip ng simoy ng kapayapaan. Kinamulatan ko ang aking bayan bilang isang pook ng kasaganaan, kasayahan, katiwasayan, at kapayapaan. Ngunit sa biglang ilap ay tila isang panaginip lamang ang mga sandaling iyon dahil sa kinalulugmukang gulo ng aking bayang sinilangan.

Continue reading Maguindanao: Ang Aking Pagkakakilanlan / Maggindanao: My identity

By the time you hold my hand…

Poetry by | June 18, 2017

It might be too late.
There’s a sore already squeezing my spine,
Budging every disc, perhaps, still disobeying
My brain’s commandment: imprison the memory
That summons the tenderness in my eyes
That’s been sleeping, happily dormant,
For centuries
Slightly more but never less.

Too late, the vultures bathed too long
In puff clouds, spiraling and hovering
Through the voiceless storms
Hates dead deer for supper.

Too late, the daddy longs legs
Garrisoned in our ceiling’s corner
Made a colony out of its eggs,
Spawns growing larger than the other.

Our fingers in cold blanket
Tips locked in, skin-to-skin, pulled apart
Still feeding the beak of an aircraft
Left alone in an evening trip, blissed
With nothing but the distant supernovas
Wrecking no havoc, but screeching for company.

I sink deep in the raggedness of your palm
prints. Breathing your exhales
My illusory longing now appears thin
Together with the soft flesh wrapped around

My hand,
electrified. As the clock’s hands clap
For this, I might as well forget
For this should dwindle my sharpness
in retracing back my footsteps.

All roads are painted in pitch,
And, also, are, ironically,
caused by the same one
Who burnt a lamp
That led to this

Marc Jeff Lañada was born and lived almost his entire life in General Santos City. He is an incoming 4th year BA Communication Arts student in University of the Philippines Mindanao.

Kuyaw G’yud Akong Mama

Poetry by | June 18, 2017

Kuyaw g’yud akong Mama
Iyang kalipay hasta rang mabawa
kay sa dihang migawas ko aning kalibutana,
sa akong pag-“owah, owah”, perti na niyang himuota
Kuyaw g’yud akong Mama
kaniadtong ako gamay pa,
gitun-an ko niyang mulakaw.
Apan karon, di ko palaagon. Hahay si Mama…
Kuyaw g’yud akong Mama
Kay ku’n gane tugunong magpapukaw kog alas syete,
pukawon ko’g alas sais dayon muingog,
“bangon kay alas otso na!”
Kuyaw g’yud akong Mama
Muadto’g merkado kay kuno mag-shopping ug para niya
Apan inig gawas, iyang bitbit puros para sa amoa
Apan duna sad g’yud pu’y higayon
nga makuyawan ko sa akong Mama
kay usahay mas pinangga pa niya
iyang gamit sa kusina kaysa’s akoa,
Hahay! si Mama…
Tuod wala g’yuy makalupig sa gugma
ug pag-amuma sa mga ginikanan
Apan bisan pa man ug wala na ang usa
ang paghigugma ni Mama
Di gihapon hilayo sa kadtong naa pa si Papa
Kuyaw g’yud akong Mama
Apan mas kuyaw g’yud ang Ginoo kay gigasahan ko Niya,
ug kuyaw nga Mama.

Christhelle G. Gerona lives in Tagum City. She is a second year student of BS Agricultural Engineering in University of Southeastern Philippines.


Poetry by | June 18, 2017

I saw
a tenebrous sky looks down on
a dilapidated shanty that houses
a invalid senescent who’s playing
a stringless guitar,
I looked down
only to see the same
in the puddle.

Jet is from the City of “Golden Frindship”, but please don’t generalize.

Dili Ko Mulimod

Poetry by | June 11, 2017

Dili ko mulimod nga ako gimingaw
sa imong tingog nga mura ug mga hunghong
sa hangin mata’g alas tres sa kaadlawon-
hilom, bugnaw, ug aduna’y mga sikreto
na dili angayang ibutyag sa kabuntagon.

Dili ko mulimod nga ako gimingaw
Sa imong mga gunit samtang kita duha mutabok sa dalan.
Ang imong mga palad nga gaspang, singtanon,
ug dili dayon mubuhi sa kahadlok
na basin imo kong mabuhian ug mabiyaan.

Dili ko mulimod nga ako gimingaw
sa imong mga ginagmayng pahiyom
na wala lamang gapundo sa imong mga ngabil
pero muabot ngadto sa mga singkit mong mata.
Mga pahiyom na napuno’g mga misteryo ug pangutana.

Dili ko mulimod nga ako gimingaw
sa mga ginagmayng butang na atong gisaluhan,
mga sikreto ug kamatuoran,
mga hunghong ug katawa,
mga paglaum ug pangutana.

Apan dili sab ko mulimod nga ako gimingaw,
sa mga panahon na wala pa taka nakaila,
sa mga panahon na ako lamang ang akong nailhan,
kay karong panahona hinay hinay ko na usab na ginabalik
ang mga panahon na wala pa ka sa akong kinabuhi.

Adrian Dwight Sefuentes is a second-year Creative Writing Student of UP Mindanao.

Kugihang Mag-uuma

Poetry by | June 11, 2017

Kaming mga mag-uuma intawon
Ubos rami kong inyong tan-awon
Peru bisan ingon-ani ra mi sa inyong panan-aw
Kugihan mi sama sa kabaw.

Sa kainit dili mutalaw
Bisan ug hugaw dili maulaw
Sayo pa sa kabuntagon
Nagsugod na sa hagbasonon

Halos kami tanan walay binipisyo
Di parehas sa trabahanti sa gobyerno
Kami ang nagpakaon sa daghang tao
Apan ang ubang propesyonal wala mi gi-respito

Kanus-a pa kaha mi magka-binipisyo?
Kay kung matigulang unsaon pa pagtrabaho?
Wala tood mi nahuman
Apan unta suklian among kakugihan

Francis Lopez Cabigas is a second year student of the University of Southeastern Philippines taking up Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Engineering (BSAE). He currently resides in Maco, Compostela Valley Province where his father, his younger brother, and he are farming on their small parcel of land.

The Parks of San Pedro Street (Part 2 and Conclusion)

Fiction by | June 11, 2017

Warning: The story below contains scenes of sex and violence.

Miguel started to have a deep breath as he observed the people walking, selling, and sleeping around San Pedro Street. His inquisitive eyes were staring to those homeless, rugged people sleeping on the public stage and in the benches. His curiosity continued as he observed the “Balut” vendor selling his product while riding a bicycle.

But behind these curious eyes, a revengeful heart is looking for that one person whom Miguel had sex with and is responsible for the HIV virus. This guy named Julius has been Miguel’s sex partner for the past five years. Julius is the park caretaker who is five years older than Miguel. He has been giving sexual pleasures to homosexuals in San Pedro Street at night after his work for the past five years. Julius is a sellable man due to his towering height of 5’11; he has fair complexion with black straight hair and a pointed nose. His sex appeal attracts gay customers both young and old who are looking for sexual adventures.

Continue reading The Parks of San Pedro Street (Part 2 and Conclusion)

In the Company of Strangeness: From Davao to Bucas Grande (Part 2 and Conclusion)

Nonfiction by | June 4, 2017

To pass the time, I ambled around the island. I was told that I could circle the very tip of it in less than an hour, so that’s what I did, though the most exciting thing I found was one red, hairy hermit crab and a curiously vibrant yellow thing that, upon closer inspection, was really just a leaf stuck on a rock.

Back at the resort, I chatted amiably with the caretakers, who spoke a mix of Cebuano, Surigaonun and Waray. There were entire stretches where I didn’t understand anything they were saying, but my oh’s and ah’s were enough to carry me along the conversation. They served me adobong saang (spider conches) and plenty of rice, and seemed amused that a city-dweller like me knew how to eat with my fingers, which is, I guess, the reverse of my own previous patronizing attitude.

Continue reading In the Company of Strangeness: From Davao to Bucas Grande (Part 2 and Conclusion)

Laughing At The Savior

Poetry by | June 4, 2017

A black, stripeless tiger crowned
with a headdress adorned with ferns
Locally sewn, nationally stolen

Rests on the cliff overlooking
The majority of his den. He stays in his reign

With a booming roar that deafens everyone’s
Sight, numbing everyone’s ear, and blinding
Everyone’s taste. No one knows this

But Him, the foul-mouthed tiger tending,
Licking the blood spots dried in its claws.

All of you, this is our savior—

A beast pampered to a spoon heaping
With empty bodies, void of soul
Helpless in this land, better in the afterlife.

He who continues to gloat at every successful hunt
(…quivering wind chimes, we had some good times)
He who used to yammer inside our screens
(…wooed by his offer: the fountain of youth)
He who now prowls deviant of nature’s law
(…silenced, we are silenced)

The gallant born of iron fangs

Marks its paws among his prime possessions,
Looking like a fool as he dances

In high-fashioned bravado—
Must never be touched nor questioned.
If tested,

Welcome the gun on your head
A splatter in one of the city’s many tongues
You won’t be remembered,
Yet a roar will be heard,


As a victor
of (t)his land.

Marc Jeff Lañada hails from General Santos City and is an incoming 4th year BA Communication Arts student in University of the Philippines Mindanao.

Sunday Best

Poetry by | May 21, 2017

I believe in Sundays more than I do God or mothers—
More than structures or figures—
My faith in Sundays is tireless, I am a devotee.
Would you agree?
The universe gave us Sundays
To save face
To seek forgiveness for the formidable days that follow
A treat after a long stressful week—sweet and satisfying yet desperate
Some days would come to you as a bribe
To shut your eyes and mouth for the day—
to simply live and let live.
Would you believe?
The most splendid thing about Sundays is that
people mind their own business.
Nobody cares about anybody,
even the eyes of bystanders
take their rest-
the world neglects to detect
the amount of melanin
on people’s skin
other than their own kin.

My favorite Sundays are the rainy ones–
Stores closed, streets almost empty, and houses full!
On rainy Sundays, people mind their own business.
Would you confess?
On Mondays, people transform into
vile creatures
That speak with a spiky tongue
They crouch on cobbled streets composed of corpses—
Creatures like these
forget to forgive faultless fellows but funnily
remember to read
people’s trousers–
A man-ual, “This is a penis, show respect”,
and something else, I suspect.
Which raises the question,
Would you?
Soon enough, it’s Sunday again and
I’ll be wearing nothing–
Why not? On Sundays, people mind their own business.

Angellica “Ineng” Narvaiza is an activist. She is currently studying BA Communication Arts at the University of the Philippines Mindanao.