He stood at the shed, waiting for his ride. Sweat dripped from his forehead as he looked at his watch. Tapping his fingers, he sighed, “Pahirapan na naman.” He felt a vibration from his pocket and instantly knew he would be scolded again as he saw several messages from his boss. Nothing to do now but to anxiously wait, like his fellow commuters who were already flocking the street. Numerous vehicles passed by but not a single jeepney came. After a long wait, he heard a loud honk—finally. People were rushing to get inside. He tripped, barely making it to sit in front. He snatched a few coins from his pocket and handed it to the driver. To his dismay, the driver said that it was not enough. “Taas-presyo na naman ang krudo. Pasensya ka na, hijo. Pahirapan ngayon.
Papa, I still remember that day when I saw you again. My stomach was churning over that unfamiliar place—filled with passengers roaming with their baggage from left to right. Bright lights encircled the place and sounds of repetitive voices echoed from afar. Ever since you left, I kept on waking up during the wee hours. My mind hovered over what ocean you were currently traveling. My broken crayons would be tracing the maps, wondering which country you were in. We searched through a tide of passengers that day, looking for you. My eyes wandered through the crowd while the pounding of my chest quickened. Suddenly, a man stood inches away, smiling brightly with his arms outstretched. My elder brothers, both grinning, ran towards the man, but I hurried behind Mama’
By FATIMA B. BADURIA You marveled at the Arch the first time you saw it. It was a rather long walk from España to St. Raymund’s, but you loved the stroll beneath the trees. The day before, the thought of doing that had been surreal. The pulse in your chest became as quick as your pace; before you knew it, you were outside your classroom. As you pushed the door open, you could not help but smile. You saw faces you have only seen in pictures. You liked the campus grounds even more when they were lit in various colors at night. It was a surprisingly warm night in December, perhaps because of the crowd. You have never seen the field so full of people. You never liked crowds, but your friends were close, and there was music. Everyone was singing and laughing, and so were you.
by ABIGAIL M. ADRIATICO My presence is known to all, long before I arrive. Each step I take leads me further away. I like to think that they know I will come on days they least expect me to. Yet, I could already see their scowls from a distance— expressions I am no stranger to for I am never welcome here. Their stares are cold and bitter, wanting nothing more than for me to leave them alone. Should I take my rest right where they are, hoping to serve a moment of solace after their tiring days, they all come running away. I reach for their shoulders but my touch is too cold for them to bear. So I am cast aside, hitting the asphalt ever so quick— the soles of their shoes stepping over my
By ABIGAIL M. ADRIATICO HARDSHIPS ARE inevitable in a person’s life. People are normally confronted by choices they have to make every single day. Some might come out lucky. Unfortunately, some might end up becoming victims of their choices—trapped inside a spiral of negativity that is difficult to overcome. This is the central theme that Mediartrix depicted in its musical Stages; Impossible Crossroads as part of its 25th-anniversary celebration last April 22 and 23. Written by Kiszhi Pagaduan and directed by John Mark Saga and Mae Calderon, the play tells the story of three college students and their journey towards overcoming their inner struggles. Trindie (Lianne Sibal) constantly doubts herself and her capabilities; Alberto (Koj Custodio) struggles with finding a sense o
By CZERIZHA KAIZEL S. ADZUARA I remember the day I held you close underneath the mahogany trees in the park. I was grateful for the shade, for I could let go of the umbrella and finally embrace you with both of my arms. Several people were strolling. Some were with their friends, while others were with their parents. And there we were—cherishing each moment like we had the world for us and only the two of us. All of a sudden, you began to weep and squirm away from my grasp. I tried to calm you down with a lullaby, but you nagged and pointed at the slide. You always preferred to try new things over my song. I placed you gently at the crest of the slide. The beams of afternoon light illuminated you, and you were finally at ease. I let you go and gave you a glimpse of free
Bilang ang mga araw paatras. Sampu menos isa tuwing unang sigaw ng magtataho o ng konduktor ng dyip sa Maynila; tuwing bagong gising ang magsasaka o ang mangingisda sa probinsya. Marahil binibilang dahil sabik. Maaari ring may kirot sa dibdib, pumipihit ang tiyang parang kinakabag at mapipigil ng isang saglit ang hininga kapag naalala—malapit na. Ano kaya ang bukas na dala ng balota? Oras ang makapagdidikta. Kaya nag-aabang. Isinalalay sa dalawang kamay ng relo ang pangyayaring hindi kailanman maikukulong ng orasan. Pagdating ng araw, bubuksan ang tarangkahan na hangganan ng ngayon mula sa noon at kinabukasan at sa parehong direksyon ay aagos ang alinman: kalamidad o kaginhawaan. Dadapo
BY FATIMA B. BADURIA TROLLING AS a profession perpetuates online with social media as its main operational base. Many misleading messages are crafted to tip the scale towards a presidential bet. As long as this purpose is served, accuracy ceases to matter. As the trolls oppose the truth, their only logical strategy is to suppress logic. Directed by Maribel Legarda and written by Liza Magtoto, A Game of Trolls conveys a palpable reality through a musical play. The play focuses on a particular historical epoch in the Philippines: the 1970s Martial Law under the dictatorship of former president Ferdinand Marcos. This chapter in history arises as a key project for the trolls in the play since revising it can hasten their political schemes. Taking center stage as the main protag
By ABIGAIL M. ADRIATICO The setting sun painted the sky with a deep orange hue as Edgar walked towards the market again. He had been carrying crates filled with assorted perishable goods. Tired from work, his bones screamed for a break, yet his mind paid little attention. Wiping the sweat from his brow, he set the crate of vegetables down in Aling Edna’s stall. He paused to stretch his aching back, but the old lady looked at him with a scowl, yelling: “May isa pa akong sako kina Martha. Dalian mo at nagmamadali sila.” Without a word, he nodded before heading back to the jeepney where a few men stood idly. One of them handed him a sack full of potatoes—far heavier than those he had been carrying all day. He struggled to hoist it on his back, but no one noticed. After
by ABIGAIL M. ADRIATICO Editor's Note: This piece is one of the works in a four-part series in line with the Dapitan 2022 theme Hintayan. All works are written by The Flame‘s Letters staffers. In all the wakes I had been to, there were always a lot of people. The elderly usually took the seats near the casket. The younger cousins would stay near the table where the food was. Mothers would talk with each other, unconsciously easing the room’s somber mood. Our culture has allowed funeral wakes to serve as something that brings families together. After all, it is the kind of tradition that makes the process of grieving easier to bear. Being supported by loved ones during these grievous times will always be helpful to the bereaved. However, on the first day of my grandfather’