by ALYANNA YSABEL SACRAMENTO
THE SCORCHING heat of the afternoon is enough to make Josephine feel sick throughout her shift, the knotted ends of her pamaypay almost wearing out. It is only a little over the afternoon, but her bones are starting to feel like they could melt and dissipate.
“Okay ka lang dyan? Kaya mo pa?” asks the guard standing by the entrance, brows slightly furrowed as he examines his co-worker. “Pwede ka naman umupo—oh, ito, monoblock.”
“Okay lang, kahit wag na.” Josephine shakes her head, smiles at her co-worker, and attends to the numerous cars entering and exiting the space.
A car with the windows rolled down appears before her. Inside, she manages to catch a glimpse of the driver’s children in the backseat, laughing loudly. It is enough to remind her ...
by MARIA ALTHEA V. JAVIER
SOMEBODY ASKED me if I could sign their uniform as we half-listened to the Father’s sermons. It was a rather lighthearted request, but a compromised nod was all I could give.
As candles lit up the field I once cursed the sun out loud in, I knew there was a sudden shift in the air.
One by one, we took center stage as the quiet witnesses of the establishment sang through the night. As the solemn gathering commenced, we sought the baroque posts and everything else beyond it.
Amid what seemed like the longest walk of my life, I cheered briefly, the loud streams of joy keeping me occupied.
In a swift motion, I swerved quickly as I completed a passage of joy and dread, and looked back towards the lane where lovers once loomed.
With the stars se...
by ALYANNA YSABEL DV. SACRAMENTO
A WAVE of fear whirls in the pit of his stomach. Just earlier that day, he was walking hand in hand with his mother. For a young boy like Iñigo, getting strayed away from his mother is the last thing he wanted to happen.
With only a few hours before dusk falls upon him, beads of sweat cascade from his temple along with the pounding in his chest as he walks down the path of fetid, wet ground.
Moments ago, only his rustling footsteps can be heard. Now, he is joined by this tiny creature, who is just as lonely and afraid as him.
Something about keeping each other company in the midst of uncertainty washes away whatever fear used to swim inside him—a small speck of light illuminating the dark alleyway. For a split moment, he forgets t...
by FRANCIS MIGUELL S. STA. ROSA
sa anong punto bang
ang ina’y ‘di na ina?
‘pag supling ay tao na,
anak pa rin ba?
saksi ako sa kaganapan
sa kanilang pagsilang
sa madaling araw ng katandaan
pasan ang daigdig,
na pinasang mayro’ng tangan
nang lumao’y nagsilang
buhat sa sinapupunan
hanggang sa nalagot
sa paglago’t pananagutan
at buhay na ang bagong magulang
hanggang sa dumating na ngang
ang makulit na magulang
ay napasa-bahay ampunan
— sino’ng kukupkupin?
sa bagay, narito naman kami
si ticia, stanley, si tandang lucing
natutunan na naming mahalin
ang magigiliw na kwento
sa taniman ng tabako
sa kolehiyo sa recto
kina rachel at roberto
by TRIXCY ANNE B. LOSERIAGA
THE TENSION pinned us down as the crowd gathered within the vicinity of the incident.
The policemen loaded with full gear barricaded the streets, hoping to quench the agitated looks of the citizens. However, it only fueled the citizens' resolve as more people arrived.
We made our way to the front as several people were quarreling.
Some came with placards that say, “Hanggang kailan ninyo kami patatahimikin?”
It was followed by a series of shouting from both sides, ultimately breaking out into a full-scale riot. I was separated from Svarog as the people advanced, forcing the policemen to be on the offensive hoping it would make them stop.
It didn’t take long before we found each other albeit sporting several bruises. The camera grip was sli...
by MARIA ALTHEA V. JAVIER
Beckoned by its abysmal towers
She trots into the ornate ravine
Lost in her own delicate pitter patters
As the visage of her, paints dull skies
As the thought of her brings forth life
Gazing from their supposed soiree
Delicate tugs linger within her heart
Following the lead of its thundering sound
She finds another way, deeper into the ravine
Towards what only her ambiguity could fathom
Farther from her fickle-minded heart’s home
Raging winds bring about a signal
As raindrops take over rock-hard banisters
As umbrellas decorate drenched grounds
She remains unfazed, time ever passing
In their makeshift soiree, she remains
From the stubbornness of her heart
by FRANZ ZOE STOELZL T. BAROÑA
THE LAST jeepney was heard at the tail end of Doroteo Jose where an aging railway hung above it. George had just settled from counting the coins and bills he collected when he found an elderly man, dressed in black trousers and a polo, sleeping at the rear of his vehicle.
"Tay," he said while tugging him repeatedly by his shoulder.
After a few heaves, the man woke up. "Ah! Pasensya na."
"Ayos lang ho, dito po ba kayo bababa?"
"Ah, dumaan na ba tayo sa Laon Laan?"
"Wala po ‘yon sa ruta ko."
The elder nodded in disbelief before carrying his backpack and rushing towards the entrance of the jeep.
"Nagkamali yata ako ng basa sa mga paskil, heto," the man muttered, handing George a 20-peso coin.
When he was a few distances away, Georg...
by HJADOEYA V. CALICA
“SA NGALAN ng Ama,”
Through the stained glass window of the church, the light penetrated towards their praying faces. They were in the last church for their Visita Iglesia. The sunlight provided warmth and served as a cradling arm for the unseen presence of the Lord.
The man and the woman can only hear their thoughts with their eyes closed, palms anchored to each other, and knees nailed to the wood of the pew as their lips whisper to the Lord to restore at least half their strength.
In the name of the Father, he promised his loved one a vow: to be together through thick and thin. But at a time when he can only feel pain, he seeks an answer from Him who can provide strength when it gradually depletes.
“at ng Anak,”
As he pointed his finger to his...
by VON ZYRON P. ALIMORONG
HE WOKE up last Monday and saw that someone left an apple beside his styrofoam cup. It was a mystery to him who would have had the heart to leave him something to eat.
"Baka si Diyos Ama?" he says. “Birheng Maria. Kaso ‘di ko naman hinawakan rebulto niya."
On a Good Friday, inside the Santo Ignacio Parish in Pasay, Regalato was praying for another apple. Amid his praying, he began to feel sweaty. Hellish flames began eating the church’s walls. He could not move—his limbs would not cooperate. He could feel his heart hammering his ribs. While in a state of panic, he saw standing at one of the tables a young lady with doll-like features and curly hair, dressed in religious garments, and holding a staff in her hand.
"Iha, baba ka riyan!"
The lady ...
by CZERIZHA KAIZEL S. ADZUARA
Here, the foliages sing in lush green. Dense with tenderness from the calloused hands
that set the tempo of the rivulets down to earthen roots, the hands that never let the leaves
turn into multitudinous folds— untuned, scorched, and cracked underneath the blazing sun.
The branches creak under the whip of the wind, while the fallen leaves released
from their limbs rustle. A lyric of gratitude, to the calloused hands that opened
to embrace them all. The carpet between the concrete lanes succumb beneath
every stride as piano keys succumb to fingertips. With his hands, the conductor
holds the water hosepipe, a baton that calls to the greenery. The orchestra begins.
Then the students will ...