Long they stride upon the bamboo planks underneath the scorching sun and on calm waters. Only to haul the lightweight fishing nets, hollow as their family’s stomachs. Long they sail their bangka on our fresh and saltwater, to claim what remains and swim below. Only to be menaced by Foreign Beasts who plunder what is ours. But monsters do not only reside in the waters— neither only foreign. Some are homegrown, crawling upon the earth and concealed in rich clothing. They care not for a fisherman’s soul; only offer false promises and a circus of tricks. So long as those rogues reign, the waters where men seek for their lives remain treacherous despite the calm. F CZER
Bartolome sighed and gently laid his cleaning tools in the storeroom. He just finished his last shift that was intended to compensate for his cash advance. The restaurant he worked at went bankrupt due to the prolonged quarantines. Tomorrow, he will look for doors with “For Hire” signs. Despite his empty pockets, a bag of warm pandesal bought with his spare coins clutched against his chest on the way home. He walked past a chapel and gazed upon a statue of the Virgin Mary. Bartolome did the sign of the cross and walked along. As he got home, he placed his worn face shield on the table and gave his wife a tragic look. “Wala na?” asked Nena. Bartolome shook his head and stared blankly at the altar where the statue of the Virgin Mary stood. Nena whimpered; she suddenly wiped her
Pasado na ang hatinggabi, ngunit sumisiklab ang apoy ng nakasinding lampara. Nagsikalat ang mga perganimong papel at libro sa aking lamesa. Madilim, mainit, mainip, subalit may kailangang tapusin. Magaan man ang pluma sa aking kamay, pero mabigat ang pagod at antok sa aking mga mata. Kasabay ng tintang patuloy na umaagos ang mga palaisipang unti-unting patungo sa panaginip. Ako ay tinangay ng kaharian ng pantasya. Biglang sumuko ang mga matang nagsumikap mag-aral hanggang umaga. Huminto ang kamay na magsulat hanggang mahati ang tinta. Ang hangarin ng buong gabi ay biglang naging panaginip na lang. Nakaranas ako ng panibagong mundo. Natagpuan kong tapos na ako sa aking ginagawa. Bawat titik at salita na nais kong isulat ay nasa papel na. Bawat libro at artikulong nais kong aralin, lah...
By DAWN DANIELLE D. SOLANO A rock has eyes. I should know, for I have a pair. No one recognizes me, not even you. I, on the other hand, know you well. You have passed me numerous times yet have not spared me a look. Well, I am nothing but a rock on the ground, waiting for you to stumble upon me again. I know you by your smile. You have one for every occasion: one for when you ace a softball match even though you were bad at it, and one for when the cute athlete across the field took notice of you. Yet, the loveliest smile I have seen you wear when you are with friends. I know you by your stride. Sometimes, you walk faster than the wind. You check your watch every five seconds to see how much time is left before your morning class starts. Then, you huff in frustr
Napuno ng kantahan at tawanan ang sala ng aming bahay. Habang hawak ko ang gitara ay masayang nakisabay ang aking mga kaibigan. Matagal na akong hindi nakatutugtog kaya't lubos kong ikinagalak nang dalhin ito ni Rj upang magpaturo sa akin. Tila ba'y matagal nang hinahanap-hanap ng aking kalooban ang mga notang dati ay araw-araw kong pinaglalaruan. Natigil ang aming tugtugan nang dumating ang aking nanay na may dalang isang pitchel ng orange juice. Matapos niyang ilapag ito sa mesa, naisipan niyang banggitin sa mga maiingay at magugulong kong kaibigan ang aking “music phases” noon. Alam kong magiging katuwaan nila ito kaya't laking tuwa ko nang maudlot ang kaniyang kwento dahil sa pagtunog ng telepono. Hindi ako nagkamali sa pag-iisip na ako'y kanilang aasarin pagkaalis ni nanay
Natigilan siya. Sa paligid, tahimik din ang buong gubat. Mistulang nakatitig ang mga puno, gaya ng lalaki. Sapagkat sa harap niya, umuusbong na ang bulaklak. Nanumbalik sa utak niya ang mga sabi-sabi. “Mala-perlas ang mga mata nila, kasingpula ng makopa ang mga labi,” kwento ng isang matanda. "Iyong mga nakabingwit doon, masarap ang buhay— hindi na bumabalik," bulong ng isang lalaki. "Kasi ‘yong mga babae rito, kulang sa biyaya!" “Sa kalagitnaan ng gubat...” Sinapawan ang mga boses ng lumalakas na pintig ng kaniyang puso. Bawat pulang talulot ng bulaklak ay unti-unti nang bumubukadkad. Sa kasukdulan ng pagbuka, biglang nabalot ng liwanag ang paligid. Nang muling makakita, tumahip ang kaniyang dibdib. Mula sa tangkay ng rosas, nakatayo ang isang babae; map
Eaya was physically drained from her harsh conditioning as she strengthened her body for the game. As she sluggishly reached her bag, the fatigue weakened her grip on the strap, making the bag slip through her hand. She immediately tidied each item back into her bag. As she picked her things under the bench, she was greeted by a photo that encapsulates the memory of her father by her side on one of her basketball games. Eaya settles into a bench as she reminisces of the days that caused the many changes in her life. She pictures her father’s enthusiastic attendance as he never let the dates of her matches slide through his mind. When Eaya provides a successful shot, he would gleefully leap out of his seat to acknowledge her feat. If melancholy subsides her after a loss, her f
Today, a memory of my lover Resurfaces, breathes. Her soul awakens, alive within the corners Of a picture. I hold its edges, pinched Between my wrinkled fingertips, I used to touch hers with. At the sight of her image, I hear my heart Its raucous beating piercing through the silence, Enveloping me along with the shadows of grief. Darkness intensifies as I recall How her presence surpassed sunshine, but now lingers no more. She was a time traveler, or so she proclaimed, As her delicate fingers roamed the buttons Of her camera, her treasure. She captured Moments, time, the mundane, the most special, The unnecessary— everything, except for me. This I questioned over and over, Bothered by such oddness.
I pinch one edge and turn it for the hundredth time. It lingers like dust on my fingers: the skyward roller coaster rush of the plot, building butterflies, then coiling my gut into tangles. This tale's peak was chapters ago but the calm descent— perhaps the next page. I bask in the blinding gleam of clashing muddles. This apex has become linear; the rusting wheels only dawdle and the sprightly wings have wilted, now crumbling in its antiquity. This tale’s life flatlined long ago but I breathe for it— the resolve somewhere. Until then, the dust will stay unwashed as I pinch the edges and turn it in the hopes that after the last page, it would find its rest on the top
FRANCES MARIE G. IGNALAGA/ The Flame She laid on her bed as the monotonous voice from the recorded lecture filled her silent room. At this point, she could no longer make sense of her professor's words as exhaustion began to weigh her down. She stared blankly at the ceiling, letting her thoughts drift about in that darkly lit room. She could barely remember what motivation felt like. Back then, she was always eager for what was to come. But now, the future no longer seemed as bright as it used to be. As she turned away from the ceiling, her eyes hovered over the shelf filled with books she no longer desired to read. They stood among various trinkets of memories she kept all these years: a jar of decorative rocks, an unopened deck of tarot cards, a badly sculpted bar made of soap, ...