Monday, January 20

Photo of the Week

From the Ashes, We Will Rise

From the Ashes, We Will Rise

Photo of the Week
MY child, you must run away from the woodlands and towards the north. It is only a matter of time before the blazing fire engulfs our defenseless habitats. it already conquered millions of acres; there is nothing stopping it from destroying a million more. Flee to safety, my child, and do not look back as plumes of fire consume our home and community. You might not bear seeing the charred remains of our own kind. At this rate, more of us will die due to starvation, dehydration, and loss of habitat. Feign ignorance to be spared from sorrow. You might feel guilty, but we ourselves are helpless and need to be rescued too. That is why you should hurry, my child. You do not want to end up like the thousands of our kin who burned to death in what was supposed to be a safe haven for u...
Taking the Plunge

Taking the Plunge

Photo of the Week
I am on a quest to swim in every lake in the world. I have overcome many lakes - deep and shallow. I have swam on rainy days and windy nights, whether alone or with companions. A decade has gone by since I first began to practice and with each swim, I have learned. Gone are the days when I haphazardly breathe in water or drift awkwardly. Granted, I do not have perfect form yet, but now, I can swim with greater speed and finesse. I have cut myself on sunken rocks and sharp reed, and so, I know to be wary of where I am stepping. There were times when I have almost drowned, but I have learned to swim together with friends and family when I am in deeper waters. Some lakes seemed too big, but I never gave up - growing and gaining courage in the midst of it all. I have swam throug...
Wishing for a Kite of Stars

Wishing for a Kite of Stars

Photo of the Week
THE campus is strewn with an array of colors. Tonight, I walk along its pavements beside you who only has eyes for nothing but the stars. I can see how your eyes widen at the sight of lights cascading like waterfalls, shining against the night sky—how your smile reaches from ear to ear when you see how they brighten up the walkways in bursts of color. You were particularly fond of those neon stars that illuminated the rosarium in small patches. You said their glow reminded you of home and of those fireflies you used to catch in your childhood. You were fascinated by their existence. It was like having stars at your fingertips. You momentarily stop in your tracks to take in the beauty of its luminosity. I stood there looking at you, then at the lights that caught your eye almost ev
Ningning

Ningning

Photo of the Week
Kawangis ng mga kumikinang na ilaw sa Lover’s Lane ang iyong mga mata. Sa unang beses nating pagkita, tanda ko pa na hindi maganda ang panahon. Umuulan, madilim ang himpapawid at nakamulagat na ang buwan ngunit nakaramdam ako ng kislap na nagsilbing ilaw ko sa aking daan. Ilang buwan nga bang naitago ang ating pagsasama? Tanging mga puno lang ang saksi sa ating dalawa. Sa kabilang bahagi ng mayabong na palumpong, nakahawak ka sa aking kamay habang ninanamnam ko ang tamis ng mga salitang namumutawi sa iyong labi. Sa pagtuloy ng ating mga tagpuan, nasaksihan ko ang unti-unting pagkawala ng kislap na nahanap ko sa’yo. Inakala ng isang mangmang na ito’y magtatagal; ngunit sa huli, ito pala ay mapupundi lamang at mandidilim. Napawi ang daan na tatahakin kasabay ng iyong paglisan,
Absent Festivities

Absent Festivities

Photo of the Week
THE child stood in awe at the Christmas tree standing out from the towering buildings. It was beautifully ornamented with passels of colorful dangling trinkets and tinsels. The tiers of golden yellow light hanging around it illuminated the dreary night, providing her with solace. It is in the streets that she gaily looks for the spirit of Christmas. However, she has long understood that it was something she can never find in her humble home for its iridescent light only graces certain places. She was just one of the unfortunate people whose lives are devoid of its radiance. There was the family whose only home is a wagon in an alley enveloped by the darkness of the night. Their only source of brightness was a lamppost that barely shed light on their plight. There was the o...
The Christmas Spirits

The Christmas Spirits

Photo of the Week
AS the festive season approaches, every citizen is filled with joy and gratitude in anticipation of the coming holiday. Or so one would think. Over time, the true reason for celebration has been forgotten and the spirits of the holiday excitement, giving, and familial gatherings have been overshadowed by some less inspiring replacements. The Spirit of Holiday Stress looms over the teacher as she walks home from the store. Not only does she have to put up decorations around their small house and ready a large meal for her sister and nephews, she also has to spend all night trying to finish preparing the final exams of her students. The Spirit of Consumerism coaxes the Angkas driver to buy each of his daughters nicer dolls this year. He is grateful for the extra tips he has been re...
Howl

Howl

Photo of the Week
By PATRICK V. MIGUEL EDITOR’S NOTE: This piece is one of the works in a six-part series in line with the Dapitan 2020 theme Ina. All works that are part of the series are written by the Flame’s Letters staffers. SHE guarded the land against trespassers but the owners were the ones who trespassed against her. There was no presence of either the moon or the sun. The sky was glassy and grey as the wind withered wildly in the moors. Maningning looked up above with her eyes full of sorrow and mourn. When she howled, the pain she showed overpowered the wild gush of wind. Legends say that when a wolf howls under the opaque-white moon, it is because the wolf yearns to touch the moon even though it is impossible. Even though she was not a wolf, Maningning cried towards the sky,
Fruits of Labor

Fruits of Labor

Photo of the Week
By DENISSE P. TABOR EDITOR’S NOTE: This piece is one of the works in a six-part series in line with the Dapitan 2020 theme Ina. All works that are part of the series are written by the Flame’s Letters staffers. SHE sat down on the curb to rest, putting down the rest of her unsold goods alongside her. It was already late; all the shops and stalls have closed for the day and there were fewer passersby. They were all in a hurry to get home so none of them took any interest in her chicharon and kropek. She would have headed home too if not for her measly profit. But instead, she toiled away the wee hours of the night so that her children would not have empty stomachs tomorrow. She looked around and noticed that she was not the only one awake in this ungodly hour; a few feet awa
Dear City

Dear City

Photo of the Week
  THE sun is a phoenix diving into the horizon, dispersing its light in dots, specks, and bursts till it fills the city. It slowly becomes blanketed in darkness. The wires are a messy bundle of vines, falling and rising into posts. The pavement is shattered porcelain, repeatedly fixed and broken over and over again. Copper roofs contrast the silver beams of skyscrapers. Capitalism knows not how to sleep with its neon signs, bright billboards, and bustling streets. People crowd the roads, trying to rush home as barkers yell at the top of their lungs. The cars’ beeping is a headache. Beggars hold out their hands and empty cups to ask for alms. In the streets, children play patintero with death. The heads of the people walking bob in the distance like the ocean’s waves. They look s
The Morning After Halloween

The Morning After Halloween

Photo of the Week
Trigger Warning: death, rape The crisp air of dawn cleared a young lady’s lungs as she walked home through a path in the woods. She came from a costume party from the night before. A pristine floor-length dress with long billowing sleeves was her interpretation of a white lady. The ghoulish make-up she applied yesterday had rubbed off from an evening of eating and dancing. As she walked, she heard a rapid crunching of leaves. Her heart began to pound. Someone⁠ — or something ⁠— was in the trees. She sped up, frantically looking around the path. Perhaps she was just being paranoid. The ghosts and monsters of last night are simply haunting her until now. But there are worse monsters than tikbalangs or manananggals; they were monsters who have grown more audacious, no longer fe