THERE are tales about the sea where mermaids, monsters, and ghost ships haunt the wide expanse of water, especially at night. But in this world, mermaids and ghost ships remain only mere legends; and monsters are the only one that is real. As soon as the ember sky turns pitch black and the sun descends, ruthless monsters will come to menace—an unforeseen circumstance for the men who had let the waves take them away at night. Defenseless and with only fishing rods in hand, an encounter occurs in the middle of the sea, where it is soundless and the waves do not crash; only the noises of a lone sea vessel are heard. It happens then at midnight that unguarded fishermen come across a merciless terror. The monsters arrive with flags as red as blood flailing above their heads. They o
THIS time, my fingers finally have the strength to crack open my own fortress of secrecy. Out of bigoted spite and bitterness, I am forcefully shoved in a truck. I find myself gasping for air inside a cell; leaving me suffocated from the scent of fear and solitude. Beyond bars, I could hear others—people who are forsaken like me. They shout words that feed my hope and I chant them back repeatedly; almost like a prayer. Pride. Freedom. Equality. Love. We unite and march on the same road to end bigotry. Together, we hold our flag—the mark of our pride and identity—to raise it with no shame dragging by our tails. However, struggling to come out is only one of many to defeat. I know now that the real battle lies within the streets against brutes who wield their
Trigger Warning: rape, implied suicide EVERYTHING is dark. Someone calls my name. It asks me if I am okay. I jolt awake. I remember foggy memories of intrusive mouths and unwelcome hands touching me. Years have passed, but my nightmares remain all the same. I am almost an adult but I still feel like the defenseless child trapped from back then. Getting off my bed, I walked towards my living room and opened the television. Their variety show was on— even when I am awake, they still haunt me. I stare blankly at their faces and found myself reminiscing the very night my life went in shambles. My blood curdles in recalling the smug faces that casually brushed off what they did to me. Their public apology did nothing, and it will never be enough. They knew that I was go
Hindi matatakpan ng mga makikinang na ilaw o malalambungan ng dilim ng gabi ang bawat kalsada at eskinita na iniikutan ng mga maniniil at mapang-api. Katulad ng mga banyagang imperyalistang sa ating mga daungan ay tumuntong noon, dala nila ay pagbabanta sa buhay at kalayaan ng inosente man o naglakas-loob lumaban. May mga tila ipis sa pagkaripas ng takbo; tahimik na kinukubli ang mga sarili sa sulok habang ang iba ay masugid na tinatahulan mga manloloob na inaakyat ang tarangkahan. Kalayaan ng kayumanggi ang sigaw— sumanib sa rebolusyon na puputol ng tanikalang sa atin at sa mga mananakop ay tumatali, tanging mga sandata ay pluma, tinig at kamao. Nang ang kasarinlan sa wakas ay nakamtan, mga b
THE afternoon was dull when he went outside. Perhaps he could not find peace in his own home for with each path he crosses, he sees the misery behind one's mask. His world was covered in sickness, chaos, and corruption—each rest he takes seems wasted since all his mornings remain the same. Today, the news is overflowing with increasing numbers of the impoverished, infected, and casualties. He realizes this while lying on a soft bed with his supply of food. He feels fortunate until he watches protestors carry large cardboards on the television. It urged him to read more and think about a certain document that kills one's freedom to speak. That afternoon, he decided to go out of his shell to see if he can make a change. In the streets, he saw tears from harmed men while
SOMBER clouds loom overhead as gloom engulfs me—it is a feeling I have been accustomed to these past three months. Somehow, I feel strongly that I share the same sentiments with the rest of the world right now. Come dawn, everything remains the same, as days melt into months and no definite actions or progress seem to be made. Now, I imagine these gray clouds to be permanent as the sun rays are obscured not only by this feeling of dread, but also by the roof of my home I am stuck in. As I spend more days in isolation, I begin to look for some semblance of normal to make me feel grounded. NoㅡI do not find it in my virtual classes, books, or in any video game. How can I when the thought of making year-end memories have been stolen from me? How can I when it is also possible t
“SHOOT to kill,” sabi sa telebisyon. Nangyari nga ang kinatatakutan ng marami. Ang mahihirap na walang kalaban-laban sa kalupitan ay tinanggalan ng karapatan habang nakaluhod, at tinutukan ng dulo ng baril. Hindi nagtagal, sumunod ang alingawngaw ng pagputok at dumanak ang dugo na parang ilog sa kalye. “Nanlaban,” kabulaanan ng dahas. “Dura lex, sed lex,” sabay-sabay nilang binanggit kahit na hindi alam ang ibig sabihin. Dura lex kapag ito ay para sa mga taong nasa ilalim ng tatsulok, at sa selda o bala ang huling hantungan. Maliban na lang kapag mayaman at makapangyarihan, dahil kapag puno ang bulsa salapi, “compassion” ang binibigay. “Brrrt brrrt,” dinig mula sa telebisyon, at naghiyawan sa tuwa ang mga bulag. Kawangis nila ang lata na walang laman at kung sabay-sabay na kinal
IT was already past midnight and his strained eyes are still glued to the screen. He mumbles random curses when his beat-up laptop breaks down for the eighth time today, a bit less than the number of breakdowns he had throughout the making of his thesis. Despite the crisis, he is not spared from the hassle of data-gathering and travails of thesis-making. While he does understand that they are not on a break, the idea of disturbing people's peace for his thesis seems too much. Everyone has a lot to deal with already: limited budget, deteriorating mental health, or academic obligations. They have no spare time to answer his online questionnaire. Waiting for his laptop to stop lagging, he takes out his phone. It is against his will to continue pestering people to answer his su...
EDITOR'S NOTE: This piece is written in honor of Mother's Day. IT was already dark and Maria still could not find a ride home. Maria spent the whole day walking around, aimlessly finding a place that would accept her. Her employer had just fired her after she started coughing profusely and getting headaches. She tried to reason with them that she could not go back to her province even if she wanted to. Thinking back, she should have appealed for some compassion as she had just given birth. She had gone tired and weary, still not finding a place to stay. Clutching her son, she found a mall and sat on the nearby sidewalk. Her son stopped crying. It was way past his feeding time and they had just finished the last formula they had yesterday. Her heartbeat quickened as she t...
ENDURING is the word that comes to mind In thinking of your hallowed buildings And time-honored arch From egg white bricks to cinder blocks Your structures get built and destroyed; But reconstructed every time You have stood earlier than the birth of a nation, Raising its forefathers how to break their shackles— To oust abusers and to roar in the face of wrongdoing Many have already entered your rooms Being promised the fountain and golden lilies; Searching for keys and that last puzzle piece They are restless beings that dared To scale your high towers In hopes of stripping the ivory They exit; a different person from before, Their morals and spirits recorded on a sheet— As you scatter them to boundless ambitions Towards dreams beyond seeing, In the thic