THE air was warm and heavy; I felt my throat getting parched. With no freshwater in sight, I bent down to savor the lake water. It tasted of earthly reality—it reminded of the memories that continue to haunt me. With trembling hands, I clutched my chest, took my heart out and threw it into the lake, hoping that the waters take it all away from me. I looked around and found myself in the middle of restless trees dancing with each other. The wind started howling—I think it was warning about the dark shapes that moved between the trees. I squint at my reflection on the crystal water and catch a shadow at the corner of my eyes. Fear struck every pore of my skin and I put myself on guard. The forest seems to sing an eerie tune. I stagger from dread and the realization dawning in. Due
THE thick smoke of vehicles stung my nostrils, yet that did not stop a smile from blooming on the corners of my mouth as I tidied my white coat. Bizarre wonderment always has its way of settling on my stomach whenever I am reminded of how far and wide life has taken me. Grueling years of drowning in study were worth it because, here, I finally have my long-time dream within my reach. With eyes lingering at the hospital across the street, I was about to step off the pavement when I caught in my peripheral a glimpse of a little girl standing beside me. The way she was staring straight ahead piqued my curiosity, so I crouched down to her level. Only then did I notice the mix of hues staining her arms. A familiar birthmark on her features was peeking between hair strands. She was barefo...
I MET her when I was younger. She would play by the river near the hut where I used to live. Her hair was black and luscious, her skin as clear as the river that flowed between us, and her eyes sparkled in the morning light. I would catch her giggling and merrily humming while enjoying the lull the day had to offer. There were times when our eyes would meet and she would smile, but I was too shy to acknowledge it. Her presence reminded me of the diwatas my grandmother would tell stories about. Sometimes, I could not tell if she was real or not. I met her once again when I was older. The cigarette between my lips was warm. I puffed out a cloud of smoke into the city’s night air while I leaned on the concrete that separated me from the garbage-filled river. “Stop.” I lift my
AFTER years of commuting around the city and seeing new people almost every day, it has come to my mind that none of these strangers ever really had an impact on me—only until I happened to converse with the young son of a tricycle driver. One day, I simply told his father to drop me off at our address. Before I settled inside the tricycle, I noticed a boy standing by the rear. I invited him to sit next to me, and he did so with a gleeful look in his eyes. The boy told me his name, and I quickly realized then that he was not one of those strangers I would usually ignore on a daily basis. I looked straight into the child’s eyes, the innocence of which did not fail to move me. He possessed such a strong spirit that I am quite sure I will never be capable of having. The look on the
THE faint sound of the alarm woke me up. I grabbed my phone to check the time and realized that dawn was already breaking. Deep inside I knew that I should get up, but my body felt so heavy. I could not find the motivation to move. Wide awake, I stared at the ceiling, waiting for time to tick by until I found the inclination to start moving. Finally out of my bedroom, I did everything needed to be done in instinctive motions: preparing my breakfast, taking a bath, fixing my things for school. It was all a routine now. As I was about to leave, I found myself remembering my first day in class. It was the end of summer break and I was filled with so much excitement. My walk to the university was so surreal; everything shone with the light of new possibilities. Now, I was only making do...
ONCE upon a time, Morpheus, the god of dreams, played a prank upon the bound titan Hyperion and allowed him to dream of his greatest desire: to dethrone Zeus, the eternal, inviolable god in the heavens that rules over the earth. His reverie permitted this wish, thus, he was able to slay the god of thunder and lightning and was seated as the lord of all creatures that resided in both heaven and earth. He became greedier afterward, desecrating the parts of the earth that did not please him. His mother Gaia awoke and, in her anger, she swallowed him whole and buried him beneath herself—along with his hubris. Shortly after, Hyperion awakened. When he opened his eyes, he learned that he was still as powerful, only that his body is now composed of wood and he spawned a hundred arms. These
MAKING the most of his youth, Amboy would sing with his small voice or recite a romantic poem in order to entice lovers and make them avail of his product. However, when the alluring fails, chasing his targets mischievously is his last resort. One afternoon, Amboy saw a couple who entered an elegant store. He decided to follow them, but he was denied entry. Plagued with curiosity, he pressed his face against the glass door to have a glimpse: a large bouquet of flowers, expensive chocolates, and luxurious gifts left him in awe. He could not help but wonder how much love these items can encapsulate compared to his balloons; how these people are capable of transforming love’s essence into saleable objects. Despite the opulent display, it was the hardworking frail lady that caught
EARLY in the morning, Tiya Sinang is already up and about in her carinderia. She ladles servings of various menu items onto plastic plates before handing them to customers with a smile. She is grateful. It was getting harder to keep her business afloat, much less pay her bills. Due to her husband’s passing, there were many times when she had no idea how to pull through. Thankfully, she was never alone. A screech breaks her out from her thoughts. It was Aling Bebang. In all her years, Tiya Sinang has never managed to find anyone more exasperating. Since day one, Aling Bebang has been there in a similar food stall next to hers, bickering all the while. She gripes, "The salt is missing! Did you take it?" Tiya Sinang rolls her eyes. Still, she does her best to appease
SMOKE and dust surround the street on afternoons. People talked either in hushed tones or with loud, boisterous voices. Even with heavy books in their bags, the children wore a smile as they journeyed back home. The smell of burning charcoal, fried oil, and an array of street food wafted from one spot, making everyone’s mouth water. Along the road, one could hear the sound of honking cars and the growling of a motorcycle. It is a typical modern street in the city of Manila. It is hidden behind the metropolis, situated in a small space that no one ever thought existed. In the shadows of this colorful street filled with friends and family lie stories of unexpected visitors setting foot on once sacred land. It holds memories of blood and dust from years of fighting with rusted sword
AMID THE crowd, he begins to wonder to himself if these lost souls around him still believe in themselves. While walking, he sees a woman who seems to be around her forties who is with her daughter. The child looks up at him, and he smiles at her. They must be satisfied with what they have right now, he thinks to himself. As he continues walking, he sees a father with his son, and they seem to be enjoying every moment they have together. He looks to his left and sees a family as they laugh about something which he does not really know about. He searches for other faces in the crowd. Surprisingly, they all display a familiar feeling of euphoria. In times of impending darkness, there is nothing that can drag him down further. He knows that this may be for the better. As he counts the ...