Call for Applications for 2019 Davao Writers Workshop

Editor's Note | July 23, 2019

The Davao Writers Guild is now accepting applications to the 2019 Davao Writers Workshop to be held in November 2019.

Fifteen (15) fellowships are available, five (5) of which will be given to writers from outside Davao City but limited to residents living in Mindanao.

Applications are for the following genres: short fiction, poetry, essay, and play. They may be in English, Tagalog, or Binisaya. Entries should either contain 2 short stories (1,000 to 5,000 words), or 2 essays (1,000 to 5,000 words), or 2 one-act plays, or 5 poems.

Entries must be the applicants’ original works and should have not been accepted to another writers workshop or included in a creative writing thesis. Applicants should be a resident of Davao City or any part of Mindanao. Applicants should not have been an alumnus of previous Davao Writers Workshops or a fellow to any of the national writers workshops. Accepted fellows will be given free board and lodging for the duration of the workshop.

Applicants are to:

1) Fill out the Application Form.

2) Secure a signed Certification Form.

3) Secure the electronic copy (.doc, .docx, or .rtf file) of the manuscript.

Manuscripts should have a 1.5 spacing (not applicable for poetry entries), and a one-inch margin on all sides. The page number should be typed consecutively at the center of the bottom margin of each page (i.e, 1 of x, 2 of x). The font should be Arial, Times New Roman, or Book Antiqua. The font size should be 12. Kindly include all entries in one document, and name your document as “[LASTNAME]_[GENRE]_Manuscript_2019DWW”. The author’s name should not appear on the manuscript.

4) Send your manuscript and signed certification form to with the subject “DWW2019 Submission”.

Kindly use only one email address in the application process.

Only one application for each genre is allowed. Applicants may choose to submit multiple entries to different genres. Applicants with multiple entries must submit an application form for each genre.

Deadline for submission is on September 15, 2019. For inquiries, please send a message to

The 2019 Davao Writers Workshop is organized in cooperation with the University of the Philippines Mindanao.

Leaving Mrs. Joy

Nonfiction by | August 18, 2019

Thirteen years ago, my brother Nicko and I were given away to another family. Mama never told us to prepare anything that could have enlightened us why we had to come with the two women waiting outside our doorway. She told us to be good and the rest would be provided. I had no instinct as to where those women would take us.It was as if I was deceived by the absence of any instinct as a child. But now that I have already arrived in this age with a little courage to confront my own ghost, I think of the woman named Joy who treated me as her son when none of her children would love to.

Out of Mrs. Joy’s meekness, I oftentimes found it difficult to utter any word when I was with her. It made me hesitant to tell her that I was hungry, that I wanted to take a piece of pan de sal she had placed on the plate. She was a woman in mid fifties who wore a loose duster all the time. Her crimson hair clipped back. The thread at the end of her faded blue scarf began to lose. I always found her sitting alone on her chair. A mug of coffee slowly grew cold by her hand. She would look at the vacant chairs as if waiting for the arrival of a long gone beloved or friend. I knew nothing about the silence of her mornings. What I remember was that no one had arrived to join her.

I was living in a house that was different from ours, in the village called Novatierra, Lanang. There I couldn’t see large trucks passing. The only sound I could hear was the growling of her dogs caged in a dark cell.

Continue reading Leaving Mrs. Joy

In a clearing somewhere in the country

Poetry by | August 18, 2019

In a clearing in the middle of a forest
Is a hut, hovering five feet above loam.
A mahogany tree towers over the roof, panoptic.
Millions of its eyes, when plucked by the wind,
lay with soil. When it rains, the air
Smells like freshly-cut cogon, pleasant
Like looming, painless death amidst poverty.

An-Nurhaiyden, born and raised in Cotabato City and known to his friends as JP, enjoys being alone more than he admits he does. He got his Bachelor’s Degree in English, majoring in Creative Writing from the University of the Philippines Mindanao last June 2019.

Fire Eyes

Poetry by | August 18, 2019

Those eyes of fire are gone now.
They crumpled like flowers
in the afternoon sun
And turned cold and heavy
with hollowness
Those eyes, once the home of the stars,
are now orphaned by the light.
Gone are their glitters of inspiration
and their sparks of triumph.
Those eyes are now the moon
In the absence of the sun.

Rhealyn Callao Pojas is a Mindanao-born journalist that is now based in the Republic of Palau. Writing poetry is her freedom from the prisons of facts.


Fiction by | August 11, 2019

“Kanus-a di–diay mouli si Mama, Pa?” pangutana sa siyete-anyos nga bata.

“Katulog na lagi! Ayaw na og pangutana, Rem. Lili-a ra god ang langit. Talagsaon na lang kaayo moduaw ang ulan. Nag-problema nako. Unsaon na lang ang atong kahumayan. Ako na lang biya usa ang nag-atiman ato.” tubag dala singhag ni Dodong samtang gahapnig sa banig aron higdaan nila sa iyang anak nga si Rem-Rem.
Mabatian sa amahan ang pagkabalaka apan nakita niini nga dili gyod madala og kasaba ang iyang anak matag udto. Ikapila na sad niya mabantayi ang anak nga gahinuktok sa paborito niining ginapongkoan nga bangko.

Dili mapugngan sa amahan nga mabalaka. Ug sa walay pagduha-duha, gihawiran niya sa abaga ang bata ug gidala niya kini padulong sa bintana nga gama sa kawayan. Padayon silang gatan-aw sa dag-om nga nakahatag og rason sa amahan aron mobuhig tam-is nga ngisi.

“Milagaro! Usa ka milagro! Salamat, Ginoo.” ingon sa amhan. Hinay-hinayng mibuhi ang amahan sa abaga sa iyang anak. Nabantayan kini ni Rem-rem ug nahilom siya.

Sukad mibiya ang inahan ni Rem-Rem sa ilang panimalay sa bukid, mao pud ang pagkawala sa iyang gana nga matulog kada udto. Maski si Dodong wala nasayod sa tinuod nga rason nganong kalit kining mibiya. Walay pagpananghid kaniya o kay Rem-rem. Kon buot hunahunaon, kuwatro anyos pa si Ren-ren sa pagbiya sa iyang asawa. Walay rason para layasan ang anak sa iyang pagkapuya.

Usa lang ka rason ang iyang nahunahunaan: posibleng milayas kini sa ila ug miuban sa iyang ka-textmate sa pikas baryo. Ambot lang sad kon unsa ka tinuod ang mga tsismis nga gapanglupad sa ilang lugar. Pero kini ra ang mahunahunaan ni Dodong luyo sa pagkawala sa asawa sama sa usa ka bituon nga hagbay rang mibuto.

Continue reading Banig

Upon Reading the Time Traveller’s Wife

Poetry by | August 11, 2019

There are moments of clarity
when you see life and death.
And you realize,
that you are not invincible,
that you are not forever,
that the stars wink out,
one by one.

Then, as an epiphany,
you treasure each look,
each laugh,
each embrace.

You try to fill
the in-betweens with grace
and cram it all
in memory’s safe box.

Then, you are like a famished man
who devours and savors
each morsel,
each drop,
squeezing everything
the feast of life has to offer.

Nothing is ignored.

Beulah G. Villaruel was born in Mindanao, grew up in Luzon, and got married in Visayas. She fell in love with literature in high school, and loved it so much she became an English teacher. She enjoys teaching at Philippine Science High School-SOCCSKSARGEN Region Campus on weekdays and revels in mom life on weekends.

Statement Condemning Sexual Harassment in Creative Spaces

Editor's Note | August 10, 2019

In light of the events recently brought to its attention, the Board of Trustees of the Davao Writers Guild has unanimously voted to expel one of its members from its ranks, effective immediately. This ruling, supported by the majority of the members of the guild, follows the official sanction handed by his previous employer regarding the case of sexual harassment filed against him. The redaction of his name from this statement is not an act of protection for this member, but an act of compassion, and our compliance with the code of ethics on handling sexual harassment cases.

The Davao Writers Guild reaffirms its commitment to honing the talents of young and emerging writers of Davao and Mindanao. We believe that fulfilling this commitment can only be done when young talents are assured that they will be provided guidance and mentorship in a safe learning environment, free from threats of sexual harassment and predation.

In support of this commitment, the Davao Writers Guild has decided to include an Anti-Sexual Harassment orientation during every run of the Davao Writers Workshop, in order to help young and emerging artists navigate the manifestations of sexual misconduct in spaces of mentorship and artistic gathering. This lecture also aims to improve our own understanding of the power dynamics surrounding sexual violence, the early manifestations of sexual predation, and the ways that the Guild, as a literary institution that trains young and emerging writers, can foster among its members and mentees a culture that prevents and rejects sexual harassment.

The Davao Writers Guild is in solidarity with concerned Filipino writers and artists in condemning teachers, resource speakers, workshop panelists, writers, and artists, who abuse their power and influence in order to take advantage of young artists who come under their tutelage. We condemn the perpetuation of rape culture in writers workshops and denounce institutions that mishandle complaints of sexual misconduct brought to their attention and authority.

The Guild acknowledges the struggle of sexual trauma survivors, especially those who come forward with their complaints. We urge literary institutions and organizing committees of writing workshops, especially those which are funded by the public, to address all future complaints with compassion, dignity, and respect to the rights of survivors of any form of sexual harassment.

Seat Plan

Fiction by | August 4, 2019

An excerpt

You are at school. The teacher decides to change the seat plan since the current one isn’t working out. It’s her fault for putting the good kids on one side and the shitty ones on the other. What did she expect you shitty students do? Actually study? Of course you’re going to cheat. Too bad one of your friends got caught writing keywords on the palm of his hand. You told Jimmy to write on the sides of his fingers instead so he can cover them up. He didn’t listen, and now he’s serving a week of community service while the rest of you have to transfer seats. The teacher talks about this phenomenon called the ripple effect where the “actions of one can have an indirect and drastic effect on others”—her words, not yours. She is in a good mood, so she decides to let everyone pick where they want to sit. Of course, she’ll make some changes once everyone has settled down. But for the most part, the students’ choices matter.

Miraculously, Jade Teñoso is absent. Apparently, she’s off attending some relatives’ wedding somewhere in Davao. You think it’s most likely at Eden Resort. Jade’s relatives are loaded, except for her family, though. Jade’s father got into a fight with his father who decided to disown him and his family. The grandfather’s long been buried six feet under so everyone’s welcomed them back with open arms. They’re still poor, though. No one’s bothered to give them a million pesos or something. And how do you know all this? Well, you learn a lot about someone if you’ve lived beside them for the past sixteen years.

You’ve wanted her seat for a long time. Besides the fact that you can’t see shit from where you’re sitting, which really far from the board. She sits beside that friend of hers you think is quite the looker. Nadine’s her name, and you usually waste the hours in class staring at her back, at the cost of your quiz scores.

With Jade out of the way, you’ll get to spend the rest of the year besides your one and only love (your Ate laughed at you when you told her this and shook her head).

Continue reading Seat Plan

Shooting Stars

Poetry by | July 28, 2019

as the Sun retreats
to the horizon
light escapes the walls
of their temporary home
in the heart of a forest.

the little boy tugs on the clothes
of their mother,
the remnant of a decision
that would haunt them
for as long as they lived.

beside aniki, the Arisaka rests
clasped in his arms like a pillow
the comfort of cold steel
is better than warm blood
that isn’t theirs.

the little boy fixates at the cloudless sky
tears start flowing, like the blood
on his knee, trickling to the ground
as the shooting stars
have finally come.

he could hear aniki
murmuring in between clenched
teeth and fists—a prayer,
but the gods
have already left them.

Raphael Luis J. Salise an incoming sophomore in UP Mindanao, under the BA English Creative Writing program. He likes to read poems, plays, and short stories by Filipino authors as he also aspires to someday become a successful writer like them.