Alang Nimo, Iyang Fuck Buddy

Poetry by | December 9, 2018

Ang pagbati sa inyong mga lawas nga mitrangka sa usa’g-usa — mao ra na tanan ang nahimbaw-an nimo mahitungod niya, samtang kining mga adlaw nagpamaubsanon sa ilang kataposang paghapuhap.

Ikaw ang haruhay uban sa pagpagawas, sa pagkahupay, sa pagkasawo ninyo niining tanan sulod niining amang nga mga edipisyo: sa SoGo Lapasan, GSuites Yacapin, DMorvie Capistrano, sa mga matagarong kuwarto sa imong apartment sa Nazareth, sa usa sa mga kubikol sa banyo sa Gaisano. Ug giunsa, sa mga walay kataposang takna sa pagsubo sa ikadaghang pagkawala, iyang hinanaling romansa moluwas sa imong laylay, sama sa sagad niyang pamalibad.

Walay butang nga nangil-ad sa paghatag — dili iyang pagkabakikaw, ni ang mga label nga imong gidalidali sa pagpugos ngadto niya, ni ang mga maaslom nga mga pagatorangan inyong giandam alang sa pamahaw.

Ug kon mahimo mo lang ang paglikay sa kahinam sa iyang mga hikam, ang hangyo niining gisalohang tinagoang oras, iyang mga mapakugang nga mga pagsulod sa imong pagligo. Imong kahinam mahurot matag kahilom, ang singgit sa mga amang nga letra niining haw-ang.

Apan dira, sa kataposan, ang imong pagtugyang ginahan-ay sama sa nagtental nga foreplay. Arang-arang na ang imong kahibawo. Kon ikaw moistorya mahitungod niining mga butang uban ang pasipala o paghapohap, kini sila motam-ak isip angol sa iyang inosenteng lampingas.

Kon kini mahimong nag-inusarang butang nga imong gikuptan, ang dako kaayong bungbong nga nagbuwag ninyong duha —wala nay pulos ang pagsukol.

Itugot ang tinuod ug ang tabanaw nga mapanas ug masipyat, itugot ang mga tabitabi nga mabahaw sa agit-itong lababo, itugot ang baho sa mga nahaunang umaabang nga mahulma sulod sa gamayng aparador, ang wa nimo ma-seen nga “Hey. Asa ka? Fuck ta, li!” maoy mosumada sa walay ulaw nimong buot ipasabot.

Momata kang gainusara ugma sa kadlawon. Sa makausa pa, mahimong kang bata buot modikit sa mga butang nga dili maimo ug dili mahawiran.

Duol nimo, ang mabudhiong ugong sa aircon, ang nagkakuspaw nga habol. Busa kinahanglang kini motala nimo: tali nimo ug niining lawak gabarog ang iyang pagbiya.

Kalmado, ikaw nabinlan lamang niining kamatuoran:

Alton Melvar Dapanas is the associate editor of Mindanao Odysseys: A Collection of Travel Essays, co-editor of Libulan: Binisaya Anthology of Queer Literature, and interim general editor of the Bulawan Literary Journal of Northern Mindanao. He is the author of two book-length collections—The Cartographies of Our Skin: Lyric Essays (2018) and An Archipelago of Napes and Other Prose Poems (2019). Writing, translating, and editing in Binisaya and in English, his poems, nonfiction memoirs, travel writings, and lyric essays have been published in online and print magazines, journals, and anthologies in 8 countries on 3 continents. He spearheads writers collective Nagkahiusang Magsusulat sa Cagayan de Oro and the Libulan Queer Collective, the country’s only LGBTQIA+ writers group. Currently, he is working on a fiction and nonfiction anthology about conflict/postconflict Lumad and Moro areas in Mindanao and his third book, a micro-essay collection about 2011 typhoon Sendong, to be titled The Rain Displaces The River. He is the co-founder of southern Philippines literary journal Payag Habagatan: New Writings from the South.


Fiction by | December 9, 2018

The pale orange color that lit the streets of Verga Subdivision in Bunawan switched on right before the sun started to set. The doors and windows had to be shut to keep the mosquitoes out. For most kids in the neighborhood, it was time to go home. For most parents, it was time to make dinner while they listened to local news on the television. The houses I passed by had their porches lit, the owners turning their lights on for relatives on their way home. Even the shabby houses of settlers in the area were loud and bright.

Our house was not far from the highway, but I had to walk two blocks the other way around before finally going home. During the day, our house didn’t stand out. But at night, it would be lit from inside with candles. Our house—which had two storeys, a garage that could park two cars, and a closed mini shop on the front—used to be as loud and bright as other houses in the neighborhood.

I used my phone, which I’d charged to full capacity in class earlier that day, to light my way to the front door. Our doorbell was so loud it could draw the neighbors’ attention. So, I knocked until I heard footsteps that tried to be discreet in an empty house so quiet. The curtain behind the window next to the front door moved a little, a pointless move since the porch was so dark.

“It’s me, Nay,” I told my mother. The door opened and the smell of lit candles wafted to my nose.

“Nganong nagab-ihan naman sab ka?”
Continue reading Orange

Call for Submissions: 2019 Salirok Prize

Editor's Note | November 28, 2018

Kidapawan City is now accepting entries to the Second Salirok Prize.

The Salirok Prize is a short story writing competition funded by the local government of Kidapawan. it is the country’s first LGU-funded literary prize, and the first prize to accept entries in multiple languages.

This year’s Salirok Prize is expanded to cover the Greater Kidapawan Area.

The Prize is open to any applicant born in, or who has lived for at least five years in, or whose family is from the Greater Kidapawan Area: Kidapawan, as well as M’lang, Makilala, Matalam, Magpet, President Roxas, Arakan, Tulunan, and Antipas.

The Prize’s theme will be open, although judges will consider the timeliness of an entry’s subject matter. All entries must be about and/or set in these towns.

Short stories may be in any language (with this year specifically welcoming works in Hiligyanon, Obo Monuvu, and Tagabawa), but works written in languages other than English, Tagalog, and Cebuano must be accompanied by translations in English or Tagalog.

Submissions must be at least three thousand words long, but must also not be excessively lengthy. They must be encoded in .doc or .docx file in Times New Roman, with font size 12 and 1.5 spacing.
Submissions are to be made with an attached curriculum vitae containing the author’s recent photo. The author’s name must not appear on the file of the story.

All submissions must be made in soft copy, and must be submitted to the prize’s official email, Inquiries about the Prize may also be sent to the email address, or through the prize’s FB page,

Deadline for submissions is 12 January, 2019. The first, second, and third prizes will be announced on 12 February, 2019, Kidapawan’s 21st Anniversary as a city.

Winners will receive a cash prize and trophy from the mayor of Kidapawan (or other Kidapawan officials) in an awards ceremony as part of Kidapawan’s February festivities. The winning works will also be printed and launched on the awarding.

A salirok is a simple drinking fountain devised by the upland tribes of Mt Apo. Natural spring water, which flows abundantly on and around Mt. Apo, is made easier to drink by embedding a piece of bamboo into springs.

Like the mountain, brimming abundantly with water, under which Kidapawan sprawls, Kidapawan city too is a basin of narratives, rich with the raw stories of its diverse peoples. The capital of North Cotabato and mother town of half the province’s municipalities has been and continues to be the setting of many struggles, the cradle of many dreams. From conflict between races and faiths to tensions between generations and classes, the Greater Kidapawan Area has many stories to tell. The Salirok Prize is aimed at making the people at the foot of Mt Apo finally harness and process this abundance of material.

Fictionist, critic, and amateur historian Karlo Antonio Galay David (winner of the Palanca and the Nick Joaquin Literary Awards) returns as Prize Director. He will be joined in the panel of judges this year by award winning poet and journalist Rita B. Gadi and pioneering Obo Monuvu writer, translator, and musician Datu Melchor Umpan Bayawan.

Fellows to the 2018 Davao Writers Workshop Announced

Editor's Note | October 13, 2018

The Davao Writers Guild is pleased to announce that fifteen (15) writers from various parts of Mindanao are this year’s fellows to the 2018 Davao Writers Workshop, to be held this November 14-18, 2018, at Casa Leticia Boutique Hotel, J. Camus St., Davao City.

Workshop Director Gracielle Deanne Tubera and Deputy Director Mubarak Tahir released the official announcement on the acceptance of the following:

For Fiction
Ranny Ray Codas (Mindanao State University-Main Campus)
Hannah Lecena (Mindanao State University–General Santos City)
Marly Mae Meñales (Mindanao State University-Naawan)
Elizabeth Joy Quijano (University of Mindanao)

For Poetry
Ryan Cezar Alcarde (University of the Philippines Diliman)
John Carlo Beronio (Golden Heritage Polytechnic College)
Gerald Galindez (University of Southern Mindanao)
Raffy John Phillip Lucente (Holy Cross of Davao College)
Michael John Otanes (Mindanao State University–General Santos City)
Adrian Pete Pregonir (Banga National High School)

For Creative Nonfiction
Allyson Mae Espaldon (University of the Philippines Mindanao)
Kurt Comendador (Mindanao State University-General Santos City)
An-Nurhaiyden Mangelen (University of the Philippines Mindanao)
Adrian Dwight Sefuentes (University of the Philippines Mindanao)
Neil Teves (Davao City National High School)

This year’s panelists are Macario D. Tiu, Jhoanna Lynn Cruz, John Bengan, Dominique Cimafranca, Errol Merquita, Nassefh Macla, Lualhati Abreu, Darylle Rubino, and Jay Jomar Quintos. Cebu-based writer Karla Quimsing is this year’s guest panelist and keynote speaker for the workshop’s opening program on November 14, 2018, 10:00 AM.

The workshop is open to those who are interested to listen to the discussions and learn from the panelists’ craft lectures.

The 2018 Davao Writers Workshop is organized in cooperation with the University of the Philippines Mindanao.

Call for Applications for 2018 Davao Writers Workshop

Editor's Note | August 11, 2018


The Davao Writers Guild is now accepting applications to the 2018 Davao Writers Workshop to be held on November 14-18, 2018.

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), 2 essays (1,000 to 5,000 words), 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 have not been an alumnus of the previous Davao Writers Workshop 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. Kindly include all entries in one document, and name your document as “[Last Name]_Manuscript for 2018DWW”.

4) Send your manuscript and certification form to with the subject: “DWW2018 Submission”.

Kindly use only one email address in the application process.

Deadline for submission is September 15, 2018. For inquiries, please send a message to

The 2018 Davao Writers Workshop is organized in cooperation with the University of the Philippines Mindanao.

Poster Design by Lyd Ejira Ducusin

Errand Man

Fiction by | August 5, 2018

Evanswinda squatted on the washroom floor, scrubbing gently the clothes she had been washing. Left alone in the washroom of the Granada’s residence, she hummed to herself a song she heard in passing. The whirring sound of the washing machine and her soft humming broke the quiet morning in the household. She would have wanted to chuck the clothes she had been scrubbing inside the machine beside her if not for Ma’am Rissa’s instruction to wash them by hand because of the delicate fabric. She couldn’t afford to be scolded again in fear of losing her only job. A metal design on a dress shaped like a heart that she had failed to notice scraped her wrist. She yelped in surprise and quickly rinsed the shallow wound off with the soapy water. She continued washing, paying no attention to the stinging sensation while she scrubbed.

Ma’am Rissa’s daughter Christine, a young woman in her twenties, sauntered to the washroom and told Evanswinda to finish quickly before lunch came. As briefly as she came, she left. Still, she went ahead in washing the clothes slowly. She barely slept that morning after the talk she had with her husband Tiyong last night. She had gone to visit her parents in Maco yesterday. There was a fiesta in Maco that day and she accompanied her mother in the market to carry the vegetables, pancit canton, and a few slices of meat they bought. Obliged to lend a hand in cooking along with washing the dishes, she almost had no time to rest that day. She had been worn-out and couldn’t wait to go home. Her home was in Sto. Niño. This had been her home ever since she married Tiyong. Sto. Niño was not as clean and peaceful as the home she had in Maco, but she had become attached to the place after living there. The houses were disorganized with feeble attempts of fixing the leaking roofs and holed plank walls. The black canal surrounding the purok gave off a putrid smell. It was as if the canal has died and had been left there to rot. Of course it was not the shabby image of the town that she had liked, but the place full of life and sound despite the lives most residents had.

Evanswinda only had a few minutes of rest when she arrived home. Sitting up on the bed, she massaged her sore arms when her husband came. He had gone straight to their room to change and had ignored her unintentionally. His face, darkened by the sun, scrunched up in worry. Tiyong was out of sorts that night, staring unto nothing in particular and seeming to forget the food offered before him. Evanswinda felt offended for she had frantically prepared the table upon his arrival. After preparing for bed, he took his wife’s hand and spoke up what had been bothering him.

“It had been long since we lost the little one,” he started.

“It had only been two years,” said Evanswinda.

“That had been long enough,” he said. “Why don’t we start again?”

Continue reading Errand Man

A Prayer for My Father

Nonfiction by | July 22, 2018

I was taught how to pray before I knew how to write. But my father made me learn both at the same time.

While my mother wanted me to memorize the Lord’s Prayer at the ripe month of six months, my father, a non-Catholic, had explained that a prayer only consists of four words: Thank, You, God, and Amen.

That, my father explained to her daughter, who would one day tell him she is a lesbian, is all you need in prayer.

So when I had learned from my CLE teacher in Grade 2 that a prayer had four parts instead of four words, I was skeptical in making my own prayer. I remembered thinking that my father knew prayers so well, maybe that was the reason the Lord’s Prayer started with an “Our Father”—to honor fathers. Years later, I would learn that the “Our Father” in the Lord’s Prayer was a form of adoration.

Being the ambitious kid who wanted to have the best written prayer, I told my teacher I didn’t know where to begin. Years later, I would take up a degree in Creative Writing and would still ask that same question—especially when I write about my father. My then late-30s teacher wrote the acronym A.C.T.S on my paper with her veiny hands and said, “This might help you write.”


A prayer must always start with adoration. Think of it as a letter heading. Put an addressee so that the letter wouldn’t get lost.

I had to make sure my prayer was heard by God and no other deity. It is meant to be sent. My CLE teacher told us to always start the prayer by saying His name or an adjective that connotes praise before His name. It shows respect to His power.

I hated myself for not having an adjective to describe my father. I felt like I had no respect for him since I couldn’t associate him to an adjective. Maybe generous? Because he gave me the toys I wanted and the books I wanted to read. As early as two years old, he knew I preferred books to toys.

Continue reading A Prayer for My Father

Ang Mahiwagang Lagusan

Fiction by | July 15, 2018

Ang Sitio Tinago ay dating tirahan ng mga katutubong Mawe. Dito nagpapakita ang isang mahiwagang lagusan papunta sa kuweba ng paraiso na iilan lang ang nakakapunta. Nagbubukas ito tuwing nagiging kulay dugo ang araw. Subalit sa paglipas ng panahon ay kaunti na lang ang natirang Mawe at naging kuwentong bayan na lamang ang paraiso.

Madalas na ngayong binabagyo ang lugar dahil pinutol na ang mga puno at tanging nag-uumpukang mga bahay na lamang ang matatanaw mula sa mga burol. Sa dulo ng Sitio Tinago nakatira si Ligkaya at Apo Maye. Sila na lamang ang natitirang mga Mawe sa lugar at ang lupang kinalalagyan nila ang natatanging kakahuyan na naiwan sa buong sitio. Takot ang mga tao na pumunta roon dahil isa itong libingan ng mga yumaong katutubo at sino mang lumapastangan ay makakatikim sa galit ng mga pumanaw.

Malapit si Ligkaya sa kalikasan dahil alam niya na kung wala ang kalikasan, wala rin ang tao. Si Apo Maye ang nagturo sa kanyang magtanim at makiramdam sa kinikilos ng kalikasan. Naging palaruan na ni Ligkaya ang gubat at araw-araw siyang pumupunta ditong mag-isa. 

Isang araw, habang naglalakad siya papasok sa kakahuyan ay napansin niyang tila nagkulay dugo ang langit at nag-iingay ang mga ibon. Biglang nagdilim ang paligid at napatingala siya sa kalangitan. Nakita niya ang isang napakalaking ibon na lumilipad sa himpapawid. Namangha si Ligkaya at sinundan niya nang sinundan ito. Nagpapakitang gilas ang ibon at ipinagaspas nito ang napakalapad na pakpak na may matingkad na kulay at ito ay nagpalutang-lutang sa hangin.

Continue reading Ang Mahiwagang Lagusan