Behind the Chinese warehouse, Carla and Agnes gathered metal scraps and any trash worth selling.
“Look!” Agnes pointed at the mountain of rusty tin cans and containers. “We hit the jackpot.”
Their eyes sparkled, overjoyed at the trove. As they carefully loaded their valuable items in their cart, they discovered a big backpack lying underneath.
“Who do you think the owner might be?” Carla asked. She never had a bag before, and she longed to have it.
Continue reading The Most Beautiful Princess That Ever Lived
This story won 1st Prize in the 2010 DWG Fiction Writing in Bisaya. It will run in Dagmay through the rest of November.
Hubog na pod siya karon. Ug sama kaniadtong mga niaging adlaw, pirmi siyang gayawyaw sa iyang pagkatulog. Samtang kaming tanan ginaduyan na diha sa among mga damgo sa kabugnaw sa kadlawon, makamata mi sa iyang siyagit og “Intoy!” Usahay, mokalit lang siyag dangoyngooy diha sa iyang pagkatulog. Ingon ana gyod nang mga hubog, murag walay buot kon matulog. Makahuna-huna ko usahay nga gadamgo siya kang Manoy Intoy o di kaha ga-uromon siya. Apan puydi pod tingali nga diha sa iyang pagkahinanok, iyang gakakit-an ang mga panghitabo kon kanus-a wala siyay nabuhat kay adtong higayona nakiglambigit man siya sa demonyo nga namugna sa bino nga naghari sa iyang pangisip.
Dili to nako malimtan nga takna kay didto nagsugod kining gawi nga akong ginabuhat kada mahubog si Papa . Sabado. Tulo katuig na ang niagi. Kilomkilom tong adlawa, apan si Papa desidido nga moadto mi sa siyudad aron among ibaligya ang kopras nga bag-o lang namo gigang-gang aron kini mauga pagdali. Pipila pod kagabii nga nagbilar si Manoy Intoy ug Papa aron magpadayon ang siga sa kalayo nga gapa-uga sa kopras. Kon adlawan, ako ang gabantay didto sa ganggangan aron ang kalayo dili mahutdan ug sugnod. Gikinahanglan kaayo nga amo dayong humanon ang maong bulohaton. Gasakit si Mama og dili maayo nga iyang ipatutoy si Inday Nika nga pipila pa lang kabuwan. Basin unyag matakdan siya ni Mama. Kinahanglan namo mopalit og tambal didto sa siyudad.
Continue reading Dangoyngoy sa Suba
She turned from the open window to the man sprawled across the bamboo bed, observing his nakedness and stillness, which reminded her of a corpse. She stared at his slightly parted lips, from which, a long time ago, affection was uttered, and from which, recently, came words of contempt and abuse. She looked at his brown skin, which she used to bathe with kisses in their sweaty and sultry lovemaking; at the coal-black mass of hair on his armpits, against which she snuggled when they lay spent, exhilarated; and at his chest rising and falling in cadence with his round abdomen. It was at his chest where her eyes stopped because from inside, she knew his heart beat, no longer for her but for the mere mechanism of it, just a muscle pumping blood to his veins, and pumping faster whenever his temper flared. She also knew that the same heart had already weakened upon seeing the pubic hair across his navel; it was caked with blood. On his groin, right above the sagging scrotum, was a bright red stump, from which there were rivulets of blood coursing down the side of his buttocks and the inside of his thighs.
Continue reading Hermana and Her Man
“You are your father’s daughter.”
She remembers how her mother used to say that to her, to spit those words to her as if pronouncing a curse, as if being her father’s daughter is a curse. Maybe it is.
Continue reading Your Father's Daughter
He pulled her hand hastily and brought her to a dark alley away from a lonely lamppost.
They walked deeper and deeper towards the shadows until total darkness enveloped them.
He pinned her to the wall, his lips devouring hers, gentle and fierce, then suddenly her tongue forced its way into his mouth. For a moment she felt surprise, then he responded to her excitement. Roughly he pulled her closer, crushing her breasts against him. Tentatively he let one hand cup her breast and she coiled her leg on his hip. He slipped his hand into her dress and under her brassiere.
Continue reading Tomorrow Night
My name is Ling-Ling and I am speaking from inside a jar. My place is no ordinary piece of container. Back in 1993, when my husband won a small-time lottery in Australia, he backpacked to China and spent a fortune on antique porcelains. One of the precious things he shipped to Australia is this huge Chinese porcelain jar from the 16th century, painted with blue intricate scenes of ancient Chinese life. But I am Filipino inside a Chinese jar in Australia. Is this an instance of globalization? At least I know I have finally ended up in an exquisite and expensive place.
Continue reading White, Brown, Old, Young
Bismillah. I smoothen this cream liberally on my face covering every inch of skin, looking at the mirror for missed spots. I read the label on the product again and again. I wrangle with doubt. The cream is authentic. It is from Saudi; purely pharmaceutical. Unlike the intertwined reasons for my divorce. Katao. Maratabat. Hormonal imbalance. Our lack of blood relations. But I am still wearing my wedding band. As if I am still his wife and he will be at arm’s length at the slightest ruffle of my malong.
The walls at home box me in regret. I become a coward. I run somewhere else, slipping off convenience. I watch luxury slip away.
Continue reading Sakeenah
I discovered that stream while wandering through the woods of Singao, just beyond our house, the last house of Apo Sandawa Phase 2. As a little girl, the forest was my playground.
It was a small stream in a shady clearing, barely larger than my arms outstretched, just a few inches above my ankle. In and along it were stones of different sizes. I would go there before going to school in the morning and after coming home. I kept it clean by picking up and burying the dried leaves and rearranging the stones that seem out of place.
No one else knew about it, and it became the secret center of my love for the forest. If I wasn’t in school or at home doing chores, I was by its banks, where I read or just listened to the sound of the gushing water.
I was in early sixth grade, just twelve years old, when I first met him.
Continue reading Kei by the Stream