Nine Days To Understand Nine Days in Nine Days

Fiction by | December 16, 2018

Day 8
I think I now need to keep track of time. Time has been odd, has been queer, has been time has been odd, has been. There’s a loop that loops that there is a loop that goes on in my head ever since I started to attempt to understand time has been odd, has been queer, has been a loop since I tried to understand the sounds that came from this, well, I don’t even know what this is. I remember nothing from before it, but I remember now before it but I remember. I remember it came to me in a dream, a dream that came to me the night I saw it in a dream. Well, not really saw, more like felt. At least I think I felt it. That’s the thing with dreams, isn’t it? You’re never really completely sure how to word them out when you wake up. Then again, it’s not like there were any words, it was more like I felt it all around me, I think I felt it. It’s odd, it’s queer, it has been like that in a loop ever since it came to me in a dream. It spoke to me, it spoke to me in a feeling that I felt all around me, inside me, outside me, it spoke to me in a feeling. It whispered words into my ears and into my mind, in a feeling I tried to understand time has been odd, has been queer, has been a loop and it told me things I cannot comprehend. Ah well, that was 8 days ago ever since it was 7 days ago since it was 10 years ago since it came to me in a dream. I’m tired now, I think I’ll rest. I do not know why, but sleeping on this flesh is better than sleeping on the cold rock floor of this cave where I’ll rest I’m tired now.

Continue reading Nine Days To Understand Nine Days in Nine Days

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.

Write Here: The Visibility of The Writer from the Region

Nonfiction by | November 25, 2018

In one literary event in my hometown, Iloilo City, I jokingly told my audience, “ako gali si Karla, ang taga diri nga indi man taga diri” or “Ako pala si Karla taga-rito pero hindi naman taga-rito.” This is my writing place. When I am in Iloilo, the emcee introduces me as a writer from Cebu. In Cebu, I am always the writer from Iloilo.

I first came to Davao in 2011 for the Taboan Writers Festival as a delegate representing Cebu although my works are not entirely in Cebuano and I am not a Cebuana. I do admire Cebu, in fact, I now consider it my home; however, my roots will always remain in Iloilo. It is my diri, dito, dinhi, here. Being a Filipino writer is a quest to situate the self in a multifarious linguistic and literary space.

Two years ago, Cebuano National Artist (but actually born in Dipolog, Zamboanga) Resil Mojares delivered in UP Visayas in Iloilo City a keynote speech that asks the provocative question, “Where in the World is The Filipino Writer?” Mojares urges the reader to view his paper as “notes or his desultory thoughts” on the place of the Filipino writer in the world.

He opens the discussion by quoting Pascale Casanova’s book The World Republic of Letters that traces the historical formation of what she calls “world literary space,” a space that has its own capitals, provinces, borders, forms of communication, and its systems of rewards and recognition. This space is dominated by “big” languages and “big” literatures, while “small” literature in “small” languages are “either annexed to dominant literary spaces or are invisible outside their national borders.” The word Eurocentric was expectedly mentioned, and he highlighted that Southeast Asia and the Philippines do not appear in any pages of this remarkable book. He explained that he is not complaining, well aware that our literature may be among the marginal and invisible, and Casanova’s lens made it even more marginal and more invisible.

Continue reading Write Here: The Visibility of The Writer from the Region

Little Dreamweaver

Fiction by | November 18, 2018

“When can I weave?” Maimai asked.

She was impatient. Her mother had taught her and her elder sister but she was not permitted to touch the loom on her own. Malina, her older sister, had been weaving for two years now. Maimai was beginning to feel like her mother had changed her mind about her.

Dreamweaving was in their family’s blood. Here, in this little village beside Lake Sebu, the women in her family have been dreamweavers for centuries. Her mother, grandmother, aunts, and now her sister are dreamweavers. It is an ancient art passed down from mother to daughters. But one cannot be a weaver without the god’s blessing. No, dreamweaving was an art different from the other weavers of the province.

“There will be a sign, a dream,” her mother often said but Maimai couldn’t understand what it meant.

The dreamweavers would receive a dream from Fu Dalu, the god of the abaca. He would send a dream that would guide the patterns of the weaver. It was an honor to be visited by the god. One cannot start touching the loom without one. Only when a dream was given can a weaver start her pattern. That was the reason her sister had not begun her latest weave. Her abaca had been stretched on the loom but she could not start yet.

Continue reading Little Dreamweaver

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.

Seraya of the Sky (Part 1 of 3)

Fiction by | September 23, 2018

It was eons ago and night time was just an empty black sky. The sky and the sea were united in the dark and where people could not tell them apart. They thought that the sky could have fallen on the sea or the sea might have risen to the sky.

Fishermen fished at dawn. In order to be able to see in the midst of blinding darkness, they adorned their boats with lamps. They put them high above the deck, on their mast so that the light would reach farther than the prow. The heat from the lamps were warm enough to equal the midday sun and the people desperately wished to the deities living in the world above to dispel the sweltering winds. At predawn, the lamps flared in fiery yellow and orange illuminating the pathless voyage.

The lamps were as if paving the way for the coming of the sun, their torches mimicking its light as if its day, but instead of one, there are several little blazing suns at the middle of the sea in half-darkness.

The smooth surface of the black sea reflected the lights of the boats. The flickering show of lights was as if made for the little children who were still charmed with luminous things. The ones who just woke up came out of their houses on rafts to witness the spectacle. There in the black water, they touched the reflected glowing fire. There in the water, they changed the course and shape of the burning light when they tried to catch it with their hands. There in the water, they saw a threshold for a world that was not theirs, a mirage they would wish to dive.

That dawn, in a village beside the sea, a loud bellow of a baby was heard. Her wails were so strong it woke up the nearby houses. Seraya was the name that waited for her, a name long treasure by her mother, Agata. Her hands were clutched like a young mango fruit. And her small feet kept thrashing in the air. The deities above heard the people after all.

Continue reading Seraya of the Sky (Part 1 of 3)