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.

i held you at gunpoint

Poetry by | July 28, 2019

we are soldiers, right?
comrades, always there for each other

no one was watching us, right?
it was just you and me in the middle of the night

you said it would be quick, right?
your words were sweating behind my ears

you started leaning closer, right?
a little closer, a little closer

our lips touched for the first time, right?
those crusty, salty peaches bursting with flavor

i tasted your tongue, right?
it simmered with saliva, marinated in alcohol

your hands were all over me, right?
down my hair to my jaw to my neck to my

we peeled off our uniforms, right?
our clothes like shed skin, sinking to the floor

you pressed your chest against mine, right?
the warmth of your touch sent ripples down my spine

your hands slid beneath my trousers, right?
slowly unsheathing the loaded pistol

i held you at gunpoint, right?
you pulled the trigger inside your mouth

but we said we wanted this, right?
heavy breaths as white blood dripped on my skin

we are comrades, right?
tomorrow will just be another day

Julio Jacinto lives in Davao del Sur.


Nonfiction by | July 28, 2019

Ilang buwan ring busy-busyhan ang Fiona. Matapos kasi ang ilang linggong pagka-ospital ng nanay niya, inuwi nila ito sa bahay. Comatose pa rin. At ang Fiona ang nasa frontline ng pag-aalaga.

“Takot kasi sila magpakain,” sabi nya.

Sa ospital pa lang kasi, nasanay na si Fiona sa pag-aalaga sa kanyang ina.

“Kapag may parang kumukulo sa tiyan nya, ibig sabihin non nakarating ang food na dinaan sa tubo,” sabi nya.

Sya rin ang taga-linis ng lahat ng dumi, taga-tanggal ng laway, taga-punas, taga-bihis, taga-paypay.

At dahil di na nga kami gaanong nagkikita dahil minsan na lang itong umuwi ng bahay, hanggang text na lang kami.

“Kabado na ako, parang this is the moment na talaga,” text nya sa akin kagabi.

Di ko alam kung paano magreply.

“Pero ready na ako. Nakakaawa na talaga sya. Anlalaki na ng mga sugat sa likod. Kita na ang spine,” dagdag na text nya.

“Antay na lang tayo sa tamang oras,” tanging nasagot ko sa kanya.

Kaninang alas nueve ng umaga, nagtext ang Fiona ng: “Wala na si Moda.”

Continue reading Moda

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
davaowritersworkshop@gmail.com 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 davaowritersworkshop@gmail.com.

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


Poetry by | July 14, 2019

Kung katahimikan ang nangungusap
sa iyo, buong-buong katahimikan,
ano ang naririnig ng mga butáng na nakahinto
na pumipintig mula sa kaniyang mga labi?
Walang salita ang bisperas ng nagwawalang buwan
kahit ito ay kakainin
ng Minokawa,
kahit nagmamartsa ang mga aninipot
sa hangin at naghahalo
ang kanilang sulô
ay walang salita ang maririnig
mula sa kaniya na umuupo
sa umuugod-ugod na salumpo.
Walang salita ang maririnig
sa kumukunot niyang labi
kahit sasapit ang pagbukas
ng pista ng mga santo
na hihimok sa kaniyang kaluluwa na manalangin
para maligtas sa kalayo
at walang hanggang pagdusa.
Ngunit, kay sakit isipin dahil sakit ang nagpapatikom sa kaniyang
mga labi. Banayad na hangin
ang tanging dumadapya
mula sa nakatutok na bentilador,
at isang radyo na gumagaralgal. Binabalot siya
ng kumot ng hapis habang nakatanday
ang kaniyang ulo sa unan
ng luha at hikbi.
Kahit ang paligid walang kaimik-imik, tanging
mata ang umiikot sa bubungan
at sawaling dingding.
Naaalala kong muli ang bána
niya noong daliri na lang
ang bumubulong habang
nakaratay sa higaan. Walang tinig kahit minokawa at osuang
ang kukuha sa kaniya.

Anong pulos nitong nasasaksihan
kong pagkaratay na inuulit
ng panahon sa mga tagpong
walang natutuhan.
Bawat pagbukas ng mga mata
tuwing umaga ay bumabanaag ito.
Habang ang matandang nilalang
ay bumabalik sa kaniyang kabataan,
namamaluktot ang katawan,
hindi gaano naaaninag ang paligid
na parang sanggol sa sinapupunan,
habang tumitiklop ang mga tuhod
ay umaamin, nagsasaksi
ito sa kaniyang sariling nagawa, kung bakit
hindi niya pinakilala ang tunay kong ama.
Tungod doon, nilamon ako
ng huklubang kahihiyan
na parang tutuldukan ko na lang
ang aking búkas. Kayâ para akong tabako
na nauupos sa kirot ngayon, humuhulagpos
na rin ang lakás.

Adrian Pete Pregonir is a Senior High School student from South Cotabato. His works appeared in the Cotabato Literary Journal, Liwayway Magazine, and Pundok Katitikan. He is a fellow for at during the Davao Writers Workshop 2018.