The Multicolored Son

Fiction by | December 23, 2018

I remember the day I almost lost Jun-jun. I was in eight grade and longed for Tatay’s attention. At four in the morning, I got up before Jun-jun could sound the morning wake up call. I barely slept the night before, thinking of ways to get rid of him or at least get Tatay’s attention away from him. Jun-jun could not cook rice or boil the coffee, but it was me who always got called useless around the house.

On the second Sunday that June, I planned to give Tatay a new wallet I’d bought at Novo. I’d spent all the money I saved up that summer from selling a bunch of buko to Angkol Nono, a buko juice vendor in front of Central Plaza, for ten pesos each. Since I went to Isulan National High School, Tatay always got mad at me for waking up late. He blamed my addiction to mobile games that kept me up at night and threatened to confiscate my phone. He didn’t like it that he had to boil the water for the native coffee and cook rice every morning.

Roosters started crowing from a distance. I opened our front door, lifting the three locks carefully not to make a sound. I checked outside. The dawn was already breaking and I smelled the cool and damp breeze. My nose itched and the next thing I knew, I was sneezing like crazy. I couldn’t make out where Jun-jun was until I saw his long, red curvy tail atop the lower branch of our Mango tree. He flapped his multicolored wings, shook his tiny head, and crowed his mighty battle cry that echoed through our house. Other roosters from our neighbor followed suit.

I looked for the kettle as I wiped my nose using the front of my shirt. I filled the kettle with tap water and brought it to the stove to boil and put four spoonful of native coffee from Kulaman. I put the jars of coco sugar and cream on our dining table for Nanay and Tatay. My head started to ache from the allergic rhinitis so I needed coffee myself.

I got the pako that Nanay brought from the market last night out from the refrigerator while I waited for the coffee to boil. I was about to prepare the scrambled egg with ampalaya when I heard the door from my parents’ bedroom open. Tatay still looked groggy and his bushy eyebrows were already meeting at the middle. He woke up on the wrong side of the bed, I suppose.

Abaw. The señorito Toto is up early, ha,” he said in his hoarse voice. He went straight to the kitchen sink and drank water from the faucet using his hand. After that, he scrunched his nose. “Is that coffee?”

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Kon Dunay Pako ang Kamingaw

Poetry by | December 16, 2018

–Alang kang Harlene

Kon duna lang pako ang kamingaw
Paluparon ko kini nganha kanimo
Ipahunghong sa imung mga dunggan
Ang kamingaw nga gibati ning dughan ko

Kon duna lang pako ang kasakit
Hangyuon ko kini pagbiya sa akong kasingkasing
              bisan sa makadiyot
Tungod kay nasayod ko nga diri na kini mopuyo
Sa samad nga gibilin sa imung pagpanaw

Kon duna lang pako ang kalipay
Tultulan ko kini paingon sa imung kiliran
Tungod way sama kaanyag ang mga balud sa baybayon
Sa dihang anhi ka pa sa akong tuparan

Ug kon duna’y mga pako ang gugma
Suguon ko kini pagkab-ot sa mga bituon
Arun ipurong-purong sa maanyag
              mong pahiyom ug katawa
Akong balos sa pagtudlo mo kanako
              sa kahulugan sa tim-os nga pagpangga

Apan kining tanan walay mga pako
Busa luomon ko na lang kini sa akong dughan
Ug diha’y akong ukbon sa panahon nga kanimo mingawon

Apan ikaw, ikaw, duna ka na may mga pako
Palihug pagduaw kanako
bisan na lamang sa akong mga damgo
Arun masayran mo…
Ang kamingaw, kasakit, kalipay
ug gugmang gibati ning dughan ko

Kenneth John L. Flores is a senior high school teacher of Manuel S. Nasser Sr. NHS in San Isidro, Davao Oriental.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.