Hide Me till I’m Ready to Come Out

Nonfiction by | January 16, 2023

I was reluctantly headed towards the gate of my condo with the intent of going to a nearby supermarket under the heat of the blazing four o’clock sun. I decided on wearing a bright teal colored hoodie that day, paired with my baggy pajama pants, and my go-to sneakers that apparently hadn’t been cleaned from my last escapade. “No one will probably call you out for your footwear anyway,” my nonchalant inner voice advised.

The request was definitely sudden but wasn’t that unexpected seeing as my mom’s belly had been looking more and more like a watermelon each passing day. Anyone could tell that she was about to give birth this month or even the next and that obviously meant it was time for the only other person at home to step up and become the other adult in the house. This was my moment. My time for maturity had come.

“Feels like the sky’s glaring on me today,” a random thought came as grey clouds were suddenly starting to form from above.

I had prepared for every eventuality that I might come across for this sudden mission. I had my pink sling bag stuffed with everything, literally everything from my QR card, credit card, vaccination card, ID card—you get the picture. 

Shopping for groceries may be a normal thing for anyone at the age of eighteen, or even younger, but for a sheltered only child for most of my life, it honestly felt like entering society with a “stare at me” sign taped on my forehead, specifically printed in bold and all caps. If you couldn’t tell that this long ranting monologue was proof of my nervousness, then the sweat dripping down my forehead was definitely a sign. Or it could just be the sun.

Getting out of my thoughts, I made my way through the narrow sidewalk while putting on a pair of knockoff AirPods, now listening to a random song I clicked from my BTS playlist. In times like this, a good jamming session from your favorite band is best for calming nerves. I didn’t get to finish the song, though, since it didn’t actually take a full minute for me to reach my dreaded destination, unfortunately. 

With only being a few inches away from the entrance, I could actually feel my anxiety steadily surfacing on my prepared and calm exterior from moments ago. Between me and the entrance, there were merely two steps of stairs that I had to cross. Easy, right? “More like crossing the Korean DMZ” is what actually came to mind.

I took the leap in, but now came the harder part: shopping to get out.

I wanted to end this trip as fast as possible. I quickly navigated my way through the path of consumers that made this very small grocery store even smaller. I only had a few things on the list that my mom gave me to shop for: a few canned goods, alcohol (the safe kind), hand soap, laundry detergent, food, a broom, a rag, and a few other things. Basically, if you need it at your home, that’s what I’m buying.

After a few minutes of roaming around the store, squeezing my way through people in crowded aisles including their unattended shopping carts that frustratingly blocked the wider paths, I still managed to find most of the things on my list. I suddenly missed my life before I took a step out of my home, the safety of being indoors, relying on foodpanda whenever we got lazy to cook at home, not being surrounded by people who were most likely judging your pajama-like outfit. Deciding to stop the rambling, I just carried on living in reality rather than wishing to be in the fantasy. By then I was almost done with my list.

I only had two items left, the broom and the rag. I struggled the most to find these since despite being in a store that made you feel claustrophobic, I found out there were actually a lot of areas where needed items could be hidden. The meek extrovert in me needed to come out by now, it was getting late and I couldn’t handle the place anymore, so I mustered up the courage and just asked a nearby saleslady at the aisle where on earth the broom and the rag were.

Coincidentally, both were literally at the aisle behind the one I was in. That lady must be laughing deep down at the situation I was in. She was just focused on her job, though, minding her own business after the help.

Now back to my situation, the items were placed at the very back of the store and you’d have to worm your way in just to get them, and I did just that. I won’t lie to you and say that it was a pleasant experience, especially since I had to put myself in and out of there twice to get both separately. Gotta admit I might have silently yelled my profanities at the time, low-key regretting all the take out I had while being a subterranean and lacking the communication skills to ask help from that saleslady earlier. Couldn’t do much about it now, the only thing left was to finally pay and leave the store. I made my way through the counter.

“Your credit card isn’t working, ma’am,” the cashier in front of me mentioned out of the blue.

I had no cash except for twenty pesos in my wallet that could only cough up flies, my mom wasn’t with me to help with the situation, she didn’t reply to my texts either, there were several people behind me waiting for their turn while I was holding the line up front—you couldn’t see it, but I was definitely panicking. I instantly wanted to go back to that broom aisle and hide, just like I always had at home. Well, I wasn’t at home, I was here in trouble, in the real world.

I was now headed towards the gate of my condo, bag of groceries in hand, and it was extremely heavy. I finally made it back to our unit, and my mom welcomed me for a successful trip. She asked me how it went and I really told her everything that happened, the claustrophobic atmosphere, asking for help, even the credit card problem. She asked me what you’re probably wondering.

“How did it end?” she asked.

“I tried it again,” I replied.

That answer somehow became a very important lesson. One will never be completely prepared for what life throws at you. The nervousness and anxiousness one has is a normal feeling, and trying over and over again is what matters. We shouldn’t stop ourselves from facing reality or society just because we aren’t ready. Rather, we try to emerge and face our insecurities. And that’s when we know we are truly ready—when we come out.

Fionin Maer Tagimacruz is currently taking up BS in Psychology and has always had a soft spot for all things fiction. She takes inspiration for her literary pieces from everything around her since her youth, spending hours indoors reading fantasy novels and watching sitcoms.


About Water

Poetry by | January 16, 2023

A poem about water would tell of
shallow ponds, silent lakes flooded with
rain from rivers. I will tell you about
the stream flowing the wrong way, the brook
babbling up the wrong hill. Perhaps the
wave cresting on the shoreline, dying
far out at sea. The roaring waterfall of
rising water, its plunge pool a shallow puddle.
They will never tell you what they long for,
the reasons why they rebel: the stream is driven by
an undercurrent of disbelief. It curses its mother,
blames its doubt on the kind mountain spring.
The brook, tactless in its climb, remains
ignorant. Its arrogance is the dam that swells
hubris. It sees its shallow sediment from
the height of roaring floodwater. The wave is
discontent. It hurries from dull sand grains for
greed, searching for gold in the wrong sea.
The waterfall, a water rise. It aims high while
wishful. Always unsatisfied, losing itself in
the heights it aspires to. These waters have
Forgotten to remember. Will you?

Jerson Randell Francisco is a Grade 12 HUMSS student at Davao Christian High School V. Mapa Campus, Davao City.



Fiction by | January 9, 2023

There were twenty computers inside SKY 91, wedged in the form of letter E. Toto occupied number eleven, filling a row of cubicles. The words appeared on Toto’s monitor: “I’m Faith. What’s yours? ASL?”

He had chatted few of the girls. There was Maria, twenty-years of age, who liked to go scuba diving. There was Gretch, who was interested in meeting him in exchange for cellphone cards. But none of them sustained the exchange of information. He was hoping to look for another one, someone beautiful and witty, and there he found Faith.

He hadn’t seen Karla for about a week. He had tried to give her gifts, bringing her in secret places to make love. But she had been testy and moody. It had begun after they made love. Toto told her something that made her cry. They both agreed to cool off for a while, to give her space and time, as what she had asked from him.

Toto typed: “Toto, 25, M, Cebu. And you?”

Then on the screen appeared: “I’m 29, Davao.”

They shared information about themselves. Occupations, the schools they’d been, hobbies, email adds. He had already been sitting there for hours when his feet felt numb. He stood up to give the attendant the stub, then paid for the fee.

He stood there at the pavement, looking for a cigarette vendor. There was none. He walked the sidewalks with other passers-by. It was around six in the evening and he could hear horns of vehicles beeping loudly on the traffic. Gray smoke filled the air.

He felt lonely for a while. He didn’t know where to go. He took out his Nokia 3310 from his jeans pocket and checked if somebody had texted him. He had texted his classmates and friends, but there wasn’t any reply. Maybe they had been busy with their girlfriends or maybe they hadn’t received his messages, or maybe they had run out of load. The money left in his pocket was just a few coins.

He thought of Karla. Where could she be? Was she at home? Was she drinking with her friends? He wanted to text her, but he hesitated. Maybe if she had enough space and time, she’d come back to him. He was optimistic. He knew she loved him as much as he loved her. But his ego was confusing him. He wouldn’t try to make up with her just because he was lonely and alone.

He came across a cigarette vendor and bought a stick. He lit it with the match. Some moments he found a jeepney bounded for home. He threw away the cigarette and mounted up.

The next morning he had until ten o’clock to finish his breakfast. He had no roommate. His apartment was the only one standing bleak at one of the buildings at Colon Street. He ate by himself on the table inside his room.

He had been already dressed for an errand. Black shirt tucked inside his blue jeans. Black Reebok running shoes he had bought in an ukay-ukay in Carbon. He groomed his hair with a gel, gleaming as if a cow had licked it. He ran out of food he had stored on the landlady’s fridge. Sometimes the landlady would be nice enough to offer him humba or pancit. When he finished his breakfast he was yet again ready for another day.

He was thinking about Faith. He wondered if she was beautiful. He had thought of opening his email to check if she had sent him pictures of her. He decided to go to the Internet café first before buying groceries.

He felt displeased when he went out the streets. The scorching heat of the sun hurt his eyes and burned his pale skin. He didn’t like it as he had always treated his skin with great care. Sometimes he would put sunscreen on his face, his arms, and the back of his neck.

He reached SKY 91. He came in through the glass door. There were only a few people on the seats. Good, he thought. So he could concentrate and not be disturbed by noisy kids playing video games.

As soon as the attendant gave him the stub, he immediately clicked the E icon that says “Internet Explorer.” He had to be quick. He had only one hour to surf the Net. He opened his email and there he found pictures of Faith. He can only saw her face down her tummy. She was pretty, he thought. She had chinita eyes, teeth as white as a pearl, revealing two little pits in both sides of her cheeks, although the skin of her face was a little bit sagged, which he didn’t like. She looked like no less than 30 years old. She had large breasts that bulged on her tight gray shirt. From the background she seemed to be in the United States, although she definitely looked Filipina. He decided to send him pictures too. Pictures he had scanned some months ago, pictures from his school’s acquaintance party. Her letter read:

Hi Toto. It’s been nice chatting with you yesterday. I find you’re a good man. I hope we could still get to know each other well enough to meet someday. I think you’re not the kind of man whom I can’t trust. Here are my pictures you have asked. Hope you’ll like them. 

Hope to hear from you soon. Good wishes.

Your New Friend,

They shared more information about themselves, letters, pictures. Sometimes they would send funny texts, some beautiful and inspiring quotes. He knew they were getting along with each other. He knew that she could be his girlfriend someday.

One day they decided to chat again on the Net. It was half hour past nine when Toto was once again sitting in front of the monitor.

They were chatting for about an hour when Toto opened his e-mail. He saw a new message. The message was from Faith. Attached were jpeg files. He clicked to view them. He was startled. The pictures showed she was sitting on a wheelchair. The rest of them showed she was sitting on the bed and nothing where her legs were supposed to be. He came back to the chat room and typed: “Faith, I’ve just received your pictures and I am surprised. Is this you?”

She responded: “Yes. That’s me. I am handicapped. I have no legs. I didn’t tell you because it might be the reason you won’t keep in touch with me anymore. Now I reveal it all to you. Does it bother you?”

Toto couldn’t type a word. He was still looking at her pictures. She really had no legs. He was disappointed. He hadn’t expected this. 

Then after a while he typed: “Why did you lie to me? I can’t believe this. Why did you make it so long for me to wait?” He paused for a moment. He hesitated to press the Enter key. He didn’t want to hurt her feelings. He was confused. He deleted all that, and typed: “I’m sorry. I didn’t know. No. No. It doesn’t bother me at all. Nothing changed. There’s nothing to be ashamed of.” Then he pressed the Enter key.

For a while there was no reply. He waited for some moments. No reply.

After a minute he typed: “Faith, are you there?” Still no reply. He typed: “That’s perfectly fine with me, Faith. I still like you.”

But still there wasn’t any reply.

He was immobile. His hands were numb. He felt a pain in the stomach. He had regrets. She might have been gone before he could reply. She might have been gone because he had taken a long time to reply after she revealed everything. He was ashamed. He was contrite. He didn’t know what to do. In a second he was informed by the attendant that his time was up. 

He stood up.

Thereafter his cell phone rang, and he answered it.


“I called to say goodbye.”


“I’m sorry. I made up my mind. It didn’t work out, and I think it never will.”

“Oh, please don’t tell me this over the phone, Karla. I need to see you.”

“It’s over. I’m sorry. Goodbye.”

He tried to call her back, but she was out of reach. He dialed again, and again, and again. 

But she was gone.

Honesto Avellanosa III is a 48-year-old guy who makes content for his YouTube channel Cebu and Davao Journey. He used to be a musician.



Poetry by | December 19, 2022

Lonely writer in the dark;
Sipping sorrows with my damaged heart.
To you I plea, to you I stand,
to test the time and toughness of this land.

Though my soul wails
As your presence set sails;
And my dignity scattered like entrails,
As I continue to flee from their blackmails;

I will remember you,
And your silhouette so stark;
burn our memories, as onto a cd that’s new;
even though the chance to be back with you is too damp for a spark.

Can you fathom, sentient being, that I love you?
Your smile fleeting as fast as the wind;
Do you feel the flame that resides in my heart,
Or the seething anger from my lips when you are scarred?

Darling daughter, does death daunt thee?
For the forest is fruitful with fleeting fickle flesh;
The living, the lost, the forsaken, lies low in loneliness;
Beneath the burrowed sand, brown; and the weather breezy;

Sing with me, under the star-studded sky by the sea;
Embrace me, as my lips kiss the flask of tears,
With which my weary wistful weeping has decided to win;
Where later, snow stays on top of cars and counters and streetlights.

A friend or foe, a fiery fiend,
Has life always been this unpreened?
The raging wind within me screams;
The impatient roar of unspilled whims;

What have I done, I beg for pardon of my actions uncouth;
Yet stubbornly, still I fathom,
The sting of death that came from your mouth,
So instead of reality digging daggers with words,
I’d rather you pushed me down a chasm.

What more is left for a stranger;
Whose whole being was left with a crater?
Why can’t they let us sit with ease,
Storms have built up with no release!

And paradise couldn’t be any nearer;
Or so I thought when I looked in the mirror;
Thoughts of precipitation still linger;
But would they forgive me, a sinner…

Amidst the unrest,
The untangle pieces I couldn’t digest;
Was all a happy ending, water and grease?
I finally ask as I grieve to my knees.


Lorri Anne Morren T. Muyco who is a Grade 12 student from Davao City. The poem was inspired by the Exhibit, ‘Poetry & Prose’ held at La Herencia, Davao on November 13-30, 2022 The Exhibit has an open call for everyone who would, like to write a reflective output. This is the winning entry. Here you see the work of the painter.

Pakig-unong ug Pag-ampo sa Kasubo

Poetry by | December 19, 2022

Unong ug pangaliya sa kasubo

         sa kamatayon sa mahigugmaong kadugo

         sa gisalikway ug giluibang putling gugma

         sa gilipotang tiunayng higala

         sa pagkawagtang sa gihagoang patigayon

         sa pagpapas sa maalagarong pagpanilbi

         sa pagdagsa sa makapahisalaag nga mga kabag-ohan

Ang kalangitan ug kawanangan

         nalukop sa kangitngit

         kay gitabilan sa dagtomg dag-om

         nga nagpabunok og galusok nga mga luha

         aron mobasbas ug mobanlas sa pagkaylap

         sa kahulaw ug kahaw-ang nga kahimtang

         sa mga nadutlang lumulupyo sa kalibotan

Ang hanging galaposlapos sa paglabay-suroy

         nagbiyobiyo sa paghaguros ug paghampas

         aron abugon [tayhopan] ang malas ug pasutuyon ang mga tunglo

         ug panghimaraot samtang di makaturok ug makagamot

         sa mga kahiladman ug kasingkasing sa mga nawad-an ug nasamdan

         ug hinuon sila mahulipan sa kahupayan ug paglaom

         ipanghupaw ang pag-ampo nga mopatigbabaw ang kaayohan.

September 22, 2022

Elvi is a poet and Visual artist based in Davao City. He holds a Bachelor’s  degree in Philosophy, a masters degree in Theology, major in Pastoral Ministry both from Ateneo de Davao University.


Poetry by | December 19, 2022

Pag ang kamingaw mamukaw

Usahay makatugaw

Kahidlaw mapatumaw

Makapaalingasa kay di matagbaw

Makapatukaw ug makapulaw

Mahasol kag pangitag lingaw

Apan anaa pod kini gasa ug gahom

Maayong tubayan, sination ug dawaton

Kay makapugwat sa pagdumdom

Makadasig paghanduraw ug paghandom

Sa pinili ug ginahambin sa kahiladman

Namingawan, gikawilihan, di makalimtan.


Nobyembre 11, 2022



Elvi is a poet and Visual artist based in Davao City. He holds a Bachelor’s  degree in Philosophy, a masters degree in Theology, major in Pastoral Ministry both from Ateneo de Davao University.


Poetry by | December 19, 2022

Ang puti, ingnong ito, Galamhan kini

Nga nagasanting sa Kaalindanga;

Dughan daw sa gilimisan: Blangko.

Tanan hanap, lubog.

Deliryo sa kalag, karangot sa tutunlan

Apan sa Kaguton ba? Sa kauhaw ba?

HUlaw! Sa  tanlag? Nihit! Sa kalinaw?

Apan dile ba ang Katagbaw

Gipuyos na man sa kasing -kasing?

Apan ang Sukna: Hain?

Ania ra: nagalumlom diay ning Kahiladman!

Karon pa akosa Kaliban. Labaw gyog Kon

Sayop nga tinuyuan –

Kapalit  diay  sa subasko sa tanlag.

( Tawo nga nasaag sa dumalayong, dalan sa unahan?)

Deliryo! Mao diay kni: Ang puti, ingnong itom;

Ang kahayag tutokan nga lubos kangitngiit:

Apan unsa man diay  bulok nlng mga puthawng rehas?

Hain man lawaka ako karon sa kinabuhi?

Hanap na man god

Ag tanan. Nagkalayo. Nagkalayo



Si Marcelo Arañas Geocallo, tigtakoban usahay sa mga dagangalang Geronimo A. Molave, Juanario Diez Saez, Ram G. Sañara  ug uban pa. Usa ka magsusugilanon, magbabalak, maggugumalaysay ug nobelista sa pinulonganag Binisayang Sugbuanon. Natawo Enero, 1940 sa San Fernando Sugbo apan sayong mitapon sa Linamon, Davao del Norte. Ubay-ubay ang mga pasidungog ang iyang nadawat sa natad sa panuwat. Sa basahong “A survey and Bio-Bibliography” ni Resil B. Mojares, si Geocallo usa sa nahiapil sa nahisgotang kaping gatos ka importanteng Sugboanong magsusulat. Kining iyang balak unang napatik sa Bisaya Magazine, tuig 1967. (Source: https://ceb.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcelo_A._Geocallo)


Poetry by | November 28, 2022

Excited na ako maging abo.
Pag huyupan ako ni God
Maka abot ako sa langit
Pag mag aksyon ulan
Suyupin ako ng ulap
Ibuhos ako sa dagat
Malunod ako sa balas
Kainin ng swaki
Ang swaki harbisin ng Badjao
Ibenta sa foreigner
Masarapan siya mag supsup
Masarapan siya mag higop
mag bili pa siya ng madami
Ubusin niya lahat ng Swaki
Mag bring home pa siya
Ipansak sa icebox niya
pauwi sa Iceland
sa pinsan niya si Bjork
Sa wakas! ma hug ko na si Bjork.

Gi panganak si Gerald Castillo Galindez aka G!K noong nabungkag ang Berlin Wall at nabuo ang Eraserheads. Ang Klaro na Masyado: Poems in Kabacan and Tacurong Tagalog, 2020, Kasingkasing Press ang pinaka una niyang koleksyon ng mga tula at ang From Kabacan-Buluan-Tacurong, With Love, 2021, Bigkas Pilipinas Entertainment ang una niyang Spoken Word EP. Kasama ang tulang  “Swaki” sa bago niyang zine na may pamagat na Trench Lights and Other Poems.