Sa Mata ng Manlalakbay

Poetry by | June 28, 2021

Kinukumutan ng mga ulap ang kabundukan
Gumagalaw na sa parang ang magsasaka
Matatayog ang mga punong sumasaludo sa pagsikat ng araw
Dahan-dahang minumulat ng kalikasan ang pusong dayuhan sa ganda ng lupang tinubuan

Sa isang poso, masayang naliligo ang mga mama
Tanging saplot ay mga korto,
mga ulo’y nababalot sa bula

Sa mga kabundukan, matagal ng nakatago
ang mga gintong aral
Pilit inuungkat ng diwa ang maririkit na alaala

Hayaan na munang ang damdamin ay maglakbay
Hayaan na munang sukatin ng mga mata ang haba ng bughaw na langit
Hayaan na munang sukatin ng musika ang layo ng iyong destinasyon

Minsan lang dalawin ng tula ang iyong diwa
Huwag ibulong sa hangin ang mga salita
Iukit sa pahina ang mga dasal
Habang ikaw ay patungo
sa may dakong walang kasiguraduhan.


Rhealyn Callao Pojas is a writer based in Davao City.

Bagyo

Poetry by | June 28, 2021

Ilang mga hapon na ring humahagulgol ang kalangitan.
Nilalamon ng mga halamang uhaw
ang bawat buhos
hanggang sa mapatid at maubo sa dami.

Nakatingin lamang ako.

Ninanamnam ang mababagsik na patak
at malalamig na pag-ihip.
Hawak-hawak ang mainit na tasa ng tsaa. Kasabay nang bawat paghigop
ay ang pangungulila
sa misteryong hindi mapagtanto.

Napatingin sa Mama ko.
Pag-ibig ang nasilayan.

Mahinang nag-uusap sina Papa at Lola.
Pag-ibig ang narinig.

Napalilibutan ako ng pagmamahal.
Isang uri na kailanma’y hindi mababayaran. Sa kahit anong paraa’y hindi matutumbasan.

Nabubuhay ako sa pagmamahal.
Nilalanghap at dinadanas sa araw-araw.
Mula sa simula
at sa darating
na huling pagsilip ng liwanag.

Subalit

Tila inaasam pa rin
ang ‘di mawaring
matalik na misteryo.

Siguro’y hihintayin na lamang—
paglipas nitong bagyo.


Si Eric Michael ay nagsusulat mula sa pagitan ng liwanag at kadiliman ng Iligan.

 

 

Kasalanan Ka Man sa Mata ng Iba

Poetry by | June 28, 2021

Anak? Ako magkaka-anak?
Hindi, hindi!
Isang malaking kasalanan, isang malaking kamalian.

Kailan? Kailan ba nagsimula?
Ah, oo nga pala!
Isang gabi, puno ng kalungkutan ngunit dala niya’y kasiyahan.

Sino? Sinong ama?
Siya, siya ang ama!
Isang duwag na nang-iwan sa gitna ng gulong kinahantungan.

Sino? Sinong tatanggap?
Sa iyo, sa ating dalawa!
Isang malaking unos tingin ko’y di kayang lampasan.

Kasalanan, ikaw nga ba?
Ah, tayong dalawa!
Isang kahihiyan sa pamilyang matagal nang hindi natin nararamdaman.

Iyak, bakit ka umiiyak?
Malupit, oo malupit!
Isang mundong handa kang husgahan ngunit mailap kung magmahal.

Anak, kasalanan ka man sa mata ng iba,
Sa akin isa kang biyaya.
Wala mang sagot sa mga tanong di na bale basta nandyan ka.

Kasalanan ka man sa mata ng iba,
Anak sana ay magmahal ka.
Maging matapang ka, maging busilak ang kalooban.

Anak? Ako magkaka-anak?
Oo, oo!
Isang malaking biyaya, isang malaking kasiyahan.


Princess Nel-Ann Olo is a language graduate passionate about studying language, reading, and writing. She is from North Cotabato but is now living in Davao City and works as an educator.

Kalinaw

Poetry by | June 28, 2021

Chant: Dyandi……

Dali na, Maghugpong kita magpadayon
Dali na, Tinuod nga kalinaw pandayon

Nisubang na ang adlaw
Nitalidhay ang bangaw
Misilip sa bukid

Gasa nga bidlisiw
Nihalok sa tanaman’
Bahandi alang sa tanan

Chorus:
Lihok katawhan
Uswag Mindanawon
Gugma’g panaghugpong
Makigbisog, padayon
Lihok katawhan
Uswag Mindanawon
Gugma’g panaghugpong
Tinuod nga kalinaw pandayon…

Chant: Dyandi……

Bag-uhon ang kahimtang
Itanom ang binhi sa kagawasan
Ibayaw sa langit ug yuta
Kaangayan tinubdan sa kalinaw
Kaangayan tinubdan sa kalinaw
Kaangayan tinubdan sa kalinaw
Kaangayan tinubdan sa kalinaw

 

Dali na, Maghugpong kita magpadayon
Dali na , Tinuod nga kalinaw pandayon

Nisubang na ang adlaw
Nitalidhay ang bangaw
Misilip sa bukid

Gasa nga bidlisiw
Nihalok sa tanaman’
Bahandi alang sa tanan

Chorus:

Lihok katawhan
Uswag Mindanawon
Gugma’g panaghugpong
Makigbisog, padayon
Lihok katawhan
Uswag Mindanawon
Gugma’g panaghugpong
Makigbisog, padayon
Lihok katawhan
Uswag Mindanawon
Gugma’g panaghugpong
Makigbisog, padayon
Lihok katawhan
Uswag Mindanawon
Gugma’g panaghugpong
Tinuod nga kalinaw pandayon…

Coda:

Kaangayan tinubdan sa kalinaw
Kaangayan tinubdan sa kalinaw
Kaangayan tinubdan sa kalinaw
Kaangayan tinubdan sa kalinaw


Neil Cervantes is from Tagum City. He is a writer and a musician and promoting drum culture. He won 2nd place in Tunog Mindanao 2013

Miaging Semana

Poetry by | June 28, 2021

Mahinumduman nako nga kanunay kang nagabagulbol
Nga atong katre daw sige na lang og kuyos sa kaguot
Kada gabii nga moplastar ka sa akong kiliran

Unya matod pa nimo akong mga hagok sama na
Sa tingog sa dakong barko nga padulong modunggo sa Sasa Port
Ug kasagaran maabtan na lang ka og kaadlawon
Bag-o makapiyong

Nga akong mga ilok kanunay nanimahong inun-unan
Bisan unsa pa nako kadugay og hugas ug lugod
Bag-o ko motupad nimo

Unya matag gabii na lang nato lalisan akong mga saag nga bungot
Nga maskin kada adlaw nako ginabarbas pirmi gayod motapot
Sa imong abaga ug mogitik nimo ngadto sa pagkaigmat

Ug matod pa nimo nga ang mga tiil-tiil sa atong katre
Wala damha kalit nagakurog unya bation ka og panglipong
Ug daw kasukaon basta magsugod na sila og kiling sa walay tunong

Apan mahinumduman sab nako ang mga panahon
Miaging bulan kadtong wala pa ka nagmabdos
Nga atong katre usa ka bangka nga naglutaw sa dagat
Ug ginalabyog-labyog sa mga balod ngadto diri

 


Paolo Andreo M. Sandalo is very much into music, food, pop culture, cooking and his wife, Taps. He just became a fan of Twice but is not planning to be alcohol-free anytime soon.

Buhay Frontliner

Fiction by | June 14, 2021

The night was silent. Dead. Sad. Only the echo of Mang Kaloy’s tired footsteps could be heard as he was walking down the narrow alley leading to their house. But it wasn’t a house. It was a space – one as small as a room put together by wood planks for a bit of “privacy”. It wasn’t enough for one person let alone two more. His wife and child were sleeping peacefully, sharing one pillow on an almost worn-out mattress stolen from a nearby dumpsite of a high-end subdivision. Judging from the loudness of their snores, it was evident they didn’t care. Or perhaps they were just used to it.

Mang Kaloy’s weary body yearned to just lay down and sleep beside his wife but he knows he can’t. Not yet. He still needed to take a bath and disinfect his body from walking around so as to not compromise his family’s health. From the hospital, he had to walk about 4 kilometers for a free shuttle that stops 15 minutes away from where he lives.

As he was taking a bath in the communal bathroom, he remembered the pale face of the last patient he had to bring down to the morgue. She died with her eyes wide open gasping for breath. Even if the doctors closed her eyes not that long after declaring the time of death, her face was still etched in Mang Kaloy’s mind. The way her pupils dilate, staring into nothing but something at the same time. The way she released her last breath as if releasing the last trace of life from her body. It was the 14th death that day and the 7th woman. As Mang Kaloy was putting on clothes for sleep, he thought of the finality of death, how it spares no one but sometimes has its favorite. And more often than not, it preys on the poor.

After taking his place next to his wife, Mang Kaloy’s body begged him to sleep but he couldn’t. He couldn’t stop thinking about how the lockdown due to the pandemic was a curse that took it’s toll on the working class. How thousands of people lost their jobs or were layed off due to budget cuts. How numerous local businesses had to close because they couldn’t keep up with the bills. How families resort to sleeping on the streets because they were evicted from where they live. Yet even with all that, people with money, the rich, still think it’s a blessing because they have all the time in the world to do what they want.

Just thinking of how they could eat more than three meals a day and having a nice bed to sleep in angered Mang Kaloy. It wasn’t fair. It wasn’t fair how these people have the choice on what to consume when his family struggled to find food to eat at least twice a day. It wasn’t fair how these people could afford to have 2 or more cars when he had to walk under the sun just to avail the free shuttle to get to work. It wasn’t fair how they have gadgets more than their hands could hold when he couldn’t buy his son a simple android phone for his online class.

He looked at Junjun with tears in his eyes dreading to see the sad look on his son’s face when he tells him he had to stop studying. Because of the pandemic, his wife was layed off from work. Leaving him to pay for everything even though his salary wasn’t enough. Mang Kaloy never dreamed of becoming rich. He simply wanted enough for his family not just to survive but to live too.

This was Mang Kaloy’s last thoughts before finally drifting off to a dreamless sleep only to be woken up by his alarm hours later. As usual, he didn’t get enough sleep but he had to work.

It took him about 2 hours to get to the hospital. Over an hour late, again.

“Naku, Mang Kaloy, late nanaman ho kayo. Sabi ni Boss last niyo na daw yung kahapon”, Joseph, St. Peter General Hospital’s day shift security guard greeted as Mang Kaloy enters the lobby.

“Oo nga, Sep, eh. Kaso hirap talaga makasakay lalo na’t agawan yung free shuttle sa may amin”.

“Good luck nalang po, Mang Kaloy. Sana good mood si Boss ngayon.”

Mang Kaloy responded with a half-smile. He was trying to control his nerves because deep down, he knew this is it. He knew he was going to get fired. He could feel it. Fisting his hand, he knocked on his boss’ door.

“Gandang uma-”

“Wag na ho, Mang Kaloy. ‘Di na po kailangan. Tanggal na ho kayo sa trabaho”, His boss cut him off even before he could finish his greeting.

“Pero Sir-”

“Sorry talaga, Mang Kaloy. Sa gitna ng pandemya, kailangan ho talaga namin kayong mga maintainance. Yung ilang oras na late niyo, andami po kasing nasasagasaan. Yung mga kasama niyo sila yung nag co-cover ng shift niyo kapag wala pa kayo. Hindi na kasi tama yung ganoon.”

“Sir, maawa ho kayo. Natanggalan rin po ng trabaho asawa ko, wala na po kami halos makain. Yung anak ko po ‘di na po makapag aral kasi wala na po kaming pera. Itong trabahong ‘to nalang po talaga bumubuhay sa amin”, Mang Kaloy was on the verge of tears explaining. He couldn’t lose his job. Not now. Not when everything else is falling apart.

“May nahanap na ho akong kapalit niyo, Mang Kaloy. Mas bata din sa inyo. Mas marami pang mabuhat at magawa”.

Defeated and knowing he couldn’t do anything else, Mang Kaloy stood up and nodded at his boss in acknowledgement. He turned to leave the room, reaching for the doorknob and closing it shut.

Walking towards the exit, he took out his old keypad phone and texted his wife the news. Realizing that his wife probably didn’t have any load, He decided to call her. She answered after the first ring.

“Bat ka tinanggal? Jusko hindi ba nila alam naghihirap ang mga tao ngayon? Pano na tayo, Loy? Pano na ang pagkain natin? Pano tayo mabubuhay nito? Wala pa rin akong mahanap na trabaho hanggang ngayon. Kahapon pa ang huling kain natin. Pano na si Junjun? Di ko na kaya to. Hindi ko na talaga kaya, Loy.”

His wife ended the call even before he could talk. He decided to call again but he didn’t have enough load anymore. By foot, the distance from the hospital to their house was a good 6 hours. He dreaded it but it wasn’t like he had any other choice. The free shuttle only had two service times. One in the morning and another at night. With an empty stomach under the glaring sun, Mang Kaloy started his walk.

It was almost 5:00 in the afternoon when he reached his place. As he opened the door, he saw that only Junjun was inside. Before he could ask his son where his mom was, an ear-piercing scream tore through the room. Alarmed, he looked at Junjun and told him to stay put.

Outside, people were crowding near the communal bathroom. As he was walking towards the crowd, he could hear bits and pieces of their whispers.

Babae.

Bigti.

Hirap ng buhay.

Hindi na kinaya.

Suddenly his eyes went wide.

No, no, no, no, no, no.

He pushed through people to get closer to the front only to see his wife’s lifeless body on the bathroom floor with a noose wrapped around her neck. Mang Kaloy couldn’t breathe. Air was stuck in his throat and he couldn’t swallow. He was shocked, frozen to his feet.

Before anyone could react, his knees gave out. He knelt next to his wife, bringing her body onto his lap and clutched it tight. For a minute, he didn’t move. He just held her. Savoring the last of her warmth.

And then he screamed.

 


Samantha Lucille Tancontian is from Davao City, studying BA English in UP Mindanao.

 

 

Hinaot Tanan

Poetry by | June 14, 2021

Hinaot unta

naay igong kahusay

ang tanan

 

Pareho sa tulo sa ulan

nga wa damha ang pagkatagak

niini sa yuta

 

Wala kini kalibutan

ug mawala kay mukuyog

siya sa panun sa tubig nga puhon

mupadong sa baybay

 

Sama pud sa kanunayong

Paghunghung sa hangin

sa imong nawong

 

Nga wa pud ka kamatikod

sa matag panamilit niini

 

Kay sa matag hapak niya

sa imong dunggan

ibilin niya ang saad

nga mubalik siya

 

Mao ra pud ni ang iyang

Kanunayng bugtong pasalig

 

Hinumdumi ang matag hikap

sa adlaw kay wala pud ni niya tuyua

gapasabot ra nga amdam siya

muatiman kanimo

Kay gihimaya siya sa tanang

iyang nagunitan

 

Ang kahusay sa ilang lihok ug gama,

Way laing babag sa pagbuhat sa ilang gusto

Kay kani maoy bagad na sa kung unsa sila

Ug kini ang ilang kagawasan

 

Kagawasang lampingas sa mga tinguha

Kagawasang walay gipiling kondisyon

Kagawasang maoy sumbanan sa tanang

matang sa kagawasan

 


John Ferdinand Torralba is Web developer from Davao City.

Alang Kang Matet Nga Tagakaulo

Poetry by | June 14, 2021

(ang “kolu”mao ang “watershed” sa sinultian sa mga Tagakaulo)

ikaw Matet ang kolu.

ang imong panlantaw
sa inyong pagkatawo
sama sa katin-aw
ning tubig sa suba

labaw nga mulutaw
ang kaanyag
sa pinalanggang kultura
ug kaanindot
sa kaagi sa mga Tagakaulo

ang imong pagbarog
maoy punuan
dili daling matay-og;
mga ugat nga
hugot ang pangupot
sa yutang natawhan.

imong espiritu
daw ning huyuhuy
nanghapuhap

dala mo
ang gininhawa
sa mga katigulangan
duyog maoy kalinaw.

ikaw, Matet
ang kolu.

tinubdan
sa kinabuhi.


Krishna Mie is a social science teacher and a visual arts hobbyist. She also writes from time to time to find solace and solitude.