What Happened in El Mañana (Part 4)

Fiction by | February 26, 2023

When Bri hesitated to wear it, I hurriedly locked myself in the cubicle out of shame. A knock got me out of my thoughts. It was Joey.

“Thanks for the piss. Worked wonders.” Joey put out a thumbs up below the cubicle door as I tried to pace with my breathing. “And by the way, Bri is mad at you because she heard something, not because you’re here or anything like that.”

“Something?” I was curious.

“Something about you having a baby with another woman–” What did Joey just say– “and you walking away from it.”

“Where in the world did you hear that?” I asked.

“Her kababata told her,” Joey said as she dusted the sand off her palms.


“Yeah, Chris.” Joey went back to the kubo.

I was too taken aback by what I heard that it took me forever to walk back to the kubo. The sun was setting. I was barefooted but I did not mind the sand. When I was near the kubo, I heard Lyn. I felt some kind of relief.

“Yanggg, why won’t you selfie with me, yang?” The tipsy affectionate Lyn was always the first to show up when alcohol hits her. Judging by the bottle on her hand, she was drinking the Soju straight up. I forgot to buy the chaser.

“Yang, take a picture of me baaa.” Lyn pleaded as she became extremely touchy with Bri.

The pep talk I gave Bri was probably working because she was tolerating her mother’s behavior, “I’m not in the mood, ma.”

“Ay uy! I think you don’t love me anymore, Yang. You don’t take pictures of me anymore.”

This was Lyn’s attempt at convincing Bri. I knew how much Lyn loved having her pictures taken, but I thought if I went inside the kubo, Lyn’s attention would be directed to me and not to Bri. This was their bonding time after all. And I was running out of energy to deal with Bri right now, especially from what she thought she knew. Besides, I would have better chances of making amends with Bri when Lyn and her are on good terms. So I decided to stack on the sand that was already on my feet and sat on a bench beside the kubo. That was not so bad

“Babe, palihog gud ko.” Bri asked Joey to take a picture of her and her mother. Joey was happy to do so as she pointed her polaroid and counted for them. As she clicked the button Lyn suddenly brushed the camera off, knocking Joey’s camera into the sand. All Lyn could say was how the flash was too bright.

“Ma, don’t be a maoy,” Bri said in a gentle but firm voice.

“Why’d you have to bring her here… You’re always together.” Lyn was making faces and she uttered, “Can’t you see I’m jealous?”

“Joey offered me a ride here, and I don’t want her to drive in the dark so I made her stay.”

Bri probably was probably tired of answering. So her deep sighs served as a response. She even had her mother’s temper. Joey got the cue and tried to console Lyn.

“I’d shower first na lang po, tita, so you and Bri could talk.”

 Joey stood up and grabbed her towel. Bri wanted the both of them to just go at the same time, but Joey insisted on going first. I guess their bickering ticked something inside Lyn’s head, “No, no, no, no.”

“That’s it. I’m out of here.”

Bri walked out of the kubo grabbing Joey’s hand when Lyn got a hold of Joey and hugged her, “I’m not against you… I just want some time with my daughter. But you’re here.”

“Ma, enough,” Bri asserted. “I could say the same thing with Bud.”

 “So you’d go there, Yang?” Lyn said as Joey wiggled her way out of her arms. “You don’t know him.”

 “Well, you don’t know him well enough,” Bri said. Joey tried stopping her but not before she blurted something out.

“Did you know he ran away from his baby?”

That was it. I was at my third layer of sand castle when I heard that. I interrupted, still sitting on the sand.

“Nonsense!” I said. “The only baby I have is your mom.”

“Could you take anything seriously?”

“I am taking your mom seriously,” I said. “You’re the one not taking me seriously.”

At this point, I knew I was on the verge of losing my faith in gaining Bri’s approval. I could not convince anyone that was already convinced. Besides, I was a man after all. If I could not take home my woman, the least I could have was an unshattered pride.

“Is that true, Bud?” Lyn’s voice darted my guts.

“Of course not.” I should leave while I could still keep my mouth shut.

“Why would Chris lie about that?” Bri asked. “Why–”

“Bri, that’s enough,” Joey said.

Until everyone in that kubo had something to say. Something about me. Bri insisted that I was a fuck boy that hits and run. Lyn kept asking me to speak up. Joey, well, she probably regretted going with. The voices grew loud but my inner monologues grew louder. I no longer wanted to explain. I was an alpha male. I had kept my mouth shut, I could still keep it in. I could… Who was I fooling?

“I’m a virgin!” My voice earned their silence.


“I am a raging romantic that never got laid,” I explained. “Everybody got it?”

Bri, Joey, and Lyn looked at each other, dazed and confused. Lyn sat down. Joey sighed reaffirming, “huh.”

“Why–” Bri was at a loss for words– “why would Chris lie then?”

“Well, I don’t know, Bri.” I dragged her name as long as I could. “Maybe your first childhood crush had the biggest crush on your mom and got mad at me for not being rejected.”

Then I realized that was still a possibility, “…Yet.”

Joey spoke up, “What about the baby issue?”

“A co-worker that liked me owed me money and did not wanna pay,” I said. “Got upset when I ghosted her for your mom, so she faked a pregnancy rumor.”

Everybody was processing everything down. I know, for sure, Lyn sobered up. The sun was setting and I no longer had anything left to say, no pride left to protect. We all just sat there silently until Bri raised my 13th reason in the form of a question.

“So you’re a virgi–”

I ran to the shore. I stumbled on the hollow ground Bri was buried from earlier. I caught my breath and decided to sit. I could not look at the kubo; shame stiffened my neck. There were a lot of scenarios I had run down my mind about this day and what had unfolded still came as a shock. But at least, that was over. The sun was setting.

I was burying my face on my palms when a shadow fronted me. She raised my chin up, took away my palms from my face, and sat herself beside me. She fixed my sight to the horizon.

“About the rejecting,” Lyn said.

Just like that, my heart began racing again. I was no longer the cool guy. Just the embarrassment that pissed her daughter’s foot. Nothing could’ve prepared me from what she had said after.

“That’s not going to happen.”



Princess “Preng” Arguelles is a twenty-something Creative Writing major at the University of the Philippines Mindanao. She attempts to capture reality-based ordeals in her fiction

What Happened in El Mañana (Part 3)

Fiction by | February 19, 2023

I could swear Bri and Joey were looking at us from the far side of the shore. Their flirty splashes with each other became a wrestle on the sand before they were finished off by the waves that crashed the shore. But I was more concerned about cheering Lyn up than whatever Bri was thinking about us. I thought I was doing a pretty good job until Lyn leaned on my shoulder, burying her face on my sleeve. She was silent. But I could feel my sleeve getting wet. I could hear nothing but the shortness of her breath. I let her be for quite a while before I wrapped my arms around her. I would pat her shoulder then her head.

 “What would I do without you?” she asked. My thoughts, exactly.

“I only want to have fun with her, Bud.” She managed to ask me that even with her sharp breaths every word after another. Her voice changed from a strong chest voice to a nasally tone. “Well, the day’s not over yet so why don’t you have fun?” I told Lyn while massaging the nape of her neck, “This is your vacation too.”

A bulb lit her mind because she actually agreed with me. “You know what…” Lyn said as she grabbed one of the bottles of Soju Joey was carrying. Lyn shook the bottle. She always told me it was to wake up the alcoholic demon inside the bottle, “You’re right.”

But I was quite hesitant with the idea of Lyn becoming even remotely tipsy around her daughter here. On one hand, although alcohol really helped her lighten up and transformed her to a total goofball, it might worsen Bri’s hostility toward her. On the other hand, if what had begun went on further, she might break down in front of her Bri. I know for sure Lyn would not want to lower her walls down, especially in such a public place.

“What do you think?” Lyn asked as her swollen eyes twinkled. Even when she was crying, she was still beautiful.

“That is a really bad idea, Lyn,” I said to her and the light in her eyes was ready to flow out of her lids. “That’s a really bad idea if you don’t have ice. Let me see if I can buy some.”

It took me a while to finally manage to buy ice as I had to go outside of the resort itself. El Mañana had some but would not sell it to me for some reason. I was headed back to the kubo when I decided to have a little chat with Bri and Joey who were sunbathing. From the seaweed crown on their hair, I could tell they swam around the beach, perhaps from the farther left below El Mañana foot bridge where they could have space of their own. Bri had sunglasses on while Joey was burying her in the sand. I did not know how to interrupt best than to clear my throat loud enough.

“I know I’m not in the position to talk–”

Bri was always quick to interrupt.

“Right. You are in no position to talk,” She managed to articulate every single word in such a way that I was momentarily stunned. Bri was ready to drag Joey back to the foot bridge when I mustered up the courage to continue on.

“I may not know what your real issue is with your mother,” I said. Bri stopped, not looking at me. “But could you please cut her some slack? She’s trying, she arranged this, everything… just to be with you.”

While I was explaining, I realized I use my hands too much when I feel so strongly about what I was talking about. While I was talking, I saw Joey tell her, “Give it a listen.”

My voice broke a bit, which was pretty embarrassing, but this is for Lyn. I cleared my throat, took a breath before continuing,  “So why don’t you give her a chance?”

I did not waste a second and started walking away before I felt a tear escape my eye.

“What makes you think my mom was my issue?” she asked behind my back. “If I did not make it clear enough, my problem is you.”

I froze where I stood as I heard Bri invite Joey back under the bridge. How could Bri have such a handsome problem?

When I was no longer paralyzed by Bri’s sass, I was finally ready to go back to the kubo when I heard Bri scream. I initially stepped towards the direction of the couple but if I did not go back to the kubo, all the ice I would give Lyn was water. So I rushed back.

At the kubo, Lyn had already taken a nap. It was no surprise that Joey’s screaming did not wake her because she had always been a heavy sleeper. I placed the ice on the ice bucket and glanced at the bridge. As my eyes scanned, I noticed Bri was helping Joey walk to the comfort room.

I knocked on the only locked cubicle door when I heard Bri. “What?”

“I heard you scream, are you okay?” I asked.

“How could anyone screaming be okay?” She clapped back. “How stupid could you be?”

I knew she was the daughter of the woman I want to spend my sunsets with but if she did not stop talking down on me, I would honestly find it hard to grow my balls back… I want her to like me for her mom so much, I would still cave.

“She stepped on something sharp,” Joey said.

I had a feeling of what it might have been. “Can I see?”

“If you don’t say something stupid,” Bri said. When Joey helped her extend her leg out of the cubicle I immediately recognized the black spike.

“We have to pee on it,” I said.

“That’s it, you’re out.” Bri brushed me away. She must have thought I was fooling around. “Piss off.”

“Gladly,” I replied. “Any way I could help.”

I unzipped my shorts, comfortable that the resort was private and Bri and Joey were inside the cubicle. I aimed my piss gun toward Bri’s foot when she tried pushing the spike out with her hand. I swerved it away from the initial target but not before my golden shower hit her hand.

“Is that–” Bri took a second to realize– “Ahh!! Damak!”

I apologized in a hundred languages and Bri was still inconsolable. I could hear Joey muffling her chuckles but Bri was not having it. She opened the door after I hurriedly put my shorts on. Her eyes had a laser beam.

“What did you just do?” she asked.

I answered, “I cured it.”

“Cured it?” Bri was livid. “When I told you to piss off, I- you, aaah!”

She was mad she could barely put out a sentence so I explained that she had stepped on a tuyom and peeing on it was what would get rid of the sting. I had to do it while rinsing her hand with water. She refused to let me touch her so I had to help from a distance. Joey was still laughing inside the cubicle.

“What did mama ever see in you?” Bri slammed the door.

I felt a lump in my throat. Out of all Bri had said to me, those words stung. “What can’t you see in me?” I mumbled.

Bri replied, “What was that?” And all of a sudden, I could feel the lump slid down my tongue.

“What is your deal? What’s with all your taray? You, of all people, should be happy! Your mother loves you. You have a girlfriend that loves you. Your mother loves that someone loves you. You’re so angry for someone who has a girlfriend. I don’t even have a girlfriend! I’m trying to. So why can’t we just skip pause with this teenage angst and be adults so I could finally be laid.”

As embarrassing as my thoughts spiraled out, it silenced Bri. I had not noticed Joey was already out of the cubicle. When she was out, Bri did so too. Bri took a step, wanting to walk away from me. I was embarrassed and upset that I could not look at her. When she took another step, I could not bear it anymore and did the impossible. I lend her my jesus flops. She was barefooted.

To be continued…



Princess “Preng” Arguelles is a twenty-something Creative Writing major at the University of the Philippines Mindanao. She attempts to capture reality-based ordeals in her fiction.

What Happened in El Mañana (Part 2)

Fiction by | February 12, 2023

Not an ounce of hesitation was heard from Bri. Lyn was taken aback. I could tell by how her eye twitched for a split second. By now, I had mastered reading the most subtle cues in Lyn’s body language to avoid misunderstandings.

“You didn’t tell me Joey was a girl.”

“My bad.” Bri rested her head on Joey’s shoulder’s. “But does it really matter, ma?”

“W-well…” Lyn stuttered. It was astonishing to witness; I thought nothing could faze her. “I’m just shocked, that’s all.”

In all honesty, I was, too. But Bri looked happy. Personally, I think I was happier because they looked cute together.

“That’s exactly why I brought her here,” Bri said. “So you could finally meet her.”

“Mano po, tita,” Joey said.

“Kuya, are you lost? This isn’t your kubo,” Bri said, only looking at me after saying so and for a moment. I choked on my embarrassment. I was at a loss for words so I looked at Lyn for rescue and she saw the perfect segue. Lyn, this could be the perfect time to tell her.

“Yang, ay, Bri diay. Remember Buddy? He’s the–” Bri interrupted with the most time-killing “-Hmm”- I have ever heard, along with her continuous nod while looking at me from head to toe. She took some time looking at my toes before letting out a smirk after a quick sigh. Thankfully, I had trimmed my toenails before going to the resort.

“Makes sense,” she said when she finally stopped piercing me with her dead stare to reach for the tray full of lumpia. What the heck did she mean by that?

 She took a bite of the lumpia and double-dipped to offer Joey a bite. “I never would have pegged you for a jesus flops kind of guy.”

I did not like Bri very much. Not because of what she said about my flops but because of her double-dipping. But I had to earn her trust so I was willing to postpone my disgust.

Bri proceeded to stand directly in front of me. “What are you? Like a 5’6?”

Wow. It had just become apparent to me that crushing egos run in their family. Sure, I was not the tallest, but I was not that short either. Bri was just unfortunately taller than me. I could not get over how Bri went for my height but I felt like I had to say something.

So I said, “Grilled bangus.”

Could I have been any dumber? Lyn went to save the dying conversation by offering the girls with paper plates.

“I bet you skipped lunch. You must be starving!” Lyn opened each Tupperware container to reveal all the food she had prepared earlier that morning. I could see Joey’s delight in her eyes. She must be a foodie like me. I wish I could say the same about Bri.

There were lumpiang shanghai, adobong manok, pancit, coffee jelly, mangoes,  chicken lollipops, cassava cake, basically everything Bri used to love was set at our table. Lyn has excellent taste. That was why I recommended her to be our office cook. And that was also why I was her guy. She had been begging Bri for weeks to come home to her but Bri would always decline with a string of excuses.

“Maybe later, ma. Your lumpia went soggy na,” Bri said as she scanned the array of food prepared for her. She must be kidding me. “And this is just too much. I feel bad.”

Lyn looked down at the sand before answering. “Oh, I just wanted to prepare your favorites. You must have missed them for sure.”

“You really didn’t have to,” Bri said. “ But I don’t want to eat just because I feel bad.”

“No prob,” Lyn had to swallow a lump on her throat. “It’s not like I made these, we, we, I only got it from a paluwagan. Yep. Just a food bundle.”

I know for a fact that was not true. Lyn had been saving all a month’s worth of salary just so Bri could feast. She would stick to isaw and pastil to save when she could not eat a portion from what she cooks in our office. She had to go to the merkado at dawn so we prepared everything on time. I was only her personal lifter and kitchen assistant but even I was tired. I could only imagine how defeated Lyn was feeling. Extending my patience and trying to understand Bri’s cold shoulder was becoming a challenge to me. I was jealous that Lyn did not get me anything for my birthday last week because she was saving up for this. I did not understand what Lyn could have possibly done to deserve that treatment. And whatever it must be, Lyn’s still her mother after all. A sufficient amount of pleasantries would have just made her mother happy. I would be happy if she cooked me just any one of those meals.

“We’re going to roam around, ma, take pictures,” Bri said walking away, avoiding  Lyn’s eyes. Joey took out a polaroid camera out of her bag. Before heading out, she grabbed herself a cup of coffee jelly.

“Tita, I’d have some of this, if you don’t mind. I’ve been craving for this po kasi,” Joey said to my Lyn, who could not look away from the sand she was kicking as she swung her legs to and fro. Her breaths grow sharper. A few seconds later, Bri called out for Joey so she left the kubo without waiting for Lyn’s reply. When we were left alone, I moved closer to her seat.

“Uy,” I said, trying to lighten up her mood.

I recalled why Bri became distant toward Lyn. Something about Lyn being a one-day millionaire and almost using up all of Bri’s college fund on Lyn’s 4Oth birthday. I met Lyn there so if you’d ask me, I’d say it was money well spent. It must have been a different case to Bri that she was that aloof.

“She really is your daughter ha.” I poked the side of her belly trying to imitate Bri. “Feisty. Hmmm!”

Lyn burst out laughing. She was quite loud, she hit me a few times. I did not expect I’d be that funny but I ended up imitating Bri more- dragging the vowels as she did. “I’m Bri now. BRI.”

Times like that hit me with a brick. Shit. I was so head-over-heels with the woman in front of me. Not even when she had those vacuum laughs. Lyn’s birthday was the 31st of December which made it easy for me to have a free meal that night. I was helping myself with Lyn’s mango graham when I noticed she was killing it on Celine Dion’s “I Love You Goodbye” in the videoke. Her every note was tickling my eardrums and I was not even a Celine Dion fan. That caught my attention. But what drew her to me more was how she let out her vacuum laugh when her voice cracked at the very last note. I thought, if I could make her laugh like that all the time, I’d be happy too.

“Earth to Buddy, Earth to Buddy.” Lyn joked as she pinched my nose. My perfect, slightly disappointed nose. “If you could stop daydreaming about me for a second, I have a teen daughter bringing her girlfriend situation here.”

“How could I if every day I’m dream girl?” I could see her blush.

“Bud, I’m serious,” she said. “I don’t know how to talk to her.”

“But you are,” I said, “talking to her.”

She leaned on the chair. “No, but really talk to her, you know?” she asked. “Like I used to.”

“What’s stopping you?” I asked.

“Well, for one, I don’t want to offend her,” she said. “Girlfriend, boyfriend, I don’t really care about it. We’re–”

“Just on different vibrations.” I helped her find the words.

“Exactly.” She started stress-eating the chicken lollipops. I got stressed looking at her maneuvering those with a plastic sfork.

“Give me that.” I snatched it from her plate and started feeding it to her. I knew she hated having greasy hands.

To be continued…



Princess “Preng” Arguelles is a twenty-something Creative Writing major at the University of the Philippines Mindanao. She attempts to capture reality-based ordeals in her fiction.

What Happened in El Mañana (Part 1)

Fiction by | February 6, 2023

I could never understand why anyone would love feeling sand between their toes. That tickly sticky sensation stuck in the middle of the toes and those lingering stubborn bits forcing its way into my ingrown. This is why I’d never walk on beaches barefooted.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a strong believer of beach trips supremacy. Especially here in El Mañana. Think about it. No corkage fees. Crystal clear water. No algae build up, not a single random urchin to stab my feet, no yellow submarines creeping at you out of nowhere when you’re swimming about. It’s nothing short of a remote paradise.

 The first time I went here was for work. Back when almost all of their kubo was termite-infested. An El Mañana problem that would occasionally garnish their visitors’ precious handa with wood dust and feast on any unfortunate thigh that would sit on them. Good thing, your boy, Buddy, is a master termite-nator. Because of me, El Mañana became pest-free once again.

I should also tell you how El Mañana went viral for its breathtaking sunset view. I longed to watch it for quite some time now but I thought sunsets are too magnificent to be enjoyed alone. So I promised myself I’d come back here with someone I’d watch the sunset with. The one who won’t be gone by sunrise. I have to admit, I was pretty desperate in fulfilling that promise, I had been here with several women my age. But none of them to share the sunset with, really. It was always either raining, or the woman I was with just was not cut out for my Buddy romance, or the vibe was completely off. But I am not giving up on that quest yet. Which was why when Lyn asked for resort recommendations to treat her teenage daughter, Brianna, El Mañana easily came up to mind.

I had only been seeing Lyn for a couple of months and I must admit, our thing not being official yet was quite a sore spot. More than her ex-husband finding out, she was too worried any relationship she’d have would just be another reason for Brianna to pull farther away from her. So against my better judgment and pride, I settled with the title of a suitor. A single mom’s suitor, at that.

Initially, Lyn wanted her and Brianna’s reunion to be just the two of them but I insisted on going with. I told her I could help with the heavy lifting, earning discounts with the fees, and who wouldn’t want a macho gwapito like me as a beach chaperon, right? But if I were being honest, I wanted to meet Brianna in person. Perhaps, this way, I could charm her into giving her blessing and I could finally truly be someone’s person. Lyn’s, preferably. I was growing impatient with what Brianna called, “a whatevership.”

I was grilling the bangus Lyn marinated the night before while she was anxiously fanning our food from flies while waiting for Brianna’s arrival. I can tell she’s agitated. The signal in the resort was spotty and the unconscious lip biting gave it away. That, and the fact that she had not seen her daughter for almost a year because Brianna chose to study in a university miles away from her mother out of spite. But there was something about the way the seabreeze blew Lyn’s yellow summer dress, her wavy copper hair brushing against her face, and her tucking her hair over her ears as she sported those sunglasses bigger than her sun-kissed cheeks. She was stunning even at 42.

The sight of her distracted me from the distress knowing that I had no indicator whether or not this bangus was cooking as it should be. Lyn had told me peeking through the foil cover would make all the moisture from the bangus escape so I was trying my hardest not to do so. Brianna liked the bangus juicy filled with ripe tomatoes, diced onions, ginger, and a bundled tanglad. It took me quite a while to keep the charcoal burning, but I managed by fanning every now and then. That was the good thing about Brianna being almost an hour past merienda late; she would not see me struggle with grilling her favorite dish. When I thought the bangus was good to go, I hurriedly sprinted to our kubo while juggling the hot bangus when a woman dashed to the step, her elbow striking the bangus to the sand.

“Yang!” Ah, so this was Brianna.

“I’m sorry, you didn’t think to put that on a plate,” Bri said.

Was that even an apology? Wow! She was really Lyn’s kid. Lyn approached her with an embrace when she swerved to the side to put her bags down. Lyn’s attempt for a hug landed as mere shoulder strokes. Brianna asked to bless from Lyn’s hand instead. Although I only saw her in pictures, her hair used to be raven black, not blonde. And she did not have pin cushions for ears. Even so, it must be awkward for them to meet after such a long time.

“Don’t call me Yang now, ma,” she said as she sprung back up again, flipping her hair up, and finally tying it together. “I go by Bri now.”

I have to say, although I did expect the two’s physical resemblance, their sassiness was uncanny. While Yangyang, or shall I say, Bri took a good long while before sitting to complain about how long the drive was to enter the resort, I quietly picked the bangus. I placed it on the table first, peeling off the foil before putting the fish on a foil tray. Good thing it was sealed or else Bri would have wasted my effort grilling her favorite dish. I tried my best not to interrupt their conversation because I was quite curious whether Lyn would introduce me to Bri or not. And if she did, what would she introduce me as.

“You did not have to spend this much for a vacation, ma. We could have just stayed home. Could we afford it?” Bri asked as she applied sunscreen.

As far as I’m concerned, the entrance fee for the three of us was already included with the kubo, which I had already settled on when I booked the resort exclusively. I just knew Lyn would ask, “It was Buddy’s treat! Why did they ask you to pay? That guard rea–”

Before Lyn could full-on complain, another woman entered our kubo carrying a box full of Soju with a pink ribbon bow.

“You didn’t have to,” I said to the woman thinking she was El Manaña’s new manager. I did not know when El Manaña began welcoming their guests with complimentary drink, but I wouldn’t complain.

“Sorry what?” the woman said.

I repressed my urge to repeat what I said to her when I saw car keys hanging on her denim shorts just as Bri uttered, “Joey, come here.”

And Joey did. Unlike Bri, Joey had a nicer vibe, a bit demure. Humbler, even. It usually does not matter to me but I could tell Joey was well-off. She wore a hat without the cap, the ones similar to golfers. I would bet her top was just a scarf wrapped around her torso. She had braces even though her teeth seemed fine as it was. Fair skinned.  And if it was not a solid case, her nails were pointy, long, had gemstones, and held an iPhone with three eyes. How could I mistake her for a manager? She could easily be a resort owner, for all I know.

“Joey?” Lyn wondered. “I thought Joey was your uyab, Yan–” Bri’s nose scrunched so Lyn corrected herself, “I mean, Bri.”

I could tell Joey wanted to introduce herself but while she was just recalibrating her tongue, Bri already mouthed an answer– “Exactly, po.”


To be continued…



Princess “Preng” Arguelles is a twenty-something Creative Writing major at the University of the Philippines Mindanao. She attempts to capture reality-based ordeals in her fiction.


Poetry by | August 29, 2022


Princess “Preng” Arguelles is taking up a BA English (Creative Writing) course in UP Mindanao. She hails from Compostela, Davao de Oro. Abyan comes from the Cebuano root word abay, which means companion. An abyan is a spirit wedged between being a friend and a guardian.

Illustrators: Rosemarie Padillos and Ross Charlotte Gersava