The Flame Vol. 55 Issue No. 1

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FLAME Vol. 55, Issue no. 1


SATIATING ONE’S HUNGER AND PASSION Pursuing passion past poverty

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Peach Arianna P. Manos

Associate Editor

Isabell Andrea M. Pine

Managing Editor

Maria Cecilia O. Pagdanganan

Faces Editor

Theriz Lizel R. Silvano

Culture Editor

Lorraine C. Suarez

Letters Editor

Aizelle Ann L. Majam, Jhona Seehiah R. Vitor, Siegfred Aldous D. Lacerna , Joanne Christine P. Ramos Hannah Beatrisse L. Oledan


Kristine Erika L. Agustin, Beatriz Armina D. Ronio, Janis Joplin G. Moises, Justin Benedict T. Lim


Patrick V. Miguel, Djulienne Flor V. Foster Mary Nicole P. Miranda


Christine Janine T. Cortez, Thea Andrea C. Magueriano John Patrick A. Magno Ranara


Maria Pamela S. Reyes, Mheryll Giffen L. Alforte, Dennise P. Tabor, Ana Muriel R. Veron


Marlou Joseph B. Bon-ao, Elijah John M. Encinas, Frances Marie G. Ignalaga


Ella Marie M. Mercado, Tcheky Nicole D. Cabrera, Jeanne Pauline G. Tecson


Mr. Leo O. Laparan II


Prof. Marilu Ranosa-Madrunio, Ph.D.


The Flame, the official student publication of the University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Arts and Letters, aims to promote a scholarly attitude among Artlets and Thomasians in the analysis of the implications of current relevant issues to their lives and society at large, to serve as a forum not only between Artlets and the administration but most importantly, among Artlets themselves, and to provide a vehicle for the publication of in-depth articles on the concerns and interests of the Faculty. Nothing appearing in the Flame may be reprinted either in whole or in part without written permission addressed to the Editor in Chief of the Flame, G/F St. Raymund’s Bldg., University of Santo Tomas, Manila or to Visit our official website: Š 2019 by the Flame. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Covers photos by


Spread photo by


Editor’s Note


UR CONSTANT need to satisfy our hunger is what makes us human. Hunger is personal and you have to feed it. It is more than our appetite or the state of needing food to eat to sustain our health—it is the passion we have that keeps us going, the knowledge we crave and learn in our everyday lives, and our endless search for our purpose in this world. Given that it is a strong desire to reach fulfillment, how does one satiate the growing appetite to acquire more or to be more? Isn’t there a danger of becoming greedy just to satisfy one’s hunger? Hunger and passion are two different things, although a lot of people think of them as the same. Passion is something you are called to do or something you love to do, and to do it, you have to be hungry. You have to crave constant fulfillment every time you pursue your passion so that you don’t get tired of it. If your passion is writing, the drive that comes to you to carry on would come from your hunger to be something more, your hunger to write something that would change the world. The same goes for others who are still finding their passion and what they are called to do. In order to find your purpose, you have to figure out first that something you can’t live without, something that, even though you don’t get anything back—neither appreciation nor money—except self-fulfillment, still makes you happy. Hunger is the personal part because it’s what makes you find it. This is exactly the message the Flame hopes to explore more through this issue.

Peach Manos Associate Editor '19 - '20

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what's inside?


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A burning Duterte effigy during SONA 2019 Photo by MARLOU JOSEPH B. BON-AO

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ARTLETS BAG AWARDS IN PHILIPPINE STUDENT QUILL AWARDS 2019 The Department of Communication and Media Studies bagged four awards in the recently concluded Philippine Student Quill Awards 2019. “Our World, Our Turn” by Isavela Deverae Atinaja and “Podcast Convention 6 (PodCon 6): Upholding Media Credibility Amid the Age of Fake News” by Isabela Beatrice Gonzales received the award of excellence while “Juan Vision. One Big Step – An IMC Plan for CocaCola’s World Without Waste Advocacy” by Currie Bonipaye Cator and “Chihuahua Cosmetics – IMC Campaign Plan” by Chelsea Denise Cham the award of merit. In addition, the University of Santo Tomas was awarded the School of the Year for the sixth straight year. CASA GARNERS AWARDS IN FILM Communication Arts student Clarisse Grajo’s “Pagbalik at Pag- uwi” won the best film during the CineMobile 2019 on Aug. 24 at the Film School Manila. Moreover, Julius Renomeron’s “Heist School” was awarded the Audience Choice Award in Cinemalaya 2019 ASIAN STUDIES PRESENTS PAPERS IN LOCAL, INTERNATIONAL CONFABS Best Position Paper was awarded to Asian studies students Jeanelle Daanton and Kirsten Loresto during the United Nations Development Program, New Taipei City Model United Nations 2018 in New Taipei City, Taiwan.


The position paper titled “Harnessing SDGs to Achieve Inclusive Growth” discussed Vietnam's commitment to fulfilling the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations even as a developing country. Kidanzac Tallada was awarded Outstanding Position Paper during the 20th Benilde Model United Nations 2018 at De La Salle - College of Saint Benilde. Jamie Aizon and Claudine Joanne Dizon also presented their thesis during the International Joint World Cultural Conference 2019, 10th World Tourism Conference in Chang-Mai, Thailand. UST GRANTS BEST TEAMWORK, LEADERSHIP AWARDS TO ARTLETS The English Language Studies Society, the Artlets Economic Society, and the Behavioral Science Society received the St. Dominic de Guzman Award, best teamwork award, while Behavioral Science Society’s former president Karen Regina Calumpang received the Quezon Leadership Award from the University for academic year 20182019. UST- ELSSOC RECOGNIZED FOR PIONEERING TREASURE LANGUAGE STORYTELLING, LINGUISTICS CONFAB The first-ever treasure Language Storytelling in the Philippines by the English Language Studies Society was recognized by the Aikuma Project as well as a part of the International Year of Indigenous Language 2019.

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Wikang Yaman: Kuwento at Kwenta 2019 was the first to highlight the treasure languages in the Philippines through storytelling and theater performance in the country. It was held on April 30, 2019, at the University’s Tanghalang Teresita Quirino, Benavides Building. The society also pioneered the National Conference on Linguistics (LingCon 2019), where delegates from the various schools across the country were invited to join for free on March 27-28, 2019 at the University’s Alfredo M. Velayo (AMV) Multipurpose Hall. CASA CLAIMS 7TH STRAIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP AWARD IN CYPHER CASA Footworks received its 7th championship award during Cypher 2019, the annual inter-major street dance competition of the Faculty. ARTLET SERVES AS UST COURTSIDE REPORTER Asian Studies student Makyla Chavez was chosen as the Courtside Reporter of the UAAP Season 81. ASN STUDENT BAGS RUNNER- UP IN DIALECTS 2019 Asian Studies student Ruel Reyes won 2nd Best Adjudicator in Dialects in 2019. UST-TPSF LAUNCHES RESEARCH PLATFORM FOR ARTLETS On July 9, 2019, the Political Science Forum launched the Online Journal Assemblea, a platform that aims to reach out to a wider community of scholars seeking to understand the various dynamics of the political arena by way of open access. Assemblea serves as a forum for critical discussions and exchanges of ideas derived through research in the broad discipline of political science. Submissions for this online journal are open to aspiring and seasoned scholars who have undertaken research on politics. ARTLET BAGS INT’L AWARD Communication student Kassie Gormley won the Best Sports Director in the 2020 Intercollegiate Broadcasting System Conference as a part of Tiger Media Network, the official broadcasting arm of UST. Assistant Director for Broadcast of the Communications Bureau, Asst. Prof. Faye Martel-Abugan, received the awards in New York City. F

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HE ARTLETS Student Council’s (ABSC) Public Relations Officer (PRO) has officially resigned from his position after six months of service on Nov. 12, citing his medical condition and being a potential “handicap” to the council as reasons. Eadric Espiritu said that his health problem is one of the factors that prompted him to end his term after six months, although he did not want to disclose further information regarding this matter. The former PRO also said that he did not want to become a liability to the council as officers rebrand and re-establish the ABSC into a better student body. "I feel relieved for the council. I consider myself as a handicap. It’s really painful na ito 'yung pinangarap ko since I was a kid. To be an officer, to serve, pero ngayon, I accidentally screwed up," Espiritu said in an interview with the Flame. Espiritu, however, said that he "cannot confirm nor deny" when asked if there is an internal problem in the council. He admitted that it was difficult for him to work with his team since they had experienced miscommunication, another factor that contributed to his resignation. “I’ve always wanted this position pero talagang minalas na ako kasi I don’t have the competency… I have the competency pero not the full competency that the ABSC wanted,” he said. Espiritu recalled his shortcomings since he started campaigning for the position, saying that he did not have enough knowledge on the technicalities in being a PRO, but tried to solve it by designating an executive coordinator to complement what he could not provide.

ABSC PRO concludes service after six months

“I was the only candidate who also said na if elected and if I fail, I will resign, and so I did,” he said. FLAME | 8 @abtheflame |


Espiritu added that he somehow felt relieved after his resignation because he can give more attention to his health and studies. He asked the Artlets, though, to not think of his resignation as a selfish act, saying that he would not use his position in any of his pertinent documents as stated in the resignation letter he submitted. Espiritu said five of his projects were handed over to the ABSC after being modified, including the ABlaze: AB Town Hall, ABante 2030: Forging Progress through Sustainable Growth, Humans of AB, GO PRO, and ABKaTalk, but the continuation of the projects would depend on the council’s decision. “If ever, obviously it will not be credited to me na, although I am the architect of those projects, so I hope lang if matuloy man, if gawin nila, the better. If hindi, I have no power,” he said.

The former PRO also expressed his apologies to the Artlet community and the administration as he could no longer continue fulfilling his promises. He also acknowledged the ABSC as a council full of promising and potential leaders with him out of the picture. “I’ve tried my best, I’ve tried my part to be of service, and I believe in the short span of time that I served the AB community [that] I’ve done something,” Espiritu said. The position for the PRO has remained vacant since no one filed for the certificate of candidacy during the special election held by the Commission on Elections. F

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69 int’l students produce video documentaries in cross-cultural project Words by KRISTINE ERIKA AGUSTIN and JANIS JOPLIN MOISES Photos by MARLOU JOSEPH BON-AO


IXTY-NINE STUDENTS taking up media China and Japan were not able to parstudies in four countries demonstratticipate this year due to the coronavied their video production skills during a rus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak. cross-cultural gathering at the UST Faculty of Arts and Letters that was meant to promote Avendaño said they set up a split-screen for collaboration and bridge cultural diversity. the other half of the delegates in a different room during the closing event to limit the numHosted by the Communication Arts Stuber of participants in one venue, following the dents' Association (CASA) for the fifth time, the protocols set by the secretary-general throughDe-Centralized Asian Transnational Challengout the event due to the COVID-19 scare. es (d’CATCH) Project saw participation by students from Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, and This year’s d’CATCH opened with the Philippines who joined forces to produce the formation of groupings, a campus documentaries featuring the four countries. tour, and an opening dinner on Feb. 3. “Basically, what we wanted to do [was to] invite all of these media students from [those four] participating countries and find a way of mixing their cultures, their skills, and the craft of media, and how they [could] collaborate well enough to produce seamless videos,” CASA president and D’CATCH officer-in-charge Voltaire Avendaño said.

The delegates started brainstorming during their breakout session on Feb. 4 and began shooting from Feb. 5 until the next day. The CASA president said they incorporated some changes into the guidelines for the creation of the documentaries to further challenge the delegates.

For this year's theme, the prefix "trans-" “[W]hat the professors were expecting [was] directed participants to produce videos on more of a start from scratch, from what they such topics as translanguage, translate, had, they can use some of their clips, but a matransfigure, transient, and transportation. jority of [them] had to be shot and produced here. So, naging challenging siya for the three “The objective of the project is not only to thedays they had to prepare," Avendaño said. oretically clarify and examine media problems and potentials, but also to practically act and Co-produced documentaries were screened at work within the society toward the realization the TARC auditorium, then a closing dinner was of diverse media culture and reconstruction scheduled on Feb. 7, the last day of the event. of the media environment in Asia from the social-cultural perspective,” CASA co-adviser Asst. Department of Communication and MeProf. Faye Abugan said in her opening remarks. dia Studies chair and CASA adviser Asst. Prof. Jose Arsenio Salandanan announced that the The d'CATCH Project started in 2003 d'CATCH 2021 will be hosted by Indonesia. F with Japan and Philippines as the original two participating countries. FLAME | 10

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New resolution mandates BOM in ABSC planning by KRISTINE ERIKA AGUSTIN


HE FACULTY OF Arts and Letters’ Board of Majors released in December last year a resolution authorizing the constant participation of the BOM in the planning process of the Artlets Student Council (ABSC)’s projects and events. The ABSC was cited in the decision, the Artlets'

Constitution's Bill of Rights the resolution as the basis for which would further promote right to public information.

Concerns will also be heard by the Council regarding the Artlets’ welfare with the BOM as their representative. BOM speaker and Concilium Philosophiae president Lorenz Layao deemed as important the involvement of each society within the Faculty in the planning process of the ABSC to ensure that the projects to be made will be aligned and beneficial to the Artlet community. "[T]iningnan muna namin sa malayo kung kaya ba nila na sila-sila lang kasi masyado tayong malaki, masyadong malaki 'yung Artlet community. Libu-libo tayo at hindi kaya ng pitong tao lang 'yon, lalo't magkakaiba ng pananaw ang lahat ng Artlets sa isang event," Layao said. He added that they have the same goal as every student leader, including the ABSC, which is to see the "holistic development" of their constituents and serve their fellow students. "[H]indi naman sa kinukuhanan namin sila ng trabaho or what, pero mas dumadali ’yung execution kasi para naman talaga 'to sa Artlets

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(...) Iba naman ’yung ginagawa nila sa ginagawa namin, pero ang goal namin ay isa lang naman," naman," BOM deputy speaker and Political Science Forum president Anne Frances Grande said. The BOM said problems emerge in the execution of events and projects because there are situations among the Artlets that need to be addressed immediately during the planning process, but were not considered because of the absence of each society's representative. "I think this is the first time na nagkaroon ng ganitong resolution na hiniling ng Board of Majors na magkaroon kami ng active and collaborative, kumbaga, coordination sa mga events. In that sense, we are also trying to improve sa relationship namin, ang Board of Majors at ABSC," Layao said. Miscommunication also occurs as not all information are relayed to the BOM, one factor that affects the students' mobilization during events, according to BOM secretary-general and History Society president Judie Montejo. "[I]mbes na magkanya-kanya kami, parang mas magandang we work together as one, to serve the Artlets community," Montejo said. Layao clarified that the resolution had undergone a legal process with the approval of the Faculty's administration before being released. The resolution took effect in January. The Flame reached out to the ABSC, but its officers failed to give their statements because of a schedule conflict. F

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SecGen imposes stricter hairstyle protocol by JANIS JOPLIN MOISES


HE OFFICE of the Secretary-General (SecGen) implemented a guideline for customary hair color effective starting Feb. 19, 2020.

The SecGen released a letter on Feb. 19 to clarify the regulation under Good Grooming of the PPS (policies, procedures, and standards) 1027 Code of Conduct in the Student Handbook 2018. PPS 1027 states that students’ hairstyles should be “clean, combed, and neatly trimmed or fixed. Unconventional hair colors are not permitted.” The letter indicated that the Thomasians are required to follow a color spectrum of Level 1 (Darkest Black) to Level 5 (Dark Brown). Hair colors outside the spectrum are only permitted for and only during specific activities. F

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And, onwards I go. Photo by ELIJAH JOHN M. ENCINAS

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New year, same mission for Duterte Art by TCHEKY


t has been almost four years since Rodrigo Roa Duterte was elected president of the country. Since then, the Duterte administration has always condemned journalists and the media by accusing them of spreading misinformation and “fake news.” Some media companies get backlash when they oppose the ideals of the administration, and Duterte himself thinks his words are being twisted by the media even though he has brought it upon him- s e l f whenever he uses foul language in national broadcasts. Krizette Laureta Chu, a writer and a radio host, said there are “zero” journalists harassed by government forces since the start of the Duterte administration. Rappler, however, released an article to fact-check Chu’s claim, with records from media monitor Freedom for Media, Freedom for All Network showing 154 instances of threats and attacks against journalists from June 30, 2016 to Dec. 5, 2019. This report included the number of journalists who were banned to cover events, harassed, sued, and charged with libel. These forms of oppression are seen in how Duterte deals with media companies that show opposition to his dictator-like way of ruling. In fact, he had already warned other media outlets like the Philippine Daily Inquirer against reporting biased news about him. The President has also threatened to shut down ABSCBN, a renowned broadcasting network, for allegedly refusing to air his political advertisements during the campaign period for the 2016 presidential election, saying the network had “swindled” him as it did not air his advertisements even though they had been already paid for. The TV network initially planned to apply for an early renewal in 2014; however, it opted to do it last year due to time constraints. During the presidential election season in 2016, ABS-CBN was one of the media institutions that frowned upon Duterte’s foul way of speaking and cracking misogynistic jokes in public.


charging viewers for content and allowing foreign investors to own part of the company. Calida has also asked the SC to issue a gag order against the media giant, which would restrict the parties from making public statements that discuss the merits of the case and make it difficult for journalists to report about the issue. In 2017, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) called out Duterte’s vindictive attitude toward the media, which caused little to no change to his behavior toward journalists. It is a dark time, indeed, to become a part of the watchdog of the government as journalistic practices are being perceived as a revolt against the administration. Not only does this prove to be a challenge to democracy, but the truth has become compromised as journalists are now being suppressed by the actions of the Duterte administration. This also begs the question as to whether or not freedom of speech is still being upheld and respected in the Philippines. As shown in how the President reacts to those who oppose him, he has been making the right to freedom of speech a privilege. Even those with the loudest voices are silenced. The growing threat to journalists is getting out of hand, especially under this administration, as they are being targeted because of the role they play in ensuring that the public will always be informed and free to criticize the wrongdoings of the government. The Duterte administration, however, did a good job of blurring the line between journalism and propaganda. With the widespread usage of the term “fake news,” and how it discredits the work and ethics of journalists, a lot of people do not see the press as upholders of the truth anymore.

The President — in a blatant display of abuse of power — responded by threatening not to renew the broadcast giant’s franchise, which will ultimately lead to the network shutting down following the expiration of its license to operate on May 4, 2020.

With all the efforts of the press to battle disinformation, the existence of online trolls and people who call themselves “bloggers” to hide the fact that they are just Duterte propagandists would be a tough fight and an enormous challenge in upholding press freedom.

ABS-CBN is facing a quo warranto petition filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida before the Supreme Court (SC), which could disqualify the network from renewing its license. In the petition, ABS-CBN is being accused of violating its license by

Duterte may always attempt to silence the voice of journalists who vow to continue upholding the truth before the public, but as long as members of the press continue to defend their freedom by battling oppression, they will ceaselessly hold the line. F @abtheflame |

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Food for Thought



‘Til I get there

have always wanted to be a journalist even before I knew what Journalism is all about. I used to believe that my talent in writing could get me by in the field that I chose and I just have to be creative enough to provide something for my readers, but that all changed now that I’m older and already halfway through college, taking up a degree in Journalism. I wish I could tell my younger self that it isn’t just about writing—that there is a bigger world of truths and ideologies than just fictional stories and love poems. In my two years with The Flame, I have learned that Journalism is more than the classes I take on a daily basis and the grammar lessons with writing lead quizzes I have in my majors. Journalism is staying up all night to edit articles, constantly checking my email for media partnerships and event invitations, going through the hassle of covering one event to the other, being called out when an organization did not like what you just posted, and learning how to be patient at all times when dealing with your sources. It’s being brave enough to report news and important information even though a lot of people would disagree with it, and accepting the fact that the path you chose for a living is not as easy as it seems. Campus publications are always prone to unnecessary hate and that’s because of the existence of biases. At first, you’ll ask yourself: as a journalist, what should I be afraid of? Seeing that my article contains wrong information or typographical errors and incorrect grammar? Or being constantly threatened to stay quiet even though I’m just doing my job of reporting the news to the public? This government has always been hateful towards journalists who do a good job of exposing truths. Journalism “in the real world” is a lot harder than the experiences you’ll gain from campus publications but the similarity of how you get hateful comments from people who disagree with what you have posted for the public is terrifying. It means no matter how hard we fight for press freedom, people who work for the media will always be criticized because of biases. Truth, for some people, will always be relative. That’s the hardest part of understanding this career. Knowing that you cannot control what others will think but at the same time being aware of how your words can influence a lot of people is both a gift and a curse if you think about it. I know that this is just the start of what’s waiting for me. There will come a time when I will question myself if I am really for this path. I know there will be a lot more challenges that I will face and lessons that I will learn as an associate editor of The Flame Flame—and so I will be ready for all of them. F

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Dress right or no right


he Faculty of Arts and Letters is known to be one of the most liberal colleges at the University of Santo Tomas. This culture of liberalism is something I believe to be one of the many beauties and privileges in becoming an Artlet. Ever since I enrolled in UST, it has been my goal to be accepted in this college and to be part of the Artlet community. I knew that UST would be a more conservative university unlike other universities because of its established Catholic identity, so to me, the Faculty of Arts and Letters is a breath of fresh air within a very strict and imposing system. Unlike other colleges, there is a sense of compromise between the students and the faculty, especially when it comes to the dress code. The students are free to express their individuality and style as long as they follow a certain number of restrictions in the manner they present themselves. An example of this is how the male students were permitted to have long hair as long as it was tied in a neat fashion. Likewise, anyone is free to color their hair as long as the color they chose is not loud and striking, like pink, violet or pale blond. Girls were allowed to wear shorts and skirts as long as it is more than three inches from their kneecaps and there were no issues when it comes to adorning piercings, may it be male or female. Unbeknownst to us students though, as time passed and we entered the current school year, this established culture began to dwindle little by little. Ever since the local Student Welfare and Development Coordinator (SWDC) decided to do a stricter implementation on the Subject Code of Conduct, especially when it comes to the policy guidelines and conditions, the Artlets have been struggling with adjusting to the sudden restrictions when it comes to the dress code policy or what the UST student handbook calls as “good grooming”. Now, male students who have long hair, tied properly in a bun or not, are being at risk of having their IDs confiscated by the guard and students with hair color not close to the shade of black are being reprimanded. Moreover in days of casual wear, especially in yellow days, girls who wear skirts, may it be more than three inches from their kneecaps or ankle length, are no longer permitted to enter the building, and boys who wear piercings are instructed to remove them upon entry. It pains me to see my fellow Artlets aggrieved by the sudden loss of freedom of expression. The established compromise that is unique in the Faculty of Arts and Letters is replaced with a rigid form of ruling that does not improve the students’ relationship with the faculty. The issue also brings me to contemplate on the importance of the dress code in the handbook as it does not really address the needs of the students nor does it impact their performance behavior in class. Is the enforced dress code policy really necessary or just another rule enforced in a system simply because it is the norm? And as students, do we not have the right to question, much more challenge a system that is potentially flawed and can be improved for the better? F

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Like Water for Consumption


t is a bright Sunday afternoon. At this time, most people are either lounging at home or strolling about. Everyone seems to enjoy their activities; it is, after all, a weekend, and there is also good weather to boot. As for me, I find myself yet to be awake despite the late hour. However, I have my own reasons. As unlikely as it may sound, this reason has something to do with water shortage. I had forgotten exactly when it started, but I remember that it began in the middle of this school year's first semester. First came the water supply rotations. As someone who traveled to school in the morning, took classes in the afternoon, and arrived home in the evening, I was around the house very little, and I had to find out by experience when the water was cut off. It was at 9 a.m. when the water disappeared, and for an afternoon student, this schedule brought forth inconveniences. By cutting off the water at that hour, I was forced to get up earlier so that I can tend to personal hygiene. This raised another matter, though: since I am already freshly showered, why not travel to school now? In improving my class attendance, leaving home earlier is more beneficial. But as a constantly sleep-deprived student, getting up earlier means sacrificing more much-needed hours of rest. Meanwhile, even if the water rotation does prevent people from doing certain things, it does not stop my family from having breakfast so close to water cut-off time. After classes, I am greeted by a pile of dishes in the sink—being the first person to arrive—complete with traces of food from that day's first meal, dried fish crumbs, or greasy films. At its earliest, water pressure returned at 2 p.m.. But if we were far from lucky, it returned after 30 minutes to an hour. This forced me to do things in advance, while I delay other activities. During those waterless periods, there was not much to do besides sleeping. If I were to eat lunch, I couldn’t wash the dishes after; if I were to cook, it would be hard to execute recipes, particularly sauces and soups. In telling all these problems, I now realize that I am only ranting about lost privilege. My four hours of inconvenience holds nothing more than a crumb to those lacking reliable water sources every day. I remember many times when I poured clean water down the sink, and it is odd to fathom that a normal, everyday occurrence in my life might already be a luxury for another. At present, the cloud of a water shortage looms over Metro Manila and it is getting worse. From what I heard, some people have their water cut off up to 13 hours. Some projects targeting this issue are in progress, one of them being the controversial Kaliwa Dam. The dam, however, comes at the cost of taking away indigenous people's lands. It is time to re-evaluate if these new projects and policies will truly make an impact not only on suffering water levels but also in improving water safety and universal access. The latter is not limited to just a small minority; it also extends to nearly seven million Filipinos in total. This year, I can only hope for improved water service conditions. F


Are you hungry?

ungry for many things is what we are as students. Our body is like a vehicle that needs to be filled up with several commodities—information, sustenance, passion, solace, love, and other things that we find enjoyable and valuable enough to make us satisfied. We yearn for information as much as we yearn for food to stay alive. With this, I say, we are always hungry. When we’re hungry, we don’t only search for a place to devour our cravings, but we also seek for a place where we can be comfortable. Being at ease provides us to think freely, with no pressure and distraction from others, which is the same with gaining knowledge. Isn’t obtaining knowledge comparable to developing our curiosity? In a recent study, researchers from the United Kingdom and Japan discovered that curiosity works a lot like hunger. And like hunger for food, it’s truly hard to ignore. Acquiring new facts is like eating a new meal from our favored dining house—we keep wanting more and only feeling contented after a short period of time. Curiosity leads us to look for food we want—we yearn to know its flavor or if it will make us full. Hunger for knowledge isn’t the only thing we crave, but also hunger for support. We, as students, complain and feel worthless when we think we failed a bad exam, but when we didn’t, we rejoice and even celebrate our triumph with our friends. We treat ourselves as champions and we seek acceptance from others. “Do my friends feel good, too, because they passed?” “Am I the only one feeling this way?” These are the questions we ask when we feel joie de vivre. We want others to see our emotions, and we want them to accept us as what we are. Knowledge and acceptance are two highly important things, but aside from those, we thirst for something more and major: love and passion. We are all loved since we cannot survive without it. But the question remains: Is the love enough? Similar to eating, loving should be continuous and passionate. In an article of The Buddhist Review: Tricycle, love and faith share the same essence of deep caring. As young students who are in the midst of maturity and development, curiosity about love is normal. We thirst for that certain feeling, but we must know that it is a process. Its nature is to give energy and to exercise our compassion toward others. This piece of perspective will lead us to know that we are beings who are always hungry for something. Behind our smiles and tears, we continuously long for something that we already have. I think being hungry for such things is an important discussion because we don’t realize how hungry we are, and it may lead us to harm others or even ourselves. We, I say, are always hungry and we should be proud of it. The hungrier and more curious we are, the more we learn, explore, and experience different things that will help us improve ourselves, whether by making mistakes, or by making big decisions. F @abtheflame |

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Candidly Speaking

Ceaseless Loop



The Artlet badge of honor


t is always the same comment, just phrased differently. You would tell an older relative that you are pursuing an AB degree and they would probably berate you because to them, there is no money in the liberal arts. Scroll through social media and you would most definitely see posts claiming that the Faculty of Arts and Letters is inferior to the other colleges in the University. After all, what is the point of chasing your dreams when there is no money in it? It is almost as if it is shameful to call oneself an Artlet, especially since it is a label that bears such a stigma. I remember visiting my senior high school earlier this year when I ran into my former teacher. Since I studied Accountancy, Business, and Management (ABM) during senior high, he was surprised when I told him that I am taking up journalism. I remember that encounter so vividly. As I began to talk about what I was learning, he raised his bushy eyebrows and disdainfully scowled at me. He could not seem to comprehend why I chose to leave behind my studies in ABM in favor of a career filled with uncertainties. I went home feeling dejected, my dreams invalidated. It has been months since that encounter and since then, I have come to realize the beauty of being an Artlet. More importantly, I have also become more fervid in proving the value of the liberal arts. After all, they show us the importance of diversity, beauty, and humanity. What is there to be ashamed of? If anything, we should wear the Artlet badge with pride. With 13 distinct programs under its name, the Faculty of Arts and Letters offers various perspectives on viewing the world. For example, political science students may have a different understanding on the issue of contractualization from economics students. This diversity broadens our horizons and helps us understand the complexity of the society we live in. The liberal arts also remind us that there is still beauty in an ugly world. Literature and creative writing students, in particular, have a knack for turning something absolutely revolting into an exquisite work of art. Their creations appeal to our emotions and innate love for all things beautiful. They encourage us readers, too, to act in order to restore beauty in our society. Most important of all, the liberal arts is a display of the intricacies of humanity. In fact, the various programs under the Faculty gives us a unique outlook on the individuality and identity of each person. These encourage us students to be aware of who we are and to be fearless in speaking our minds. There is also a strong emphasis on human connection and the need to further cultivate it. The very existence of liberal arts is a testament to the saying “No man is an island.” They help us acknowledge that we are all indeed a part of the bigger picture, therefore planting the desire to serve in all of us. So chin up, my fellow Artlets. No other college in the University does it quite like the Faculty of Arts and Letters. To call oneself an Artlet is to carry the title of nobility and integrity. Speak yourself and wear that Artlet badge of honor with pride. F

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WokeALANG richPERA kids will save PH sa Journalism!” has always been


exclaimed over and over again not only by many Journalism professors in my three years in UST, but also by other journalists I had the chance of interviewing. I remember a former journo, who owns a business now, said something along the lines of, “Naku, mahirap ’yan sa suweldo sa industriya. Buti na lang asawa ko [insert highpaying profession] kundi, ’di namin mapapaaral mga anak namin.” There have been similar anecdotes of journalists qutting the industry, whether a newbie or a veteran, to go for the safety net that corporate work offers. While the exhilarating newsroom, especially when there is breaking news or the deadline for the printing of newspapers is breathing down everyone’s neck, gets a journalist’s blood pumping, the overworked-yet-underpaid realty will not be enough to sustain the daily needs in life. With low salary and lack of benefits (save for PR freebies, like gift certificates, but its inconsistency will not save you in times of emergencies), even with years of experience in media work, the meager wage is still inadequate for monthly bills such as electricity, water, food, clothing, tuition, health care, and other necessities. While it certainly is a thrilling job, gaining more wisdom with every cover; cramming your brain with as much facts as possible about the topic; framing interview questions, then being quick on your feet for follow-ups; the honed skill to still look interested when an interviewee almost finishes a statement for that follow-up question; even repeating a recording over and over and over to make sure sources won’t be misquoted; the nervous excitement and butterflies in the stomach when talking to high-ranking sources; and the unpredictability of it all, I’ll miss it—all of it. Being a journalist is a very honorable job you do in service for your country, responsibility for the truth, and duty to the public. Such ideals, however, won’t be enough to float your boat unless you have a nice soft cushion provided by your parents. Because no one pays much for the truth. Now, I’m a graduating student and contemplating on where to go from here. I got an offer to be a correspondent from a certain publishing company, but only for limited paid covers, most of which, you cover for free, relying on the generosity of the public relations team of the events or companies you’re covering. I wanted it for experience, but my parents told me—scolded me, rather—that I was agreeing to free work when they spent thousands and thousands of pesos for me to continue studying in this university. Looking at job postings, there seems to be more income and benefits when working for the corporate industry, such as content writing, copywriting, technical writing, public relations, even call center jobs, instead of work in the journalism world. So I wish those woke rich kids that do have the power to stay in the media industry to continue to uphold the duties and responsibilities of an honest and principled journalist, and to remember not to give in to trapos as advised by our Journalism professors, no matter how tempting their offers could be. I also offer this silent prayer, most of all, for their strength and safety when fighting back adversity, especially if they run smack into higher-ups. Love, a practicing journo in another lifetime. F @abtheflame |


A clear reflection of the university Photo by FRANCES MARIE G. IGNALAGA

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lto Broadcasting System - Chronicle Broadcasting Network (ABS-CBN) is on the headlines as Solicitor General Jose Calida, who on 2018 faced raps on graft and extra-marital affair, filed a quo warranto petition before the Supreme Court to void the legislative franchise of the network, citing "foreign ownership" and "pay-per-view" violations. This move gained a lot of reactions all over social media which sparked hashtags like #NoToABSCBNShutdown and #IStandWithABSCBN. Earlier this year, President Rodrigo Duterte said he would not renew the contract of ABS-CBN because the network did not televise his campaign commercial during the 2016 presidential election. With this, The Flame asked some of the head editors and advisers of various school publications in UST: Should Calida pursue the quo warranto case against ABS-CBN? Amid continuous attacks on the broadcasting giant, what is the role of media and journalists as a whole? Prof. Felipe Salvosa II, UST Journalism professor — "Franchises of other broadcast entities were renewed without question. Why pick on ABS-CBN?" Rabin Buie, TomasinoWeb — "If the petition succeeds in disenfranchising ABS-CBN, it only means that the Du[terte] admin is more than willing to wage war on the media. As campus journalists and media practitioners, we should uphold the truth and oppose all forms of misinformation, no matter the cost. "

are frowned upon. Despite the oppression, all journalists, media people, and everyone who vows to uphold the truth—will ceaselessly hold the line." Leo Laparan, The Flame adviser — "Continue reporting and uphold the truth." Patricia Kahanap, UST Journalism Society PRO — "No, because this may encourage the government to crackdown on any journalists. If they can stop the country's largest media conglomerate, they can stop anyone!" Ves Dilla, La Stampa — "Quo warranto should be stopped. Journalists and media should always inform the public about the truth. Be the voice of the voiceless." Jefson Felix, Purple Gazette — "Uphold the essence of democrary, freedom of the press, free flow of info[rmation] for all Filipinos. Journalists must still cling to the truth amid the threats." Bernice Kyrene Gutierrez, Accountancy Journal — "SolGen Calida should not pursue the quo warranto case against ABS-CBN. Amidst the Duterte administration being repressive towards the media, we as journalists should continue to fight for our rights to freedom of expression and continue upholding what is true, good, and sublime." Louise Ludwig, College of Science Journal — "News should not be filtered. Report the good and the bad. #DefendPressJournalism #NoToFakeNews. ABS-CBN >>> Mocha Uson Blog." F

Peach Manos, The Flame — "Everyone has the right to access proper information even if the government says it is biased just because their actions @abtheflame |

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HE FLAME conducted an assessment of the Artlets Student Council (ABSC) as they interviewed the new set of officers and other parties regarding the progress and issues that they faced in their first six months in the office. Response to Grievances During the campaign period, current ABSC President Lady Freyja Gascon’s platform was the “Artlets First Policy,” a year-long action of the council to better secure student rights through the Grievance Coalition and System and Student’s Rise and Welfare (Straw) Week. They already had a meeting with Straw Philippines, a national advocacy organization concerned about empowering students all over the country, and the UST Central Student Council to execute a “University-wide Straw Week.” All of her projects are in the works and to be approved by their adviser and the Dean’s office. Gascon said the Grievance System and Coalition would be launched simultaneously during the Straw Week and the date reserved for the event was Nov. 20 last year but it did not push through. When asked about the difference of the President’s Grievance Coalition compared with the “Blue Knowte,” another grievance action mechanism proposed by ThenABSC Public Relations Officer (PRO) Eadric Espiritu, ABSC Vice President-Internal Gerald Matthew “Gem” Dela Cruz, answered for Gascon citing that Espiritu’s project has no mechanism. Gascon, however, said Espiritu’s project is in the works already around early May or June and it was included in the General Plan

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of Action. According to her, the council asked Espiritu after three meetings and he said he would try to fix the platform. Asked how she would rate the performance of the current ABSC, Gascon gave it an eight. “It’s an accomplishment of this executive board to have provided trash bins,” Gascon said as she noted that for how many years, it is something that the students of AB have been deprived of and for her, it is questionable. On the obstacles faced by the council, Gascon said the ABSC is already blacklisted, as per the Office of the Secretary-General, because of the events that were pushed through last year without permission and promissory letters issued to the offices in which the past ABSCs had committed lapses with. Cancelled platforms Meanwhile, VP-Internal Dela Cruz was asked about his program AB Rise which aims to recognize students excelling in academics and co-curricular activities. He said that it is scheduled to present in the second semester and they are conducting an indepth research about the benefits of recognizing students who are succeeding in various fields. Another platform that he promised was “Talakayan sa AB” which is a program that would tackle recurring prevalent societal issues, but it was denied twice because the administration and their advisers said the speakers chosen for the program are too political. The event could have covered the Martial Law week and a forum about the Filipino language titled “Filipino para sa Pilipino.” Dela Cruz reiterated that these

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are political issues that should not be discussed by apolitical people. “Hindi naman kami titigil,” Dela Cruz said. For him, the project does not seem like a priority of the administration. On-going Projects VP-External Paolo Jericho Manuel was asked about his Alliance of Liberal Arts Movement (ALAM), which aims to establish a non-partisan group composed of different liberal arts colleges in the country to study and draft policies for recommendation to the national government. Even though there are preliminary actions such as the statement of councils from other universities regarding the State of the Nation Address of the President this year, he said that they would still be consulting with their advisers and administrators if they are going to push through with the project. Asked about “Abante AB,” Manuel said that his project would highlight the Artlet identity through various projects such as exhibits. As to how he would conduct his other project NGO Fair, Manuel said they are contacting nongovernmental organizations and their target is 30. So far, only 11 NGOs have confirmed that they can attend the project. He added that by December last year, all papers regarding the NGO Fair should have been done because they plan to do this in March. Platforms for Sustainability Secretary Romulo Kim Corporal V said they will compile various academic materials for each major through Online Base of Academic Materials and this will be handled by society secretaries The project is expected to materialize in December

last year. To ensure that there will be no cases of copyright infringement, Romulo said they would get the files from each society secretary to check if the sources, names, publications, and dates are secured to make sure no copyright is infringed. Regarding the “Project Water, Air, Land, and Energy Sustainability,” plotted in March or April, promotions will be done through social media and interaction promotions to encourage students to join the cause. Romulo was hopeful that the “AB Printing Service” project has already been launched by November last year since it needed a lot of papers for approval because of electricity usage in the University. Pending Expose Treasurer Elan Karsten Castañares was asked if he is conducting the “Hanapin, Panagutin, Huwag Ulitin” regarding the unresolved issue about ABSC funds. He said he’s already at the Panagutin phase but he is not sure what information to disclose since he doesn’t have clearance from the office. Castañares also noted that the only thing they can do after the investigation is to recommend actions as to how the dean’s office and the AB Student Welfare and Development will hold these people accountable. Since the merchandise is the central subject of the issue, they would do the Kaliwaan system instead wherein the supplier will be selling the merchandise at the lobby so the money is directly sent to them. Eyeing through Mata and Exhibits for Transparency Auditor Gabriel Lapid was asked about the difference of his project “AB Mata” with the President’s Grievance Coalition and he said that with the former, they are the ones who approach the student to ask about the problem focused on the facilities in AB. Lapid said AB Mata is not launched publicly but since August, they are already addressing facilities that are not working by reporting it to the dean’s office. AB Mata was launched publicly through the Council's Facebook page last January 29. He said even though the process of fixing the chairs is not quick

due to the budget limitation in AB, facilities such as lights are reported to the Facilities Management Office urgently so they could fix it. When asked about the “Summary Time” Lapid said it is a semestral event spearheaded by the council wherein they will exhibit reports about their expenses publicly for transparency and it would take place on Dec. 4-6 of last year and May 1417. Summary Time was also launched last January 23-25. Platforms left after sudden resignation Then-PRO Eadric Espiritu was asked regarding the “Blue Knowte” and how it differs from that of the president’s grievance system and he said the only role he has for the grievance is to publicize them and that is his very dilemma. “Since the president knows better, I will just support na lang,” Espiritu said after admitting that what he and the president wanted about the grievance system is similar. About "Ablaze: AB Town Hall" would not be feasible so the council opened the idea of a roundtable setting instead. “ABante 2030” addresses the needs of our partner communities on the perspective of Sustainable Development Goals. However, it is not launched yet due to its unforeseen complexity just like the changing needs of a community. Asked on how “Humans of AB” differs from the Flame’s “Limelight” which also features exceptional students, faculty, and alumni members, he said that his project will be video-based as he already established a group for all Artlet public-relations officers regarding his “GO PRO” project. Lastly, his “ABKaTalk” is currently in the form of publication materials posted on social media. However, Eadric Espiritu has already resigned from his post last semester. The position has been vacant since then. Lack of signature? The Flame also interviewed Lorenz Layao, the Board of Majors (BOM) speaker and when asked if there are instances of inappropriate action, he said that he commended the ABSC because all their actions are constitutional. However, Layao also said that they are willing to support them but

before they do that, they must also understand the sentiments of all societies. “We believe that they can still do better,” Layao said when asked on how he will rate the performance of ABSC. He cited that if there is a message given by the dean’s office, the council should give it to the student leaders as well, not to “create a lot of comments” but to give them awareness. “The major concern with me is communication,” Layao said when asked what the council lacks. There are times that a memo is only delivered to the ABSC officers. President Gascon admits that sometimes, there is miscommunication with the BOM and that is what they are trying to resolve. However, VP-Internal Dela Cruz said they are not the only ones to blame because they did not lack in the communication process. About the performance on certain events such as freshmen week, Layao said that the proper coordination done during the Baccalaureate mass for seniors was not done properly in the freshmen week because of the suspension of classes. “Naging magulo ‘yung Welcome Walk,” Layao cited the wrong seating arrangements in the Quadricentennial Pavilion. They were together in the planning process but failed in the execution. During the “Pista ni Athena” he said the ABSC said that it is okay that it was held simultaneously with the Recruitment 101 but the speaker is not quite sure about the outcome of the event. “Nakatulong ang ABSC sa pagre-ready ng interest orgs,” Layao said. But the readiness part of the ABSC falls under the BOM’s main concern—if they are sure that they would do the Pista on the same day of R101. “Ano ‘yung signature ninyo? Give me a signature,” Layao said as he cited that there are events that are done solely because they happen yearly, noting that they should provide a signature rather than merely executing an event. The current ABSC officers have three months left and some of their platforms are to take place this second semester.F SIEGFRED ALDOUS D. LACERNA

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RECENT Vox Populi of the Flame sparked an issue about the “low assessment” of the Thomasians in the disaster preparedness of the University, with the post garnering comments claiming that UST is doing its part in disaster preparedness, and it is the students who have not done their share by participating in the events planned by the institution. The concerns were raised after a magnitude 5.3 earthquake hit Quezon on Sept. 13 last year, which was felt around various places in Metro Manila. All students were evacuated to the UST Open Field, which was followed by a suspension of classes at around 5:33 p.m. The earthquake was followed by several aftershocks that caused panic throughout the metropolis in fear of "The Big One," a destructive earthquake that has been predicted to occur anytime soon. The Big Worry To improve UST's disaster preparedness, most students who participated in the Vox Populi, including Engineering student Danielle Quinto, suggested that the University should hold more evacuation drills and training, following the recommendation of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) to prepare for “The Big One.” Other suggestions from the students include spreading awareness as early as possible and responding faster to emergencies. “The University should prepare necessary equipment for emergencies,” Artlet Jhoanna Fulgencio added. Vox Populi, posted on the Flame's official Facebook page, garnered a 6.5 average rate, with three being the lowest and eight, the highest. “'Yung 6.5 is generous pa nga, nga, I think,” National Service Training Program (NSTP) instructor Justin Joseph Gopeng commented, saying that the Thomasian

rating is just about right since the University is still lacking the culture of being prepared for disasters. As defined by the International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC), disaster preparedness refers to the "measures taken to prepare for and reduce the effects of disasters.'' The way of an individual or an institution mitigate the impact of a disaster on vulnerable areas. In this case, does the University acquire disaster preparedness? “Medyo mahina pa 'yung culture natin pagdating sa disaster preparedness, ’yon 'yung napapansin ko sa students, administrators, faculties, lahat tayo dito sa Thomasian community. [...] Nung nag-earthquake, nag -earthquake, parang normal lang, parang hindi masyadong affected 'yung mga tao,” tao ,” Gopeng told the Flame Flame. . Red Cross Youth Council (RCYC) chairman Laden Dapdapig said the same, believing that 6.5 is a ‘fair rating' because it is the students’ own perspective and she has nothing to do with it. Dapdapig added that the survey only focused on earthquakes, and there is more to disaster preparedness than just that. “Madami pa tayong disasters. And for students to focus only on earthquakes, dapat hindi gano’n,” gano’n,” she stressed. Asked about her own rating, Dapdapig gave seven, explaining that the University is exerting its own effort even if the students cannot see it. She mentioned that there are existing research data regarding disaster risk reduction and management in the University. Dapdapig, however, said they are not reaching the students, which leads to them being unaware and clueless about the efforts being exerted. On the other hand, RCYC Faculty of Arts and Letters (AB) Unit president Bryan Marzan gave his unit a lower rating of

BEHIND ACCUSATIONS: A closer look on UST’s evaluation on disaster preparedness Words by JOANNE CHRISTINE P. RAMOS

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five out of 10 because his members did not have the initiative to move without his orders. Marzan was not inside the campus when the earthquake occurred, but he made sure that the Artlets were secure. For him, the University lacks the cooperation of students in terms of disaster preparedness. Disaster before a disaster “One factor is the cooperation of students mismo. ‘Pag may laban 'yung UST, we are united. Why not use that unity in times of crisis, too?” Marzan said, emphasizing that the participation of the students is one of the primary factors affecting their service. This lack of student participation relates to RCYC chairman Dapdapig’s statement regarding the unawareness of the Thomasians, saying that because of this setback, the Thomasians themselves become ignorant of the activities that RCYC holds, and in that case, they rate low. “As an org, full of students pa rin kami, and dahil alam namin 'yung ginagawa ng org namin, namin, alam namin 'yung gagawin in such events; pero 'yung mismong students, dahil wala silang alam, akala nila ganito lang,” lang,” Dapdapig lamented. For her, the more students participate in disaster preparedness, the more they will know how to act in times of crisis. Aside from the difficulty in participating, Marzan also confessed that their organization finds it hard to gain support from the administration. He said that as a local unit, they lack the equipment to use when it comes to actual disasters. They still find a way, though, to ensure the security of the students through the help of the central unit. Dapdapig also considers the administrators as a factor because they still rule over the RCYC. “’Pag sila na 'yung nagsabi, wala na kaming magagawa. So parang naaapektuhan 'yung gusto naming gawin. Tapos, dahil doon, feeling siguro ng mga students na wala kaming ginagawa,” ginagawa,” she said. “They do not know na we are still under the admin; we do not act as our own,” she added. Being your own hero For philosophy student Nathalie Naval, being prepared for disasters is a personal responsibility, and that one cannot always depend on someone for his or her safety in times of disasters. “Hindi mo malalaman when it will happen, and they also have to prioritize their safety rin rin.. So, I think you should depend on your readiness,” Naval added. Dawn Danielle Solano, a journalism freshman, agreed, saying it is not all the time that there will be someone else who will save one’s self, so the responsibility falls solely on one's own shoulders. “Hindi mo naman ma-e-expect ma-e-expect na ang Red Cross, nariyan palagi. Pa’no kung nasa Marikina ka tapos biglang tumama 'yung calamity?” Solano explained. On the other hand, Artlets Student Council member Irish Lorraine Perez believes that student councils can

also have a say in this matter by means of holding disaster preparedness events that students can participate in, although, the support of the Thomasians is of paramount importance. “If nagpenagpe-prepare prepare sila ng something for us pero tayo 'yung walang enthusiasm to participate, magfemagfe-fail fail din siya,” siya, ” Perez said. “Ang dating kasi no’n, ang nag-fail nag-fail is 'yung nag-prepare nag-prepare ng event when in fact, hindi naman tayo 'yung nag-parnag-participate nang maayos. So, sa tingin ko, it will always start from us," she added. Making disaster preparedness a reality Disaster preparedness has become one of the most urgent matters for the Thomasian community, with the University holding various events and programs that focus on disaster management. Knowing the fact that disasters may strike anytime without prior notice, however, is the goal of disaster preparedness really attainable? Marzan answered no. He believes that one cannot really say that a person or an institution is truly prepared for disasters since one can “never know exactly when or where disasters will strike." However, he emphasized that having the knowledge, understanding, and the heart to help in times of crisis means one is prepared. “‘Yung tipong the institution, they know what to do and they know how to handle the people inside, 'yung hindi nagpa-panic nagpa-panic lahat lahat,, we can say na they’re prepared. Kaso,, we can never say that a person is really [fully] diKaso saster-prepared,” he said. Red Cross in action “UST RCYC is much more than blood,” Dapdapig stressed, listing all their recent activities and programs focusing on students’ wellness and preparedness in times of disasters. Some of their activities include seminars on radio handling and disaster risk reduction management, basic life support, and standard first aid training. “As you can see, doon pa lang, ang dami na naming ginagawa,, so tulungan ninyo rin kami,” ginagawa kami,” Dapdapig said. “We keep on reaching out to the Thomasian community. We are inviting you all to be a part of our events and be volunteers,” she added. At present, the RCYC is aiming for more evacuation drills. Although the process will be very challenging, according to Dapdapig, they will do their best to push it through. In addition, the organization is also targeting more support and awareness from the Thomasian community not just in terms of disaster preparedness, but also regarding environment and societal issues. “'Wag sana nilang isipin na pinapabayaan namin sila, kasi we are doing our best. We only need their cooperation at most,” Dapdapig said. F

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#artletsbreakingsilence: in absc pro's resignation



POSITION in the Office of the Faculty of Arts and Letters' Student Council (ABSC) was vacated after its Public Relations Officer (PRO) officially resigned from his job in the middle of the academic year. Former ABSC PRO Eadric Espiritu cited his health problem as one of the reasons why he resigned from his post, saying that he "accidentally screwed up" and does not want to "become a liability to the council." This leaves a task for the AB Comelec to elect a new PRO who can live up to the standards of the Artlets. Thus, The Flame asked Artlets: What do you think are the traits or attributes an ABSC PRO should possess? Angelo Navera 1ELS1 - “So, for me, my ideal personality or characteristic of a PRO is that [they] should have good self-esteem so [they] can manage all the tasks that the school has given.” Dulcinea Zulueta 2JRN2 – “My ideal PRO is somewhat—his vision in handling work and handling pressure as well. And also, forms strategies to organize promotional events that enhance everyone’s situation into somewhat sublime and good reputation.” Paula Francisco 1ELS1 – “I think next PRO, open siya—open for other ideas, open for creating relationship with different programs since public relations siya so dapat parang marami siyang dapat alam sa public at mas open siya sa public.” Troy Jacob Quinan 2JRN2 – “I think, public relation siya so dapat open to people. So dapat open siya sa iba’t ibang personality ng people because as a PRO, ikaw ‘yung mag-ha-handle ng pag-co-communicate outside the

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premises of the office, outside the premises of your building kaya dapat open ka sa mga tao. Very enthusiastic makipag-communicate sa iba.” Eumira Guillermo – 1ELS1 – “For me, kailangan friendly siya tapos 'yung mga ideas niya, dapat ma-e-engganyo talaga ‘yung mga tao.” Raimee Arugay 2JRN2 – “Ang ideal PRO ko is mabilis 'yung information dissemination. Hindi siya aabot ng… parang kalalabas lang ng balita, disseminated na siya through the different classes tapos I think ‘yung pwedeng gumawa ng iba’t-ibang panukala or programs for the improvement ng students.” Jomari Tan 1POL2 – “Para sa akin ang ideal PRO unang-una, they should be [like] every other official. Someone who is really qualified for the job and someone who also understands how to bridge the gap of the students and administration. Second, being a public relations officer, dapat you have to maintain a good image and you have to show na your organization’s approachable so para sa akin, dapat ang PRO is someone who shows na this organization is here to help, is capable to help, and [...] ready.” Joyce Paras 2JRN2 – “Ideal ABSC PRO, approachable. Parang friendly ‘tsaka ano siya, 'yung hindi puro seryoso kasi 'pag puro seryoso mahirap i-approach.” Gia Carla Martin 1POL2 – “Siyempre kailangan commited ka talaga, in the first place, kumbaga tinanggap mo ‘yung job na ‘yon so as a PRO, para sa akin before saying yes dapat confident ka sa sarili mo na kaya mong i-sustain 'yung lahat ng

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demands ng work. ‘Di ba we are already trained na maging professional, I think [professionalism] is number one. Pangalawa, commitment sa job at pangatlo, kasi nasa inner philosophy mo 'yan how you can sustain work and mag-create ka ng result sa mga demands.” Chloe Valenzuela 2JRN2 – “First, alam na ‘yung duties ng PRO and then, maybe for all of us, gusto natin ‘yung PRO natin is someone approachable and not intimidating to approach kasi ‘di ba, since ABSC, parang ang taas ng tingin natin and we do pay our respect to them pero sana ‘yung PRO natin, sana maging approachable and friendly. Kahit anong question pwede mo'ng i-raise or i-ask sa kaniya and another thing is organized. A PRO should be well-structured [particularly] ‘yung plans niya and may strategy talaga siya to inform the students kasi sometimes, [...] hindi tayo interested with the things that are going inside the faculty and ineffective ‘yung PRO na ‘yun kasi hindi tayo nagiging interested. Kailangan ng strategy, structure, and organization para well-disseminated ‘yung information.” Bianca Austero 2JRN3 – “Ideal PRO siguro ‘yung magaling mag-disseminate ng information and 'yung magaling makipag-communicate sa student ano talaga 'yung dapat gawin, 'yung dapat mangyayari. Magaling din mag-promote ng events para 'di kami na-le-late.” Last November 20, 2019, AB Commission on Elections (COMELEC) opened the table for the second year to fourth-year students who are interested in filing their certificate of candidacy in the ABSC PRO post. But as of the moment, the position is still vacated. F


An old man waving a Philippine flag during the pro-Duterte protest Photo by JOSE JAIME RAPHAEL TAGANAS

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tarting the academic year (AY) right also means starting the year with fresh faces.

As the Faculty of Arts and Letters welcomed its freshmen for AY 2019-2020, it also ushered in Prof. Marilu Madrunio as its new dean. As an excellent educator and researcher in her years of service in the University of Santo Tomas, Madrunio sees it as a new milestone in her profession to take not just for herself but for the whole Faculty under her care. Madrunio was previously dean of the UST Graduate School. Life before teaching A graduate of College of the Holy Spirit, a convent school for girls mostly run by German nuns, Madrunio has practiced the habit of discipline and order since she was young, under the guidance and policies of her school. While studying Bachelor of Arts English at the the Holy Spirit, she never saw herself teaching until this passion called her. “In the teaching profession, one needs to be updated all the time. In my case, I feel that I should always be ahead of my students in terms of knowledge acquisition,” she says. Madrunio pursued a master’s degree at the UST Graduate School, where she graduated summa cum laude. She finished her doctorate in applied linguistics at the De La Salle University Manila with distinction. She considers all the learning experiences she has had as helpful tools that she can use during her stint as Faculty dean. Madrunio shares that her brother, who works for a multinational company and has traveled the world inspired her to initially take a degree in business administration. Even in changing her career path, she still considers herself grateful for seeing her skills and knowledge grow in the world of education and educating future generations. “The curious thing is that after I got into the

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teaching profession, I learned to love it and have stayed there since. Maybe, it helped that my parents were also educators.” she gladly says. Birth of English Language Studies As the founder of the English language studies (ELS), which was established in 2011 at the Faculty, Madrunio underscores the importance of the program not only in the University, but also in the outside world. “It is important that we know how the various speaking/writing communities behave and use English. Before we say that an error is really an error, we need to know if the variety of English used is something that is used by the educated circle in that country,” she says. The program offers courses in linguistics/ language and its relation to other disciplines. It includes forensic linguistics, stylistics (a combination of language and literature), sociolinguistics (which sees how language affects societies and cultures), and the varieties of English around the world. Madrunio’s perseverance and determination in putting up the ELS program have paved the way for more diverse and effective education in the English language. In line with this, she also wants to improve and practice better research, the field being one of the specializations of the university. “There is much that we can contribute, but at this point, I just want to bring to your attention one of the most recent and important developments in linguistics, and that is forensic linguistics. Forensic Linguistics is a very new and fertile area for research.” she explains. Being at the helm Madrunio finds herself at home at the Faculty, especially after more than three decades of teaching here. As a former dean of the UST Graduate School, her mind was already set to focus on full-time teaching and researching, but as she acknowledged this new milestone, she knew there would be so much in store for her

other than being a professor and researcher. “I was called by the Fr. Rector and was asked if I would be willing to lead the Faculty of Arts and Letters. At first, I had some reservations because the deanship of any college carries with it a heavy workload,” she admits. As the new dean, she gets excited as she will be surrounded by the Generation Z, whom she sees as helpful in modifying personal perspectives. It is also an advantage in lightening up the daily moods of everyone in everyday work in the office, Madrunio adds. “[I] think, being with the Gen Z will also make me more understanding of their attitude[s]. And, if you lead a college comprising of young people, that perspective makes a lot of difference.” she delightfully says.

Taking step-by-step actions for the development and betterment of the Faculty as she starts her work as the dean, Madrunio says she never neglects the most important part that she wants her students and the whole Artlet community to imbibe: discipline. “I still want to inculcate in them the value of discipline. In whatever we do, wherever we go, it is discipline that will make us survive and go through the ups and downs. Through discipline, students will be able to resist distractions and learn to focus on the tasks at hand. They will learn to make correct decisions in life aligned with their long-term goals.”Dean Madrunio wholeheartedly concludes. F

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M a r k A g pa s a : crescendo through triumph Words by DJULIENNE FLOR V. FOSTER and PATRICK V. MIGUEL Photo by ELIJAH JOHN M. ENCINAS


usic sheets in hand. Compositions in mind. Arrangements planned. Calendar marked with reminders of practices with choirs inside and outside the campus. That night, Mark Raeniel Agpasa set foot on campus as he had a rehearsal with the UST Chorus of Arts and Letters. He sat in front of the piano; the students gathered with their respective voices. His hands glided over the keys, hitting the notes without even looking down. His fingers skimmed through sheet music, as he gracefully waved his hand to guide them in every beat and measure. His students’ voices shone through even when he sang along. Their chorus was as if the notes were lifted off the paper, bursting like bubbles into beautiful harmonies. His life circulated around music – and music alone. Striking a chord Mark’s parents always took him to their choir rehearsals, and he slowly got more involved in choral music. “Up until mag-high school ako…until mag-college ako, wala na akong inisip na ibang course kung 'di music,” he says. Even before he began pursuing music, he had already started making his own song arrangements and compositions. These made him realize that he was meant to create music. Mark focused on being a choir conductor as he wanted to pass his knowledge on to the next generation of musicians. “Hindi ko masasabing I’m a successful musician if hindi ko siya naipasa sa new generation [...] You pass it on and ’dun ka makikilala, not just by your works but your values and your knowledge din na pinasa mo sa kanila,” he says. Hitting the right notes Mark became the chorale’s conductor in 2015. He tried out for the position when he was in third year college. From there, he experienced how to handle the choir, gaining knowledge on

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composition and arrangement. He experienced challenges when he was still new to conducting the AB Chorale. He struggled at first with creating a relationship with his students, especially since they were still loyal to their previous conductor. He was also unfamiliar with the rules of the college. Over time, however, he was able to overcome it. In 2017, the AB Chorale won first prize in the Himig Tomasino after 20 years; the last time was in 1997. They made it back-toback when they won the championship again in 2018, and Mark was awarded Best Conductor. The moment the group attained victory, Mark raised his arms, held the trophy tightly in his hands, as tears streamed down his face. The screams of joy of the AB Chorale sang with triumph. Mark maintained a strong sibling-like bond with his students, but he still taught them the value of discipline and respect. “Ayokong mapalayo sa kanila kasi mahirap din naman ’yung isa kang teacher o instructor [...] passive ka sa kanila,” he said. “Of course, dapat may bond pa rin para magkaroon kayo ng understanding sa isa’t isa.” In choosing music that fits the tastes of the Artlet community, the conductor finds it easy to please them because the students are open-minded enough to embrace both classical and modern music. Mark also seeks to explore other facets of music. He recently joined the 2019 Busan Choral Festival and Competition, where his piece “Jubilate Deo” won first place. “Huwag kang mahiya sa ginagawa mo,” he said. “The more na tinatago mo siya, the more na nashe-shell ka […] Siguro maging confident ka sa works at performances mo.” There is meaning in his compositions, according to Mark, referencing one of them: his winning piece “Jubilate Deo.” “By rejoicing and glorifying the Lord [through music], gusto kong i-uplift ‘yung pagiging Asian natin,” he explains. Sustaining fortissimo Now in its 25th year, the UST Chorus of Arts and Letters has prepared various activities that celebrate the milestone. “It’s about time that AB Chorale…hindi [...] ma-confine lang sa four corners ng UST…’yon ang dream ko sa kanila,” Mark said, as he expressed belief that the AB Chorale is the ambassador of music in the college. Not only do they promote music but they also promote Artlet unity, culture, and how the University of Santo Tomas is known as one of the oldest liberal arts schools in the Philippines. “If ever na dumating 'yung time na mawala na ako sa AB Chorale…I want my music—not just my music—to remain, [and] also my lessons to them,” the group leader says, “…hindi lang 'yung pagtuturo ko ng music 'yung maaalala nila but 'yung mga lessons ko pagdating sa discipline, sa respect, [sa] commitment, [at] sa organization […] 'Yung legacy na iiwan ko…kahit na wala na ako sa AB Chorale, hindi nila makakalimutan 'yung mga naituro ko, not just the music but also the lessons in life.” Mark, standing in front of the choir with his back on the audience, waved his hand, and a beautiful unity of voices filled the room with ethereal gist. They started off low, but as the song progressed, their voices grew higher and higher like a crescendo—so high it could reach the stars. F @abtheflame |

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The vibrant city of Manila Photo by MARLOU JOSEPH B. BON-AO

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s t s i t r a d e t

n e l a t s e ch

t a H e v i t a Cre




nd ph

a Words


by JO


t would seem as if the Easter Bunny had been made as the model of Filipino artistry with the exhibit titled Hatch, based on the overall impression of the artworks. Assembled on the ground floor of the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Museum, the exhibit had rooted from one of Manila Bulletin’s projects conceived to flaunt the visionary brilliancy of Filipino artists. The national broadsheet gathered 102 artists from various corners of the country during Easter last year, thus, inspiring the all-too-familiar concept of the artworks. Of the rather plentiful bunch, 25 hailed from UST itself, all priding themselves with their own unique, hand-crafted strokes of genius. Orchestrated in a way that would resemble spherical boulders in an otherwise surreal world, exhibit-goers might have felt as if they have stepped into the shoes of Alice as she descends onto the mystifying magic of Wonderland. The mishmash of acrylic colors blended perfectly with one another, further heightening the viewers’ curiosity and overall dreamlike essence of the area. Singled out from the rest, Jiks Villanueva’s Magnificent (1) stood out in all its glorious height. Utilizing and linking steel bars together, Villanueva enveloped a graceful, golden

cracked egg to take the shape of an ostrich. In contrast with the other artworks, Magnificent attempted to express itself as a more physically striking composition, going beyond to transform itself into something more than just a simple, painted egg. Also among the oval artworks, one’s attention would easily be grabbed by Demet dela Cruz and Miai Sebastian’s Dalawang Sagwan (2) for its distinctively peculiar machinery. Within the fragile walls of the egg lay a small sculpture of two people paddling above a basin of ocean waves as mechanical insects surrounded them from outside. What made this piece exceptional was the artists’ use of motion to bring the work to life, making subtle flickers on the dragonfly’s wings and stirring the egg in a gentle, circular flow. Likewise, Danny Rayos del Sol captured a trace of childlike innocence with Karuzel (3). One might reminisce about long forgotten memories of soft laughter as the artwork showcased delightful figures of horses surrounding a rather hollow interior of rudimentary white. Its complex construction of its shell made it one of the more visually appealing pieces in the exhibit. Similarly, Thomasian artist Maria Magdamit’s Whimsical Circus (4) also basked in the same childlike glow. @abtheflame |

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(4) Whimsical Circus

(6) Marawi is Burning

(7) Cradle of Life

(1) Magnifcent (5) True Friends

(3) Karuzel


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A striking figure of a balancing clown took center stage above. Together with the egg’s design of clowns, Magdamit helped viewers take a peek of what they could see in a real-life circus. Deep, loving, human connections have been made the subject of several artworks, one of which was Robert Deniega’s work, True Friends (5), where he conceived a soft, tranquil scene of two people harvesting stars from a tree as if they were red, ripe apples. Simple but pure, Deniega highlighted the happiness that one might feel with people that would be there in times of need. Shining with Thomasian pride, Nemiranda underscored an important message with the work, Marawi is Burning (6). On its brightly colored shell of yellow and orange was a representation of the chaos that had besieged the city of Marawi. The hand-drawn images of bullets served as a reminder of the many innocent lives that had been lost in the battle. Though the artwork’s design was relatively simple compared with the rest, the message that it tried to convey went beyond colorful strokes and delved deeper into societal calamities. The importance of preserving the beauty that is life was echoed by Ferdinand Cacnio. His artwork, Cradle of Life (7), featured an egg held by intricately crafted branches that seemed to twist and knot around each other in interconnecting mazes. Although the message that it tried to convey seemed marginally ambiguous, one might interpret the tree and the egg as a representation of God trying to protect humanity. The egg is a gift of life that is yet to hatch in all its wonder and potential, and God wants us to ensure its future through the promotion of world peace. Hatch has cracked a way open for artists to explore beyond a simple canvas and bring their talent to new heights. Through the exhibit, the artists were also able to incorporate all walks of life, all the pain, the madness, the love, and the hope that are all part of human experience. Ultimately, Hatch not only provided a new nest for artists to spread their wings, but it also gave the audience a far-reaching view of the diversified world. F

(2) Dalawang Sagwan

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Enriching Filipino Coffee Culture Words by THERIZ LIZEL R. SILVANO Photos by ELIJAH JOHN M. ENCINAS


THIRST nos to

for warmth and delight luxuriate in a hot, sweet

will cup

urge Filipiof coffee.

Brewed with fine coffee beans from some provinces in Northern Luzon, KapeTayo Coffee offers everything Filipino. From serving Barakong Totoo to Suman de Coco, Coco, KapeTayo serves a luscious array of beverages and desserts. With its aim to arouse the Filipino taste buds, the café experiments with its menu by combining well-crafted beans with coconut cream or gata, Chocnut, strawberries from Baguio, and other delectable local ingredients. Kapeng Ginto, Ginto, the café’s bestseller, is sweetened with muscovado and gives a soft, creamy texture. Once it’s indulged, its mild taste and syrup-like aroma will gratify one’s palate. Unlike any other coffee, Kapeng Ginto is a luxury coffee with a refreshing and homely vibe. Black coffee — that traditional coffee Filipinos love — is something a Filipino café cannot do without. For KapeTayo, black and hot coffee is Barakong Totoo, Totoo, made with authentic and premium high-grade barako beans. This coffee variant is genuinely served strong and smooth, leaving one’s palate bitter with a woody flavor. Cooked with plain pasta and olive oil, Tuyo and Tuna Pasta with Capers is topped with pieces of seasoned tuyo, tuna, earthy mushrooms, herbs, and brined capers. Its fiery flavor adds to its piquant taste complemented with its pair of doughy white breadsticks filled with various herbs. Despite being a simple dish, its olivey capers bring a burst of flavor that makes the customer savor every strand of pasta and devour every chunk of tuyo and tuna.

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And then there’s Yemma Cake, Cake, a melt-in-the-mouth dessert made with airy cake, gooey chocolate, and yema filling. It’s a two-layer cake fused with semi-sweet chocolate and creamy yema. On top of that, it’s excellently garnished with yema and coated with rich chocolate frosting. Lastly,theSumandeCoco, Coco,aFilipinotreatmadeofstickyrice,isanothermouthwatering dessert that keeps one wanting more. It’s glazed with caramelized coconut jam sprinkled with coconut bits as a topping. A simple treat turned into an exquisite dessert, Suman de Coco will satiate a typical Pinoy’s gastronomic cravings. KapeTayo does not only serve Filipino coffee and delicacies, but also embodies and represents a true Filipino coffee brand that will preserve the culture of Filipinos when it comes to drinking coffee. KapeTayo Coffee founder and chief executive officer Brian Tenorio says he and his team want to create a full-fledged Filipino brand that will be known for its novelty and ingenuity. KapeTayo does just that — it celebrates how Filipinos drink coffee as part of their daily lives, which plays a significant part in Filipino culture. This Pinoy lifestyle comes with maintaining their harmonious relationship with one another by sharing laughter and stories, socializing, kamustahan, and other norms that Filipinos love to do. Tenorio defined his #FilipinoCafeCulture movement, as “how Filipinos use the café if it's for conversation, or Pinoys drink their coffee alone or with friends.” no is a

As to heritage, way of

promoting the Filipihe said that everything defining Philippine culture.

“By being ourselves, without pretending to be someone else, is a way to define, upgrade, develop, and talk about your culture,” he said. Tenorio also mentioned the coffee culture that’s been practiced by people from the mountain provinces, in which they share a big thermos of coffee with their neighbors, thus, creating intimate friendships with one another. KapeTayo may not have a huge container for serving coffee, but it has something to share with one another: a table, to accompany a stranger, a drink, or simply a welcoming space for people to catch up and to have a pleasant time. Truly, drinking coffee comes with valuing every moment shared with other people. It’s not only made to satisfy one’s thirst for comfort, but also makes people want and enjoy each other’s presence. The coffee culture that’s been practiced for decades by Filipinos is very much alive today — you just have to visit a coffee shop and unwind, get together, or simply do anything that makes you happy for you to see it. Indeed, from sipping a cup of coffee to creating delightful memories, the Filipino coffee culture is worth celebrating. FLAME | 37 F @abtheflame |

T h e D a i ly B ow l Words by CHRISTINE JANINE T. CORTEZ Photos by ELIJAH JOHN M. ENCINAS


n a place where rice culture is infused in the bloodstream of society, along with the intrusion from various sorts of fast-food chains, people have undoubtedly learned to embrace and absorb various types of cuisines since who knows when.

Chef Eli "Elijah" Lapid, who was born and raised in Israel, brought with him his abundant passion and admiration for his hometown culture or the Middle Eastern taste into a place that paved the way for his career and life combined.

From there onwards, the food community has left its humble and inviting doors wide open and welcoming for more — and the locals still searching for satisfaction.

Drained from the frustrating corporate industry where things started for him, Lapid believed it was time to venture into unfamiliar waters and finally pursue what seemed to be an alternate route that somehow urged him to introduce and promote the need for healthy and organic options through a restaurant named after his favorite food and himself: the Hummus Elijah. Elijah.

Although some might think they had everything they could ever ask for gastronomic satisfaction, there arrived something new but not fast-food, something they are not familiar with but ended up needing, something geographically an ocean away and now storming its way to the Filipino food scene: the Mediterranean cuisine. For that reason, courageous FLAME | 38

available to Metro Manila customers. Five years ago, before there was even a store, Lapid was in his home kitchen concocting something he is intrinsically good at, when suddenly, netizens learned about him and his dishes. Orders for deliveries started coming in, which somehow pushed him to open a physical store.

The menu is surprisingly flexible: one can order Ă la carte or in sets of two or more at an affordable price, and it includes all of Elijah's house specials that are labors of his authentic homeThe first branch is located made recipes and an impresalong the stretch of Makati Ave- sive commitment to hard work. nue, while the latest just opened on the fifth level of SM Aura PreThe star of the show Hummier in Taguig City. Both branch- mus Elija has a subtle texture es operate daily, with deliveries

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and a smooth taste of hummus and tahini sauce that was made even better with real chickpeas and olive oil. It was light and homey and the garnished spices on top played their part well, it definitely kicked off additional flavors that make it qualified as comfort food. Followed by its partner in crime, the warm Ciabatta or Pita Bread that goes along perfectly with the hummus. Although it tasted unfamiliar, it had an irresistibly indulging taste but was sur-

prisingly cause of

good be- tasted better with — and truly the hummus. complemented — one another.

For someone who's craving a pure taste of tomato or anything sour yet savory, the Shakshuka will fit like a glove, and even has two eggs cooked together with thick stewed tomato sauce served in a mini pan. Another healthful chickpeas-based dish known widely across the globe is the fried Falafel balls. Servers highly recommend these as fillings of the pita dipped in tahini sauce.

To welcome an unusual cuisine is one thing, but for locals to embrace it wholeheartedly is an exemplary moment that rarely happens in an urban jungle like Manila. Today, Hummus Elijah aspires to reach more people so it may bolster the benefits of eating healthy, and at the same time share and nurture the taste of Mediterranean flavors. Except for serving food and the consistent devotion in using fresh ingredients, it also sells various herbs and spices that originated from Israel and displayed in its stores.

To complete the meal, a serving of a mini Mediterranean Salad composed of fresh tomatoes, cucumber, onion, parsley, lemon, olive oil, herbs, and spices is just the right Taking risks and, perhaps, takamount of goodness that visu- ing a not-so-familiar route in life ally screams healthy and ex- may turn out to be not so bad cellent for everyone. at all — probably, even better than what one typically expects. One can enjoy Elijah and his hummus may still each dish on be a young business with plenty its own, but of room to grow, but with the as a whole, right amount of courage and everything belief in one’s craft anyone, he can become his own food icon. F

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t is not often that people of today will ever lay eyes, nor will they ever get a chance to witness an amorphous anting-anting; an inevitable reminder and a relic of a religious icon for protection, luck, and healing. Most might say it is absurd to even speak of it these days. It may be true, but not for the people who continue to believe. Some people even made an art out of it during a gallery exhibit curated by Norman Crisologo titled, Bulong at Sigaw: Mga Kontemporaryong Kulam, Dasal, Anting-anting, at Ritwal (Whisper and Prayer: Contemporary Witchcraft, Prayer, Anting-anting, and Rituals). Held at Art Informal on Con-

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necticut St., Greenhills East, Mandaluyong City. Together, the exhibit was made possible by Crisologo and 11 other local artists, namely, Don Dalmacio, Beejay Esber, Rocky Cajigan, Ryan Jara, Bree Jonson, Doktor Karayom, Gene Paul Martin, Tristram Miravalles, Leonardo Onia Jr., Neil Pasilan, and Kaloy Sanchez. Most of the time, the best sort of healing is found within the depths of familiar eyes with arms as gentle as the blowing wind. The purest embodiment of home and surrender, that person is none other than a mother. In the artwork titled Ina, Neil Pasilan vividly captured a quintessential moment between a mother and her child in this emotionally

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figurative approach. The heavily textured piece was the first thing one would notice upon entering the walls of Art Informal. Ina was also one of those artworks that one would appreciate up close and personal because of its impeccably vigorous style of painting along with the alluring personality of a mother as a subject. Hung and lit in a stretch of reddened wall are the art exhibits' crowning glory, the anting-antings (amulets). The curator himself gave light to these religious relics by featuring a collection of 14 legitimate gold-colored 18th-century amulets that are now just products of the country's religious and ancient traditions.

In the olden days, it became a symbolic artifact that was recognized as a trophy in times of war or perhaps a battle gear that served as protection. It represented many peoples' faiths and beliefs. It held certain prayers, orations, and devotions of different kinds, and like any other superstitious elements, it also came with a ton of criticism. Truly, there is no surprise in that, but to the same extent, it is quite unfortunate to think how much it meant a lot before and seems so insignificant today. Upon seeing the work of Jara, titled Twisted, a few might note the uncanny way of showing parallelism from the rest of the pieces that appear exactly to their expectations of the event.

pléonexie (Are you thinking what I'm thinking?) was the largest piece in terms of size. It showed a hound of dogs that appears to be running or chasing one another in the woods. Jonson has been known for always using animals, particularly dogs, as lead characters for her art pieces. Truth be told, not everyone in today’s modern society will stop on their tracks just to pay homage to an artifact imbued with Philippine folklore. It's controversial and its purpose in society is long served and gone.

the 21st century will ever remember what it really looked like, nor will they even care what it is all about. From time to time, people will continue to speak of it, but not everyone will earnestly appreciate its contribution to the life of early generations and the Philippine folklore as a whole. Although it’s not something that modern people grew up knowing, it’s still a part of history, and it’s only acceptable to maintain its presence in the society, at least in thoughts or forms of art. F

From zero to one, almost no one from those who were born in

From there, it was only logical to mention that whenever people attend exhibits with definite subjects, normally, they come to see something closely related to the title or theme. On the other hand, the surprising factor it generated to the viewers was the quality that makes artworks worthy of another look — perhaps, even more. For others to see it only as disturbing and unnatural is just the worst impression it deserved. It's also worth noting that the artist's choice of subject — the four aged and white-haired faces with intensely rendered skin as textured and visible as the sun — was what made the art piece a surreal sight to behold. Jonson’s painting, titled in French, Ménchanceté, oligarchie, @abtheflame |

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Photos from left: Grotto, Whisper 1 and Whisper 2-45


assion — truly inspirited passion — ity in people's gardens, as grottos are can make even the dullest of ma- no longer commonplace these days. terials ripen into something delicately and intricately woven with artistry. Producing a skillful artistic piece cannot be done through a simple stroke With all the art forms that have come of a brush or mold of a clay, and that is before, it is rewarding to create a piece what Alcazaren imbues in his artworks that is new and singularly unmatched. Whisper No. 1 and Whisper No.2-45. But in a show at Artinformal’s galleries in Makati City, Juan Alcazaren and Monica Delgado show art enthusiasts and practitioners alike what happens when one’s creative hands are finally struck with passionate inspiration.

Hanging on the gallery’s humble walls, the artworks are composed of numerous small, uncovered papers of seemingly antique manifestation, with its brownhued surface containing nothing but a single, simple word. Made from metal stencils sprayed with water to create Situated in Artinformal’s Gallery 3, Al- rust impressions, the words epitomize cazaren makes use of fresh rust to Alcazaren’s process when creating art. coat his steel sculptures and artworks of spiritual and authentic essence. Through the words Spark, Smear, Throw, and many others, one can see that they mirSpecializing in using hammers in- ror the steps that Alcazaren undertakes in stead of brushes, electricity instead sculpting his artworks. Although simple and of paint, Alcazaren’s exhibit, Grotto, outwardly underwhelming, one might have brings about a rich perspective from the a change of heart once the artworks have three dimensional realm of sculpting. truly been understood for their meaning. Basking in the spotlight is Grotto, a lifesized silhouette of the Virgin Mary crafted from multitudes of reddish-brown steel slabs that are shaped to take the form of a painter’s brush strokes.

Another work that displays Alcazaren’s metallic expertise is Quid Pro Crow, a sundry of metal fragments welded together to take the form of a bird that has met an ill demise at the hands of a sharpened arrow.

As a fragile flame flickers from inside, The artwork draws inspiration from Janthe sculpture would perhaps seem un- nis Kounellis, a foreign artist who works nerving, almost supernatural to most. with taxidermy animals. Through its The rusting cloak of the Virgin Mary sym- relatively complex and shambolic fusbolizes the descent of a spiritual qual-

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Unearthing Jewels Through Passion Words and photos by JOHN PATRICK A. MAGNO RANARA

ing of steel, Alcazaren attempts to symbolize an artist’s idea being shot down by criticisms before ultimately being shelved away and forgotten completely. This artwork may hit a little too close to home for a few aspiring artists who have experienced having their ideas turned down by those who believe are entitled to do so. An arrow through the chest may seem hard to pull out, but it continues to live out one’s passion that makes the work even more satisfying when fulfilled. Contrasting Alcazaren’s rather bland color palette of brown and black are Delgado’s whimsical and quirky artworks made entirely out of solidified paint. Making use of a unique approach to combine sculpture and canvas, Delgado’s exhibit, 54 Gal, delves into the process of painting. The works transform the plain walls of Artinformal’s Gallery 1 into a colorful collection of creativity with her brushless way of controling 54 gallons of paint. Towering with over 100 inches in length, Mome Raths Outgrabe is made imaginable through Delgado’s delicate way of crumpling solidified sheets of paint, forming folds reminiscent of blue ocean waves that have been spilled on by a kaleidoscope of colors. Photos from top: Quid Pro Crow and Mome Raths Outgrabe

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The work attempts to take its viewers back into the Baroque period, when painters utilized the same artistic movement in their creative pieces. Mome Raths Outgrabe’s mixture of colors seems to sing an ode to vibrant historical clothing as it provides a rather enthralling pull to the eyes. Bottle caps are often made the subject of a collector’s hobby, but Delgado takes it to a whole new level with her artwork, Capstcha. Viewers might feel a sense of flavorful tingling in their sweet teeth as their eyes roam the candy-like caps lined up in such fashion that would satisfy one’s inner perfectionist. Delgado bathes each cap with polychromatic colors squeezed to the core from reused acrylic paints, blending with one another to form ripples, swirls, drops, and bubbles that may give the impression of sugary jewels ready to be picked up and enjoyed to the fullest. Rusted metal, dried paint, bottle caps—these are just a few items that, in everyday life, seem mundane and far from interesting, often ignored and unappreciated. In the right hands, however, one might be able to unearth the true golden appeal of these items. That, and many other things, is the wonder that the often elusive but eternally valued feeling called passion could bring. F

Mome Raths Outgrabe

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Mome Raths Outgrabe Life under the streetlights

Photo by SHANA ANGELA S. CERVANIA @abtheflame |

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The Hundred-Foot Journey: Feelings Through Food Words by ANA MURIEL R. VERON


OOD has always been a universal way to bring people together. Eating and cooking together invoke feelings of love and warmth within people which connects them to each other. Such a basic necessity can bring out the best memories in people. It elicits feelings of melancholy and nostalgia, pride and love. With an alluring display of fantastic acting, direction, and score, Swedish director Lasse Hallström’s “The Hundred-Foot Journey” (2014) is a feast for the audience’s senses. Based on a book of the same title by Richard C. Morais, the film tells the story of an extremely talented cook striving to become a great chef. Hassan Kadam (Manish Dayal) is a self-taught chef with an extraordinary gift for cooking. He is the second son of an Indian family that moves to the quaint village of Saint Antonin in the French countryside. His father, Papa (Om Puri), set up a restaurant exactly one-hundred feet across the street from Le Saule Pleureur. The reputable establishment boasts one Michelin Star and is hoping to earn another. It is run by the stern Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren) whose sensibilities are rattled by the pungent smells and sounds of the Kadams’ Maison Mumbai. When Madame finds out that her classic French restaurant is being overshadowed by the new neighbors, a rivalry erupts and it is not long befor Madame and Papa begin

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cooking up ways to sabotage each other. Eventually, each side of the road realizes that their contrasts in classy subtlety and pungent flair are exactly what makes them the perfect fusion of French and Indian flavors. The people and cooking of both cultures did eventually come together for a delightful medley with plenty of food and love to spare. While she portrays a rigid, snobby restaurant owner who encumbers the protagonist, Mirren still manages to convince the audience to sympathize with her character. In turn, her performance as the driven, albeit somewhat tyrannical, Madame Mallory earned her a well-deserved Golden Globe nomination. The myriad of cooking montages and close-ups of delectable dishes leaves o n e ’ s

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mouth watering. Even if the food shown in the film may seem unfamiliar, watching the characters cook and eat them will remind the audience of food they associate with people close to their hearts: a friend’s favorite meal or a mother’s signature dish. The contrast of the settings, as well as the colors used in each scene, such as the warm burnt oranges and browns of the Mumbai market, the charming and bright neutrals of Saint Antonin, and the sleek, neon-noir sophistication of Paris, beautifully highlight the changes of mood within the narrative. Despite being produced by big names like Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey, the cinematography gives the film an amiable low-budget-butin-a-good-way indie feel that makes watching it all the more wholesome. The dramatic juxtaposition of A.R. Rahman’s score emphasizes both the Indian and French cultures presented and provides a lovely garnish to the whole story. Overall, The Hundred-Foot Journey is blessed with talent. With its picturesque scenes and dazzling dishes, it is worth watching if one is looking at satisfying their craving for a hearty feel-good comedy-drama featuring gorgeous food and great acting. F



y eyes darted back and forth from the screen of my laptop. White light reflected from my jaded face as my fingers hovered over the keyboard. Aggressively, I tried to type the words that filled every crevice of my mind, but in the end, I was unable to produce anything.

The deadline was near. The clock’s hands slowly ticked closer to my doom, getting louder as each second passed. I was running out of time, and yet I was persistent.The words had to come out.

The room was enveloped with darkness brought upon by midnight. The clock ticked endlessly, with each sound echoing and ringing. Its incessant noise added to the anxiety I was already feeling.

As I drained bottle after bottle, a symphony of letters spun into existence. A tiny annoying voice reminded me of every insecurity and worry I have. I was immortal and the only thing that could stop me was sobriety.

At the back of my mind, I remembered my mentor’s comment. His words engraved in my mind, “Are you sure this is the field for you? You have not improved even once!”

“You cannot earn a living by writing... You are not good enough,” said the voice.

I buried my head in my hands at the memory. Everything I have been dreaming of since I was a child has turned into nothing but doubt. Hopelessness started to flood my senses. I leaned back and stared at the ceiling. It has been so long since I have entered this slump. For several nights, I tried to squeeze whatever creative juice was left in me, but to no avail. Not a single

drop came out.

Crumpled-up drafts crowned the trash bin, with some spilling onto the floor. The bin was filled with wrappers, soft drink cans, and cup noodles. Bottles lined up the side of my desk. I looked at my laptop. The file was bare and clean— something that it was not supposed to be. I stifled a scream that was about to burst out of my mouth. The frustration was building up inside and at any moment now, I was going to erupt like a volcano. During times like these, there is only one thing I crave. I sighed and grabbed a bottle of beer. Its cold familiar texture touched my skin. I downed a gulp. It burned my throat, but I did not care. My head throbbed and the whole room spun, but I pushed on with drinking.

It rang in my head, rattling me to my very core. I covered my ears, thinking I could block out the sounds even though I knew t h a t resistance is futile. There it is again: “This is the eighth revision this week! Is this the best you can do?” Why would it not stop? I quickly grabbed another bottle and popped it open. I chugged until I felt my stomach swell. I finished it up to the last drop, until the voice faded into the sea of my pleasurable vice. Yes, drown and let it fill my body. My eyes blurred like a fogged window. The page before me was still blank. I had to fix it. I placed my hands on the keyboard and started to type. My hands became a brush heavy with ink.With every stroke, the words poured and spilled onto the page. I let myself get lost in the frenzy. Little by little, the once empty page was filled from top to bottom. For a moment, I stared at my work and marveled at its existence. Despite the headache and the incoming hangover, here it is—my magnum opus. I smiled. The feeling of exhaustion overwhelmed me, and finally, I passed out. F @abtheflame |

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Ang Paghihikahos ng Batang Maynila Sulat ni DENISSE TABOR



sa sa paboritong pwesto ni Ronron ang isang pedestrian zone sa Morayta dahil lagi itong dinaraanan ng mga estudyante at empleyado, bukang-liwayway man o takipsilim, o kahit na tirik na tirik pa ang sikat ng araw. Bitbit ang nagtutuklap na bag na ginamit niya noong mga panahong pumapasok pa siya sa paaralan, suot din niya ang dating uniporme tuwing mamamalimos dito. Minsan pa nga ay may kuwaderno pa siyang bubuklatin saka magkukunwari na tila ba may sinasaulo. Pansin niya, mas marami ang naaawa at nagbibigay kapag ganito ang kanyang pagbabalatkayo; minsan nga ay tinapay pa ang iniaabot na siyang binibigay naman niya sa nakababatang kapatid. Sa murang edad, halos lahat na ng trabaho, basta kaya ng kanyang katawan, ay napasok na ni Ronron. Nasubukan na

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niyang magpakintab ng mga sapatos ng mga pumapasok na estudyante sa may overpass. Nakapagbenta na rin siya ng yema sa mga nakapila sa terminal ng FX sa Rodriguez, ngunit dulot ng mahinang kita at kakulangan ng mag-aalaga sa nakababatang kapatid, napilitan na lamang siyang mamalimos sa mga matataong kalsada. Silang dalawa na lamang ang magkasangga sa buhay, at walang ibang maaasahan ang bunso kung hindi ang kanyang nakatatandang utol. Ang hindi lang maganda sa panlilimos ay walang katiyakan kung magkano makukuha mo sa isang araw; minsan ay malaki at mapagkakasya sa dalawang araw ngunit madalas ay kakarampot kahit hindi naman matumal ang pagdaan ng mga tao. ‘Di nagtagal, nanghina ang resistensya ng bunso at

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tinamaan ng sakit sapagkat hindi nakakakain ng masustansya. Dagdag na rin dito ang pagkakabilad sa polusyon at samut-saring masasamang elemento bunga ng magdamag na pananatili sa bukas na espasyo. Dahil salat sa buhay ay hindi magawa ni Ronron na mapatingin ang kapatid sa doktor. Mas malaking oras din ang ginugol niya sa pag-aalaga kaysa sa pamamalimos kung kaya’t sa isang araw ay tanghalian lang ang kinakain nila. Palubha nang palubha ang sakit ng bunso at nagsimulang mabuo ang takot sa puso ni Ronron. Sa pagdaan ng mga araw, mas naging kapansin-pansin ang pagbabago sa itsura ng bunso: nangangalumata, nakausling mga buto na halos dikit na dikit na sa balat, manas na kamay at paa, at ang drastikong pagbaba ng timbang. Tumatangis ang kanyang kalooban dahil alam niyang tuluyan nang bibigay ang mumunting katawan nito kung hindi niya mabibilhan ng gamot at mahahainan ng masustansyang pagkain, subalit ni pambili nga ng sabaw na maaaring magpagaan ng pakiramdam nito ay hindi niya alam saan hahalughugin. Sa hila ng desperasyon na mapagaling ang kapatid at wakasan ang paghihirapan nito, tumalima siya sa minungkahi ng dating kaibigan. Hinintay niyang balutin ng dilim ang kalsada na dati ay pinaglilimusan lang niya yaon ding araw na iyon. Mabigat ang pusong nag-abang ng target — “babae, maliit, magara manamit,

walang dalang payong o kahit ano na pwedeng ipanghampas sa ’yo,” naalala niyang sinambit ng kaibigan. Paunti nang paunti ang tao, at palakas nang palakas ang ihip ng hanging balaklaot. Nang makakita ng taong akma sa paglalarawan ng kaibigan ay hinanda niya na ang sarili. Isa. Sinundan ni Ronron ng tingin ang kanyang pakay — ang kalupi na nakasabit sa balikat nito. Dalawa. Pinagmasdan niya ang kanilang paligid: walang patrol, maluwag ang bangketa. Tatlo. Kagyat nitong hinablot ang kalupi at sumuot sa mga pasikut-sikot na eskinita at kalyehon upang iligaw kung sakali man na siya ay sinundan. Dumiretso si Ronron sa palengke at bumili ng mga sangkap at pansahog sa sabaw na lulutuin para sa bunso pagkatapos magpalipas ng oras. Bitbit niya sa isang kamay ang plastik na pinaglalagyan ng mga pinamiling gulay at mga tableta ng bitamina habang sa kabila ay ang walang laman na kalupi. Ngayon ay nauunawaan niya na bakit iniiwan ng marami ang marangal na buhay kapalit ng pera—hindi para magpayaman, kundi para manatiling buhay. Simula noon ay tinalikuran niya na ang panlilimos. F

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“Sabihin na lang kaya natin sa kanila?” kanila?” The words slipped from my mouth. For quite some time, it was something that was stewing inside. It felt like I vomited, leaving my gut clenching and rolling, which I hoped would be relieved by the answers I had hoped for. Behind the closed door of my room, we laid on the same bed together, staring blankly at the ceiling. His hand, which was tangled with mine—fingerprint to fingerprint, skin to skin— clenched so tight I could feel his fingernails dragging on to my skin. I turned my head to the side, facing him. He closed his eyes and sighed. “Someday, M. Pero huwag muna.” muna.” He shifted his body and leaned his forehead on to mine. I could feel the hot air coming from his exhales, smelling his breath. “Gaano ko man kagustong magpakilala sa kanila bilang ‘tayo,’ hindi naman natin ‘yun magagawa, kasi—” I opened my mouth to say something, then closed it immediately after realizing that I have no words to spew from my lips anymore. He shifted his body, moving closer to mine, and wrapped his arm around me. Just like how he clenched my hand, he also tightened his hug, making me close my eyes and sigh on his chest. His lips, which people thought I had never touched, pressed on my forehead. “Nakakatakot. Huwag muna.” Our favorite moments are just like this. Enclosed in a four-walled room, we found our own sanctuary. The door was always locked, and the windows shut tight, draped with curtains that swing on the faintest aura of wind. There were no narrowly piercing eyes to witness, nor ears to overhear us in what we did to satisfy our cravings. Warm and rough fingers slid from my chin toward my neck, making my skin tingle with anticipation. I shivered. Liberally, we wrapped our arms together with our chests pressing against each other so hard and tight that it was somewhat difficult to breathe. Our lips, the mutual common we had in its softness and delicateness, pinned each other sensing the essence of the last meal we had. The best of our times happened in secrecy—from the moment that we became official, moving on to the times when we satiated our lust. My eyes set on to the door in front and questions began to scamper in my head. Is he embarrassed of me? I broke free from his warm embrace and sat up, shifting my legs out from the bed. Staring blankly on the floor, my hand fished out a cigarette and a lighter from my pocket. I put the cigarette between my lips and lit it. I always smoke every time I want to relieve my overthinking mind. I took a

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In A Four-Walled Room Words by PATRICK V. MIGUEL


long drag. “Bakit ba kasi kailangan pa natin magtago, D?” D?” I exhaled the remaining smoke. “Hindi mo naman ’yan kailangan tanungin.” D sighed once again. “Alam “Alam mo na kung bakit.” bakit.” D tugged his fingers at the hem of my shirt and pulled it, but I simply ignored it, pretending like I did not notice. “Lahat naman tayo at ng mga katulad natin, sawang sawa na sa katatago.” He said. “Pero, M, baka hindi ko muna maibigay ’yung gusto mo. Gusto ko rin naman sana, kaso sa panahong ito, mahirap na. Hindi mo naman kailangang magtiis sa akin.” akin.” “Gusto lang naman kitang hawakan, yakapin, halikan, at ipakita sa lahat ang pagmamahalan natin.” natin.” He moved closer and sat up, placing his chin on my shoulder, the skin of our faces sticking together. He whispered: “Ako rin, M. Ako rin.” I leaned my head against him and closed my eyes. Thoughts, imaginations, and “what-ifs” started running in my head, like a hamster on a wheel. “Alam mo ’yung pakiramdam na miss na miss na kita at magkikita na nga lang tayo sa labas, gustung gusto na kitang yakapin at halikan, hindi ko magawa dahil sa paningin nila, magkaibigan lang tayo,” tayo,” he said. “Hindi naman talaga ’yung pagpapakita natin ng pagmamahalan ang talagang gusto natin. Ang gusto lang natin ay ang tanggapin at tratuhin bilang tao,” I uttered. “Kahit na pareho tayong lalaki.” I was left speechless, realizing that no matter what I say, he will still be afraid to come out. There is nothing I can do for him, for I know that it is not just his battle. Beyond the four-walled room is a battlefield full of warriors starving for acceptance. The queer people such as D and I, we are all in one crusade in struggling to be accepted and normalized by society. We sat on the bed, leaving the room specter-quiet, staring blankly at the closed door in front of us. F

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Under warm starry lights Photo by MARLOU JOSEPH B. BON-AO @abtheflame |

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