The Flame Vol. 54 Issue No. 4

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Vol. 54, Issue no. 4

Beyond AB Does Artlet education transcend the University?

@abtheflame |




FOUNDED OCTOBER 16, 1964 EDITORIAL STAFF 2018 - 2019 Julia Mari T. Ornedo Editor in Chief Ali Ian Marcelino V. Biong Associate Editor

Corheinne Joyce B. Colendres Managing Editor Fate Emerald M. Colobong Issues Editor Mark Joseph B. Fernandez Faces Editor Reyanne Louisse Ampong Culture Editor Corheinne Joyce B. Colendres Letters Editor Kristela Danielle S. Boo Photography Editor Danea Patricia T. Vilog Art Director Luis Miguel B. Arucan, Joahna Lei E. Casilao, Angel B. Dukha III, Gillian Patricia Geronimo, Cris Eugene T. Gianan, Ma. Leandrea A.Tamares Scenes Halee Andrea B. Alcaraz, Ana Gabrielle Ceguera, Peach Arianna P. Manos, Alyssa Mae S. Rafael Issues Rommel Bong R. Fuertes Jr., Joy Therese C. Gomez, Syrah Vivien J. Inocencio, Lorraine B. Lazaro, Mary Nicole P. Miranda, Maria Cecilia O. Pagdanganan Faces Angela A. Chua, Christine Janine T. Cortez, Alisha Danielle M. Gregorio, Dominique Nathanielle M. Muli, Theriz Lizel R. Silvano Culture Mheryll Giffen L. Alforte, Ian Jozel N. Jerez, Isabell Andrea M. Pine, Maria Pamela S. Reyes, Lorraine C. Suarez, Ryan Piolo U. Veluz Letters Ian Carlo L. Arias, Marlou Joseph Bon-ao, Shana Angela S. Cervania, Karl Patrick Marcos, Jose Jaime Raphael Taganas Photographers Katrina Nova O. Buyco, Arrienne Jan A. Enriquez, Yanni Kaye A. Wingarts Artists

Prof. Michael Anthony C. Vasco, Ph.D. Dean 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.


Cover and spread photos by Jose Jaime Raphael Taganas

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Editor’s Note


HE WALLS of the St. Raymund de Peñafort Building have played witness to countless insightful discussions and debates that are the heart of the Faculty of Arts and Letters. Artlets are arguably more knowledgeable than any other Thomasian about the current state of affairs in the country, of politics, and of the social sciences that make the world go round. Artlets are also expected to know better than anyone else that mere theories and abstractions are useless when not translated into action. A liberal arts diploma is hollow if the one who wields it does not use it to aid in addressing the country’s many woes, regardless of how big or small his or her actions for this purpose may be. With the midterm polls recently concluded, the question of how Artlets put their education to practice becomes more relevant than ever. In an attempt to present answers, the Flame examines the role of Artlets in the elections (p. 28), how the political becomes artistic (p. 46), and dissects local politics in the Faculty as well as the issues surrounding it (p. 25). Moreover, this issue features Artlets who embody theory in action, such as an Artlet alumna who does volunteer work for the World Wildlife Fund (p. 38) and an Asian studies graduate cum Thomasian professor who spends his time outside of the classroom doing research work essential to the country’s progress (p. 36). With another academic year over, it is high time to look back and assess whether we have used our Artlet intellectual senses to become truly competent, compassionate, and committed Thomasians who will lead the nation into its future. Whatever the answer might be, may we never tire of finding ways to use our education for causes bigger than ourselves. F

Julia Mari T. Ornedo Editor in Chief ’18 - ‘19

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The blood relic of St. John Paul II photo by JOSE JAIME RAPHAEL TAGANAS

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New ABSC officers ready to face challenges


HE new DEKADA-dominated Artlets Students Council (ABSC) executive board is ready to face challenges and use them as opportunities for improvement, newly proclaimed vice president (VP)-internal Gerald Matthew Dela Cruz told the Flame. All six bets of the political party were victorious in the Apr. 23-27 polls while the public relations officer (PRO) post was snagged by independent candidate Eadric Espiritu. “Marami siyang challenge sa amin kasi isang slate nga kami [...] Siguro i-te-take namin ‘yung challenge na iyon as a student leader [...] Parang pagbubutihin pa namin as a slate,” Dela Cruz said. Communication major Lady Freyja Gascon will serve as the next ABSC president after garnering 1,119 (64.35%) votes, defeating Grand Alliance for Progress (GAP) bet Irah Joyce Embile from political science who got 371 votes. A total of 249 students left the position unanswered. “[T]here’s a lot of pressure but then at the same time it’s also a huge honor that they saw our political party as […] worthy to be the next executive board,” Gascon said in an interview with the Flame. With 783 votes (45.03%), philosophy freshman Paolo Jericho Manuel won the VP-external seat, besting Johann Ludwig Uy (GAP) from legal management who received 497 votes. A total of 459 Artlets left the position unanswered. Legal management student Dela Cruz secured the position of VP-internal with 659 votes (37.9%) while communication major Rona Alondra Agulto (GAP) and sole Student’s Democratic Party candidate Remar Paulo Panganiban from Asian studies garnered 343 votes and 359 votes, respectively. A total of 378 students left the position


unanswered. After earning 759 votes (43.65%), political science freshman Romulo Kim Corporal V will serve as the next secretary, beating creative writing student Jecelie De La Rosa (GAP) who garnered 459 votes. A total of 521 Artlets did not vote for either candidate. Journalism major Elan Karsten Castañares will assume the position of treasurer after securing 704 votes (40.48%), defeating economics freshman Niña Estrella’s (GAP) 499 votes. A total of 536 students left the position unanswered. Economics student Gabriel Lapid was proclaimed auditor after garnering 783 votes (45.03%), besting communication major Jelliza Letran (GAP) who earned 421 votes. A total of 535 Artlets did not vote for either candidate. Serving as the next PRO is political science major Espiritu who got 529 votes (30.42%), beating fellow independent candidate and political science major Therese Ifurung’s 511 votes and legal management major Rosario Raña’s (GAP) 363 votes. A total of 336 students left the position unanswered. “Most of them (DEKADA) are my friends, pero kapag trabaho, trabaho. Dapat professional ang approach. […] However, note that I would still maintain my independence because I don’t owe my position to a single party, but to the entire Artlet studentry,” Espiritu said. Voter turnout for this year’s polls stood at 1,739 or 54.39% of the Faculty’s total population of 3,198, a decrease from last year’s 75%. The 2011 University Students’ Election Code requires a candidate to obtain at least 25% of votes from the voting population to be proclaimed the winner. F J.L.E. CASILAO and M.L.A. TAMARES

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PRESIDENT Lady Freyja Gascon (DEKADA) – 1,119 votes Irah Joyce Embile (GAP) – 371 votes Unanswered (Not considered as votes) – 249

VP-EXTERNAL Paolo Jericho Manuel (DEKADA) – 783 votes Johann Ludwig Uy (GAP) – 497 votes Unanswered – 249

VP-INTERNAL Gerald Matthew Dela Cruz (DEKADA) – 659 votes Rona Alondra Agulto (GAP) – 343 votes Remar Paulo Panganiban (SDP) – 359 votes Unanswered – 378

SECRETARY Romulo Kim Corporal (DEKADA) – 759 votes Jecelie De La Rosa (GAP) – 459 votes Unanswered - 529

TREASURER Elan Karsten Castañares (DEKADA) – 700 votes Niña Estrella (GAP) – 499 votes Unanswered – 536

AUDITOR Gabriel Lapid (DEKADA) – 783 votes Jelliza Letran (GAP) – 421 votes Unanswered – 531

P.R.O. Eadric Aldrich Jose Espiritu (IND) – 529 votes Therese Ifurung (IND) – 511 votes Rosario Raña (GAP) – 363 votes Unanswered – 336

Source: AB Commission on Elections @abtheflame | FLAME | 7

Two Artlets elected into CSC executive board A

RTLET LEADERSHIP will be felt throughout the University once again after two Artlets secured seats in next year’s Central Student Council (CSC) executive board. Independent candidate Krizia Milleny Bricio from legal management was proclaimed secretary while Lakas Tomasino Coalition (LTC) bet Jan Rafael Lipat from political science (PolSci) won the treasurer seat. Bricio garnered 7,449 votes, defeating Lakasdiwa candidate Karch Andrei Rafael’s 4,804 votes and LTC bet Nicholas Sia’s 3,875 votes. A total of 4,994 Thomasians left the position unanswered. “Mas papaigtingin natin ang students’ rights and welfare, campaigns and advocacies, at siyempre ang mga community development activities na makatutulong sa buong Thomasian community, mga marginalized community, at siyempre mga Pilipino,” Bricio told the Flame in an online exchange. Lipat won unopposed for treasurer with 12,093 votes that outnumbered the 9,029 Thomasians who left the position blank. “As much as possible, I want to inculcate the value of everyone’s opinions when it comes to making my project and platform. I’ll treat my team and the whole CSC as a collaborative family,” the PolSci junior said. Former CSC secretary Robert Dominic Gonzales will lead the central student government as president after a landslide win with 17,175 votes. A total of 3,947 students left the position unanswered. Meanwhile, the vice president seat will be vacant as no one ran for the position. Accountancy freshman Patricia Cruz (LTC) was proclaimed auditor with 11,933 votes against 9,189 unanswered ballots and physical therapy sophomore Ian Jericho Sun (LTC) won as public relations officer with 10,591 votes, a close call against the 10,531 Thomasians who left the position blank. The proclamation of winners in the University-wide and local elections was held on Apr. 27 at the Plaza Mayor. F J.L.E. CASILAO and M.L.A. TAMARES


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AB yields more graduates in 2019 photo by SHANA ANGELA S. CERVANIA


HE FACULTY of Arts and Letters (AB), which had the most graduates in 2018, produced even more graduates this year with 1,529 Artlets passing through the Arch of the Centuries to mark the end of their Thomasian journeys last May 24. The Faculty once again sent off the most number of graduates among the 10,186 Thomasian candidates for graduation this year. AB is trailed by the College of Commerce and Business Administration with 1,083 graduates and the Faculty of Pharmacy with 975 graduates. In 2018, the Faculty yielded 1,187 graduates out of 8,794 Thomasian candidates for graduation.

‘Stop being ghosters’

In his homily for the Baccalaureate Mass, Rector Rev. Fr. Herminio Dagohoy, O.P. urged graduating Thomasians to “stop being ghosters” and love as Jesus intended. The rector explained that Thomasians have gained a reputation for being “ghosters,” a millennial term defined by Merriam-Webster as the “phenomenon of leaving a relationship of some kind by abruptly ending

all contact with the other person.” “Stop being ghosters [...] I know that you are bright, beautiful, and handsome, but this is not the kind of love that Jesus asked us to have,” he said. Fr. Dagohoy also told the graduates that “saying goodbye is part of the journey.” “Masakit, pero may kahalong tamis. Sabi nga ng isang poster, ‘Ang pinakamasakit na goodbye ay ‘yung hindi pa naririnig ng tainga mo, nararamdaman na ng puso mo,’” he said. Fr. Dagohoy noted that words like “I love you 3000” from blockbuster film “Avengers: Endgame” are the most memorable ones not only because of the “pain of leaving,” but also because of “a fervent desire for a good beginning.” He added that Christians are known for their love for one another, in the same way that Jesus commanded in the gospel that His disciples love one another. “So when you encounter a dark force that is like Thanos in your life that says he is inevitable, you would simply say with humility and confidence: ‘I am a Thomasian.’ I have become what I love. I am a friend of God,’” Fr. Dagohoy concluded. F @abtheflame |


Arellano to new ABSC officers:

‘Empathize with Artlets’


HE NEW Artlets Student Council (ABSC) officers should not be afraid to present their raw selves to the Artlet community, outgoing president Rafael Arellano said. “Incumbents are no exception to anxiety and pressure. Students din sila at the end of the day. We do not need robots who perform behind the scenes only, we need humans who can [empathize] with the average [...] Artlet,” Arellano said in an interview with the Flame. He encouraged the new council officers to talk and listen to the students and emphasized that their projects “should reflect the needs of the Artlets.” The outgoing president also shared that during his term, interacting with Artlets eased the difficulties of implementing projects amid various challenges.

Beset by obstacles

Arellano faced an impeachment complaint in the latter half of the academic year, backed by accusations of incompetence from several Artlets due to the “disappointing” AB Week celebration and failed distribution of the official AB merchandise from his time as treasurer during the previous academic year. The public relations officer post was also vacant throughout the year as no


AB Societal Convention

Only six out of the 12 proposed projects were implemented by the outgoing ABSC officers, with some officers tweaking their projects to make them more feasible.

Arellano said his project, AB Societal Convention, was implemented on Feb. 10 but was revised into “Sakbayan.” “Originally, it was intended for them to pitch projects, but after the assessment made by the external organization, we simply made them point out areas of focus that we Artlets should focus on [...] We invited different organizations to talk about human rights and why SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) are important [in] materializing advocacies,” he said. Arellano added that they were able to secure participants and received positive feedback from them. Vice President (VP) for External Affairs Jeanric Biñas acknowledged that some of the projects he promised during his campaign in last year’s election failed to materialize. “Siguro to rate myself, it would be 7 out of 10 kasi ‘yung projects ko no’ng [tumatakbo] ako didn’t make it due to some unforeseen events. However, nakapagimprovise naman ako ng two community development projects which are vital to me, as the VP-[external],” he said. Biñas launched Hakbang: Proyekto Tungo sa Kaliwanagan, a project aimed at helping drug dependents recover through the help of Artlets volunteers on



candidates came forward despite three attempts at a special election. In October, then Vice President for Internal Affairs Anika Simone Imperial resigned due to medical reasons, leaving her duties to the council. Arellano also explained that some of the council’s proposed projects were not implemented due to Dean Michael Anthony Vasco’s insistence on “highimpact” projects. “[T]he dean wanted to present projects that would yield high impact. Particularly paper presentations and the like,” he said. He added that the initiative for a constitutional convention (ConCon) failed to push through due to its lack of form and substance, clarifying that the ConCon was not promised by his fellow officers this year. “If [I]’m not mistaken, the Faculty Council did not push through with the output presented because, for a lack of a better way to describe it, it does not follow the correct essence and nature of a constitution,” Arellano explained.

Implemented projects


Project Magiting

AB Help Desk




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@abtheflame | AB Wonder

Nov. 23 and 30, 2018. The VP-external also implemented AB Wonder, a seminar focused on disaster risk and reduction management held Nov. 18 last year. Secretary Pauline Bartolo admitted that she had lapses during her term despite being able to implement all of her proposed projects. “As a [...] secretary I would say that I did my best to fulfill my duties and to successfully fulfill my proposed platforms. However as a [...] part of the ABSC executive board, I admit that I had some shortcomings and lapses in addressing the needs of the [...] A]rtlet community,” she said. She noted that Pinky Swear, a three-phase project on breast cancer awareness whose first phase was implemented on Oct. 20, 2018, was not fully implemented due to Dean Vasco not signing needed documents as a consequence of the failed distribution of last year’s AB merch. “Phases 2 and 3 had already been planned and [were] supposed to be materialized on Apr. 26 and May 10, but due to some circumstances concerning the AB merch last year, [Dean Vasco] did not sign the needed documents and the council could not execute any projects,” Bartolo explained. Phase 2 entailed giving free medical check-ups in partnership with the Medicine Student Council while phase 3 would have been a fundraiser to subsidize breast cancer research and assist a foundation catering to breast cancer patients and survivors. Treasurer Felize Ruth Billena was confident that she performed well during her stint in the council. “I would say that it was [...] satisfactory. Handling the finances of an organization is no walk in the park. Making ends meet from deadline to deadline was not an easy task, but I am confident that I was able to do it fairly well,” she said. She noted that her project, AB DisCo, was implemented successfully in September 2018, raking in discounts for Artlets from numerous establishments.

Unimplemented projects

Biñas explained that Project Magiting, his platform aimed at helping war orphans, did not materialize due to problems with the partner foundation. “Sa Project Magiting, the main problem is ‘yung sa foundation. Bigla kasi silang nag-ask ng monetary donation sa’min which is hindi dapat kasi non-profit organization sila,”




the VP-external said. He added that EX-BI: A Series of International Workcamps Expedition in AB did not take place because his contact went out of country. “Sa EX-BI kasi ‘yung nakausap ko na before [na] mag-he-help sana [sa’kin] to garner more opportunities outside the country ay biglang na-destino [halfway through] the year sa Afghanistan since he worked sa UN (United Nations),” he explained. Despite Imperial’s resignation, Arellano confirmed that her project, Rediscover, was already ready to be implemented but fizzled out due to scheduling conflicts. “I would like to emphasize that while her platform is important because it was presented to the student body, the council had to also focus on the duty that was left because of her resignation,” he added. Arellano also confirmed that the AB Help Desk, Imperial’s grievance platform, was likewise left unimplemented due to the council being “preoccupied with other matters” such as their constitutional duties. On Jan. 5, the council created the Board of Interest Organizations composed of AB organization presidents to take on the functions of the VP-internal’s office. Auditor Brian Diaz said both of his platforms were not implemented because Dean Vasco reportedly told the council that no more projects were to be implemented after AB Week as a consequence of the undistributed AB merchandise. He explained that ASSET (A Seminar on the Significance of Early Initiatives Tomorrow), was prevented from launching after a moratorium from Dean Vasco. “The papers were ready and I already had an OSG (Office of the Secretary-General) Approval Form the day after AB Week both for the seminar and the company’s booth in AB, but upon processing it with the Dean’s Office, the Dean said that we cannot have any more projects after AB Week because of the merch issue last year,” Diaz said. Diaz added that Makatao, a project that aimed at providing forums on national issues, was not implemented due to the council adviser pushing for fewer and more high quality projects. “That’s why we pushed for the Human Rights Awareness Week to serve as an avenue for the injustices that happened to our countrymen,” he said. F CRIS EUGENE T. GIANAN



@abtheflame | UNIMPLEMENTED

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Artlets in the Limelight



EVERAL STUDENTS from the Faculty once again carried the Artlet name with pride as they ventured outside the walls of the University to participate in various events and conferences intended to develop their talents and contribute to the world.

Second Asia World Model United Nations II

Journalism senior Johnrick Lander Dungca and legal management freshman Reiyo Ocfemia were delegates to the Asia World Model United Nations II held from Jan. 30 to Feb. 2 in Bangkok, Thailand. With the theme, “The World’s Dilemma: Enhancing World Action on Climate Change,” the delegates proposed and offered their own solutions for climate change.

SIBR 2019 Tokyo Conference

Economics seniors Micholo Cucio, Ean De Castro, and Jaycar Espinosa presented a research paper in the Tokyo Conference on Interdisciplinary

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Business and Economics Research hosted by the Society of Interdisciplinary Business and Economic Researchers and held in Japan from Jan. 10 to 11. Their paper was titled “The Determinants of Public Health Spending in the Philippines.”

Economix: Global Economic Challengers

Senior economics students Cucio and De Castro also presented their papers in Depok Universitas Indonesia from Nov. 4 to 8 for the 16th Economix event with the theme “The Future Work: A Looming Phenomenon.”


Asian studies senior Mary Joy Gerona represented the Faculty in the Japan-East Asia Network of Exchange for Students and Youth (JENESYS) 2018 which allowed the delegates to explore Tokyo and Yonezawa from Mar. 5 to 12. “[W]hat I would like to point out is the fact that pinapunta kaming Japan to not just have fun or experience the culture ourselves [...] kasi the main

purpose talaga is what the delegation can implement and take action of after their stay,” Gerona told the Flame. Since 2007, JENESYS has been carrying out various programs with the aim of improving the relationship between the Philippines and Japan.

Winter Abroad at Yonsei 2018

Asian studies senior Karen Louise Florece stayed in South Korea from Dec. 27 to Jan. 17 for a monthlong exchange program at Yonsei University.

2019 Asian Journalism Research Conference

Several journalism students took part in the 2019 Asian Journalism Research Conference held at the University of Philippines Diliman on Apr. 12 to present and defend their theses or investigative reports. Senior Joselle Czarina Dela Cruz landed second place in the Academic Researches in Journalism Category with her thesis “News From the Pulpit: A Comparative Analysis Between the Secular and Catholic Media’s Coverage of Filipino Bishops’ Homilies about Social Issues.” The Flame staffers and thesis partners Angel Dukha III and Ryan Piolo Veluz bagged third place in the same category with their thesis titled “Digidocumentaries: The Future of Philippine Investigative Documentaries in the Age of New Media.” Richa Allyssa Noriega and Giselle Ombay were also finalists in academic researches category for their thesis “Journalists Versus Their Pro-Duterte Families: The Clash of Political Ideologies Under Duterte Administration.” Finalists in the Journalism Projects Category were senior students Shana Angela Cervania, Elmer Coldora, Katrina Isabel Gonzales, Beatriz Avegayle Timbang, Piolo Veluz, Danea Patricia Vilog, and Julie Euszel Jerusalem for their report titled “D(i)PO nila Alam, D(i)PA nila naiintindihan.” Seniors Eloisa Mae Ortillo, Dominique Nathanielle Muli, Jasmine Joy Salanga, Jhainna Chris La Rosa, Johnrick Lander Dungca, and Kathrina Mariel Pelaez were also finalists in the Investigative Journalism Category for their work titled “Of the administration’s impunity, targeting the unprivileged: An investigative report.”

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Dean, 14 Artlet profs honored in 20th Dangal awards


DUCATORS FROM the Faculty shined once again in the 20th Dangal ng UST Awards after Dean Michael Anthony Vasco and 14 Artlet professors were recognized for their loyalty to and service for the University. Vasco, Prof. Joyce Arriola, Asst. Prof Ferdinand Lopez, Assoc. Prof. Jose Arsenio Salandanan, Asst. Prof. Arlo Salvador II, and Assoc. Prof. Marvin Zapanta were awarded the Gawad Benavides for their 25 years of service to the University. Meanwhile, the Gawad Benavides award for 35 years of service was bestowed on Prof. Anna Maria Ward. Assoc. Prof. Myrna De Vera and Prof. Marilu Madrunio were likewise recognized for their 30 years of service, and Asst. Prof. Ralph Galan, Assoc. Prof. John Jack Wigley, Assoc. Prof. Abigail Pagalilauan, and Faculty Secretary Zenia Rodriguez were honored for their 20 years of service. The Gawad Benavides award is given to professors who have served the Thomasian community for 20 to 50 years. Creative writing program coordinator Chuckberry Pascual was awarded the Gawad Alberto Magno for his research titled “Ang Tagalabas ng Panitikan” and book “Ang Nawawala.” Artlet alumnus and UST Center for Creative

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Writing and Literary Studies fellow Paul Castillo was honored with the Gawad San Lorenzo Ruiz for placing third in Talaang Ginto: Makata ng Taon 2018 by the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino. The Gawad San Alberto Magno award is given to Thomasian professors who excelled in the field of research and innovation while the Gawad San Lorenzo Ruiz award is given to educators who have acquired national and international recognition. UST Rector Rev. Fr. Herminio Dagohoy O.P. said the event’s theme, “Dalawang Dekadang Pagpapala, Pasasalamat at Pagdiriwang sa Tagumpay ng Gurong Tomasino,” fit the professors who dedicated their time to teaching, researching, and helping society and the University. “[A]ng mga tropeyo at kalatas ng pagkilala sa inyo ay wala rito ngayong umaga. Hindi namin ito maibibigay sapagkat naroon sila sa labas ng pamantasan. Sila ang matatagumpay n a To m a s i n o n g i n y o n g t i n u r u a n a t h i n u b o g , ” he said. The awarding ceremony was held on May 10 at the Medicine Auditorium and was organized by the University and the Faculty Union. F ANGEL B. DUKHA II

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Artlets shine

in Student Awards 2019 by MA. LEANDREA A. TAMARES


RTLET PRIDE was felt once again after several students and organizations from the Faculty were given recognition for their outstanding academic, co-curricular, and extra-curricular performance in the Student Awards Day 2019. English language studies senior and Batch 2019 valedictorian Monique Bernardino led the Artlet awardees after receiving the Rector's Academic Achievement award for obtaining a general weighted average of 1.216. “Sa tingin ko, it’s really God’s grace talaga na kahit ‘di mo hingin, basta ginagawa mo sa sarili mo ‘yung kaya mong gawin, it will work out in the end,” Bernardino told the Flame. Journalism senior Janelle Lorzano, president of the UST Red Cross Youth CouncilArts and Letters Unit, Behavioral science president Karen Regina Calumpang, Becarios de Santo Tomas president John Dennhel Cruz, and Central Student Council President Francis Gabriel Santos were among the recipients of the Quezon Leadership Award, which is given to student leaders who led and organized activities aside from community development.

Recipients of the Pope Leo XIII Community Development Award for individual category include Cruz, Rotaract Club of UST-Central Chapter Director for Community Service Karen Daryl Brito, and sociology senior and UST Volunteers for UNICEF Vice President for External Affairs Aubrey Gonzal. UST Rotaract Club-AB Unit also received the award for the group category. For their outstanding research work, economics seniors Micholo Andrei Gabriel Cucio, Jaycar Espinosa, and Ean Dominique de Castro were awarded the St. Albertus Magnus Award under the group category for their paper titled "The determinants of health spending in the Philippines." The Communication Arts Student Association received the Benavides Outstanding Achievement award under the group category for receiving four honors in the 6th Philippine Quill Awards, while Cucio and de Castro earned the award in the individual category. The award is given to students with exceptional performance in the academic and scientific field. The awarding ceremony was held on May 17 at the Quadricentennial Pavilion. F

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AB slips in Pautakan 2019 by MA. LEANDREA A. TAMARES


HE FACULTY of Arts and Letters (AB) was five points short of a podium finish in this year’s Pautakan intercollegiate quiz contest, landing fourth place in both individual and group categories. AB placed third in the eliminations round, securing their spot in the finals. However, they only garnered 70 points in the final round of the group category, trailing behind second runner-up Faculty of Pharmacy with 75 points. The AB team was composed of legal management senior Japheth Irreverre, philosophy freshman Kirk Matthew Sabio, economics students Sean Paul De Castro and Jaycar Espinosa, and political science seniors Leif Arden Fraginal, Jose Arturo Topacio, and Lawrence Llanita, who represented AB in the individual category.

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Although team captain Fraginal acknowledged their individual strengths, the strong personalities of the team members also became their weakness. “It's a matter of time kailan namin matututunan ‘yung paano mag-form as a team na may camaraderie, less ego, more of the team side. Pero all in all, we fought a good fight and no regrets,” he told the Flame. The Faculty of Engineering (Eng’g) dethroned defending champion Alfredo M. Velayo-College of Accountancy (AMV), scoring 240 points against AMV’s 130 points. Meanwhile, Llanita booked a ticket to the finals round in the individual category after finishing second in the eliminations. However, his 95 points was ultimately bested by College of Education bet Mark Filippe Pastor’s 105 points. Joseph Matthew Caballas from Eng’g

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secured the championship with 195 points, followed by AMV's Danvhar Nojara who earned 125 points. Fraginal, who played for the team for two years, said the team started from scratch and had to adjust training for only four to five months. “We have potential pero mahirap lang talaga kasi ‘yung biglaan. I think next year makukuha nila ‘yan,” he said. In 2018, AB bagged second runner-up in the group category and first runner-up in the individual category. The Faculty also became a Hall of Famer for its winning streak from 2002 to 2006. AB last claimed the championship in 2009. The Varsitarian-organized Pautakan, which is on its 42nd year, is the longestrunning intercollegiate quiz contest in the country. The contest was held on May 27 at the Medicine Auditorium. F

Artlets lead launch of voter education website


Dapitan 2019 challenges status quo



TUDENT ORGANIZATIONS and publications from the University of Santo Tomas (UST) and its five partner schools combined efforts to fight misinformation in the midterm elections through Pintig, a fact-checking website that aimed to educate voters. Pinag-Isang Tinig Para sa Pagbabantay sa Halalan, or Pintig. ph contains infographics on election statistics and fact-check articles on claims made by senatorial candidates, among others. "I think Pintig served its purpose well, which is to inform the public about the elections. It was a platform for the people to be able to know the candidates well in terms of fact-checking their speeches and their platforms during the campaign period,” UST Journalism Society (JournSoc) president Franchesca Viernes told the Flame. Pintig was spearheaded by JournSoc and UST’s official student paper The Varsitarian in partnership with The Flame, Artlets' Economic Society, and The Political Science Forum. The participating partner schools were Bulacan State University, Colegio de San Juan de Letran, Lyceum of the Philippines University, Polytechnic University of the Philippines, and University of the East. "Since tapos na ang elections, it will be carried over to the next set of officers ng concerned organizations. Magtutuloy-tuloy pa rin naman siya and will still be active lalo na during the following years to come na may elections ulit," Viernes added. F photo by KRISTELA DANIELLE S. BOO

EVERAL ARTLET writers responded to the call to take up arms against the status quo for “Dapitan: Insureksiyon,” the 2019 edition of the Flame’s annual literary folio. Centered on themes of revolution and uprising, the folio features literary pieces, artworks, and photographs from Artlets that “go against what is wrong and stand up for what is right and those who cannot.” In his opening remarks during the Dapitan 2019 book launch last May 10, guest editor Paul Castillo, Artlet alumnus and UST Center for Creative Writing and Literary Studies fellow, said all literatures are a form of critique. Literature senior Celine Marie Garcia won Best in Poetry with her piece titled “to the angel of eden” while literature senior Philip Jamilla won Best in Tula with “Pagbibinyag.” Lorraine Suarez, an English language studies freshman, won Best in Prose with “The Child of the ABC” and literature alumnus George Deoso won Best in Katha with “Ang Tatlong Buhay ng Labanderang si Gloria.” Communication arts senior Marie Antoinette Malicse was awarded Best in Flash Fiction for her work “Paint it with Fire.” Journalism alumnus Benjamin Joshua Gutierrez won Best in Creative Non-fiction in the Filipino category for his work “Wagi si Bossing,” while journalism freshman Isabell Andrea Pine won in the English category for her work “My Sweet Bita.” Literature senior Cristine Joy Bugarin won Best Photograph while literature alumnus Harvey Castillo won Best Artwork. There were no winners for the screenplay and Sanaysay categories. The book launch was held at the Tanghalang Teresita Quirino. F J.L.E. CASILAO

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Parallel velocities photo by MARLOU JOSEPH BON-AO

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EDITORIAL Midterm elections a litmus test for Duterte, social media


HE MONTHS leading up to the May 13 midterm elections seemed promising, at least to most millennials: opposition candidates, who many from the youth sector vouched for, were gaining ground on social media and holding their own in debates. For the first time in decades, Filipinos no longer had to shade the name of the lesser evil on their ballots as there were finally candidates who actually had the experience, intelligence, political will, and moral integrity that made them deserving of a Senate seat. Equally promising was the power of the youth vote, with 31% or 18.8 million out of 63.6 million registered voters being comprised of Filipinos aged 18 to 29 according to the Commission on Elections (Comelec). With the youth more “woke” and adamant in their clamor for change than ever, it seemed inevitable that the May 2019 polls would be a turning of the tides in Philippine history. Yet May 13 came and went with nothing ever changing—the same old inexperienced, morally bankrupt brand of leaders were elected into office. While there were some new faces among the winners, their victories hardly mattered since they espoused the same rotten policies and ideologies perpetuated by the Duterte administration. A vote for any candidate endorsed by the president is a vote for Duterte himself—that much is clear. More than that, however, a vote for an administration candidate is a vote for extrajudicial killings, anti-poor

policies, and shameless misogyny. A vote for a Duterte-endorsed candidate is a vote made in blind, misled faith in a man who won on a promise of change but has kept the system the same since he took office almost three years ago. Analysts dubbed the midterm polls a “referendum on Duterte.” Its results point to an overwhelming approval of the administration, with not a single opposition candidate making it into the winning 12. The clear and painful reality is that millions of Filipinos are more disillusioned by Duterte and his phony iron fist leadership now than they were when they voted him into power in 2016. Beyond being a referendum on Duterte, the May 13 elections also proved that social media is not, or at least not yet, as powerful a driver of social change as many people believe it to be. Lacking the heavy machinery that longtime politicians and administration-backed candidates had in their arsenal to mount a nationwide campaign, opposition candidates relied mostly on social media to make themselves known. The youth, who are no doubt the most active users of such platforms, harnessed its power to promote their candidates, creating among themselves the false impression that the opposition had a fighting chance. However, final and official

results from the Comelec showed that Bam Aquino, Otso Diretso’s biggest— if not its only—shot at victory, only garnered 14,144,923 votes, a far cry from the tallies of other candidates. The outcome of the elections reinforces the fact that Filipinos love demanding change but are always reluctant to start it with themselves and the choices they make, and that the youth must take their advocacies to the grassroots and not just stay within the comfortable world of social media if they truly have any interest in effecting change. The midterm polls may be a harbinger of darker days ahead, but this should only embolden the youth to work harder for real change to come. F

art by KATRINA NOVA O. BUYCO | @abtheflame

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Way Beyond


Julia Mari T. Ornedo

Editor in Chief

Ignite your flame

ampus journalism is its own reward. Working in a student publication offers little prestige and even less money, yet the Flame has been kept alive for over half a century by generations of Artlets who cared more about journalism and serving the Faculty rather than what they can get out of it. At the Flame, we are not motivated to do our best work by a hefty compensation or the promise of prominence. Instead, what keeps us going is the sight of Artlets eager to grab their copies of our issues as soon as they land in newsstands, students who reach out to us to know when or how they can obtain copies of the latest issue or Dapitan, and the fulfillment of seeing our hard work published, whether online or in print. There are legions of campus journalists all over the country who are so dedicated to the work that they do despite all the obstacles that come in the way of it. For our thesis, I had the pleasure of meeting the editors of Tinig ng Plaridel, the official student publication of the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication. Their stories resonated with me because so much about our publications are the same: the small office that could hardly fit 10 people, the meager budget, the lack of manpower. But on the flipside were the similarities that mattered more: their publication, too, endured martial law, and they, too, have staffers who are willing to take on tasks that go beyond their job description for the sake of reportage. As an editor, I have always lamented our lack of manpower knowing that we can elevate our work further if only we had all the hands that we needed to do it. But I also know that campus journalism is a vocation—the long hours of work that we put in can only be done by people who share our fiery passion for and devotion to the job. As I leave the Flame to do journalism in the “real world,” my

only call to Artlets is this: if you have within you even a mere inkling of interest in the campus media, try your hand at it. You will be surprised at how much more growth you are capable of achieving and even more surprised by the impact your work will have on other people or the institution at large. The past four years that I have spent working for the publication are easily the most equally challenging and rewarding years of my life so far. The Flame allowed me to soar to heights I never even dreamed of reaching; it took me under its wing a clueless freshman and it will now send me out into the world an experienced reporter. I pray everyone receives the same love and nurturing that this publication has given me. F *** This is for all my previous editors who never gave up on me and entrusted me with leadership of the Flame despite all my poorly written articles and late submissions in years past. This is for the staffers and apprentices of the Flame who we will be leaving behind: I see all the hard work you have put in for the publication this year and I appreciate you dearly for it. Know that I will always be rooting for your growth. This is for all my friends who tirelessly cheered me on, especially Deips, who has given me the gift of a friendship unlike any I've ever known—one where I am always understood deeply and feel no hesitancy to bare my heart. This is for Ian, my associate editor, my thesis partner, my best friend, and the better half of my heart. You have been my rock throughout college. No part of it would have been as meaningful to me as it was if I did not have you to share it with. This is for my family, most of all my parents, whose endless support and love has given me the strength to chase my dreams. This is for my lolo and lola. All of it has always been.

Ali Ian Marcelino V. Biong

Associate Editor Dungaw Tinangay, tinatangay, at tatangayin pa


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i talaga ako maplanong tao. Medyo huli na nang mapag-isipan ko kung saan ba ako mag-aaral. Nagkataon, ang dalawang ate ko’y parehong Tomasino. Onting tanong-tanong, onting research, at ayun—may dream school na ‘ko: UST. Ang totoo, ang pagka-hindi ko maplanong tao ay mas akma sa katotohanang ‘di ako sigurado kung ano ang pangarap ko talaga. Sumasabay lang ako sa agos ng buhay, at matagal-tagal na rin akong nagpatangay. Noong grade six, nahuli ako ng titser kong nagseselpon; pinagyayabang ko kasi sa tropa ko ang drawing kong samurai. Dinampot ni Sir Dulay mula sa kamay ko ang gadyet at agad nakita ang malabong litrato ng isang mandirigmang Hapones, may kabayo pa sa gilid. “Bumalik ka mamayang alas dos, sa faculty room,” aniya. Bilang bagong lipat, kinabahan ako’t baka mabibinyagan na ako ng parusa. Gayunpaman, pumunta pa rin ako’t nagtapang-tapangan. Pagpatak ng alas dos ay inabutan ko si Sir Dulay na magisa sa kwarto. Pinapasok ako’t pinaupo sa harap ng mga papel at lapis sa lamesa. Pinaguhit, tinuruan, pinauwi. Ang inakala kong patikim ng sermon mula sa isang kinakatakutang guro ay isa palang sulyap kung saan ako patungo; noong araw na iyon, naging editorial cartoonist ako ng school paper—ang unang langoy ko sa dagat ng peryodismo. Ngunit pagtungtong ng high school, tinangay ako ng agos palayo; nag-robotics, nag-technologies, at kung ano ano. Pero noong third year, sa isang himalang gawa ng tadhana, ay muli akong inanod pabalik. Nilapitan ako ng school paper adviser para mag-exam; gusto raw akong maging parte ng dyaryo, narinig daw kasing editorial cartoonist ako dati. Ang nakalaan naman talaga para sa akin ay exam sa pagguhit, ngunit naisipan lang din ni Ms. Emma, ang

@abtheflame |

adviser, na kumuha na din ako ng writing exams—subukan lang naman daw. Matapos ito, ginawa akong editorial writer. Nakakat’wang doon napadpad at hindi pa kinuha sa totoong pakay, ngunit nakakat’wa ring madiskubreng may kaya pala akong ibang gawin. Noong malapit na magtapos ng sekondarya, napagtanto kong ito na siguro ang tamang kurso para sa’kin. Lumipas ang taon at pumalaot sa unang pangarap: AB Journalism sa Unibersidad ng Santo Tomas. Ngunit hindi natapos ang paglangoy, at muling inanod sa kung ano ano. Sinalihan ang iba’t ibang organisasyon. Sinubukang hanapin ang sarili. Nagpatangay sa alon ng pagyaya ng mga kaibigan, na siya namang sinunggaban. Kahit journalism student, umiwas akong sumali sa mga school paper sa UST. Takot kasi akong sumugod sa tubig na nakalaan para sa’kin upang malaman lamang na hindi pala talaga ako marunong lumangoy. Ayos na sa’kin ang kaunting pagtampisaw sa klase, ‘di naman malulunod. Noong third year, pilit akong tinangay ng agos pabalik sa campus journalism sa porma ng the Flame. Sa ilang pilit ng mga kaibigan at sa isang desisyong tumapang, sumisid ako sa kinatatakutang tubig. Ngayon, magtatapos ako ng journalism bilang associate editor ng pahayagang ito—resulta ng pagtangay sa’kin ng agos ng buhay, na sa totoo’y nagsimula sa pagiging makulit kong bata. Saka ko lang nalamang marunong pala ako lumangoy kahit papaano, at hindi ko ito malalaman kung hindi ako sumisid. Siguro’y ganon talaga ang buhay; minsan, ayos lang magpatangay. May ibang alam kung saan lalangoy, habang may mga tulad kong tinatangay pa rin. Walang masama sa pareho, sapagkat ‘di naman ito Olympics at hindi natin kailangan tapatan si Michael Phelps. Sabi nga ni Dory sa Finding Nemo: “Just keep swimming.” F

Sapienti sat


Corheinne Joyce B. Colendres Managing and Letters Editor

In motion

have always had everything planned. I knew what I wanted to do since the beginning; I had a planner that detailed my entire day and how I should go through it, I rarely made split-second decisions because I have had everything laid out since dawn broke in. I had a lot of things figured out until the time’s ticking reminded me that we are nearing the end of a journey. I know that I am one of the many people who have not quite figured out what to do once we exit the Arch. There is a choice to take up a master’s degree, or perhaps, I can build my way up toward becoming a corporate slave. I can also take a much-needed rest, around one or two months. The possibilities have become endless, and as a person who has planned out her entire life, this is new. Experiencing the ‘new’ is always a terrifying ordeal. It all seemed to be quite abrupt: the world expects us to know the next step to take when we have not fully absorbed that we have reached the end of a journey. We are all expected to be something and to be someone when most of us do not know where to go from where we are now. It is quite ironic that we have waited to graduate for so long, and yet, as we near the occasion, we are lost in a trance caused by the uncertainty of tomorrow. However, I have realized that all of this might be okay; that we must not place too much pressure


on our future and avoid all the worrying because we do not have concrete plans and strategies. It is okay to take our time and gather up the courage to take a soft first step into the space of spontaneity and leave our plans in the corner. It is okay to be clueless because, ultimately, we will figure things out. Although everything seems to be in a rush, we must all remember that there was never a race to be won. Time is a luxury that not everyone could afford, and yet, it is something that everyone needs. We must take our next steps carefully and wisely, whether with doubt or with confidence, because every step is crucial in shaping us to become the person we have always wanted to be. Once we shed our uniforms for the last time and enter a world that we have often imagined but never truly understood, I urge you to still find yourself amid the noise and the clamor. I urge you to take all the time that you need. I urge you to go ahead and try doing anything and everything until you learn what suits you best. I urge you to continuously learn and discover every piece and crevice of yourself—no matter how long it takes. Take your time. We will all move forward, as how all things should be. F

Fate Emerald M. Colobong

Issues Editor

Hold on, Artlets


e entered this University, this learned how to pick out all the shades of Faculty, as curious and excited possibility, however dim they might be. I have a routine. Our professors have a freshmen with no thoughts other than the need to explore this new world called routine. Some of my friends have a routine. our college life. But as we adapted, as we got to And none of us seemed truly happy in know our group of friends, created our college agreeing and falling to this routine because identities, and discovered all the intricate in a way, it is the same as giving up on our details of our desires and ambitions, we dared dreams, whatever they may have been before to dream of what we could accomplish after college life got in the way. But I realize that as we must dwell in college, of the endless absolutes of what we this poor world with all of its strictures will become. Some people—a rare few—actually stay and encumbrances, we must not forget the true to their freshman dreams, while the importance of one thing: to hold on to who rest of us find new dreams in other pursuits you are. If you are a writer, you will want to stop or settle for what life gives us and fall into a writing; you will want to give up. You will routine. To euphemize, we go with the flow. We began to build relationships with realize that the rewards it offers are so few different people, found family in friendships. and the path to success is so steep. Whatever We learned to settle for mediocre because we loneliness you feel now, it will only grow as procrastinate and cram to a fault. Meeting you continue down this path. But never abandon it. Do not give up deadlines becomes more necessary than sleep. Suddenly, the motivation and the drive we had the pleasure of writing or whatever it is during our first day in the University became a that you love doing out of fear and doubt, because we cannot fight who we are. The distant concept. There are times when we would look at only result of trying is losing ourselves in the faces of freshmen students so full of life service of something that will never fully and hope and ask ourselves: what has become accept us. So go forth, Artlets, and be as daring as I of us? What has become of our dreams? We stopped seeing the world in absolutes and could not. F @abtheflame | FLAME | 21

Millennial Detox


distraction and stress on top of the heavy workload. Sometimes, receiving multiple notices of deadlines from social media accounts can also make students anxious, rendering them dazed and jaded when doing requirements. Having a social media detox to block the distractions and unnecessary notifications provides a healthy headspace for students to be productive and finish their requirements on time. These are also applicable not only to students but also to people having heavy workloads in their chosen careers. A social media detox is also helpful in the sense that people can reconnect with recreational activities that are not dependent on technology, such as playing board games, exercising, and attending physical gatherings. Being free from social media pushes people to mingle with others in an old-fashioned yet authentic way. With these in mind, social media detox really stays true to its literal definition: to detoxify from social media, which in return provides benefits because of the connections one can rediscover without the help of modern technology. Inaddition,thismovementhelpspeopletocommunicate wellwithothersbecausewithouttheeasyaccesssocialmedia provides, their skill in communication improves. Faster communication, unlimited information, and recreational activities are the pros of using social media and the internet, but with these also come the distractions, anxiety, and stress that users can feel from time to time. Being able to detoxify from social media and the internet does not only lessen the cons these platforms can provide, but also helps people become disciplined users of modern technology. F

Reyanne Louisse Ampong


Culture Editor

A little is enough

ach one of us faces victories and setbacks in life and we have different ways to celebrate them or deal with them. There are times when you just feel like everything is going downhill and there are also times when a wave of sadness suddenly hits you out of nowhere. In trying times, a rush of courage flows within you that you suddenly believe you can face whatever it is that is hurdling you back. Scintilla—a spark, hint, or trace; a very small amount of something. When I was thinking of my column name, I just knew this had to be it because, for me, just a little spark of hope is enough to continue ahead and brave the things that I have to face. I am a firm believer that we all have our seasons to bloom and to fall. It is a never-ending cycle, but the thing is, we learn and grow through the seasons we go through. I also believe that whenever the sun sets and you feel like you just had the worst day, the sun will shine again tomorrow and it is another opportunity for you to get closer to your goals in life. Let us not let our scintilla of hope die down; rather, let us allow it to ignite us and help us continue braving the world we have to face. Likewise, let us not give up on our motherland by letting our hopes of her becoming a better nation die down. It would be a shame to do that because now more than ever, she needs us to save her and her people.

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Faces Editor

Detox? Detox.

ocial media and the internet are the latest trends for entertainment and leisure—being able to binge watch films, listen to popular music, and do other activities with just a steady connection and gadget in hand are especially enjoyable for millennials and Generation Z. Now, people can feel relaxation within the palm of their hands, literally. It is also observable that even members of older generations experience the benefits of these platforms in terms of communication and connecting with others. But it is also known that social media can be overwhelming and toxic when used all the time. It can be a major source of stress and dilemma, which is why the phrase “social media detox” was popularized. Social media detox is a movement wherein the person will refrain from using the said platform for a certain period of time for many reasons. It is a movement being popularized mostly by members of the younger generations. Social media detox is usually perceived as negative because it creates a communication barrier since the people who will undertake it will not use their social media accounts, therefore communicating with them can be quite challenging. Despite this side effect, a social media detox is actually therapeutic. Being able to free oneself from social media actually makes one more productive and in touch with the tasks and responsibilities needed to be addressed. An example of using social media detox for one’s bettermentiswhenapileofacademicrequirements,especially for graduating students, is expected to be submitted on short notice. Sometimes, even though social media and the internet can provide leisure momentarily, these platforms cause


Mark Joseph B. Fernandez

@abtheflame |

With the recent midterm elections, many are enraged because on one hand, it seems that Filipinos never learn; on the other, the results reflect the reality that many Filipinos are not well-educated. It reflects how the system fools it people just to have a continuing hold on power. The outcome of the elections may have some people’s dream for this country slowly dying down but, again, we should hold onto that sliver of hope and let it fuel us to continue fighting, especially for the people who cannot fight for themselves. Let us let it continue to drive us with fortitude and determination until eventually, we succeed in making the people realize their rights, as well as their power to change the system that continues to oppress. *** Thank you to God the Father for not giving up on us and for letting us see visions of a better society. Thank you to UST AB because I would not have learned all these if it were not for my four-year stay in the Faculty. I also would not have met amazing people, especially 4JRN2 and Tikoy squad—the most loving, understanding, and the best support system anyone could ever have—whom I am forever grateful for. Thank you to Dianne and my friends back home, especially Sandhie, Sere, and Trisha. I know that I can always go home to you. Thank you to my family, especially mama and mommy who both inspire me to become the best I can be. Let us all hold on to our scintilla of hope. F

Kristela Danielle S. Boo


Photography Editor

Graduating from a Catholic university


kay, you lead the prayer!” I bet you have heard this request—more of a demand—a lot of times from your relatives. When you ask why you should, they would respond, “Because you are studying in UST.” It is not that I do not want to lead the people in putting themselves in the presence of the Lord, but it is the fact that I do not understand why they would automatically equate studying in a Catholic institution to merely learning how to pray. Four years of stay in the university has changed my views toward Catholic schools. Back when I was in high school, when I was studied in a “semi-private, semi-public” school. I had a few acquaintances from a Catholic school in our province who shared with me how tiring their morning routines were. They also ranted about the school policies ordered by either priests or nuns. Back then, I had no clue of what they were talking about until I experienced it myself when I entered college. Honestly, I did not dream of studying at the Pontifical and Royal University of Santo Tomas, the Catholic University of the Philippines. Unlike most of my friends and blockmates who, at a young age, had all dreamed of studying in UST, I, a self-proclaimed obsessive-compulsive planner, did not think of it right away. If not for choosing journalism as an undergraduate degree, I would have not experience studying in a Catholic university.

When I was in first year, I thought it would be hard to cope with the new environment of new faces and new subjects, but I later realized that what actually helped me embrace these things is being a Roman Catholic. Growing up in a family where religiosity is given high regard, my initial dose of theology classes put a lot of questions in my mind such as, “If Jesus and God are one and the same, does that that mean that Jesus is just actually praying for him to himself?” (More questions like this came to me and my friends when we had our social communications class.) The more questions that came up in our conversations, the more that I believed in the saying, “fides quaerens intellectum” (faith seeking understanding), a line I learned from our Theology 1 class, which for some unknown reasons never left my mind. However, as much as I “enjoy” the Catholic atmosphere of the University, I also do notice the stereotypes or the generalizations like Thomasians are “super religious” and don’t know how to have fun. Ironically, as we are being taught of kindness and openmindedness, the secular world beyond the walls of the University was forming opinions and judging based purely on stereotypes, which should be broken. We are way more than that. The University does not only teach us, students, to pray but also to embody its three core values: competence, compassion, and commitment. At this point I want to thank my beloved publication, The Flame, for giving my griffonage (illegible scrawl) a voice. F

Danea Patricia T. Vilog

Positive Space The dormant persona


here is something about art that seems to draw people to underestimate its aesthetic value for surface-level beauty and discount its ability to preserve a culture of underlying politics that everyone seems very pumped up to openly debate on these days. The artist I was a decade ago cared for none of that and instead paid more attention to aesthetics over anything else. I don't remember when I first picked up a pencil and decided that the hobby I'd be pouring most of my skills on would be absently scratching graphite on paper, but I knew I could never shake it off, even if I wanted to. Art will always find me, apparently. I entered formal art school six years ago. The idealistic fool that I was thought I was going to flourish with the pitiful artistic skill set I had, until I quit after two years out of frustration and a slowly waning connection with my muse. I found her again perhaps at the latter half of my stay in this Faculty, finding myself unable to resist Art's call to be its eye for positive spaces again. “Positive space,” as I have named my column, is the subject of an artwork; the center of attention in a piece, if you will. “Negative space,” in contrast, refers to everything else that is not the subject; the background, to suggest a simpler term. Positive space starts with a scribble, slowly growing into hatches, before blooming into a sketch of lines birthed from an imaginative mind's gears ever turning as it reimagines the world it sees.

Art Director

For the last four issues, direction on the artworks relied on an instinctive method of placing the Artlet as the positive space of every creative piece published in the Flame, pointing not to the mundane routines of the everyday man but to the unique experiences of the Artlet turning its pages. Every artwork attempts to speak to the Artlet viewer, similar to the accompanied written pieces speaking in words rather than clustered dots of ink on a page. Perhaps some of you reading this may have little to no interest in the arts or have tried creating something artistic once and decided it just wasn’t the best idea there is, and would rather pursue careers that guarantee elite status or stable income. I respect that, but I stay firm in my belief that there is an artist in each and every one of us; a dormant persona laying in slumber, just waiting to be inspired by the right muse. There is, deep down, an urge for us to create something, to add our mark in a society that cares less and less about its succeeding generations, and more and more for the extravagances we should have learned not to repeat. Awaken this persona, this critical creator, and I am positive one will be surprised with what they could design—a caricature, an effigy, or their future. It is only fitting that AB is called the Faculty of Arts and Letters as another pool of creative young minds eager to change the world are to leave the nest, ready to be the positive spaces in their own unique ways. F

@abtheflame |

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Beyond working hours. photo by SHANA ANGELA S. CERVANIA

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@abtheflame |

Accusations and lessons Behind the impeachment complaint by FATE EMERALD M. COLOBONG and ALYSSA MAE S. RAFAEL art by YANNI KAYE A. WINGARTS

@abtheflame |

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N Mar. 21, less than a week before the start of the 2019 Artlets Student Council (ABSC) general elections, a memorandum released by the Board of Majors (BOM) rocked the Artlet community. It was an impeachment complaint filed by 28 Artlets, composed mostly of Asian studies seniors, against incumbent ABSC President Rafael Arellano for “gross negligence of duties,” citing the “disappointing” AB Week and the failure to distribute last academic year’s official AB merchandise. After the BOM’s deliberation on the complaint, it concluded that Arellano will not undergo an impeachment trial due to “lack of sufficient evidence” to support the accusations of the complainants. However, the BOM, which acts as the impeachment tribunal of the Faculty, said Arellano “is still liable and accountable” for the undistributed AB merchandise. The issue captured the attention of many Artlets, who deemed the impeachment complaint a brave step to demand accountability from the council. However, even after the issue was concluded, the Artlet community remains in the dark on what really transpired regarding the impeachment complaint. What were the thoughts of the complainant, the tribunal, and the accused?

Caught unaware

Arellano told the Flame that he was taking an exam the night the complaint was publicized and was only alerted by his friends over text messages and calls. “Nagulat na lang ako na everyone knew pala before pa ako, sa online ko lang nalaman, actually sa post [ng Flame] ko lang nalaman. ‘Di ba dapat ako [ang] nauna?” he said.

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However, BOM Speaker John Steven Usero claimed to have given Arellano a show cause notice before releasing the memorandum online, stating that it was Arellano’s right to be notified first. “Nagbigay na talaga kami noon ng hard copy, ng soft copy, pati ‘yung email ng buong letter kasama ‘yung mga signatories sa impeachment complaint [...] talagang sinabi namin una kay Raffy since karapatan ni Raffy na malaman bago masabi sa public,” he explained. Section 3 under Article XII of the 2005 ABSC Constitution states that “any accused officer of the Executive Board shall be given prior notice, of at least one week, of the charge/s against him or her.” The BOM gave Arellano five days to explain his side of the issue and release a statement regarding the impeachment complaint, but Arellano waived this right.

Insufficient evidence

Arellano said that he opted not to respond to the complaint because he knew from the complaint letter itself whether the case would prosper or not. “From the level pa lang ng BOM, kaya na nilang i-assess kung valid ba or hindi [‘yung complaint]. So for me, whether or not mag-reply ako or sabihin ko ‘yung side ko, clear as night and day ‘yung substance and ‘yung merit no’ng complaint eh, so hindi na lang ako nag-reply,” he said. “Legally speaking, hindi [valid] kasi very vague ‘yung use of term na ‘gross negligence.’ Unang-una sa constitution natin, walang definition kung ano ‘yung gross negligence [...] Pero I didn’t want that set of Artlets to feel na parang mali ‘yung pag-iisip nila [...] Ayaw ko na lang ipamukha sa kanila na mali ‘yung complaint,” he added. “At some point it’s a matter of concern pa rin for them,

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at some point grievance nila ‘yun eh and I don’t want to brush off ‘yung grievance nila.” The complaint letter, penned by Asian studies senior Moses Rivera, read: “AB Week was disappointing and did not meet the bare minimum expectations.” “It is unbecoming of a Thomasian to become incompetent, more so for a student leader like Arellano. His poor performance affects the reputation of the Artlets Student Council and must not continue in the succeeding academic year,” it concluded. Article XII, Section 2 of the ABSC Constitution lists gross negligence of duties, malversation of the funds or properties of the council, and willful or culpable violation of the constitution as some of the possible grounds for impeachment. As for the BOM Speaker, the gravity of impeachment complaint was lacking and there was no sufficient evidence to support the accusations. “Hindi natin nili-limit ‘yung mga student council as event organizers,” Usero said. BOM member and Legal Management Society President Pamela Apacible echoed the argument, saying that the complainants just focused on their sentiments about the AB Week when they could have given more substantial points for the complaint to merit a trial. “AB Week is more of a custom naman talaga, hindi naman ito parang nakalagay sa constitution na one of our duties is to give the best AB Week,” Arellano said. On the issue of the undistributed AB merchandise, Usero explained that even if Arellano is currently president and the concerned merchandise are those of last academic year’s, when

he was the ABSC treasurer, he is liable because he remains to be a council officer. “Parang sinabi na pinarusahan ka do’n sa pagkakamali mo ng nakaraan na nadadamay ‘yung ngayon” Arellano said. The issue was not considered a ground to forward the impeachment process since the complaint pertained to Arellano as the ABSC president and not as treasurer. “I think it’s an issue of accountability on Raffy’s part kasi trabaho niya naman i-distribute lahat [ng AB merchandise]… Since nanalo naman siya as president, mas may capability siya na ayusin ‘yun ngayon,” Rivera said. “I hope ibalik na nila ‘yung merch since hindi naman nagpush sa trial. Ayusin niyo na ‘yan habang may natitira pang panahon.” Arellano said they are already addressing the issue about the merchandise with the dean, the faculty council, and the supplier. “Inaayos na lang namin ‘yung arrangements and ‘yung final date for release ng merch, kasi nasa supplier na siya. May mga inaayos na lang kami na agreement tapos okay na siya,” Arellano said.

Shortcomings of the ABSC

Apart from the issues on AB Week and the AB merchandise, Rivera was also concerned on how ABSC handled the students’ grievances, concerns, and welfare. “Minsan ‘pag minessage mo ‘yung ABSC, hindi nag-re-reply unlike ‘yung last year. ‘Yung mga last, last terms, siguro ba dahil walang PRO (public relations officer)? Pero at least man lang may officer na kumikilos man lang,” he said. Rivera cited as a point of comparison the 2017-2018 Central Student Council which only had a secretary and PRO as

its officers but was still able to function as effectively. “E itong ABSC, nawalan lang ng [vice president] internal at saka ng PRO, parang pilay na silang lahat,” he argued. Arellano admitted that the ABSC had its shortcomings as there were many challenges during his term. One of the challenges was the council’s absence of a PRO, who has the duty to disseminate information to the Artlet community. “We have our promotions head and I wanna give thanks to her, pero iba pa rin kasi talaga kapag may point person ka for that. Kung meron ka na elected person for that kasi iba pa rin kung talagang obligated siya na gawin ito or meron siyang capacity or power to do it. So laking hirap din talaga na walang PRO,” Arellano said. Another challenge according to Arellano were the lack of commitment and passion from the officers and the staff as most of them are graduating students and have different priorities.

Lessons learned

As the check and balance of the council, Usero thinks that the Artlets’ assessment of the outgoing ABSC’s performance should serve as an eyeopener for the next council. “I hope na sa mga susunod na ABSC, mahanap nila ‘yun, ‘yung student leadership na matagal na nating hinahanap. Kung ano ba ‘yung definition itself [ng council], kasi sa buong year natin nawala tayo,” he said. Rivera said he hopes that the next council will have a clearer vision for the Faculty, “hindi ‘yung basta nag-put up lang ng [projects], nagkaroon lang ng goal tapos wala na. Dapat meron talaga siyang plan of action na maa-accomplish niya throughout [the] term.” F

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A new breed of voters Examining the power of the Artlet vote by ANA GABRIELLE CEGUERA art by YANNI KAYE A. WINGARTS


HE ARTLET community continues to constantly be at the forefront of movements against injustices and calls for accountability. In the recently concluded midterm elections, there is no doubt Artlets played a huge role in influencing others to exercise their right to vote and determine the nation’s history. As students of the Faculty of Arts and Letters (AB) who have always been exposed to the culture of politics and governance, it is undeniable that the Artlet community has the leverage in choosing their candidates. With this knowledge at hand, one must know how influential an Artlet’s vote could be. “Napakalaki ng impluwensiya natin, especially in the University, given that we, of course, are from the liberal arts. We are exposed to politics, different political parties, mass organizations, so lahat, halo-halo,” sociology professor John Christian Valeroso told the Flame. “As a former AB student, it’s about influencing other people,” he added. “I think that’s the power of AB students: our sentiments are always supported by research, backed-up by principles na hindi lang based on sentiments,

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but based on study, research, and learning from our mentors.” Artlets are also more aware of the issues affecting the country compared to other students, political science professor Atty. Rafael Bautista said. But how exactly do Artlets scrutinize the candidates they will vote for?

Redeeming qualities

Artlets look at the qualities of the candidates, their stance on different issues, and the performance of their political parties, Political Science Department Chair and political analyst Dennis Coronacion said. Concepts and qualities associated with the word “liberal” are also key factors that guide Artlets in choosing worthy candidates, history professor Lee Mark Banaag added. “Is the candidate a kind of person who values equality? Does he push for laws that has something to do with equality between genders?,” he said. One of these concepts is the justice system. Artlets would most probably look for candidates with a strong sense of justice or “candidates who are sensitive to the deprivation of other people” according to Banaag.

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The history professor also said that the kind of candidates Artlets campaigned for is reflective of the values they possess. Meanwhile, Bautista credited the Faculty for housing 13 different disciplines that allow Artlets to better understand issues in the country. This played a big role in their candidate selection and how they influenced other people to vote for the right candidates, he posited. But what are the views of Artlets themselves on the candidates?

The Artlets’ voice

As a responsible and educated youth voter, Asian studies student Calista Ceguera searched for candidates who would bring forth economic progress and stability alongside peace and strength to the country. “This can be done through thorough evaluation of [their] track record and performances at debates, as well as loyalty to the motherland,” she said. It is also necessary for voters to research on the candidates, history major Jay Briones said, stressing that Artlets should be at the forefront of the battle against disinformation.

“If we hear someone spreading misinformation, we should tell them and the people who listened to them the truth,” he explained. When it comes to the factors Artlets look for in the candidates, journalism student Ella Escalante said she considered the candidates’ experiences, platforms, principles, ideologies, and their compassion for the nation and the people. Violence against women and children, labor issues, the plight of the

Lumad, delivery of justice and human rights were some of the issues that Artlets deemed should be the focus of the candidates’ platforms. For english language studies major Riva Baring, the most important thing she looked for in a candidate was simple: a leader who is not only knowledgeable but also has the heart to serve and help the people. Briones said the best thing Artlets could do is to inform people of history—“the amount of lives that

were lost just for the right to vote, the right to self-determination.” Ceguera added that it is their duty to present people with different perspectives on different candidates to guide them in their decision making. Lastly, Godino reminded Artlets to be active participants in democracy. “Ang mga kandidato na nais nating magrepresenta sa’tin ay magagawa lang ang kanilang mga plataporma kapag ang tao ay nagdesisyon na mailuklok sila.” F

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HE FACULTY, once again, has a new roster of officers and it will now be up to them to live up to the duties and responsibilities of the student council. Although they will assume office next academic year, all eyes are still on the incumbent Artlets Student Council (ABSC) and how they were able to deliver the promises they made. While it cannot be denied that they achieved some of their goals and fulfilled some of the promises they gave to the Artlet community last year, it is also evident that there is a clamor for accountability and integrity from the council. The incumbent ABSC, which lacks a vice president-internal and a public relations officer despite several special elections due to the absence of candidates, drew flak on social media as students voiced out their views claiming that the council has been “incompetent.” Some of the issues raised against the ABSC were their alleged failure to organize an eventful AB Week and inactivity of the officers. In light of these issues, the Flame asked Artlets for their assessment of the performance of the outgoing student council. F “Para sa’kin, ‘yung outgoing ABSC, parang hindi nila nagampanan fully ‘yung tungkulin nila as officers ng council and parang hindi sila nagtrabaho as one council in this academic year. Parang hindi pantaypantay ‘yung level of effort na nangyari dahil may projects na kulang-kulang, may projects na hindi nagampanan at hindi na-execute nang maayos.” James Pichay, 2nd year, legal management “Thumbs down kasi they had a poor way of handling the events ng AB Week lalo na ‘yung Glaucus, kasi no’ng Glaucus, ang scheduled kasi na time is parang 8 a.m. and then it started around 9:30 or 10, e isang event palang ‘yon, how much more do’n sa iba?” Japeth Irreverre, 4th year, legal management “[N]o’ng first pa lang mga first semester, okay naman. Pero ‘di masyado na-feel unlike no’ng before talaga. Tapos pinaka-controversial no’ng AB Week—walang ganap talaga. Kulang sa exposure. ‘Di ko talaga feel. Pero takeaway ko lang din naman, kulang kasi sila sa tao din nila. Wala silang VPinternal. So baka ‘yun din ‘yung naging downfall sa kanila, kulang sila sa tao.

Tapos wala talaga silang nagawa sa platforms nila before. Wala akong nafeel sa platforms nila. Ayenn Macashep, 2nd year journalism “I think i-te-take into consideration din na ‘yung naging problems last year, na-carry over this year so feel ko kaya siguro rin nagkaroon ng problems sa performance nila this year. Pero in general, ‘yung pinaka naging problem are ‘yung projects nila na pinromise nila sa atin, hindi na-push through talaga.” Katha Silagon, 4th year, economics “Bilang captain ng AB Women’s Basketball Team and player for four years na, ang masasabi ko lang sa ABSC is unfair sila. Hindi fair ‘yung treatment nila with the Women’s Basketball Team saka Men’s Basketball Team. Ang Women’s Basketball Team, five years na kaming nasa Final 4, umabot kami ng second place, third place, tapos parang ang support ng ABSC [...] is nasa Men’s Basketball lang. [...] Siyempre gusto rin namin makaramdam ng support na coming from AB students [...] Gusto lang namin makahingi ng kaunting support na mabibigay na parang kailangan pa namin sabihin or ipilit [...] pero pag sa men’s, kahit hindi nila sabihin, todo support sila.” Micah Atienza, 4th year, journalism “Compared [to] last year, ‘di masyadong ramdam ‘yung ABSC ngayon [...] ‘Di mo mapagkakaila ‘yung comparison with the last year lalo na sa highlights na event which is ‘yung AB Week and stuff like that. Pati do’n sa last administration na rin so parang nagkaroon lang talaga sila ng gap sa delivery ng projects nila. And, pinakanakita kong gap between the ABSC and the students of AB is ‘yung dissemination nila ng information, mga important na information na minsan na-de-delay. Overall performance, siguro 6 or 7? [out of 10].” Lance Basa, political science “Dahil kulang talaga sila as a team ngayong school year 2018-2019, kulang din ‘yung performance nila. Tapos ewan ko kung ano ‘yung nangyari talaga sa team nila kasi hindi rin sila open about it. Sobrang disappointing lalo na no’ng AB Week kasi syempre as seniors, ‘yun ‘yung parang ni-lo-look forward mo na sa pag-alis mo ng AB, ano ‘yung maiiwan mong memories with the Artlet community [...] Wala akong naramdaman sa AB Week, wala rin akong naramdaman sa kanila na

nag-make up sila do’n sa kakulangan na ‘yun. Ever since talaga, hindi ko na sila na-feel no’ng nag-fe-fail ‘yung elections nila sa kulang na [officers]... Merong mga first year, ang pangit sa perception nila [na] ‘Wala ba tayong student council?’” Michie Galanida, 4th year journalism “Basically, ‘yung ma-a-assess ko sa previous officials is that they were not able to do their job as well as their predecessors so I just hope that the future officials would do better than the previous ones and would learn from it.” Miguel Vertulfo, 3rd year Legal Management “In regards to the performance of the outgoing ABSC, I would say that there are plenty of rooms for improvement like how they dealt with the loss of the vice presidentinternal. I wish that they would have been more proactive in actually addressing the internal concerns in AB. Aside from that, I also wish that the ABSC could have been better in publicizing all the events that they’re going to organize and maybe they could have exerted a lot more effort. Aside from the improvements that I’ve said, I think that the outgoing ABSC has done what it could given their current circumstances. Like they don’t have a PRO and they don’t have an internal vice president. I just wish that they exerted a lot more effort.” Paolo Manuel, 1st year philosophy “Tingin ko 'yung ABSC, hindi nila masyado nagampanan yung pagiging part nila sa konseho kasi ang daming problems na nangyari. At saka, marami ring students na ‘pag in-evaluate ‘yun, sobrang ibang-iba compared sa iba pang namahala sa AB. Overall performance over 10 [is] 5.” Lymae Chua, 2nd year journalism “I assess the previous student council to be, kung i-re-rate ko siya, 7/10. Siguro nagkaroon ng maraming factors kung bakit naging lacking ‘yung performance nila this year. Ako, being part, alam ko rin naman saan kami nagkulang and ano pa ‘yung puwede namin ma-improve. So heads up din sa bagong student council, ‘yun na rin masasabi namin sa kanila na, ano ‘yung mga pwede nila ma-improve pa sa mga ganitong certain events and stuff like that.” Candace Umbay, communication arts

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Masked emotion. photo by IAN CARLO L. ARIAS @abtheflame |

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RUSTRATED with the regressive state of the country, Angelo De Alban carries the needed documents to file his candidacy as he steps inside the headquarters of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in Intramuros along with his wife Shao. He does not let himself get fazed by the intimidating questions that the media greets him with, knowing that he is advocating for worthy causes like health and food stability, cultivation of the agriculture sector, fighting for the urban poor, and championing special education, something he keeps close to his heart. “We provide special education in Bulacan. You know, we are the only private school recognized by the government providing special education [...] in our village alone. When we were growing up, we know there are [...] children who need special attention, education,” he explains. A few days after filing his candidacy, De Alban receives a letter that was bound to disappoint but did not surprise him: a motion from the Comelec declaring him a nuisance candidate on the ground of financial incapacity to generate a nationwide campaign. He quickly calls his team and does his research to counter it. He sends out his response the day after, and the waiting game commences. “I want to emphasize that I’m a lawyer and teacher because of the respect to those officials which represent so much. The theoretical aspect which involves the heart, you cannot be a teacher if you do not have a heart and the practical aspect which is the law na kailangan,” he said.

A paved path

While working on a case for their firm, De Alban happened to come across his high school yearbook. In it was his graduation photo, a description of him as the student council president, and a quote from him stating that he wanted to become a senator. It is evident that ever since, he has always had a drive to push for improvement and the hope to create a positive ripple in the field of politics. This led De Alban to reminisce the days when their household was full of lawyers. He remembered in particular one instance when he was asked by his brother about the kind of change he wanted to implement when he becomes a lawyer, to which he replied: “Gusto ko long-term. Gusto ko may impact. Gusto ko national.” In retrospect, their conversation was a foreshadowing and served as his fuel to power through law school. Years later, De Alban decides to take his public service to another level by pushing for something more monumental.

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“Have you seen the country right now? It is our duty, actually. My family, specifically my father, would always tell us it is your duty. It is your responsibility to help people in whatever capacity,” he imparts. “When you help, help until you bleed, give until you bleed, because if you don’t, that’s useless; that’s not even charity, it’s just ego-boosting. So give until you bleed but not until you die, no one will benefit if you die, kawawa family mo,” De Alban adds.

Strength in solidarity

With the recent birth of their first child, the lawyer has opted to spend most of his days at home. “Ito nga lagi kong sinasabi: I’m not supposed to run now. Kakakasal ko lang. My wife just gave birth. Sobrang daming expenses,” he reasons. Despite the circumstances, his wife has always supported his decisions. Shao, along with manpower and resources from their families and relatives, make up his solid support system. “Hands down, they were all surprised. But after one or two days, they communicated with all their contacts; they contributed money. They contributed influence, materials. They were very supportive,” he recalls.

Keeping the faith

Despite the painstaking month that passed, an overwhelming feeling of hope courses through the legal management professor as he sees his name on the impartial list of senatorial candidates. He was candidate number 27. On a high, he spends the rest of the day canvassing and confirming purchases needed for his campaign. Four days later, he wakes up to a call from his team and his heart drops as he learns that he was removed from the list. True to his persistent nature, he immediately took the case to the Supreme Court. A couple of months later, the lawyer prepares for an upcoming outreach program in their province. He could not help but worry about the possible reactions of his people once he informs them of his case. Despite the setbacks, he is consoled by the fact that not having a government post will not stop him from being of help to the country. “I would still go on with my life as it is with or without my position. I would still go on with my advocacies. Kumbaga sabihin na lang natin na kung wala ako sa position, makatutulong pa rin, pero kung nasa position, level up. Super saiyan sana di’ba kung nasa position ako. Pero as it is, I can still help [even] as an ordinary goku,” De Alban shares. F ROMMEL BONG R. FUERTES JR. and JOY THERESE C. GOMEZ

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DE ALBAN rises from the rubble photo by MARLOU JOSEPH BON-AO

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FROILAN CALILUNG ignites nationalism


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LITERAL school of fish that needs to be fed is ironically what awaits Tyrone Nepomuceno as he wakes up at three in the morning. After he has sprinkled enough food in THE CLOCK shows four in the morning— it is hours before the break of dawn, but for Froilan Calilung, his day has already started. He rises then sits on the edge of the bed where his wife also lays. He closes his eyes once again and converses with the Man above. Froi, as he is fondly called, stands up and stretches his limbs before heading toward the kitchen where he always makes breakfast for his wife and daughter. His duty as the pillar of the home does not stop there yet. After breakfast, the politics professor eagerly prepares to go to his 7 a.m class to do what he loves the most: teach.

graded recitation for the day. “[C]hallenging para sa’kin kapag tinuturo ko ‘yung isang subject sa mga tao na hindi nila naiintindihan [ang PGC], pero at the end of the semester, I find us talking the same language already. We are on the same page. I was able to bridge the gap of their interest and their lack of interest doon sa subject. I still make it to the point na na-appreciate nila [‘yung subject],” he says. Despite his calm and quiet demeanor during class, his students know how effective his ways of teachings are because it makes them realize how they will apply his lessons in the real world. “[K]apag may nakikita kang students mo sa labas, naaalala ka nila, naaalala nila ikaw ‘to, na ito ‘yung ginawa mo. This is what make educators feel good, not about ourselves, but of what we do,” he adds gratefully.

Prioritizing learning

After his class, the professor seemed not to reflect any weariness as he rushed toward another building to teach his students in the graduate school and perform his other duty besides teaching: research. In 2018, Froi, along with a pool of political experts, created the Federalism Readiness Index—a government-funded study to test the readiness of the country for a federal system. His dedication to his research work reflects his philosophy as a professor. “I want to see how you apply what you learned. ‘Pag minemorize mo ‘yung provisions, magaling ka mag-memorize. Pero kung hindi mo maintindihan kung saan gagamitin, saan i-a-apply [...] that’s the only time your rights will have a bearing,” he stresses. As he walks along the building’s hallways, he pauses and greets one of the

On a typical Thursday, in the College of Fine Arts and Design where Froi holds his classes for fourth year industrial design students, the Philippine Government and Constitution (PGC) professor makes it a point to arrive to his class on time despite having to attend to other workrelated errands on the same day. As he exits the elevator and walks along the hallways of the Beato Angelico building, he brings nothing but himself, a bunch of index cards, and a pen for his class. He starts the class by giving students clear instructions for their

Reaping the good things

maintenance men. Froi recalls the days when he served as a laboratory technician at the Main Building while studying as an Asian studies major at the same time. To some, work may be a big hindrance to academics, but for Froi, the experience shaped him and led him to his noble work in the field of education and research. “Natuwa ako sa nangyari kasi tumibay ako [...] ‘Yung integrity sa trabaho, professionalism na malalaman lang nila when they started working, [nalaman ko na] noong estudyante pa lang ako. The same thing that I want to impress to my students [is] that if you will try to bear the hardships in the beginning, you will reap good things in the end,” he expresses.

Teach them how to fish

After his last class, Froi leaves the building and happens to pass through the St. Raymund de Peñafort Building where he was first molded into who he is now. He sees several Artlets skimming through their readings and cannot help but admire the sight. “Artlet students are the beacons of civic enlightenment. I believe the people in AB are supposed to be very vigilant, vocal, [and] active in stating their sentiments on what’s really happening in the country. Ang talagang batayan ng isang Artlet ay ‘yung kakayahan niyang tignan lahat ng anggulo, consolidate it, and then come up with his or her personal appraisal of things,” he explains. The professor reaches his car, starts the engine, and begins to bear the long drive home. All the weariness washes off as soon as he is welcomed home by the arms of his loving wife and daughter, allowing his day to come full circle. F

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Kiana Porras’s

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F HAVING an unconventional and forward-looking mindset is indeed a powerful tool that can leave an impact on the world, then Kiana Porras is undoubtedly redefining what it means to be an environmental advocate. Kiana’s fervid outlook in life has always been to help the environment. She dedicates her time and service for the earth through volunteering for the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Philippines. Despite having to juggle many responsibilities, she believes that every minute of volunteering she offers is her way of paying it forward. “It’s something I really want to do. It’s something that I think may purpose siya at the end of the day. It’s more than just having an impact sa personal life mo,” she says. “It’s also [...] knowing na whenever you have a chance to talk to people, baka ‘yung person na kinakausap mo, ‘yun din ang maging springboard niya na mag-influence ng other people.” The Asian studies alumna is also currently the chairperson of the National Youth Commision of WWF and is raising the youth’s awareness on environmental issues through forums and other similar activities. As a full-time paralegal and a parttime volunteer, the workload may be overwhelming; for Kiana, however, the growth she encounters in every experience is worth it.

Education as key

Kiana’s high school teachers opened her eyes to how life-threatening humans’ actions are to animals. This deeply affected her and led her to start advocating for the environment as young as she was. Kiana also felt compelled to open the eyes of other people to the dire

state of the environment. It was never easy, since most people choose to turn a blind eye. “It’s more of convincing other people to change their lifestyle [...] How can you convince people to shift from one paradigm to another?,” she says. Despite having people contradict her ideas, Kiana remains steadfast in her convictions. She is a firm believer that through volunteer work, she can show the consequences of neglecting the environment. This way, she can hopefully inspire others to change their lifestyles. “Ang approach namin do’n is you educate them. You entertain their questions, don’t neglect them. Be [as] inclusive as possible,” she advises.

Living sustainably

The humanitarian believes that in order to effectively motivate others to live a more sustainable lifestyle, the change must first begin with oneself. This is why she stresses the importance of “walking the talk.” Kiana shares that she avoids single-use plastics and impulsive shopping in order to reduce waste. Whenever she eats outside, she brings her reusable utensils. This year, she even decided to lessen her consumption of meat because of its high carbon footprint. Beyond the lifestyle changes, she constantly joins different volunteer organizations that advocate for environmental conservation, something that was further enriched during her college years. Being a part of community projects as a former member of the UST Volunteers for UNICEF was her game-changer. Kiana developed a better understanding

of environmental issues through the conferences she attended and the firsthand experiences she gained. Through these community development activities, she was also able to forge meaningful relationships with various people. These connections taught her the importance of working with a supportive community for a worthy cause. “I just feel na dapat every person should have an interaction with a community to [have a] better grasp kung ano’ng nangyayari. I mean, the more you socialize, the more you learn,” she says.

An invitation to selfless devotion

Kiana’s active volunteerism and lifestyle changes are not easy tasks that simply anyone can do, but she is fueled by her strong belief system to rise from the rubble and continue the fight. “One learning na laging ko natandaan na sinasabi ng parents ko ever since no’ng bata ako is matuto ka maging tao. You have to learn how to sympathize and empathize,” she shares. “Treat everyone as your equal. No one is below you or behind you.” What was once merely a parttime job transformed into a lifelong commitment to altruism, into an advocacy that made her realize how impactful one person’s actions are. “What I’m doing has helped me become who I am right now. ‘Yung every struggle, experience, and process, feeling ko na-de-develop naman ang person that I want to become. And if you really want to do volunteer work, just be dedicated to it. ‘Yun ngang lagi kong sinasabi is hindi ka nag-vo-volunteer work para sa sarili mo; you do it for others,” she shares. F

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Young vision photo by IAN CARLO L. ARIAS

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At peace photo by IAN CARLO L. ARIAS @abtheflame |

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NE OF the best things about childhood will always be the fun games that used to take up most of one’s afternoon, especially after school ends. Children of today immerse themselves in various forms of entertainment but not quite in the same way as their parents used to back in the ‘80s when radio, party lines, and video games in an arcade were all the rage. This timeless memory has been brought back to life by Derive Cafe. Located in Madison Galleries, Alabang, the establishment opened only in January this year and presents a unique concept for everyone to enjoy. The cafe not only offers delicious American-Filipino cuisine, but also has an arcade room that features various old-time classics such as Pac-Man, Super Mario, Marvel VS Capcom, Tetris, and more. It even has a Foosball table and different card and board games. All these will surely pique the interests of young and old customers alike since according to owner Ivy Jimenez, the theme of the cafe is “a chance para mag-bond ang families and friends.”

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After spending time in the arcade playing foosball and other fun games, one can indulge in Derive Cafe’s dining area that features a bright and upbeat vibe that showcases murals of superstars such as Michael Jackson and Freddie Mercury. Pillows and comfortable seats are available to make one feel cozy while playing his or her favorite board games and enjoying the food. One of the food choices that Derive Cafe has is the Ultimate Crossover. It is a medley of nachos covered in bechamel sauce and caldereta sauce, topped with meat and cheese that will not disappoint nacho lovers. It also has a side of french fries that are golden and crispy to the bite. The flavorful, mouth-watering Chicken Pops are also a part of this appetizer which can be eaten with ease and paired with either honey mustard or barbecue sriracha sauce. This menu item is a must-try especially for large groups of friends or family. A house specialty is the Derive Signature Burger. What will catch one’s eye with this burger is the blue sesame bun that stands out amid all the other ingredients of the dish. It is accompanied by a well-cooked burger patty, flavorful pieces of bacon, tomatoes, onions, and melted cheese, along with a side of french fries and golden onion rings. Truly, it is a hefty meal fit for burger-lovers who are fond of trying new recipes. Of course, a cafe would not be complete without its coffee and blended drinks. Indulge in their Strawberry Milkshake that can be paired with any dish in the menu. The texture is smooth and creamy with just the right amount of milk, sugar, and strawberry. The drink is topped off with whipped cream and a red cherry. This will indeed be a satisfaction for those with a sweet tooth. Jimenez shares that they mainly promote the experience that comes with dining at Derive Cafe since it strengthens the bond among families and friends. Derive Cafe is definitely the perfect place to sit and relax with loved ones after a hard day’s work. It also serves as a reminder that it is important to enjoy the simpler things in life such as food, fun, and games that are meant to be spent with good company. F

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N all-embracing space enjoins art enthusiasts to bask in the creations of modern-day pop culture artists at the Vinyl on Vinyl Gallery in Makati City. The gallery displayed conceptually brilliant exhibitions about the essence of the character and the self. Art in the digital age is evidently appreciated by netizens. At first, art was merely a trend for its aesthetic and distinctiveness but as time passed, it became less appealing. This concept can be seen in Ronald Caringa's exhibition, "Hype How Are You? I'm Fined, Thank You." The artist puts emphasis on the overflowing amount of posts on social media that aim to satisfy people through newer and better content. The exhibit also portrayed how so-called social media influencers use their name to make art valuable. Caringa poses the questions, "Is the artist more important than the work itself? What makes a person buy an artwork? What makes them say it is good? What value do they give to it? Should people even talk about the work or can they just discuss how well it does in the market?" Moreover, the exhibit served as a reminder to viewers about how priceless art is especially when they recognize the artist’s creativity in producing a marvelous work. A quick glance at enveloped photographs greets the audience when they enter Isha Naguiat's exhibition. In "Little Packages of Incomprehensible Things," Naguiat embroiders her thoughts across her pictures. The serene yet rambling exhibition draws

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a symbolism of the self's still and diverse identity. In one set of works, the subjects are covered by embroidery for they are intended to remain incomprehensible. It also highlights the subject's isolation and distance from its peers. The self maintains its presence but is incapable of being understood. This signifies the person's yearning for a sense of belongingness that is often ignored. An illustration titled "Am I making sense here?" is embroidered on one of the photographs, which emphasizes the self's longing for acceptance and validation. It also aims to present people's eagerness to be heard and recognized by those they surround themselves with. Meanwhile, Quatro Hapimeel's exhibit blends darkness and neon lights. Its anomalous pieces are crafted with mixed media and portray a baffling description of a person's darkest thoughts. "Internal Bleeding" is a series of characterizations wherein distress and anguish are presented as threatening. Likewise, the subject’s desire to take revenge on what caused him pain and grief is manifested in the softness of the material, emphasizing that vengeance is not necessary. Hapimeel's exhibition evoked fright from the audience due to the images' monstrous expressions. These facets represent an individual's wicked character and the chains around them symbolize the person's need to conceal his other side. In this cryptic demonstration, the artist also dwelt on showing a

sequence of emotions, particularly for the people who lost special individuals who gave them fond memories and are in the process of recognizing how heart-rending it is to be left by them. Escapism is the core of Lee Salvador's "Into the Woods,” involving unreal-looking animals that express sympathy and connection to the subject. Salvador believes that animals are easier to talk with than humans for they show tranquility. The artist is also enthralled by Japanese culture; the Japanese words behind the pieces are “depression,” “abandonment,” “separation anxiety,” and “sadness”— all of which are things Salvador himself has struggled with. His masterpiece is set in a forest, portraying that the self can be quite mysterious and gloomy like the woods. Despite his dark and sullen style, Salvador was able to present his own perspectives in a creative and evocative way. Breaking free from unpleasant realities through fantasy and imagination was the message Salvador was trying to convey. He was able to captivate the audience to turn their torments into a remarkable product that they will be proud of as they look back at their past. Imaginative and disturbing, these four exhibitions at the Vinyl on Vinyl Gallery exposed the self's unseen features that lie beyond personhood. It demonstrates how expansive the self is, from its hopeless thoughts to its power to cover it with artistry. Yet, the self illustrated in every exhibit has more to discover about itself: passions, strengths, and contentment. Thus, all subjects in the exhibitions were tied to one another, each having the urge to be known and celebrated. In these emblematic and encouraging displays, the self takes center stage as the artists introduce and adore its unfathomable attributes. F

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Modernity comes



UILDINGS and structures may be built the same way, but not all of them stand on the same ground. By the 21st century, abundant infrastructures have emerged across the globe and since then, it has become easier for people to embrace the birth of change that came along with the pursuit to form societies dependent on modernity. Streaming against these trends is Domènec Fita i Molat, a Catalan artist who performed an earnest study and a stimulating, well-refined artistic discipline integrating both art and architecture to reveal the buried flaws of modernization. A touring exhibition organized by the Ateneo Art Gallery, Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona, and the Embassy of Spain, “Domènec. Not Here, Not Anywhere.” displayed materials supported by anthropological research, historical evidence, and narratives that were all puzzle pieces of Domènec's dialogue. The exhibition was on display from Feb. 17 to May 26 at the Ateneo Art Gallery. Weaving together microarchitecture and video performance to recapitulate the past, “Existenzminimum” (Minimum Existence) is a moving exhibit designed to narrate the consequences induced by modern architecture. It features a wooden replica of a monument that was inspired by Rosa Luxembourg and Karl Liebknecht, former communist leaders in Germany who were killed by Nazis. The original monument that was formed to rekindle hope for civilians was also taken down by the same merciless government. Another demolished monument that reflects societal problems, “Monument Enderrocat” (Demolished Monument), was once a tribute to General Prim, a soldier and politician accused of leading a bombing, uprising, and repression when he was still captain-general in Puerto Rico. The miniature copy of the archaic architecture is a carved balsa wood, styled with intricate patterns, and presented with photographs showing the actual ruined monument. One may argue that it is irrelevant to Filipinos, but examining the historical predicament behind it will help one realize how much power a political landmark holds and for this reason, people must give them unequivocal respect. A room filled with astonishment and veracity, “Real Estate” is a staggering installation that captures the chaos that exists between land territories and housing in Israel. The installation includes a wooden signage, graphic images on walls, four video interviews, and free printed materials with the intention of

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making the audience visualize the actual confines of an Israeli real estate office. Nothing seems wrong at first, but as the story unfolds, it suddenly becomes clear that this is far more than what the eyes can perceive. Shockingly, it is all about how manipulative authorities exploited their own people by using architecture and urbanism to plot a strategic war. Another intriguing installation embedded in architecture and inspired by a place in Israel is “Baladia Ciutat Futura” (Baladia Future City). It features a wooden model of Baladia together with 41 actual photos and a single-channel video, which aim to scrutinize a military-funded program and its evident architectural paradox. The fact that it is not only a display but also a documentary makes it informative since it introduces austere events in a foreign country. Though it appears to be tedious, one should keep in mind that the point of the artwork is not just to entertain but also to educate. Three landmarks located in Spain famously recognized but forever tainted are portrayed in one installation: “L'Estadi, el Pavelló I el Palau” (The Stadium, the Pavilion, and the Palace). It comes with free publication materials written in Spanish and four images of hanging fabrics to mimic an old published headline, which contains news about how these landmarks were used to congest and imprison immigrants or innocent families as ruled by the administration. Most of the time, getting freebies provided by a gallery makes one feel delighted, but upon knowing that the materials are actual evidence of human abuse will have one doubting the story behind well-known landmarks. Their intentions of mistreating and manipulating their own countrymen may remain unknown in history. Therefore, it is up to the people of today to bring forth justice, to fight for the rights of everyone, and to prevent history from repeating itself. As the tour of Domènec nears the end, the new knowledge invites people to become more discerning by shifting their attention to the disparities between utopia and modernity. This way, political leaders will recognize the hidden blunders and ongoing transgressions that corrupt the quintessential idea of the modern movement. This is also a chance to undo wrongdoings in the past like the relentless injustices brought by atrocious political dominations. Although the events in the exhibit happened in a foreign country, there is no reason for the Filipino people to neglect the fact that the shift to modern architecture is not always necessary. Perhaps, change is indeed an inevitable momentum, but it does not mean that modernity is the only means to attain growth. F @abtheflame |

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EING AN aspiring artist is never easy at first, especially if one is juggling her passion with work on a daily basis. Yet, Asian studies freshman Marcelynja Bie chooses to take the road that leads her to the path of art and culture. Since childhood, she has been inspired by her artist father to harness her creativity through various forms of art. "At a young age, I watched my father do his art. He's an expert in painting and drawing," she says, adding that all the artworks displayed in their home were created by him. She could have taken a program in the College of Fine Arts and Design. However, she preferred a program with a "high purpose" where her art would remain by her side as her passion. Bie rises with her art for purposes of expression. Her work usuallyfocusesonmentalhealththroughablackandwhitetheme. "I have many friends with mental health issues and I feel like the older generation is dismissive about it. So, there's a battle among people about it," she says. One of her artworks features a detailed sketch of a mermaid reaching her hand up toward the surface, almost as if desperately longing to breathe, but she is hindered by large tentacles wrapped around her body. Bie explains that this artwork shows the struggle of fighting a mental illness. Mental health issues are serious problems experienced by people from all walks of life. Inspired by this, another piece that Bie created focuses on the idea of isolation. The simple sketch titled “Isolated” features a young girl wearing a dress sitting timidly inside a large glass jar with butterflies flying around. This depicts the feeling of indulging in silence and isolation for people who feel like they suffer alone. Connected to “Isolation” is another sketch that aims to make viewers realize their tendency to seek refuge in the "wrong or dangerous places." The piece shows a woman entering a huge capsule, opened like a gate, as if she is being welcomed by the substance spilling on the floor. “Refuge” is a reminder that some people have different coping mechanisms and that when their struggle becomes too much, they might fall into a bad habit and go astray.

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photo by KRISTELA


Bie is more comfortable with sketching compared to other forms of art. As a working scholar who is struggling to manage her time for academics and art, she practices her sketching during classes and says that she loves its texture, whether it is pencil or charcoal that she uses. When her dad lost his passion for art due to work, Bie wavered but nevertheless continued. The young artist is currently taking her time in learning webtoon art styles—such as character clothing and its dynamics—as her hobby includes reading lots of it. "I like it because their art style looks fresh and modern," she says. Whenever Bie gets discouraged or encounters artist's block, she usually battles it by watching videos on YouTube and sketching. Bie's fascination with webtoons led her to plans of becoming a webtoon artist. Her latest digital art pieces are a manifestation of this dream. The last two untitled pieces are Bie's drafts for the hashtag “#DoItinYourStyle” on Instagram, where aspiring artists from different parts of the world remake an existing piece using their own art style. The first piece features a subtler and more feminine Marceline, a cool and mysterious character from the Cartoon Network show “Adventure Time,” while the second piece is a remake of artist Melissa G's drawing of a girl in low pigtails. The hints of the freshman's style in both pieces can be spotted in the detailed way the eyes were drawn, the hair which looks realistic, and the print on their clothes. The road to becoming an artist is not an easy one, especially if one has a lot on her plate, so the Asian studies freshman prioritizes her health above all for she considers it important to be healthy to accomplish her everyday tasks. With a lot of refined local artists out there, it is easy to think that one's art will never upgrade to a higher tier, but Bie tells aspiring artists to never let their passion die because "it's something you're going to be proud of […] Just keep practicing.” She adds that constant practice will also become a stress reliever when one starts to see her improvement. Just like in any other field, the greatest output does not always come on the first try. F @abtheflame | FLAME | 49


Written prayers. photo by IAN CARLO L. ARIAS

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Adam and the Void of Diffidence by IAN JOZEL N. JEREZ They remind me of a language that refuses the being of my flesh. Their voices haunt the very diffidence of a soul I know nothing of. It is when the mirror speaks, the body listens, and the mind spurns That we locate ourselves in their spectacle that silences our bodies. The body attempts to let go and have its own language— A language that defies the ideal flesh. Men whose nectarous bodies—so Herculean, yet Delphic What a performance and a sexual extravaganza! What figures of salaciousness and ridiculous refinement! As I am submerged deep into their bodies—here, I realize that It is the life we choose and the reality that we escape from Which consume us from our own diffidence. And from here, we fall together into the void, You and I. Adam, and the apple that we bite into— The diffidence that we have and the peril it brings! We climb. Higher. We are past the sphere of bodies as we move away From the surface of desires and delights, and The language of a queered void that is torn asunder From the circus of the sublime and the ultimate. It is the void that marks me. I run away from the void where no man enters and breaks free Except for you and I. Yet you must understand that My body is mine to control and not yours and theirs to render. That you, my Adam, will not survive my language, as it is My rise from the void that failed my skin. From here, we depart my dear Adam As I hold tight and watch the bodies burst aflame. I emerge from the ashes raw, hard, and burning— To the music of my own body and language. F

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Resting to Pass



n the wee hours of dawn, I am made aware that evolution is not a simple concept. Through tired and sleep-deprived eyes, I peruse the pages of my biology textbook, scouring paragraphs of text filled with scientific jargon, complete with illustrations and diagrams that only make sense the longer it is looked at. I attempt to read the chapter, but nothing is retained in my head. With frustration, I begin reciting everything that I have learned in my head. Nothing. Nothing comes up except for the most basic definition—no other data, concept, or trivia that will ever give me the slightest hope of passing the test that is scheduled for tomorrow. All that echoes is ”the gradual transformation of heritable characteristics over successive generations.” I rub my face. My only hope of passing is if there is an essay part worth full points within the test. My eyes begin to glaze over, and I recognize signs of what appears to be microsleep. For seconds, I feel myself staring blankly at my book, the wave of sleepiness getting stronger every moment. With my current

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state, I can only hope to be given the opportunity to define the concept in my own, flowery words or to be given a chance to describe how evolution is something complex, given that it is embedded deep into our cells and our genetic code and yet, its concept can easily be simplified into an illustrated progression of a primate evolving into a human. It is the thing that made humanity, and humanity was not built in a single day. However, people tend to forget that evolution is built on small changes— microscopic ones. Change does not have to be extreme. For every massive evolutionary leap like bipedalism, there are tons of small steps that built up to it, such as the gradual narrowing of the pelvis and lengthening of the leg bones. Change cannot always be felt or seen, but it is an inherent quality among every organism. It extends down to the cellular level, adapting accordingly under the duress of one’s own environment, thereby causing minuscule, yet unique differences in the genetic code. In the same vein, it takes time to develop these traits. The emergence of mankind alone took billions of years, and even more

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for it to evolve into the way it is now. Even then, the change is yet to be complete. Life is never truly static if you think about it. We are constantly evolving in the name of improvement, but it is important to realize that true change is never immediate. We are not acting under a time constraint or competing in an imagined race. There is only you and the motions of life, and the best thing to do is to travel at your own pace, through your own decisions. Every choice still leads somewhere; no matter how slow, you will eventually arrive even if the destination may not be what you expect. Contented with my answer in the expected essay question, I lean back slowly on my chair, providing much-needed relief for the backache I received from hours of studying. Tomorrow, I will either pass or fail. It does not matter, because inwardly, I know that I will do whatever it takes to reach my goals even if it takes me years or a billion of them. But for now, I want to go to sleep. I close my eyes and let the peaceful lull of sleep take me. Even in my sleep, I am still changing, one cell at a time. F

Sa Kamay ng Sining-paglikha ni RYAN PIOLO U. VELUZ


ASIKAT NA noon ang tatlong gintong bituin sa kanluran nang mamatiyagan ni Kanlaon ang kanilang amang si Bathala. Dumagundong ang tambol at umawit ang mga engkantada, mga hudyat na papalapit na sa trono ang tagapaglikha. Kisap lamang ng mata ang lumipas at isang nakasisilaw na puting liwanag ang bumalot sa bulwagan; pagkalipas nito ay tumambad ang gintong kalasag at diyamanteng baston— walang alinlangan, dumating na si Bathala. “Nagagalak akong ibigay ang huling pagsubok sa aking mga anak. Dahil nalalapit na ang pagsilang sa Haring Araw, kayo ay inaatasan kong lumikha ng mga planeta na sa hinaharap ay paninirahan ng sangkatauhan,” wika ni Bathala. “Sa ikatlong pagluha ng bituing Mayari, ako ay magbabalik upang husgahan ang inyong obra.” Kumidlat at kumulog, kasabay nito ay ang paglaho ni Bathala. Walang sinayang na oras ang magkakapatid at kaagad sinimulan ang paglikha. Si Mapulon, ang panganay, ay humingi ng tulong sa diyosa ng kagandahan upang lapatan ng palamuti ang kaniyang obra. Hindi naman nagpadaig si Dumakulem, sapagkat sa unang bahagi pa lamang ng kaniyang paglikha ay inilagak na niya ang mga mahihiwagang nilalang upang kaniyang maging gabay. Nalalapit na ang unang luha ng bituin ngunitsiKanlaonaymasinopparingnaglalatag ng pundasyon para sa kaniyang likha. Umulan ng niyebe sa sansinukob, hudyat ng unang pagluha ng bituing Mayari. Makikitang bukod sa pundasyon ay balot na ng palamuti ang planeta ni Mapulon, samantalang buhay na buhay naman ang kay Dumakulem, habang malayang lumilipad ang mga nilalang sa kaniyang likha. Samantalang si Kanlaon, bukod sa pormang bilog ay hindi makitaan ng espesiyal na katangian ang kaniyang obra. Sa ikalawang bahagi ay halos magpasiklaban sa paglikha ang magkapatid: malaking hugis parihaba ang porma ng sa panganay, dito ay hindi tubig ang siyang ulan kung hindi mga diyamanteng napupulbos paglapat sa lupa, samantalang tila bituin kung susuriin ang kay Dumakulem—makikita ang aniyong


tubig na pinamamahayan ng mga sirena na siyang nagbigay buhay sa kaniyang obra. Sa hudyat ng pangalawang luha ng bituin, mahirap mabanaag kung ano ang laman ng obra ni Kanlaon; marahil ito ay mga pulo na natatakpan ng makapal na atmospera. Sa gitna ng alinlangan dahil sa matagal na progreso, mahabang pasensiya at tiwala sa kaniyang obra ang sandata ng pinakabatang diyos. Nagsisimula pa lamang ang ikatlong bahagi ng paglikha ay malapit nang matapos si Mapulon at Dumakulem. Lumitaw ang kahanga-hangang palamuti sa planeta ng panganay. Ganoon din ang kay Dumakulem; sangkatauhan na lamang ang kulang at perpekto na ang kaniyang likha. Samantala, isang bilog na di mawari ang laman ang pilit na tinatapos ni Kanlaon. Sumilay ang asul na buwan, hudyat ng ikatlong pagluha ng bituing Mayari; nahawi ang ulap at naging ginto ang sansinukob. Doon nga ay lumitaw si Bathala. Kaagad niyang sinuri ang mga planeta at labis na papuri ang iginawad niya kay Mapulon at Dumakulem. Pagkadismaya naman ang mababatid sa mata ni Bathala pagdating kay Kanlaon. ”Upang higit na mapatunayan ang kabuuang potensiyal ng inyong mga obra, hayaan niyong subukin ko sila,” wika niBathala. Sa kumpas ng kamay ni Bathala ay malakas na bagyo ang nabuo at sinalanta ang tatlong planeta. S i n a l a n t a nang malalakas na hangin ang planeta ni Mapulon. Kitang-kita kung paano nabasag ang mga salaming nakabalot sa himpapawid, ganoon din ang mga nangalaglag na gintong nakabalot sa ulap. Sa pagnanais ng panganay na maging angat, napabayaan niya ang pundasiyon at sa halip ay purong pisikal na aniyo ang kaniyang napagtuunan ng pansin. Balewala ang malalakas na hangin sa

tibay ng planeta ni Dumakulem, ngunit nang magsimulang bumuhos ang ulan na may kasamang yelo, nangamatay ang mga mahihiwagang nilalang sa kaniyang likha; nakaligtaan niyang paglaanan ng pananggalang at tahanan ang mga ito. Nagsialisan na ang lahat nang nilamon ng bagyo ang obra ni Kanlaon; sa liit nito ay hindi patatawarin ng bagyo. Sa pagtataka ng lahat, mababanaag sa mata ni Kanlaon ang tiwala at pag-asang mananatiling buo ang kaniyang likha. Pinagtawanan siya ng mga nanonood. Maya-maya pa ay humupa ang bagyo at tumambad ang diseniyong ikinagulat ng lahat: nahawi ang makapal na ulap at tumambad ang limang suson ng atmospera na siyang naging pananggalang laban sa bagyo. Nito lamang nila naunawaan ang sining at galing sa likod ng kaniyang likha. At nag-wika si Bathala: “Hindi mababanaag sa panlabas na diseniyo ang kabuuang potensiyal ng isang bagay. Upang lubos itong maunawaan, kinakailangang sisirin ang kaibuturan nito upang masilip ang tunay nitong galing,” wika ni Bathala. “Mabagal man ang progreso at tila walang espesiyal na katangian sa unang tingin, ito ay ang puso at talinong nilaan ni Kanlaon ang siyang nagpatibay at bumuo sa kaniyang obra.” F

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T WAS a remarkably humid day; one of those days when people have their colorful umbrellas out in the open in a futile attempt to protect themselves from the sweltering sun. The heat almost felt like hell’s gates were unlatched, letting loose its flames to ravage the entire country. With her own umbrella in hand, the woman was trying her best to shield the flower behind her ear from the massive orb. She continued to scurry to work when the escalating sound of an alarm flowed into her ears. Slowly, everything faded: the umbrella, her high heels, the array of coffee shops, and even the scorching heat—until she saw nothing but black. The girl had one arm sprawled across the desk; papers and petals surrounded her like Baby’s Breath surrounding the heart of a posy. Her head was rested over her folded arm. Her eyes were glued shut; dreams and shadows smeared under her eyes, bearing evidence of countless of sleepless nights. Her features were almost obscured by the locks of hair that looked like they have not been washed for days. There was something miniscule tucked behind her ear; it was too small that it would go unnoticed without a second look, but it was there. Another ear-splitting alarm slices the air, cleaving the remnants of tranquility that veiled her. She jolted awake and hit the base of her elbow; the pain almost caught up with her but she paid it no mind. Her eyes then fell on the mess before her. What held her attention, though, were the tiny doodles on the corners

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of her notebook that she idly scrawled. She let out a long sigh when a tiny petal fell out of nowhere. Thinking that it was blown by the wind, she merely shrugged it off. Reality was an immense dampener. It was bland and tasteless—any word that would express her distaste with reality would fit perfectly fine since she could not care less. She would do anything to get back to the dream she was having a few moments ago: a dream in which she had everything collected. Aside from shoving her nose in books, the girl spends most of her time watching people, the envy in her eyes flickering as she looks over her classmates and friends. She envies them for their betokened growth. The flowers growing on them were wonderful to look at. Unlike her, they were moving forward with their lives, and the difference was painfully obvious. She looks down on herself, unable to stop the comparison seeding in her mind. She wished that she could be as progressive as they were, but she was stuck like a forgotten moss growing at the bottom of an old tree. The end of the school year was fast approaching, and she was getting desperate. She vaguely remembers a time from a year ago when she was still brimming with hope, thinking that this would be different from the previous school years. Nothing was going in her favor and the frustration was gnawing at her. Unbeknownst to her, a flower was steadily growing behind her ear. While she was so keen on watching other people’s growth, she never noticed the change that was

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occuring in her. The shell of the seed cracked and everything came undone. Even though it may look like an utter mess to others, it was growth nonetheless. It might not look the same as everyone else’s, but she was growing, too, albeit at her own pace—gingerly, yet beautifully. Time flew and before she knew it, it was the dreadful end of the school year. Nothing changed within her. She still spends an ample amount of time watching others. She never felt like she moved an inch from her original place. At least, that was what she thought. Not until one day, a young stranger approached her with a beaming face. She also had a flower bud growing behind her ear; it was too small that it would go unnoticed without a second look, but it was right there. Just like hers. With a cheery voice, the stranger uttered, “You have a very beautiful flower blooming behind your ear. I strive to be like you someday.” She stood in shock and allowed the words to sink in. Another set of petals came out of nowhere; her gaze followed them until they landed on her palms. She tucked a few hair strands behind her ear, causing even more petals to fall. Instead of shrugging them off like last time, she stared at them far longer than she would admit, and something sparked within her. She smiled to herself as the realization dawned. It was hers all along. She was growing all this time. F

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Winter Matriarch by ADRIAN PAUL L. TAÑEDO


DYSSEUS had decided to set sail for terra incognita in order to participate in the Trojan War. Penelope consented and put all of her faith in her husband. How could she not, when Odysseus, the sole man that stood at the very top of everything in Ithaca also had blood and flesh hailing from royalty and part-divinity? Penelope led the offering of please to the divines along with the commoners who have believed in the royal family, the secretaries, barons, and marquis that have been accommodated at the demesne of Odysseus’ home, and their own son, Telemachus. All souls hoped for the safe return of their powerful, manly king after the fog of the Trojan War had dissipated. It had been a decade since a sliver of Odysseus’ ship was last seen when he departed, and Penelope had finally been dispelled from the romance that she and her husband once had. A harsh winter arrived and Penelope spent all day looking at the cascading snow, encroaching snowflakes, and out into the freezing Ionian Sea. The waters, devoid of life, carried corpses of many fish that could not handle the cold. It was not only the corpses of marine life that floated in the sea, for Penelope also murdered her suitors who came after the kingship of Ithaca. Soon after flinging their out into the water, the sea froze, much like Penelope’s heart and her hopes for the manly king she harbored all of her warmth for. Moments later, Penelope heard footsteps trudging behind her. Upon seeing Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom,

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Penelope wore a wistful look on her face. Athena, after all, was the female entity that divulged the infidelity of Odysseus to her; all of the years that passed afterward were spent looking for another that could satiate the void that Penelope could not fill. Although melancholy lingered on Penelope’s face upon seeing Athena, she did not harbor resentment for the goddess before her. The knowledge of Odysseus’ affairs granted by the goddess of knowledge took Odysseus away from her but also granted her liberation. In homage, Penelope attempts to kneel before Athena, but the goddess halted her before her knees could touch the frozen ground. She argued that while divine, her assistance was an act of women helping women in a world where men dominate everything. Minutes passed and Athena bade farewell to Penelope before vanishing in a ray of light in the middle of a kingdom surrounded by dark clouds and seas. Penelope spent the evening staring out into the frozen Ionian Sea, where Odysseus once promised to sail back to Ithaca and into her arms. Soon, a new set of footsteps attempt to come closer to her. It was her son Telemachus: the living, breathing testament of the union that she and Odysseus consummated, a young boy who constantly sought out for the hull of his father’s ship. Having relinquished both hope and the odysseys of the oncegreat king of Ithaca, both mother and son stare out into the frozen sea where Odysseus will never sail once more. F

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Vagabond of Dreams by MARIA PAMELA S. REYES


HE BITING brisk wind wrapped around me as I stood in the day’s early hours. The sun was barely touching the horizon. Two colors meet in-between: the yelloworange splatter and the blue night sky. The bus stop was packed with people, and in that crowd, you can spot me, an insignificant shadow standing with a straight face while wearing a well-ironed uniform, sporting a bag heavy with the dread of unfinished homework, and a lack of enthusiasm for responsibility. Upon entering the classroom, I am faced with students in tiny groups who speak in hushed or clamored voices. They all had their own dreams they were trying to achieve. In the far corner, you could see me: a face etched with worry and lack of sleep. I was sick and tired of the daily tribulation. It was a never-ending cycle of going to sleep, waking up, attending classes, and going home. After drifting home with a heavy heart, I silently ate my dinner while my family rambled about their agenda. In the quiet of my mind, I heard my mother ask, “Where are you going after high school? What major are you going to take?” I could barely answer the first question, let alone the second one. I was terrified of disappointing my parents, but more importantly, I was scared of myself. In the corner of my eye, I saw my father gesture toward my mother to let me off for the meantime. He was a man who noticed everything, from the tiny speckle of dirt on the table, to the worries I try so hard to hide. I could tell he saw I was agitated by something. He was definitely not wrong. After dinner, he asked me to join him. Once I cleared the table, I lumbered toward the living room. I had no clue what was about to happen. I was not even sure if I was ready to spill the truth and tell him of the dilemmas that haunt me at night. He looked up from the papers he was checking and gave me a reassuring smile. We sat in complete silence for a few minutes before I took a deep shaky breath.


“Dad, when did you know what you wanted to become?” He lowered his pen and placed his hands under his chin. Silence enveloped the room before he answered, “I always lived in a way that my young self would be proud of.” I could see a tiny twinkle in his eyes as he spoke softly. “And just like clothes, not everything will fit or look good on you, but that does not mean you cannot try and discover what suits you,” he continued. He spoke from experience. It reminded me of the stories from his youth that he once told me. Halfway through his college life, he felt burned out and stopped. For a year, he did odd jobs and wandered aimlessly until one day, the lightbulb in his head glowed. It was as if a tiny flower had sprouted in him and slowly blossomed into a brilliant kaleidoscope. He realized his true passion: teaching. These were the tales that I did not pay any heed when I was a child. Now, I finally grasped the importance of them. In that moment, something dawned upon me, though it was not as extravagant as compared to my father’s; it was more of a little spark. It gave me the push I needed. I realized my dreams are yet to be discovered. Similar to clothes, I may come across a shirt that could look too tight or too baggy for my figure. A bow on my head would seem ridiculous or a pair of orange shoes would not complement the color of my skin. There are times where I encounter garments that I find beautiful, but are not meant for me. It may not be my time now, nor will it be for another few years or so, but these hurdles will not stop me from searching, scaling the Everest of clothes, and finally discovering a piece that truly suits my very being. F @abtheflame |

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Ang Pilipinas sa Mata ni Philippa ni ISABELL ANDREA M. PINE



AAGANG nagsimula ang araw ni Philippa. May salu-salo siyang ihahanda kaya’t nagpunta siya ng palengke nang madaling araw pa lamang. Alam niyang bulusok ang taas ng presyo ng mga bilihin, ngunit plano pa rin niyang bumili ng may pasobra sa lahat ng mga sangkap na nakatala sa kaniyang listahan. Darating ang kaniyang mga anak, at bakas sa kaniyang mukha ang tigib na saya. Ilang tag-ulan at tag-araw na rin ang lumipas nang huling magkaroon sila ng salu-salo kung saan buo ang kanilang pamilya. Ninanais ni Philippa na maging ibayong alaala ang magiging bunga ng araw na ito. Magaan ang pakiramdam ni Philippa habang naglalakad siya patungo sa palengke; inaalala niya ang dating itsura ng paligid: malinis, mahangin, at maraming puno ang masisilayan. Ito ay ibang-iba sa kaniyang nakasanayan. Ang lugar patungo sa palengke ay pinuno na ng mga gusaling isiniksik sa maliliit na espasyo, at kalat ang tayuan ng maliliit na puwesto at masisikip na daanan. Sa pagdating niya sa palengke, tiningnan ni Philippa ang kaniyang listahan; isda ang unang bilihin na nakasulat. Habang tumitingin ng mga isda, lumingid ang kaniyang tingin sa maliit na telebisyon na nakapuwesto sa likod ng tindera. Ibinabalita ang pagpapasara ng Boracay sa Aklan upang tugunan ang karumihan na unti-unting pumapatay sa isla. Napangiti nang taimtim si Philippa sapagka’t nakita niya na isa itong mabuting pangitain para sa bansa. Muling nag-ikot si Philippa upang bumili ng gulay, ang ikalawang bagay sa kaniyang listahan. Habang iniikot niya ang palengke, nakita niya ang isang maliit na estante kung saan ibinebenta ang iba’t-ibang uri ng kolorete. May mga barkadang namimili, at dinig na dinig ang kanilang galak sa pagpili ng kung ano ang babagay sa kanila. Mamamasid ang ngiti sa mukha ng ilang tindera at iba pang tao sa palengke na aliw na aliw sa tawanan ng mga binabaeng namimili ng kolorete. Paalis na si Philippa sa estante nang kalabitin siya ng isang payat at putlain na paslit. Tinatanong ng bata kung gusto bang bumili ng ginang ng kaniyang ibinibentang sampaguita. Umiling si Philippa, at saka bumunot ng halagang singkwenta mula sa kaniyang bulsa. Iniabot niya ito sa bata, at binili ang lahat ng sampaguita na hawak-hawak ng paslit. Habang naglalakad siya upang maghanap ng mga de-lata, pinagmamasdan niya ang mga sampaguita na kaniyang hawak-hawak, at iniisip na sa kabila ng progresong hinaharap ng bansa, marami pa rin ang lunod sa kahirapan. Habang okupado ang kaniyang isipan sa pamimili ng mga de-latang bibilhin, naririnig niya ang usapan ng ilang kabataang may diskusyon ukol sa karanasan nila sa paglilinis ng Ilog Pasig. Naalala ni Philippa na ang ilog ay burak at umaalingasaw, ngunit napangiti muli siya nang marinig kung paanong isinasalba ang ilog ngayon. Nang matapos ni Philippa sa pamimili ng kaniyang mga bilihin, tumambad sa kaniyang mga mata ang isang mistulang makulay na parada. Naglakad si Philippa palabas ng palengke at nasilayan ang isang Pride Parade, kung saan may mga binatilyo at ilang dalaga na walang alintana sa pagpahayag ng kanilang mga damdamin. Mapapansin ang ilang mukhang sumisimangot at nagbubulungan, ngunit napangiti siya sapagka’t naaalala niya ang isa niyang anak sa mukha ng mga kabataang ito. Pagkarating niya sa bahay ay agad niyang inihanda ang kaniyang pinamili. Iniluto niya ang lahat ng paboritong pagkain ng kaniyang mga anak, at sa pagpatak ng alas-dose ay puno na ng mga iba’t-ibang uri ng putahe ang lamesa. Inilalapag na lamang ni Philippa ang mga plato sa lamesa nang makarinig siya ng katok mula sa pintuan. Magkakasama ang kaniyang mga anak na pumasok sa kaniyang tahanan: ang panganay niya na isang miyembro ng Department of Tourism na siyang nagsulong ng pagpapalinis ng Boracay, ang ikalawa na isang aktibista na ipinaglalaban ang mga karapatang pantao, ang pangatlo na isang binabae, at ang bunsong OFW. Pinagmasdan ni Philippa ang kaniyang mga anak na nagtatawanan at nagku-kuwentuhan. Iba’t iba man ang kanilang pananaw at kalagayan sa buhay, natutuwa ang ginang na makita na sila’y sama-sama at nagkakaisa bilang magkakapatid. F @abtheflame | FLAME | 58

Parting photo by IAN CARLO L. ARIAS

@abtheflame |

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