heights vol. 65 no. 1 Copyright 2017 heights is the official literary and artistic publication and organization of the Ateneo de Manila University. Copyright reverts to the respective authors and artists whose works appear in this issue. No part of this book may be r eprinted or reproduced in any means whatsoever without the written permission of the copyright holder. This publication is not for sale. Correspondence may be addressed to: heights, Publications Room, mvp 202 Ateneo de Manila University p.o. Box 154, 1099 Manila, Philippines Tel. no. (632) 426-6001 loc. 5448 heights - ateneo.org Creative Direction by Dianne L. Aguas and Ninna Lebrilla Cover and Dividers by Dianne L. Aguas Layout by Andrea Adriano, JJ Agcaoili, Dianne L. Aguas, Zianne Agustin, Kim Alivia, Rico Cruz, Diana F. David, Justine Daquioag, Ninna Lebrilla, Arien Lim, Zoe de Ocampo, Ninielle Pascual, Diorjica Ranoy, Pie Tiausas, Jonah Velasquez, Elyssa Villegas Folio Launch Team: Zi Agustin, Sandy Añonuevo, Justin Barbara, Madi Calleja, Gelo Dawa, Cesar Fabro, Luigi Reyes, Trisha Reyes, Julien Tabilog, Bea Valenzuela, Charles Yuchioco Typeset in mvb Verdigris
Contents Nicko Caluya 1 Soneto 80 21 Inhenyeriya 67 Arrangements Allan Popa 2 Mababaw ang mga Libingan sa Panahong Ito Jerome Flor 3 Cable 23 Pahabol para sa panahong ito Jose Socrates Delos Reyes 4 Curfew Mirick Paala 5 Awit Sabrina Basilio 7 sipi mula sa Panagawid Christian Benitez 21 Sapagkat Mangyari Lamang Abner Dormiendo 24 Hibakujumoku 64 These Things We Do Dominique La Victoria 25 Ang Bata sa Drum Glenn Diaz 44 excerpt from The Quiet Ones Gabrielle Leung 60 As Ferdinand Marcos 81 This is how a hand becomes complicit Regine Cabato 66 Notes from the Field
Michaela Gonzales Tiglao 69 The Japanese Lover Elo Dinglasan 78 In the Event of Poltergeists Janelle Paris 79 On Visiting the Auschwitz Memorial Paolo Tiausas 80 Well-Paved Road Yuri Ysabel Tan 88 infertility Ida de Jesus 96 no. 18 from Mind Map Sean Patrick C. Lee 97 desaparecidos (series) Mikaela Montano 100 Mga Namumukadkad na Bala Genesis Gamilong 101 Sibilyan Micah M. Rimando 102 Tingi(n)-Tingi(n) Lang Marco T. Torrijos 103 Merienda Jill Arteche 104 merienda Alfred Benedict C. Marasigan 105 Place 18
Editorial This folio began with a challenge—a question we couldn’t seem to stop asking ourselves, collectively as heights, and each of us individually as writers, artists, and readers. In a sense, it is the same question that must be asked every year: What is the place of art and literature, here, and now? What place are we to give it? Perhaps it is only fitting that, to begin our 65th anniversary year, we set out to scrutinize and articulate what it is we mean when we say that heights stands for artistic and literary excellence. This is not a new question, but in 2017, it has gained new urgency. In the time between my writing this and this folio’s eventual publication, an untold number of people will fall victim to deprivation and impunity. Writing this will have made no difference. Today’s media allows us to witness controversy and devastation on a global scale, in real time. Our country faces a divided populace, attempts at historical revisionism, the undermining of the rule of law, the unaddressed wounds and human rights violations of every administration, and the ever-creeping threat of authoritarianism. Our lives go on, not unchanged, but not suspended either. We are angry, but still dumbfounded. We cannot bear to stay silent. We write poetry. We take photographs. We wrestle with the thought that perhaps there is no space for art and literature in times like these. We find ourselves torn, struggling to come up with the means to respond at all—let alone the capability to respond “as writers”, “as artists”. A similar urgency and dilemma, perhaps, propelled the rebirth of heights as Pugadlawin in the years leading up to the declaration of Martial Law in 1972. In partnership with the Martial Law Digital Museum, we have been revisiting the role of heights in shaping the Atenean political consciousness. Then, like now, the Ateneo student body gradually became more attuned to the insistence of the world beyond the confines of the university. Then, like now, writers and
artists were faced with the challenge of negotiating the demands of their craft, the demands of their personal lives, and the demands of their world. In a heights editorial in 1984, Joel Pagsanghan writes of the difficulties of this negotiation: “Maraming manunulat ang galit ngayon (at mayroon ngang dapat ikagalit). Maraming manunulat ang nagtatanong ngayon (at maraming tanong na wala pang kapani-paniwalang sagot). Ngunit marami pa rin ang nagsusulat tungkol sa pag-ibig, halik ng ulan sa bintana at paglubog ng araw.” * This folio is an interrogation into how we might perform the same negotiation decades later. It is foregrounded space for those concerns, which have always been present in our creative decisions, but loom especially large now. It is an attempt to articulate what it might look like for contemporary Atenean art and literature to engage with our times. For this is what the times demand of us: it is impossible to separate our personal narratives from the political sphere in which our lives play out. These images, like the bullet holes and sampaguitas in Mikaela Montano’s “Mga Namumukadkad na Bala”, insist themselves upon us and shape our preoccupations. The realities of the world dictate “these things we do”, as Abner Dormiendo puts it in his poem, as he describes the survival mechanisms in times of normalized violence. Something about these momentary encounters with uncomfortable truths, as in Genesis Gamilong’s “Sibilyan” or Micah Rimando’s “Tingi(n)-Tingi(n) Lang”, compels the artist to attempt to catalogue. There is the urge to document these events as they unfold, to create a record, to bring to light what would otherwise remain unseen. Art and literature become statements on issues and narratives that have been pushed to the margins, and implore us, the readers, to consider them with a level of gravity and nuance that would be difficult to replicate in any other form. *Editorial, Heights XXXI No. 2
Yet to see the value of these pieces as merely based on their political functions would be to reduce the strength of their craft to mere propaganda. As much as we find politics inscribed in our art and literature, creative works shape and redirect our politics as well. Jerome Flor begins with a reference to a poem by Emmanuel Lacaba, heights alumnus and Martial Law martyr, in “Pahabol para sa mga panahong ito”, and arrives at a response to both the poem and to our own situation. We underscore in this folio the potential of art to rewrite political and cultural narratives, to re-examine outdated ideologies, to reimagine the language of assent and dissent in an endless number of ways. That is to say, art and literature create spaces for experimentation beyond our present understanding (both for the creators of texts and their readers). We are reminded again and again that there is no one face of political engagement through art and literature. It is the revitalizing of shared stories and images in danger of being forgotten, as in Sean Lee’s “desaparecidos”. It is a probing exploration into moral dilemmas as in the excerpt from Bina Basilio’s “Panagawid”. It pushes the boundaries of form itself in Yuri Tan’s “infertility”, a photo-essay combining scanned objects and ruminative text. And still, there is space for reflection, in works like Alfred Marasigan’s “Place 18”, which offers a frame of political engagement that is quiet, introspective, and even perhaps hopeful. To answer a question we posed in our call for contributions: yes, we at heights believe that artists and writers do have the responsibility to engage with the political. This is not to say that all works created need to have sociopolitical themes and preoccupations, merely for the sake of relevance or timeliness. We should, however, be willing to acknowledge that even our aesthetic choices have political implications—and that, as we read and create new works in the times we live in now, these implications cannot simply be brushed aside. What this means is that political engagement in art and literature is not complete once we finish making a piece, or even once the piece xii
has been published, read, and analyzed. It is an ongoing process. We must continue to be conscious of how, in the past and in the present, art and literature have been used for selfish and exclusionary ends, or even how they can and have been used to perpetuate or justify injustices all around us. For artists and writers to be politically engaged means, as well, that we need to be careful not to overestimate the power of art and literature, at the risk of ignoring the other work that must be put into our political process. Though we do believe that creative pursuits do have a place in politics (and vice-versa), folios like these cannot be the end. Poetry and paintings may offer the potential to draft a new language of engagement, but at the end of the day, they are not substitutes for engagement beyond the page. And so we are led to issue yet another challenge: as you read through the works selected for this folio, we call on you, reader, not only to engage with these works, but to engage through themâ€”to engage beyond them. Gabrielle Leung November 2017
Soneto 80 O, paanong liyo ako tuwing ika’y isusulat, gayong may makatang lalong higit ngalan mo ay hayag, at sa pagpuri’y ginugol ang lakas n’yang lahat-lahat, ako wari’y nauulol, bigkas ang ‘yong pagkatanyag! Ngunit ang iyong halaga, sinlawak ng karagatan, Tangan-tanga’y mga layag kahit hamak o palalo, Halinang gawa’y kay hina-hina kung sa kanya’y laban, nangangahas magpadayag dito sa kalawakan mo. Anong kababawang tulong, ako’y ‘yong pinauunday, Habang siya’y bumababad sa ‘yong tahimik na hilig; O sa pagbuwag man, akong isang walang silbing lunday, At siyang ubod ng tangkad at may dangal na butihin:
At kung siya’y magpunyagi at ako’y mapapalaboy, Mangyaring pinakasawi: pag-ibig ko ang pagluoy.
Mababaw ang mga Libingan sa Panahong Ito Nagpupulong ang mga aso sa paligid ng basurahan na hindi nila magawang lapitan. Hindi nila magawang iangat ang ulo upang umalulong sa naaamoy na kamatayan. Bahag ang buntot na nasasaktan. Hindi nila maunawaan. Hindi nila maunawaan ang tao.
Cable Ang Probinsiyano. Uten ng rebolber. Bripkeys Bente-S’yete. Hinuli ang lider Ng nahulíng pulis. Binawi ng kanser Ang buhay ni Mama. Sabi ng reporter, “Nahulog ang ilog sa bata.” Sakaling Ang kaliwanagan ay maging tambuli Ng The Buzz o Showtime, sana’y nakausli Ang diwa sa dal’wa: primetime o tanghali.
jose socrates delos reyes
Curfew Buwaâ€™y mensahero sa mga kuneho. Narito na muli ang dakilang sirko! Ihandaâ€™ng panglamay! Magsuot ng belo! Silang mga kâ€™wago ang tanging testigo.
Awit Sa loob at labas ng bayan kong sawi sa loob at labas ng bayan ang kasawian sa loob isang palabas ng kasawian kaya bayan kaya labas kahit loob sapagkat sa loob at labas may bayan may sawi kaloob ng bayan ang mga palabas nilooban ng mga sawi ang bayan narito ang bayan sa loob at labas ng ating kasawianâ€” sa tagiliran sa paanan sa mata sa simbahan ipalaganap ang kapayapaan sa bayad sa dyip bayad po bayad sa mga kasawian sa mga palabas sa pagpasok sa loob sa panatag na darating at darating ang tren makakauwi ako pero paano umuwi paano ang ulunan ng kama ang apat na kanto ng kisame ang aranya ng mga anino ibig sabihin: sukal ibig sabihin: dilim-liwanagâ€” bago magpatuloy bago maglakad bago bumaling sa kanan bago kumaliwa huwag mangaliwa salamat naroon ang bayan naroon ang silid kaya hindi pagbalik ang pagbalik kung hindi pagtanggap na nagbabago ang liwanag mula umaga hanggang gabi mula loob hanggang labas hanggang loob muli tulad ng mga bayan at silid hindi ba lahat ng pagtatapos ay nagiging totoo hindi ba pagkaraan ng lahat ng pagkanan at pangangaliwa naroon ang kasawian ang aking bayanâ€” sa loob at labas ng bayan kong sawi ang kasawian ng loob at labas ng bayan wala sa loob at labas ang kasawian nasa bayan nasa pagloob nasa paglabas nasa loob at labas ang sawa ang asawa walang awa ang palabas tahimik ang lahat sa simula ng kurtina ng entablado ng ilaw na nagpapahiwatig na hayaan mo hayaan mo ang mahinang: musika ang paghinga na rekwerdo ng kapanatagan na ang aktor sa sentro ng tanghalan ay magsasabi ng totoo sa loob at labas ng bayan kong
sawi hindi ba sa loob at labas ang aking bayan ang aking kasawian isa ka lang palabas hindi ako matutulad sa mga katawan sa pampang na isa-isang inahon at binilad sa araw payapa ang kanilang mukha mahal sinasabi mo bang tumalon din tayo sa tulay sinasabi mo bang humingi ako ng tawad na ako ang aktor sa palabas at saulado ko ang mga sasabihin mo at hindi mo sinasabi at mali mali ang sinasabi mo na tumalon tayo sa tulay hindi mababasag ang maskara tulad ng engrandeng wakas ng palabas palalabasin ko ba ang mga nanonood ibabalik ko ba ang binayad hindi ka ba natutuwa na pinapanood ako tayo ang bayan sa loob at labas at baka ang lahat ng ito ay totooâ€” sundan sundan ang nagsasanga-sangang daan saka maghubad saka baligtarin ang damit saka baligtarin muliâ€” mahal ikaw ang aking bayan ano kasawian ano mesa dingding ano lawak bakit napakalawak bakit nariyan ka sa labas pumasok ka sa loob sabay nating patayin ang ilawâ€”
sipi mula sa Panagawid mga tauhan manuel – Edad 30; Best friend at dating ka-trabaho nina Benjie at ysa; hinawakan nilang tatlo ang kaso ng kapatid ni Benjie na naging cold case ysa – Edad 28; Public attorney; dating matalik na kaibigan nina manuel at Benjie. unang eksena Nakatayo si Manuel sa tabi ng pintuan, pinagmamasdan ang opisinang pinasukan. Sa paglilibot niya, mapapansin ang nag-iisang maliit na picture frame sa mesa. Iaangat niya ito upang tingnan nang maigi. Ngunit ‘di nagtagal ay madadatnan siya ni Ysa pagpasok niya. ysa
‘Yan si adrian.
Agad ibababa ni Manuel ang picture frame. manuel Attorney! P-pasensya na— Ngingitian siya ni Ysa.
Pasensya rin, kanina ka pa yata. Upo ka muna.
manuel A, hindi naman. (Mauupo sila.) Ako hihingi ng paumanhin at naabala ko kayo. 7
Ay hindi hindi! This... this is actually refreshing. It’s nice to see you here again. Medyo maraming nangyayari ngayon pero, pero... this is nice. It’s nice to see you.
manuel Kayo rin. Matagal silang di iimik. manuel Ilang taon na? ysa
manuel Si Adrian. ysa
A, si Adrian! Three years old.
manuel A talaga nga? Parang… malusog siya, ‘no? ysa
(Natatawa) Three pa lang naman. ‘Di pa naman ako kinakabahan.
Naiilang na tawanan. Katahimikan muli. ysa
A, thank you.
Uy, congrats nga pala.
manuel Sabi ko sa ‘yo diyan rin uwi mo e. ysa
From the former chair of the homicide unit? Ikaw dapat nandito.
manuel Ay sus. Ikaw naman talaga prinsesa ng Bureau no’n pa.
D’yus ko, hanggang ngayon ba naman, prinsesa pa rin ang bukambibig. E kung ‘di ka umalis, sino sana nakaupo dito?
manuel Nako, Attorney. Alam niyo namang ‘di ko kailanman nakita sarili ko bilang Supervisor dito. Mas pang-sa ‘yo ‘yun. Tsaka pang-pelikula kaya pangalan ko. Buntong-hininga. ysa
Oo na, sige. Nabuhayan rin ako’t nakausap ka ulit. Tutal sobrang tagal na rin.
manuel Ako rin, Attorney. ysa
Ysa na lang, kung okey lang. Magkaibigan naman tayo ‘di ba?
manuel Okey. Ysa. ysa
So, what brings you back to the city?
manuel A, hindi. Nan-nandito lang ako. ysa
What do you mean?
manuel Ano... matagal na akong ‘di umuuwi. Patlang. ysa
manuel Actually, sina Papa na nga dumadalaw sa ‘kin dahil hindi nila ako mapauwi.
Buma-biyahe pa si Tito?
manuel Malakas pa ‘yun. Pigsa nakém nga raw. [Strong spirit nga raw.] Tatango si Ysa. Hindi niya masabi ang gusto sabihin. manuel Bakit ‘ka mo? ysa
Kung okey lang tanungin.
Kikibit-balikat si Manuel. manuel ‘Di ko maharap umuwi sa ngayon. ysa
So si Benjie?
manuel ‘Di pa rin kami nag-uusap. Patlang. manuel Ano sana... magpapasalamat sana ako’t nasingit mo ‘to. Alam kong inuulanan kayo ng mga kaso ngayon. ysa
Well. Busiest months namin nung June to July, but the death toll doesn’t stop climbing.
manuel Tsaka may mga batang biktima na rin, ano? ysa
Maraming mga bata. Younger than twenty. Kaya, I’m sorry ‘di rin tayo makakapag-usap nang matagal.
manuel A, oo. Naiintindihan ko ‘yun. Malaki-laki rin hawak mo ngayon...
Buntong-hininga. Maglalabas si Manuel ng ilang mga folder mula sa kaniyang bag. manuel Malaking bagay rin kasi ‘to. Ilalapag niya ang folder sa mesang namamagitan sa kanilang dalawa. Titingnan muna ni Ysa ang mga ito, nag-aatubiling silipin ang laman. Katahimikan. manuel Sa totoo lang, ‘di ako umuuwi kasi—‘yan. ysa
manuel Alam kong matagal na, alam kong medyo long shot— ysa
Eight years nang nakalipas, Manuel.
manuel Alam ko ‘yun. ysa
People are being killed everyday. Poor powerless people.
manuel Kaya nga sabi ko, malaking bagay ‘to. ysa
And what did you expect would happen? The Bureau lost its best analyst no’ng umalis ka, kalagitnaan pa ng territorial dispute. You were out of reach for years.
Tapos babalik ka rin naman pala for the exact same reason you left.
manuel Ysa. (Iaangat niya ang mga folder.) I got him. Naiintindihan mo ba? Nandito lahat.
Tingnan mo man lang. 11
Manuel, kaibigan kita at kaibigan ko si Benjie. Ayoko ring hayaan na lang ‘to, pero sobrang tagal mo nang pinaglalaban ‘to kahit wala ka nang panlaban.
manuel May panlaban na tayo ngayon. Ito na ‘yun, Ysa. Tingnan mo lahat ng documents diyan at sabihin mong ‘di natin kaya this time around. ysa
Ilang beses mo ring sinabi ‘yan noon.
manuel ‘Yung dalawang batang ‘yun, Ysa. Younger than twenty din sila. Habang buhay na sila do’n kahit na alam naman nating kinontrata lang ‘yung mga ‘yun. ysa
Manuel, sila pa rin ang gumawa. At alam nila ‘yun at pinili na nilang makulong at manahimik. Kung babalikan mo pa ‘to at hihingi ka na naman ng testimony na hindi naman nila ibibigay, ipapahamak mo lang ulit sila.
manuel Ysa, eight years ago wala tayong kahit anong kapangyarihan dito, no evidence, no access to people, nothing. Supervisor ka ngayon, kaya na natin silang protektahan. (Ituturo ang mga folder.) Ito na lang kailangan natin. Nandito lahat. Magsimula ulit tayo. Patlang. ysa
Kay Bustamante pa rin ang final decision.
manuel Alam natin pareho kung ano’ng gagawin ni Bustamante dito. ysa
Gusto ko lang ng closure, Manuel.
manuel Pa’no si Benjie? ‘Di niya deserve ang closure? 12
Si Benije, matagal nang nakauwi, matagal na niyang binitawan ang kaso.
manuel Kapatid niya ang pinag-uusapan dito, Ysa. Hinahanap natin ‘yung nagpapatay sa kapatid niya, siyempre kailangan niyang bitawan! ysa
Sige, kapatid niya ang usapan ‘di ba? What does he think of all this?
Si Benjie. Na matagal nang nanahimik mag-isa sa atin. Kaya mo siyang harapin tungkol dito?
manuel Kayá ako humihingi ng tulong sa ‘yo, Ysa. ysa
Manuel, Supervisor ako pero wala pa rin akong kapangyarihan dito. Wala sa ‘min dito ang may magagawa. May trabaho kaming kailangan tugunan. At hindi ko kayang balikan ang isang kasong matagal nang sinukuan ni Benjie.
manuel Hindi si Benjie ang unang sumuko rito. ysa
Ano sabi mo?
manuel Kung sukuan pala ang usapan, hindi si Benjie ang nambigo. ysa
So ako ba? Ako na mag-isang naiwan dito, na nagpatuloy magtrabaho at magtanggap ng trabahong iniwan niyo?
So ako ba? Ako na mag-isang naiwan dito, na nagpatuloy magtrabaho at magtanggap ng trabahong iniwan niyo? 13
manuel ‘Di ko sinabi ’yun. ysa
Sige nga, Manuel. Subukan mo kayang tawag-tawagin kang prinsesa na parang wala kang kahit anong pinaghirapan sa buhay?
‘Di ka kinakausap ng kaibigan mo kasi hindi nagalaw kaso ng kapatid niya. ‘Di mo masabi sa mga tao kung sa’n ka galing kasi magtatanong sila at wala kang masasagot. Ni hindi ka dinadalaw ng tatay mo para pauwiin ka. Ako ‘yung sumuko?
manuel Ang sinasabi ko lang, paano na si Liway? ysa
Liway isn’t here, Manuel! At kung nandito siya ngayon, tingin mo matutuwa siyang nagkakawatak-watak tayong tatlo dahil sa kaniya? Ha?
Ano ba’ng gusto mong mangyari? Papa-reopen mo ‘yung kaso? Walong taon matapos mo kaming iwan, babalik ka na lang basta at papakiusapan kaming isantabi lahat ng ginagawa namin para dito?
manuel Si Ysa ba talaga ang kausap ko, o si Bustamante? ysa
Bakit, akala mo ba makakabalik ka matapos ang ilang taon, ilang inosenteng katawan araw-araw, and I’ll stay the same?
Maglalabas na si Manuel ng mga litrato’t papel mula sa folder. manuel Tingnan mo ‘to. Ano’ng common factor sa lahat ng columns na ‘to? Una, tungkol lahat kay de Mesa.
Pangalawa, lahat ng nagsulat ng mga ‘to, nawawala, nakakulong, o patay na. 14
Puwede ba, Manuel.
manuel Ito, ito. February 2010, na-publish si Liway: calling out “official negligence on local candidate de Mesa” Di siya tumigil diyan. Eto. March same year, “Involvement in illegal drug trade”. July that year Liway was found dead.
Tapos eto, may statement si de Mesa, teka...
Manuel. Mismong nanggahasa’t pumatay kay Liway, isang taon bago nabigyan ng verdict. Former governor pa kaya? Governor, Manuel. Buong bayan ng Magsaysay ang tatapatan mo dito.
manuel ‘Di ko sinarili ‘to nang walong taon para lang matakot sa pera nila. ysa
‘Di rin natakot si Liway no’n, ‘di ba?
Manuel, maniwala ka. Malulusutan lang nila ‘to. And at best we’ll just end up chasing their family farther away. Uungkatin mo na naman para sa’n? Para sa’n pa? Kaya mong tingnan sa mata si Benjie kung mangyari ’yun?
manuel ‘Di ko kayang tingnan sa mata si Benjie kung alam kong may magagawa pa pero hindi ko ginawa. ysa
Well, you must be speaking from experience.
manuel Ano? ysa
Nakakatawa kasi ikaw pa naman ‘yung umalis. At ngayon, we have an even slimmer chance with this case and you want to seize it. 15
manuel Ano ba’ng mali dun? ysa
‘Di ko alam! Marami. Basta marami. For one, for some reason, I actually thought...
‘Di niya matuloy. Matatawa na lang siya. manuel ‘Di ‘to tungkol sa ‘tin, Ysa. ysa
Pa’nong hindi? Na-close lang ‘yung case, you closed me off. Tapos eto ka na naman, bubuksan mo na naman. Na parang wala lang lahat ng ‘to sa ‘kin.
manuel I—I asked you to come with me. Ikaw naman pumiling mag-stay dito. ysa
Manuel, may trabaho ako dito. Maraming mga pamilyang lumalapit sa ‘min, maraming dubious operations na hindi namin magalaw-galaw. Bata, matanda kinakaladkad na parang hayop, araw-araw! Kung ‘di pa rin malinaw sa ‘yo, I can’t afford to put aside my job for a hopeless case.
manuel Bahagi naman ‘to ng trabaho mo ‘di ba? ‘Di mo ba kayang i-consider? Not even for Benjie? Or Liway? ysa
Not even for you.
manuel Ysa, Ysa. (Halos pabulong.) Naka-tatlong taon tayong tatlo sa lintik na kasong ‘to, hanggang dalawang convict lang narating natin. E ito! (Iaangat niya muli ang mga folder.) Nagawa ‘to mag-isa. Walang humarang sa ‘kin. You know it’s only being made to look hopeless. ysa
Mag-ingat ka sa mga pinagsasasabi mo dito, Manuel.
manuel Aniya ki din aya, Ysa! Now you’re just being unreasonable. ysa
Ako pa ‘yung unreasonable? E ikaw ‘tong parang walang pakielam sa kalagayan ng bansa e. Kahit respetuhin mo man lang lahat ng taông pinili nating magkaniya-kaniya. Eight years din ‘yun.
manuel Ysa, ang hinihiling ko lang, ‘wag nating hayaang hanggang dito na lang kaso ni Liway. Hindi ko sinabing gawin niyo ‘tong priority. ysa
Sige, sabihin nating by some miracle, bigyan ‘to ni Bustamante ng go signal. Sino’ng aasikaso nito ha? Ikaw? Ang alam ko kasi eight years nang expired ang kapangyarihan mong humawak ng kaso. Which, by the way was a decision you made by yourself.
manuel I was forced to leave because the institution I worked for chooses who to serve. Hindi ko pinaniniwalaan ang gano’n, not any less than you do. Pero nandito ka pa rin! So mukhang wala sa ‘ting nakalalamang dito. ysa You know, Manuel, kung may natutunan ako at all from these eight years I spent by myself, it’s that you have to play the game in order to have a say in it. Matatawa lang si Manuel. ysa
Bakit ka natatawa? Nakakatawa ba?
manuel ‘Yan na ba sinasabi mo sa sarili mo ngayon, Ysa?
Yan ‘yung totoo, Manuel. Kahit ga’no pa ka-kumpleto ‘tong mga folder na ‘to, walang tatalab kung manggagaling ka sa labas. Walang makikinig. Maniwala ka sa ‘kin, utang na loob.
manuel Kaya ako lumapit sa ‘yo, Ysa. Wala akong tiwala sa kahit sino pang iba. Patlang. ysa
May trabaho pa ako, Manuel.
manuel Ano gagawin mo, preserve national security? E sarili nga nating kaibigan wala tayong magawa. Sabihin mo nga sa ‘kin, sino na ba’ng may trabaho ng alin? Kasi ako, litonglito na ako, Ysa e. Susubukang sumagot ni Ysa ngunit wala siyang masabi. Katahimikan. ysa
Walang mananalo sa labang ‘to, Manuel. Tama na.
manuel (Nagmamakaawa) Ysa. ysa
I don’t think Liway would have wanted this. At alam mo ‘yun. manuel Paano ka nakasisiguro?
Hindi ako sigurado.
Isang katok. Tatayo si Ysa para salubungin si Bustamante ngunit nakapasok na siya. Magtitinginan silang tatlo.
Sapagkat Mangyari Lamang Mangyari lamang ay tumayo ang mga nagmahal nang makita ng lahat ang mukha ng pag-ibig. Ipamalas ang tamis ng malalim na pagkakaunawaan sa mga malabo ang paningin. Mangyari lamang ay tumayo rin ang mga nagmahal at nasawi nang makita ng lahat ang mga sugat ng isang bayani. Ipadama ang pait ng kabiguan habang ipinagbubunyi ang walang katulad na kagitingan ng isang nagtaya. Mangyari lamang ay tumayo ang mga nangangambang magmahal nang makita ng lahat ang kilos ng isang bata. Ipamalas ang katapatan ng damdamin na pilit ikinukubli ng pusong lumaki sa mga engkanto at diwata. Mangyari lamang ay tumayo ang mga nagmahal, minahal at iniwan ngunit handa pa ring magmahal nang makita ng lahat ang yaman ng karanasan. Ipamalas ang katotohanang nasaksihan nang maging makahulugan ang mga paghagulgol sa dilim.
"Mangyari Lamang", Rico Abelardo
At sa mga nananatiling nakaupo matapos Magsipagtayuan ng lahat ng mga nagmahal, Ay marahan ding tumayo, sa kabila Ng itatagal ng pag-unat ng mga binti Mula pagkakaupo. Sapagkat hindi nangangalay Ang pagmamahal, magagawa ang maghintay 19
Para sa hindi nakatatayoâ€™t nakalalakad. Nakatayong maghihintay maging hanggang sa Wakas, mangyari ang pagtayoâ€™t paglakad Gaano pa man katagal. Mangyari lamang Ang mga hindi mangyari kailanman.
Inhenyeriya Ano ang gusto mong maging? Magsuot ka ng terno. Isilid ang sarili sa malawak na musoleo ng opisina. Mag-asamÂ ng mataas na suweldo na singtaas nitong gusaling bakal at salamin, na sa malapitan kinakalawang pala at inaagiw. Ngalayin ang mga paang nagsusumikip sa pudpod na sapatos. Magpauli-uli sa kalalakad. Ni hindi man lang makalipad tulad ng mga anak ng kapitbahay na kung anu-ano ang mga pamagat at lisensya at kung saan-saang sulok ng mundo nababalitaan ang sikat na ngalan. Hanggang nandito ka lalong hanggang dito ka na lang sa katahimikan ngÂ basta wala kayong masasabi sa akin, buka ng tuyo mong bibig. Dito, malamig na impiyerno ng mga problemang idinisenyong hindi basta masasagot ng tama
o mali, mali na naman, kaya uulitin sa simula. Ano ba talaga ang gusto mo maging? Kaya di ka munaÂ mangangarap hanggang di ka pa tapos sa mga gawa na dapat para kahapon. Sa pagod, bukas na lang itatambak lahat. Bukas na lang kumain. Saka na ang saya. Kulang pa ang upa, kulang pa sa balik-taya ng higit isang dekada ng matrikula at hinayang sa hindi pagiging una. Kaya kuwentahin natin ang utang na loob na tatanawin mo hanggang matapos ka. Suliranin maging sarili nananaginipÂ naÂ sa bangungot lalagutin.
Pahabol para sa panahong ito
(Alinsunod sa "An Open Letter to Filipino Artists" ni Eman Lacaba)
At kapag nalasong ganap itong bukal Ng mga salita, kung itoâ€™y daluyan Ng bangkay, kapatid kong walang pangalan, Paanong tutugon kung uutal-utal Ang apdong nilimot ang pait? Pagluwal Ang ating pagbungkal. Ang iyong libingan Ang aking libingan. Gunitaâ€™y kampilan Ng ating pag-aklas sa buhay na hurnal. Sapagkat aanhin ba itong pagmarka Ng isang gabundok na ilog at wika? Ano ang halaga nitong reklamasyon Kung pagpupunlaan, malalim na bulsa? Nagbabalatkayo ang himig at tugma Ng pait at pala nitong henerasyon.
Hibakujumoku "Hibakujumoku (also called survivor tree or A-bombed tree in English) is a Japanese term for a tree that survived the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in 1945.” – mula sa Wikipedia Huwag akalaing ang aming pagtubo’y Isang talinghaga ng inyong pag-asa Na lumalago rin sa sugatang puso’t Nagpapakatayog sa gitna ng dusa. Pagmasdan sa halip ang aming katawang Ginahis ng bomba’t hinagkis ng init— Nagdilig sa ami’y abo't karahasan; Ang pataba nami'y ang apoy ng galit. Tingnan kami, tao, at inyong tantuing Di kami pag-asa; kami'y pagkalipol, Kami nga ang bunga ng diwang malagim, Inihasik ninyo’t ngayo’y sumisibol At sisibol kami’t kami’y maiiwan Hanggang sa dumating ang bagong digmaan.
dominique la victoria
Ang Bata sa Drum* buod Bilang parusa sa pagiging suwail, ang batang si Roro ay nilagay ng kaniyang ama sa loob ng isang drum. Ngunit sa kabila nito, nakakahanap pa rin siya ng kapanatagan sa pag-uusap nila ng ate niyang si Krisel. Pero may sikretong tinatago si Krisel, at kailangan na niyang sabihin kay Roro bago umuwi ang kanilang ama. mga tauhan krisel â€“ Babaeng 12 taong gulang. roro â€“ Lalaking 9 taong gulang. ganap Mga alas-dos ng hapon sa isang bahay-kubo sa ibaba ng Bundok Kitanglad, Hilagang Mindanao. entablado Harapan lamang ng bahay kubo ang makikita. Sa bandang kaliwa ay may pintuan na tinakpan ng sako na parang kurtina. Sa kanan ay isang parisukat na bintana. May ilang maliit na hagdanan paakyat sa pintuan, at sa ilalim ng bahay ay tangkal. Sa labas ng bahay kubo ay may sampayan ng damitâ€”ang mga damit ay luma na. Sa bandang kanan ng bintana ay isang lumang pantubig na drum na may kaunting butas at kinakalawang na. May plywood na nakatakip dito. May mga balde ng tubig at silungan para sa mga tandang.
*3rd Prize, Dulang May Isang Yugto, 2017 Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards
Maiilawan ang entablado. Si Roro ay nakayuko sa loob ng drum, hindi nakikita. Tinatapik niya ang drum habang sumisinga na parang kakaiyak lang. Nagmamadaling pumasok sa entablado si Krisel. Siya ay may hawak na tetra pack ng zest. Titigil siya nang nakita niyang walang tao. krisel
R0r0! Roro asan ka?
Tahimik si Roro. Hahanapin siya ni Krisel sa likod ng mga sampay. krisel
Roro! May sasabihin ako sa â€˜yo! Roro!
Hahanapin niya si Roro sa tangkal. krisel
Roro! Asa ang mga manok? Roro!
Aakyat si Krisel sa bahay kubo at patuloy na tinatawag si Roro. Hahanapin niya sa bahay. Tatawagin niya si Roro mula sa bintana. Makikita niya ang drum at titigil siya. krisel
Hindi iimik si Roro. krisel
Hindi pa rin iimik si Roro. Lalabas si Krisel at uupo sa hagdan. Katahimikan. krisel
â€œKanina ka lang ba diha? â€?
Katahimikan. Gagalaw si Roro sa loob ng drum. krisel
Ano na naman ang ginawa mo ngayon?
Huy! Asan ang mga manok ba?
Roro! May Zesto ako.
Sige ka! Pag hindi mo ako pansinin, di kita bibigyan.
Ilalabas ni Roro ang kaniyang daliri sa isang butas ng drum. Isisingit ni Krisel ang straw sa butas at iinom si Roro. Babawiin agad ni Krisel bago pa ito maubos. krisel
Psst... Roro, asa ang mga manok ba?
Ay. Naa ra diha. Nandiyan lang â€˜yung mga â€˜yun, nag-iikot. Pero babalik naman sila pag malapit na gabi.
Bakit ka na naman nilagay ni papa sa drum?
Katahimikan. Hihinga nang malalim si Krisel. krisel
Alam mo ba, kanina sa school, si Kokoy hinabol-habol ng nanay niya. Ayun, pinalo kasi sinira ni Kokoy bagong tsinelas niya.
Hindi sasagot si Roro. Lalapit si Krisel sa drum. Itutulak niya sa gilid ang plywood at titingin sa loob. krisel
Huy! Pag sturya ba! Kausapin mo ako!
Ibalik mo â€˜yan. Basin masakpan ka ni papa!
Magpasalamat ka kaya na nandito ako!
Ibabalik ni Krisel ang plywood na kalahati lang ang nakatakip sa drum. Babalik si Krisel sa may hagdan. krisel
Bakit ka ba nilagay sa drum?
Wala ra gud uy! May kinuha akong barya, bumili kami ng gagamba tapos pinag-away namin. Ito o tingnan mo!
May ilalabas si Roro na kahon ng posporo. Ipapakita niya kay Krisel ang gagamba sa loob nito gamit ang isang patpat. Iiwas si Krisel. krisel
Itapon mo nga â€˜yan!
Ibabalik ni Roro ang gagamba sa kahon. Ilalagay niya ang kahon sa ibabaw ng plywood. krisel
Magkano ba ang kinuha mo?
Singko lang gud.
Asa mo kinuha?
Yung lumang lata sa loob. Doon sa ilalum ng damit ni papa.
Tapos gagamba lang binili mo? Unsa man na Roro, uy! Pag nalaman ni mama ‘yang mga pinanggagawa mo...
Ano? Wala naman siyang pakialam eh.
Hindi ‘yan totoo. Kaya nga gatrabaho siya sa syudad ‘di ba para makahawa ta dito. Para di na tayo mahirapan kasama si papa.
‘Wag kang maniwala diyan.
Katahimikan. Tatayo si Krisel at titingnan ang paligid. Sisilip siya sa tangkal. krisel
Roro, sigurado ka ba na mubalik ang mga manok?
Wag ka nang mag-alala, ate. Ginagawa nila ito adlawadlaw. Pag mga alas-dos na, umiikot-ikot sila—pero di naman lumalayo. Hindi mo lang nakikita kay nasa school ka o kalaro mo mga kaibigan mo.
Sandali lang! Paano mo alam ‘yan? ‘Di ba nasa school ka hanggang alas-tres?
Huy! Di ba nasa school ka adlaw-adlaw?
Maaga kami pinapauwi eh. 29
Oo nga! Alas tres kayo ga-uli. Paano mo alam na umaalis ang mga manok nang alas dos?
Hindi sasagot si Roro. krisel
Pag hindi mo ako sinagot, sasabihan ko si papa.
Di na ko ga-attend ug school.
Ha? Bakit? Anong ginagawa mo sa adlaw? At saan napupunta ang barya na binibigay ni papa sa ‘yo pang school?
Ambot lang. Di ko alam.
Roro, kailangan mubalik ka sa school! Umayos ka! Para makaalis tayo dito. Kaysa naman dito ka lang, walang pinag-aralan. ‘Yan ba gusto nimo?
Ano ba, ate! Di ka si mama! Pabayaan mo ako!
Roro, sabi ni mama bantayan daw tika! Naalala mo yung sabi niya bago siya umalis, ‘di ba? Maminaw ka daw sa akin!
Hindi ko na maalala.
At paano pag kinuha na tayo ni mama? Anong mangyayari sa ‘yo na di ka nakapag-aral?
Wala koy labot.
Magdadabog si Krisel at babalik sa hagdan. Katahimikan. 30
Titingnan ni Krisel ang mga sampay. Papasok siya sa bahay at kukuha ng balde. Kukunin niya ang mga nakasampay na damit at ilalagay sa balde. Uupo siya sa hagdan at titiklupin ang mga damit. krisel roro
Roro, kailangan mubalik ka sa school. Kailangan handa tayo pag kinuha na tayo ni mama papunta sa siyudad. Ayaw kong umalis.
Diya? Ito ba ang gusto mo? Naa ra ka sa loob ng drum, ikaw lang mag-isa.
Okay lang ko diri. Kay pag nasa loob ako ng drum, kinakausap mo ako.
Katahimikan. Hihinga nang malalim si Krisel. krisel
Alam mo, magagalit yun si papa pag nakita niyang wala ang mga manok. Alam ba niyang umaalis sila pag hapon na?
Hindi. Paano niya malalaman? Wala naman siya sa bahay ng ganitong oras.
Lagi. Kasi pag nasa bahay siya, malalaman niyang hindi ka na pumapasok sa school.
Sasabihin mo ba sa kanya?
Hindi. Wag kang mag-alala. Basta bumalik lang yung mga manok, okay lang. Binibilang mo ba sila pagbalik nila?
Minsan. Basta wag ka nang mag-alala. Kung may nawawala man, malamang mapapansin â€˜yan ni papa at mapapagalitan niya tayo. Wala pa naman siyang sinasabi eh. 31
Ate... ano yung sasabihin mo sa akin?
Kanina nung dumating ka dito. Nung hinahanap mo ako. At hindi ka sumasagot?
Sabi mo may sasabihin ka sa akin.
Wala lang yun. Nakita ko lang mga amigo mo naglalaro sa may basketbolan. Di kita nakita kasama sila eh.
Anong sabi nila?
Na kinuha ka daw ni papa. Tapos pumunta ako dito.
Buti na lang di mo siya naabutan. Baka bubugbugin ka rin niya.
Paano ka ba niya nahanap?
Pinag-aaway lang naman namin yung mga gagamba. Hindi ko nga alam bakit nandun si papa, akala ko nga nasa may tindahan siya umiinom. Nakita niya kami at tinanong niya kung saan ko nakuha yung gagamba. Sabi ng mga kaibigan ko binili namin.
Kaya ba niya nalaman na kinuha mo yung barya?
Oo. Dayun dinala niya ako dito, pinalo, pinagalitan, at tinapon sa drum.
Nasaan ba si papa ngayon?
Baka bumalik sa tindahan, nag-inuman. Pag bumalik yun na lasing, baka diri ako matutulog sa drum. Siya lang daw pwede magpaalis sa akin dito.
Kailan ka natulog sa drum?
Mga tatlong beses na. May isang beses nga na umulan.
Bakit hindi ko â€˜to alam?
Lalapit si Krisel sa drum. krisel
Akala ko pinalabas ka lang ni papa sa drum nung tulog na ako. At umaalis ka na bago ako gumising.
Ate wag ka nang mag-alala
Anong wag na akong mag-alala? Sinabi mo unta sa akin â€˜yan, Roro!
Ngano? May magagawa ka ba?
Baka matulungan kita o masabihan si...
Sino? Si mama? Wala si mama dito eh.
Kahit na! Sana sinabi mo sa akin!
Ate wag na. Minsan lang naman nangyayari eh.
Katahimikan. Titingin si Krisel sa kaniyang paligid. krisel
Bakit…bakit hindi ka na lang umalis diyan pag wala na si papa? Tapos balik ka na lang pag parating na siya?
Sinubukan ko na ‘yan noon. Masyadong mahirap eh. At nahuli niya ako isang beses.
Kahit na! Sigurado akong makakahanap ka ng paraan niyan. Ilapit mo siguro itong balde para maapakan mo.
Itatabi ni Krisel ang isa sa mga balde sa drum. Aabutan niya ng maliit na balde si Roro. krisel
Tapos ‘yan ang aapakan mo sa loob.
Iaalok ni Krisel ang kaniyang kamay kay Roro. krisel
Hali na, subukan natin!
Ate ayaw na! Ano pa rin ba magagawa niyan?
Ha? E mas makakagalaw ka, makakalaro ka kahit kaunti, makakakain ka…
Ate, okay ra lagi ko. Si papa wala sa loob ng drum. Walang school sa loob ng drum. Walang masama sa loob ng drum. Masaya na ako dito.
Ano ba kasing klaseng pagparusa ‘yan. Ilalagay sa drum na parang hayop.
Di na nga siya parusa para sa akin eh.
Kahit na. Mas magiging maayos siguro talaga pag umalis tayo dito, pag kasama natin si mama sa siyudad.
Hindi rin, ate. Paano mo alam ‘yan? Nabubuhay naman tayo dito nang wala si mama ah?
Katahimikan. Iikot si Krisel sa entablado, titingin kung may taong papalapit. Babalik siya kay Roro. krisel
Roro, may sasabihin ako sa ‘yo. Pero kailangan ipramis mo sa akin hindi mo sasabihin sa iba, kahit sino, at na hindi ka magagalit.
Kanina kasi, may tumawag sa school. Kausapin daw ako. Pumunta ako sa principal’s office ug nakausap nako si mama sa cellphone ni mam. Sabi ni mama gusto na daw niya tayong dalhin sa siyudad. Pero kailangan una ko, tapos musunod ka.
Anong sabi mo?
Tinanong ko si mama kung alam ba ‘to ni papa. Sabi niya hindi daw, at wag ko daw sasabihin. Kaya Roro, wag mo ring sabihin ha? 35
Kung aalis ka ate…baka di na ako makakasunod.
Ngano na man pud?
Anong mangyayari pag malaman ni papa na kinuha ka na ni mama? Tapos dadalhin niya ako sa ibang lugar? Di niyo na ako makukuha...
Dili yan! Saan pa ba kayo pwede pumunta?
Hindi ko alam.
At hindi naman malalaman ni papa na si mama ang kumuha sa akin.
Eh sino pa bang iba?
Baka…sabihin mo na lang…lumayas ako.
Malalaman din niya ‘yan.
Eh ano ba kasing gusto mo mangyari?
Ate, pag umalis ka, sino na ang kakausap sa akin pag nasa drum ako?
Katahimikan. krisel 36
Roro, pag umalis ako, wag mo nang galitin si papa ha… para di ka na malagay sa drum.
Ate... gusto mo ba umalis?
Oo naman... at dapat gusto mo rin kasi ayoko naman na ginaganito ka, na pinapasok ka sa drum.
Ate, paano mo nga nasisigurado na magiging maayos buhay natin doon? Matagal na mula nung nakasama natin si mama.
Kahit ano, mas maayos siguro kaysa dito.
Hihinga nang malalim si Roro. Katahimikan. Tatayo si Krisel at papasok sa bahay. Kukuha siya ng isang pakete ng biskwit. Kakainin niya ito habang naglalakad. Maririnig ni Roro ang pagnguya niya. Tatapikin niya ang drum. roro
Ate, unsa na?
Ano kinakain mo?
Bigyan mo ako.
Ilalabas ni Roro ang kaniyang daliri sa isang butas sa drum. krisel
Hala ka, anong gusto mong gawin ko? Iso-shoot ko sa drum? Lumabas ka at kunin mo.
Di ko. Sige na, ate.
Lalabas ka naman din diyan diba? Ngayon na lang. Pag balik man pud ni papa lasing na yun, di na niya malalaman na nakalabas ka.
Paggising niya bukas malalaman niya.
Sabihin natin nakalimutan niya na pinalabas ka niya kasi lasing siya.
Malalaman pa rin niya.
Akala ko ba wala kang pakialam?
Gagalaw si Roro sa loob ng drum. Katahimikan. krisel
Roro, mauubos ko na...
Kailan ka ba kukunin ni mama?
Tayong dalawa ang kukunin ni mama, Roro.
Pero mauuna ka nga di ba? Kailan?
Si mama daw may amiga na nay truck. Susunduin daw niya ako sa school. Baka pagkatapos ng graduation.
Eh di ba pupunta si papa sa graduation?
Dili nga siya gusto na pumunta ako sa graduation. Mahal daw. Pero may naipon akong kaunti, yun na lang.
Bakit di niya tayo sunduin nang sabay?
Kasi wala pa siyang maraming pera, at kailangan ko nang mag high school doon. Basta Roro wag kang mag-alala. Nangako si mama na pag may pera na siya, kukunin ka rin niya.
Di yan mangyayari.
Magagalit talaga si papa sa akin. Ipapatira na niya siguro ako sa drum pag nangyari na â€˜yun.
Pag di ka umuwi. Sasabihin ni papa na kasalanan ko, na alam ko kung nasaan ka.
Ayaw! Wag mo sabihin! Bata ka naman eh, wala kang alam!
Di yun maniniwala. Sana di mo na lang sinabi sa akin. Sana umalis ka na lang para pareho kami ni papa na magulat na lang na di ka umuwi.
Mas gusto ba nimo na di ko sinabi? Na di ka nakapaghanda?
Handa sa ano?
Na... wala na ako. Na mag-isa ka na lang.
Paano ba ako maghahanda para doon?
Para di ka mag-alala. Kung ikaw ang sinabihan ni mama ng ganyan, gusto ko rin na sabihin mo sa akin.
Magiging maayos din ang lahat, Roro. Basta magtiwala ka kay mama.
Eh di magtiwala ka sa akin.
Basta Roro, maghintay ka lang din ng tawag ni mama sa school ha?
Hindi ko sasagutin ang tawag.
Kailangan mong sagutin ang tawag, Roro. Para magkasama na tayo sa syudad. Basta gawin mo ang lahat para magkasama tayo.
Kaysa naman naa ka lang sa loob ka lang drum habang buhay.
Wala namang nasa labas ng drum para sa akin. Nandito lang naman ako palagi eh, kinakausap ka.
Pagdating natin doon sa syudad mag-uusap din tayo.
Basta sumunod ka lang sa mga sinasabi ko. roro
Ano pa ba ang pag-uusapan natin pag wala ako sa drum?
Mas maraming bagay.
Katahimikan. Patlang. Titingin sa paligid si Krisel. krisel
Gumagabi na, sigurado ka ba na mubalik ang mga manok?
Hanapin na nato, Roro! Sige na!
Lalapitan ni Krisel si Roro at iaalok ang kaniyang kamay. krisel
Huy, dali na! Hahanapin pa natin ang mga manok!
Roro, tara na! Tulungan mo na ako!
Hahawakan ni Krisel ang kamay ni Roro. Maririnig ang kurukutok ng isang manok. Bibitawan ni Krisel ang kamay ni Roro. krisel
Ayan na sila! Tara itipon na nato sila! Dali!
Tahimik si Roro. Iikot si Krisel sa entablado at hahanapin ang mga manok. krisel Dali na, Roro! Apakan mo na lang â€˜yang balde diyan para makaalis ka! Dali! Katahimikan. Maririnig ang kurukutok ng isang manok. krisel
Roro, dali! Dumidilim na!
Ate wag ka nang mag-alala. Marunong na silang bumalik nang sila lang. Palagi nga nilang ginagawa â€˜yan!
Kahit na! Itipon pa rin natin sila para sigurado!
Katahimikan. Hahanapin pa rin ni Krisel ang mga manok. Hindi iimik si Roro. krisel
Roro, dali! Dumidilim na!
Hindi iimik si Roro. krisel
Tutulong ka ba o hindi?
Hindi iimik si Roro. krisel
Ano ba â€˜yan, nagtago pa jud utro! Huy sige na!
Huy Roro, hahanapin ko na sila.
Bahala na ka diha, uy! Hahanapin ko muna sila ha?
Hihintayin ni Krisel ang sagot ni Roro. Katahimikan. Patlang. Lalapit si Krisel sa drum at yayakapin ito nang mahigpit. Katahimikan. Maririnig ang kurukutok ng mga manok. Tatakbo si Krisel palabas ng entablado. Katahimikan. roro
Babalik lagi sila, ate. Babalik din.
Tatapikin nang tatapikin ni Roro ang drum mula sa loob. Mapapatay ang ilaw.
excerpt from The Quiet Ones* unknown to them, we could tell when they were listening in on our calls. Common signals included a sporadic choppiness on the line, a Darth Vader echo even for agents like Karen, who was known all over the operations floor for hiking her already high-pitched voice whenever she spoke to a male heterosexual caller. “Don’t know what you guys are talking about,” she said when we brought it up during a yosi break. We shrugged and had moved on to something else when she cried, “Fine! Just stop badgering me!” She took a quick drag at her menthol. “It’s a strategy. Sounding girly and helpless. Letting them think they have the power. Men like that. They let their guard down and shit. Then I sell them something they don’t need.” What psychological depth, we thought. Many among us didn’t have units in psychology. We were graduates of applied math and sociology, biology and philosophy, communications and liberal arts. A lot of us were liberal arts graduates. But the feedback could get too loud sometimes, and distracting. “What was that?” our bat-eared caller would bark, catching the echo. We were mandated by federal law to admit, at the slightest insinuation, that the call was being recorded. When we did, the customer would sometimes go ballistic, say something like: “I knew they were listening in on my calls!” or lapse into rehearsed nostalgia: “It’s never been the same after September 11.” Sigh. The official rebuttal script was “This call is being monitored or recorded but only for quality assurance purposes” (page 3 under “Disclosure of Call Recording”). Our callers, bless them, would eventually shrug this off as Standard Operating Procedure, but at that time, with the attack on the World Trade Center rendered fresh *Grand Prize, Novel, 2017 Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards
by the Iraqi invasion, Americans were wary, suspicious, secretly terrified. Their feeling of invincibility shaken off its foundation. We had also thought we were invincible. In our own skyscraper, half a world away from Lower Manhattan, we would coolly step into a well-worn elevator, unmindful of the metallic rattling at certain floors that stopped scaring us a long time ago. We would march into our stations and, with a bit of a psychosomatic yawn, put on our headsets then wait for the beep that would open the floodgates. Beep. “It’s a wonderful day here at UTelCo! My name is—” “Hello?” the American on the line would say, already outraged. They always had us at hello, the Americans. Even Brock, the bearish operations manager from Austin, would begin the direst news with an almost affectionate “Hello!” That night he walked over to our spine—“Hello, guys!”—and told us to gather around. A force of habit, he drummed his index fingers on a nearby desk. Eric, our supervisor, was absent, he said, so he’d taken the liberty to evaluate our team for call flow compliance, nothing special, you know, just a routine appraisal to make sure we’re always on top of things, let's see here. Some of us exchanged glances. We didn’t hear any echo on the line. Our ally at Quality Assurance hadn’t alerted us about any impromptu monitoring, or was that nonstop tubercular coughing supposed to be the signal? We worked for the first two hours of our shift but, unsupervised, of course we quickly transitioned to that thing that one did when the cat was away. Brock cleared his throat. “Let’s see here.” Karen had been caught Googling “insomnia+home+remedies” in the middle of a call. Philip, who sat next to her, was arguing with a bunch of tweens on an online forum for American Idol fans. Alvin, who was new and sat next to Philip, was browsing through 45
half-naked torsos on a gay hook-up site. Down the line, Macky was on a website for women of a certain age who were looking for younger men to “take care”. And Sharon, the veteran who occupied the highly coveted window cubicle, was playing a spirited game of backgammon with someone from Lahore. “Good job, guys,” lilted Mitch, the overachieving occupant of the other window cubicle. Some of us, like Mitch, routinely followed the call flow to a T. These people would arrive at the office forty-five minutes before shift and get to work right away, unlike the rest of us who would wait for the last possible nanosecond before logging in. For Halloween, they would decorate their stations with fake cobwebs and Styrofoam tombstones and dress up like Freddie Kruger or the White Lady of Balete Drive, unlike the rest of us who would call in sick then party somewhere else. They would cozy up to the Americans at the huge al fresco courtyard cum smoking area called the Lung Center, unlike the rest of us who would rather use the stairs to the thirty-second floor than share an elevator with the white guys. “This one’s being an annoying fuck again, no?” whispered Sharon, prone to blurting out the obvious, which everyone ignored because she was a breast cancer survivor. Anyway, Brock said, because of our infractions, they were installing Surf Control in all the computers. That, and we would all need to attend a Stress Management Workshop after shift. “But we’re not stressed—” Philip said. “Well it’s either that or suspension, so—” Brock said. “—are we?” Philip looked at us, mortified. Brock looked at him. “If there are no other questions—” “How long will it take?” Macky asked. “Will you run it?” Karen asked. “Will there be games?” Sharon asked, sneaking to take a peek at the tiny board on her monitor. “Is it safe to say,” Alvin whispered to the few within earshot, “that we’re stressing over a Stress Management Workshop?” “I heard that,” Brock pointed out. “Brock,” Mitch cooed, “do we have to be there or is it just the offenders?” 46
We glared at her, then looked at each other. “Yes, Mitch,” Brock said. He cleared his throat, returning to formality. “OK? If there are no more questions, I’ll see you guys later.” He drummed his index fingers again, this time on a grey plastic spine that separated the cubicles. The staccato that punctuated his sentence was also our signal to disperse. * We didn’t know how we got here. We were excitedly tossing our rolled up diplomas into the air one moment, the next we were arranged in modular stations, sipping stale vending machine coffee from company-issued spill-proof tumblers, and answering billing inquiries from Americans. Most of us didn’t imagine it would be as dull and unchallenging as this, although we did like the arctic temperature, the dressing up, the money. The money, especially; our daydreams invariably involved longingly counting down the days till either payday or the day we’d finally quit, which we’d promise ourselves was soon, really soon. Some of us liked the graveyard schedule, too—stepping into the shower just as the chicken adobo for dinner had started to settle in our stomachs, leaving the house as the parade of primetime telenovelas began, and encountering the exhausted home-bound populace aboard trudging jeepneys and buses. After Brock’s huddle, for lunch some of us made a beeline to the condemned, unfinished high-rise in front of GT Tower a block away. The building, one of the many casualties of the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, used to be dark and closed off by rusty, vine-swathed GI sheets, with a huge “no trespassing” sign up front. A group of enterprising individuals (who must have had access to the right people at city hall) cleared the debris on the first floor and set up some tables and chairs. Voila! Instant food market. It was a hit. Around midnight, the army of call center employees along Ayala Avenue flocked to the stalls that sold everything from your usual chargrilled quarter-pounders to mutton and paneer masala, an unwitting hat 47
tip to our Indian competitors. Only Phoebe, who sold contraband sandwiches and pasta from a huge box under her desk, seemed to be among the few agents unhappy with this discovery. After half an hour of waiting, a table was finally vacated. “Anyone saw Jasmine’s performance last night?” Philip asked, tearing a chapatti with one hand and scooping a hefty chunk of rubbery mutton. “Is she the Hawaiian with the stupid thing—” Karen asked, plucking an imaginary hibiscus petal from her right ear. Philip’s jaw dropped open for a moment, then he shrugged. “Yep, that’s her.” “What a god-awful performance,” Sharon said. As vaguely racist company brochures and government propaganda put it, one strength of Filipino call center agents was our “cultural affinity with the West.” So of course we followed American Idol. We had all seen Jasmine’s abysmal performance. We looked at Philip to register the tediousness of this subject, and could he please leave us alone with lunch, which, for a change, wasn’t from our friendly neighborhood Subway on the third or the McDonald’s across the street. Tonight it was classic Filipino fare: tapsilog for Alvin, sisig for Karen, and San Mig Light and Marlboros for Macky. He took a furious drag at his cigarette, held his breath, coughed a little, then blew smoke that gingerly drifted to the open air. There was a stony chill adrift all over the floor, around which call center people noisily loitered. The colorful parade of shirts and jeans was jarring against the drab grays, the chipped cement walls and pillars, the pvc pipes and steel bars that protruded in random spots, on which some shrewd vendors hang things like plastic bags and idle rags. “Guys, guys,” Karen said, lip-pointing to the direction of a graffiti-covered wall dimly lit by far-off spotlights. Mitch, the unflawed Madonna in our section, looked to be buying something from a manically undermanned dessert stall, her neon ID lace bright amid the marbled smoke from the nearby barbecue grills. She dropped what appeared to be a slice of cake and erupted in 48
giggles, hand darting to cover her mouth. She bent down and picked up the cake and handed it to the confused vendor, who had no choice but to receive the crumbled slice. In the hilarity, Mitch tilted her head and saw us, at which point she lifted a sticky hand for a chocolate-stained wave. “Aren’t you batchmates?” someone asked. Alvin nodded. “She’s OK,” he said. “Just really, well, happy.” We waved back, in varying degrees of languor. “Let’s go?” someone suggested. We pushed our chairs back and picked ourselves up. * “Jasmine wasn’t in her element,” Philip said, above the steady buzz of conversation at the Lung Center, the Pangaea where on-break agents amassed from all over the building. “Just imagine having to do disco when you’re used to doing ballads and Whitney Houston. I mean, she probably has too much Pinoy blood in her. I wouldn’t be surprised.” “Somebody shut him up,” Sharon said, puffing smoke to her right. We looked elsewhere. “Dibidi, dibidi?” Macky said in his always-handy Indian accent, a horrible imitation of one of the many Indians peddling pirated dvds in pop-up stalls in Greenhills and Quiapo or weaving through public markets astride beat-up Suzukis to collect 5-6 loan payments. In one corner of the Lung Center, Himmat was smoking on his own by the atm terminals, back turned away from the multicolored glare of bank logos. He managed the airline reservation account next to our area; his patch of ceiling was crowded with 747s and a320s dangling from strings like piñatas. He wore a grey turban with his grey suit, coordinated and dapper; the turban, however, tragically conformed to the bumbay stereotype that our parents had used to scare us as kids. “Come here and eat,” they would hiss, trying to pry us from Dragon Ball Z and Power Rangers, “sige, the bumbay will get you, you'll see.” “Por gibs, por gibs,” Philip said. The racist indoctrination obviously worked. 49
UTelCo had centers in Bangalore, New Delhi, and Ahmedabad, wherever that was; it wasn’t uncommon for us to get a call from someone who sounded unambiguously Indian introducing herself as “Chloe Smith”. “How are you doing today?” Indian Chloe would ask, then explain that she had a customer on the line who had been routed to their site by mistake. Without thinking, we would imagine someone in a colorful sari, who resembled Miss Universe ‘94 Sushmita Sen, only darker, less statuesque, so different from us and our mixed Chinese and Malay blood, our acid-washed Levi’s and fake Lacoste shirts, but who, like us, had read the same ring-bound Manual for UTelCo Customer Care Associates and memorized the same spiels. “I wonder what’s underneath the turban,” Karen said. “I have a wild guess,” Alvin said, giving her the side eye. Himmat flung his cigarette butt into a nearby trash bin and made his way back to the building. We took that to be our cue to wrap up our own post-meal cigarettes, and we followed him across the lobby to the elevator. “I just knew that disco would be her Achilles’ heel,” Philip said, as we stepped inside the elevator. “I knew it. But she can’t be eliminated, right? I mean, we always win these stupid popularity contests.” Thirty-second—our floor—was already pressed and lit when a leather shoe stopped the doors from closing. “You need aus phone line to vote,” Karen said. “Our loyal armies of bored housewives and unemployed druggies can’t just—” “What needs a us phone line?” Brock asked, wedging his torso in between the mishmash of bodies. He took a sip from his Starbucks cup and nodded at Himmat, his question hanging in the air as the car started its ascent. “The druggies are not unemployed,” Sharon pointed out. “They’re part of the informal economy, hello.” She paused. “I took up pol sci, so I know.” We wondered if the elevator’s thorough sluggishness was only in our imagination. When we got to our floor, Philip pulled us to one side. 50
“Listen,” Philip whispered. He just remembered something, he said. A long time ago, he discovered a way to log off from the system without being detected. After a call, instead of hitting Next onscreen, as call flow demanded, he pressed the plunger of the physical phone and got a dial tone. “In the system, it would say Wrapping, not Logged Off.” “What are you suggesting?” we asked. Philip checked his surroundings. “Well, there’s five of us and four more hours left in our shift—” We disengaged from the mutinous huddle and started walking back to our stations. “Hey—” Philip called out, trying to keep up. We kept walking. Back at our stations, prompted by the family photos that decorated our bays, some of us remembered the younger brother in college, the overdue life insurance premium, the parents in a faraway hometown by the sea. “Log in now, guys,” Brock called out from his temporary station near our spine. “We’re queuing—” That was our signal to steel ourselves, not so much for One of Those Callers that dependably lurked in the queue—we could always handle those—but for the simple truth that anything short of Lucifer calling in to inquire about our long-distance rates was probably not enough to make us quit. Speaking of the devil, we watched Mitch reposition her mic and massage her neck, talking in the same firm voice that neither shook nor cracked even when her caller shouted and called her names. Every now and then, she would nod gravely, as if the person from across the Pacific could see her dogged earnestness. Four hours later, at 8 am sharp—5 pm in California—Brock walked over to the middle of the floor and, with a couple of claps, called out, “Last call, everyone! Last call!” There was sporadic applause, some mechanical utterances of joy and relief. He then walked over to our spine. “As for you guys,” he said, “please head over to Training Room B, thanks.”
24 “If this were Survivor,” Philip said as we made our way to the training room across the floor, “we could just vote Mitch off the island.” His voice then hiked to a falsetto. “‘Do we have to be there, Brock, or is it just the offenders?’ What a big cu—” “Instead of snuffing her torch,” Macky said, “someone can break her headset in half.” “I like that,” Philip said. “Why not vote Brock off the island?” Alvin asked. “Brock is Jeff Probst,” Karen said. “Brock is CBS,” Philip said. Brock walked in just then. We looked at each other, straightening up in the hard plastic seats. If the company couldn’t afford a trainer, moving its business back to Naperville couldn’t be far behind, could it? We hated our jobs, sure, but a client pull-out was not the way to go. Pull-outs were scary. They were embarrassing. They spoke ill of our talent, the God-given gift of the blessed Filipino race. “Fack,” Sharon whispered. “You’re doing the workshop, Brock?” Mitch asked. “Uh huh,” Brock said. “Is there a problem?” He clicked on the link to his presentation once, twice, but his desktop remained frozen 52
on the white screen. The series of clicks soon turned into violent abuse of office property, first as his index finger went amuck on the helpless mouse, then later as the helpless mouse was repeatedly smashed against the helpless desk. “So, stress,” Brock began above the din, “sometimes we become so used to it—” “Should we call IT?” Philip asked. “Nope,” Brock said. He stopped and loudly exhaled. “Karen,” he called out, “can you take a look at this? How did you, like last time—” Karen, as far we knew, was a biochemistry graduate who typed five words per minute using two maltreated index fingers. She came to Brock’s side and leaned in to look at the laptop monitor. She typed something on the keyboard, her breasts, we noticed, just ever so slightly touching the American’s shoulder. It was the function of our mute, routine-bound lives that we were attracted to the slightest indiscretion so some of us maliciously narrowed our eyes, vowing to ask Karen later if this was part of her scheme and to applaud her if it was. Were they downsizing the IT department as well, the overwrought among us wondered, as Brock looked up from his laptop to share a private joke with Karen. The computer acquiesced moments later, and the PowerPoint file burst into the screen. “There you go,” he said with a sigh. “Thanks, Karen.” “You bet,” Karen said, walking back to her seat, unbothered by our searing glares. Brock cleared his throat. “We start off with a useful acronym—” Onscreen, set against a blood-red template, floated the letters P-E-R-A. Money. We chuckled. No, we howled. For when were we less stressed than on the two days a month when, in the wee hours of the morning, raucous cheering erupted from some corner of the floor, bearing news that our aboveminimumwage pay had been credited to our payroll accounts? Paydays and American Holidays. Our favorite Carpenters song. “Settle down,” Brock called out. “OK, so P is for ‘Prepare.’ There 53
are factors that make you more susceptible to stress that are under your control. For example, your attitude—” Brock had gotten to “A” for “Adjust” an hour later when Alvin felt a tap on his shoulder. Mitch, who was sitting next to him, lowered her head and leaned closer. She showed him the supple underside of her arm, skin so pale the veins looked like fossilized worms. “Can you?” she whispered. “I’m not going to make it.” The whites of Mitch’s eyes, Alvin saw, were red and watery. “Again?” he asked. “You sure?” She nodded. Alvin ran a hand down her arm, squeezing gently here and there, until he picked a spot somewhere in the middle and, with a nervous force, pinched an inch of skin. Mitch closed her eyes. “Thank you.” She smiled. “Now harder. And use your nails.” By the time Brock finished the last of his slides, everyone in the room was yawning, by turns, like an off-key orchestra. The kind of sunlight that was pouring in through the Plexiglas windows was harsher than what we were used to. By the time this iridescence had blanketed every treetop and high-rise in the city, we were already at home, cocooned in our rooms, sleeping a comatose sleep. “Any questions?” Brock asked. We shook our heads and made a show of looking to the right side of the room to check the identical monochromatic wall clocks, which announced the time in four different time zones, none of them Manila’s, although Eastern Standard Time, twelve hours away, incidentally did. Mitch raised her hand. “I’ve been under a lot of stress lately—” Philip dropped his empty tumbler on the floor. “—and I’m starting to get used to it. Does that work as well?” After a long pause, Brock tried. “My generation of Americans, we were raised in a home environment that really nurtured our hopes and dreams, you know? We baby boomers, we were a very promising generation. Very promising. Our parents have been through the worst. The Great Depression. World War II. So for us, 54
growing up, we had these role models to look up to. People who showed us the triumph of the human spirit, who seized their destiny, forsaking material comfort.” We liked our elections and beauty pageants, the oratorical bombast of hopeful national rhetoric or answers to questions like “what is the essence of being a woman?”. But our open mouths must have betrayed the debilitating headache that Brock’s speech had just hatched in our already heavy heads. Even Mitch, who we surmised could fake a smile through any brutal non-sequitur, was speechless. “If there are no more questions—” Brock drummed his index fingers on his desk, and we were on our feet faster than one could say “Pavlov’s dog.” * Our biology puzzled us. Save for the insomnia, heinous weight gain, and perennially sore throat—reliably our feeblest part—we were healthy, able-bodied men and women in our twenties, thirties, and forties. (“Early forties,” Sharon would point out). We passed rigorous medical screenings, peed in cups, coughed while someone held our balls, bent over without squeaking. Some of us stayed away from red meat, portioned our meals, exercised at the gym on the third floor. But even if we managed to get a full eight-hour sleep, we would still find ourselves groggy and exhausted when we got to work, as if all we had was a ten-minute nap on a bus on edsa. Our solution to this was often along the lines of Red Bull, venti Americano over ice, or anything salty and deep-fried. The following week—Jasmine safely through to the final three, thanks or no thanks to us—we were sharing fries at McDonald’s for lunch when Mitch came prancing inside the store. She looked around and, spotting us, headed to our table. “Guys,” she said, looking outside the glass wall. “Sorry, but can I borrow a hundred?” “You’re late,” Sharon said, not so much out of rudeness but disbelief. 55
“I know,” Mitch sighed. “Overslept. Is Brock in?” We nodded. “Shit,” Mitch muttered. Philip handed her a crisp hundred-peso bill. She scampered to the waiting cab outside, waved to us again, then crossed the street to our building, no doubt bulldozing her way through the crowded lobby. “That was weird,” Philip said. “Yeah,” Sharon said. “Less than a hundred pesos for a taxi, where does she live?” “No,” Philip said, “I mean—” “The driver didn’t have change?” Alvin offered. “Otherwise why would you take a cab if you don’t have any money?” Macky asked. “If you don’t know how to take the stupid bus,” Karen said. Some of us, like Mitch, were more comfortable in the money front. During her birthday a few months ago, she served scrumptious hors d’oeuvre of the bacon-wrapped asparagus and shrimps-in-shot-glasses variety, culinary feats that we had only seen on cable cooking shows. Who did that in real life, we had wondered, downing one shrimp cocktail after another. For the rest of us, McDonald’s was a benevolent refuge, especially during pecha de peligro, the few days leading up to payday when our wallets bulged with our IDs, condoms, receipts, MRT cards, ATM cards, and nothing more. Once, when we all found ourselves broke at the same time, we shared a can of Century Tuna and packs of Skyflakes at the office pantry. “Look at us,” Philip had said. “Now this is friendship.” (“It’s also poverty,” Karen pointed out.) We were on occasion astounded by the extent of our destitution, which accounted for our payday binges, in North Park and Hassan and Dencio’s, which in turn accounted for the destitution. It was a vicious cycle. A chicken and egg thing. When we returned to our building after lunch, there was a thin crowd gathered on the wide steps leading to the metal doors. From afar, we could hear a man’s voice, booming and self-righteous, above the murmurs and occasional laughter. When we had made our way 56
to the front of the throng, we saw Himmat angrily gesturing to the two guards on duty, pointing to his turban, and we caught repeated mentions of the words “respect” and “professional” and “offended, so offended”. He was in the middle of a forceful, animated narration of his life story, which we found out began all the way from his youth in a village in the outskirts of Bangalore. “My god, I love meltdowns,” Philip whispered. It was all fiery and energetic but after a certain point, Himmat was just repeating the sentence “Before religion and race tore us apart we were a singular humanity!” stressing a different set of words or syllables each time. He eventually calmed down after some colleagues of his came to get him. Upset that it was all over so quickly, we had lined up to get inside the building. In the quiet shuffling to the door, a soft whirr from somewhere caught our attention. We looked up and saw, framed by our skyscraper and the one across the street, the wing lights of a low-flying plane, a-blink in the cloudless night sky. * What we handled ranged across industries, spread over several floors. A small team of five on the thirty-first took calls for a New Jersey start-up that sold skydiving equipment (their hold music was Alicia Keys’ “Fallin’”). On the thirty-fifth, fine arts undergrads drew mock-ups for an animation studio in Los Angeles. One account on the twenty-second transcribed the riveting dialogue of adult films. On the tenth, right above the Dutch Embassy, a team of accountants balanced the books for the world’s largest oil and gas company. On the night of Himmat’s outburst, some of us saw the accountants milling in the lobby, their bored countenance belying what must have been billion-dollar transactions under their perusal. They walked languidly, their sandals scraping the marble floors, the yellow circular logo of the petroleum firm embossed brightly on their breast pockets. Back on our floor, we spotted Himmat under the forest of unmoving jumbo jets by his bay, talking to people in suits, mostly white guys, including Brock. 57
Mitch sidled up next to us. “Did you hear?” “What?” we chorused. “Guard ran the hand-held metal detector by his turban,” Mitch said. Macky stifled a laugh. Dibidi, dibidi. “They say the guards are on high alert or something,” Mitch said, giggling, relishing the attention. “Mitch,” Philip turned to her. “Everything OK with you?” “What do you mean?” Mitch asked. “Is it something personal?” Karen asked. “A problem at home?” Philip asked. “Love life?” Sharon asked. “You still together with that old guy?” Mitch looked at us with a nervous laugh. “Not sure what you guys are talking about.” Alvin ran a hand up and down her back. “That’s enough, guys.” “You can’t let that ruin your focus,” Philip said. “You’re the best performer in the team. Your output’s equivalent to, what, five, six agents’ combined? That’s half the team. What will we do without you?” When we saw Brock leave the group, we quickly dispersed. “Start logging in now, guys,” Eric called out from his station. “It’s 3:59. Log in now, people. We have a queue.” Mitch, when we turned to look at her, was already in her station, already taking calls while tinkering with the assortment of bric-a-brac lined up around her bay: a framed Polaroid of a man in a hammock, a couple of Agent of the Year trophies, and an antique-looking desk clock from a long-ago trip to Paris. She was already talking in the modulated lilts that all of us, at one point, had secretly tried to eavesdrop on, mildly envious. We took our seats and cleared our throats, took a sip of water. In the final few moments before logging in, the operations floor would always descend into absolute silence. In our minds it would be so quiet that we could hear the ringing of the most far-flung phone, the crisp-wet sipping of countless cups of coffee, the industrial hum of 58
that invisible energy that kept all these running, the desktops and fluorescents, the China-made Avaya phones and us. Beep. “It’s a wonderful day here at UTelCo! My name is—” Brock had started to walk back to his office when we saw someone approach him with a sheet of paper. He took a look and at once closed his eyes, as if in deep pain. He gave the guy, one of the more senior supervisors, a pat on the back of the head. end
As Ferdinand Marcos
These Things We Do Today, I told my son on his first day of school Do not get shot today. Thatâ€™s how it is. I ride a jeepney thinking everyone has a butterfly knife hidden within their back pockets, though in mine I have a photograph of my wife, who might be walking now at a dingy alleyway in Manila to the tune of whistles she casually shakes off like dust on her sandals, a certain pair I bought for her one day in Divisoria, the place where your eyes need to be faster than another personâ€™s hands, also where I got a wallet for cheap, stolen just eight weeks ago by some person whose face I do not know and have not seen, but he spoke with a voice that was more convincing than threatening: donâ€™t move, so I did not, give me all your money, so I did, but he let me keep the photo of my son smiling in his school uniform the day he graduated at that stadium which was bombed six months after the picture was taken, where eighty people died, and then the clouds with their procedures, the uninterrupted light falling on the rubble as if it must do so out of some divine duty, as if these things we do ever stopped me from riding with strangers in craggy public
transportations, from breathing when breathing becomes more a chore than reflex, from walking late at night when I am most vulnerable to tell the city the words my son replied this morning: Iâ€™ll try my best.
Notes from the Field The worst of it happens out here, when no one is looking. No surveillance cameras, no hideaways, no witnesses. Only grass as far as the eye can see. Cornstalk the height of a grown man, its tassels rustling in the wind. All the stems leaning west. The occasional bobbing head of a makeshift man, enough to spook the birds. After the tragedy they said the fields swallowed the bodies, the way an ocean recedes to calm after a storm. It might as well have happened at sea. Every gust of wind a ripple across the plantation. Birds the only signs of life. When we pass through the Central Mindanao Highway, the driver speeds. Rebel country, he says, itâ€™s not safe here after dark. He recounts being kidnapped here, this same road. They came up out of the cornstalks. The men had many arms. The ears of corn turned to listen, but they could not speak. Neither could the strawmen. This was before the massacre. Since then the fields have resumed their harvest. Almost nothing to tell of what took place. When we reach the city, we breathe easy and call it a night. In my dream, the ghosts stalk the corn and rattle the scarecrows, asking to be discussed. Under the moon, everything is silver, including the grain. I look for the road but I realize I am only going in circles. When I turn the leaves, bullets fall out of their ears.
Arrangements 0. My household adopted a tradition: every new year leave quarters on every corner of the lot. Let them rust unspent behind door hinges on window sills with broken glass. Fate will take care of worth anyway. How much luck will it cost for a piece of memory to be lost? My exhaustion adopted a habit: leave bills on a pocket of todayâ€™s jeans. Starve the next day. Keep forgetting until sorted for laundry. 1. Know your place. This time, the authority was my mind. Too tired of repeating the same name from weeks of fever dreams. I see my feet swinging along with what I eat. Rice spooned out of getting stuck in a corner. My answers do not know where to sit on my tongue.
2. Sad Heaven in June mandated that your gaze and mine do not meet every single time. There, the unnoticeable attention span: were you listening or asleep? I did not care until something got out of hand. Requests from a nervous voice, from a nervous-looking boy. It was raining when I closed my eyes. 3. When I told you how I felt, it was admittance rather than confession. I would resist. Leave that to sinners. I would rather admit as if I were devoted. 4. Every morning, I look at the mirror and brush my teeth. The taste of mint replaces rust. Dirty mouth should not have sung the heart out. Rinse. Avoid aches of the body. If only fate resembles fortune in furniture. You will stay there. This portion of the day, of your week, would be forgettable for you. And I will be incense: disappearing, inconspicuous, yet the scent will waft away from you.
michaela gonzales tiglao
The Japanese Lover the current carried the boat towards the opposite bank, towards the two figures close to the shore of the marsh. Across the river, the marsh was a tangle of grasses and reeds, wild overgrowths bursting as if to cradle the still waters, shoots of rushes appearing in patches as the boat drifted nearer. A gentle wind passed through the reeds and forced the soft scratching sound of grasses against vegetation; when the wind had come to pass, the humidity settled, and Cristina’s grip on the handle of her suitcase tightened once more. The boatman muttered something under his breath, too quick for her to understand. He pointed far behind her when he registered her blank look, bare foot mounted on the squat ledge of wood he had sat on mere moments ago, his chin tilted and mouth puckered outwards towards the direction of the bank. Cristina turned to look. Of the two figures on the shore, one waved wildly, while the other was as still as the damp reeds set against the overcast sky. The boat rocked, gentle but hastening now, as they maneuvered around bright green clumps of fen and forced the oars through the murky surface of the water. “Tinay!” Her mother exclaimed as they neared the shore. She corrected herself; abashment sparked in her eyes, and her smile had grown sheepish, as if she could not contain her excitement. “Cristina.” The boatman coughed. Cristina turned to him sharply. He was lifting her belongings over the small boat and placing them down on the wet soil next to where her mother’s companion, Felicita, stood. Felicita had not changed at all since the last time Cristina saw her: the maid remained thin and sallow, her dark eyes clear, her appearance arranged in its usual style of an impeccable blouse and a long, plain skirt. Her hands wrung nervously against her middle, as if even she wasn’t aware of it. She was a smudge in the backdrop, meant to be 69
overlooked by anyone; it was only that Cristina had grown so used to her lurking presence that she could not quite do so. The boatman lingered once he finished unloading. Cristina stared coolly at him. A soft exclamation issued from behind, and it was followed by the sound of coins clanking against one another as her mother plucked a peso from her purse and held it towards the boatman. He grunted but took it nonetheless, already half-turned on his heels and knee-deep into the river to dislodge his boat from the bank. “Are you hungry?” Her mother asked her as the boatman took off. “Have you had breakfast? Do you want me to prepare anything for you?” Cristina shrugged, merely motioning that she was about to carry her belongings. Felicita made no move to assist her. Her mother remained oblivious, cheeks flushed from a sun that must have been invisible to everyone but to her. “Leon? Is he coming as well?” Her mother continued, squinting across the river on her toes, as if Cristina’s brother might just suddenly appear before them all, in his gray coat snug on his broad frame, smile haughty and indolent, because she willed it. The lines of her mother’s body were strung with the restlessness Cristina knew so well. Her eyes, large and black and clear, were deep with longing. “No,” was Cristina’s curt reply. “He has business to attend to. He does not have the time.” She had turned elsewhere before she could see the hurt in her mother’s eyes. She could hear it all the same in her voice. “Ah. He is a busy man. I am glad to hear he is doing well. But Tinay: how are you doing?” “I’m tired,” she replied, curtly again, the heaviness in her eyes from rising earlier this morning returning. “I would like to rest.” “Oh—of course.” Her mother was now flustered. She bent down hurriedly to take hold of Cristina’s suitcases, fingers fluttering and cheeks reddening, as Felicita finally broke out of her daze to carry the remaining of her belongings. When they had gathered 70
everything her mother led the way up the trail and away from the shore, passing through the wide groove of a pathway pressed deep into the soil from years of passage. They weaved past grasses reaching up to their shins, and the land drier and more orderly the higher from the shore they went. The house was on a high rise divided from the wetness of the marsh, accessed only through the staircase that cut through the façade of the hill and winded up to its wraparound porch. She had not seen this house in ten years. It was still as Cristina remembered: three stories, fading parapet, and low shrubbery planted neatly where the rise flattened above to allow for a garden. She paused when she heard the cicadas; they called to a distant past, their cadence familiar and unchanging from years ago. Her mother noticed she stood slightly apart from them; over her shoulder her eyes sparked with a strange emotion. Cristina pursed her lips and followed closely behind. They thought of her Japanese lover the same way their father did: sardonically, but his was more mocking than grim. On certain nights in their house in Manila, when their father would come home early from his rounds in one of their lands, they would sit around the dining table together, plates heaped and wineglasses filled to the brim. And when their father had had too much to drink, he would lean back in his seat and wonder aloud what nightly escapade his wife was up to tonight with her Japanese lover, there in that distant, stinking wetland. Leon would snort but offer nothing. Cristina, mind fizzling with the aftereffects of the wine, would remember that day years ago, when she had seen from her spot on the stairs her father’s fierce grip on the front of her mother’s blouse, features wild with rage and intense pain, even as he let her go and took his favorite suitcase with him and stormed out of the house and out of the stinking wetland. He would not return until Tomoyuki Yamashita was finally driven out of the country. Her mother had cried throughout the wait, enough to force Leon to spend the night at his friend’s house half an hour 71
from theirs, and leaving an eleven-year-old Cristina to nightmares of wailing women and raging storms and the sound of a door cracking against the doorframe again and again. And when her father finally arrived in his best suit and as calm as any person, declaring she and Leon would be living with him in the city, the wailing only intensified. A knock pulled Cristina from her thoughts. Felicita entered Cristina’s old bedroom with a tray in hand; Cristina barely spared her a glance as she continued arranging her clothes in her shelves. Her bedroom had not changed: the four-poster bed remained in the center, the thin white curtains pulled apart to a view of the still, expansive waters outside. The floorboards creaked with age. Her mother had done a good job of maintaining the place; perhaps she had been cleaning it every day since Cristina’s letter arrived indicating her visit, as Cristina was wont to imagine. Felicita set down on one of her bedside tables a cup of warm tea, then placed a kalachuchi flower next to it. Cristina had seen the maid in the midst of placing it. “What is that?” she said. “Your mother told me to give this to you,” was Felicita’s reply, undeterred by the accusation that had painted Cristina’s tone. The older woman said this calmly, though she did not meet her eyes. Cristina studied her. Felicita had been with their family since Cristina and Leon were children; she had been with their mother even when they had left her behind. And the way Felicita regarded her now—as if she had not once carried Cristina in her arms many years ago, as if she had not combed her hair by this very dresser, calling her the most beautiful child in the world. “Has he ever been here?” Cristina asked. Felicita looked up. “Does her Japanese lover visit this house? You don’t need to tell her I know; it can be between you and me.” If she noticed the urgency behind Cristina’s bland words, Felicita showed no signs of it. She lowered her eyes again and murmured dinner would be in an hour; she closed the door behind 72
her as she left, leaving Cristina to the silence of the room. Dinner was dried fish with salted egg and tomatoes, a bowl of steaming rice set at the center of the table alongside saucers of patis. Her mother had forced her to sit at the head of the table; Felicita had taken the seat in front of her mother, assuming the position as naturally as if she had always been doing so. The arrangement was odd in the similar manner the simplicity of the food disconcerted Cristina; she had remembered feasts in her childhood and having to lie on one side on her bed with a full stomach. Outside, rain pattered against the roof, the earthy smell leaking through the old walls and shut windows. Her mother was laughing as she retold her visit to the market the day before. Cristina found herself unable to hold on to her words; the rice was too moist on her spoon and the fish looked burnt. The rice scalded her tongue the moment she put it in her mouth; she was forced to spit it out on her plate, eyes watering. Her mother had stood, a palm raised to rub Cristina’s back. Cristina shook her head and waved her off. “It’s nothing.” “Have my glass of water.” She fluttered about her, brows scrunched in concern, reaching for the glass. “It’s alright,” Cristina said. “I don’t need it, Ma.” She realized what she had done when her mother looked surprised, alight and dumbstruck, as if unsure of what to do. Then she flushed a deeper crimson, and Cristina noticed the way her mother’s mouth fought to restrain itself, a great effort that sliced and warred with her features, there in the soft quiver of her lips, as if she did not want to have to be subdued; her eyes, nevertheless, shone with a terrible happiness. “Tinay,” her mother ventured, like an encouraged child. She seemed breathless. “Tomorrow, if you are not busy, if—if you would like—if I can take you somewhere.” This last syllable ended in a question, uncertain again, though gauging her daughter’s expression. “I’m afraid I’m still tired from the trip,” Cristina said after a while, careful as she set aside her spoon and fork. Her mother’s smile faltered. “Oh—it is no problem, then. You 73
must rest for as long as you can.” Her shoulders sunk, her gaze dropping to now trembling fingers. Throughout the exchange Felicita had said nothing; now she straightened and reached across the table to grasp her mother’s hand. Cristina startled at the quiet comfort that burned in the maid’s eyes, as vulnerable as it was a wordless expression of a thousand other things unknown to her. Later, that night, Cristina thought the crying she heard came from her dreams—it would not have been surprising they returned now when she was in the same place they began. The crying was not a wail but a whimper, soft and insistent, seeping through the thin walls and descending down her bedroom like mist. There was a hushing sound; it prickled the skin on Cristina’s forearms, her heart beating loudly against her chest, as she forced herself to sleep. The following days were marked by inactivity. Her mother would leave in the bright hours of the day and return before sunset. On the days her mother would chance upon Cristina in the dining table for breakfast, or catch her reading in the living room, or pass by her in the quiet corridors of the house, her mother would ask the same question: Tinay—soft, nervous, hair carefully made and with a shawl secured around her small shoulders—would you like to come to town with me? I’m busy, Cristina would turn to the book in her lap, or I’ve just woken up, when her mother would call for her attention as they crossed one another’s paths. “Perhaps you will find a better choice of company elsewhere,” Cristina said now, fixated on spreading butter evenly on her toast. “I’ve left no one in this town that I particularly miss.” The silence that stretched on nearly forced Cristina to look up, ears buzzing. It was after a while when her mother finally responded. “Very well. That’s understandable.” Her words were rushed, high-pitched. Yet they did not falter. “I’ll see you when I get back, Tinay?” 74
She barely nodded. When the front door clicked into place behind her mother, Cristina half-imagined the trembling in her fingers as she picked up her cup of hot coffee. Her mother had made it, before Cristina had risen for the day. It was too bitter. She had just placed her cup down and swallowed a mouthful when she caught Felicita’s stare and jumped. “That was very mean of you, Tinay,” Felicita said softly. Cristina felt the heat flood her neck and cheeks. “How dare you speak to me like that?” she said, shaking. “How dare you—no, even her—” and this was said venomously, for she had begun to shout, fire pounding in her veins and painting her vision, “—demand anything from me?” The woman in her childhood would have looked at her angrily. I did not teach you to be like this, Tinay—Don’t be a spoiled brat, Tinay—Do you want me to tell your mother and father? Instead, Felicita remained calm—and an odd wisdom was not lost in her eyes when she said: “Then why are you here, Tinay?” “You know why. Father wants me to know if this piece of land needs to be sold.” “He could have sent anyone. Why you?” Because I have not been to this place in so long. Because this is mine as much as his. Because my mother is still here. “I don’t need to tell you anything.” Cristina sought to hold her gaze. “I don’t owe you anything.” “I know.” At this, Cristina could not mask her surprise. “Not to me, at least, Cristina. But she is your mother. It must count for something.” And had she but not wished for her mother that first night in Manila, when the nightmares would not stop and she all but imagined, in her feverish haze, her mother slipping under the covers beside her, about to sing a lullaby? Had she but not wished for her mother that day she could only stare at the red stain on her dress? And what about when her brother’s schoolmate laughed at her when she told him the most secret parts of her heart? 75
“I did not leave her.” Cristina could not hear herself. “She left me. When she chose her Japanese man, she left me.” There was nothing else that needed to be said. Cristina did not see Felicita as she rose from her seat and headed upstairs; she did not hear her mother’s voice, hours later, asking for her daughter—and later addressing someone else, her tone still carrying nervousness, but this time with a certain renewed vigor. Cristina could not hear the timbre of the other person’s voice, but she could not mistake the warmth in her mother’s. It was difficult to sleep that night. Cristina had dreamt, upon shutting her eyes, of her mother and her Japanese lover entwined in each other’s arms in the old bedroom of her parents. She pulled open the curtains in the drawing room forcefully. A great fog covered the marsh, softening the hues of green and brown, as if the world were suspended before her. Pale sunlight painted the sky; the front garden was littered with fallen kalachuchi from the downpour of last night, the little white flowers scattered and caked and smudged with mud from the ground. After breakfast, Cristina had overheard her mother tell Felicita to be by the front door when her guest arrived. Her heart pounded now as she gripped tighter on the curtain, which she realized she had been fisting. Surely, she did not imagine her mother inviting her Japanese lover to their house last night as a dream? And was he coming again? The bell rang in the empty house, jolting Cristina from where she stood. Craning her neck to peer over the windowpane, she made out a tall figure by the front door; she was in the hall in a heartbeat, skin burning and vision blurry, ears buzzing with an insistence that drowned all thought, fingers tight and hot on the doorknob as she pulled it open— A woman older than her mother stood outside. Cristina had to blink to see the wrinkles on the other woman’s face and the warmth in her eyes, crinkled by her smile. She did not understand what she 76
was seeing. “You must be Tinay?” the woman inquired. “Cristina.” “Ysabel’s daughter, then.” The woman smiled. “I had hoped to meet you, last night." "I have heard so much about you,” the woman continued. “Ysabel had been telling us ever since she received your letter that she had planned to tell you sooner; she is a very brave woman, you have to know. All the women in the center—they take from her, you see. We were ashamed at first, like your mother, but she told us she hoped to be forgiven—and it would be enough for her.” The lines of her mouth tightened. “What they did to her—to us—was horrible. We are glad you understand.” Cristina found herself unable to hold on to her words; the buzzing in her ears had intensified and her fingernails had dug deeper into her skin from her grip; the dirtied kalachuchi flowers behind the woman were like spots in her vision, distracting her.
In the Event of Poltergeists Banish the specters conjured by tricks of smoke, these others reflected in mirrors are naught; not we, they do not laugh with us. They are leftover myths of a carrion dream. They are the dayâ€™s shadows, residual memory, faded traces behind our come-hither boys and girls with white teeth; the dead underneath our glass houses, the laborious unrest in our glass mirrors. The glass mediates. Our glasswork is censorial, not curative. Deny these ghosts. Deny that they cohere with us. Deny their history. Drive them back to the realms of the implicit. Refract them in our time of twilight. Retire to your beds. Kill them with sleep.
On visiting the Auschwitz Memorial There is a shuttle that takes visitors from Auschwitz i to Auschwitz ii-Birkenau and vice-versa every ten minutes. It is like an airport shuttle. I take the tenth trip to see what remains of the camp; the others on the shuttle have also come a long way to see the quarters, the train tracks, the wagon that carried Jews and Gypsies through the gate. The girl beside me speaks to her companion about their customary pilgrimage, while the man with a disposable camera strung around his neck says, â€œI came here expecting evil. This is more than that,â€? as he chews his gum. Our guide speaks to the driver in Polish. I fiddle with my watch and check if I can catch the last bus to Krakow after the tour. We arrive at Auschwitz II within five minutes. The shuttle stops at a small gate. For a second I am disappointed that we do not go through the main arch, as the Jews did in the decade of their genocide. We walk through the camp, vast like an airport runway. Near the woods, a monument stands remembering the atrocity in twenty-two languages, none of them mine. There are ghosts here. Of course. They ask me why I have come.
Well-Paved Road If you only heard the murmurs running about. The street’s a friend no more, it humors my humiliation, froth in each cement crack. All’s well, my feet aren’t wounded anyway. I am very much the socks I wear. If only I stopped a decade ago—in a career fair in hs a speaker said both business and entrepreneur in a single breath, sucking in the theater. I was picking off exposed foam in my seat only refurnished long after I graduated thinking this wasn’t it. Should’ve been it. No malls so no sunlight too bright when I step out and find I don’t belong where no one belongs: everyone and no solid ground. These days, every building I enter I count the paintings on the walls, I wait for the elevator to conk out. Waiting for the pedestrian light to turn green a lady brushes past my left shoulder and onto the road holding the hand of a blind man with an open palm. The towers draw all of us around them. Who gives and takes here? I’m lucky. I have my earphones on, I hear I’m in tune. This is just makeshift sand, the kind you shake off your shoes when you enter a house you respect. The real dreaming isn’t even here. An echo waits, lulls me to the next street. I talk myself into seeing I’m nearing the days a past self saw, once, still here. 80
This is how a hand becomes complicit After Erased Slogans (Kiri Dalena, video installation, 2008) The police officer pushes his dirt-stained palm down onto the face of the other man, whose own hand claws above him in some feeble attempt at retaliation. The man’s other hand is clutching at the white of his t-shirted chest, his legs curled up in the fetal position. In the photograph, the man’s head still has not hit the ground. The men in the background still stand around in their sunglasses and denim jackets as though nothing is happening. Perhaps, still, to them, nothing has happened yet. A woman with a furrowed brow hoists a blank placard into the air as though she still were saying something. She looks the other way. The man with the white t-shirt is still falling. There is a silence to the whole affair—as though I were there, listening to the stillness. The officer’s holster still holds his gun. The shot has not rung out yet, but it is about to. * Across the dining room table, my grandmother asks me to pass her the tinola and I do. Between spoonfuls of rice shoveled into her mouth with shaking hands, she asks why I wasn’t home for dinner the night before. I consider telling her about the long walk to edsa on the night of the surprise burial, how a group of friends and I had almost gotten lost after ducking into a convenience store to buy a tetrapack of milk. My friend had heard there would be policemen. The milk was supposed to help with teargas. At the monument, I stared at the officers’ car trunk with wide eyes as one of them pulled out a yellow plastic bag. I imagined the worst that could come to pass, the big guns 81
with rubber bullets, the men sitting in the shadows behind unmarked cars. I couldn’t breathe until the man pulled out a pack of Skyflakes. My friend teased I was just being paranoid. Once, my mother told me my late grandfather had admired Marcos. I never met the man. He was an Ilocano too, and a lawyer, and the kind of man who believed in discipline and order. He wasn’t a bad person, I don’t think, only perhaps, misguided given the circumstances. These were difficult times to say no to. I find myself finding excuses for him all the time. My grandmother presses the question. Not wanting to cause any trouble, I shut my mouth and mutter something about a class project. * A row of schoolgirls still in uniform wrap their hands tight around the placards saying nothing at all. The skirts and ties swinging in what might have been a breeze. Carefully buttoned polo shirts like the one I once wore, I imagine myself in their place, it is not difficult, the girls indistinguishable, their heads obscured by the white cardboard sheets they carry, as though to offer them the repose of anonymity, their names wiped off the records, off the tongue that tries to tell the story. Forgetting as time resists the telling even still. The girl in the middle seems the most tired, the handle drooping lower with each imagined step. She shields her face with the sign, the white surface pointed away from her—she cannot bear to look at it. Neither can I bear to think of how much here has been lost, how in the absence of a voice her figure becomes only what I can make of it. The absence of a name becomes any name at all. I try to carry them with me, the ones I can find. The story of another girl, at another rally. She must have been only a few years older than the ones in the photograph. It is difficult to tell. How, as she sprinted as fast as she could away from the soldiers and away from the protestors overturning military trucks, lungs burning with every thwack of slipper rubber hitting the pavement, her mind was filled with the sound of buzzing mosquitoes: bullets missing her by centimeters each time. 82
* I imagine the artistâ€™s hand painstakingly removing each word from the photographs, careful not to tamper with the rest of the scene. The chemicals on archival print leaving the plate bleached white as bone. The prints were originally of a rally covered by a reporter at a newspaper subsequently shut down by administration censors. Ninety-three news publishers were closed down on the day Martial Law was proclaimed. The rest trudged on, their spreads dotted with white rectangles blocked out, shadows of articles deemed too inciteful to risk. The pages emptied. The pages full of only white, these the records we have remaining. A photograph is the most silent memorialization. This is what happened, and where, and how, and to whom. Removing the slogans untethers the scene from any names and numbers, resists the simple accusation of fault that a rally chant might pronounce. The simplicity with which a photograph might allow us to remember a time that was never our own. This erasure is not an outright denial, only a refusal to explain why, in itself its own kind of forgetting. You are left knowing only that this must have happened once, the placards raised, the people marching in the streets. Everything else is your own interpretationâ€”no date, no name, no caption, no sloganâ€”only the stark whiteness and the intentionality of its withholding. The violence of it, sharp and easy and yet. * The man points at the ground in front of him and his other hand carries an empty sign. He is dressed in a black leather jacket that is too large for him. The sky, black behind him, is larger still. I am reading into this a sympathetic figure, but I know nothing of him except what he is supposed to represent. I do not know his name. The policemen on the steps tower over him, hands considering their batons. Their posture is not unfamiliar. In the photograph, their uniforms are just white as the empty signs they have taken behind them. They step forward. 83
I am not inside the photograph. I do not know what happens next. If one knows of our history, it is not difficult to guess. I have heard enough of the stories, guns in mouths and electric live-wires and wooden paddles on flesh again and again. Thousands of them. The first to die in their prisons, as she took the bottle of acid and poured it down her own throat. I am grateful to have never seen the pictures. And see, I cannot anymore bear to speak of this, of beyond the frame. This makes me ungrateful. My hands shake. In the moment of the photograph, nothing has happened yet. In the moment where I am now gazing at the man in the black leather jacket, still, he is pointing at the ground and I can choose to imagine that, still, nothing has happened except time, and the slow whitening of the frame as the ink gives way to sunlight and air, until there is only white. Only white, the white of the officersâ€™ uniforms and the white of the erased slogans in the background: white, a different kind of nothing, a nothing not hidden in the shadows. Not the absence of color, but the multitudes of signification blown out into the refusal to meet your gaze. White meaning innocence, or at least absolution. The white, not silent, but blinding. * I did not bring a sign with me to the monument; not on the night of the burial nor in the days that followed. None of the words were enough. I had spoken to a friend earlier about the poetics of subversion, of Prometheus and his bounds, of memory and trauma, of the outpouring of mourning that I couldnâ€™t quite grasp my tongue around. The rallying cry that night was hukayin, the call to dig up the body, to dig out the truth and claw it from the hands of those who would try to keep it buried. The wounds go deep, and forgetting deeper still. Hands gripping plastic shovels raised into the air. No words were
necessary, and yet the back of my throat wept with every call left unanswered. I want to say the names of each of the missing, each of the forgotten, but where to even begin. I want to say this all ended with edsa, the anger and grief spilling out onto the streets. When the people nearly elect the dictator’s son to high office, I want to call them traitors, oblivious, uncaring, misguided, wrong. I want to point the finger, wash my hands of all of this. I think of my grandfather. I think of the childhood friend from Ilocos who was a distant relative to the dictator’s descendants. I think of a village that a professor told me of, where the only water pump was installed there by the Marcoses’ orders. I think of a boy I once loved, who told me when we were only children that Marcos was the greatest president, and forgive me: I knew better, but I nodded. I think of a friend whose school was built on Imelda’s true and good and beautiful. I think of my own hands, learning that complicit has to do with folding together, like papers overturned to conceal what could otherwise unsettle, or tongues twisted into some kind of agreement to keep matters silent, or hands with fingers interlaced to keep them steady. The thing about forgetting is that it happens all the time. The thing about forgetting is how difficult it is to remember, and yet. The thing about forgetting is yet— The words seep through the blank pages. They bleed. * I am writing this as though I could remember, as though I could want to, as though I hadn’t sobbed through the whole play whenever they talked about the disappeared ones, as though I were standing on that street corner between the monument and edsa, as though I had a right to remember, as though I could forget, as though I could only see the white placards in the absence of the chanting Marcos Hitler Diktator Tuta, as though this writing could ever matter, as though this would be cathartic, as though I deserved it, as though I have not 85
myself forgotten the dates and the names and the missing, as though this were not my history, as though this were, as though I would not choose a happy life over the burden of memory, as though I were not beholden to all of this, as though it were as simple as busina busina para sa hustisya, as though I could imagine. * After they tie the black blindfold around Rizalâ€™s head, the protestors step off-frame. They leave the placards in their place, leaning against the steps of the building stripped of their slogans and cries of dictator, as though for a moment in rest, glazed-over eyes briefly blinking open as though for a momentâ€” For a moment the photograph is almost bright enough to touch. I must wonder what lies off-frame, and whether or not the white obscures anything at all. There is nothing more to understand here. The picture says nothing at all, which is to say that it says more than it can carry, more than I could unpack in the instant that camera flashes. All I can think of: whether I have forgotten enough to make this comprehensible, whether there is any way of knowing. It is only a projection, light distorting around my hand. I close my eyes. Hands brush against only a table flecked with white paint; even the paint remains invisible to the touch, only this cool smoothness.
yuri ysabel tan
I was in the 4th grade when I got my first period. It was the feast day of my elementary schoolâ€™s patron saint. We gathered in the covered courts for a 3-hour long program. This included an hour-long mass. For occasions like these we were required to wear our all-white, long-sleeved gala uniforms. The sleeves were never to be folded, the skirt never above the knee, and the socks never to reveal the ankles.
It was the same day as my dadâ€™s birthday. I met my mom after school at a hotel along edsa to prepare his surprise dinner. I gave her a kiss. My baby brother tugged on the back of my skirt and pointed at a bright red splotch seeping through the ivory threads. My mom looked horrified. I thought I was dying. She grabbed my arm, pulled me all the way to the restroom, locked us in a stall, and asked me to pull down my panties. I was wearing my favorite ones that day. They were sky blue and covered in a Winnie the Pooh pattern but, covered in blood, that didnâ€™t matter anymore. My mom threw them away and asked me to wait in the stall till she got a new pair. This new pair now had a cotton pad stuck onto it. As I put them on while my mom explained what was happening. Then she started to cry.
I wasnâ€™t dying, but my momâ€™s tears made me feel like a part of me was. When I got back to school the following week, my teachers told me to always keep emergency napkins in my bag. If I ran out, I could go to the infirmary and ask for some. They told me that I needed to start wearing a bra and to stay away from boys. They said that I was no longer a girl but a woman. Woman. Is this what it meant to be a woman? I
I’m in my 3rd year of high school when my mom starts crying in front of me again and I feel like I’m losing a part of myself once more. We’re at the breakfast table and I’m finally telling her about my rape. There are days I forget to shower because I’m afraid of what remains beneath my clothes. She brings me to the ob-gyn after 3 days. First, they give me a pregnancy test and after the doctor asks about my irregular period cycle, she brings out the ultrasound. I’m not pregnant but they’ve found cysts. My mom asks what that means for my health. It’s not much: bad acne, lots of hair, infertility, and a higher risk of depression. I can feel my mom holding back tears when she hears the word infertility and again a part of me goes missing.
I cover up all the mirrors in my bedroom once I get home.
Ida de Jesus. no. 18 from Mind Map (series). Acrylic on canvas. 20 x 15 in.
Sean Patrick C. Lee. desaparecidos (series) i. Digital Photography.
desaparecidos (series) ii. Digital Photography.
desaparecidos (series) iii. Digital Photography.
Mikaela Montano. Mga Namumukadkad na Bala. Digital.
Genesis Gamilong. Sibilyan. Digital photography.
Micah M. Rimando. Tingi(n)-Tingi(n) Lang. Digital photography.
Marco T. Torrijos. Merienda. Ink on paper. 30 x 41 in.
Jill Arteche. merienda. Digital print on canvas. 30 x 30 in.
Alfred Benedict C. Marasigan. Place 18. Acrylic on canvas. 20 x 20 in.
Jill Arteche (BFA Information Design 2017) Jill Arteche is a visual artist, illustrator, and graphic designer. Just last May, she graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Information Design and was honored the Loyola Schools Awards for the Arts: Excellence in Illustration from the Ateneo de Manila University. She is also a current member of Ang Ilustrador ng Kabataan, the Philippinesâ€™ first and only organization of illustrators for children. Jill primarily enjoys doing editorial and book illustrations, with works that have been published in adobo, Rogue, Pepper, and Young STAR. Moreover, she also enjoys painting exhibition works, with works that have been exhibited in the Ayala Museum, Globe Art Gallery, and the Tokyo Midtown Design hub in Japan among others. As a visual artist, Jill is a firm believer that there is beauty in the unattractive, which she expresses as it is, in all its comically grotesque glory. Sabrina Basilio (4 BFA Creative Writing) Sabrina Basilio is currently finishing her degree in Creative Writing-Playwriting which subjected her to a total of eight workshop and drama classes under Sir Glenn Sevilla Mas apart from other theater endeavors, like Tanghalang Ateneo. She was a fellow for the 13th Virgin Labfest Fellowship Program: Wagas of the Cultural Center of the Philippines, which was also mentored by Sir Glenn. She thinks her real course is bfa Glenn Mas. She also identifies as an amateur photographer-painter pursuing a minor in Theater Arts. She believes in the saving power of Chowking.
Christian Benitez (Kagawaran ng Filipino) Higit sa lahat, kailangan kong pakiramdaman kung sa aking pagbasa ng tula sa madla ay may pilay na nakalalakad nang muli, o may piping nakapagsasalita, o, sa awa ng Diyos, may patay na nabubuhay, dahil kung hindi, mabuti pa—sabi nga ng aking lola—mabuti pang walisin ko na lamang ang mga dahong tuyo sa likod-bahay, pausukan ang puno ng bayabas, at hintaying magkulay-ginto ang luntian. — Benilda Santos, “Sa Mga Araw na Ito” Regine Cabato (AB Communication 2016) “This is the way the world ends / not with a bang but a whimper.” — T.S. Eliot, “The Hollow Men” medium.com/@RegineCabato Regine Cabato currently works as a journalist for both broadcast and digital platforms in Manila. She graduated from the Ateneo de Manila University in 2016 with a degree in Communication and a minor in Creative Writing. Her poetry has been published in Kritika Kultura, Quarterly Literary Review Singapore, Cha Literary Journal, and Rambutan Literary. She hails from Zamboanga City. She enjoys consuming and producing content about culture and the post-truth phenomenon.
Nicko Caluya (BS Computer Science 2013) Before leaving to take up a Master’s Degree in Information Science at Nara Institute of Science and Technology in Japan, Nicko was a faculty member of the Department of Information Systems and Computer Science. He has also kept in touch with heights since graduation, as moderator for heights Online. Whenever he does not write scientific articles, he turns to his red journal, or his computer of five years and counting. More importantly, if he told you he loves you, he is probably writing about you. Patrick James Cruz (BS Chemistry 2015) Nagsusulat ako tuwing may mga patlang sa pagitan ng aking pag-unawa at mga ganap na pangyayaring humaharap sa akin. Sa pamamagitan nito, nasusubukan kong maitulay ang sarili pabalik sa pinanggalingan. Hanggang ngayon, sinisikap ko pa ring ito’y mangyari. Ida de Jesus (BFA Information Design 2017) Thank you. Have a listen: 1. Graffiti My Soul – Girls Aloud 2. Ice Cream – New Young Pony Club 3. Heartbeats – The Knife 4. You Are the Generation That Bought More Shoes and You Get What You Deserve – Johnny Boy 5. Pull Shapes – The Pipettes
Jose Socrates Delos Reyes (BFA Creative Writing 2015) Si Jose Socrates S. Delos Reyes—o, Soc—ay nagtapos ng bfa Creative Writing noong 2015 at kasalukuyang kumukuha ng ma sa Panitikang Filipino mula sa Ateneo de Manila Loyola Schools. Siya’y naging fellow sa Virgin Labfest Fellowship ng ccp noong 2012. Naging bahagi naman ng Virgin Labfest 12—noong 2016—ang kaniyang dulang Dahan-dahan ang Paglubog ng Araw. Ang kaniyang dulang may awit, Sinagtala, ay itinanghal ng Teatro Kolehiyo ng Miriam noong Mayo ng taong 2017. Bukod sa mga dula, may mga tula rin siyang inilathala ng organisasyong Heights Ateneo sa ilang folio (heights vol. 62 no. 3 at heights vol. 62, Senior’s Folio). Kasalukuyan siyang naninilbihan bilang guro sa Kagawaran ng Filipino ng Ateneo de Manila Senior High School. Glenn L. Diaz (English Department) The Quiet Ones is Glenn Diaz's first novel, forthcoming from Ateneo Press. He is a recipient of the M Literary Residency and teaches English and literature at the Ateneo de Manila University. He lives in Manila. Elo Dinglasan (4 AB Literature-English) Elo sometimes writes. Abner E. Dormiendo (AB Philosophy 2014) Abner Dormiendo is currently taking his mfa in Creative Writing at the De La Salle University. He occasionally publishes new material at lagimlim.wordpress.com. Jerome Flor (AB Psychology 2017) Si Jerome ay kasalukuyang nagtuturo ng Araling Panlipunan sa mataas na paaralan ng Ateneo de Manila. Bata pa rin siya at maraming kailangang intindihin sa mundo. Na-mimiss na rin niya ang teatro at hinahangad niyang bumalik dito. Genesis Gamilong (3 BS Legal Management) Nang mainlab ako sa iyo ‘kala ko pag-ibig mo ay tunay. 111
Dominique La Victoria (BFA Creative Writing 2014, BFA Theater Arts 2015) Dominique La Victoria is a playwright from Cagayan de Oro City. She graduated bfa Creative Writing (2014) and bfa Theater Arts (2015) from the Ateneo de Manila University. Her plays Chipline and Ang Bata sa Drum were staged at the CCP’s Virgin Labfest Main Lineup for 2013 and 2016. She was a fellow for playwriting at the 20th Iligan National Writer's Workshop. Ang Bata sa Drum was staged as part of the Revisited set in 2017’s Virgin Labfest. It was published in the 3rd Virgin Labfest Anthology, and won 3rd Place in the One-Act Play Filipino Division at the 67th Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature. She is taking up MA Writing for Performance at Goldsmiths University of London. Sean Patrick C. Lee (3 AB Economics) Fake it till you make it, and if ever I actually do make it, hello Impostor’s Syndrome. Twitter/Instagram: @seanzoned4life Gabrielle Leung (4 BS Physics) for you, who taught me the meaning of the word revolution
Alfred Benedict C. Marasigan (BFA Information Design 2013) Alfred Marasigan graduated magna cum laude from the Ateneo de Manila University in 2013 with a bfa in Information Design and a Loyola Schools Award for the Arts (Graphic Design). In 2015, he became a First Round Winner (General Category) of Art Olympia: International Open Art Competition in Tokyo, Japan. Last March 2016, he had his first solo show in the Cultural Center of the Philippines (ccp). His other artworks have also been included in various local and foreign exhibitions such as c3 Contemporary Art Space (Melbourne), Galerie Métanoïa (Paris), Poh Chang Academy (Thailand), Metropolitan Museum of Manila (Manila); and publications like Fordham University’s cura Magazine, SFMoMA’s Tumblr, and Ateneo’s heights, among others. Alfred has been teaching for four years with Ateneo’s Department of Fine Arts. He is currently taking up his MA in Contemporary Art at Kunstakademiet i Tromsø in Norway. For his full portfolio, please visit cargocollective. com/alfredmarasigan. Mikaela Montano (4 BFA Information Design) Tamad ako pero nandito ako. Kaya mo rin yan. Mirick Paala (BS Management Engineering 2013) Si Mirick Paala ay nagtapos ng bs Management Engineering minor in Creative Writing sa Ateneo de Manila University. Kasalukuyan niyang tinatapos ang kaniyang ma sa Malikhaing Pagsulat sa Unibersidad ng Pilipinas at MSc sa Sustainability in Transport sa University of Leeds. Miss na miss na niya ang Pilipinas. Janelle Paris (AB Communication 2017) Janelle likes visiting memorials, questioning her ethics every time she goes.
Allan Popa (Kagawaran ng Filipino) Si Allan Popa ay nagtuturo ng Panitikan at Malikhaing Pagsulat sa Ateneo de Manila University. Autor ng sampung aklat ng mga tula kabilang na ang Incision (UST Press, 2016), Drone (Ateneo de Manila University Press, 2013), Laan (De La Salle University Publishing House, 2013) at Maaari: Mga Bago at Piling Tula (UP Press, 2004). Nagwagi na siya ng Academy of American Poets Graduate Prize, Philippines Free Press Literary Award at Manila Critics Circle National Book Award for Poetry. Nagtapos siya ng ba in Creative Writing in Filipino sa UP Diliman, mfa in Writing sa Washington University in Saint Louis at Ph.D. in Literature sa De La Salle University-Manila. Micah M. Rimando (4 BFA Information Design) Para sa Iyo Yuri Ysabel Tan (4 BFA Information Design) “One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.” —Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex To all the women I’ve ever loved. To my mother who taught me to be. To Ma’am Eviota for all that you’ve taught me. To my brothers who constantly remind me that not all men are that bad. To Sabby, you are my rock. To Sir Temporal for bringing back my faith in the other. To my father for all the support despite the misunderstanding. Michaela Gonzales Tiglao (4 BS Psychology) I’m only a storyteller; the rest is truth.'
Paolo Tiausas (Kagawaran ng Filipino) Si Paolo Tiausas ay manunulat mula sa siyudad ng Pasig. Kasalukuyan siyang nagtuturo sa Kagawaran ng Filipino sa Pamantasang Ateneo de Manila. Nagtapos siya ng bfa Creative Writing sa parehong pamantasan at nagkamit ng Loyola Schools Awards for the Arts at Joseph Mulry Award for Literary Excellence para sa kaniyang mga tula. Nailathala na ang ilan sa Kritika Kultura, Likhaan: The Journal of Contemporary Philippine Literature, Rambutan Literary Journal, heights, Softblow, Plural: Online Prose Journal, at The Philippines Free Press. Nagkamit siya ng Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature noong 2016. Kasalukuyan niyang tinatapos ang kanyang ma ng Literature-Filipino sa ADMU. Marco T. Torrijos (4 BS Management) Shout out to the boys, Li, R, Jame, Al, and Town. Email: email@example.com Online Portfolio: marcoett.tumblr.com Twitter: @marcoett Instagram: @marcotorrijos
Errata In heights vol. 64 no. 3, Jerome Flor’s piece in the table of contents on page v should read “Scorpion and Frog” instead of “Scorpion and From”. On the same page, Mark Christian Guinto’s piece should read “Tarcisio” instead of “Tarcision”. The heights editorial board would like to apologize for the aforementioned mistakes.
Acknowledgments Fr. Jose Ramon T. Villarin, sj and the Office of the President Dr. Ma. Luz C. Vilches and the Office of the Vice President for the Loyola Schools Mr. Roberto Conrado Guevara and the Office of the Associate Dean for Student Affairs Dr. Josefina D. HofileĂąa and the Office of the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs Dr. Jonathan Chua and the Office of the Dean, School of Humanities Dr. Isabel Pefianco Martin and the English Department Mr. Martin V. Villanueva and the Department of Fine Arts Dr. Joseph T. Salazar at ang Kagawaran ng Filipino Mr. Allan Popa and the Ateneo Institute of the Literary Arts and Practices (ailap) Mr. Ralph Jacinto A. Quiblat and the Office of Student Activities Ms. Marie Joy R. Salita and the Office of Associate Dean for the Student and Administrative Services Ms. Liberty Santos and the Central Accounting Office Mr. Regidor Macaraig and the Purchasing Office Dr. Vernon R. Totanes and the Rizal Library Ms. Carina C. Samaniego and the University Archives Ms. Ma. Victoria T. Herrara and the Ateneo Art Gallery The mvp Maintenance and Security Personnel Ms. Gabrielle Gabaton and the Sector-Based Cluster Dr. Vincenz Serrano and Kritika Kultura Mr. Arjan P. Aguirre and the Martial Law Museum Mr. Robbin Dagle and The GUIDON Ms. Micah Rimando and Matanglawin The Sanggunian ng Mag-aaral ng Ateneo de Manila, and the Council of Organizations of the Ateneo And to those who have been keeping literature and art alive in the community by continuously submitting their works and supporting the endeavors of heights
Editorial Board Editor - in - Chief Gabrielle Frances R. Leung [bs ps 2019] Associate Editor Yuri Ysabel G. Tan [bfa id 2019] Managing Editor for External Affairs Neil John C. Vildad [ab lit (eng) 2018] for Internal Affairs Marco Emmanuel T. Torrijos [bs mgt 2018] for Finance Alexandria T. Tuico [bfa am 2018] Editor -at - Large Michaela Marie G. Tiglao [bs psy 2019] Art Editor Celline Marge Z. Mercado [bfa id, am 2019] Associate Art Editor Jayvee A. del Rosario [ab-ma pos 2020] Design Editor Dianne Manselle L. Aguas [bfa id 2018] Associate Design Editor Ninna D. Lebrilla [bfa id 2019] English Editor Sophia Alicia S. Bonoan [bfa cw 2019] Associate English Editor Catherine Lianza A. Aquino [ab psy 2020] Filipino Editor Martina M. Herras [ab lit (eng) 2019] Associate Filipino Editor Jose Alfonso Ignacio K. Mirabueno [bs cs 2019] Production Manager Cesar Alfonso S. Castor VI [ab psy 2018] Associate Production Manager Lorenzo Miguel S. Reyes [bs mis-mscs 2020] Heights Online Editor Corinne Victoria F. Garcia [bfa id 2018] Associate Heights Online Editor Nolan Kristoff P. Sison [bfa id 2018]
Head Moderator and Moderator for Filipino Allan Alberto N. Derain Moderator for Art Yael A . Buencamino Moderator for English Martin V. Villanueva Moderator for Design Tanya Lea Francesca M. Mallillin Moderator for Production Enrique Jaime S. Soriano Moderator for Heights Online Regine Miren D. Cabato
Eunice Nicole Arevalo, Jude Angelo S. Buendia, Aisha Dominique Q. Causing, Rico Cruz, Fernando Miguel Lofranco, Kimberly Que, Andrea Ramos, Robyn Saquin, Jose Carlos Joaquin W. Singson, Clare Bianca F. Tantoco, Andrea Janelle G. Ting, Dexter Yu, Charles Yuchioco
Design Andrea Adriano, JJ Agcaoili, Zianne Agustin, Kim Alivia, Rico Cruz, Diana F. David, Justine Daquioag, Zoe C. de Ocampo, Arien M. Lim, Arien M. Lim, Riana G. Lim, Ninielle Pascual, Diorjica Ranoy, Jeanine Rojo, Pie Tiausas, Jonah Velasquez, Dyan Villegas, Elyssa Villegas English
Alec Bailon, Helena Maria H. Baraquel, Sofia Ysabel I. Bernedo, Danie Cabahug, Karl Estuart, Trishia Gail G. Fernandez, Jamie Gutierrez, Daniel Manguerra, Ryan C. Molen, Marty R. Nevada, Lia Pauline P. Paderon, Mikaela Adrianne C. Regis, James Andrew Reysio-Cruz, Trisha Anne K. Reyes, Lukas Miguel A. Santiago, Patricia Clarice A. Sarmiento, Madeline Sy, Alie Unson, Nigel Yu, Timothy Vincent Yusingco
Filipino Carissa Natalia Baconguis, Danielle Michelle B. Cabahug, Charlene Kate D. Cruz, Gewell Llorin, Cymon Kayle Lubangco, Gerald Manuel, Angela Bianca C. Mira, Carl Jason B. Nebres, Jelmer Jon Ochoa, King Reiner Palmea, Dorothy Claire Parungao, Mikaela Adrianne C. Regis, Paco Rivera, Elija Torre, Josemaria L. Villareal Production Zianne Agustin, Sandy Añonuevo, Justin Barbara, Kim Bernadino, Giane Butalid, Madi Calleja, Brianna Cayetano, Gelo Dawa, Louise Dimalanta, Sofia Guanzon, Gerald Guillermo, Cesar Fabro, Gio Lopez, Anton Molina, Trisha Reyes, Julien Tabilog, Bea Valenzuela, Charles Yuchioco Heights Online Zoe Andin, Marianne Antonio, Gaby Baizas, Helena Baraquel, Maia Boncan, Angela Cortero, Hazel Lam, Kayla Ocampo, Aga Olympia, Patrick Ong, Jonina Ramos, Tamia Reodica, Julien Tabilog, Sam Wong
8th ateneo heights artists workshop
october 28-29, 2017 BosoBoso Highlands Resort and Convention Center, Antipolo Panelists Aldy Aguirre Kay Aranzanso Cru Camara Karl Castro Mich Cervantes Fruhlein Econar Isobel Francisco Meneer Marcelo Tokwa PeĂąaflorida Derek Tumala Fellows Isen Alejo [ink, pencil, and markers] Marianne Antonio [digital photography] PM Cortez [acrylic and oil] Chapy B. Fadullon [oil, acrylic, and digital] Gianne Encarnacion [digital art] Gab Mesina [photography, film direction, and art direction] Elaine Pesarit [digital photography] Diorjica Ranoy [digital, colored pencils, and ink] Yanna Sta. Anna [digital illustraiton and comics] Bea K. Venezuela [oil, acrylic, and digital illustration] Workshop Director Yuri Ysabel Tan Assistant Workshop Director Jose Carlos Joaquin W. Singson
Workshop Deliberation Committee Ms. Ja Cabato Ms. Regina Ira Antonette Geli Mr. Alfred Benedict C. Marasigan Workshop Committee Ninna Lebrilla, Celline Marge Mercado, Andrea Ramos, Alie Unson [programs and logistics team] Corrine Garcia, Kristoff Sison [online team] Finance Alexandria Tuico Design Ninna Lebrilla Arien Lim Workshop Moderator Yael A. Buencamino Head Moderator Allan Alberto N. Derain
The First Regular Folio for AY 2017-2018. Heights is the official literary and artistic publication and organization of the Ateneo de Manila...
Published on Dec 11, 2017
The First Regular Folio for AY 2017-2018. Heights is the official literary and artistic publication and organization of the Ateneo de Manila...