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heights seniors folio 2017 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 reprinted 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, Cover, and Dividers by Ninna Lebrilla and Marco T. Torrijos Layout by Dianne Aguas, Maxine Garcia, Ninna Lebrilla,

Arien Lim, and Patricia Gabby Segovia

Typeset in mvb Verdigris


Seniors Folio an anthology of seniors’ writing and art 2017


Contents Arielle Acosta 2 Missed Place 3 The Sacred and The Profane 4 Reina Krizel J. Adriano 6 The Permutation Act 8 Kung sa Iyong Pagtawag Ako’y Babalik Marco Bartolome 32 On Departing Narita

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Anna Nicola M. Blanco 36 Madness 40 Gabriel Ruth Briones 52 Lobo 54 Ida de Jesus 58 Always, 60 Yuji de Torres 62 jeune fille or how i learned to seal up holes (series) 64 Lasmyr Edullantes 70 Nynknyhk 72

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Jerome Flor 74 Scorpion and From 78 Fear of missing out 79 Mark Christian Guinto 82 Tarcision 86 Sa gitna ng batuhan 87 Yesterday Morning 88 Patricia Lucido 90 Bilanggo 92 Theosanti Juliano L. Martinez 102 Yellow Room I 104 Arianna Mercado 106 the festival of unrealized potential (series) 107 Richard Mercado 114 Fixing Things 116 Lorenzo Narciso 118 Ako na po, Lola 120


Angela Natividad 122 Son of Woman 124 Body as Archipelago 127 Janelle Paris 130 The Resistance 134 Traverse 135 Andrea Tubig 138 Sid Lucero Lost His Third Nipple and Became a Poet 140 Wedding Vows 142 Joshua Uyheng Creed 148 Parable 149

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Introduction From the moment Batch 2017 entered the Ateneo, we were asked to sail out and discover new horizons—whether they be within ourselves, in the confines of the classroom, or wherever the winds— or the long stretch of Katipunan—may take us. After four years, it is time to bring our ships into the dock and celebrate these travels, however difficult they were. As such, we in heights hope that our folios have marked significant moments in your time here in the Ateneo. This school year, in particular, has not been easy, as aside from experiencing academic pressures, we also needed to respond to the call to go beyond the campus and address national issues. This is why this year’s heights folios invited us to, first, recalibrate our perspectives in light of incongruity and to, second, become aware of our role as readers, writers, and artists to create permanence in an ever-changing society. The heights editorial board hopes that you carry these with you as you leave the hallways of the Loyola Schools and go down from the hill, as they are as applicable in the “real world.” The Seniors Folio hopes to accomplish the same task—to immortalize significant moments—as it commemorates each contributor not only through their work, but by including a photo of each senior. Each written and art work is representative of a certain perspective, a specific context—and the folio stands as a celebration of eachsenior’screativity,insight,andexplorationoftheirexperience.The color blue attempts to capture the vibrance of the batch, and represents the oceans we roamed and the skies we traversed these past four or five years. heights hopes that you continue to be passionate about art and literature, that you continue to tell stories, weave narratives, pick up the paintbrush, and capture photographs. We hope that you continue to support the community, that you continue to read, pick up a few WJJq*OUSPEVDUJPO


books, and view art exhibits. There are much more horizons to explore to which art and literature will give us access, and we hope you continue your journey beyond the reef to places anew. Ida de Jesus editor-in-chief May 2017

viii ¡ Introduction


Works


Arielle Acosta

bfa art management

Don’t fear the light that dwells deep within.

To my family, my friends, and my professors—you are the brightness and warmth of the cosmos.


Missed Place. Digital photography.

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The Sacred and The Profane. Film photography.

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Reina Krizel J. Adriano bfa creative writing

Reina Adriano has been a fellow for the 20th Ateneo heights Writers Workshop, the 14th Ateneo National Writers Workshop, and the 12th Virgin Lab Fest Fellowship Writing Program. She has been previously published in heights, transit, Plural Prose Journal, and Yellow Chair Review, among others. She likes walking around cities during her free time. Lubos ang kaniyang pasasalamat sa mga sumusunod: Sa kaniyang mga magulang, sina Rey at Jelyn—dahil hinayaan ninyo akong pagtagpuin ang sining at agham; Sa WriterSkill—sa pamamalagi at pagsuporta; Sa heights eb 16-17—ipinakita ninyo sa aking ang ibang klaseng pagmamahal para sa sining at panitikan; Sa Bagwisang Filipino: Gerald, Jerome, Josh, Jelmer, Elija, Dan, Cymon, Paco, Oey, King, Mark, Dor, Ree, at Martina—marami rin akong natutunan dahil sa inyong pakikisama sa kabila ng kapaguran at kasiyahan; Kay Christian Benitez—mula matematika hanggang panitikan, napapaisip pa rin ako; Sa mga tumulong sa aking pagsusulat: kina Nica Bengzon, Vince Serrano, Allan Popa, Mark Cayanan, Glenn Mas, at Luis Francia— hindi lalago ang aking kaalaman sa panitikan kung hindi dahil sa inyo; at Kay Martin Villanueva—sapagkat magpapatuloy pa.


The Permutation Act A. It has been a common misconception that a mind trained in science should always stay with science. There is no resisting this kind of thinking, that for every problem there exists a solution, or that for any theorem there is always a proof. It’s an incessant search for truth, the need for a response grounded on what has been validated—in other words, a guiding principle. Humanities subjects have less exposure in a science high school, while Biology, Chemistry, Physics were discussed every year. Art class was only taken in freshman year for most of us, Jose Rizal’s novels were read in summaries, and English classes were more about technical writing than learning literature. Nothing ever seemed to persuade me to look beyond the sciences back then. In junior high school, I enlisted in Journalism class precisely because all the slots in other science electives were already full. My news writing was not impressive, but I could not pursue anything else back then apart from what I supposed were facts. Such an education confined me within its own boundaries, and while there were many attempts to try other things, I was inclined to think along the lines of science. There was nothing else that could have trained me to come up with possibilities aside from having a methodology, a process of how things should work out. It seemed absurd if one would think about it, since the alternatives could go on and on—an infinite series of what-ifs. It was in this manner of uncertainty that I felt in want of latching on—this unerring attempt to control things beyond myself was a temptation in of itself. In college, I told myself that pursuing one course was not enough for me, that science could not entirely fill up the space that caused my restlessness as I grew up. In my fourth year, which a lot thought was my last stay at the university, I took up a playwriting class together with a course in real analysis. I wrote personal essays while I finished a paper on partial differential equations. There were heights 4FOJPST'PMJPq


writing workshops in the mornings, problem set submissions in the evenings. I once rushed to our class poetry reading in a local coffee shop after finishing my final exams in time series. None of my prior actions made sense to some people. My relatives had been asking why I had to go back to the university when I just graduated that same year. To them, a diploma in Mathematics would have sufficed. To them, studying for another year would not have mattered in the workforce. Neither would a Creative Writing degree, a hundred courses removed from the first one, have helped as much. To them, it was simply not part of the plan. There was no need to stick to the plan these people had been talking about. The science degree in college was necessitated by my high school contract. It was a consequence of a previous decision, not a choice wherein I was already aware of its repercussions in the years to come. I did not know much when I signed the paper a month before I turned 13, only that a free education was enough for me to be grounded in science. While it was thought of and fully intended and I meant to pursue it at that time, it was not a choice that I would have made for myself had it happened some years after. But those were all in the past. I suppose the year 2016 was when I already had what I wanted, and by that I mean I was doing something else apart from the expected because, for the first time ever, I was removed from science. In the absence of math subjects, I found myself wanting to maintain the interior logic I once had, the mental flowchart that directed me to where I should go. But the what-ifs did not matter anymore. I figured I had to write so I could defend my decision as the years went by, to make everything seem like a plan I had intended all along. I had to write so I could prove others wrong. B. What I had before was this kind of structured thinking where you have a nested diagram of things that should have occurred based on the set of assumptions, and even in failure of an occurrence q3FJOB,SJ[FM+"ESJBOP


to happen there was still a back-up, and then the back-up of a back-up—hence, the absence of any loophole. One of the basic mathematical propositions taught in class was this: given that P and Q are events and that P is a necessary condition for Q to occur, if Q did not occur then P is not a condition for it to do so. Variables are established to remind us that we ourselves impose significance on things. Such positions are arbitrary but the way we factor them in an equation affects our future decisions. This was the easiest way for me to process a certain order, as far as organization goes. It seemed as if by doing so, I gave meaning to all the occurrences that were “out of place”; they had to happen so I could be directed somewhere else. During my high school internship in the summer of 2011, the geology laboratory in the state university offered me an internship position. Because I saw the use of labelling rocks and Galapagos bones, picking miniscule fossils from collected samples in sea beds, I thought of what would have happened if I intended to go with Geology in college. Nobody urged me to do so; my parents were reluctant because the fieldwork was quite dangerous—to them, that was why the course was in demand. The financial benefit did not matter to me, though; what piqued my interests were the explanations this field of science could provide. It was during my stay at the geology laboratory when the government project managed by the institute was at its final stage. I remember the sign scribbled on a sheet of paper, “Project noah ongoing,” taped to the computer terminal beside the phase-contrast microscope I was working on. I remember how all the other people in the laboratory would hunch over that computer while crunching numbers—all except one research assistant who noticed my curiosity and told me what it was for. The researchers were streaming data from different environmental gauges and so they could not afford to have the process disturbed. They envisioned the Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards to be a disaster-management program, to predict storms and typhoons more accurately than before. Because of this, and perhaps of my thinking that anything I write should contribute to worldwide nation-building, I tailored heights 4FOJPST'PMJPq


my research towards understanding the productivity of a sea bed by studying the fossils embedded underneath it, allowing others to use my data for future research purposes. My internship supervisor explained to me before that the surroundings where we ground ourselves will always tell us what it needs by giving us signs of discomfort, whatever it may be: low signs of life, a ground too small for human exploration—and if we try to examine the past, we will then be able to change things because of what was not evident or what has gone unnoticed. It was funny when I told a friend how I thought picking courses was like getting married—a simile I would deeply regret some years after—because I believed one’s dedication to a field could only hold his or her interest for so long. Perhaps Geology would never have worked even if there was a lot to contribute to; I was not the type to go on excursions. Or maybe Mathematics was a mere replacement because there was nowhere else to go to. This seemed more reasonable because numbers mattered to me more than words. Perhaps the truth that we usually hear is a truth slanted by time: the past does not necessarily dictate the present and the distance from one point to another is not meant to be the shortest. I have yet to find out under what condition it usually happens. Since the culture shock given to me by my freshman year as a Math major was too much to bear for the first few months, I sat in the classes I enlisted in, in the other university. Sedimentary rocks became calcareous matter, terminologies changed, and calculus simply became a tool in solving more complicated problems instead of being the problem itself. I saw things in passing, things appealing more to logic and rationality rather than musings. I once surmised to myself that something had already went wrong because this was a possibility I had let go of—one that I had regretted before coming to terms with the fact that I now belonged to the Catholic university on the other side of Katipunan, the place I once told myself was only for kids from families who had better lifestyles than mine did.

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C. Early in the year I turned 18 in college, the Department of Science and Technology released a memo saying they were about to start filing lawsuits against the scholars who didn’t follow the contract. We had always been reminded to stick to it, that part of it about taking up a science course—“Taking up, but not necessarily finishing it!” said a friend who saw the loophole in the contract before the high school administration revised it. My Math teacher told me not to worry; the revision wouldn’t be implemented until a year or two after the government ironed out the details of the process; they had a lot other things to consider. But I couldn’t remember why I was agitated; I was not breaking the contract, and neither did I have any intention of doing so, but it felt as if I actually was, as if I had the capability to run away from it. When I asked a batchmate who shifted to a fine arts course if she was scared of the consequences, she indignantly said no. “I could pay our high school back twice the money they spent on my education,” she explained. I knew I could never afford to do the same. It was also the year when things in Math started going downhill, the time when I started questioning my abilities in the course. The upperclassmen assured me everyone went through that kind of difficulty—a phase, so to speak—and all I had to do was go along with it if I were to continue. By our sophomore year in college, the numbers started dwindling when the majors got heavier by the units. Almost half of my coursemates had opted to shift out. The other block started with 25 students; 12 remained. Two decided to study abroad, one of them was the other kid in the advanced placement program whom I asked for help in our problem sets; five from my own block left. Some said another course suited their interests more, some just wanted to do away with the Math subjects that they once had wanted. It could have been an easy way out, to say that I was going with the flow and that I was never really meant to finish Math. But shifting courses was never an option for me, not because

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I was bound by the contract, but because I’ve always thought I was meant to be in that course. No other science could hold my interest as much as Math did. It was a choice that had to be justified for myself. I could not afford to break something I had already started. An upperclassman suggested that I take a minor degree in something else. Something that could raise my grades up, he recommended. What I needed was something that could provide me a different perspective in understanding things. There were no minor options for science courses, but even if they were, I did not feel I was up for taking one. Before I went for a minor in Creative Writing, I applied for a minor in Literature because I did not feel like I was up for the craft itself. At least I could be brave, I told myself. I could provide myself a distraction when people were leaving in those times. That was the year when I realized nothing was being followed according to any semblance of a plan. D. Had I realized earlier that the order of knowing affected many of my decisions, I would not have been a double major. Everything I ponder on is now in hindsight. In the years before I came to realize what writing meant to me, the lens I viewed things from was focused more on my college course. In my home organization, there were talks given by people who made use of Mathematics as a tool for other disciplines. Someone gave a lecture on the numbers in sports and how coaches used statistics to improve their game plan. There were also speakers who connected Math to design, literature, finance, and even politics. Even the university president explained how numbers affect weather patterns; there was a mention of analytics, forecasting, the Butterfly Effect, and the Chaos Theory—tools that could help predict the weather. Perhaps I had been overthinking the concept of bridging disciplines together, but the word to be noted here is “tool�—one that is used or manipulated by another to accomplish a task. In other words, something subservient to a field that has no intent of actually engaging with the nuances of the other

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field precisely because it’s only “a tool.” There was no mention of how the other field could help Mathematics improve itself even more. I suppose asking for interdisciplinary learning is too much, that it should be a two-way development in both fields. The Math organization of the university asked me to write about the paradox of the infinite hotel rooms and the concept of uncountable sets, the Monty Hall game show problem, and the need to switch doors before the revelation in order to increase the probability of winning. In my laptop is an unpublished draft about the meaning of numbers in Alice in Wonderland and the proportions when Alice shrank and grew. The revisions were not so tedious in terms of the technique of writing but more on the accuracy of the facts I mentioned. Later on, the Executive Committee would assign me to work on making math education an advocacy they would strive to push. I wrote feature articles for them not because we belong to the same organization because they needed someone who could connect Math to various fields. It was something to be proud of, I suppose, but I saw it in a different way; they needed my writing to bridge things together. Because writing was meant to interpret things, to make meaning out of something, it had to be the tool so that Math could be in the spotlight. In the next three years of my stay at the university I would learn that to write about oneself in college is to be aware of ideas interacting with each other. Which meant to say that to write about oneself is to be less conceited about knowing facts and to be more understanding of how they came to be. Because most of the writing in Mathematics was research and providing proofs to theorems, I felt that I needed to write something else apart from those. By the end of my first year in college I already had a list of supposed-to’s, all because I ended up with more things that didn’t occur. None of these happened because I thought I was choosing something else for the better. But that didn’t happen either, and so I went looking for the back-up plan that was left untouched. I was supposed to enter a different university and enroll in Geology

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if the opportunity to study Applied Mathematics never came. I was supposed to minor in Literature instead of Creative Writing if nobody told me my works had the potential to be better and get published. There were a lot of “ifs� significant enough to change my decision. I went for those. However, something was wrong with the introspection: I had failed in some of these choices I came up with, and the back-ups didn’t fit into the situation even if these were the most rational options to choose. I never finished the entire program of the degree I chose and I dropped my minor in exchange for a double major. There was supposed to be a pattern from the decisions I made, the way many scientists could trace back their methods. It was as if the more I found a possible solution, the more I found constraints, and the solution became a dilemma which I had to solve for again. E. It was 2013 when Kristel Tejada committed suicide; I was nearly done with being a college freshman at that time, and was about the same age she was when she drank the silver cleaner in their home in Tondo. Some reports claimed that depression led to her untimely death, but there was no confirming what really triggered it. Everyone concluded she could not afford to pay her tuition fee after her father got laid off from his job. The scholarship office denied her appeal for a higher subsidy. What I remembered during those times were multiple rallies on how the educational system was not leaning towards the poor—“Education is a right,� one placard among others said—while commentaries from the news reports claimed, “Education is a privilege.� The Oblation Statue was shrouded in a black cloth whenever I passed it by going home. During those months when there was an upheaval in the other university, my family tuned in to the follow-ups after the first wave of news. My father told us to keep quiet as he increased the volume of the radio. We children had to listen to the news, he said. My mother was apprehensive, too. Seeing them so agitated made me think that somehow we were all involved in a stranger’s story. Perhaps my father q3FJOB,SJ[FM+"ESJBOP


remembered the times when I’ve also been temporarily removed in class lists back in grade school. Did my mother go back to the memory when I told her that my teacher didn’t call me in class? I was too young to see how grave the situation was back then. Sixth grade was the time when I became aware, when the school registrar told me my tuition fee had a “balance,” and my report card had to be withheld until further notice. My father seemed satisfied when I signed the scholarship contract of my high school, giving up my private education in Cavite for a public one in the Metro. It relieved him of a burden, and at the same time, it somehow secured my future. I knew then that I had confined myself to the statements of the public, that Kristel Tejada’s death was a problem of the nation, and in turn, a problem to all of us. I suppose it was difficult to imagine how a girl so alive would be in want of death. I was taught that good stories should unfold by themselves—even those based on truth—but I lost myself in the different versions of her death. There was nothing coherent in the revelation of events. It was one story contradicting another, and I wanted all of them to be true. I was certain before, but now I’m not sure anymore. “Killed by the system”—the student regent of the school council was already convinced of what took her life. “It was murder, not suicide,” he added. His arguments were strong enough for people to hold on to, let alone support. It was enough to create a commotion. I decided to watch the Oblation Run because I needed a diversion when things weren’t going as planned. By then, I was already legal. I did not intend to see naked men running around in the first place; I came to feel less guilty of being unaware. I expected an agenda on the budget cut since Kristel Tejada had died. But instead, the APO brotherhood in 2014 lobbied for calamity risk reduction and against the alleged misuse of government funds; my leftist high school friends who now belonged to fraternities and I had nothing else to do but to stay for the entire Oblation Run. Our schools molded our ways of thinking quite differently: the state university motioned most of them to be activists, and it came to me that I would never stand behind placards and tarpaulins, demanding budget cuts and drastic heights 4FOJPST'PMJPq


reforms for education. My way of seeing things only tells me that a protest seemed inappropriate for certain situations I cannot entirely figure out. There was an addition to my list of supposed-to’s: I was supposed to understand facts that were given to me. I wanted a story that fit and because the news reports and the hearsay couldn’t give them to me, I resorted to grander narratives I myself had made. F. The desire to keep up with friends is always matched with the need to be as good as the rest. I recently read about my high school batchmate who was finishing her studies at the University of Michigan. She was already a candidate for a PhD in astrophysics at the age of 20. Our Earth Science teacher who usually invites us to our high school stargazing commented on Facebook that he was proud of her too. So did Reinabelle Reyes, summa cum laude of her batch in Ateneo, with a doctorate degree from Princeton University in astrophysics. Reina Reyes was admirable, not because she has the same name as I do, but because her contributions to science were praised in the country. In freshman college, Queena Lee-Chua mentioned her often in our problem-solving class. “Reina was one of my very best, always managing to find a technique within the session,� she would muse whenever no one in class was able to solve the question she posed on the board. Of course, she was not talking about me. This was during the summer of 2013. I once dreamt of being mentioned by Queena Lee-Chua, the writer who finished a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics with a master’s and doctorate degree in Psychology. But I was not up to par with the skills she expected from her students. It took me three days to finish a problem; sleepless nights made me question if summer semesters were light in terms of academic workload. She would continue mentioning former students who went on to become “better examples,� many of them people who came from the same high school as I did. Come sophomore year, my batchmate who was in Management Engineering withdrew her full scholarship in Ateneo to pursue an education in Singapore; another did the same with her Computer q3FJOB,SJ[FM+"ESJBOP


Science major for an opportunity in Australia. Junior year had news of Sam who would be doing her med school residency in Oxford by 2017—she was already an IntarMed student who was supposed to be a doctor within seven years instead of the usual ten—and Jessica who left the IntarMed program to study in Hong Kong. In my senior year, we all knew about Isaiah Lee who gave the “best student speech ever”—as mentioned in a news article of a writer I also admire—and got a standing ovation when he read it during their university graduation. Kenny Co who got had the highest weighted average in John Hopkins received a double major in Mathematics and Statistics and a master’s degree within four years. Recently, I’ve had heard of our batch topnotcher who was rumored to be the next UP valedictorian with another friend as the next salutatorian—both Engineering majors and candidates for summa cum laude. There was one who was already giving back to our high school by teaching Biology, a fellow math major who was finishing her master’s degree along with many others, and then another who was going to law school once he received his Engineering license. I remember before leaving high school I was tasked to create the list of notable alumni for the new website, doing rigorous research and meticulous fact-checking on their awards and citations. There I learned lots of people who left the sciences and pursued the humanities but still managed to uphold the traditional excellence everyone was looking for in every graduate from our high school. There was Butch Dalisay and Jessica Zafra who held the same editorial position as I did in the school newspaper; Aureus Solito, Luis Katigbak, Allan Popa, Marc Gaba, and Mikael de Lara Co, writers whom I saw works of come my college years. I looked up to almost all the alumni who had achieved great things—except for Jun Abaya, the UPCAT topnotcher and engineer who screwed up the Philippine transportation system, of course. It only proved that a science high school could produce creative thinkers. Many of us were fascinated in the arts precisely because we were deprived of it. I used to think I was merely hardwired for Science, but I realized that there was no truth in that. I had a conversation with my Engineering major friend who’s into photography and has been heights 4FOJPST'PMJPq


commended in both fields. It’s difficult, he confessed to me, having to balance them out, but it’s worth the challenge if you’re up for it. We all understood how the mind worked, that the dichotomy between left-brainers and right-brainers compartmentalized people into what they could only be good at. We’ve talked of our other friend who was a doctor-in-training and a ballerina, of our Computer Science teacher who went into Film Studies after immersing himself in Engineering, and then of several other people who were able to establish the fact that science and art could be studied together. I was looking for a solid ground, or perhaps, an “aha moment�—the moment of epiphany and self-discovery—and I couldn’t find it in science. There was supposed to be that period of contentment and satisfaction, and competing against people was not the essence of it. I did not want to completely do away with science but for that to happen, I had to reconcile it with the arts. G. In order to narrate the past, there must be a kind of clarity sought by one’s voice. What I loved about History classes in college is that apart from interpreting facts, they taught me how to understand the perspective of people who wrote these down. This was enough for me to see the importance of a good narrative: I could not afford to lie in my writing and neither could I settle for immaturity in my own tone. Our professor prompted a question for our last reflection paper: Did Martial Law help the Philippines or not? The obvious answer was a no. But this was during the May 2016 elections, when the major upheaval was between the pro- and the anti-Marcos. I wrote an essay explaining why others thought otherwise and how their answer could still be justified: Back in grade school, I once asked for a survey project in Araling Panlipunan, “Who was the best president the Philippines ever had?� My mother, in an effort to answer her nine-year-old daughter, told me that Ferdinand Marcos was the smartest among the presidents she knew and thus, arguably, the best. I did not understand the consequence

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of the answer—I wasn’t taught to reason out, not to mention ask Why?—and for the longest time had maintained that idea that Marcos perhaps was a great president to our country. I thus proceeded to relay the response to my 4th grade classmates who obviously disagreed with my mother’s opinion (and thereafter, mine) when I told them that. I’m sure that my mother, who was a high school student at the time of the EDSA revolution and barely a teenager when the Martial Law occurred, did not just pick up that kind of thinking from somewhere. My theory: she must have observed it and reasoned it out based on her own memory. Come my teenage years, I asked my mother what else she remembered. She answered in bits of memory—helicopters flying above the house, huge tanks on television, thousands of people at EDSA, and then, peace. Because I was only told so at an early age about the initial impressions of Marcos when he was alive, I did not yet see the possible flaw in the reasoning of an adult. If there was peace at the end of the EDSA revolution, then surely enough, it was not peace that prevailed beforehand; there needed to be something that made people realize that peace had finally come. So it would be safe to say that before peace there was chaos, and whatever or whoever caused that chaos must have deliberately done it secretly, veiling the minds of children like my mother once was back then from the atrocities that had occurred in those years. Since my professor in History taught that I was defending my mother’s answer, and to some extent, Ferdinand Marcos himself, I did not get an A in that essay. However, there was this one time when I really thought otherwise; when I was not yet fully aware of the unjust actions that happened during the Martial Law because I thought it was really a time of peace. It was back in high school when I happened to flip over an old book in the library. An almanac, if I wasn’t mistaken. There was a signature below that I did not recognize at first, until a classmate who loved Philippine history and politics pointed it out to me. The note read:

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To the Philippine Science High School, Diliman, Quezon City— That the young may know what the new Society is all about. The message was written on September 11, 1976. Ferdinand Marcos knew what he was up to, or at least, he wanted to sound optimistic; he was good with his words and his writing, the way he convinced so many people that what he was doing would benefit the entire country. I wanted to do the same back then—to convince people that I was to be trusted with my words because I had spent a great deal of time thinking about so many things, sifting through so many possibilities that left no room for misunderstanding. But putting things into perspective was not a matter of chances that come my way, rather of choices; I had to find another reason why I decided to write. When we were asked to choose a genre to specialize in Creative Writing, I thought about which would resonate the most with me. There was something I needed to prove with the essay, something that not any genre could do. I had been stressing out that these things had to happen in this particular manner and order because if not, the things that followed wouldn't have happened either. It was the strict occurrence of things at that exact time, that exact moment, that exact disposition I once had; I needed it so I could relieve myself of the burden. H. The decision to turn the minor in Creative Writing into an actual major came from the idea that I could do better, that there is more to my life in the university than being mediocre as a Math major. When I talked this over with my parents, they questioned my choice, as expected. But it was the first time that I felt as if I already had something I wanted to pursue without anyone imposing their own expectations on me. By the time I was about to apply for my double-major, it was the week before Pope Francis II came to the Philippines. It was supposed q3FJOB,SJ[FM+"ESJBOP


to be a “blessed and fruitful” break for I was having “the Holy Spirit bless my heart,” as the priest during confession had told me before attending Mass. I had all the documents ready, grades printed out and a proposed program of study well-planned; what was left to be done was to have the letter of intent endorsed and noted by the school authorities. However, the chairman of the Mathematics department rejected my request thrice within that week. He kept on giving me reasons—friendly suggestions, perhaps, in his perspective—on why I shouldn’t continue with my decision. His recommendation was that I should just stick to the minor or take something more related to Mathematics. Or perhaps not take anything at all. I respected him as he was also a graduate of the same high school where I came from, but I did not know how else to respond. He told me to return the week after so we could negotiate about it even more. I had actually thought of not pursuing the double-major if I were to leave it to chance, that perhaps studying Creative Writing as a minor will do me less trouble. A friend told me to reconsider, because I would regret the things I did not stand for more than the things I did not even do. Before going back to the department chair, I actually made a payoff matrix, weighing the pros and cons of pursuing my decision. In game theory, there is a constraint for every decision, a gain for every loss. Because I told the chairman of the Math department that the first degree no longer mattered to me if I wouldn’t be able to get the second one, he was convinced that I would not back out of what I wanted, even if my decision only meant something to me and not to anyone else. Our deal was this: he would allow me so long as I only had one Creative Writing class for every semester until I graduated with the first degree. As he signed my paper, I realized I had already achieved what I wanted: I was then a double-major in Applied Mathematics and Creative Writing, a credential which seemed to get amusement from people who asked about it. But that meant I lost the master’s program that my program degree is supposed to give me right after my undergraduate degree. Which further meant that the high school contract was technically left unfinished because I wrote in the exit survey the degree program heights 4FOJPST'PMJPq


I entered and that another supposed-to had come into fruition. Later that year as I pushed through with the plan, I also lost my 5th year scholarship since my second degree wasn’t part of the plan when they offered the financial aid. They had to cut me off. The last words the chairman said before I left the room rang through my head: “I hope you find what you’re looking for.� By the following year, I did not expect that disappointment could still occur even though I was already doing what I wanted. When I was offered the position to become a staff editor in the university’s literary organization, there was this pervading sense in me that what I had both mattered and did not at the same time. Aside from managing the staffers and messaging possible contributors, I held the responsibility of initially screening works for publication that had to uphold the tradition of literary excellence. But I was disappointed with how other organizations viewed the literary publication—and to some extent, art and literature as a whole—when somebody approached us to interpret Biblical verses in an “artistic manner� for an upcoming event. Our purpose to them was only to interpret and present ideas “creatively,� as if we had the monopoly on creativity, or even more, as if they did not have the means to do so. I was disappointed because people saw the Fine Arts as a means for their own needs and not an end in itself. I was disappointed with myself even more because their view made me think that a Fine Arts degree only looked good if it were studied alongside something else. I. In theory, birds cannot form patterns because their eyes are not capable of seeing their peripheries as much as people can, but birds are able to create formations in flocks—a pattern found in nature. Another: a bumblebee cannot fly because the size of its wings cannot bear the weight of its body. However, aerodynamics and laws of physics aside, the bumblebee does fly. I knew for a fact that part of science in progress is having truths debunked and replaced by another truth. I knew as well that facts have a certain lifespan, that there is no truth in saying that the dichotomy between arts and science is supposed to q3FJOB,SJ[FM+"ESJBOP


be apparent in people who practice those fields. I think about it now, how art in science can be found, and vice versa, that an intersection between those two exists because both needed creativity as well as a process of exploration. During the times when I found myself at a loss for wanting to keep both, I remember that the intermingling of disciplines exists in subtle ways even without people being aware of it. For example, it is not so easy to add numbers together when one cannot even count beyond his own fingers. But Doc Queena told us to do it not for ourselves but for the love of mathematics whenever we taught children in less fortunate areas. She always reminded us to teach our students the shortest solutions and techniques in speed, but more than that, she wanted us to maintain the endurance to think things through. Mental stamina comes in handy when one needs to stay with the problem for as long as possible. We were trained to subitize, a term we use to cluster dots or objects together in a single glance, to form numbers in our mind in an instant. It’s how children learn to memorize multiplication tables. But there was a kid from a public school who drew sticks on his paper. I told him to add 12 and 25 and he stacked lines on top of each other until he filled up half the page on his notebook. When I asked him why he did so, he told me he couldn’t figure out the process. The best he could do was to improvise. I guess it is easier to confuse creativity with quick-thinking and harder to explain the reasons to have both. J. Some scholars claim that humans are programmed to look for patterns in the world. They believe it's the only way we can give meaning to the world and ourselves, hence us having this obsession to search and find patterns in pi, and with that, the self-disposition to find a process of thinking in this complex system of realities and possibilities. “My father taught me how to add numbers in my head,” I once wrote as the opening of a previous essay. He has been training my other siblings to do the same—because their Ate had managed it, so should they. It’s funny because I know I'm going to fail hating this concept of perfection, the way it makes heights 4FOJPST'PMJPq


us loathe ourselves because of the things we cannot control no matter how hard we try. I wanted to prove others wrong, but in proving myself right, it came to me that I was having different permutations of the same problem. My mother and I were constantly arguing about life choices; she because of her disappointment in me, me because like all mothers, she never seemed to understand. I had become more of a writer than the mathematician she and my father had expected me to be. On my notebook where I used to do scratch work for my problem sets, I wrote snippets of conversations, excerpts from something I just read, things that could be forgotten in an instant. I spoke of prolonged bouts of sadness, anger, and frustration on certain days when nothing seemed to go right, taking note of the date and how recurring such emotions were. It might have been a bad move when I told my mother of my frequent visits to the guidance counselor, that I was suspected of having depression, a “joke� I had come to live with ever since my pediatrician said to my 12-year-old self that I would need my own psychiatrist someday because I would grow up to be “a sad person.� One of the psychology tests back in high school concluded that I was supposed to have a highly superior intelligence quotient—which could explain the sudden bouts of overthinking, I mused, but nevertheless did not make sense to me as to why I never felt aware of doing so. Even though it also reported that my emotional quotient dropped too low I could not cope properly with the situations around me, what frustrated me more was the fact that the highly superior could change anytime depending on the circumstances of learning; I could not care any less for the way I respond to circumstances. My mother did not like this, however. She would often remind me that there was no need to be sad because our family was complete and that I had a great life ahead of me. She refused to think that her eldest daughter was immature and incapable of processing thoughts on her own. As I grew up, I knew all the things were not created in a vacuum inside my head. A lot of factors had also affected my way of thinking. I

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could not pinpoint exactly what was frustrating me, which came first and which problems ended up in a cycle that prolonged my rounds of anxiety. I had also been told that writing is only a phase, that I could always come back to science. Because my mother did not want to send me to a psychiatrist, I started assuming that perhaps everything was just due to my tendency to overthink, that in fact I was doing fine and I was imagining things were going out of hand and I actually had the potential to sort through all these and organize them accordingly in my mind. What happened instead was this: I found myself coming back to my restlessness. K. I haven’t seen Tito Dodie in years since we left Cavite for Manila when I was 12. He’s my father’s friend who used to quiz me about general information. He memorized facts that seemed useless to many; he knew all the moons of each planet, could tell the different layers of the atmosphere and the stars that comprised each constellation, among others. There was one time he made me a reviewer in stapled sheets of yellow paper—his “little gift” to me because it was his way of passing on what he knew to the next one who could remember. Why memorize all these? and What for? were the questions that need not be asked: knowing what others did not know made me feel that I knew a lot. What would the capitals and flags and history of nations contribute to my intelligence, questions to which I had answers in a heartbeat back then? A lot of children were into memorizing the first few digits of pi, beyond 3.14159 and all that, and so was I. But the problem with permutations in life is the search for a definite arrangement, a kind of closure in the order of things. We met once again after I had just graduated from the first degree. When I saw him, his hair was sparse in a few spots, a teeth or two had fallen out. But he maintained the gleam in his eyes, the knack for knowing facts the way I used to. In his hands was a trivia book—one he collated together with another writer. I opened it and read his dedication to me. To test my skills, he started asking me questions

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from the pages he wrote. I stammered, telling him I was rusty, that I had not opened an encyclopedia or an almanac the past few months. I could not tell him I was not interested in mere facts anymore. Come on, Ann-Ann, Tito Dodie would tease, You know this. What is the capital of Zimbabwe? I think, Mogadishu or something, maybe? You don’t remember? He would smile amusingly. You’ve always known that. I read somewhere in the Internet that it is better to claim that a circle has infinite corners instead of seeing it as having none and that pi describes a perfect circle and is often thus involved in equations having repetitions or revolving around recursions. How do we rearrange our lives, then? How do we do so in such a way that it looks seamless from any other viewpoint? The interesting part in pi is that no matter how many digits you memorize, no matter how many patterns you can figure out, it simply never ends. There is still a need to understand where it all went wrong. Try to analyze one strand of problems and then trace it to a certain cause, and then realize that this cause is another problem triggered by another and another, leading one back to the first problem. It seemed to me as if there was an apparent abundance of choices but there wasn’t much of a difference whichever I picked. In the end, reality taught me that it was not about picking one and leaving the rest of the choices out of the equation. It taught me that despite all these possibilities, I still could not choose. Perhaps I am writing because the future does not clearly show what can be achieved with my double-major. The strings of possibilities are interconnected. That is to say, if we change the order of things, we also change our set of possibilities.

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Kung Sa Iyong Pagtawag Ako’y Babalik i.

Habang narito ang pag-alpas na siyang nagpupumilit pumiglas, tatawag ka muna at mananatili. Tatawag ka matapos magdaan ng mga taon; ako’y babaling sa mga mithing pagsuyo. Ano ang hantungan ng ating mga hibik? Itong hagikgik ng gubat, ang sabi mo—nakikinig ang mga pilit na nawawaglit, ang mga paulit-ulit na nababali. Ni wala ka man lamang pag-aatubili. Ni hindi man lamang ako nag-atubili. Nasaan ang hubog ng usok na siyang pumupulupot sa ating hangganan? Nasaan ang tinik na siyang nilulunok sa bawat paalam? Wala. Wala ata, sa tingin mo. Ako’y natakot at natisod sa ugat na siyang tumutusok sa kalamnan. Sapagkat hindi tayo lulusong hangga’t hindi nagtatalik ang araw at buwan. Hindi ako papayag habang itong ikid ang tila nagduduyan sa ating mga salita. Na sa bawat baluktot ng lubid dumuduwal ang dila ng mga kuwentong kinaugalian. Ano nga ba ang salaysay ng mga lagalag, ang estambre na siyang salimuot ng ating mga kasinungalingan? Ang alam ko: hindi natin patitigilin ang mga alitan. Walang magsasawa sa ating pagka-uyam. ii.

Ibubuka mo ang mga sigwa ng paroroonan, ang alimpuyong nanginginig, ang sagitsit ng mga nahuhumaling. Hahagod ka’t hihimlay pagkatapos. Maglalaan ako ng espasyo para sa ating pagkaupos. Marahil ganito nga ang paglalaho. Marahil wala nga heights 4FOJPST'PMJPq


talagang pag-ibig na hindi naglalaos. Hayaan mo, ito ang iyong tugon, malapit na ako. Tayo’y magbubungkal ng lumot, titikman ang lagkit ng pulot, sasalatin ang dagta ng bawat puno. Mangangatuwiran na bigyan kita ng mga gawaing hindi pa nakasanayan. Tulad ng pagkutkot ng dumi sa ilalim ng ating mga kuko o ‘di kaya ang pagbanlaw sa tubig-alat. Narito ang halamang sisidlan ng ating mga alam. Hihiga tayo sa gitna ng kakahuyan—maaari, hindi ba, maaari nang matapos? Hindi, ‘wag kang mapapagod, ang iyong balik sa akin, pakinggan natin ang mga bulung-bulungan. Pinapaisip mo ako ng mga bagong kuwento: Ikukulong mo bang muli ako sa disyerto ng iyong pagnanasa. Sa disyerto kung saan mauuhaw ako sa hamog na hindi kailanma’y mawawari. Sa lagkit at pawis ng ating pagsisipi. Ibubulyaw mo ba ang aking pangalang binura ng pag-ihip. Ang halumigmig ng gabing walang pag-ibig. Pagkatapos ng iyon tayo ba’y magtatampisaw sa batis. Titiisin ang pagpunas mo sa mga gasgas sa aking braso. Sa ilalim ng marahas na ilaw: ang bitakbitak na lupa na siyang sumusugat sa ating talampakan. Pilit mo namang tatanggalin ang mga salubsob sa aking mga daliri. Paulit-ulit kong hahanapin ang guniguni sa iyong pagtitig, ang silahis ng aking pagsisisi. Pinapaalala mo ang lahat ng aking pasakit. Sa akin lang: Hindi kita hahayaang bumalik. iii.

Sa kalaunan, matitira ang mga alingawngaw na hindi matapos-tapos, ‘di mayapos-yapos. Pipiliin ko bang pukawin na lamang ng hangin ang iyong pagsigaw? Marahil hindi. Pakikinggan kong uli ang pagmumuni-muni ng iyong mga hikbi. Oo, ganito ang iyong pangako: tatawag ka at babalikan ko ang ating mga sala. Tatawag ka sapagkat ito ang iyong pagsundo. q3FJOB,SJ[FM+"ESJBOP


Ako ba’y kukumutan mo ng mga bilang na araw. Ng mga nalalabing sigwa. Tatawag ka, ang sabi mo, habang ako’y iiling sa ating mga sandali. Ito rin ba ang paglimot sa hagayhay na panakas. Ang pagbura natin sa kahihiyang dala ng umaga. Ngunit ito ang alam mo: higit pa roon ang kaya ko. Sapagkat sasamahan mo muli ako sa disyerto ng iyong pagnanasa. Sa disyerto kung saan aawit ako ng mga odang wala pang himig, ng mga kundimang wala nang minimithi. Sa pagtuklap at pagkaskas ng ating mga balat sa pagsiping. Ako ba’y huhubaran mo ng mga bilang na araw, ng mga nalalabing kalam at ugong ng katawan. Wala nang hahagod. O hihimlay. Mayroon pa bang matatapos o mayayapos. Tatawag ka pa ba kung wala nang natitirang alingawngaw sa ating paghihikahos. Pupukawin ng hangin ang mga sigaw; tatanggapin ko rin ang iyong pagkukulang. ‘Wag kang mag-alala, huli na: mamahalin ko ang ating mga alinlangan. Lagi-lagi, malilimutan mong tumawag at ako’y mapipilitang bumalik, hindi sa iyo kundi sa kahihiyang dala ng umaga sa ating mga sandali.

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Marco Bartolome ab literature (english)

Marco leaves Ateneo with a degree in literature. He was a recipient of the Loyola Schools Award for the Arts in the literary essay. He was also selected as a fellow for nonfiction in the 21st Ateneo heights Writers Workshop, and his work can be found in back issues of heights. On his off days, he remembers how lucky he must’ve been then to have found hm03 in the Safari Zone without the help of a walkthrough. * I owe a lot to my professors, especially to Sir Pulan, Sir Vince, Sir Martin, Ma’am Diaz, Sir Mark, and Ma’am Alona, for all that I can claim to know. To my friends—from BS Psych to AB Lit (Eng) and to everyone in between—thank you for always making time. To everyone in heights who kept encouraging me these past four years, I don’t know what I’d be doing without you all. For my family, for finding happiness in what I love.


On Departing Narita I am left with my Gameboy Advance to keep me preoccupied as my mother heads to the restroom; I see the Japanese boy opposite me playing the same game; so I pretend to take interest in how my character, moving from one pixel of grass to another, encounters a Chansey, only to have it run away; I look up from my game, see the boy looking at me; I think of him as my rival; I think he must think I am his rival; I think the air outside must be colder, for spring has long passed; and Mt. Fuji must be somewhere in sight; I can no longer see my mother among the passengers who stop only to buy a cup of coffee or a sandwich to last until the departure gate; she must be admiring postcards of cherry blossoms and waves, even when she does not want to buy anything because we do not carry any yen, only dollars; the exchange rate is $1.00 to ¥107.765, and in Japanese, airport is k k , its characters meaning “sky” and “port,” but also “empty” and “harbor;” passengers alight and make beds of seats; and the restrooms are still full; I am only eight and have yet to comprehend borders; a plane takes off; the other boy no longer interests me; we agree to a mutual defeat; so I look back to see my mother has already returned; she tells me there is still much to see; and I do not have to worry because I am not yet older; so I ask how much longer and she says let’s line up; the gate is a point of Departing, the spring day Lingers Where there is water —Issa

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Anna Nicola M. Blanco ab communication

“Getting out of your own concerns and caring about someone else’s life for a while reminds you that you are not the center of the universe, and that in the ways we are generous or not, we can change the course of someone else’s life.” —Natalie Portman, Harvard Commencement Speech Anna Nicola Blanco is leaving the Ateneo with a degree in Communication, specializing in journalism; a minor in Spanish; and a minor in Creative Writing. Her works may be found in heights, plural Prose Journal, Litro: Literary Magazine, mvndo, Rappler, The Fat Kid Inside, and Mabuhay Magazine. * Before I end my stay at the Ateneo, I would like to thank a few people: My parents, James and Euanne, for everything. No words will ever be enough. My brother, Macky, for always believing in me. My professors: Chay Hofileña, for teaching me what it means to be in pursuit of the truth; Dr. Maitel Ladrido, for guiding me through my thesis; Jimmy Domingo, for teaching me how to tell stories


through images; Marc Pasco, Roy Tolentino, and Dr. Jacklyn Cleofas, for the best Philosophy courses a student could ask for; Isa Nazareno, Ambeth Ocambo, and Brian Giron, for teaching me that history is not a monologue but an ongoing conversation; Dr. Vincenz Serrano, Martin Villanueva, Glenn Mas, and Luis Francia, for never giving up on my writing and for pushing me to do better; Heide Aquino, Victoria Valdez, Patrick Capili, Luisa Young, Josué Hernandez, and Ria Bautista, for showing me the beauty of language. M02, for two semesters of early Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. #inc6: Janelle, Rendell, Kimiko, Denise, and Rambo, for the stories you’ve told and the stories you’ve yet to tell. The heights Web/Online staffs and editorial boards of the years 2013 to 2017. To name a few: Renzi, Billy, Ayana, Cathy, Christian, Regine, Patty, Lazir, MM, Madi, Alex, Ninna, Marco T., Kristoff, Chaela, Bee, Reina, and Yuri. The asla delegates and core teams of batches 13 to 15. To name a few: Vee, Paulina, Luigi, Cam, Jo, Riston, Jurel, Mawe, Alyanna, Marga, Kim H., Kim B., Panda, Bianca, Jeepee, Jude, Tina, Harvey, Sam. The cadsters: Char, Pam, Migs, Locker, Bianca, Pia, Bagos, and Gob. The mvndo Team: Lara, Tej, Bianca, Yani, Luigi, Jem, Kitkat, and Ansis, for teaching me to love the stage once again. The Smocket Hoes: Anna and Martina, for all the time spent under the footbridge. Inna, Manuel, and Prio, for the memories I’ll always treasure. Nat and Richard, for the gossip and emotional conversations about life (mainly boys).


Selina, Mayelle, and Lasmyr, for the fan girl moments, BonChon, and everything else in between. Ida, Marco, Meryl, and Micah. We did it, XX of Life. I love you guys. Jesse, for thirteen years.


Madness Play with me. The board has been wound, the tiles distributed. On my rack: a red number 4 tile; a blue number 1 tile; a green skip tile; a blue reverse tile; a green number 5 tile. The game is simple: it begins when the timer is triggered. Each tile placed must match the preceding tile, whether in number or color. The special tiles instruct you on what to do: skip a player, reverse turns, draw tiles, change the color of the tiles, or go wild. Each time a special tile is placed, you must say “Madness.” You lose if the ticking stops and the board pops up. Ready? I flick the timer on and we begin. The incessant ticking of the board is irritating; we never know when the trigger will let loose. J places his tile first—a blue number 3. “Your turn,” he said. “Hurry.” The board is ticking, and I scramble to pick up a tile—the blue number 1—and place it on the board. Quickly, he places a blue draw 2 tile and says “Madness!” “What do you say we up the stakes?” he asks. “What do you have in mind?” I reply. * When I was in the 4th grade, I got my period. I knew that it had come far too early, or at least it was earlier than all the other girls in my class. My mother assured me that I had only our ancestors to blame for my genetics; there was really nothing I could do about it. At the toilet bowl, I sat, my underwear around my ankles, a small dark spot staining the white cotton. I thought I had soiled myself. When I told my mother, she said it was normal for all girls. But none of my classmates in the 4th grade talked about underwear stains; none of their fathers drove to Mercury Drug so late in the evening to pick up a pack of lightweight sanitary napkins. “She’s too young,” I heard him say to my mother. “Apparently not,” was her reply. heights 4FOJPST'PMJPq


I was told to check every two hours to see if I needed to change. “Change what?� I asked. “Your pad,� said my mother. “It’s not meant to last the whole day.� I was told that this was a normal part of growing up. There’s nothing special about it. But even if there was nothing special, my parents and aunts seemed to act like I had conquered some twisted rite of passage. If bleeding was a vital part of growing up, then I didn’t want anything to do with it—the constant checking if I had leaked through my elementary school uniform and having to wash with special soap because the blood down there smelled different, and having no one at school to talk to because my classmates hadn’t caught up. I had expected to go into puberty the same way that the girls on television did, their biggest problem only hiding from other girls while buying trainer bras. * J is impatient. I can see it on his face. I’m fidgeting too, because if the board pops before I make a move, I’ll lose. I draw two tiles from the pile beside the board—a green 0 tile and a blue draw 4. It’s J’s turn again. He places a red number 5, and I respond quickly by putting down a red number 4. * Soon after I got my period, I watched helplessly as the skin over my pubic bone started to grow hair, and I couldn’t help but think it looked disgusting. I pulled helplessly on them to see if they would come out, but I knew that it was a futile effort. I briefly considered using a razor, having watched my mother shave her legs countless times. I knew that she wouldn’t allow me to use hers, and I was too scared to try on my own. So I left the hairs there to grow, feeling more and more disgusted as they multiplied and thickened. q"OOB/JDPMB.#MBODP


This resentment towards my body worsened when I realized that I didn’t look like most of the other girls in class whose breasts, hips, thighs, and arms hadn’t grown, while it seemed like mine were constantly ballooning. It felt like I was changing the size of my school uniform every week. I began to question if what was happening to me was normal. The following school year, my aunt gave me my first set of grownup underwear, saying I had developed enough for me to throw out the beginner underwear that I had previously been wearing. This new set had prettier designs, but the wire under the cups dug into my ribs, making sitting and breathing difficult. But she assured me that I needed it and that all big girls wore it. “Let’s not give anyone a show,” she said. I didn’t know what show she was talking about. I was happy for the gift, a kind of validation from the women that had gone through it before and survived. It made me feel normal somehow, despite the fact that I still looked different. * It’s J’s turn again. He puts a red number 2 tile on the board. He’s watching me, and I can’t tell if it’s in anticipation of my next move or something else. “What grade are you in again?” “Five,” I reply, looking over my pieces to see which tile I’ll play next. J is in high school; he’s just started his sophomore year. By my standards, he’s mature, one of the “older kids” that everyone on my elementary floor looked up to. He is practically an adult, going to concerts alone, attending parties where alcohol is served, spending endless nights studying complicated lessons, dating girls from different schools. I couldn’t wait for high school. I can’t wait to be just like J. “You don’t look like you’re in grade 5.” “What do you mean?” “I mean, some of the girls I hang out with kind of look like you.” “What do they look like?” heights 4FOJPST'PMJPq


“Mature,� he replies. I have some idea about what he’s talking about but don’t give it much importance. “Do you have any guy friends yet?� “No,� I reply and go back to choosing the next tile I’ll play. “Why not?� he asks. “Because.� He proceeds to tell me about how his group of friends noticed only the pretty girls, how they paid attention only to the ones that had long hair and were more physically mature than their peers. I start to believe that this was what I had to be too. * In my sophomore year, my friends started getting boyfriends from the all-boys school next to ours. The dismissal area we would all hang out at after class started being frequented by boys in cotton blue shirts and khaki pants. But I never showed any interest in them until K, who I met at a party between my class and his. Soirees, we called them. We had been introduced by a mutual friend, and I was immediately attracted to his tall frame and the way his eyes disappeared when he smiled. This was what I liked most about him. That and the fact that he seemed to give me more attention than any other boy at the party. We started talking on a daily basis, him asking me what I was doing and me apologizing for late replies because I wasn’t allowed to check my phone during class or during training with my high school varsity team. He seemed to always be okay with my being late and for giving him short replies. “Just make it up to me,� he said. * I’ve no red tiles, so I pick one up from the pile beside the board. The timer is ticking. No red tile. I pass my turn. J puts a red number 7, and I draw once again from the pile. A green number 7. I place it on the board. “This is boring. How about we make a bet?� he asks. “What kind of bet?� q"OOB/JDPMB.#MBODP


“If you lose, you show me something.” “Show you what?” “I’ll tell you when the board pops.” “What if you lose?” “Then I show you something.” We go back to the game. He’s out of tiles. He picks five up from the pile. I try to sneak and peek, but he’s careful not to give anything away. He puts down a green skip tile. “Madness!” It’s his turn again. * I didn’t know what courting was or how people went about it. But my mother had told me once that it was important. When K became my first boyfriend, she asked me if he had earned it. I didn’t understand what she meant by earning. Why did he have to earn anything? “So,” she said “you just said yes?” I nodded, not knowing why there was a lingering feeling of guilt that remained when she shook her head disapprovingly and walked away. I hadn’t understood, because I always thought that if a boy asked, you said yes. K had asked me to be his girlfriend at a class dance held in their school’s basketball court. The bleachers had been blocked off to give the appearance of a formal venue. When I said yes, he took behind one of the boards, near an area that wasn’t visible to the people on the dance floor or eating dinner. He kissed me then. And when I had told a friend, she asked me if I had agreed to it. I found the question odd, again not knowing why I had to agree or disagree. “He just kissed me,” I had said. “But I liked it.” It was an odd feeling, wet and kind of disorganized. It wasn’t like the kissing on television, where the boy would tilt the girl back and their friends would cheer them on in encouragement. But like I had said then, “I liked it.” At the end of the night, he asked me if we could keep doing that. “Kissing?” I asked. And he had nodded shyly, or it seemed shy at the time. I agreed. heights 4FOJPST'PMJPq


* J placed a green number 8 tile. I respond with a green skip tile. “Madness!� It’s my turn again. J seems happy with the game’s turn of events. My repeated turns means that I was at risk of being beaten by the board. The timer is still ticking, the even sounds of the machine’s gears not giving anything away. I place a green number 5, and the ticking comes to a halt. The board pops up with a clang, clattering the tiles, pushing some off the board and over the side. I look up and see J smiling. We’re in our grandmother’s living room, but there’s no one in sight. He looks around and listens intently for the sound of our grandmother’s slippers sliding across the wooden floors. There is no sound. The maids are outside, sweeping the road. Our grandmother is probably upstairs for her siesta. “Lift your shirt,� he says, and my eyes widen in surprise. “What?� “You agreed.� He looks over at the board, eyes the last tile I placed, and turns his head back to me. “We can use the mirror instead,� he says, taking my hand and dragging me to the small adjacent bathroom. He guides me inside, pulls me inside, and closes the door. I feel the sweat pooling on my forehead. I fold my arms in front of me in an attempt to shrink away from the inevitable. “Here,� he says. “I’m technically not looking at you directly. Just for five seconds.� I’m not wearing the adult underwear my aunt had given me, opting instead for a t-shirt thick enough so I wouldn’t “give anyone a show� as she had said. “It’s just a game,� J says as he tugs my shirt upward. “Don’t worry about it.� I let him, closing my eyes so as not to look at myself in the mirror. This wasn’t right. But like he said, it was only a game. “Just five seconds,� he says again and begins to count, too slow for my liking. My sweat is falling freely down my back and face now, and I feel something solid building in the back of my throat.

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* K and I were in my car outside of a noisy club. It was my birthday, and the drinks were overflowing. I had invited a number of my friends to an open party. I’d had one too many drinks, and the fumes of cigarettes didn’t help my dazed condition. We had decided to go on the dance floor, but K was getting tired of the mob of bodies gyrating against each other. He pulled me out and led us towards my car parked on a sidewalk. Upon seeing us, my driver pulled a pack of cigarettes from his back pocket and made his way across the street to smoke. The heavy tint on the car assured me that he couldn’t see us through the glass. K opened the door and lifted me inside. I felt his lips again, the same hot wetness that reeked of alcohol, and of him. His hand was on the button of my shorts, and I wrenched myself away. “I said no.” This had become a kind of ritual for us. “That’s what you always say,” he replied, moving his hand to the button of his own pants, pulling, and unzipping. He reached under my shirt, and I let him. At some point, he cradled my head in his hand and slowly pushed it downward. Did you know that if you bite, you’ll be shoved and pushed? I was wrong to think that it would stop him. K attempted, I suppose, to finish the situation himself while I sat beside him, unable to move away but refusing to speak and look at him. I felt the nausea kick in, the urgent need to scrub away at my skin. “Are you done?” I asked, fixing my gaze on the concrete wall outside my car. Where does one draw the line between making someone happy and protecting yourself? K had been frustrated after, and I remember that we didn’t talk for nearly a week. And I had thought that, maybe, it was my fault because I kept refusing him. When I broke up with him, K was sitting on the sidewalk of another party we had been at. I decided, months after the incident on my birthday, that I had had enough of sloppy kisses and insistent

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hands. He was crying. Of that I’m sure, and distinctly I remember that I felt little remorse for him. It’s been six years since that sidewalk, and I remember K with a kind of benign disgust, both because with him I had felt, for the first time, what it was like to enjoy someone else’s eyes on me and because with him I had remembered what it was like to feel disgust at myself because of what someone else was doing. * My green 0 tile goes on the board. J responds with a green 9. I’ve run out of tiles, and so pick up five from the pile. None of them are green. “Pass,� I say. He places a green skip tile, so it’s his turn again. “Madness!� A green reverse. “Madness!� His turn again. I sigh in annoyance. Why was I even here? I know why: Our parents had decided that J and I needed to spend more quality time together. Cousins, they said, should be close. It wasn’t that we weren’t, it was that I was the younger cousin, intruding in his life as a teenager who’d suddenly realized he was far above all the elementary school children. I was the elementary school cousin who wanted to be just like him and the rest of his friends. I look at the board and frown. J is smug. He knows he’s winning. * It happened in my bedroom on another day that our parents left us together. We were playing a different game, checkers or chess or something like that. It must have been chess, because he had no patience for it. “Let’s do something else,� J said. “What?� “My friends at school play this game with their girl friends.� “What’s that?� “Come with me to your bathroom and I’ll show you.� In the game, he said, the girl gets to choose: hand or mouth. I chose.

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That was when I found out that hands were not soft. They were like pumice stones—harsh, hard, unrelenting. And as I sat on the toilet bowl, my pants in the same disarray as when I realized that the dark spots on my underwear were not signs that I had soiled myself, I thought about the kids in high school, the people I admired as adults, more mature than I could ever hope to be. Was this what grownups did for fun? If it was, then I wanted no part of it. * K had once told me that in his school, his friends would pass around an iPod full of porn. He said that the practice started when they were in higher elementary school. The owner would charge them rent, the amount I no longer remember. He would always ask me to watch, saying that it was good for me to be exposed to things like that, that it was a natural part of being a teenager. I had refused, but later on looked for the videos online through my brother’s computer. I figured that if I used his, then it wouldn’t be suspect. I watched the scenes with a mix of what must have been awe, fascination, and disgust. Was this what I was expected to do too? With someone else? But while the idea of being with someone in the way that I was watching it unfold on screen felt terrifying and disgusting. I wondered still what it would be like to feel the sounds I was hearing. Both J and K had once told me that watching these videos were what boys liked to do, because it felt good. I wondered what it would be like to feel that too. * J places a blue number 9 tile on the board. I’ve grown tired of the game but continue anyway. It was either this or another game until our parents picked us up, and I would rather suffer this game than something I might be unfamiliar with.

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I place a blue reverse tile, and he doesn’t seem too happy about that; it’s my turn again. “Madness!� I place a blue tile, a skip. “Madness!� I see him roll his eyes. My turn. The timer is still ticking, but I know it will be a while before the board pops up. * A few months after I ended my relationship with K, I found myself sitting at our family dining table, my laptop propped up in front of me. I made sure to face the stairs leading up to the second floor so that I could see anyone coming down. It was past midnight, and everyone had already fallen asleep. I put my earphones on, careful to set the volume low enough so that no sound escaped. I pressed play and became enamored by the scenes playing out in front of me. Lips. Hair. Flesh. My flesh. There was a sound that I became fixated on. It wasn’t waves lapping. It wasn’t a stream flowing. It was gurgling, dripping, wet, and sticky at the same time. The feeling was alien on my fingers, but I knew that this was better than the wetness of urgent and demanding lips. I knew that hands did not always feel like pumice stones, or at the very least, my own hands didn’t. A tightening. A release. I closed my computer and hobbled my way back to my bedroom, where I lay down, eyes trained on the contours of the ceiling. This is what triumph feels like: When you alone subject yourself to things that once disgusted you, you no longer feel dirty. I felt clean, almost pure. It was possible then to feel what I had felt without another, without the disgust that always came with being with someone insistent on taking what wasn’t theirs. I had taken it for myself, because it was mine to take and give away. *

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The ticking continues, incessant as it was when we first began the game. J places a yellow number 4 tile, and then it’s my turn again. There’s only one spot left on the board, the center. The ticking continues. I don’t want to play anymore, and so place a yellow draw 4 tile, the only yellow left on my rack. The ticking stops, and J makes a quick move to reset the game. The board rises, knocking the tiles around. It’s too late. The game is over.

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Gabrielle Ruth P. Briones bfa creative writing

Ruth has been previously published in the first regular folio of heights vol. 64. Much of her remains a mystery. For the family that supports me, thank you. This is not enough, but at least. For aclc batches 2013–2016, thank you for opening my eyes to miracles. I owe much of my formation to you. Special mention to Jasmin Tee for the Sunday dinners and fries. For Patrick, Andy, Acee, Hannah, Lei, Yana, and Kat, what else can I say? For my mentors and guides in college, most notably the following. In Creative Writing and basically the pretentious way of life: Sir Mark, Sir Martin, Sir Tiausas, Ma’am Nica, and Ma’am Cyan. In a subject I never would have thought I would love: my life-changing instructor in Circuit Training, Ma’am Bonoan. For ojiisan, thanks for letting me bug you. For tree root, much love. And for you, the reader, for putting up with my crazy chapbook.


Lobo Lobo. Hindi ko alam kung ano ang mas makinang noon: ang maliliit at malalayong ilaw na dumudungaw sa labas ng bintana, ang mainit na liwanag na nagmumula sa mumunting kandila sa aking harapan, ang makikintab na kubyertos sa mesang sinapinan ng puti, ang malusog at matambok na pulang lobong hugis-pusong dala mo, o ang puno at bilog na bilog na maluwalhating buwan. Lobo. Ika-labing apat ng Pebrero. Noon ito nangyari at tandang-tanda ko pa ang kapwa maaliwalas at nakakangawit ng luwag ng malinis na papel na pinagsulatan ko ng alaalang ito. Matatabang mga letra: pebrero. P e b r e r o. Dikit-dikit. Ika-labing-apat; sinulat ko pa ito nang buo. Lobo. Naging mahaba-haba ang gabi. Binagtas din natin ang magkabilang dulo ng menu. Humingi tayo ng isang appetizer, main course, second course, inumin, at desert. Maligamgam na sabaw pampagising, umuusok na ano pa’t kundi sizzling, isang ulam na laging nakukulangan ng kanin. Magiging malalim pa sana ang gabi ngunit nagsimula nang humagulgol ang lobo sa labas. Busog ang mga tiyan, mataba ang mga puso, dahan-dahan tayong bumaba mula sa restaurant papunta sa iyong kotse, ako’y iyong inakbayan, at dali-dali tayong nag-Mercedes pauwi. Kumakahol ang mga aso sa bawat kantong dinaanan natin. Tumigil lang sila nang nakatahan na tayo, mga kalahating oras malipas ang hatinggabi. Tahimik lang buong magdamag, at halos makabibingi na ang paghinga nating dalawa. Ngunit nang alas-dos ay natagpuan tayo ng lobo at sinimulan muli nitong butasin ang buwan sa kanyang marahas na boses.

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Nanaginip ako ng pula. Pula, pula, pula. Isinulat ko rin ito, sa papel at sa panaginip: pula, pula, pula sa pulang tinta. Lumulutang-lutang ang mga hugis-pusong sisidlan ng hangin. Punumpuno ang silid. Matambok ang mga letra, ang mga lobo, maging ang puting silid na parang unan.Wala ka roon sapagkat hindi kita nakita, ngunit nandoon ka dahil nakita kita sa aking mga nakita. Lobo, lobo, napakaraming malalambot na lobo. Kay sarap yakapin. Sila’y nakakagigil kaya tinangka kong putukin ang isa gamit ang panulat ko. Hinabol ko. Isa, dalawa, hindi maubos-ubos ngunit lahat ay lumilipad papalayo sa akin. Sa isang punto’y nagutom ako at huminto. Tumigil at tumingin sa paligid. Ngunit naghiwa-hiwalay ang mga pulang hugis-pusong lobo at may ipinakitang puting animal. Matalas ang tingin, na tila nakakapasong apoy sa gitna ng madilim na kuwarto. Sa ilalim niya’y ang maingay na lobo na ang tanging ingay ngayon ay hingalo. Itim ito, ngunit tila mapulang liwanag ang kumikislap nitong dugo. Katabi nito’y naliligo ang mga anak. Naramdaman kong hawak ko’y kutsilyo. Natakot ako. Ngunit napakalakas na boses ang nagmula sa mga mata ng puting lobo: wala kang kinalaman dito. Matapos niya itong sabihin nang di ko alam kung paano, binitawan ng titig niya ang mga mata ko at dama ang kalayaan, napatingin ako sa kutsilyo. Ito’y para sa mantikilya lamang, at sa kabilang kamay ko ang tinidor. Lumapit ang puting lobo at ibinukas ang bibig. Mula sa kanyang dila ay tuyo’t malinis na pamunas. Lobo. Pagkagising ko, dali-dali akong umalis at nakipag-unahan sa pagsilang ng araw. Bilog din ito, ngunit mas mapagpatawad sa mata ng puting lobo. Inosente ang araw, ngunit nagdadala ng kulay pula. Sinubukan kong tumakbo ngunit huli na. Ngayo’y ika-labing apat ng Nobyembre. Bilog na ang buwang itinago ko. Naabutan mo ako sa pinto at tinawag para sa maalat na almusal. Alam ko na kung ano ang nasa hapag, sapagkat bakat sa kamay mo ang kulay pula ng itlog. Kabilugan na. q(BCSJFMMF3VUI1#SJPOFT


Ida de Jesus

bfa information design

Ida is a bfa Information Design major from the Ateneo de Manila University, and was a bs Chemical Engineering major from the University of the Philippines-Diliman. She is the current editor-in-chief of heights. She would like to thank everyone who has helped her get here. And finally, she is here. She hopes she has made everyone proud. To anyone who has lost their way, she says: Don’t stick to the plan. Have a listen: 1. Better Off - haim 2. Giant Peach - Wolf Alice 3. West Coast - fidlar 4. Even in My Dreams, I Can’t Win - Bad Suns 5. You Were On My Mind - Lucius 6. In The Morning I’ll Be Better - Tennis 7. No Other Heart - Mac DeMarco 8. Vessels - Julien Baker 9. Daddy Issues - The Neighbourhood 10. Sleep Won’t Ever Come - Best Coast 11. Unforgiving Girl (She’s Not An) - Car Seat Headrest 12. Drive It Like You Stole It - Sing Street


Always,. Scanned objects.

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Yuji de Torres

bfa information design

Wear your t-shirt inside out to confuse the tikbalang.


with a patch from jeune fille or how i learned to seal up holes (series). Acrylic and canvas on aida cloth. 10 x 8 in.

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jeune fille or how i learned to seal up holes (series) with fragile packaging tape. Acrylic and packaging tape on canvas. 10 x 8 in.

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jeune fille or how i learned to seal up holes (series) with masking tape. Acrylic and masking tape on canvas. 10 x 8 in.

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jeune fille or how i learned to seal up holes (series) with size four. Acrylic and ¼ pad paper on canvas. 10 x 8 in.

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jeune fille or how i learned to seal up holes (series) with stitches. Acrylic and embroidery thread on canvas. 10 x 8 in.

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Lasmyr Edullantes bs management

“That someday we might have wings but for now we should try for feathers” —“Miracle” by Luis Wilfrido Atienza Nothing but thanks to the following: Mama, Papa, Ate Kym, Ate Em, and Ram; Friends—good, close, old, and new; heights, ahaw4, Art Staff, bare, isda Batch Seabin; And to those who have and continue to inspire me to make art.


Nynknyhk. Oil on canvas. 8 x 11 in.

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Jerome Flor ab psychology

Wala sa akin ang pagpasya kung ano ang talagang magiging kalabasan ng mga bagay-bagay, ngunit sa parehong panig, ang lahat ng mga bagay na ito ay handog. Nais kong pasalamatan ang magulang at mga kapatid ko, na aking nililisan at akin ding binabalikan. Salamat po sa lahat ng guro ko, di sana ako nagtutula at nag-iisip kung hindi dahil sa inyo. Salamat sa aking mga kaibigan, salamat sa inyo at natatauhan ako sa panahon ng pagkabalisa at ganap na pagkabadtrip. Sa mga pinusuan at pinupusuan: sa mga tinorpehan ko, sorry; sa mga mambabasag ng puso, salamat, at salamat na lang. Wala sana ako rito ako ngayon kundi dahil sa inyo. Sa tagaluto ng turon, na sa 15 pesos na turon ay napupunan na ang gutom ko, salamat. Sa nag-aalaga ng mga puno at halaman sa mga sidewalk ng Ateneo, salamat; ang sarap kunan ng picture yung langit na natatakpan ng mga dahon at sanga pag-uwi. Sa Tanghalang Ateneo, Ateneo Musicians’ Pool, at heights, maraming salamat; kayo ang unli-extra rice ng ulam kong acads. Sa mga thesis mates ko, salamat at naging makabuluhan ang ipinaglaban natin sa thesis. Mayroong sinabi si Kurt Vonnegut tungkol sa pagtatapos, at nararamdaman kong angkop din ito sa aking karanasan. “Wag mo akong tanungin kung paano ako nakarating dito, kararating ko pa lang.� Hindi ko alam kung naka-ilang baso ako ng kape, barya sa pamasahe, at bote ng pale pilsen, para maikayod ang nag-aapuhap kong utak, pero buti na lang naituro at naipakita sa akin ng mga


taong nakasalamuha at nakilala sa lugar na ito ang tamang landas. Maraming maraming salamat. Hanggang sa muli. p.s. Sa mga taong di ko pa nababayaran ang utang ko, babalikan ko kayo, pramis. Sa mga taong may utang pa sa akin, kilala na po ninyo kung sino kayo.


Scorpion and Frog if you make it out alive from my sting bury me (don’t let the cruel waters swallow my name) deep in the river bank of your mind and if your frog-friends even ask who hurt you tell them it was me tell them I poisoned you with all my intent, and not some lukewarm excuse of what I am for you fucking victim you.

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Fear of missing out Tinatanong na naman ako ni Bianca kung gusto ko ng awkward question. Siguro tahimik lang naming inaantabayanan na dumaluhong ang mga sikreto. Tutal, kami rin ang nakakatrabaho namin araw-araw sa teatro. Gano’n pag nasa kolehiyo, dito ka sa Pappu’s (tsaka Mamu’s din, may Mamu’s din pala) pupunta. Kadalasan si Gab na o si Marion ang magtetext kung Loading Point (na Xaiverpoint na ngayon, bawal daw ang gaya-gaya) o Pappus kayo iinom. Mas maganda ang ilaw sa Loading pero okey na rin sa Pappu’s. Okey na yung ganitong dilim. Masaya magkwento para naman may baga yung uling ng usapan. May rule diyan e, sabi ni Andre: ang small groups pag sa inuman, max na yung 4. Lalampas pag hihigit pa. Kunwari, pag 5 daw, hihiwalay kayo sa grupo ng tatlo o dalawa. Doon na siguro magsisimula yung kamustahan, tanungan ng ano ang pinagkakaabalahan nino. May buhay rin kami, malamang. Ito na yung binubuhay namin pero madalas hindi naman ako humahantong sa ganitong pag-iisip. Top 3 yung unang itatanong sa’yo kung baguhan ka pa lang dito. O kahit hindi. Masarap pumapak ng kropek kasama ng Pale o Red Horse (o Iced Tea kung ikaw si Francis) Masarap magsarili pero mas masarap

q+FSPNF'MPS


kung maalala mong hindi tungkol sa’yo ang lahat, kaya sagutin mo na: sino na ba ngayon? Iiwas-iwas ka pa raw, kaya ayun sige, Avie, Brian, Nic. Bakit ang safe? Ampopogi. Pero babanat ka ng kaululan, parang wala namang safe sa love. Ang bata-bata mo pa mag-isip. Top 3 lang naman e, parang ng mga ulap na mukhang hayop. Ayan, nabuksan na ang usapan, ang real deal. Manlilibre ng weng-weng si Leng, kaya ayon, happy-happy! Walang mahahabol dito kundi kalokohan. Unless may mag-away, o mag-iyakan (na hindi dahil sa kalasingan, parang si Lorrie) o may magsuka at hindi maagapan ng balde, kaya tatakpan na lang ng monobloc para mas madaling malimutan yung pinyang hindi pa na-didigest ng tiyan. ito ang ganap at buod ng iisang gabi sa Pappus. Yun lang ang ganap kapag di ka sasama sa Ababu nang alas-dos, o sa gilid ng gate ng Pappus, kung saan walang makakakita sa inyo kahit ang mga sarili niyo, na naiwan sa mga bote ng Red Horse at kalahating-baso ng Zombie; Naiwan sa bawat krak ng kropek dahil mahirap masama sa mga dramadrama ng kaibigan mo, o dahil maaga ka dapat uuwi.

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Mark Christian Guinto

bs chemistry-materials science engineering

“Till that word can be dug out of us, why should they hear the babble that we think we mean? How can they meet us face to face till we have faces?” —C.S. Lewis, Till We Have Faces Sa isang taon pa ng paglagi rito sa Ateneo bilang mag-aaral, masayang nagkaroon si Mark ng marami-raming pagkakataong makasama at matuto pa sa mga guro, orgmates, mga kaibigan, at iba pang mga tao. Muli, nais niyang magpasalamat sa mga taong bumuo ng kanyang limang taon habang kinukuha niya ang kanyang ikalawang degree. Hindi niya laging naipahahayag kung gaano siya kapalad na nakatagpo ng mga taong—gah!—nag-uumapaw sa sari-sariling nilang husay, katatagan at kabutihang-loob. Patuloy kayong inspirasyon sa kanyang magpakabuti. Lubos ang kanyang pagpapasalamat (ngayon, in first person): Sa Block M/M1: Kina Joshua, Cris, Roy, Roel, Andie, Steph, MJ, Noel, Ella, Trizh, Earl, Adam, Jill, Miel, Marv, Mike, Issa, Thea, Aris, MG, Jolo, King, Edbert, Hubert, at Kirk. Naging masaya at makabuluhan ang pag-aaral sa kolehiyo kahit hindi palaging madali, at malaking bahagi kung bakit ganoon ay dahil sa inyo. Hindi ko malilimutan ang mga karanasan natin at sana ay magkita-kita pa rin ang buong block paminsan-minsan.


Kay Dr. Enriquez, aking mentor sa research, at sa buong epe research group. Maraming salamat kina Dr. Macaraig, Ate Anna, Kuya Nikko, Kuya JM, Kuya Mark C., Ate Regine, Ate Denden, Kuya Harry, Kuya Virgil, Ate Sarah, Sir Andy, Sam, Hazelle, Joshua, at Ella sa lahat ng pagkakataon at pagtulong, sa loob o labas man ng Schmitt at ctc505. Salamat sa magandang musika, mga ngiti (na pinakamahirap kung pagod sa lab) at extra stir bars. Sa ACheS at sa Research and Academics Department. Congratulations Sheena, Joseph at Paul sa productive na taon sa RnA! Salamat din sa buong EB ‘16-‘17: marami talaga akong natutuhan sa PlEvsem at mapalad akong nakilala kayo. Kina Dr. Diaz, Dr. Yu, Dr. Chakraborty, Dr. Tangonan, Dr. Guerrero, at Ms. Kite na naging mabubuting guro ko sa mse. Talagang lumalim ang aking nais na magpatuloy sa research dahil sa inyong mga klase. Sa heights at sa Bagwisang Filipino, lalo na kina Reina, Martina, Selina, Christian, at Jeivi na naging bukod-tangi ang kakayahan at tiyaga sa paggabay sa buong staff sa mga taong kabilang ako nito. Maraming salamat kina King, Oey, Dorothy, Jerome, Josh, Loreben, Cymon, Danilo, Gerald, Paco, Jelmer, at Elija sa mga maiinam na delibs na nadaluhan ko ngayong taon. Muli’t muli, sa aking mga naging guro sa sining at panitikan: sina Sir Egay, Sir Allan Popa, Ma’am Beni, Sir Alfred, at sa lahat ng naging panelists ng 5th ahaw at 21st ahww. Hindi ko lubos na maipapahiwatig kung paano ninyo binuo ang aking kolehiyo sa pagpapakilala sa sining na nakapupuno ng buhay ang talab. Kina Noel, Kuya EJ, Ate Moli, at Kuya Ariel: maraming salamat lalo na sa mga pag-uusap sa pilosopiya at art, pangungumusta (sa thesis), at mga advice. Kina Jomel, Ikko, Josh, Ima, Aaron, Tricia, at Karla na ikinagagalak kong nakasama sa University Dorm. Kina James at Paul, sa mga magagaang talakayan sa Physics (at sa genius ni Feynman).


Kina Roy, Roel, Cris, Noel, MJ, Steph, Jill, at Paulo sa hindi matatawarang pagkakaibigan at marami pang mga bagay! Sa Section Magis at sa dyci: Maraming salamat sa lahat, lalo na sa kabutihan at pag-unawa. Sana ay makasama sa muling pagkikitakita. Gayundin, sa Ministry of the Altar Servers na nagmulat sa aking sumubok na laging maglingkod at hindi mapaglingkuran. Sa inyo ko iniaalay ang tulang Tarcisio. Sa aking pamilya: sina Ching at Selmo (aking Mom and Dad), Ate Alma, Imman, Caryl, at Aloysius. Salamat sa pag-ibig, galak, at pagsisikap. At siyempre, sa Diyos na puno’t dulo ng lahat ng aking pakikipagsapalaran sa buhay. Maharap ko sana nang tunay.


Tarcisio Tarcisio, Bughaw ang langit. Sa aking isip, may isang pangkat ng ulap Palagi sa langit ng gunita: Panuto baga kung paano ba mabuhay. Unti-unti. Pasasaan ba’t Maituturing nga ring bahagi ng langit. Samyo ito ng mapapalad. Paglilingkod na ang maghubad Ng nalantang sampagita sa rebulto sa dambana At pagpapakasakit na ang mangawit Sa pag-angat ng kandila tuwing ebanghelyo. Ngunit ikaw, noon di’y niyakap mo Ang araw nang buong higpit. Pula ang lupa, Tarcisio, habang pinupunit ka ng mga ganid na aso. O Pintakasi! Galangit na pagitan Diyata ang sa lupa at sa laylayan ng kasulyang alba.

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Sa gitna ng batuhan Nakatingin ang santong bato sa langit samantalang isang tuhod ang humahalik sa lupang nagbunyi ng pangalan. Ang alay sa pagdirito: espadang tangan patuloy na pinupurol ng ulan ilang beses mang palitan. * Nakatuon ang langit sa mata ng santo, batid na hindi pa rin makatayo pagkatapos malumpo. Naririto ang taimtim ng komunyon: hindi alintana ang iniiwan ng mga mayang tumatahan sa kanyang bumbunan.

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Yesterday Morning. Graphite on paper. 11 x 8.5 in.

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Patricia Lucido

ab literature (english)

Mapangarap. Manunulat. Para sa umibig, nasaktan, tinanggihan, ngunit umiibig pa rin. Para sa mga malaya. Para sa masaya na. Para sa enta. Para sa kanya. Hindi siguro ako magiging manunulat kung hindi dahil sa inyo. Salamat sa panahon. Salamat sa oras. Salamat sa pagduda. Salamat sa pagtiwala. Scribo ergo sum.


Bilanggo mga tauhan marco julian tagpuan Madaling-araw. Isang selda sa bilangguan. Sa gitna ng selda ay isang mesa. May isang maliit na siwang sa kaliwang bahagi ng entablado na magsisilbing bintana. ang dula Magliliwanag ang entablado. Si JULIAN ay nakaupo sa itaas ng mesa. Si MARCO ay nakahiga sa hita niya. Magigising si MARCO. Tatayo siya mula sa mesa at lalayo. marco

Nagsasawa na ako rito. Gusto ko nang umalis. Gusto ko nang makalaya!

julian

Ilang taon ka na ba rito?

marco

Labinlima.

julian

Labinlimang taon sa dilim.

marco

Labing-limang taong nag-iisa.

julian

Kumusta na kaya si Inay?

marco

Maaalala ka pa ba niya?

Iikutin ni MARCO ang entablado. Maglalabas si JULIAN ng panyo at ilalagay niya ito sa kanyang ulo na parang belo.

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julian

“Anak.”

Mapapatingin si MARCO. marco

‘Nay?

julian

“Anak, kumusta ka na?”

marco

‘Nay, iwanan mo na ako rito.

Bababa si JULIAN mula sa mesa at lalapitan si MARCO habang papalayo siya. Halos maghahabulan sila. julian

“Anak, wala ka talagang pinagbago. Matigas pa rin ulo mo.” “Anak, anong nangyari sa’yo? Anong nagawa mo?” “Anak, putangina naman, Anak, kausapin mo ako!”

marco

Kinakausap na kita, ‘Nay! Ano pang gusto mo sa ‘kin?

julian

“Tumakas ka, Anak!”

marco

Hindi maaari, Inay!

julian

“Anak!”

marco

Mananatili ako rito, ‘Nay. Mananahimik. Magpapakabait. Magiging isang mabuting tao.

Tatanggalin ni JULIAN ang belo. Mapapatingin si MARCO kay JULIAN. Ito ang unang beses na makikita niya si JULIAN sa dula. julian

Walang mabuting tao sa mundong ito.

marco

Pero bakit kami lang ang nakakulong? Sa tingin mo ba isa akong masamang tao?

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julian

Hindi ko alam.

Saglit. Tatawa si MARCO. marco

Walang katarungan sa mundong ito para sa akin!

julian

Walang katarungan ang mundong ito para sa taong tulad mo at tulad ko.

marco

Sira-ulo ka.

julian

At heto kang kasama ko.

marco

Manahimik ka.

Tatawa si JULIAN, tsaka magpapalit ng karakter. julian

“Anak! Anak, saan ka galing? Anong nangyari sa’yo?”

marco

Manahimik ka!

julian

“Anak, umalis ka na diyan. Halika rito! Umuwi ka na!”

marco

Manahimik ka!

julian

“Makakalaya ka rin, magsasama tayo, magiging masaya tayong dalawa!”

marco

Manahimik ka!

julian

“Wala kang ginawang masama!”

marco

Wala? Nakalimutan mo na ba?

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julian

Ikaw ang pumatay sa marco Ako ang pumatay sa kanya! kanya!

Hihiyaw si MARCO. Iiyak. Luluhod. Astang magdadasal. marco

Ina. Patawarin niyo po ako. Wala akong nagawang masama. Maawa ka, Mahal na Ina. Patawarin niyo po ako.

Tatanggalin ni JULIAN ang belo. julian

Mapapatawad ka niya.

marco

Lumayo ka sa ‘kin.

julian

Gusto kitang tulungan.

marco

Hindi! Lumayo ka, lumayo ka!

Lalayo si MARCO. Ibabalik ni JULIAN ang panyo. julian

“Iyan ba ang sinasabi mo sa iyong sariling ina? Walang hiya kang bata ka!”

Hahabulin niya si MARCO at sasampalin. julian

“Sumagot ka!”

Tatakas si MARCO at magtatago sa ilalim ng mesa. marco

Hindi po, ‘Nay! Hindi!

julian

“Lumabas ka diyan, Julian Marco!”

marco

Patawad po, ‘Nay. Patawad po.

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Tatanggalin ni JULIAN ang panyo. julian

Julian Marco. Tayo. Ikaw at ako.

marco

Oo.

julian

Makakatakas ba tayo rito?

marco

Hindi ko alam.

Magpapalit ng karakter si JULIAN. Sapilitang ilalabas niya mula sa ilalim ng mesa si MARCO. julian

“Huwag mong sabihin iyan, Anak, makakalabas ka, makakalaya ka at magsasama tayong dalawa! Ikaw at si nanay, magiging isang masayang pamilya!”

marco

Pamilya? Paano si Tatay?

julian

“Magiging isang masaya tayong pamilya, kahit tayong dalawa lamang.”

Makakawala si MARCO. marco

Hindi.

julian

“Anong kalokohan ang pinagsasasabi mo, Anak?”

Magtatago si MARCO sa ilalim ng mesa. marco

Mananatili ako rito. Mananahimik. Magpapakabait. At magiging isang mabuting tao.

julian

“Anak, lumabas ka na diyan.”

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marco

‘Nay. Iwanan mo na ako rito.

julian

“Anak, makinig ka.”

marco

Hindi, ‘Nay! Ikaw ang makinig sa akin! Umalis ka na rito’t iwanan mo na ako!

Lalapitan ni JULIAN si MARCO. julian

“Wala kang ginawang masama. Aksidente lang ‘yon, Anak.”

marco

Walang aksidente. Ako ang may kasalanan. Ako.

julian

“Anak, tama na.”

marco

Tama na! Tama na!

Sapilitang ilalabas ni JULIAN si MARCO mula sa ilalim ng mesa. Paghahampas-hampasin niya. julian

“Wala kang ginawang masama! Makinig ka sa nanay mo! Hindi ka mamamatay-tao, Anak! Si Tatay may kasalanan.”

marco

‘Nay, tama na!

julian

“Makinig ka sa nanay mo! Si Tatay ang may kasalan, hindi ikaw!”

marco

Si tatay may kasalanan! Hindi ako, si Tatay! Si Tatay!

Katahimikan. Iiwanan ni JULIAN si MARCO, at dahan-dahang babalik julian

Walang katarungan ang mundong ito para sa taong tulad nating dalawa.

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Tatayo si MARCO marco

Hindi ako mamatay-tao.

julian

Ikaw. Ikaw ang pumatay sa ating ama.

Patlang. julian

Natakot ka. Prinotektahan mo ang iyong sarili, pero sinong maniniwala sa isang batang walang alam sa mundo?

marco

Wala akong kasalanan!

Lalayo si MARCO. Magpapalit ng karakter si JULIAN, at astang magdadasal. julian

“Ina. Patawarin niyo po ako. May nagawa akong masama. Maawa ka, Mahal na Ina. Patawarin niyo po ako.”

Haharap si MARCO kay JULIAN. marco

Inay?

Tatayo si JULIAN at lalapit kay MARCO habang siya'y papalayo. julian

“Salamat, Anak.”

marco

Anong pinagsasabi mo?

julian

“Pareho tayong masamang tao, Anak. Pareho tayong nakagawa ng masama para sa ating sarili.”

marco

Si Tatay?

julian

“Anong nabigay ni Tatay sa’yo, Anak?” heights 4FOJPST'PMJPq


marco

Takot. Galit. Inis.

Saglit. julian

“Ang kapatid mo, siya ang namatay para ikaw ang mabuhay.”

marco

Hindi.

julian

“Oo, anak. Julian pa naman ang aming ipapangalan sa kanya.”

marco

Ang aking kapatid?

Tatango si MARCO. Tatanggalin ni JULIAN ang belo. julian

Bakit ikaw pa ang pinili ni Ina? Bakit itong masamang kapatid ang hahayaan niyang mabuhay sa pamilyang ito?

Patlang. Magsisimula ang bangungot ni MARCO. marco

Hindi ako masamang tao! Aksidente lang iyon! Sabi ni Inay—

julian

Siguro tama lang na piliin ni ina ang magiging tulad niya pagtanda, isang mamamatay-tao.

Dahan-dahang pupunta si MARCO sa ilalim ng mesa. marco

Mananatili ako rito. Magpapakabait. Mananahimik. Magiging isang mabuting tao.

julian

Isang kang mamamatay-tao!

marco

Hindi! Makakawala ako rito! Makakawala ako sa inyo! Makakalaya ako!

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Mananatili si MARCO sa ilalim ng mesa. Magpapalit ng karakter si JULIAN. julian

“Huwag mong sabihin ‘yan, Anak. Ikaw at si inay, magiging isang masayang pamilya muli! Wala na si tatay. Wala nang manggugulo sa atin!”

marco

Pakawalan niyo ako rito!

julian

“Hindi ka makakawala sa akin, Anak. Hindi na.”

marco

Palayain niyo ako!

Babalik si JULIAN at uupo sa itaas ng mesa. julian

Mananatili ka rito. Mananahimik. Mamumulok. Magiging isang mabuting tao. At mamamatay.

Iaalay ni JULIAN ang kamay niya kay MARCO. Lalabas si MARCO mula sa ilalim ng mesa. Kukunin ang kamay ni JULIAN, magmamano, at hihiga sa kanya, kagaya ng unang eksena. marco

Mananatili ako rito. Mananahimik. Magpapakabait. Magiging isang mabuting tao.

Saglit. julian

Huwag mong sayangin ang buhay na ninakaw mo sa akin.

marco

Julian Marco. Marco at Julian. Julian at Marco. Julian. Kapatid. Paano kaya kung ikaw nalang ang nabuhay sa ating dalawa? Magiging masama ka rin ba? telon

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Theosanti Juliano L. Martinez bfa information design

Consider that I had helped raised you And then betrayed you I had accomplished bringing out your best I am remorseless Consider that if it is your fault Considering that it became my conscientious decision to become your own monster This is our relationship The pains and asps of our relationship had fully, wholly, thankfully liberated me I keep this burden of a thing you had gifted me blessed


Yellow Room 1. Digital.

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Arianna Mercado bfa art management

what is the sound of one hand clapping? what was your face like before you were born? — for those who let me set up house


From the festival of unrealized potential (series) (1.1). Film photography.

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From the festival of unrealized potential (series) (1.2). Video still (digital).

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From the festival of unrealized potential (series) (2.1). Film photography.

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From the festival of unrealized potential (series) (2.2). Video still (digital).

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From the festival of unrealized potential (series) (5.1). Film photography.

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From the festival of unrealized potential (series) (5.2). Video still (digital).

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Richard Mercado bfa information design

Richard Mercado believes that komiks can be a tool for social change.


Fixing Things. Digital.

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Lorenzo Narciso bs psychology

One of the most valuable gifts you can give to another person is a genuine understanding of who they are and what they live for. Thank you to all those who chose to stand by my side, and to those who let me stand by theirs.


Ako na po, Lola. Mixed Media.

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Angela Natividad ab philosophy

Angela Natividad is a supersenior double majoring in Philosophy and Creative Writing. To everyone who calls her “mother,” “mom,” or “Momgela:” Thank you. You are the light breaking at the start of every day. I wish you all the very best for every day of your life.


Son of Woman And I am no man. Heralded the angel and the announcement—a Something coiling into fruition in my womb. And My head downturned in compliance, sentenced to sacrifice. And breasts tender for child, his hair soon crowned In light. And I— my flesh untouched, no more a Virgin than other young girls, barely bloomed, intruded. Given son or daughter, crying quiet as they’re held down On starless nights. And the infants they raise on altars so consumed heights 4FOJPST'PMJPq


By smoke and animal blood and— I cannot breathe. And in the name of—my father, shielding me from desertion, And my son, not of man but woman, and of the spirit poised between my legs, Gifting holy seed, my body yielding to blessing. And a husband tugging me along, trailing in desert sand. And all the animals shriek as I grasp manger, brace my hips as if Saying: And here I am, a girl, ready for your righteous slaughter. No soothing for the woman in labor. No one tells you of the gushing,

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The cries, only of the North star winking above wailing woman, Her husband quietly pulling the straw from her hair.

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Lungs, the rinsing tide heaving and wet, the water expanding against me, my limbs unresistant, lip willing.

Mouth like sand sinking, devouring. Swallowing steps, holding things still.

Body as Archipelago

Hands are waves smoothing my torso shore, the slow drag of withdrawing fingers, the sea foam of you rolled on my skin.


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My heart, water crushing coral, the pulse of ocean dull in the undercurrent. It will pound against islands until earth relents. In the stomach of the sea, predators must learn the dark, else they starve—

Under the touch of you, islands reconvene, the same waves unravel on each shore.


Janelle Paris

ab communication

Janelle leaves Ateneo with a bachelor’s degree in Communication and a minor degree in Spanish. She wants to be a good journalist, speak fluent Spanish, and perfect her asanas. All my thanks: To my parents, who always try to understand. To Nanay. I can never thank you enough. To my sister. “Traverse” is for you. To Aliyah, Boodie, Jiah, and a1, for all the fun times. To Denise, Ram, Rendell, Kimiko, and Nikki, and the stories we will tell. To Ma’am Chay Hofileña, for teaching me so much. I will come back. To Josh, Marco, Bee, Chaela, and the english staff, for being my first home in heights. To Martina and Oey, to Baguio and back. To heights eb 2016-2017, for welcoming me. To heights Online, for letting me work with you for a year. To Robbin, Regine, Liam, JC, Ina, Frances, Gabbie, Beyond Loyola, and The guidon. I will keep you close. To Ralph Manuel, spiritual adviser and unclassifiable friend. To Sir DM and Ma’am Diaz, for showing me the beauty and burden of literature.


To Ray Aguas, Sir Brian Giron, Sir Enrique Niño Leviste, Doc Elizabeth Eviota, Ma’am Paclibar, Leloy Claudio, for all I know now. To all my teachers. To Ma’am Inez, for being awesome. To Ms. Young, Sir Patz, and Fernando. Muchas gracias. Os prometo que siempre mejoraré mí español. To Ateneo. To these words: “Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness, you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho lies dead by the side of the road. You must see how this could be you, how he too was someone who journeyed through the night with plans and the simple breath that kept him alive.” —from “Kindness” by Noam Shihab Nye


The Resistance After reading HhHH

The pill weighs her fist down, the cyanide waiting. She took it out of her pocket after the guards came and tore through their door. She knew they would come, but not on this morning when Ata is about to play the violin. A piece he likes this time. Not music for the Resistance. The Gestapo pins them against the wall because of the Resistance. Ransacks the house because of the Resistance. Next week they will erase a Bohemian town from the map. The Resistance. Now it makes Ata tremble. She looks at his fingers, the cuts from where blood dappled the fingerboard. Tomorrow, the guards will hammer down on them. To the Gestapo’s tempo. When he cries like a child, they will show him a bucket with her head in it. And he will cry, tell them where they hid the spies, and betray the Resistance. She soils her trousers, asks if she can go to the bathroom. To change before the torture. By the sink, she unclenches her fist, the pill lying heavy on her palm. She pops it in her mouth and bites down. Hears the violin.

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Traverse

After Paige Ackerson-Kiely

On the flank of the river a stone turns an eleventh time. There, the deer are unsuspecting, unaware of the turning. They drink water from the river, at times licking moss from stones. Never the same water on their tongues. They feed on the lots as they always do, but the fields are damnably vast so why should it matter? The woods go on and on and you are lonely. So be lonely. You can never know as much as the river, how it carves ditches in the bank for more stones to turn. But the river is never blinded by moonlight, never has eyes that close. And water cannot tread water; it knows not how to drown. Warmth is in the dew in the grass and the gaps between innumerable stalks. When the sun breaks, it shall come as the river. Never the same light. Never the same day twice.

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Andrea V. Tubig bfa creative writing

Andrea V. Tubig recently launched her first poetry collection, Tonight We Slurp in Color, published by Balangiga Press. She was a fellow for poetry at the 2nd iwp Alumni Writers Workshop and one of the recipients of the 2017 Loyola Schools Awards for the Arts. She only likes sun-dried tomatoes occasionally.


Sid Lucero Lost His Third Nipple and Became a Poet* He was drunk and crumbling and hot as fuck. I was euphoric and crumbling and just the right kind of lost. We entered a burger joint and ordered a naughty milkshake sprinkled with fruit loops and old people’s nipples. We chatted about incest and flannel jumpsuits and the metatarsal bones of Callalily’s bassist he found in his grandmother’s jewelry box. I asked if he believed in poets and he said no. Poets are pussies with messianic complexes. Like Jesus. Except God was actually on his side. Poets have no one on their side. Like ugly stray cats and consensual incest and—having baby girls and not naming them? Exactly. The naughty milkshakes arrived. Sid Lucero took off his shirt and showed me his third nipple: a family heirloom, three and a half generations and counting. Nipples are ugly things like hairy moles and unflushed toilets. I wanted to bite Sid Lucero’s third nipple off and feed it to a random starving child selling sampaguita but I didn’t because Confucius taught me filial piety. But Confucius is a fucking piece of feudalist crap and families are overrated so I bit it off anyway. Sid Lucero transformed into a unicorn so black it looked like sin. His horn pierced the space between my breasts, drilling a hole so deep I almost cried but I didn’t because I’d forgotten how. Vodka and cum started spilling out of the hole in my chest. Sid Lucero lapped every single drop of this ungodly mixture; his tongue wrote poems on my skin, like a warm blanket on a cold night. Sid Lucero’s horn traveled down my stomach, carving the words: Mangahas Umibig just right above my navel. I sat on his horn and screamed for more holes, but he transformed back into his human self, panting and weeping *Sid Lucero Lost His Third Nipple and Became a Poet appeared in

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and saying sorry like a 6-year-old girl being beaten by her stepfather because she was too tight for his 45-year-old cock. Is this what it feels like to be a poet? Getting high on chalk dust and salt like barefooted children. Biting a nipple. Not knowing the difference between fruit loops and old people’s nipples. Losing to Sid Lucero, his head on my lap, wondering how the fuck his grandmother got those metatarsals. If being a poet feels like being fucked in the ass by a unicorn’s horn without a lubricant, then yes.

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Wedding Vows I will stop loving you one rainy day in January not because you’ve reached that age where your skin feels like vegetable peelings, but because you will fuck a 42-year-old menopausal, married woman named Donna who has a 3-year-old handicapped son who will grow up thinking you’re their family gardener. You and Donna will meet in a small grocery store in the middle of the desert. You will offer to help her carry her grocery bags. Afterwards you will pull your pants down and fuck the living shit out of her. And you will do this every Thursday in her apartment while her husband crouches in the attic jerking off to your hot moans. On Monday mornings he will threaten to divorce her but they will never break up. Because they’re God-fearing people. And everyone knows God hates divorce, pink nail polish, Filipino food, and cheating husbands. But every time you try to leave her she will attempt to strangle herself using her husband’s necktie. The one she bought for their 6th wedding anniversary. The same one she uses to tie your cock to her wrist. The one with purple diamonds and cum and grape juice and fish ball sauce stains and—yes, you will develop a lot of sick fetishes. Like roleplaying dog and master, where you shit on her face, doggy style while she munches on a grilled ham and cheese sandwich. Her son will eventually kill himself because he will walk in on you and Donna roleplaying naked Dorothy and Toto from The Wizard of Oz which happens to be his favorite movie of all time. But even then, your little fucked-up romance will continue on for years. Your sex life will be like watching cheap amateur Asian porno directed by a bunch of pedophiles and perverted religious deity. Even God will not be able to take it anymore; he will retire and gouge his eyes out with a pitchfork. And you will wake up in our bed. The first *Wedding Vows appeared in Tonight We Slurp in Color,

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time in years. Our dog eating Donna and her husband’s remains on the floor. That’s right, we will have a dog and we will name her ChiChi. She will help me kill you. But before you die, you and I will talk about the night you first told me you love me. Remember how we snuck into your house and I burnt my leg on your motorcycle’s muffler? I had to lie to my parents for weeks that I slipped in the bathroom. Your brothers loved me but only because I was wearing that see-through shirt you insisted I wear. That same night we had six bottles of Alfonso light, 19 sticks of crumpled cigarettes, rubbery French fries, a bowl of instant noodles, and that Charlie Wilson track you kept playing over and over again. You never knew this but I threw up in your bathroom thrice in the middle of the night, stumbling and swearing. Looking back now, it may not have been a giant rodent who broke your father’s urn. My God, I loved you so much I never told you I fucking hate Charlie Wilson. But love is a fucking social construct like coffee shops and punk music and environmentalists and goddamn marriage. And before you know it there goes your scrotum, your eyeball, your butt cheek, your knee. In my desk drawer, my back pocket, my porcelain fruit bowl from Dubai. And then it will rain fingernails and chest hair and strawberry marshmallows and fucking marriage vows and Charlie Wilson’s voice. On loop.

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Joshua Uyheng bs mathematics

“If stay my hand—where / rest it?” I will miss you.

—Carl Phillips, “The Clearing”


Creed In the water, it’s as if I am no longer the body. Not its heaving. Not even what makes the body float. Not what tethers the prow of the boat to the far-off pole, not the soul to the mind of a kicking child. Boy, he calls me, by the oldest name in history—Boy, and I turn—like there is still so much for me to never know:

Let go.

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Parable Take my hand. There’s a seed in the heart of the body that just wants to become a tree. Listen for its name, try to dig it out. For this failure to, call it faith. For the struggle, the deep tunneling into the chest, the near-panic that won’t ensue because we’ve done this countless times before, call it gentleness. Nevertheless. Plant it. Step out into the garden, into the dappled sun, step out to watch for places where the silver light falls slant—and I will tell you: there. By the marigolds. There, where the shadows still cross by the fence. There, where this family of birds won’t find it. Even rifling through the dirt. Even clawing past all the rocky layers. That’s where you take it, where you take this seed, take its throbbing, its impulse, take its slow, dying ache, yes, over there, by the deep earth, that’s where you bury it. Are you listening still? There’s a seed in the heart of the body that just wants to set down its roots. Trickle past bedrock and mantle, crumble through asthenosphere, split at the meristem, primary root, secondary root, all root hair and radical, up to the ends of the earth where it can begin again to sing, sing its name, sing the name of the hand that holds it, that pummels its fist into the ground where it is planted, transplanted from the heart from which it’s taken— listen. We have done this countless times before, called it faith, called it gentleness, called it the silver light falling slant, but here we are in the garden again, as if we never left it. In the beginning it’s the kind of garden that makes sense, yes: shrubbery in abundance, flowers in clear formation, trees standing upright and center-flush with their fruit hanging globed and ripened and catching the kind of glint that means luscious, means eat me, means in the beginning it’s the kind of garden that makes sense—are you listening still? Take a bite. Take a mouthful. Take a number if it will make you q+PTIVB6ZIFOH


happy, if it means that you’re still willing to hear the rest of it, even if it will kill you, even if you should let go of my hand, even if you should forget you were ever holding it, that I ever had a hand, that I ever asked you to take it—nevertheless. There, by the shaking leaves. There, by the dried husks of insects. There, where the birds begin to remember their own names, learn to say them, finally, squawk them with conviction, raise a talon in defiance, break the neck of a narcissus for a sip of its nectar. Call this hunger. Call this the natural order of things. Call this what we set out into the garden to plant this seed despite. And will you take it? Will you wrench it from my chest? Will you pull out the seed and will you hold it in your hand and will you cover it over completely even if you don’t understand? Let me say it will be difficult. Let me say it will be near impossible—this seed, these hands, this garden, this infinite pummeling. But there’s a seed in the heart of the body that just wants to bear fruit. There’s a fruit hanging from a tree and it’s only begun swinging. Will you listen for its singing? Just because it wants to be planted, will you plant it? Will you strain to catch every word? It has been singing in the earth, slow melody, turning slow upon its branch, a soft humming, a keen, an aria, a final vestige of true—and it will be singing endlessly, there, until the beginning. Listen: the name it is singing belongs to you.

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Loyola Schools Awards for the Arts 2017 Creative Writing: Fiction Philip Angelo U. Yap, iv ab literature (english)

Reina Krizel J. Adriano, v bfa creative writing Juan Marco S. Bartolome, 1v ab literature (english) Mark Christian S. G. Guinto, v bs chemistry-materials science and engineering Kurt Jessel D. Marquez, iv ab literature (english) Andrea Coleen V. Tubig, iv bfa creative writing Reina Krizel J. Adriano, v bfa creative writing Luis Teodoro B. Pascua, iv ab management economics Ana Paulina S. Reyes, iv ab psychology Music: Composition Joshua Rafael P. Buizon, iv ab communication Monica V. Colet, iv bfa creative writing Paolo Luis A. Lim, iv bs management

Alain Mikael S. Alafriz, iv bs management engineering/ ab economics Marc Faustus C. Bueno, iv bs management engineering Monica V. Colet, iv bfa creative writing Brian Kelvin V. Pineda, v ab european studies Adrian John D. Pulido, v bs applied mathematics with specialization in mathematical finance


Juan Augusto N. Adre, iv ab communication Camille Veronica D. Abaya, iv ab interdisciplinary studies Paul Jerome R. Flor, iv ab psychology Kolleen Yvonne B. Ricaro, v bfa theatre arts Visual Arts: Art Direction

Ida Nicola A. de Jesus, iv bfa information design Visual Arts: Graphic Design John Lazir R. Caluya, iv bfa information design Nicolina G. Solinap, iv bfa information design Visual Arts: Illustration Alethea Jillany Therese T. Arteche, iv bfa information design Rosslynd Kamille M. Du, iv bfa information design Richard Vince S. Mercado, iv bfa information design Ianthe Kirsten P. Pimentel, iv bfa information design Visual Arts: Painting Kim Pamela B. Co, iv ab interdisciplinary studies

John Cedric P. Oranga, iv bs management engineering


Alexis Augusto L. Abola Aristotle J. Atienza Christine S. Bellen, Ph.D. Yael B. Borromeo Mark Anthony R. Cayanan Jonathan A. Coo Allan Alberto N. Derain Glenn L. Diaz Jesse Gilliam Z. Gotangco Maria Victoria T. Herrera Fr. Rene B. Javellana, S.J., Ph.D. Skilty C. Labastilla Glenn S. Mas Clarissa Cecilia R. Mijares Ma. Socorro Q. Perez, Ph. D. Maria Inez Angela Z. Ponce De Leon, Ph.D. Allan C. Popa Edward-David E. Ruiz Jose Angelo D. Supangco Jethro NiĂąo P. Tenorio Martin V. Villanueva Analyn L. Yap


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. Benilda S. Santos 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. Frances Christine Sayson and The Guidon Mr. Rambo Talabong 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

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Editorial Board Ida Nicola A. de Jesus [bfa id 2017] Juan Marco S. Bartolome [ab lit (eng) 2017]

Production Manager Associate Production Manager

Anna Nicola M. Blanco [ab com 2017] Micah Marie F. Naadat [ab com 2017] Meryl Christine J. Medel [ab lit (eng) 2017] Yuri Ysabel G. Tan [bfa id 2018] Robyn Angeli D. Saquin [bfa id 2018] Ninna D. Lebrilla [bfa id 2018] Marco Emmanuel T. Torrijos [bs mgt 2018] Gabrielle Frances R. Leung [bs ps 2019] Michaela Marie G. Tiglao [bs psy 2019] Reina Krizel J. Adriano [bfa cw 2017] Martina M. Herras [ab lit (eng) 2019] Alexandria T. Tuico [bfa am 2018] Ma. Diana Therese G. Calleja [ab com 2018] Janella Grace H. Paris [ab com 2017] Nolan Kristoff P. Sison [bfa id 2018]

Head Moderator

Allan Alberto N. Derain Yael A. Buencamino Martin V. Villanueva Jose Fernando Go - Oco Enrique Jaime S. Soriano Nicko Reginio Caluya


Staffers Art

Arielle Acosta, Eunice Nicole Arevalo, Flo Bolivar Balane, Jayvee A. del Rosario, Lasmyr Diwa Edullantes, Karl Estuart, Corinne F. Garcia, Fernando Miguel Lofranco, Anna Nieves Rosario A. Marcelo, Arianna Mercado, Celline Marge Mercado, Lorenzo Torres Narciso, Kimberly Que, Andrea Micheline Ramos, Kristelle Adeline Ramos, Enzo M. Samson, Jose Carlos Joaquin W. Singson, Alexandria Tuico, Fleurbelline Vocalan, Dexter L. Yu

Design

Dianne Aguas, Kim Alivia, Rico Cruz, Justine Daquioag, Zoe de Ocampo, Inya de Vera, Anfernee Dy, Gianne Encarnacion, Miguel N. Galace, Maxine Garcia, Arien M. Lim, Richard Mercado, Tea Pedro, Jeanine Rojo, Gabby Segovia, Jonah Velasquez Rayne Aguilar, Cat Aquino, Alec Bailon, Sophia Bonoan, Karl Estuart, Jamz Gutierrez, Daniel Manguerra, Ryan Molen, Lia Paderon, Janelle Paris, Andy Reysio-Cruz, Frances Sayson, Reina Tamayo, Alie Unson, Joshua Uyheng, Nigel Yu, Tim Yusingco

Filipino

Jerome Flor, Danilo Gubaton, Mark Christian Guinto, Cymon Kayle Lubangco, Gerald Manuel, Jose Alfonso Mirabueno, Jelmer Jon Ochoa, King Reinier Palma, Dorothy Claire G. Parungao, Paco Rivera, Elija Torre, Loreben Tuquero, Joshua Uyheng

Production

Jill Arteche, Kai Bartolome, Ponch Castor, Luisa dela Cruz, Anja Deslate, MM Lopez, Theosanti Martinez, Anton Molina, Luigi Reyes, Max Suarez, Neil Vildad, Pia Zulueta

Heights Online

Denise C. Ang, Jose Gabriel C. Amantoy, Marianne Antonio, Anne Nicole R. Dolfo, Corinne Garcia, Janelle Kaela Malig, Patrick Henderson T. Ong, Janine Ysabel B. Peralta, Neil Vildad


(2017) Heights Vol. 64, Seniors Folio  
(2017) Heights Vol. 64, Seniors Folio  
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