The New Builder - February 2023

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Editor’s Note

Love. A term that seems so familiar but has different faces to everyone you come across in life. A word that sounds simple yet challenging to comprehend as the days go by as it comes in waves of tranquility or chaos. A feeling that changes, transforms, and evolves, just like we do as we grow more mature and older. A double-edged sword that either makes you the happiest person alive or the exact opposite. And limiting it to only one perspective does not seem fair.

For this year’s love month, The New Builder presents literary pieces on the various forms of love through Echoes and Ecstasy. With creative works from the red and gold community, this literary folio unfolds the reality of loving another and being loved in all forms — all the highs and the lows, all the behind-thescenes and highlight reels, and everything in between.

With different standpoints, we may never fully grasp what love is or what it should be like. For now, let us listen to the echoes of the wandering mind and the yearning soul. And, perhaps, like sunsets and sunrises that bring promise and peace, we’ll finally find our way out of the maze to meet ecstasy.








Kristin Clarisse H. Mateo

Maurine Claire F. Kim

Therese Anne B. Cruz

Crismhil S. Anselmo

Alexandra Isabelle G. Delavin

Alyanna Isabelle A. Faustino

Albert L. Dela Cruz


Aliza Belle C. Dayao

Angelica Stacy D. de Guzman

Ma. Chinie M. Sta. Juana


Albert Dylan D. David

Cassius Klai C. Francisco

Andreah Faye G. Lapinid

Ma. Alyssa Therese S. Manalang


Seymour B. Sanchez


The Official Student Publication of Mapua University ‘ EST. 1929 STAFF



Jan Kayla Claudette V. Almazan

Sean Lenard G. Ang

Rad Lem-ew Vince B. Balisong

Christian Angelo M. Blanco

Pia Alyssa R. Bonagua

Marrianne Kaye M. Cabreros

John Wilmer O. Castillo

Anthony Mhar M. Cruz

Juan Carlos Miguel G. Estrella

Vic Therese Diane C. Gelilang

Seanne Ethan Gabriel Marquez

Ysa Andre A. Mendoza

Mark Laurence V. Miciano

Romeo Nicolas Cody M. Olano

Princess Jazlyn B. Pereda

Vincent Andre B. Ramirez

Julia Mikaela Respicio

Love Sophia Jien G. Samaniego

James Lorenzo C. Santiago

Frances Qarl M. Tolosa

Andrea Nicole R. Villasanta


Galil Grace D. Arreola

Mary Lesley A. Berina

Kaizer Zeth R. Cabrera

Albert L. Dela Cruz

John Edward B. Dimaano

Julia Aleck G. Engracia

Chloie Ysabelle T. Magno

Charlie Nathan Sp. Marzan


The Nutracker and the Ragdoll


A Moment in Intramuros


Home Happiness


Tasteful Fire

Of Better Days

Fleeting Vow

4AM Blues

La Vie

Hindi Na Ako Iiyak

Five-Thirty AM

Ilang Tula Na Rin Ang Lumipas

Pink Summer Spring

Unsent Poem #3

Thunder and Lightning

16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 25 26 27
POEMS 9 14 15
10 11 12 13
Bliss Love in Slow Motion A Conversation Torpe Checkmate But You Weren’t Mine To Lose With You Why Lima To You Ako Muna CONTENTS 33 34 3 5 3 6 3 7 3 9 28 29 30 31 32 PROSE 40 The Ramblings of a Lover

The Nutcracker and the Ragdoll by the

The Nutcracker was marching, His drumbeats to a show, He saw me and started singing, I laughed sitting on snow.

His spirit’s in his humors, But I’m sure he did not know, That I stitched his Christmas carols, Close to my heart to hold.

This Ragdoll’s no Ballerina, Can’t sing and dance at all, I’ll banish my idea, Or you might see me fall.

Won’t tell him of this dreaming, For he might march and go, Luckily, I’m mute from stitching, My lips are sealed and sewn.



Love doesn’t have eyes, but it shows me your beautiful smile

Love doesn’t have ears, but it made me listen to your laugh.

Love doesn’t have a nose, but it can tell a certain smell, and I know it’s you

Love has no hands, but it made me feel your soul.

Love has no mouth, but it made me crave for you


A Moment in Intramuros

A simple day, and I have gone to school, Walking down the Intramuros alone. Felt nothing, it was something, I’m a fool. In these streets, it is wasting, gone to roam.

In the school, I learned, I still feel empty, Through the class hours, within break hours. There I want, together before twenty, To someone, been gathering these flowers.

A poem with love, a poem to match, These feelings been bottling for long enough, The day in that seat, my heart has been snatched, By the slightest sight, this isn’t a bluff.

The moment I think I’ve nothing to do, In this classroom, just sat, and I found you.




Eyes that shine like stars

Beaming, never once closing

Looking back at mine


Home by Philosophy

Do you want to know the truth?

For the past years, we’ve been through, I discovered and felt different, It’s unlike how I felt before than now. The feelings are unfamiliar cause Every time I’m with u It changed, It feels comfortable Every time I’m with you It’s fun and feels enough.

Inside of me keeps yelling that, You are the place that I want to spend my entire time with, The way you show care And the support you share, It doesn’t matter If I Love you more or You Love me the most.

The way how your always there, Whenever I needed you most Through Ups and Down You are There.



What does it take to be happy? It can be a blip in reality, Or a moment remembered fondly,

To be happy, One must be ready, Happiness is a commodity, Not obtained by many, Hoped to be experienced daily, Most of us however, Are all just sorry,

To be happy is to forget, All the worries, All the regret, To live in the moment, A moment with you i spent,

Happiness is so special, It doesn’t need to be mine, For me to be actually happy, I hope you have happiness, In this world that’s a mess



Paparating na ang amihan;

Hinahanap ang hanging malamig. Subalit sa pagkakataong ito, sinta, ang lalamig na lamang ay ang simoy ng hangin.

Dahil ngayong ikaw ay nasa tabi ko, ang taglamig ko, o mahal, ay tag-init pa rin.


Tasteful Fire

Perhaps nothing is resolute When gazed upon troubles of desire As the decrepit heart pollutes Spread not the pain but endless fire

For no one deserves to suffer In the fields of warring letters Written with admiration and clout A mind tangled with rationality doubt

But who is to blame between lovers Questioned by commitment and passion Yet endless fire empowers But fire alone burns with stinging sensation

May it be that bitterness resides On the pitiful wailing hearts Still the one lacking provides Such world where truthful departs


Of Better Days

Darling, you remind me of better days. I’m scared because dark ones always follow. So, if you truly love me, put me in a haze. Free my head for a bit from all this sorrow.

Take out your chains; Lock me in this daydream. Let me live in the highs of this faux euphoria. Worry not if this love is not what it seems. Free my heart for a bit from sorrow’s regalia.

I have fallen from grace many years ago and you remind me of the paradise I came from. So, in the name of love, do I dare forgo the peace I had when my demons went mum?

My insides have gone numb for a long time. Sweet ignorance and denial have kept me sane. As I pursue joy in constant brink of decline, I wonder if the feeling will make me maimed.

All these years, I’ve been running from you. Oh, love, it’s been a long time coming. I wonder if it’ll do me any good to see you.


Fleeting Vow

Meeting you had an ethereal feeling. I’m afraid I can’t have you, you that is astonishing. Those miniscule moments will truly be one of fate. But yes, I’m aware that you have another date.

I am satisfied by just being your guardian and protector. But I fell for you, I was as flimsy as a feather I am your mediator, shield, supporter, and a brother. I wouldn’t ask for anything more, for you have another lover.


4AM Blues

I’ll never be numb enough to not remember all the memories we made that fateful summer. Chasing numbness for months on end, Will I ever see dawn while sober again?

Endless pursuit has left me breathless Gasping for air, I long for some rest. Tirelessly running from the pain you’ve caused, I’m drained of will, I long for a pause.

Years passed; the wounds refuse to heal. How do I teach my heart again how to feel? When it cowers in fear at the sight of love, how do you teach it not to fear the warmth?

Misery alone has kept me company. Like a possessive brat claiming me for her own. I am unable to break free from her embrace. I hope she stays with you, too.


La Vie

Pulling me out of the inside of my head away from its stagnant familiarity and dread Parting the fog as it reaches in Static and smog, the upset within Out of my mind and into the world

Where life and love is seen, felt, and heard

The sound of rain and my favorite drink

At least for a while, I forget to overthink

Sunsets and waves crashing by the sea

The wind in my face and the feeling of being free

A fondness for people and places and things

Warm reminders of what life can bring More than breathing or staying alive

But with a heart beating and the will to thrive

Laughter, comfort, and a genuine smile

A love for life makes it all worthwhile


Hindi Na Ako Iiyak

Balat man mula sa bisig ko ay punitin

Madurog man ang kamay ko’t mapino ang puso Pagkalunod sa gawain ay iindahin

Hindi na ako iiyak, siyang aking pangako

Pagod na ako magpaapekto sa lahat

Sa mga sumbat at lait ng mga mapagpanggap

Pagod na ako magpagamit at magbuhat

Hindi na ako iiyak, akin nang tanggap

Ngunit sa kwento mo tungkol sa kasawaan, Pagkagutom sa aruga ng mga magulang, Sa pagtagay dahil ang irog mo’y lumisan

At kung sa buhay ay nauulol – nabubuwang

Ang aking ibinote na lawa ng luha

Para sayo’y raragasa, ako’y makikiramay

Ako’y masasandalan mong pader, halika

Halina’t umiyak at ako’y makikilamay

Pagkat tanging paksa ng pangako ko’y ako

Sa kaibigan ay malambot pa rin ang puso


Five-thirty AM

I’ll shelter this love we felt worth protecting, I’m not a morning person, Yet I grew up to enjoy the company of dawn, You’ll deliver me the most exhausting voicemail a person can receive, And;

The ‘good morning’ can carve out the sleepiest marrows of my bone;

Mental block is something people have to live with; This barrier always takes hold of your studies, Gladly; You’ll check up on me to remedy your distressed mind; And hopefully it’ll thaw the frostbites in your thoughts,

I take warmth in your kindness, Likewise you take comfort in mine; You find relief in my tone, Likewise I find relief in yours,

The way you hold your laugh; Is charming on its own, The same way you itch to see; the small gap between my teeth every time,

Our shared glances tell stories of those seasons, Enduring the struggle, only to make us brighter, The challenges burned miles of our darkest memories altogether; And to safely say; I’m grateful we fought through,

This poem doesn’t have form, But it takes shape on the aftermath of marlboro spring; Patience is an ex that made its way back, Hopefully, certainly, it’s there when I wake up 5:30 in the morning,


Ilang tula na rin pala ang lumipas

Ilang tula na rin ang naialay ko Para sa maling tao.

Sindami ng mga sumpang akala ko’y totoo

Ngunit iniwan lang ako’t biglang nagmulto

Pagod na rin ang aking mga liriko

Sa kahahanap ng tamang tugma

Lalo’t hindi nagtutugma ang ikaw at ako

Sawa na ang mga ito

Sa paglikha ng sariling ritmo

Lalo kung hindi naman sumasaliw sa musika Ang tiyempo ng pag-indak mo.


Sa akin nga pala’y may nakapagsabi

Na ang manunula’y ginagamit ang kanyang mga obra pagsapit ng gabi

Sisimulang magmuni-muni

Hanggang sa maligaw sa dalampasigan

O alapaap na siya lamang ang nakaiintindi

At sa gabing ito, ikaw muli ang napili kong paksa

Ikaw na paborito kong tula

Ikaw na dahilan ng maraming mga tugma

Mga pangako, mga karanasan, mga mahika

Ikaw na nagpabatid sa akin ng mga salitang ‘mahal kita’

Ikaw na ngayo’y nananatili pa rin sa aking alaala

Ngunit binawi na ng tadhana.

Ilang tula na rin pala ang lumipas, mahal.

Alam mo ba noong iniwan mo ako

Hindi miminsang inakala ko

Na hindi na ako aabot sa kasunod na letra nito?

Nang mawala ka’y tila naubos ang mga titik sa alpabeto

At ang mga metapora ko’y biglang naglaho.

Ilang tula na rin pala ang lumipas, mahal.

Napuno man ng galos ang aking mga palad

Kahihila sa’yo pabalik

At kahit umagos ang dugo dito

Sa iyong pagbitiw

Ay natutunan kong maging matatag.

Pinilit kong sumulat kahit na sariwa pa ang mga sugat

Hindi lang sa aking mga kamay

Kundi pati sa aking puso

Na iyong iniwang basag at puro bubog.

Pinilit kong pulutin isa-isa ang mga bubog nito

At sa dumadaloy na dugo’y natuto akong sumulat.

Ilang tula na rin pala ang lumipas, mahal.

Sa wakas ay nakapagtayo na ako ng mga haliging-bato

Na kahit dumaan ang anumang delubyo

Ay mananatili itong nakatayo.

Ginawa kong pundasyon ang aking mga tugma

Upang ilayo ang aking atensyon sa sakit na idinulot mo.

Ngunit bakit ganoon?

Dahil ilang tula na rin pala ang lumipas, mahal, ngunit mahal pa rin ang tawag ko sa’yo?

Pasensya ka na kung ako’y medyo magulo

Pero sana ay maintindihan mo

Ikaw lang ang paksang napili at pipiliin ko

Ilang tula na rin ang lumipas, mahal

Ngunit hanggang ngayon, ikaw pa rin ang mahal ko.


Pink Summer Spring

Once again, it happened during spring. I know I’m not dreaming. Not like a detective keenly searching. All I can see is pink everywhere, through everything.

As the cool breeze touches my skin, Everything’s pink. So, I continue to wander around. And look whom I found.

Just following a sweet honey-like fragrance. But then she caught my eyes. Like a lovely tulip dancing and smiling at me, She’s a beautiful blossom shining brightly.

As the spring season passes by, We never leave each other’s side. Having her brought out the best in me. By painting my whole world with pink.

Spring may finally be over. But her favorite season’s approaching: summer. Looks like there are more picnic dates along the shore. More feeling of soothing sea waves through our core

It’s time to fully pack my film roll. We’ll be making summer memories until fall. We’ll be watching the sunset together. And talk under the moon ‘til dawn.

Feeling refreshed when she smells the sea breeze. Like its calming sensation, when I’m with her, I’m at peace. Another priceless moment to cherish. Let me keep our fondness in this memory everlasting.

Meeting her during spring was fate. Her painting my whole world with pink made my life great. Now, summer will be over. But we still have each other.

Pink is all over my spring and summer. I want to stay with her ‘til autumn and winter All four seasons, every year, ‘til forever You’re a Godsent, my bunny bear.


Unsent Poem #3

Seconds. Minutes. Hours. Days. Weeks. Months. Years have passed but I, I, who longs for you. I, who misses you.

I, who was once your “always” Am still here waiting for you.

There is really a void space somewhere inside me. That void space who asks for you, clings to you, Remembers you, treasures you, loves you, wants. you. Back. --There is something inside me that wants you back.

My love, my heart wants you back. My whole being wants you back, rather. What happened to you?

What happened to us? You and me, us.

My love, I long for you every single moment of my life. I long for you as if our eyes don’t meet.

I long for you as if you are far from me.

I long for you, my love.

I long for you even though you’re inches away.

Nights aren’t the same as before. Broken. Unsatisfied. Empty. Ordinary. Unhappy. Incomplete. Those are the words to describe my nights.

And I consider my days, nightmares. For it is when I see you.

My heart aches when I see you. Seeing you seemingly fine not talking to me, Seemingly fine without me.

My love, my longing doesn’t end here. I want.. no—I need you back.

I need you to mend me and make me happy, For my nights to be complete and for my days to be daydreams, Seconds. Minutes. Hours. Days. Weeks. Months. Years have passed and I still love you.


Thunder and Lightning

From a distance, there alone began lightning, Held by the ups and downs, but still fighting, Then followed the thunder, Ready with a loud clap to make it better.

But our story is not mere science, Either of us can be of which, but like a reliance, For thunder and lightning are known to coexist, Just like the beauty of when the sun and moon kissed.

Our version starts with a song we sing along with, And a person who brings comfort inwith, It has been more than a decade of rumbles and whispers, Let me say, our world has been stroked with bewilders.

Feeling a raindrop to a heavy downpour, Every hurricane was always knocking at the door, It never has been a perfect love story, Nor a typical romance of the century.

But of two different people who came across each other, Unfamiliar with the type of weather, Falling in such a way no one expected before, With just a smile that makes the heart forget all the sore.

Braving through a thunderstorm unlike any other, The voice that took me all summer, Drizzled with memories in a faraway desert, Turning my world upside down with every effort.

Ending years of uncertainty and drought, My love, don’t ever doubt, For ever since you were part of me, Every day I’ve been flooded with thoughts of a future with glee.

Following a flash of light, The thunder has never felt this right. Holding on to whatever it will be, The story goes on with our mark in every city.

Taking and marking every first, Surpassing all of destiny’s worst, Finding their way to a version of forever, Never, always, the last first, as long as we’re together.

And there is thunder and lightning, Strengthened by both love and pain, And there is no such other way, They are both meant here to stay.


With You

I have always seen love as something that I need Something that I want to have from a person Something that I want to feel from people I care about And most especially, something that I want to give

Love seems like an easy thing to do Where you only have to show love and care But I didn’t know it also needs communication And constant understanding and affection

Being in love is the best feeling that I’ve felt I have always been the happiest when I’m in love Although at times, it made me the saddest I still wanted that for me to have

I have longed for someone to love me this pure Where I suddenly felt that I am sure And I’m glad that it was you Whom I’ll truly love even when I’m blue

Thank you for your endless understanding You treated me as if I was perfect Despite me being the one you regret I’m still honored to be your something

You are the best thing that I’ll ever have I promise to treasure you with all my heart ‘Til the end of our lives, you’ll always have a part No matter how long, it’ll always be you whom I’ll love



Waking up to your question why, Endless reasons from the heart come to race, I may be filled with flaws but I never lie, For I always find a home in your embrace.

From a simple term that made no sense to me before, To a name that became everything I have ever known, There is no room for wonder that I want more, Ever since, I’ve cut ties with the thought of being alone.

That turning point in life when I realized why, The moment I knew I would choose this every day, The summer that began no reason for feelings to deny, A precious love in a desert that has grown not to walk away.

How your face lights up when you talk about what you like, Or when you are never afraid to say what you want, Not sugar coating and never scared of a strike, Sharing every piece of you and an honest front.

Singing to your favorite songs on replay, It’s how you read thousands of stories like a flash, Or when you finish several shows in a day, But also with how your eyes roll in every clash.

Your interest in thrillers and mysteries captivates me, As I laugh when you cringe at romantic stuff, Funny how this is a love poem for you to see, You’ll probably tease me about it sure enough.

Still, sharing how fascinated I am by you with everyone I know, Composing this makes me fall for you a little bit more, Then again, let me carry on with more reasons to show, How thankful I am for you knocking on the door.

Focused on things that you are passionate about, Inspiring people to brave through the storm, Pursuing and following dreams that count, A future doctor who will go out of the norm.

You ask again in the middle of the day, Oh, how admire each word, everything that you do, As my heart will never stray, For I am the luckiest person for having you.

It’s how you care for the people you hold dear, Touching every life and putting your heart on your sleeve, Hoping that your smiles never disappear, Like the sound of raindrops that relieve.

With an adorable laugh that makes my heart skip a beat, Writing hundreds of pages filled with creativity, Going on adventures and trips that make us complete, As we reach into the future with familiarity.

Having a selfless heart that I yearn to protect, From all the pain that life may bring, A once-in-a-lifetime blessing and change as I reflect, The plot twist, the greatest part of everything.

Sleeping to your question why, Countless reasons come to sight, Promise, we are never going to bid goodbye, My love, trust me, we will always shine bright.

As we fit like pieces in a puzzle when we are together, Knowing what the other may say or do, Making every day better by being with each other, How we make moments just as unforgettable as you.

The journey may be long and tough, But we have the rest of our lives to figure it all out, Just hold my hand and it will be enough, For every day I will remind you never to doubt.

Tomorrow, you may ask me again why, Never too tired to answer your mind full of wonder, For we may see changes in the color of the sky, But the rain will always make my heart fonder.



Tagu-taguan, maliwanag ang buwan. Pag bilang kong lima, kakalimutan na kita.

Isa, Isang beses mo lang akong tinitigan ngunit napakasarap sa pakiramdam na ramdam sa kalooban ang nararamdaman mong tuwang nakakaramdam. Tuwa na tila bang parang isang sakit na nakakahawa. At sa pagkahawa nito sa akin ay may kakaiba akong nararamdaman. Hindi, hindi ito pakiramdam na para bang multo kundi ito’y pakiramdam na para bang ika’y gusto.

Dalawa, Dalawang gabi na kitang sinusubaybayan, ginagabayan at sinasakyan at dahil dito, parang ako’y nahuhulog ng tuluyan. Hindi kita masisisi ngunit hindi sa pagbubusisi pero nakakapagtaka. Ako kaya’y tipo mo?

Tatlo, Tatlong tawag na hindi nasagot mula sayo at ako’y napangiti. Tila ba nakaramdam ng mga paru-paro sa aking sikmura na pilit ko ring pinipigilang maramdaman. Hindi dahil ayoko, kundi dahil ito’y hindi tama ngunit alam kong ako’y may tama sayo na hindi na kaya pang itama.

Apat, Apat na beses na ‘kong pinagsabihan ng mga tao pero heto pa rin ako. Sumusulong sa isang laro na hindi ko naman alam kung may tsansa bang ako’y mananalo. Teka, mali. Mali ‘to. Mali marahil sa una palang alam ko talo na ako. Alam ko ng matatalo ako ngunit hindi aminado.

Lima, Lima. Huling bilang ng tulang ito. Umaasang makakayanang kalimutan ang nabuong nararamdaman marahil alam na dapat ito’y panandalian ngunit inasahang pang-matagalan.

Sa pagtapos ng panunulat sa tulang ito, inasahang matatapos rin ang pagkagusto sa iyo. Ngunit ngayong nasa dulo na ang piyesang ito, masasabi kong hindi pa rin ako tapos sa iyo.


To You

To you, My Flame To you, My Game

From whence you came

Did my life be not the same.

I bow, I kneel, I submit before thee, To you, my one true glee, I pray you hear my plea, For how I wish for my days to yours be.

But pity, did fate speak, My goddess, my dearest, whom I seek. Why must I, your most devoted, have results end bleak. Why must I, be what you label a freak?

You, my star, my light, my beginning and my end. I will burn for you with all I can spend. Yet in return, your time you refuse to lend, For you, in your eyes, I am not worth to befriend.

Why, my love, do you refuse such a request? Was I not able to have rightfully expressed? My devotion and love for you is worth the invest, But it seems you were never impressed.

To my flower, my rose, my treasure I adore. I say to you once more. I love you, from beyond and down the core. Allow me to serve you, and I promise you no bore.

From you, I will love. From you, I will see above. In the skies together will we be dreamt of As lovers, as soulmates, our fates now taken hold of.

Goodbye, shallow earth. It is time for our rebirth. Together as one, for all its worth, Our story now ends, even without a mutual mirth.


Ako Muna

by Pi

Paano nga ba magmahal nang tama?

Dapat bang ibigay ang lahat kung siya’y mahalaga?

O dapat mas mahal ang sarili kaysa sa kanya?

Hindi ko alam dahil nagbigay ako nang sobra

Masaya sa umipisa ngunit tila impyerno kapag wala na

Sulit ba ang dalang pait pagkatapos ng ilang taong ligaya?

Dapat ba akong magdusa sa sakit na nadama?

O maging masaya dahil natutunan kong mahalin ka?

Ang hindi pagkakaunawaan nauwi sa hiwalayan

Tama ba ang desisyon kong ika’y pabayaan?

O dapat ating munang pinag usapan?

Kahit hindi na kita maunaawaan?

Ilang taong napuno nang lungkot at saya

Pero ilang beses na ring nagsawa sa isa’t-isa

Dahil hindi na maibabalik pa

Ang maayos at masayang buhay kasama ka

Ako muna

Kaya iniwan na kita

Dahil hindi ko na nakikita ang sarili kasama ka

Nais ko namang piliin ang sarili ko

Upang matutunan ko ring mahalin ang buhay ko

Salamat sa mga masasayang alaala

Na akin nang pakakawalan dahil wala na

Ang kwento nating noo’y laging inaasam

Kaya ako na muna’y magpapaalam

Patawad kung napagod akong magbigay

Ng pagmamahal at pasensyang iyong



Love in Slow Motion

The thumps of my heart are scary. It feels unreal, abnormal, alien even. How I tried to drown them out, yet the sounds knew how to swim. Foreign emotions feel ghastly.

Thrown out thoughts and memories were like ghosts haunting the back of my mind. Running laps like finishing first rewards them by eating up my sanity bit by bit. My own consciousness holds me hostage with a knife down my throat, trapping me in a trance of letting myself tango with the shadows of my past.

And in the chaos of it all, you knocked through the guarded walls.

The beat of my heart no longer screams in agony, but it beats with ease. I no longer force to mute the voices that tell me otherwise, as your laughter was enough to deafen the nuisance. The language spoken by emotions was yours to translate.

Unsure steps aren’t as terrifying anymore. The chokehold that clouded my trail of thoughts let go of its grip, letting me breathe freely and live beyond what I thought would be the end. And though my fragments are jagged lines put together, you chose to see the rainbow that hid behind my clouds.

Though it’s too early to tell, the vehemence from you that wraps me in its warmth is something I want to unravel —

Slowly, surely, beautifully.



“Checkmate” When you said that, it was clear that I had lost the match, yet my smile was just as big as yours. You were crowned the champion of the chess tournament that our school held, and I took first place. You will now compete on the school’s behalf in another event. Though we will practice together and I will function as your backup player in the event that something were to happen to you, no matter how competitive I am, I will never want something to happen to you and I will never seize an opportunity that is legitimately yours.

We grew closer as we trained together and became friends. We are now sharing our problems and stories with one another, and I was feeling happier and excited for you and your accomplishments. As your competition is drawing closer, I worry that the feeling of comfort won’t last long and that we will go back to being strangers. I jokingly expressed my concerns to you, but your response was, “I don’t really want to be your friend after the competition.” I pray that the day of your competition doesn’t come yet, not yet, because I’m still not ready to let go of you.

However, it arrived sooner than I had anticipated, and you were once again crowned champion. I watched from the audience as you grinned brightly again, but I couldn’t help but feel sad. It’s done. I congratulated you and smiled one final time before we became strangers again. I was about to leave when you asked if we could celebrate your achievement tomorrow. When I reminded you of the harsh things you said, your response was, “I don’t really want to be friends with you if I’m going to court you.” When you said that, I felt a sense of relief, I hugged you and smiled warmly.

Did I ever truly lose? Every move I made was calculated, and even when I thought the pieces were starting to fall apart, they didn’t. It was all just like a game of chess, and you might have won the chess competitions, but I won something else.




College is something new, something I constantly look forward to back in high school. College is a thing that would make me realize my passion in life, and my path as my future lies in my hands. Career and even crush is something that is synonymous to college, at least a heartbeat away. However, having a crush is not as easy in college as I would usually imagine back in senior high.

I am always wondering how she brightens up my day; others cannot, be it a normal Monday or an exciting Sunday. Is it the smile on her face? Is it the eyes that spell the word “connection” every time we converse? Is it the vibe that she exudes that attracts me so much?

Who am I to tell her that she is the only person I can lay my arms on when I need one? Who am I to tell her I can stay by her side when she needs me, especially during days I question my existence on this planet? Who am I to tell her these things, in one of a million other things running in my head every single day? Who knows? “That time” might not be now, but soon? It wouldn’t hurt to tell her I like her, right?

I am always ready to speak when my heart tells me to do so. Hearing her call my name makes my heart race. Seeing her makes me smile deep inside. Those moments make my eyes teary; and those moments prove our ship is sailing. Amidst all the waves that could break our ship, I am glad that she has become part of my life for keeps, and most importantly, for bliss.



Torpe—iyan ang pagkakakilala ng mga kaibigan ko sa akin. Ako ‘yung tipo na itatago at hindi aaminin ang tunay na nararamdaman sa taong kanyang nagugustuhan. Sa palagay ko, dala na rin ito ng aking karanasan apat na taon na ang nakalipas.

Apat na taon na nang huli akong umibig. Apat na taon na rin nang malaman kong may kapiling na siyang iba. Mula noon ay natakot na akong magpahalata ng pagtingin. Pilit kong kinimkim ang lahat dahil ayaw ko nang masaktan.

Sa mga sumunod na taon, ibinuhos ko ang oras at atensyon ko sa pag-aaral. Kamakailan lamang nang muli akong nahilig sa pagpunta sa samu’t saring programa’t pagtitipon.

Isang gabi sa isang pagtitipon ay may isang lalaking pumukaw sa akin. Habang ipinapalabas ang video ng kanyang pagpapakilala ay hindi ko na maialis ang atensyon ko sa kanya. Mula sa kinauupuan ko ay kitang-kita ko sa kanyang mukha ang pagtawang dala ng hiya. Napangiti na rin ako nang makita ko siyang tumatawa. Buong gabi ay hindi ko na maiwasang ibaling ang tingin sa kanya, lalo’t nakaupo siya sa aking tapat, bagamat sa kabilang mesa. Pabalik-balik pa ako para kumuha ng bagong inumin para lang makakuha ng mabilisang sulyap sa kanya.

Nang bumalik ako sa aming kwarto pagkatapos ng pagtitipon, naisip ko agad, “Mukhang heto na naman.” Napagtanto kong gusto ko siya—‘yung lalaking matangkad, payat, masiyahin, pabalik-balik sa mobile bar at photo booth. Hiniling ko noong gabing iyon na sana’y hindi pa iyon ang huli naming pagkikita.

At hindi nga iyon ang huli.

Muli ko siyang nakita makalipas ang dalawang linggo. Inaya kami ng aming kaibgan upang magsaya sa Makati. Sa gitna ng ingay ng tugtog at kislap ng mga ilaw ay napupuno ng katahimikan ang isip ko. Nasa gitna na naman ako ng dalawang magkasalungat na ideya. Hindi ko maiwasang mag-isip kung dapat ko bang itago na lang ulit, o sabihin ko na ang tunay kong nararamdaman. Ayaw kong magkaroon ng pagsisisi dahil wala akong ginawa, ngunit nandoon pa rin ang takot na masaktan akong muli.

Tandang tanda ko pa nang tinawag kita at lumapit ako sa’yo para sabihin sa iyo ang lahat. Oo, kabado at nauutal pa ako sa umpisa, pero idinaan ko na lang sa tawa at paghinga nang malalim. Pagkatapos lang ng ilang saglit ay nasabi ko na ang gusto kong sabihin—gusto kita.

Iba ka. Ewan ko ba’t anong pumasok sa isipan ko noong gabing iyon at napaamin mo ako. Nagawa mong paaminin ang apat na taon nang torpe na takot masaktan.


A Conversation

A short story on self-love during a ‘down’ moment.

“I don’t think I can do this,” the words carried the weight of my feelings as I laid down on my bed. My thoughts were incomprehensible – left me to untangle the balled-up string of thoughts. “I’m tired, and a part of me feels missing. What should I do to get rid of all of these?” I grumbled at the feeling of being helpless. The tears that I felt should come – but didn’t – frustrated me even more.

“Well, that’s just how things go,” the person floating above my bed answered. They looked seemingly carefree as they continued to throw and bounce a ball off the wall.

“Is there no solution? Something that I can do to fix them?” I held onto my pillow tightly, not knowing whether it was because of anger or sadness.

“Have you tried asking for help?” they responded.

“Well, yeah. To those I asked – they tried, but honestly, it isn’t exactly enough,” I mumbled.” I don’t blame them, though. They could only do so much for a problem meant for me.”

“Well – again, that’s just how things go,” they reiterated.

I grabbed my pillow and clumsily threw it across the room. I imagine that to them, the act really looked pathetic. “Maybe I can’t solve my problems – but I could at least not feel this way. I don’t want to feel this way.”

I expected them to point out that I was acting like a child throwing tantrums, but their face looked more worried than disgusted.


“But you HAVE to feel that way. That’s the whole point of ‘feeling’ – it’s not something you can control,” they rolled over to face me – one hand on their face while their elbow was resting on thin air. “Maybe you can control how you react or express it – but you cannot control the actual feeling. You shouldn’t be bottling up how you feel.”

“I know that, but… “my voice starts to trail off. “Knowing that still frustrates me.”

“And that’s absolutely fine,” they give a reassuring nod – emphasizing each word to show their confidence in it.

I stare at them for a while. They looked carefree and relaxed. They’ve got style when it comes to fashion and a look that would make others swoon. Their confidence and friendliness infected the atmosphere – making them seem like the best person to be around with.

“Why can’t I just be like you?” The admiration slips off my tongue as jealousy. “It feels like if I made certain choices or if certain things were to happen to me, then I could be like you – but somehow, my life just doesn’t lead me that way.”

“That’s because you’re you right now,” their words didn’t make much sense to me, but I listened anyway. “Maybe you won’t exactly be me. Maybe you have and will have certain aspects of me. But the reality is you’re you right now. “

I felt a bit bitter to answer back. They seem to have noticed it.

“I won’t sugarcoat it – you’re not ‘the best’ now,” they point it out. “But let’s be honest – ‘the best’ is subjective and, frankly, unattainable if you’re looking for perfection. But, at the very least, know that you will be better.”

“I could be better,” I said under my breath.

They gave me a mad look. If they weren’t so out-of-this-world, it felt like they would’ve cupped my face with their hands, “You will be better. You will also be worse. You’ll continue to feel bad, and you’ll continue to feel good. That’s just how life is.”

“If I’m just going to feel bad anyway, why does it matter?” my question – despite sounding depressing – actually made them smile.

“That’s because both good and bad matter when you think it matters. Life may be what it is, but it’s not constant. You’re not the same every time you feel bad. You don’t feel bad the same way as others. It means you actually have the power to make something not matter. All it takes is time.”

“Then what do you suggest?” I gave them a questioning look.

“Well, you like ice cream, so maybe you can go outside to buy one and wallow in pity in your room until you’re ok?” They gave me a wide grin.

The sentiment actually gave me a sense of relief. They noticed my relief and gave themself a literal pat on the back.

“So, is our therapy session done for today?” they said with a playful tone. Their words, although it sounded sarcastic, ironically felt nice.

“Yeah. I’ll go out to buy ice cream like you said,” I took a deep breath and walked over to the mirror.

The person in the mirror gives me a teasing smirk. Their features are different – but they definitely resemble mine. “You do know how weird you look talking to yourself, right?”

I wiped what tears were left in my eyes and smiled back, “I know, but thanks anyways. See you next time I feel like it.”


But you weren’t mine to lose.

Enchanting were the eyes that were staring at me. How sweet was the gaze that graced me under the moon? I could never fathom how captivating her eyes were.

The first time we met, the sun was scorching. You felt like the breeze I needed that day to cool me off. It was an exchange of “Hellos,” “Sorrys,” and the awkward atmosphere. The casual greetings came to the exchange of songs and proses. You let me into the depths of your mind, an intimacy only you and I both craved.

Under the same sky we lied from dusk until dawn, the stars were witnesses to how much I’d wish your eyes still lit when you’d play the same songs, how your laughter won’t fade, and how tears won’t cascade down your cheeks. How ironic was it that you kept me full of life yet breathless as I bear witness of your presence?

Until one day I found myself mumbling the things I could only hope that the wind would whisper to you as it caresses your beauty. I found myself making you the muse of my words.

“Dear Diary,

I wanted the way her words linger, and I want the way she’d smile when you’re amused. I wish to gatekeep the way she grinned for it’s a sight that I want to have for myself. Yet what good would it be when I kept something so precious hidden away?

I still want to know her weirdest thoughts; I want to untangle the mess of her mind. I want the highs she brought and the lows we saw.”

Yet now all I can do is grieve for something that was never even there.

I may hate how my thoughts speak of your name and I may hate how I immortalize my feelings through my writings. Lest you think that I hate how I feel, I hate it more that I can’t shake what my heart thumps of is something so delicately melancholic.

Now all I have are the remnants of your stares and the memories of your love. Distraught from the idea of what could have been, haunted by the racing thought of what would have been if you could have been mine.

You may have never been mine, but as long as there is salt in the sea, I can wait for a different ending. One wherein we’re both enthralled with the idea of us — one wherein we’re both enchanted, hearts intertwined.

What would it take for me to be disenchanted by you?

Answer is, nothing. I don’t think I even want to — I don’t want to forget how you held my eyes captive with yours.


The Ramblings of a Lover

A romantic writer might describe love as a deep and intense emotion that stirs the soul. Love, in the view of the greats, is a magical force, capable of inspiring great passion, wonder, even devotion.

But… I’m not a writer, not a romantic.

Not anymore.

I know times are hard. The pen often lies idle, ink dry, lying on the desk now only dedicated for what’s needed…never what’s wanted. Even my heart’s constant hum now grows silent. And no longer can I spin tales of pure delight.

How can anyone? The world is in a state of storyless blues and it’s becoming more and more easier to write tragedies than love stories. Nations are falling, families are weeping, friends are leaving, romance is dead.

Or so I thought.

I have always been drawn to the complex emotion that is love and have written countless pieces exploring it in all its different forms. But it wasn’t until recently when I thought I lost love, that I truly found it.

I’m not a writer, not a romantic, but…

Love is the car ride home, instead of the rush-hour commute. Love is the subtlety of a shade of pink, not the harsh reds. Love is in random numbers that hold a person’s echo. Love is not explosive or grand, but always there, Love is a simple pleasure, beyond compare. Love is ever-enduring, never fades away, Love is a tribute, always here to stay.

Love is a paragraph that turns into a poem. It takes many forms, in laughter and in tears, In joy and sorrow, throughout the years. It’s the warm embrace, of someone who cares, A comfort in life, that’s always there.

So here’s to love, in all its forms, A beautiful paradise, always warm. It’s a treasure, that’s always worth the seek, A love that lasts forever and a week.

I’m not a writer, not a romantic... I’m a lover.

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