49 Philippine-Language Poets in Translation

Eric Abalajon tr. from Filipino by Eunice Barbara C. Novio
Rene Boy Abiva tr. from Filipino by Eric Abalajon
Tilde Acuña tr. from Filipino by Kristine Ong Muslim
Vijae Orquia Alquisola tr. from Filipino by Kristine Ong Muslim
Roy Vadil Aragon tr. from Ilokano by J.L. Lazaga
Nap I. Arcilla III tr. from Filipino by Kristine Ong Muslim
Mesándel Virtusio Arguelles tr. from Filipino by Kristine Ong Muslim
Rommel Bonus tr. from Filipino by Carlomar Daoana
Marchiesal Bustamante tr. from Filipino by Kristine Ong Muslim
Kenneth Alvin L. Cinco tr. from Waray by Michael Carlo C. Villas
Kristian Sendon Cordero tr. from Bikol by Marne Kilates
Ton Daposala tr. from Cebuano by Zola Gonzalez-Macarambon
Gerome Nicolas Dela Peña tr. from Filipino by Kristoffer Aaron G. Tiña
Roma Estrada tr. from Filipino by Louise O. Lopez
Jenelyn V. Garcia tr. from Waray by Michael Carlo C. Villas
Sigrid Marianne Gayangos tr. from Chavacano by Floraime Oliveros Pantaleta
Jessrel Escaran Gilbuena tr. from Cebuano by John Bengan
Jerry B. Grácio tr. from Waray by Michael Carlo C. Villas
Paul Randy Gumanao tr. from Cebuano by Shane Carreon
Marlon Hacla tr. from Filipino by Kristine Ong Muslim
Vanessa Anne Joice T. Haro tr. from Filipino by Kristine Ong Muslim
Jeffrey Javier tr. from Cebuano by John Bengan
Maria Kristelle C. Jimenez tr. from Filipino by Marius D. Carlos, Jr.
Joshua Mari B. Lumbera tr. from Filipino by Kristoffer Aaron G. Tiña
Jae Mari D. Magdadaro tr. from Cebuano by Tiny Diapana
Melvin Clemente Magsanoc, self-translated from Ibaloy
Amado Anthony G. Mendoza III tr. from Filipino by Kristine Ong Muslim
Errol Merquita tr. from Cebuano by Kristine Ong Muslim
Gil Nambatac tr. from Cebuano by Adonis Ramos Enricuso
Jhio Jan Navarro tr. from Filipino by Kristine Ong Muslim
Kid Orit tr. from Filipino by RR Cagalingan
Nikka Osorio tr. from Filipino by John Bengan
Floraime Oliveros Pantaleta tr. from Chavacano by Sigrid Marianne Gayangos
MJ Rafal tr. from Filipino by Mel Matthew Doctor
Mahika Realismo tr. from Filipino by Alfonso Manalastas
Joseph de Luna Saguid tr. from Filipino by Kristine Ong Muslim
Christian Jay Salazar tr. from Filipino by Kristoffer Aaron G. Tiña
Mark Anthony S. Salvador tr. from Filipino by Eliza Victoria
Edgar Calabia Samar tr. from Filipino by Nicko Reginio Caluya
Louie Jon A. Sánchez, self-translated from Filipino
Arthur David San Juan tr. from Filipino by Ben Aguilar
Mark Anthony Simbajon tr. from Waray by Michael Carlo C. Villas
Orland Agustin Solis tr. from Hiligaynon by Eric Abalajon
Ariel Sotelo Tabág tr. from Ilokano by J.L. Lazaga
John Iremil Teodoro tr. from Kinaray-a by Marne Kilates
Rosmon Tuazon tr. from Filipino by Ben Aguilar
M.J. Cagumbay Tumamac tr. from Filipino by Kristine Ong Muslim
Enrique S. Villasis tr. from Filipino by Bernard Capinpin
Niccolo Rocamora Vitug, self-translated from Filipino


Danuta E. Kosk-Kosicka, editor of Loch Raven Review’s Poetry Translations section, asked me in October 2020 about the possibility of guest-editing a folio of poems originally written in Philippine languages that were not previously translated into English. I jumped at the opportunity, knowing that there was no literary journal issue or anthology in existence that covered the scale and range of what I had in mind for this.

I solicited from at least 50 translators and writers, ended up with a total of 49 short poems, along with their respective translations. This collection of short poems is the biggest so far, as well as the most ethnolinguistically diverse, single-issue release of translated Philippine poetry that is created specifically for and freely available to an international readership. Here and for the first time, nine languages (out of the 150+ languages in the Philippines) are represented—Bikol, Cebuano, Chavacano, Filipino, Hiligaynon, Ibaloy, Ilokano, Kinaray-a, and Waray.

Bikol and Ilokano are languages associated with the people in the northern regions of the Philippines. Chavacano, one of the numerous creole languages in the country, is usually spoken—and rarely exists in written form; the two Chavacano-language poems that you’ll read here are commissioned exclusively for this occasion. The same is true for the poem in Ibaloy, the dying language of indigenous people who are mostly scattered in various areas in northern Philippines. Also represented here are Cebuano, Hiligaynon, Kinaray-a, and Waray—all languages from the widely spoken Binisaya language group. Along with Filipino and English, the Binisaya languages are the most widely used languages in many parts of the Philippines. Someone, who grew up in or had spent time in the south, might be able to make sense of the Binisaya group of languages as these languages have commonalities in their lexicon. In my case, for example, having grown up in the south meant that languages will increasingly become unintelligible to me as I move north.

To better appreciate a literary production, it helps to look at the contingent material and historical circumstances surrounding it. Here, I will very briefly describe the extraordinarily charged environment around the creation of this multilingual installation and most of its components. It is assembled during a period when the Philippines, under Duterte, records its highest rate of unemployment in 15 years. That same period is also marked by the Duterte regime’s historically unprecedented corruption feats and ecologically destructive mega-construction projects on the ancestral lands of indigenous people. Throughout the Philippines, state forces regularly harass, arrest, or kill human rights defenders, environmental activists, indigenous people, farmers, fisherfolk, student activists, teachers, lawyers, unionized workers, and journalists.

The multilingual installation you are about to read does not necessarily talk about these things. Some poems reference our current local situation, but many don’t. I’m glad many don’t. It’s probably a reflection of how we—I and the numerous Filipino writers involved in this folio—consciously or unconsciously express our varying degrees of awareness of our shared destinies and shared futures, of how we are very much divided in ways that seem to unite us. It’s like that insistence on how we are all writing about the climate apocalypse—even if we don’t.

Many established Filipino writers and some of the country’s most accomplished literary translators have agreed to be in this folio. So are some of my favorite young voices—Floraime Oliveros Pantaleta, Joshua Mari B. Lumbera, Orland Agustin Solis, Sigrid Marianne Gayangos, and Vanessa Anne Joice T. Haro—they are all here with their new works gathered for the first time along with those of many other amazing Filipino writers. On the translation front, John Bengan, Michael Carlo C. Villas, Eric Abalajon, and Junley L. Lazaga, have helped me greatly.

Thank you again, Danuta E. Kosk-Kosicka and the staff of Loch Raven Review, for this honor.

Kristine Ong Muslim, Guest Editor

Eric Abalajon
Translated from Filipino by Eunice Barbara C. Novio

When the Earth Turns Purple

Vapor (Keith Sicat, 2018)

Hereafter, when the Earth turns  purple,
devoid of trees and animals
in stony paths to villages
Poison floats
amid the vast hundred-year- old mining fields.

It is hard to be a Biology teacher
in a time when planting is forbidden,
and the plants drawn on the board
are as convincing,
as a figment of one’s imagination
for students yearning for another planet.

As the boy drifts off to sleep,
he wishes to see a real turnip
bigger than his Grandfather’s drawing,
longing to see a Father who never grows old
even after ten years,

She has to leave Manila,
the dark and suffocating city,
to disprove the myth
of rebels thriving on solid ground.
A long trek with an unused gun
led to her sister
slowly creating a new world.

All stories of the past
are about the present.
All stories of the future
are about the present.

Kulay Lila Ang Mundo Sa Hinaharap

Pagkatapos ng Alimuom (Keith Sicat, 2018)

Kulay lila ang mundo sa hinaharap
walang mga puno, mga hayop
sa mabatong kanayunan.
Nakakalason na ang hangin
sa malawak at daantaong minahan

Mahirap maging guro ng biyolohiya
sa panahong bawal magtanim,
ang klase ay pagpapaunawa na
ang mga halaman sa pisara
ay hindi kathang-isip
sa mga estudyanteng sabik na mang ibang planeta.

Bago matulog ang kanyang anak,
humiling ito na sana makakita
ng totoong singkamas, lampas pa
sa dibuho ng kanyang lolo.
Humiling din ito na sana makita
ang kanyang ama, sampung
taon nang hindi tumatanda.

Kinailangan niyang lumabas ng Maynila,
lungsod na lalo lang dumilim at sumikip,
para mapatunayan ang mito
ng mga rebeldeng namumuhay sa lupa.
Pagtapos ng maglakad bitbit ang baril
na hindi naman magamit,
nakilala niya ang kanyang kapatid
dahan-dahang lumilikha ng bagong mundo.

Lahat ng kuwento ng nakaraan
ay tungkol sa kasalukuyan.
Lahat ng kuwento ng hinaharap
ay tungkol sa kasalukuyan.


Rene Boy E. Abiva
Translated from Filipino by Eric Abalajon


The radio announces
The arrival of Ambo
In the region of native
Waray and Bikolano,
And while I wait for
Him in the town of Sáro,
I soak my bile,
With warm and strong robusta
And as I remain seated,
I can’t keep myself from counting
In head how many will perish
Along with the breeze of San Leonardo
And the pages of Zhivago.


Balita sa radyo
Ang pagdating ni Ambo
Sa lupain ng mga labuyo
Na Waray at Bikolano,
At habang hinihintay ko
Siya sa bayan ni Sáro,
Mainit-matapang na barako
Ang ibinuhos ko sa aking apdo,
At habang ako’y nakaupo,
‘Di maiwasang bilangin ng aking ulo
Kung ilan pa ang mamamatay na tao
Sabay sa lawiswis ng hanging San Leonardo
At pahina ni Zhivago.


Tilde Acuña
Translated from Filipino by Kristine Ong Muslim


[sack][and also sack][at the][fourth sack][and sackfuls of harvested crops][deprived sack][purloined sack][sack of varying sizes][reason for the unequal distribution of harvested crops][a farm is a conjunction][a farm conjoins][a farm links peasants][the landlord’s farmland is a chain hoisted across the earth][for every patch of earth scratched and loosened by one, another pecks something off the ground][the latter’s gluttony reaches a nauseating level and would still continue to grab farmlands][sometimes, a sacada has had enough, give up and will take his chances in the city][will gamble with the violent city and then try his luck  in factories][will try his luck in minimum-wage factories][for every patch of earth scratched and loosened with nothing to be pecked off the ground, the memory of the farm beckons][sees street protests and ultimately gains resolve][goes to a bus terminal and heads home] [a farm is a conjunction][a farm seeks connection][theirs is coupled with farm][they own the tracts of farmland as well as the sack upon sack of harvested crops to be used for unhusked rice grains that will be poured in equal measures into [sack][sack][sack][sack][sack][it is in the solidarity of sectors that the farm transforms into a single  unifying clasp][later, the chains that bind and hold back down temporarily disappear


[sako][saka sako][ika-][apat na sako][saka saku-sakong ani][sakong ipinagkait][sakong inumit][sakong iba-iba ang laki][sanhi ng hindi magkapantay na hatian sa saka][pangatnig ang saka][nagdudugtong ang saka][kawing sa mga mag-uuma ang saka][tanikala sa lupa ang sakahan ng panginoon][sa kada kahig ng una isang tuka][sa katakawan ng huli sumusuka saka muling sasalakay sa mga sakahang kakamkamin][sakaling sumuko ang sinalantang sakada saka ito susuong sa siyudad][sa karahasan ng kalunsuran susugal saka sasabak sa pagawaan][sa kawalang-katiyakan sa pabrika salat ang sahod] [sa kada kahig walang tuka saka maiisip ang sakahan][sa kalye nasaksihan ang kilos-protesta saka nagpasya][sakayan pauwing sakahan ang agad na hinanap][pangatnig ang saka][nagdudugtong ang saka][kawing ng nila ang saka][sa kanila ang mga sakahan saka ang saku-sakong aning paghahatian nang pantay-pantay ang mga palay na [sako][sako][sako][sako]][sako][sa kapit-bisig na pagkakaisa ng mga sektor saka magiging kawing ang saka][sa kalaunan saka pansamantalang mawawala ang tanikala


Vijae Orquia Alquisola
Translated from Filipino by Kristine Ong Muslim

Magic Pack

If the moon should grant
my wish—
I want a magic pack.

A magic pack where I can fit
our house, our small farm.
But made portable, like a bucket of water.

A pack where I can keep safe
the forest, the farm and my playmates.
But none of them would get hurt and get jumbled up.

A pack that also contains
our dreams and experiences
so that everyone would know—our history.

A pack that sings when opened at night,
takes away the day’s exhaustion to ease me into sleep.
And briefly forget: Why? Why? Why have I been displaced?

Mahiwagang Balutan

Kung pagbibigyan ng buwan
ang aking kahilingan—
gusto ko’y mahiwagang balutan.

Balutan na puwede kong isilid
ang aming bahay, munting bukid.
Pero mas magaan, sa ‘sang timbang tubig.

Balutan na puwede kong itago
ang gubat, bukid at mga kalaro.
Pero ‘di maghahalo, ‘di maglalaho.

Balutan na puwede ring paglagyan
ng mga pangarap namin at karanasan
nang malaman ng lahat—aming kasaysayan.

Balutang ‘pag binuksan sa gabi ay umaawit,
pumapawi sa pagod para himbing na managinip.
At ‘di muna maisip: Bakit? Bakit? Bakit bakwit?


Roy Vadil Aragon
Translated from Ilokano by J.L. Lazaga


my body is my own
your own genitals are yours alone.

i am not your better-half
even if my feeling is your offspring.

i am the mother in the corner
on my own i bore in my womb

my freedom
that i gave birth to.

forever is not our child
even though you are the father.

your sperm is just your sperm
my heart is just my heart.

i am not alone
the placenta is my companion.


bagik ti bagik
bagim lat’ mabagbagim.

saannak a kapisi
uray putotmo ti riknak.

siak ti ina iti suli
insikogko a sisiak

ti inyanakko
a wayawayak.

ti agnanayon, saanta nga anak
uray pay sika ti ama.

kissitmo lat’ kissitmo
pusok lat’ pusok.

saanak nga agmaymaysa
kaduak ti kadkadua.


Nap I. Arcilla III
Translated from Filipino by Kristine Ong Muslim

Omen 1

The stranding of a hundred whales
is one obvious foreboding: a cataclysm
is imminent. Insinuating, intruding
in our souls is the smell
of brine and seawater that has grown rancid.
Are his palms open
to healing wounds? You should rinse it
with formaldehyde to prevent it
from festering. This is the myth
we find unbelievable: the curling into balls
of sea snakes, the surfacing
of flying fish that are pitch-black in color.
In other words, this is the end of the world.

A neighbor is praying
for a peaceful death; even
in death, we cannot get
the rest that we desire.
The sound of a cracked bell is strangely wonky.
The skies darken, the path is being cleared
by the Invading Wind of what’s to come.

Signos 1

Ang pagsadsad ng sandaang balyena
upang ilibing lamang sa baybayin
ay malinaw na pangitain: may pagkawasak
na matutupad. Nanunuot, nanghihimasok
sa aming mga kaluluwa ang amoy
ng malansa at nanlalansag na dagat.
Bukas ba ang kanyang mga palad
sa mga nagsasarang sugat? Diligan mo
ng pormaldehido upang mapigil
ang pamumukadkad. Narito ang mitong
ayaw nating paniwalaan: ang pagsasabola
ng mga ahas-dagat, ang paglitaw
ng mga timon-timong pusikit ang kulay.
Sa madaling sabi, ito ay pagkagunaw.

Isang kapitbahay ang nagdarasal
ng payapang kamatayan; maging
sa hukay, hindi maibibigay
ang pinakaninanais nating paghimlay.
Pundido ang tunog ng nagkabitak na bagting.
Kumukulimlim, hinahawan na ang daan
ng Hanging Dumagsa para sa paparating.


Mesándel Virtusio Arguelles
Translated from Filipino by Kristine Ong Muslim

twelve clay birds

I created
twelve clay birds at the riverbank

but the elders were not too pleased with them
so I told them to just fly away
and to remember me right after

they flew away with the memory
of the child they had left alone
among ordinary children

labindalawang ibong luwad

lumikha ako
ng labindalawang ibong luwad sa tabing-ilog

ngunit hindi ito naibigan ng matatanda
kaya inutusan ko na lamang silang lumipad
at alalahanin ako iglap

lumipad sila palayong inaalala
ang batang naiwan nilang mag-isa
sa piling ng mga karaniwang bata


Rommel Bonus
Translated from Filipino by Carlomar Daoana

I Seldom Write Poems About Love

I seldom write poems
About love
Since, in the plenitude
Of what has already been written,
What are my words
If not pinched exhalations in the void.
What are my words
If not a mere blip of an attempt
In the expansive truth that lies in you.

That’s why in the multitude
Of poems that have already been written
(Including this, if it’s indeed a poem),
I have yet to find what equals you,
You whose ongoingness breaches
Into what can never be named.

Di Ako Madalas Magsulat ng Tulang Tungkol sa Pag-ibig

Di ako madalas magsulat ng tulang
Tungkol sa pag-ibig
Sa dinami-dami ba naman
Ng mga naisulat na,
Ano ang mga salita ko
Kundi singaw ng impit sa kawalan.
Ano ang mga salita ko
Kundi ‘sang tuldok na tangka
Sa kalawakan ng katotohanan mo.

Kaya sa dinami-dami
ng mga tulang naisulat na
(kabilang na ito kung tula man),
Di pa ako nakakahanap ng mga tutumbas sa iyo
Giliw kong ang pag-iral ay umaalpas
Sa di kailanman makakapang talinghaga.


Marchiesal Bustamante
Translated from Filipino by Kristine Ong Muslim


Each time you clear away your lingering doubts
inside a room filled with things that you do not own,

you overlook what is urgent and necessary.
An open window is the blindfold for the sleepless ones

in an ancient house. You will be drawn to the newness
of the antique, that stranger from another era.

You will once again stow away the vases in a box.
You will cover the huge mirror with a blanket,

even yourself sitting before the piano
that you are willing to sell for cheap.

It won’t bother you at all.
You’ve already decided to leave nothing behind.


Sa tuwing nagliligpit ka ng mga alinlangan
sa silid ng mga hindi mo pag-aari,

nalilimutan mo ang mga dapat unahin.
Bukas na bintana ang piring ng dumidilat

sa lumang bahay. Aantig sa iyo ang bago
sa antigo, ang hindi mo kilala sa ibang panahon.

Ikakahon mong muli ang mga plorera.
Tatabunan ng kumot ang malalaking salamin,

ang sariling nakaupo sa harap ng piyanong
handa mo nang ipagbili sa murang halaga.

Hindi ka man lang makokonsensiya.
Sa isip mo, wala kang dapat itira.


Kenneth Alvin Cinco
Translated from Waray by Michael Carlo C. Villas

Cannot Cross Because of Covid

One day passed.
Then two weeks,
three months

without your kiss,
your touch,
your gaze.

They say
this infectious
and deadly
consumes the lungs.

Perhaps because they haven’t been through
a terrible flu
from aching, quiet longings.

Diri Makatabok Dara Hinin Kobid

Naglabay an usa ka adlaw
Duha ka semana
Tulo ka bulan,

Nga waray ha imo harok
waray kapot
o bisan siplat.

Nasiring hira
Mabug-on ha dughan
Ngan makamaratay
Inin nananapon yana
Nga balatian

Waray pa ada hira mag-agi
Hin makarimadima nga tukwaw
Tungod hinin kamingaw.


Kristian Sendon Cordero
Translated from Bikol by Marne Kilates

The Sorrow of Ancient Fire

It was the ancient love for fire seared the hearts of the first humans—
In the middle of kindling they found each other. Inside a cave
was born all sense of belonging.
Outside, tiger and bull gave chase, a python snapped up a mouse
and butterflies were starting to open their wings
like flowers: yellow, white, glistening black, beneath the graying sky.

The ancient love for fire was not a new religion brought to us
by muscular foreigners. The sun has long been worshipped in the old realm—
its heat suffused the breast: and the heart ripened.
The seed in the seedling was buried to slumber under the fragrant earth,
filling the world with the seven colors of the rainbow; words were
silent cries, understood like water slaking a dry throat.

The ancient love for fire enters the consciousness, flesh to flesh,
blood to blood. If all the light of the ancient fire fades and we are devoured
by the harshest worries—Hush, for in the middle of the whole wide world
someone will light a cigar and console himself, collecting all
the memories, putting down the saddest lyrics
of the people before the volcano exuding slow deliquescent fire
from its full erect peak.

An Kapung’awan Kan Suanoy Na Kalayo

An suanoy na pagkamoot sa kalayo an nagdangdang sa puso kan enot na mga tawo—
Sa tahaw kan amak, nahiling an kasaro. Sa laog kan madiklom na kuweba,
namundag si pinunan kan gabos na pag-iriba.
Mantang sa luwas, may nagbuburukudan na tigre asin toro, tinukob kan sawa an kino
dangan igwang mga alibangbang na nagpupuon nang ibuk’ad an saindang mga pakpak
gari burak: amarilyo, puti, makintab na itum, sa irarom kan dag’um.

An suanoy na pagkamoot sa kalayo bakong bagong relihiyon na dinara sa satuya
kan mga poderosong dayo. An saldang pigrorokyaw na kan enot na banwa—
an init kaini minasagom sa daghan: hinog na puso.
An tu’lang kan banhi pigpapananok sa kairaruman kan mahamoton na dagà,
pigpapanò an kinaban kan pitong kolor kan balangaw; toninong na suriyaw
an mga tataramon, nasasabotan siring sa dampi kan tubig sa alang na halunahan.

An suanoy na pagkamoot sa kalayo nagtutulod sa pagmangno, hawak sa hawak,
dugo sa dugo. Kun mapara an gabos na liwanag kan suanoy na kalayo buda kakanon
na kita kan makuring paghadit— Hare, sana, ta sa katahawan kan kinaban,
may solo-solong nagpapatda nin tabako, nag-aaling-aling kan sadiri, pigsusuysuy
an gabos na rekwerdo buda sinusurat an mga mapung’awon, maludokon na liriko
kan tawo sa atubangan kan bulkan na nagdadalihig an naglalanubig na kalayo
gikan sa mapanason, la’togon, kaining nguso.


Ton Daposala
Translated from Cebuano by Zola Gonzalez-Macarambon


The sound of time is metal,
those days when you took my coins
for every time you caught
my tongue in Visayan.

Five pesos in English class,
four in Filipino. Of everything
taught, I learned for certain only the
laughs, the taunts, and juvenile jeers.

How much could you have gathered
in ten years of collecting
fines? There’s no measuring
the silenced sounds
offered up to foreignness.

Ma’am, Sir, if only I could stand
by your tombs.
I will unsettle your rest
with pinched lyrics, even when

you could never take back your words
and undo what was done and gifted to
this tongue, becoming steadily faltered


Mitagingting ang panahon
nga paninglan ko ninyog sinsilyo,
matag higayon nga nasapnan
nga ga-Binisaya.

Singko pesos sa English sabdyek,
kuwatro sa Pilipino. Unya sa tanang
nakat-onan, nagpabilin ang mga agik-ik,
libak, ug pagsungog sa akong kaklase.

Pila na kaha inyong natigom
sa napulo ka tuig sa pagtuman
nianang multaha? Dili na matantiya
ang hagawhaw nga gipahilom—
gitugyan sa pagkalangyaw.

Ma’am, Sir, mayta makaatubang
ko diha sa inyong lubnganan.
Tugawon ko ang inyong kahilom
og mga ping-it nga balak, bisag tuod

din-a mabawi ang inyong gisakmit.
Ug tanang naandan ug gibahandi
ining dila, nag-anam og kayungit.


Gerome Nicolas Dela Peña
Translated from Filipino by Kristoffer Aaron G. Tiña


Someday, someone will explore
the world to search for the last
trace of our humanity: hands
wont to soil, ears to the whisper
of the wind, eyes stranger
to charm, feet not distant
from goal, and tongue innocuous
to duty. Will soar
only with the decree of sentiment.
Will break loose from bondage.
The sparkling beam will learn
to look up and be looked up to—will reject
the fabricated light; will live
outside the fantasy that desires
an existence merely measurable
through number of friends, in the name of virtual
connection. A world despite being
revered, enshrined, exalted—shall eventually
melt as soon as two
arms converge; decided
to go afar.

The world is not on the tip of our fingers.
The universe is not on the tip of our fingers.


Balang-araw, may isang gagalugad
sa mundo upang hanapin ang pinakahuling
bakás ng ating pagkatao: kamay
na sanáy sa lupa, tainga sa bulong
ng hangin, matang estranghero
sa humaling, paang ‘di layò
ang tunguhin, at dilang ‘di manira
ang tungkulin. Paiimbulog
sa itinatakda lámang ng damdamin.
Huhulagpos sa pagkaalipin.
Matututong tumingala’t tingalain
ang nangniningning na sinag—itatatwa
ang artipisyal na liwanag; mabubuhay
sa labas ng pantasyang ang hangad
na eksistensiya’y tanging masusukat
sa dami ng kaibigan, sa ngalan ng birtuwal
na ugnayan. Daigdig na kahit na anong pilit
sambahin, idambana, dakilain—malulusaw
at malulusaw pa rin kapag may dalawang
bisig na nagkatagpo; nagpasyang

Wala sa dulo ng daliri natin ang kalibutan.
Wala sa dulo ng daliri natin ang sanlibutan.


Roma Estrada
Translated from Filipino by Louise O. Lopez

Training Wheels

You could’ve saved up on tricycle fare on your way to school and back, could’ve bought extra snacks from that money you saved.

You wouldn’t have always arrived so late to your classes. If you didn’t arrive late, rain-drenched, to your class that morning, you wouldn’t have decided not to come to class ever again, allowed yourself to drown in bouts of depression.

All these, you said, only if you had learned to ride the bike when you were younger. How can such a tiny detail change the entire course of a life?

Here, under the shade of the avocado tree, gleams your desire to return and wander your little town surrounded by mountains, to pedal your way to your father’s hillside grave.

Pedal, balance, pedal. Do not hurry to mount the other feet. Look at the road, not at the handles. Put your weight on the seat, not on your hands.

On the sidewalk, grinning, the workers sip their coffee. Their breakfast is your flailing, perhaps remembering themselves trying.

Behind you, I watch the short distances you’ve covered, gaze at the roads you’ll learn to love in the days to come.


Nakatipid ka sana sa pamasahe papunta at pauwi mula paaralan, naipambili ng meryenda ang naipong pera.

Hindi ka sana laging nahúhuli noon sa iyong mga klase. Kung hindi ka nahulí at naulanan noong umagang iyon, hindi ka sana nagpasyang huwag nang pumasok muli at magpakalunod na lamang sa bisyo ng depresyon.

Ang mga ito, sabi mo, kung mas maaga kang natútong magbisikleta. Paanong nababago ng ganito kaliit na detalye ang buong disenyo ng búhay?

Dito sa lilim ng puno ng avocado, sumisinag ang pagnanais mong bumalik at libutin ang munti mong bayáng napaliligiran ng mga bundok, magpedál papunta sa puntod ng iyong ama doon sa may buról.

Padyak, balanse, padyak. Huwag madaliing isampa ang kasunod na paa. Tumingin sa pupuntahan, hindi sa manibela. Ituon ang bigat sa upuan, hindi sa mga kamay.

Sa may gilid, nakangisi ang mga trabahanteng humihigop ng kape. Almusal nila ang iyong paggewang-gewang, marahil naaalala ang mga naging sariling pagtatangka.

Sa iyong likuran, akong nakasubaybay sa maiiksing distansiyang unti-unti mong nararating, akong nakatanaw sa mga daáng magsisimula mong ibigin sa mga susunod na araw.


Jenelyn V. Garcia
Translated from Waray by Michael Carlo C. Villas


[T]here are now a total of 81,169 HIV and AIDS cases reported from January 1984 to October 2020. —Department of Health HIV/AIDS and ART Registry of the Philippines

I want to delete our Manila photo album.
Some of my friends say
we made good selfies
the last time we were together.
How he hugged me tight
I could still smell the aftershave cream
he took from me.
Tara, I won’t delete any of this.
Don’t care who sees.

Thirty thousand messages
from him to me, and from me to him
I’d love reading them one by one.
No, I won’t delete any of these.
Who cares who’ll read?
Don’t give a hoot even if Mother reads them.

Enough are these lists
of passwords, ATM pins,
life insurance details.
I won’t delete those in my contacts
especially his number, no.
I couldn’t care less whom they call.
I couldn’t care less even if Father calls them all.

I want to sleep at last.
He’d gone ahead of me anyway.
My body is tired
of all the revolting, all the fighting.
I hope when I wake
we will be together still.
Damn all their threats.
Damn all their scorn.


[T]here are now a total of 81,169 HIV and AIDS cases reported from January 1984 to October 2020. —Department of Health HIV/AIDS and ART Registry of the Philippines

Ig-delete ko daw an album namon ha Manila
Siring han akon iba nga kasangkayan
Kamag-upay la hit amon mga selfie
Dida hiton nga amon urhi nga pagkita
Kahuhugot han iya hangkop ha ak
Nahahamutan ko pa an ak aftershave cream
Nga gin-arbor niya ha akon
Tara, di ko gud man it hira igdi-delete
Baga saho ha makakita

Traynta mil an messages
Niya ha akon, ngan akon ha iya
Kaupay la basahon usa-usa
Diri ko it hira ig-didelete
Baga saho, bisan hin-o pa it makabasa
Bagsa saho, bisan pa daw hi Nanay an bumasa

Sakto na ini nga listahan ha notes
Hin passwords, pin hit akon ATM
Details hit ak life insurance
Diri ko la igdi-delete it aada ha contacts
Labaw nga diri ko igdi-delete it iya numero
Baga saho, bisan pa daw hin-o it ira tawagan
Baga saho, bis pa daw hi Tatay it manawag

Makaturog na gihap ako
Umuna naman ngani hiya
Ginkakapoy na it ak lawas
Ha pakigbisog, ha pag-ato
Kunta pagmata ko
Upod la gihap kami
Baga saho ha tanan nga tarhog
Baga saho ha tanan nga tamay


Sigrid Marianne Gayangos
Translated from Chavacano by Floraime Oliveros Pantaleta

When I was searching for the words

Where do my words come from, the very first words? Sometimes, I am able to dream in all these different languages without understanding them. Where did those words go? I try to dig up in my jeans; the folds of its pockets hang outward like a tongue in dormant rest. I try to call these languages back, like an equestrian calling forth and gathering her horses in a stable. I found them in secluded saunter among a tall assembly of trees—I found some of them seated beside a tortoise old and wise; the others have begun to scurry, escaping. I tried to take silent strides towards them, sat soundless nearby. Tonight, I will learn to make fire without the use of a match. This light shall devour the darkness, until they return to me, these words; until they’re doubtless to dwell in my tongue, these horses and the wise, old tortoise.

Cuando ya busca yo con el maga palabra

Onde estaba el de mio mga palabra, el maga primero palabra? Tiene vez ta puede yo suña na otro-otro lenguaje sin entendemiento. Onde ya anda el maga palabra? Ta pricura yo busca na bolsa del di miyo pantalon, el adentro de bolsa tan laylay pa apuera como lengua ta descansa. Ta pricura yo llama con el maga lenguaje para bira con migo, como un caballero ta llama y ajunta de suyo maga caballo. Ya incuntra yo kanila como ya anda pasea na un lugar que manada pono—el otro ta sinta na costao del viejo tortuga, el otro ta principia ya corre para escapa. Hinay-hinay yo ya atraca, calmao ya sinta cerca kanila.  Esta noche, aprende yo hace fuego sin usar posporo. Este luz amo come con el oscuridad, hasta bira con migo el maga perdido palabra, hasta gendeh ya man alang-alang junto queda na di miyo lengua el maga caballo y viejo tortuga.


Jessrel Escaran Gilbuena
Translated from Cebuano by John Bengan

New Afternoon

Though Covid-19 is proving to be deadly for us humans, it has an unintended beneficiary too—the earth. As cities see bluer skies and clearer water, most people are united in their belief that our planet is getting a much deserved rest.
—Rajith Menon, Deccan Herald (March 26, 2020)

One new afternoon
a child is summoned,
asked to return to their house.

His mother wants to put him to sleep
with a tap, or perhaps
a threat: a child who doesn’t

sleep, rest, quiet down,
won’t grow, won’t thrive
and wont progress.

A child is a child.
He will say that he wants
to play outside,

scream, waken the silence
of the coconut grove, shatter
the calm waters and the sea.

So his mother is tired.
From the long night and early
morning preparing

for a life, she says
to the child: stay put, go to sleep.
Because if the child isn’t yet tired,

she, even for a moment, needs
to fall asleep,
to rest.

Bag-ong hapon

Though Covid-19 is proving to be deadly for us humans, it has an unintended beneficiary too—the earth. As cities see bluer skies and clearer water, most people are united in their belief that our planet is getting a much deserved rest.
—Rajith Menon, Deccan Herald (March 26, 2020)

Usa ka bag-ong hapon
ang usa ka bata tawgon,
paulion sa ilang balay.

Pakatulgon siya sa iyang inahan
pinaagi sa usa ka pikpik, o bisan
usa ka hulga: ang dili kahibawng

matulog, mopahuway, mohilom,
dili motubo, dili molambo
ug matapos nga bata.

Ang bata usa ka bata.
Moingon siya nga ganahan
pa siyang magduwa sa gawas,

mosinggit, mopukaw sa kahilom
sa kalubian, mopusgay
sa kalma sa tubig ug dagat.

Busa gikapoy na iyang nanay,
Gikan sa taas nga gabii ug sayo
nga buntag sa pagpangandam

alang sa kinabuhi, moingon siya
sa bata: pagpuyo na, tulog sa.
Kay kon ang bata wala pa kapoya,

siya kinahanglan, bisan
sa makadiyot, matagpilaw,


Jerry B. Grácio
Translated from Waray by Michael Carlo C. Villas


When he took off his shirt, I saw
his nipples amid his round chest
like small peanuts

sprouting from his bronze skin.
I suddenly recalled
the peak of the mountain we hiked.

Night. I do not know why
it’s the night I see
when I remember this;

or what peanuts had to do with it.
Chew on it, he says. I did not hasten
to him, watching his body

blaze in the dark.
I wonder why
it was dark when this happened in daylight.

Must have things mixed up.
Drawing near him, I nibble tiny peanuts.
Everything else is a blur

except the shore in Baybay, Papay’s crops
of peanuts and taro, the darkness
that suddenly rushed in the space between our bodies.

I tasted his salted life.
His chest belongs to him no more—
all of it, now in my tongue.


Paghuba sa t-shirt, naimdan ko an iya
mga utong sa butnga san durudako
nga dughan, malí digtoy nga mani

nga tinudok sa iya nag-iinggat nga panit.
Tigda ko nahinumdom an pungkay
Sa bukid nga ginsasagka namon.

Gab-i. Ambot kun nano kay gab-i
an akon nahihinumdom
kun nahihinumduman ko ini;

ambot kun nano an lábot san mani.
Kagata, bagaw niya. Waray ak’ dayon
pagdapit, gin-iimdan an iya lawas

nga naidlap sa kasisidman.
Nalilipong na ako kun nano
kay masirom, kay aga man ini nahitabo.

Nagburubalyo na an inagi, pamaagi.
Pagharani, kinagat ko an guti nga mani.
Waray na ak’ iba nga hinumduman

kundi an baybay sa Baybay, an tanom
ni Papay nga mani ug gaway, an sirom
nga tigda inagi sa butnga san am’ kalawasan.

Natadihan ko an maasin niya nga kinabuhi.
Dire na kanya an iya dughan yana—
tanan, adi na sa ak’ dila.


Paul Randy Gumanao
Translated from Cebuano by Shane Carreon

Dyan, swing!

Swing of the ceaseless moving,
of the ceaseless calling on of origins.
Every crossing over and reaching the ledge
where your dreams are caught,
your key to swinging faster, moving farther
is your oscillating back from where you came.
Take your share of our and their dreams
without letting go your hold on the swing.
Keep courage. Remember,
knotted to the steadfast posts are the ropes
of your swing and with you, the wind
and sunbeams on this day of your birth.

Dyan, duyan!

Duyan sa way kinutobang pagtabyog,
sa way kinutobang pagduaw sa kagikan.
Matag tabok ngadtos pikas pangpang
diin nasang-it ang imong mga damgo,
yawe sa mas paspas ug mas halayong tabyog
ang imong pagpanukad-balik sa gigikanan.
Sakmita ang imong bahin sa ato ug ilang pangandoy
apan ayaw’g buhii sa pikas kamot ang duyan.
Ug ayaw kawalag kaisog. Hinumdomi,
nahigot sa duha ka lig-ong poste ang mga pisi
sa duyan ug kuyog mo ang hangin
ug ang mga bidlisiw karon sa adlaw mong natawhan.


Marlon Hacla
Translated from Filipino by Kristine Ong Muslim

Diorama #54

He pulled the pin
From a grenade and lobbed it as far away
As he could. 1942.
A safety seal in the general’s mind
Was the gushing blood.
Before this, mingled with air
Was the exploding weaponry. Telescopic sights
Scoped out fallen bodies and death summoned
The blowflies. The grenade finally landed
But was useless at this point
Because there was no one else left to kill.
No matter how thunderous the blasts,
The general could hear nothing.
The silence of the subdued dead was deafening.
From the gaping mouths of cannons
Came fleeing souls, disembodied from their bodies.
This scene was unbroken stillness.
There are angels walking the stilled fields.

Diorama #54

Hinugot niya ang karayom
Ng granada at inihagis sa naabot
Ng kaniyang lakas. 1942.
Kontraselyo sa isip ng heneral
Ang pumupulandit na dugo.
Bago ito, nakipagtalik sa hangin
Ang mga baril. Sinilip sa teleskopyo
Ang mga katawan at tinawag ng kamatayan
Ang mga langaw. Bumagsak ang granada
Ngunit wala na itong saysay
Dahil wala nang ibang mamamatay kundi siya.
Gaano man kalakas ang dagundong,
Wala nang naririnig ang heneral.
Nakabibingi ang pagkapipi ng mga patay.
Sa mga bukas na bibig ng mga kanyon,
May mga humuhulagpos na kaluluwa.
Ang tagpong ito ay katahimikan.
May mga dumadaang anghel sa natapos na parang.


Vanessa Anne Joice T. Haro
Translated from Filipino by Kristine Ong Muslim

no permanent address

We always find ourselves fleeing from the random certainty of disasters.
At first I thought it was only natural to be rolling up
The grinding bits of one’s own wretched life.
That haphazard stashing away of kitchen utensils and dipping pails
Into the same box.
That mad dash to pluck away clothes
That have been laid out to dry over the balustrade.
No longer is there any way for me to tell between
My fear of staying in one place and my fear of walking away.
Or, dampening my fear each time I have no choice but to walk away.
If there is one thing I learned from this familiar cycle, it is likely this:
Home is the neverending
Graceful shifting of the ones left behind.

no permanent address

Palagi kaming lumilikas mula sa hindi tiyak na sakuna.
Akala ko noong una, likas ang pag-iimpake
Ng sari-sariling lungkot.
Ang paghahakot ng mga kubyertos at tabo
Sa iisang kahon.
Ang pagmamadaling abutin ang mga damit
Na nakasampay sa baluster ng hagdan.
Hindi ko na maunawaan ang pagkakaiba ng
Kaba ng paghimpil sa kaba ng paglisan.
O ang paghimpil ng kaba tuwing lilisan.
Kung may naunawaan man ako ay ito:
Ang tahanan ay walang katapusang
Paggagayak ng mga naiwan.


Jeffrey Javier
Translated from Cebuano by John Bengan

Library of A Loneliness Waiting

Folds and creases cover the leaves
of books that you sent to me

from different strange
corners of the world. They are heavy

in my hand, the margins
are empty, and the words

are without markings. No jottings
or scribbles even though

your handwriting left an imprint when I tilt
the pages under the light.

No other mark as arresting,
a sea of words

that looms and brims
with the possibility of untangling

and conception. Is this a map
of a hidden treasure that only the fold

in the corners could decode?
What are the signs of knowing

that I am in the right place
and you did not stray from me?

Each line has its own silence
while I am alone waiting

for letters that did not arrive…

Bibliyoteka sa Nagpaabot Nga Kamingaw

Puno og pilo ug kum-os ang dahon
sa mga libro nga imong gipadala nako

gikan sa nagkalahi-lahi nga langyaw
nga mga dapit sa kalibotan. Bug-at sila

sa akong mga kamot, haw-ang
ang mga ngilit-ngilit, ug wala’y badlis

ang mga pulong. Wala’y sulat
o patik-patik bisan naglakra

ang imong agi kon ipatakilid nako
ang mga panid ilalom sa suga.

Wala’y laing mabihagong marka,
usa ka kalaworan sa mga palabra

nga nagbuntaog ug puno
og kahimoan sa pagbadbad

ug pagsabot. Usa ba kini ka mapa
sa tinagoang bahandi nga ang tiklop ra

sa mga kanto ang makasabot?
Unsa ang mga timala sa pagkahibalo

nga naa ko sa tukma nga dapit
ug ikaw wala nagpasaag nako?

Matag linya naa’y kinaiyahang kahilom
samtang ako bugtong naghulat

sa mga koreyong wala ning-abot…


Maria Kristelle C. Jimenez
Translated from Filipino by Marius D. Carlos, Jr.

The Diwata in Limbo

I found her in the forest
wrapped in roots of unbelievable
loneliness. She lay there, cradled by [my]
………………grief, upon vines of tears.

I cultivated poems for her,
………………during the time that I realized
………………the meaning of growth
………………………………..in the art of remembering.

I relinquished everything to the land,
all the traces of my palavers with the diwata 
………………in the limbo of praxis; of would-be poets.
………………Unsure if it was in the forest

where I would find the entrusted
seeds. I searched the unhewn
………………………………path—where the answers
………………were probably created. Why then do I need
………………to water our eyes
………………with tears of uncertainty?

May Diwata sa Limbo

natagpuan ko siya sa kagubatang
ibinalot sa mga ugat ng di-mabungkal na
hapis. Naroon siya’t idinuduyan ang [aking]
………………lumbay sa baging ng pagtangis.

Ipinagtanim ko siya ng mga tula,
………………sa panahong napagtagni ko na
…………./….ang kahulugan sa pagpapalago—
……………………………….sa sining ng pag-alala.

Ipinauubaya ko na lamang sa lupa,
ang bakas ng pagtatagpo ng diwata
……………..sa limbo ng praxis; ng tila makata.
……………..Hindi matiyak kung sa kagubatan

matatagpuan ang ipinagkatiwalang
punla. Ginagalugad ko pa rin ang masukal na
……………………………….daan—kung saan marahil ay nalikha
……………..ang kasagutan. Bakit nga ba kailangang
……………..diligan sa agam-agam na luha
……………..ang ating mga mata?


Joshua Mari B. Lumbera
Translated from Filipino by Kristoffer Aaron G. Tiña


Sometimes, the shadow dissociates
when exhausted eyes are submerged in dreaming.
It will go home,
return to life.

He will arrive in the room
of his spouse and child locked in embrace,
who succumbed to sleep while awaiting his return.

He will kiss his wife’s cheek, his child’s forehead.
He will cover them with a blanket before leaving the room.
Gently he will close the door
and return to his body
before it rouses and wakes.

Tomorrow, late at night, he will visit again.


Kung minsan, humihiwalay ang anino
kapag malalim na ang panaginip ng pagod na mga mata.
Uuwi ito sa sariling tahanan,
babalik sa sariling buhay.

Madaratnan sa loob ng kanilang kwarto
ang magkayapos na kaniyang mag-ina,
nakatulog na sa paghihintay niyang bumalik.

Hahalikan niya ang asawa sa pisngi, ang anak sa noo.
Kukumutan ang dalawa bago muling lumabas ng silid.
Dahan-dahang isasara ang pinto
at muling babalik sa katawan
bago pa ito maalimpungatan at magising.

Bukas, kung malalim ulit ang gabi, muli siyang bibisita.


Jae Mari D. Magdadaro
Translated from Cebuano by Tiny Diapana


I used to hate wearing uniforms
because, really, they were a bother
you’d still have to iron and then underneath
you’d have to wear shorts.
But when we became classmates
my view began to change
when it came to wearing skirts.

With skirts, the letters wouldn’t show
the ones that I hid for you.
No one would know that I’ve already tucked
two sandwiches inside my shorts
just for me and you.

Most of all, there wouldn’t be a need to conceal
the love we have for each other, because of the skirts
that we wear and unfurl on us both.


Kaniadto, dili ko ganahan mag-uniform
kay lagee hasol, mag-utaw pa,
unya magsapaw pa gyod ug shorts.
Apan kadtong nagka-classmates ta,
nausab ang akong panglantaw
sa pagsul-ob ug sayal.

Kay sa sayal, dili makit-an ang mga suwat
nga gitagoan ko alang kanimo.
Dili mahibaw-an nga gisulod ko na diay
sa sapaw nga shorts ang duha ka sandwhiches
alang kanatong duha.

Ug labaw sa tanan, dili na kinahanglang manapo
ang gugma ta sa usag-usa, tungod sa mga sayal
nga gisul-ob ug gipakayab natong duha.


Melvin Clemente Magsanoc
Self-translated from Ibaloy

For Our Father On His 60th Birthday

(A Ba-diw – an Ibaloy Chant)

Lord our Creator
Great is our gratefulness
That our Father reached
The age of sixty
And still healthy

Bless him Lord
With strength and life
Uphill, downhill are the roads
Increase his wisdom
Even when the winds blow hard

Our Merciful Lord
Patience, diligence, and love
Resilience in time of typhoons
To open the eyes every morning
And to be far from hardships and poverty

Bless him Lord
Add more to his white hairs
And give him grandchildren
All these we pray
All these we earnestly pray.

Para Son Tatangmin Seniorma

(Sakey Ja Ba-diw)

Apomin Emarsowa
Ebadeg iyamanmi
Ja sinbi nen Tatangmi
Enem’ma polon tawen
Ja esalun-at paylaeng

Bendisyonim ga Apo
Ni kedsang tan karadkad
Tiyed shalong meekad
Da-toim pay i nemnem
Angken marekerekem

Apon Manangaasi
Anos, sedo, tan semek
Malagsha angken powek
Enagsapen unbigat
Tan aravi she digat

Bendisyonim ga Apo
Eshomim pay ubanto
Aknim pay ni apappo
Hajay iray shawatmi
Shawashawatmin pilmi.


Amado Anthony G. Mendoza III
Translated from Filipino by Kristine Ong Muslim


Always swayed by sayings
rooted in history
are those moments that already span a lifetime
for us transient observers.

This is the reason
for the frequent failures
at the outset of exhortations
that are based on
clusters of words
and ideas that define redemption

and so, in order to begin
freeing the rag-tag captive parts of my emergent beginnings
from their cage of words
I would have to muffle
all the words
that might set off
yet another beginning
taking off from this poem that also struggles
against all possible iterations
in the listless wake of citing, quoting, and posterity.


Laging nilalagom ng mga pahayag
na makasaysayan
ang mga sandaling habambuhay
na para sa ating mga tagatanghod.

Ito ang dahilan
kung bakit madalas mabigo
ang mga simulaing
sinisimulan nang dahil sa
pumpon ng mga salita
at ideya ng pagkatubos

kaya naman para magsimula
nang lumaya ang mga simulain
mula sa piitan ng mga salita
nais kong ikulong
ang lahat ng salita
na maaaring maging mitsa
ng anumang simulain
sa tulang ito na nagpupumiglas din
sa lahat ng iterasyon
ng pagsisipi at posteridad.


Errol A. Merquita
Translated from Cebuano by Kristine Ong Muslim

Marawi is for Marawi

The people of ranao are not fish
for trapping and transporting
to a lake, sea or another

Not written in water
are people’s names
that can be subjected to erasure during summers
and allowed to emerge again with the rainy season.

Their lands are not poems
that can be divided or cut
based on the clarity of measure and rhyme

The people, names, lands
of Marawi are for Marawi.

Ang Marawi ay sa Marawi

Dili isda ang mga tawo sa ranao
Nga mamahimong lit-agon ug ibalhin
sa suba,  sa dagat o sa laing

Wala nakasuwat sa tubig
ang ilang ngalan
nga mapapha kon tag-init
og mobalik kon tag-ulan

Dili balak ang ilang yuta
nga mamahimo rang bahinon o putlon
sigon sa kahapsay sa sukod o garay

Ang tao, ngalan, yuta,
sa Marawi kay sa Marawi.


Gil Nambatac
Translated from Cebuano by Adonis Ramos Enricuso

Ka Idlas

Millions have clamored for your death
A call you turned into daily sustenance.
But who would not wish you ill, Ka Idlas
When despite the command of battalions
Your fall remains a mission all bound to fail?

What sort of amulet is it
That dangles from the strap around your waist
That makes each bullet shoot past your flesh?

Was it the eagle’s eye, the utter sharpness
Your mother envisioned you to possess
That at the close of day still you would see
The advancing troop of evil?

I waded through the thick forest
I crawled my way through the cave
I climbed the mountains
And saw you were aptly named.

When I reached this hilltop
In the middle of a place unknown
Overlooking the town, the country
From where your honorable hunters came
Here it entered my mind—
The indomitable magic of your might:

Like the twinkling stars
Like the glints of the wavering red flags
In this same town, the same country
From where your honorable hunters came.

Long live, Ka Idlas!
Accept this offering of mine:
A hammer and a sickle
For our long-dreamt freedom.

Ka Idlas

Milyon na ang gapanawagan sa imong kamtayon
Morag samang panawagan sad ang imong nahimong pagkaon.
Daw kinsa may dili maulit kanimo, Ka Idlas,
Nga pila na kabatalyon nga gipadala
Taman ras damgo ang imong pagkapukan.

Unsa may matang sa anting-anting
Ang ginalikos nimo sa imong hawak?
Nga ang bala igo raman molahos sa imong lawas.

Gilihian ba sa matas agila
Kanang imong panan-aw?
Nga sa pagtak-op sa kahayag, makita man gihapon nimo
Ang gapadulong nga pulotong sa kadaot.

Gilugsong nako ang mga lasang.
Gikamang ang mga kuweba.
Gisaka ang kabukiran.
Imo gyod gibarogan ang ngalang gigasa kanimo.

Hangtod naabot ko kining bungtod
Sa ambot asa na ning dapita
Ug makita ang tibuok lungsod ug probinsiya
Diin gikan ang gapangita sa imong ulo.
Didto mingsantop sa akong hunahuna
Ang tinubdan sa imong gahom:

Morag bituon gakislap-kislap
Ang mga pulang bandilag banderitas
Sa samang lungsod ug probinsiya
Diin gikan ang gapangita sa imong ulo.

Mabuhi ka, Ka Idlas!
Dawata kining akong halad:
Usa ka masog sanggot
Alang sa atong kaluwasan.


Jhio Jan A. Navarro
Translated from Filipino by Kristine Ong Muslim


Redemption of flesh
each time it insinuates itself
in the undersides of fingernails and toenails
during mornings when one believes
something can be saved from the gap between
the ruins, the smoke and dance of airborne embers.

Redemption of soul
each time it is sanctified with holy water
and is used to trace a cross on the forehead
during the first day of Lent.

As rainbow is to the aftermath of the rain,
Ash is to fire in the after-blaze.


Kaligtasan ng laman
sa tuwing nagsusumiksik
sa mga daliri’t kuko ng talampakan
sa mga umagang umaasang
may maisasalba sa pagsilip sa pagitan
ng guho, usok at sayaw ng alipato.

Kaligtasan ng kaluluwa
sa tuwing pinagpapala ng agua bendita
at bumabakas na krus sa noo
pagsapit ng unang araw ng kuwaresma.

Sapagkat ang bahaghari sa ulan,
Sa apoy ay abo.


Kid Orit
Translated from Filipino by RR Cagalingan

Plate Tectonics

We can no longer feel the small earthquakes
that tickle our soles every day.
We focus mostly on how fingers
of the rain draw desire from our skin
to feel warmth. Or, the slow, gentle
invitation of the wind on tresses,
to join its song in dance.

…………………………..Unlike the storms born from wind and water—
…………………………..the bearing of clouds illuminated by desire,
…………………………..a lightning followed by moans of thunder, until
…………………………..the gathered tears fall from the sky, breaking—
…………………………..there is no warning in a land moving with hidden
…………………………..faults. Just like the epicenter that bloomed between
…………………………..us and left our chests hollow. There in the middle
…………………………..of silence and shock of things beating,
…………………………..fear trembles for the next tremor.

……………And, as stillness comes, feet already resigned
……………to careful steps, to moving on
……………from the persistence of distance.
……………Tender, prodding soles feeling out
……………the little ticklish spots of other aftershocks
……………planted in the heart.

Plate Tectonic

Hindi na natin nararamdaman ang mga mumunting
lindol na araw-araw kumikiliti sa ating mga talampakan.
Mas madalas táyong nakatuon, sa kung paano iginuguhit
ng mga daliri ng ulan sa mga balat natin ang pagnanasa
nitong makaramdam ng init, o, sa marahang-marahang
pagyayakag ng hangin sa mga nangatikwas na buhok,
upang sabayan ang huni nito sa pagsayaw.

…………………………..Hindi tulad ng mga bagyong iniluluwal ng hangin at tubig—
…………………………..iniilawan ng lunggating lintik ang pagbubuntis ng mga ulap
…………………………..na sinusundan ng malulutóng na ungol ng kulog, hanggang
…………………………..sa bumagsak sa nababasag na langit ang nangingilid na luha—
…………………………..walang babala ang paggalaw ng lupang may ikinukubling
…………………………..lamat. Katulad na lamang ng episentrong umusbong sa ating
…………………………..pagitan at iniwang hungkag ang mga dibdib, at doon sa gitna
…………………………..ng katahimikan at pagkagulat ng mga bagay na tumitibok,
…………………………..kumikislot ang takot sa mga susunod na pagyanig.

……………At sa paghinahon, mayroong mga paang inuugat na
……………sa pag-iingat nito sa paghakbang, sa pagsulong,
……………sa pagpupumilit ng paglayo. Dahan-dahang
……………pinapakiramdaman ng mga talampakan
……………ang mga mumunting kiliti ng iba pang
……………nakatanim na lindol ng mga puso.


Nikka Osorio
Translated from Filipino by John Bengan

What Remains Here

There are only a few like myself
who would endure the cold
of staying here.

The trees are naked.
The people, they cannot help
but hurry.
The cold bites into flesh.

The snow, a blanket silencing
all other hues—
everywhere is black and white.

The black of trees
seems vivid when hemmed in
a reigning white.

In trees there are herons
and albatross near the Danube.

Across the park
there are statues.
Underneath them,
a wide space
on which stands a plea:

…………….Bitte Vorsicht!
…………….Hier schlafen

An odd look into nothingness.
“There are flowers
that sleep here.”

A strange regard for what isn’t here now,
for what is awaited, for what is certainly to arrive.

Perhaps, a reminder for those like me
who are momentarily here and may not
witness the anticipated

Those like me
who only get to see
this seemingly offering

of a memory of what isn’t yet there
for the memory of what is no longer there.


Ang Nalalabi Rito

Mabibilang ang mga tulad ko
na tinitiis ang lamig
sa pamamalagi rito.

Hubad ang mga puno.
Ang mga tao, hindi mapigilan
ang pagmamadali.
Nanunuot sa laman ang lamig.

Ang niyebe, kumot na nagpatahimik
sa lahat ng ibang kulay—
itim at puti ang paligid.

Mukhang matingkad ang itim
ng mga puno kapag ganitong
naliligiran ng namamayaning puti.

May tagak sa mga puno
at albatros malapit sa Danube.

Sa kalawakan ng parke
may mga rebulto.
Sa ibaba ng mga ito,
malawak na espasyo
na tinirikan ng isang pakiusap:

…………….Bitte Vorsicht!
…………….Hier schlafen

Kakaibang pagtingin sa kawalan.
“May mga bulaklak
na natutulog dito”

Kakatuwang pagtingin sa wala rito ngayon,
sa hinihintay, sa tiyak na darating.

Marahil, paalala ito sa mga tulad kong
panandaliang naririto at maaaring
hindi masaksihan ang inaasahang

Mga tulad ko
na aabot lamang
sa ganitong tila pag-aalay

ng alaala ng wala pa roon
sa alaala ng wala na roon.


Floraime Oliveros Pantaleta
Translated from Chavacano by Sigrid Marianne Gayangos

The year of losing grip

The first bend leading up to the mountain was shrouded by darkness,
In the middle which,
…………….there stood a cliff where one can throw bodies from
…………….or jump free, or lose one’s path,
There are figures running on the other side of the road,
a tight rope squeezed around their arms.
You checked your watch, there is little time left.

Mama said, you had to look around to have a better foothold,
you do until it dawned on you
when you turned your head, why these trees entwined with rope
…………….were the very ones from which the desaparecidos hang?
…………….The Christians said, we need only offer prayers
For the tree with the rope and the body,
And for Jim named after the black bird.

Several encounters happen in the mountains,
All the fighting and running, the hunger and confusion
Rampant beheading.

How many times can one turn a seed into a venom?
…………….Between two massive branches, there is silence
…………….The leaves on the ground are thick, the tree has fallen, the hand cut down,
…………….the gravestone hidden.

You know, my mother once told me that when you close your eyes
you could converse with the madre cacao. Yet she never told me
…………….what I was allowed to ask.
Lest it might startle you, go weep, scream and never turn back
…………….May your sleep be restful. None of us will reach a hundred,
…………….Are you sure, we’re not the ones they call dead?

El año del perdida de juicio

Tapao de oscuro el una curva para na monte,
Na medio del oscuridad,
…………….tiene pampang onde puede hace cae cuerpo
…………….puede brinca, puede perde camino,
Tiene maga figura de gente ta kore na otro lao camino
tiene apretao amaro diila maga brazo
Ya mira tu el hora, tiene pa tu un poquito tiempo

Abla pa si mama, agacha para sabe dituyu posicion na terreno
el alreredor, ta aclara lang si talya daan na pensamiento
ya pruba tu bira cara, por que el pono pirmi ta culga de amaro
…………….que colgao tambien na gente desaparecido?
…………….Abla pa el maga Kristyano, ofrece lang daw kita maga reso
El pono connectao de amaro con pescuezo,
si Jim nombrao con negro pajaro

Muchu encuentro el ta socede na monte.
Tiene corrida del maga gente, almariada, busca ta comida
Muchu cortada de cabeza.

Cuanto vezes ya puede usa como veneno con el semilla?
…………….Entre medio del dos grande rama, ya tiene un calliada
…………….Greso el ojas na tierra, ya hace tumba con el pono, ya corta con el mano
…………….ya esconde con el nicho.

Sabe tu ya cunta conmigo mi nana cae si ta tranca tu dituyu ojos,
ta puede tu conversa con el madre cacao. No hay le conmigo abisa si cosa
…………….lang yo puede prigunta.
Antes tu espanta, anda llora, grita y gendeh ya bira
…………….hace buenamente el sueño. Nunca canaton llega edad de ciento
…………….Asegurao tu, canaton ba ta llama muerto?



MJ Rafal
Translated from Filipino by Mel Matthew Doctor

One Day From Now

Your room is still silent.

Just like how you left it
the last time you visited,
nothing’s changed, aside from the thickening of dust
on the ceiling, and the stretch of darkness
even in the afternoon.
Your books are still there,
the pile that you can only know.
The crumple and sadness on your blanket and pillow
are like curtains without
fleets. Your pair of slippers, just like before,
waiting for its feet to begin a trip.

Your room is still silent.

Although the fist on the dusty
wall is still clenched;
Although the three bottles at the foot of your bed
housed cockroaches and spiders;
Although the sense in your shirts and pants
is lost due to lack of ironing;
Although your memories linger
at the corners and edges of your bedroom; yes,

Your room is still silent.

And we’re still hoping, one day,
one day from now, we will hear your footsteps
in the middle of the night; knocking on the door,
kissing our cheek, smiling.
Just like you always do
when your name isn’t written in our list of agonies.

Isang Araw Mula Ngayon

Tahimik pa rin sa iyong kuwarto.

Kung paano mo ito iniwan
noong huli mong pagbisita,
walang nabago, kundi ang pagdami
ng alikabok sa kisame at ang paglagom
dito ng dilim kahit katanghalian.
Naroroon pa rin ang mga aklat,
ang salansan na ikaw lamang ang nakaaalam.
Ang gusot ng kumot at lungkot ng unan,
walang ipinag-iba sa kurtinang wala
nang alon. Ang tsinelas mong magkatabi,
katulad pa rin ng dati, naghihintay
ng mga talampakang mahilig sa lakbayin.

Tahimik pa rin sa iyong kuwarto.

Bagamat kuyom na kuyom ang kamaong
nakalarawan sa nagtuklap na paskil
sa binabalakubak mong dingding;
bagamat ang tatlong boteng nakatumba
sa paanan ng iyong papag ay pinamahayan
na ng ipis at gagamba; bagamat naglalamat
na ang ulirat ng mga tisert at pantalon
mong naulila ng plantsa; bagamat
sumisinghal ang alaala sa bawat sulok
at rurok ng iyong pahingahan; oo,

Tahimik pa rin sa iyong kuwarto.

At umaasa pa rin kami, na isang araw,
isang araw mula ngayon, maririnig namin
ang iyong mga yabag sa gitna ng hatinggabi;
kakatok sa pinto, hahalik sa pisngi, ngingiti.
Katulad ng palagi mong ginagawa
noong hindi pa nakatala ang iyong ngalan
sa aming mga pangamba.


Mahika Realismo
Translated from Filipino by Alfonso Manalastas

The Last Supper

Piece by piece, he passed them over
to the twelve. He said: Take this all of you
and eat it. This is my body.

He took the cup and handed it
to the twelve. He said: Drink from it.
This is the cup of my blood.

All the doors and windows are shut,
light gleaming from the kerosene lamp
flickering to the shivers
of twelve children draped
over the mother. One by one, they fall
to the square that is the table, living room, bed.
Before them, the mangled father is laid.

Huling Hapunan

Pinagputol-putol at ibinigay niya
sa labindalawa. Sinabi niya: Kunin niyo,
kainin niyo. Ito ay aking katawan.

Kinuha niya ang baso at ibinigay
sa labindalawa. Sinabi niya: Uminom kayong lahat.
Ito ay ang aking dugo.

Nakasara ang lahat ng pinto’t bintana,
ang tanging liwanag mula sa gasera’y
aandap-andap sabay sa panginginig
ng labindalawang batang nakayakap
sa ina. Napaupo ang lahat sa parisukat
na papag nilang mesa, salas, at higaan.
Chop-chop na ama ang nakahapag.



Joseph de Luna Saguid
Translated from the Filipino by Kristine Ong Muslim

One Death

When I passed by
a recent wake
and someone offered me
a chance to place my bet,
I immediately sat down.
I laid down the cards
of my birth,
love, and eventual

Isang Kamatayan

Nang mapadaan ako
sa isang burol kanina
at may umalok
sa aking magsugal,
dagli akong umupo.
Buo ang loob,
inilatag ko ang mga baraha
ng aking pagsilang,
pag-ibig, at muling


Christian Jay Salazar
Translated from Filipino by Kristoffer Aaron G. Tiña

Legend of the Red Rice

Their water for irrigation is cold tears
Immune from prayers is the parched farm
Prayed for wage hike and comfort
Answers the Landlord: a rain of bullets!

Alamat ng Pulang Bigas

Tubig na pandilig nila’y luhang lamig
‘Di matablan ng dasal ang tuyong bukid
Nanalangin ng dagdag kita’t ginhawa
Sagot ng Diyos ng Lupa: ulang tingga!


Mark Anthony S. Salvador
Translated from Filipino by Eliza Victoria


It has been a long time since
a santelmo has been seen in this forest
at the edge of town.
If the absence of the balls of fire meant
the end of grief, it is a puzzle to them
how the spirits of their dead found their peace.
Many have fallen under the foreign hands
who controlled the mines, the air thick
with the smell of blood and gunpowder.
The darkness is no longer their friend.
No one knows when they felt courage
ignite, the flame of their anger burning
within their chests, reducing the season
of silence and great fear to ashes.
They are the children of the forest
and the mountain.
Those who dared destroy
their peaceful way of life
will soon regret their ways.

The townsfolk do not know this,
but the santelmo did not leave.
It lived within them,
their bravery and devotion
fueled by a raging fire.


Matagal nang walang nakikitang santelmo
sa kagubatan sa dulo ng baryo.
Kung totoong ang paniniwalang
ang pagkawala ng mga bolang apoy
ay nangangahulugang pagtigil
ng kanilang pananaghoy,
palaisipan sa kanila kung saan nakuha
ng nabuwal na mga kasama
ang kapayapayaan ng kaluluwa.
Marami nang itinumba ang mga tauhan
ng dayuhang may ari ng minahan.
Amoy-dugo at pulbura ang hangin.
Hindi na kaibigan ng mga tao ang dilim.
Ngunit hindi nila alam kung kailan,
dumapo sa kanila ang tapang.
Nag-iinit ang kanilang dibdib,
nandadarang ang kanilang galit.
Nalusaw na ang panahon
ng kawalang-imik at matinding takot.
Mga anak sila ng gubat at bundok.
Magsisisi ang mga pangahas na nangyurak
sa payapa nilang pamumuhay.

Hindi alam ng mga tagabaryo,
hindi lumisan ang mga santelmo.
Namahay sa kani-kanilang dibdib,
nagpapaalab sa kanilang tapang at pag-ibig.


Edgar Calabia Samar
Translated from Filipino by Nicko Reginio Caluya


They believed they’re holding hands.
In the mind of the young boy:
I’ll take you far away.
In the mind of the girl:
To far away I’ll take you.
Upon discovery of getting lost,
they unleashed
upon each other. Then started
getting far away from one another.
There, when they were nearly
about to find out
the way back.


Akala nila’y magkahawak-kamay sila.
Ang nasa isip ng batang lalaki:
Dadalhin ko siya sa malayo.
Ang nasa isip ng babae:
Sa malayo ko siya dadalhin.
Nang matuklasang naliligaw,
saka sila nagbitaw
ng paninisi
sa bawat isa. Noon nagsimula
ang paglayo nila sa isa’t isa.
Doon, noong malapit
na malapit na nilang matagpuan
ang daan pabalik.


Louie Jon A. Sánchez
Self-translated from Filipino

Santo Entierro

During the Japanese Occupation, sacrificial firewood it seems;
Unwillingly offered in exchange of a young girl’s honor.
When the army abandoned the scene of the blaze, a burnt section
Was salvaged. The entirety was commended to ash and ember.
Today, it is robed in velvet red, magnificence usurped
In embodied brokenness: behold, in its glass coffin.
No one is certain which part is it—the mind grapples
As to whence in the body. Whence is the body.

Santo Entierro

Noong Panahon ng Hapon, wari’y sakripisyong panggatong;
Labag sa loob na ipinagkaloob kapalit ng puri ng dalaga.
Nang lisanin ang nagliliyab na aliw, nailigtas ang natutupok
Na bahagi. Ang kabuua’y isinuko sa pagkaabo at alipato.
Naririto ngayong balót sa rojong pelus, walang ringal
Sa tamong pagkasugatan: minamalas sa salaming ataul.
Walang makatiyak kung anong bahagi—hindi maiguhit
Sa isip kung saan sa katawan. Kung saan ang katawan.


Arthur David San Juan
Translated from Filipino by Ben Aguilar


Each time I have to
put my pants on,
I retread the steps it took
to learn how to
walk: start with the left;
slowly, as if getting to know once more
how to raise and lower my legs.

It is here that I return to the footsteps
of my old playmates. I hear
in the rustle and pull of wrinkled denim
the whispers of my childhood friends—
calling out my nicknames.

I stop:
struggling with the fit.

The threads that wrap around me
set me free.


Kapag sinusuong ko
ang aking pantalon,
muli kong inaaral kung paanong
humakbang: unahin ang kaliwa;
dahan-dahang kilalanin
ang pagtaas-baba ng mga binti.

Binabalikan ko rito ang mga yabag
ng aking mga kalaro. Naririnig
sa kaluskos at paghila ng gusot
sa tela ang mga bulung-bulungan
ng aking mga kababata—
tinatawag ang aking mga palayaw.

Madalas, dito ako humihinto:
namumulikat sa sikip.

Pinalalaya ako ng gaspang
ng mga hibla sa suot na damit.


Mark Anthony Simbajon
Translated from Waray by Michael Carlo C. Villas

Making Whole

He called me
from the prow
of this dreamlike
boat, rowing
while I gather
the debris of
cutting through—
he gestured at me,
at the mirror
of his waters—

blew the conch he held—
in the engulfing darkness
we stood side to side,
each to each our image
making the other whole—


Gintawag ak’ niya
tikang ha ulin
hinin baga-baga’n inop
nga baluto,
mintras gintitirok nak’
ini nga guba
nga mga hinumduman,
nagsinyas hiya,
tikadto han salamin
han iya katubigan—

ginhuyop an Budjong nga iya kapot—
ha naghahangkop nga kasirom yana,
nagtukuray kami,
ha ladawan han matag-usa
ginbubug-os an kada tagsa—


Orland Agustin Solis
Translated from Hiligaynon by Eric Abalajon

Taking Root

You were cut off in the cover of the night
and your sap bled into
the earth that always remembers
carving a strain that can’t be removed.

You were taken down to prevent
bearing of the fruits that would feed
the hungry, the destitute,
those without means.

Your figure was erased
one representing hope
for the withering dreams
of each and every peasant

anticipating their fate
engraved in your palm.
You are the light
amid the confusion.

But your demise is not
a hindrance, rather a sign
that freedom is nearby,
the uprising of the wretched.

For every sprout they trample
there will grow someone like you
who will defend the poor,
the oppressed.

They cut you down, Comrade
but your struggle will live on,
your vision, your hope
that we will follow the path

you created
you trekked
towards your desire
for renewal and just peace.


Gingapas ka sa tunga sang kagab-ihon
Nagtulo ang imo tagok
sa dutang madinumdumon nagpagkit
sang dagta nga indi mapanas.

Ginbanggi ka agud dumilian
ang imo pagbunga nga magabusog
sa mga ginagutom, sa mga ginakulang,
sa mga wala sing ikasarang

Gindula ang imo laragway
nga nagapatima-an sang paglaum
sa nagakalaya nga mga handum
sang tagsa ka mangunguma

nga nagahulat sa ila buas-damlag
nga napagkit sa imo mga palad.
Ikaw ang kasanag
sa pihak sang kadudulman.

Apang ang pagbanggi sa imo
indi upang, kon indi isa ka patimaan
nga nagahilapit na ang kahilwayan
ang pagbato sang ginadaog-daog.

Sa tagsa ka pagbanggi nila sang salingsing
may magatubo liwat nga imo kaangay
nga makigbato para sa mga kubos;
sa mga gina-asiasi.

Nabanggi ka, Kaupod
apang magakabuhi ang imo kawsa
ang imo handum, ang imo paglaum
nga kami maga-usoy sa banas

nga imo ginhimo
nga imo gin-agyan
padulong sa ginahandum
nga pagbag-o kag tunay nga kahilwayan.


Ariel Sotelo Tabág
Translated from Ilokano by J.L. Lazaga


here in my country
there is no longer white or black
or light and darkness

now all of the paths
are ashen
without proper bends
although not straight
but like the intestines of a chicken
or the shape of an egg
winding, spinning
with no direction

the clock
no longer alerts
of the time for the evening prayer
for each one
has had their own
space of their own
those who do not strive
fall rolling
until they just decay
for there is no longer a designated
place for a thing

for ashen is all I see…


ditoy pagiliak
awanen ti puraw ken nangisit
wenno lawag ken sipnget

pasig itan a dapuen
dagiti dana
awanan iti umisu a pagsikuan
nupay saan met a nalinteg
ketdi kas iti bituka ti manok
wenno sukog itlog
agliklikaw, agrikrikus

awanan iti pagturongan
ti pagorasan
saanen a mamallaag
iti tiempo ti orasion
ta ti tunggal maysa
iti espasio para iti tunggal maysa
dagiti di mangirupir
maltatda a matulid
di mapupuotan
agingga nga agrupsada lattan
ta awanen ti naituding
a disso para iti maysa a banag

ta pasig a dapuen ti makitak…


John Iremil Teodoro
Translated from Kinaray-a by Marne Kilates

If It Rains Umbrellas

(After a photograph by Salvador “Badong” Biglaen)

if it rains umbrellas, where would you seek
shelter, Badong asked. Depending on the colors
of the umbrellas was my answer. I don’t want them
all black, that would be too formal, I’d look like
a clueless congressman. And it would be too
depressing too. As if it were the funeral for our
nation’s dream of peace. The colors I would like
are the colors of the rainbow. And if that were
the case, when it rains it would be like raining
huge, gigantic flowers. I wouldn’t run for shelter.
Instead, I would dance, step to rhythm of their
falling down to earth. I will be a little child again
enjoying taking a bath in the rain, let the asthma
hit me again and leave me gasping for air.

Kon Mag-uran kang mga Payong

(Base sa kodák nga ginbëël ni Salvador “Badong” Biglaen)

kon mag-uran kang payong, diin ‘kaw mapasirong,
ang pamangkot ni Badong. Depende sa mga dëag
kang mga payong, ang sabat ko. Indi ko gusto ang puraw
nga itëm, pormal masyado, ang itsura ko kon sëlngën
daw wara’t namasngaan nga kongresman. Masyado man
ka sëbë. Daw lëbëng kang ginadamgo natën
nga kalinëngan sa atën pungsod. Ang gusto ko
nga mga dëag, mga dëag nga ginhëram sa
balangaw. Kon mag-amo dya, kon nagauran
Kkang mga payong daw nagauran man kang mga
higante nga bulak. Indi ako magpasirong. Sa baylo
masaut takën agëd itindak ang kada hulog
nanda sa lupa. Mangin bata liwan ako nga tuman
ka sadya sa pagrigos sa uran bisan hapuon pagkatapos.


Rosmon Tuazon
Translated from Filipino by Ben Aguilar


Three children gather.
Two gaze in wonder at the cupped hands
of the tallest. Thirst
ripples in their throats.

The smallest suckles at
the tips of the tallest one’s fingers.
As if from a pitcher whose lips
won’t give.

The third kneels in excitement,
opens its mouth to receive what flows
from the cracks in the tallest one’s palms.

As the contents run dry, the first child
withdraws, gulps noisily from its own palms
as if savoring a bowl of soup.

What coolness is left
on the lines of its palms,
it licks up, before their knees give

out from under them and they fall to
the wall scorching in the midday heat:
their tongues lolling, drunk dogs.

Me? I watch nearby, holding
a glass overflowing
with the last water of the world—

I must settle what burden is laid
on my wait.

For them? Perhaps.
If I were half-alive, they’d be dead.


Tatlong paslit ang nagkahalubilo.
Mangha ang dalawa sa magkasalikop na palad
ng pinakamatangkad. Kumilapsaw
ang uhaw sa lalamunan.

Sa dulo ng kaniyang mga daliri sumuso
ang pinakamaliit. Animo’y sa nguso ng pitsel
na halos tumikom sa pagtitipid.
Sa pagkasabik, lumuhod naman ang pangatlo,

ngumanga nang maigi sa tagas
ng puwang-palad.
Nang masasaid na ang hawak ay nagkait

ang una, at matunog siyang humigop
na tila sa mangkok ng sopas.
Hinimod niya pagdaka ang lamig

na sumingit sa guhit ng magkabilang palad,
bago nabuway ang kanilang tuhod,
bago sila sumalampak

sa pader na nagbabaga sa katanghalian:
lawit ang mga dila, mga asong lasing.
Ako? Nakatanaw ako sa di-kalayuan, hawak

ang basong pirming umaapaw
sa huling tubig sa mundo,

tinutuos ang nakataya sa aking pag-aantabay.
Para sa kanila? Siguro.

Kung ako ang agaw-buhay, patay na sila.


M.J. Cagumbay Tumamac
Translated from Filipino by Kristine Ong Muslim

Mud Man

I compelled the riverbank sludge to pretend to be the grime adhering to Melu’s body. My hands shaped a new world. Also from mud, I sculpted a man with no face.

My brother impersonated Tau Tana. He meddled, planted a face onto my faceless creation. The nose he attached to the face had been turned upside down.

I told him I was the sole creator.

This angered Tau Tana. He drew water. He would drown my creation.

I replaced the man’s nose.

Then water worked its magic. The man became mud again and was carried away by the deluge that swept away my world.

Taong Putik

Pinagpanggap ko ang putik sa tabing-ilog na mga naipong libag ni Melu. Hinubog ng mga kamay ko ang isang bagong daigdig. Mula rin sa putik, humulma ako ng isang tao na walang mukha.

Nagpanggap na si Tau Tana ang aking kapatid. Pinilit niyang maglagay ng mukha sa nilikha kong walang mukha. Baliktad ang nailagay niyang ilong.

Sinabi kong ako lamang ang manlilikha.

Nagalit si Tau Tana. Sumalok siya ng tubig. Lulunurin niya ang aking nilikha.

Binaliktad ko ang ilong ng tao.

Makapangyarihan ang tubig. Naging putik muli ang tao at sumama sa gumuho kong daigdig.


Enrique S. Villasis
Translated from Filipino by Bernard Capinpin


This is how I always remember her voyage—a proud
Nobility in the sunset of her rule. How its opalescence
Catches its breath in the light with each step
The dark takes; how they hold on to the promise of
Immortality. Entrust their final kisses to the wind.
The waves will have a last glimpse at the perishing colors,
Like a memento for the departed. This is how
The world ends, I think. There are secrets disclosed only through letters.
A noose tightening around the neck. Voyages buried
Inside a chest. Sorrows merely devoured by time.
Like abandoned canoes, driftwood dance around
In their hull and have taken root with fragrance.


Ganito ko laging inaalala ang kanilang layag—mariringal
Na maharlika sa dapithapon ng panunungkulan. Kung paano
Humahangos sa liwanag ang mga sarikulay sa bawat paglapit
Ng dilim; kung paano nanatili siláng nakakapit sa pangako
Ng inmortalidad. Paghahabilin ang mga hulíng halik sa hangin.
May pahabol-tingin ang mga alon sa mga naghihingalong kulay,
Tíla pagtatakda sa mga dapat alalahanin. Ganito nagtatapos
Ang mundo, naisip ko. May lihim na ipinagtatapat sa liham.
May hinihigpitang lubid sa leeg. May mga layag na inililibing
Sa baul. May mga pangungulilang kakainin lámang ng panahon.
Tulad ng mga naiwang baroto, sa kanilang lawas sumasayaw
Ang mga tangkay-tangkay na nagsiugat na halimuyak


Niccolo Rocamora Vitug
Self-translated from Filipino


What lies in the heart
of the policeman at Mass
in the capital’s cathedral
when an activist was slain
in a province nearby?
When the official received
the body and the blood
did he consider
that the savior in the host
was called a criminal too?
What did he taste?
Bland piece of bread
or rancid flesh?


Ano ang nasa puso
ng pulis na nagsimba
sa katedral ng kapitolyo
noong pinaslang ang aktibista
sa karatig probinsiya?
Noong tinanggap ng opisyal
ang katawan at dugo
naisip kaya niyang
tinawag ding kriminal
ang manunubos sa ostia?
Ano ang nalasahan?
Matabang na tinapay
o lamang malansa?

© Eric Abalajon, Rene Boy E. Abiva/RBA, Tilde Acuña, Vijae Orquia Alquisola, Roy Vadil Aragon, Nap I. Arcilla III, Mesándel Virtusio Arguelles, Rommel Bonus, Marchiesal Bustamante, Kenneth Alvin L. Cinco, Kristian Sendon Cordero, Ton Daposala, Gerome Nicolas Dela Peña, Roma Estrada, Jenelyn V. Garcia, Sigrid Marianne Gayangos, Jessrel Escaran Gilbuena, Jerry B. Grácio, Paul Randy Gumanao, Marlon Hacla, Vanessa Anne Joice T. Haro, Jeffrey Javier, Maria Kristelle C. Jimenez, Joshua Mari B. Lumbera, Jae Mari D. Magdadaro, Melvin Clemente Magsanoc, Errol A. Merquita, Amado Anthony G. Mendoza III, Gil Nambatac, Jhio Jan A. Navarro, Kid Orit, Nikka Osorio, Floraime Oliveros Pantaleta, MJ Rafal, Mahika Realismo, Joseph de Luna Saguid, Christian Jay Salazar, Mark Anthony S. Salvador, Edgar Calabia Samar, Louie Jon A. Sánchez, Arthur David San Juan, Mark Anthony Simbajon, Orland Agustin Solis, Ariel Sotelo Tabág, John Iremil Teodoro, Rosmon Tuazon, M.J. Cagumbay Tumamac, Enrique S. Villasis, Niccolo Rocamora Vitug, Ben Aguilar, John Bengan, RR Cagalingan, Nicko Reginio Caluya, Bernard Capinpin, Marius D. Carlos, Jr., Shane Carreon, Tiny Diapana, Mel Matthew Doctor, Adonis Ramos Enricuso, Marne Kilates, J.L. Lazaga, Louise O. Lopez, Zola Gonzalez-Macarambon, Alfonso Manalastas, Kristine Ong Muslim, Eunice Barbara C. Novio, Kristoffer Aaron G. Tiña, Eliza Victoria, and Michael Carlo C. Villas


Eric Abalajon is currently a lecturer at the University of the Philippines Visayas, Iloilo. Some of his poems have recently appeared in Revolt Magazine, Kasingkasing Nonrequired Reading, and the PGH Human Spirit Project. Under the pen name Jacob Laneria, his zine of short fiction, Mga Migranteng Sandali, is distributed by Kasingkasing Press. He lives near Iloilo City.

Rene Boy E. Abiva/RBA writes in Ilokano and Filipino. He is a translator, editor, musician, visual artist, and sculptor. A winner of various literary prizes, Abiva authored five books of poetry, short story, and flash fiction. He is a student of MA Creative Writing (Filipino) at the University of the Philippines Diliman and a Chapter Archivist of the Order of Rizal Cabanatuan City. Abiva is the founder of Samahang Lazaro Francisco (SLF), a group of writers honoring the social realist tradition of the late National Artist for Literature Lazaro “Ka Saro” Francisco.

Tilde Acuña teaches courses on creative writing in Filipino, popular culture, Philippine literature, and interdisciplinary research at the Department of Filipino and Philippine Literature – University of the Philippines. His works appeared in Kritika Kultura, Likhaan, and Jacket2. He is the author of Oroboro at Iba Pang Abiso [Oroboro and other Notices] (University of the Philippines Press, 2020), illustrator of Marlon Hacla’s book-length poem Melismas (Oomph Press, 2020), and co-editor of the anthology, Ulirát: Best Contemporary Stories in Translation from the Philippines (Gaudy Boy, 2021).

Vijae Orquia Alquisola, a native of Sampaloc, Quezon, Philippines, won a Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature for Filipino Poetry (2014) and Filipino Poetry for Children (2014, 2016). He teaches Literature and Creative Writing at De La Salle University-Taft, Manila and is completing his PhD in Philippine Literature  at the University of the Philippines Diliman. He is the author of two poetry collections, Sa Mga Pansamantala (University of Santo Tomas Publishing House, 2017) and Awit ng Bakwit, kalipunan ng mga tula para sa bata (SWF, 2019).

Roy Vadil Aragon is a fictionist and poet who writes mostly in Ilokano language. Many of his poems, short stories, and essays have been published in Bannawag, the leading Ilokano magazine. His books include BAGI dandaniw (2015), PAKSUY dandaniw & poems (2017), and BANNUAR ken Dadduma Pay a Fiksion (2018). In 2000, he released a digital book of Ilokano poetry, Napili ken Saan a Napili a Dandaniw ken Dadduma Pay a Riknakem, the first Ilokano poetry ebook. In 2019, he published two more Ilokano poetry collections, RABII 100 a #tweetniw and BARIBARI.

Nap I. Arcilla III, a native of Catanduanes, Philippines, works as a public school principal. Balangay Books launched in 2020 his first book, the collection of short stories, Maqueda: mga usipon mula lawod at baybayon. His writings have appeared in Likhaan: The Journal of Contemporary Philippine Literature and Ani, the literary journal of the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

Mesándel Virtusio Arguelles is the author of twenty books of and about poetry, most recently Atra: Mga Tula 1999–2019 (Balangay Books, 2020) and Three Books (Broken Sleep Books UK, 2020), with translations by Kristine Ong Muslim and illustrations by Erika M. Carreon. A three-time finalist for the National Book Award, Arguelles works as a book editor and translator, and teaches literature and creative writing at the De La Salle University in Manila. His forthcoming books are Hollow and Asinkrono: Isang Nobela.

Rommel Bonus lives in Antipolo City, Philippines and is currently taking up an MA in Creative Writing at the University of the Philippines Diliman. He is the author of Ilang Bitbit sa Pagsagip sa Sarili (2018), a collection of essays.

Marchiesal Bustamante is the author of the poetry collection, Mulligan (High Chair, 2016). He lives in Makati, Philippines, with his wife and son.

Kenneth Alvin L. Cinco writes and translates mainly in Winaray—a major language of Eastern Visayas in the Philippines. He attended various creative writing workshops such as Lamiraw, Cornelio Faigao, and the Iligan National Writers Workshop. He is currently a social science instructor at the Visayas State University—Tolosa in Tolosa, Leyte.

Kristian Sendon Cordero is a writer, translator and filmmaker from the Bikol region.  He was the Filipino writer-in-residence in the 2017 University of Iowa International Writing Program and the artist-in-residence of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 2018. He has received the Southeast Asian Writers Award in Bangkok in 2019. In 2022, he will participate as the first Filipino artist-in-residence to be invited in the prestigious Stellenboch Institute of Advance Study in Cape Town, South Africa.

Ton Daposala was born and raised in Cagayan de Oro City. He teaches at Capitol University. His works are published in various publications including Bisaya Magazine, SunStar Superbalita Cebu, SunStar Cebu, Dagmay Literary Journal, and Kabisdak: Bisaya Literary Lighthouse. His works have also appeared in Brown Child: The Best of Faigao Poetry & Fiction 1984-2012, The Best of Dagmay 2, Mindanao Harvest 4, Tinubdan: New Voices from Northern Mindanao and TLDTD, a biannual journal for Filipino poets and poetry. He finished his MA in Literature at Xavier University. He also wrote Basâ-basa, a poetry collection in Binisaya/Balak.

Gerome Nicolas Dela Peña, 25, is currently a Senior High School teacher and instructor from the Our Lady of Fatima University in Antipolo, Philippines. He is the author of Brief Moments, a collection of personal essays and PM, a collection of poetry about women and political issues. He recently finished his Master of Arts in Filipinology (major in Language, Culture, and Arts) at the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Marikina (City University of Marikina). He is a researcher who specializes in literature, social media, and local studies.

Roma Estrada has taught for ten years in different high schools and universities. Her published works are archived at romaestrada.wordpress.com. Reach her at romaestrada@protonmail.com.

Jenelyn V. Garcia is the dean of ABE International Business College Tacloban. She graduated from University of the Philippines Visayas, Tacloban College and passed the CPA Licensure Exams in 1996. She was born and raised in Dulag, Leyte, has recently ventured into visual arts, and is an ardent dog lover. She was fellow of the 19th Iligan National Writers Workshop and the 2nd prize winner of the Pasidungog Makabenta. She is the incumbent president of Katig Writers Network, Inc., an organization of literary writers in Eastern Visayas.

Sigrid Marianne Gayangos was born and raised in Zamboanga City, Philippines. Her works have appeared or are forthcoming in Fantasy: Fiction for Young Adults, Maximum Volume: Best New Philippine Fiction 3, Philippine Speculative Fiction 12, Likhaan Journal 13, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, OMBAK Southeast Asia’s Weird Fiction Journal, and The Best Small Fictions 2019, among other publications. Currently based in Dumaguete City, she divides her time between training a bunch of mathletes and finishing her first collection of short stories.

Jessrel Escaran Gilbuena hails from Santa Fe, Bantayan Island, Cebu. He is teaching at a public senior high school in Santa Fe, Philippines.

Jerry B. Grácio hails from Nenita, Mondragon, Northern Samar. He writes poems (in both Filipino and Waray) and scripts for film and television. Author of Apokripos (2006), Aves (2009), Waray Hiunong sa Gugma|Walang Tungkol sa Pag-ibig (2017), Bagay Tayo, and Hindi Bagay (2018), he serves as Commissioner of the Leyte-Samar Language in the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (Filipino Language Commission). He is the 2015 Southeast Asia (SEAWrite) Awardee from the Philippines. He lives in Valenzuela City, Philippines.

Paul Randy Gumanao is a Mindanaoan chemist and teacher who also writes poetry in three languages: Binisaya, Filipino, and English. Some of his works have been published in local anthologies and literary journals. In writing, he draws inspiration from his personal sufferings, relationships, and socio-political consciousness and aspirations.

Marlon Hacla’s latest book, Melismas, translated from Filipino by Kristine Ong Muslim, was published by OOMPH Press. A bilingual volume of his debut collection, There Are Angels Walking the Fields, will be released by Broken Sleep Books. His poems, translated by Kristine Ong Muslim, were published in Poetry, The Columbia Review, Nashville Review, Shenandoah, Words Without Borders, and many other journals. He lives in Quezon City, Philippines, with his cats.

Vanessa Anne Joice T. Haro lives in Gumaca, Quezon. She finished BA Psychology and is currently taking up MA Clinical Psychology. A poetry fellow in several national writing workshops such as Palihang Rogelio Sicat (University of the Philippines, 2015); UST National Writers Workshop (University of Santo Tomas, 2019); and Iligan National Writers Workshop (Mindanao State University, 2018). Her poems are anthologized in the UBOD Anthology of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA). She’s an active member of the Gabriela Southern Tagalog – Women’s Party, a collective working towards emancipating women from injustices.

Jeffrey Javier teaches at the University of the Philippines Mindanao.

Maria Kristelle C. Jimenez works as a freelance writer, layout artist, and website specialist in Pampanga. Some of her works have been recognized by the Saranggola Blog Awards and the Gawad Digmaang Rosas. Marya is also the author of Salamín: Mga Personal na Prosa (Rebo Press, 2020). Her chapbook entitled Anatomiya ng Pandemya is a recipient of this year’s Peter’s Prize for Covid Literature. Her works are published in Assortedge, Philippines Graphic, and Vox Populi PH. She is the founder of Rebo Press Book Publishing, the current associate editor in Filipino of Revolt Magazine PH, and the editor-in-chief of Vox Populi PH

Joshua Mari B. Lumbera is currently a third-year BS Psychology student at the Pamantasan ng Cabuyao. He is a member of the Sunday Writing Class, a league of young creative writers from a high school adopted by Büm Tenorio Jr. of Philippine Star. He is also the Filipino editor of Novice Magazine.

Jae Mari D. Magdadaro is a registered psychometrician and a graduating Master of Education (Social Studies) student from Cebu City, Philippines. She writes poetry in Binisaya. Magdadaro’s work has been anthologized in Inday-Inday and Libulan: Binisayang Antolohiya sa Katitikang Queer. Her poems have been published in Manila Bulletin’s Bisaya MagasinSunStar Superbalita and Kabisdak: Cebuano Literary Lighthouse. She was one of the founders of Hablon and has served as the Vice President of BATHALAD- Sugbo.

Melvin Clemente Magsanoc is an Ibaloy by language and ethnicity from the mystical town of Kabayan, Benguet, Philippines. He is one of the founding members of Ubbog Cordillera Writers. Some of his poems have been published in the Ubbog Journals, Ubod Anthology, and the Philippines Graphic.  He lives in Baguio City and he is currently a faculty member of the Senior High School department of Baguio City National High School. He writes poems in Ibaloy then translates them to English or the other way around.

Errol A. Merquita is from Los Amigos, Davao City. He served as project officer for various UN agencies in Mindanao.  He is managing emergency and rehabilitation projects in Marawi City since 2017. Some of his works are published in National Commission for Culture and the Arts Ubod Series, Philippines Graphic, Davao Harvest, Mindanao Harvest, Philippine Humanities Review, Likhaan: Journal of Contemporary Philippine Literature, Literature of Fragile Environments, and The Literary Apprentice.

Amado Anthony G. Mendoza III teaches courses on Southeast Asian literature and creative writing at the Department of Filipino and Philippine Literature, University of the Philippines Diliman. He is the author of  the novel Aklat ng mga Naiwan (Book of the Damned), co-editor of Ulirát: Best Contemporary Stories in Translation from the Philippines, and co-editor and co-translator of Wiji Thukul’s Balada ng Bala (The Ballad of a Bullet). His research and other creative works have been published in Likhaan: Journal of Contemporary Philippine Literature, JONUS, Southeast Asian Studies, Talas, and Tomas.

Gil Nambatac hails from Iligan City, Northern Mindanao (Philippines). He writes poems, plays, and essays in Binisaya and keeps them in his blog at www.gilnambatac.com

Jhio Jan A. Navarro writes prose and poetry in English, Filipino and his mother-tongue, Hiligaynon. His poems were published in Novice Magazine, Yuwana Zine, Non-Required Reading in the Time of COVID-19 (Kasingkasing Press), Voice & Verse Poetry Magazine, and Katitikan, while his commentaries and essays were published in Panay News, Panay Today, The Daily Guardian Iloilo, Rappler, and Bulatlat.

Kid Orit is a writer for public relations, events production, and he also works as a layout artist for books. He is currently the president of Cavite Young Writers Association (CYWA) and the public relations officer (2019-2021) of Linangan as Imahen, Retorika, at Anyo (LIRA).

Nikka Osorio earned a BA in Literature from the De La Salle University and an MA in Filipino from the Ateneo de Manila University. Her first book Ang Nalalabi Rito was published by High Chair.

Floraime Oliveros Pantaleta is writer, translator and researcher born in Isabela City, Basilan, Philippines. Her work can be read in tractions: experiments in Art writing, anomaly: International Journal for Literature and the Arts, the Reading the Regions 1 anthology, and Ubod 2020. She has done work in literary translation and risk communications. Pantaleta is currently based in Zamboanga City.

MJ Rafal is a poet living in Tondo, Manila. A teacher by profession, his poems can be read in different anthologies and magazines in the Philippines. He is a member of KM64, a progressive poetry collective based in Metro Manila, and Concerned Artists of the Philippines.

Mahika Realismo is the pseudonym of a scientist who is attempting to write poetry and flash fiction. Some of his works were published in Katitikan: Literary Journal of the Philippine South and TLDTD. He is @MahikaRealismo in Twitter.

Joseph de Luna Saguid’s first book of poetry, Kantilaho, was a finalist at the 10th Madrigal-Gonzales First Best Book Award. His second book of poetry, Loob, was published in 2013. He currently works as a copy director for a local television network.

Christian Jay Salazar is a writer from Valenzuela, Philippines. His work has appeared in numerous publications and magazines, such as 7 Eyes Production and Vox Populi PH.

Mark Anthony S. Salvador has a BA in Philippine Studies from the Polytechnic University of the Philippines and a Master’s in Creative Writing from the University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD). He is completing his PhD in Philippine Literature from UPD. Salvador’s works have been published in Tomas, Likhaan: The Journal of Contemporary Philippine Literature, Liwayway, Resbak, Pylon, Kawing, and Rappler. A member of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers – Private Schools, he is currently attempting to write science fiction.

Edgar Calabia Samar also writes novels and teaches Philippine literature at Ateneo de Manila University and Osaka University. Online, he’s @ecsamar on Twitter and Instagram.

Louie Jon A. Sánchez is an assistant professor of English at the School of Humanities, Ateneo de Manila University. He is the author of three collections of poetry in Filipino—At Sa Tahanan ng Alabok (Where the Dust Dwells, 2010). Kung Saan sa Katawan (Whence in the Body, 2013), and Siwang sa Pinto ng Tabernakulo (The Tabernacle Door Agape, 2020). He is also a translator in both English and Filipino.

Arthur David San Juan is the author of the Filipino poetry book Sikreto sa Loob ng Kwarto (8Letters, 2019). His works have been published in Novice Magazine, Revolt Magazine, Katitikan: Literary Journal of the Philippine South, and the Cultural Center of the Philippines literary journal Ani 41.

Mark Anthony Simbajon is a writer from Hernani, Samar and Tacloban City, Leyte both in the eastern region of central Philippines. He writes on topics that are pressing in his community such as gender and acceptance, inequality and discrimination, and pre-colonial Visayan culture, among others. Today, he serves as a Youth Development and Community Affairs Officer in their community, an elected representative and leader of the Waray cultural community, and is also a cultural and theatre worker

Orland Agustin Solis is a Bachelor of Arts in Literature student at the University of the Philippines Visayas. Some of his poems have appeared in Kasingkasing Press Nonrequired Reading, Talinghaga ng Lupa: Mga Tula (Gantala Press, 2019), PGH Human Spirit ProjectRevolt Magazine, and TLTD. He also has four forthcoming children’s stories to be published by Aklat Alamid, The Asia Foundation, and two Lampara Books anthologies edited by Eugene Evasco and Mariel Balacuit. Currently, he is the Literary Editor of Busay, the Literary Folio of the College of Arts and Sciences, University of the Philippines Visayas.

Ariel Sotelo Tabág is an Ilokano fictionist, poet, editor, translator, and musician. An author of many books and a Bannawag Magazine poetry section editor, he received prizes and grants from the Palanca, National Commission for Culture and the Arts, Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino, and the National Book Development Board.

John Iremil Teodoro is a multi-awarded writer in Kinaray-a, Filipino, Hiligaynon, and English. He is the author of more than 12 books and his collection of short essays Pagmumuni-muni at Pagtatalak ng Sirenang Nagpapanggap na Prinsesa won the National Book Award from the Manila Critics Circle and the National Book Development Board. Teodoro, a scholar of Hiligaynon Literature, contributes reviews, travel pieces, and cultural reportage to AGUNG, The Daily Tribune, and Liwayway Magazine where he is writing a regular column on books and the importance of reading.

Rosmon Tuazon is the author of Mula (High Chair, 2005). He is set to publish a second collection, Sa Pagitan ng mga Emerhensiya (Between Emergencies), which comprises work from 2006 to 2010.

M.J. Cagumbay Tumamac is a writer and reading advocate from southern Mindanao, Philippines.

Enrique S. Villasis is a poet and a scriptwriter. His first book of poems Agua was published by Librong Lira and a finalist for the National Book Awards. He worked for ABS-CBN as a television writer before the Philippine government politically harassed and denied the franchise of the network.

Niccolo Rocamora Vitug, an alumnus of the Silliman National Writers Workshop, graduated with an MA in Literary and Cultural Studies from the Ateneo de Manila University. He is presently taking his PhD in Music at the University of the Philippines while teaching with the Faculty of Arts and Letters of the University of Santo Tomas.


Ben Aguilar is the author of Into the Earth (Self-Published, 2015). His other translations have been published in Asymptote Journal.

John Bengan teaches writing and literature at the University of the Philippines in Mindanao. His stories have appeared in LikhaanKritika KulturaAsian Cha, and BooksActually’s Gold Standard, an anthology of Asian fiction from Math Paper Press. His translations of Elizabeth Joy Serrano-Quijano’s fiction have appeared in Words Without Borders, LIT, Anomaly, World Literature Today, and Shenandoah. He co-edited the anthology Ulirát: Best Contemporary Stories in Translation from the Philippines (Gaudy Boy, 2021).

RR Cagalingan is a cultural worker who writes and translates poetry from Pasig City, Filipinas.

Nicko Reginio Caluya is currently finishing his Doctor of Engineering course at Nara Institute of Science and Technology. He was a former assistant instructor at Ateneo de Manila University. You can find him online at nickocaluya.github.io or @nickocaluya on Instagram and Twitter.

Bernard Capinpin is a poet and translator. He is currently working on a translation of Ramon Guillermo’s Ang Makina ni Mang Turing. He resides in Quezon City, Philippines.

Marius D. Carlos, Jr. is an editor, author and translator based in Mabalacat City, Pampanga. He is the Editor-in-Chief of Revolt Magazine, an independent literary review + online magazine in the Philippines and a founding member of Vox Populi PH. He is the author of two books, and has published locally and internationally. His works have appeared in Rappler, Business Mirror, Philippines Graphic, Breaking Asia and the Philosophical Salon.

Shane Carreon is the author of poetry collections travelbook (2013) and Then, Beast (2017) and recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship, Academy of American Poets Prize, Allen Ginsberg Poetry Award, Nick Joaquin Literary Award, and Carlos Palanca Memorial Award for Literature. He teaches at the University of the Philippines.

Tiny Diapana is an alumna of the University of the Philippines-Cebu and works as a copywriter for a Japanese kawaii company.  A fellow of multiple regional and national writers’ workshops, Diapana has published poems in Voice and Verses Magazine, New Reader Magazine, Inday-Inday, Sunstar Weekend, Nomad Quarterly Anthology Volume 2, and Verses Typhoon Yolanda: a storm of Filipino Poets (Meritage Press, 2014).

Mel Matthew Doctor is a graduate of AB English at Polytechnic University of the Philippines. He is currently teaching Literature and Humanities in the same university. He is also a news correspondent of The Philippine Online Student Tambayan and Manila Today. He hopes to finish his graduate studies before dying to death due to too many cigarette intake.

Adonis Ramos Enricuso is a teacher based in Vietnam. He was born and raised in a valley of western Mindanao, Philippines.

Marne Kilates, a bilingual and award-winning poet, has translated the works of Filipino National Artists Virgilio S. Almario, Bienvenido Lumbera, and Lazaro Francisco (full-length novel), among others. He has published six books of his own poetry and has won the National Book Awards, the Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature, and the Southeast Asia Write Award (SEA WRITE) given by the Thai royalty.

J.L. Lazaga teaches at the University of the Philippines Baguio where he received his B.A. and M.A. degrees in Language and Literature and is currently an Associate Professor. A writer in Ilokano, Filipino, and English, he is a member of the Ubbog Cordillera Writers, the Baguio Writers Group, and the Philippine Center for International PEN. As a creative writer and educator, he has received a number of awards including the One-UP Faculty Grant Award for Outstanding Teaching and Creative Work (2019-2021) and the title of University Artist (2018-2020), both given by the University of the Philippines.

Louise O. Lopez writes and translates. She is the author of the poetry collection Lungsod-lungsuran (2020).

Zola Gonzalez-Macarambon is a writer and teacher from Cagayan de Oro City. Her works were published in Mindanao Harvest, Philippines Graphic, Cordite Poetry Review, Asian Cha, and Peril among others and awarded in international poetry competitions including the Melbourne Poets Union International Poetry Competition and longlisted at the 2019 University of Canberra Vice Chancellor’s Prize for Poetry. She finished her PhD in Film, Media, and Communications at Monash University, Australia. She is a faculty at the Language, Humanities, and Philosophy Department, Capitol University, Philippines.

Alfonso Manalastas is a writer from Butuan City, Philippines. His poems have been published in Kritika Kultura, Likhaan: The Journal of Contemporary Philippine Literature, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, Quarterly Literary Review Singapore, and Cordite Poetry Review, among others.

Kristine Ong Muslim is the author of nine books of fiction and poetry, most recently The Drone Outside (Eibonvale Press, 2017) and Black Arcadia (University of the Philippines Press, 2017). She is co-editor of the British Fantasy Award-winning People of Colo(u)r Destroy Science Fiction! (2016) and Ulirát: Best Contemporary Stories in Translation from the Philippines (Gaudy Boy, 2021). Her translations include Marlon Hacla’s Melismas (Oomph Press, 2020) and Mesándel Virtusio Arguelles’s Three Books (Broken Sleep Books, 2020). Widely anthologized, Muslim’s short stories appeared in Conjunctions, Literary Hub, and World Literature Today. She grew up and continues to live in a rural town in southern Philippines.

Eunice Barbara C. Novio is a Thailand-based freelance journalist. She has been an EFL (English as Foreign Language) lecturer at Vongchavalitkul University in Nakhon Ratchasima. Her poems were published in Philippines Graphic, Sunday Times Magazine, Dimes Show Review, and Blue Mountain Arts. Her first collection of poetry translated into Thai language, O Matter was published in Thailand in February 2020. She writes for Inquirer.net. A two-time Plaridel Award winner of Philippine American Press Club for feature/profile stories, she currently sits as Editorial Advisory Board of Media Asia.

Kristoffer Aaron G. Tiña is finishing his master’s degree in Communication Arts in UP Los Baños. He is currently working as an instructor in City College of Calamba. He is a member of the Sunday Writing Class, a league of young creative writers from a high school adopted by Büm Tenorio Jr. of Philippine Star. Some of his works appeared in Philippine Star, Youngblood Inquirer, and Novice Magazine.

Eliza Victoria is the author of several books including the Philippine National Book Award-winning Dwellers (2014), the novel Wounded Little Gods (2016), the graphic novel After Lambana (2016, a collaboration with Mervin Malonzo), and the science fiction novel-in-stories, Nightfall (2018). Her fiction, poetry and nonfiction were published, most recently in The Best Asian Speculative Fiction, The Apex Book of World SF Volume 5, Fireside Fiction, Future SF, Australian Multilingual Writing Project, Philament, and Honi Soit. Her one-act plays, written in Filipino, have been staged at the Virgin LabFest at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. Visit her at www.elizavictoria.com

Michael Carlo C. Villas teaches language and literature at the Department of Liberal Arts and Behavioral Sciences, Visayas State University. He has published in journals and anthologies notably Our Memory of Water: Words After Haiyan (Ateneo de Naga University Press, 2016), Sustaining the Archipelago: Anthology of Philippine Ecopoetry (University of Santo Tomas Publishing House, 2017), and Reading the Regions: Teaching Philippine Literature from Multi-Perspectives (National Commission for Culture and the Arts, 2019). He coedited the forthcoming anthology, Garab: Hinugpong hin mga Susumaton ha Waray (Garab: Anthology of Short Stories in Waray, Balangiga Press).

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