Young Santa Claus

Little Sofia was flinging stones in a little brook about three blocks away from her grandfather’s house as she sulked about not receiving a gift on their Christmas party at school.

“I hate you, Alex! You’re my best friend and you didn’t even give me my present last Christmas! I hate you ’till we grow up!” She hurled pebbles angrily in the water. Her sobs dominated as she threw tantrums. By and by she heard footsteps so she hid behind a tree and kept herself quiet until she heard the voice of the person nearing her.




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Of Conversations and Silence

Everything in the sky is weird, don’t you think so?

You don’t know what the hell they’re doing up there, and so it’s all one big hopeless mystery for the average person. Stars would shine and form symbols that sort of make up a thing and people with numerous amount of credentials and degrees would give a name for it. Then there’s the Moon, with all its glowing, and not many people know that it just borrowed its light from someone else. So technically it’s pretentious and unfair to the Sun, who everyone seems to be hiding from in our country- I wonder if they fight.
But then again, I guess all of its wonder come from that weirdness, and I am here below just watching it all happen but not really knowing if anything is happening.




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‘Road constructions put Mayon’s World Heritage Site application at risk’

LEGAZPI CITY—Mayon Volcano Natural Park’s (MVNP) application for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) World Heritage Site is at risk if the road network constructions within the designated protected areas site and the 6-kilometer radius permanent danger zone are given green light to continue.

This is the fear of the technical working group for MVNP nomination to be among the “elite group of destinations” in the world.





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Of Pit Stops and Turning 25

Airports, according to a rom-com movie I’ve watched a few years back, are the world’s most romantic places. These are where epiphanies happen, where we realize what we feel for someone, for something.

I always want the things I do not have. I long for the time that has passed and ached for the future that is still on its way.




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Masaringaya*

She is so beautiful. You can never get tired of looking at her. She makes the sky bow down to her. She stands tall and proud of where she is and what she represents. She is an endless, timeless symbol of what Mother Nature has given us. She does not stand there as a mere object for viewing pleasures nor as a mere background for photo ops; she stands there, confident of who and what she is. She stands there as an emblem, as an icon to her people. She makes every Albayano proud to be an “Oragon.”




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Helen of Gregory

For nine years, Helen has been roaming the premises of St. Gregory Church in Albay, making friends with and touching the hearts of the strangers she meets. Unlike the infamous Helen of Troy, this Helen doesn’t have a face that can launch a thousand ships.

What she has is a face that can launch a thousand coins.




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Cardboards and Dirty Coins

I woke up with a burning and shooting pain at the back of my head and a confusion. It must be the streaks I sniveled finally setting in. The street was cold and dark. I couldn’t tell if it was dusk or dawn. The cement dust, the city damp and alcohol-soaked urine in the moss-covered pavement were all I could smell—and something metallic, like dirty coins in your sweaty palms, that was almost a taste.

I stood up straining my hands up against the rough wall. It was screaming BAWAL UMIHI DITO. I folded the cardboard I slept in and huddled it under my armpit. How did I end up here? Another gang war! I hurriedly searched my body for icepick or homemade gun wounds but I had none. I agonizingly gasped for air. It was what I feared most.




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Ballpoint Game

“Nature is about disposition, scenery and peace of mind, in terms of our needs, nature has many resources and beautiful sceneries that are sufficient to humankind.”
—Dennis Concepcion.

Dennis Concepcion is known for having unparalleled style in creating still-life art using his ballpoint pen. His road to making art was set in stone the moment he first held a pencil and joined various poster-making competitions when he was in grade school and pursued still-life art in college.

In 2014, he became the president of Guhit Pinas-Albay with the primary goal of helping and motivating young people to show their artistic skills. They also sponsored a charity named “Tiwala Kids” for Legazpi City’s street children.




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Before Nature’s Rage, a Man Must Move

The environment is a friend, an ally, or some would say, an enemy. As nature wreaks havoc to villages, its damaging winds cause the loss of many lives. Some would take it more as an enemy but in truth, natural disasters are part of the Earth’s equilibrium.

The Bicol Region has to survive the pits of gustily winds of typhoons, floods, and threats of volcanic activities.




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