‘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.





Continue reading “‘Road constructions put Mayon’s World Heritage Site application at risk’”

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.




Continue reading “Of Pit Stops and Turning 25”

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.”




Continue reading “Masaringaya*”

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.




Continue reading “Helen of Gregory”

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.




Continue reading “Cardboards and Dirty Coins”

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.




Continue reading “Ballpoint Game”

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.




Continue reading “Before Nature’s Rage, a Man Must Move”

Mysterious Nature of Morupandan

‘’Thousands have lived without love, not one without water.’’
— W. H. Auden

The world is full of mysteries. But as we go further into our technological age, that shroud is quickly growing thinner. Still, though, there are few mysteries left. An evidence that there are still places that are covered with strange things.

There is a pristine lagoon called Morupandan in Barangay Gatbo, Bacon District, Sorsogon City. Gatbo is considered as the eighth of East District’s 12 barangays (villages). It has a land area of 949 hectares and with population of 2,761. The village has three sitios (sites): Tagalwoy, Tagudtod, and Macawayan. Sitio Tagalwoy is where you can enjoy the fresh flowing water of the lagoon. For all the people residing in Gatbo, Morupandan is their main source of water whenever El Niño hits the Bicol Region.




Continue reading “Mysterious Nature of Morupandan”

Riding the Waves at 13, Winning

NOTE: This story was written last year, October 25, after the Lunad sa Balod (Ride the Waves) 2016 in Gubat, Sorsogon.

With nowhere to display all the proof of her victories inside their humble home, all of Vea Estrellado’s trophies are all wrapped in plastic and hidden in one corner gathering dust. All, except for two, which she won from Lunad sa Balod, a three-day national surfing competition at Gubat, Sorsogon.

The 13-year-old from Gubat, Sorsogon was declared champion in two categories Sunday after she bested 11 other surfers in the wahine short board category and 10 other surfers in the wahine long board category. Some of the competitors from Daet, Baler, Lanuza, Leyte, Zambales, and Catanduanes are in their 20s and 30s.




Continue reading “Riding the Waves at 13, Winning”

E.T.

The car suddenly stopped in the middle of nowhere. Only the light of the half moon illuminated the barren woods.

Catching her left hand and gently pulling her to his side, he cupped her face and said “What’s wrong?”




Continue reading “E.T.”