January 27, 2023 - 6:07:50 am


Stained Hopes 

 Juliana Ashley Joves 

He once stood between the edge of failure and success, 

and fell into the abyss of defeat and frustration. 

Lived a life of famine and drought, 

caught up in the middle of his desolated thoughts. 

He who hungers for victory now flatters himself in misery. 

Trying to crawl out of the well he once built, 

thirsty for a compliment and never of guilt, 

A dying well seeking for Heaven's mercy, 

to shed rain and kiss him the luck of glory. 

They cursed and loathed him the most, 

for his mistakes branded him as a disgraceful ghost. 

Alive but buried by hurtful words for 

failing to meet their obnoxious norm. 

They see a man of failure and 

never the man he tries to be. 

A man of a mistake they notice but not 

the man they created out of prejudice. 

They stand in safe and sure, 

while he risks and the pain he endures. 

He was the man who never hides when he fails, 

but it was the judgment that forced him into his cave. 


Paradise in Disguise 
Juliana Ashley Joves 

In the streets of Paradise, where it hides under the sun’s demise 
Where the daisies bloom and there’s no sign of terror gloom, 
Unity of people lives in the guarantee of the city’s womb 
Busting in glee and colors of the land flowing with milk and honey
But suddenly, 
The greed and abuse of free will set the world in dummy 
A deadly illness has arrived and killed the vines of tomorrow’s glory 
Streets and pavements are stained with nothing but anxiety 
The warmth of each other’s love is felt towards distance with agony 
Cough and sneezes are prohibited in these days of uncanny 
Can kids still sing, dance, or play? 
Will adults still party, work, or even reply "I am on the way" 
People’s scream for food, supplies, but not for safety 
Some would go out and refuse to believe it is the reality 
Fear not for my hearts go with your soul, 
Either when you are alive or ready to fall.

The Monster We Become 

Juliana Ashley Joves


“Good morning loser!” Ophelia blurted out, waking the chambers of my soul. She is my best friend, my one and only companion, she got everything in life, a pretty face, a big brain, money, fame, and all the things I could ask. 

“Ready to go?” She asked while we walk, through the doors of hell, which I meant of school. It is our first day, and we are to pick out our clubs and organizations. I nodded lazily as I followed and tailed her inside. 

“Dance, glee, and sports? Is it all that they got?" I protested. I loathe clubs that require my presence now and then. Between the two of us, she is the outgoing, friendly, and the one who tries new things, while I am the one who sleeps and prefers to isolate than fake smiles to people’s faces. “I’ll just wait for you in our room because none of the organization suits me,” I added. 

“Are you sure?" she muttered while pointing her lips at my back. I turned back to see where she was looking, and to my surprise, it was the Dear gift of the heavens! The poetry club! God knows how I love to write and indulge myself in reading novels and pieces of literature. “Finally, a decent, quiet, and precious place to put me in,” I answered back. We walk our way towards their table and waited for my turn. “Name and section, please,” a member requested while she handed in the registration paper. I filled the questions out and gave them back to her. “Done,” I added as I passed the form. “Thanks! One more thing, you have to file an entry so we could accept you and to be part of the pack,” she added. “Sure,” and we left their stall. 

“What’s with the ugly face-- I mean sad face?” she noticed me. For months now, I had not yet written a single piece of work like I used to. I started to turn back from doing the things I love and slowly lost my passion for writing. I just thought that maybe, joining this club would lure me into writing again. “Nothing, let’s go. I am famished,” I replied. 

Our day went well except for the fact that I needed to submit an entry. She insisted that we stay in their house to pass the time and bond for a little. We came in and hurried inside her room. Nothing has changed, not even our collage in the walls. 

“I’ll go get us food. Wait for me,” she insisted and closed the doors. I roamed around and saw a picture of us together in pajamas. Ophelia and Entice, engraved in the frame. It is the same old table standing there for too long, beneath the pictures hanging on the wall. I familiarize myself with the papers messily placed above it. Assignments, another assignment, magazines, dance club registration form, art club slip, and poetry, poetry? Its pieces of paper rolled down together like scrolls with poems and prose. “She writes?” I mumbled to myself. For years we have been friends, and I never thought that she was interested in poetry. I knew she loves art but not this type of it. I hurriedly pulled out three sheets from the scroll and kept them inside my bag as I heard her familiar footsteps outside. 

I went home safely and rushed into my room and quickly looked for the papers I stole-- or should I say, borrowed? Yes, I will promise to bring it back to her. “Got ya!” I uttered excitedly. After minutes of reading her works, all I can say is WOW. Like where and how she learns all of these? She is so great, and for what! It pains me to read her works knowing that she does not have to shed some tears, take a break, read books, and pressure herself. She is natural, unlike me, who takes days to finish up a single piece. The time has passed, and I haven’t even written a single letter in my entry paper, writer’s block, I guess. 

We got to school together and, do the same old routines. “Aren’t you done yet in your entry?” She asked me while walking, “I finished. I have it with me, and I only have to pass it on time.” I replied. 

I looked for the poetry club’s room and left my entry on the table. Later that day, Jessica, the assistant, notified me that my entries were approved we I am exclusively part of their team. They welcomed me with warm hugs and applause for the first time, I felt alive and appreciated. Months have passed, and I still sneak in Ophelia’s room for more poetry writings. I can’t help it. I tried to write on my own, but I got lost in words and thoughts. Besides, no one knows about what I am doing, not until that fateful day. 

“Today is our final poetry competition, and the winner will be receiving an award with a trophy and medals,” Jessica announced. All of us are in total excitement and joy, but I need to have a plan. It will be our last major event, and my entry should be spectacular and moving. I promised that it would also be the last time I would steal from Ophelia’s works. I can’t lose now, not with all the achievements I got. “How’s your day?” Ophelia asked. “It was awesome, and we are to compete for the one last trophy in our club,” I exclaimed. “That’s nice. I know that you’ll bring home the bacon. You’re the best when it comes to writing and stuff,” she added. I smiled in return. I don’t think so, but I hope someday you’ll understand why I am doing this, stealing pieces from you. 

We went to school separately because I needed to pass my entry on time. I ran my way off the corridors to be on the gymnasium at the time, but I bumped into someone. “Sorry, sorry, it is my fault.” I panicked while picking up the scattered papers on the floor. “No, it’s fine--” she stopped midway, so I looked at where the familiar voice came. Ophelia. No, it cannot be. She is looking at the piece of paper she’s holding. I trembled as I saw her reaction. She was mad and enraged. No, I can’t let this happen. Today will be the awarding, and I need to submit my entry which includes her works. I snatched it off her hands and ran as fast as I could. I took the stairs that might take me straight on the rooftop. She’s right behind me, and I can’t think of something to do. 

“All this time, you have been lying and stealing from me!” she shouted furiously. “Let me explain!” I answered back. “Explain? I’ve seen it all! You lying traitor!” Now she hates me. Our tailing meets the dead-end when we reach the rooftop. “Nowhere to go traitor!” She spits every word with hatred. “Please just this time, and I swear I would never do it again,” I pleaded as I remembered to pass this entry on time. “You’ll never get through me, not this time. I don’t care about that stupid competition of yours, and besides, it’s my work, so I have the authority to that piece of paper!” She blurted out while walking towards me. She reached for my hand to get the paper, but I ran to the edge of the rooftop. No way I will lose that trophy. I stood and threatened her, “One more step and I’ll jump, I can and I will, everyone will blame you! You will lose everything, the fame, friends, reputation, and me!” “Why are you doing this? You could have asked for it! Now you’re pointing the blame on me like I am the psycho who sleeps all day and does nothing but steals!” she shouted at me. She doesn’t understand. I know it’s evil and not right, but the compliments I got from her works are the words that kept me alive. It saved me from being a dummy and inspired me to write again on my own. “I’ll start to write again on my own, just this time, please, let me be,” I uttered. She runs towards me like a roaring bull, fighting for the red flag. I panicked, so I jumped away from the edge and grabbed her hands. We rumbled and rumbled until I got her to face the edge of the rooftop. Just one more push, and she’s gone. I can’t. 

“Push me! Push me! Is this how you wanted it to be? Pushing me off this edge and killing me? You’re a real psycho!” She snatched the paper lying beside her. NO. She cannot do that. “You’re a traitor, you, lying mo---” I pushed her. I pushed her. I couldn’t help it. Her screams rang in my head eternally. I picked up the paper before I left the scene. 

I was late to pass my entry, but I still made it. I feel empty and anxious things do not seem to add up. Did I do that? Did you push her off the edge and leave as nothing happened? Yes. Yes, I did. 

“And the winner for our annual poetry celebration is none other than Entice!” Jessica announced excitedly. I faint a smile as I walk towards the stage. I won. It’s over. I look at Ophelia’s work which I used as an entry, The Monster We Become, I traced the title. 

I never feared failing. I never feared the thought of not writing again, I know it’ll always come back. I never feared people’s expectations of me. Do you know what I fear the most? It’s becoming the person I never wanted to be. Being the monster, I thought I would never become. I did. I am a monster now. A self-centered girl, who feeds on the hard works of other people and who is pushed by greed and fame. 

Before I exited the event, Jessica muttered something behind me, “I hope she survived the fall.” My eyes widened in shock. “I know your dirty little secrets, Entice. You killed your one and only friend.” 

She was the last person I talked to in school. Now, I’m all grown up, writing literary pieces now and then. Enjoying my stay in this squeaky, musty, and crowded home of monsters, a space limited by bars with all the kinds of beasts inside. 


Faces of Judgement 

Don Daniel M. Paguio 

I always do what my parents wanted me to do because I'm afraid of disappointing them one day, so I study diligently. I was looking for medals and achievements. To get to the top, I used the wrong methods. It was entirely my fault. The pressure inside me grows as a result of my fear. I kept asking if my performance was good or if it was perfect. When my parents asked how I did in school, I just kept smiling. I'm reluctant to open up. I'm afraid of being this family's failure. That fear was what drove me to have multiple personalities. This is fear; hoping to resign soon.

Grades based on Facebook Reaction 

By: Don Daniel Paguio 

Nowadays, performance tasks and projects have been upgraded! Individuals find it difficult to complete projects on their own. Teachers in charge ask students to post their projects on Facebook to gain reaction and the 'reaction' they may receive is one component of their grading system or rubrics. Is it a good or a bad idea? 

It is not fair to have your projects be graded based on the ‘hearts’ or ‘likes’ you could gain on Facebook. According to one of the students in the recorded interview on ABS-CBN News TV's TV Patrol, "We need 100 likes or (heart reacts) to get 100 points in our project," explained the student. One factor that contributes to this high number of responses is the fame that an individual has. Many students may struggle due to social concerns and a limited number of friends. If not supported by other Facebook users, you could attain lower grades. This kind of event can lead to a mental disorder or simply depression in a person. 

If your post was set to public because Facebook is free for everyone, people might criticize your work. One small mistake can be made huge by their comments. Discrimination and cyberbullying would occur if the outputs were not pleasing to be seen. Grades should be based on the performance of that student rather than the gained reactions, mentions, and shares performed by other people. 

Many parents complained about the security of their children. Posting the project or performance task requires their full name, grade, and section, alongside the teacher’s name. Because of that issue, The Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT) in the Philippines has urged teachers to avoid assigning projects that require social media interaction. Unfortunately, many teachers still use this type of grading system. 

Some ‘famous’ students rely on the quantity they could gain, not the quality of the project that they will do. If teachers use the post engagements as a basis in their grading system, the project may not be given proper attention when it comes to checking. We should promote google classroom rather than Facebook when it comes to submitting the performance task. 

Promoting other platforms is much safer. We make our grades as students. It is not by the likes or reactions we could get. Right from the start, this system is unfair and should not be implemented. The performance is not reflected in the reactions. If our only goal is to get as many to engage, there will be no learning in this kind of mindset.