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Literary

The only resolution to embrace 

You’ve fought tons of silent battles the entire year, and getting through these is already an achievement on its own.

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Artwork by Meghan Castillo/TomasinoWeb

Having New Year’s resolutions has become an annual tradition where we jot down what we hope to achieve for the year, but oftentimes we find ourselves not seeing through the end of the list or stopping midway through the majority of what we listed down. 

There are questions begging to be asked. Is it because we’re too excited for the validation we’d get after checking it off our list? Or is it because we’ve been stuck thinking that we need to achieve something to be someone?

It’s okay to have goals or aim for achievements—either with life in general or just for the entire year. You can have aims set for yourself or what you want to fulfill with the people you love. Most importantly, you can have big goals by taking note of little goals through taking baby steps like finishing reading a book, starting a journal, or drinking more water. After all, what are humans if not for striving for purpose or a sense of being?

But when things get rough and you feel as if you are walking on an unpaved path and you can’t see where you’re going anymore, take a pause. When the well-known adage says life isn’t a race—believe it. So, give time in striving for that peace of mind, even if it means taking a break from the hustle and bustle of reality. 

It’s okay to set your own pace and watch at the end of the year how far you’ve become. 

I saw someone say that they treat New Year’s resolutions like a year-end review where she would look at what’s gone well and what hasn’t. Instead of focusing solely on what she hasn’t achieved the entire year, she looks at the gaps and asks where she should focus on for the following year. I think approaching it this way is a breath of fresh air where the pressure isn’t on doing solely “great things” that would give us self-gratification. 

Perhaps we can also approach the entire year that’s passed like a year-end review where we’d ask ourselves what we’ve learned and unlearned, what we achieved, and what we couldn’t. By doing it this way, we could also focus on the gaps on where we should focus our time, attention, and energy. But more than that, we could celebrate our progress and small victories—no matter how trivial they may seem. 

Needless to say, it’s okay to have New Year’s resolutions—but it’s okay not to have them either. Even though these resolutions may be harmless, in the long run, they can be destructive to your mental wellbeing. You don’t need to push yourself past your limits for the sake of productivity. You’ve fought tons of silent battles the entire year, and getting through these is already an achievement on its own. 

Be kinder to yourself, you’ve done well. 

Ada Pelonia
Stories Writer | + posts

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Literary

At last, Stardust

There, at the clock’s chime, urging us to move forward, at last, we become like stardust, set off to wherever time takes us.

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Artwork by Aliah Basbas/TomasinoWeb

It is here. If I close my eyes for a second, my skin can feel the subtle warmth of the candle nestled inside my hands. I slowly get a whiff of the damp June air––fresh and crisp from the light drizzle while the weight of my feet descends below the muddy patches on the field, and then, I can hear the mumbles of laughter and excitement. 

The stars in the sky have shifted to the ground. We, in solidarity, create a universe far bigger than what is written in books. Us, the different specks of atoms and dreams, collide with each other, ready to skyrocket towards the future. 

I can feel it rising in my bones. The chill of uncertainty along with naive excitement.

In the last few moments of us, in our old uniforms stained with all-nighters, bad recitations, and number 1s in our portals, we bid goodbye. There, at the clock’s chime, urging us to move forward, at last, we become like stardust, set off to wherever time takes us.

Aliah Basbas
Stories Editor | + posts

Stories writer (2018-2019),Assistant Stories Editor (2019-2020), Stories Editor (2020-2021), Stories Editor (2021-2022)

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Literary

Pause

Lenten activities, family meetings, how would he finish it all unless he threw himself into his books? At least he was ahead by two weeks for all the individual work. The group works, however, were a different story. 

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Artwork by Ana Victoria Ereno/TomasinoWeb

“How has your week been, Mr. Llanera?” 

Sir Anton glanced at the screen, gauging if Leo was still with him. It was their fourth session together, and he had tracked Leo’s improvement since they first met. It didn’t take much to get Leo talking, unlike before. 

The monitor Anton used was split between the video call and a document where he took notes. He wore his usual polo and kept his background to that of a nice lounge room—something to bring some semblance of normalcy. 

“I did schoolwork, reviewed for major exams, made some progress on a paper.” There it was again. The shaking in his voice, trembling at the legs. Although he knew who Anton was and assured him that nothing would leak, it didn’t help him keep eye contact. “I finished some work for org, too, while I was at it.” 

A well-used copy of the AP stylebook was on his bed and similar material was scattered at his desk. Silence. Dead air. 

Usually, he’d keep his place tidy, but not right now.

He received a nod from Anton, the counselor familiar with Leo’s stutter. Fear of silence invoked anxiety, the last thing he wanted to see. “Other than work, did you find time to unwind?”

“’Di po,” Leo replied. “I might fall behind.”

“Your professors told me you’re at least two weeks ahead,” he replied.

Leo masked a sigh. He wouldn’t have gotten into this mess if it weren’t for his theology professor. It was more than that, but there was no time to dissect how he ended up having a month of sessions with the guidance counselor. “Ah, that,” he stuttered. “I had a burst of inspiration. Besides, I’m on the dean’s list.”

“I see,” Anton said. He adjusted his glasses, using the opportunity to observe Leo as he spoke further. Most of them were complaints about the heavy workload placed upon him and his classmates. 

Leo’s face tensed up, eyes darting back and forth while trying to find the right words. “Let’s hope my profs don’t drop more work on us…but knowing them, they still would.”

“I understand why,” Anton said. “Finals are coming soon, yes? I’ve heard from other students about it. This whole rushed semester isn’t helping anyone.”

Leo could only muster a nod. He had sunken further into his seat but corrected the behavior immediately. “Most of the deadlines are right after Easter break.” 

Lenten activities, family meetings, how would he finish it all unless he threw himself into his books? At least he was ahead by two weeks for all the individual work. The group works, however, were a different story. 

Anton observed Leo sinking into his seat again, now engrossed with a nearby pen. “Oh. That’s unfortunate. Have you made some headway?” 

“Struggling, but I’ll get it done,” Leo replied. “It’s mostly group work, and I’m already done with my parts.” 

A nod. “I see,” Anton continued, noting what Leo said. “This break, I want you to rest and reflect on things,” he replied. “Do you have any other hobbies?”

“Not really,” Leo said. A glance at the papers on his desk. Red marks, a pen losing ink. Was it even a hobby if he made money out of it? “I do proofreading work.” 

“Do you consider it work or hobby?”

“Um, work,” Leo replied. 

“How so?”

“Well, I do make money out of it.” 

Anton nodded. “Well, work is defined as something you do for a living, but it’s not necessarily fun. Do you enjoy your work?”

“I guess I do,” Leo replied. “Sometimes it’s hard, but I manage.”

“What do you mean by that?”

“Well,” Leo said, trying to gather his thoughts. “Sometimes, the papers I get are terrible, despite offering some good points. It’s a frustrating experience.” 

“I understand that. If you feel that this sideline burdens you, might I suggest trying to do some writing of your own?” 

“Writing…creatively? Other than term papers?” 

Anton nodded, smiling a bit. “Well, yes. I recall from our last conversation that you said that piling on work helped avoid certain emotions.” Leo wouldn’t admit it, but Anton wasn’t lying. His grades were due any day now. Don’t look like a nervous wreck. “Well, work’s the only thing I’m good at. If I’m not productive, it’s more time wasted.” 

“If that’s the case, you could reframe writing to be productive—other than just for work or academics. A journal could help. You don’t need to show anyone, but it staves off the urge to tick a to-do,” Anton replied. 

“I’ll keep that in mind,” Leo said with a smile. His cheeks were strained. He didn’t notice that the hour had gone by until he looked at the clock. Bad habit. Look at you, wasting time. “See you next week?”

“Yes, after the Easter break,” Anton replied. “Stay safe, Leo.” 

Leo left the meeting. It was over. When will this end? How many sessions do I gotta go through? He kepy thinking of things he couldn’t answer. Shouldn’t my professors be happy with my performance?

He shook his head. ”I’m making life easier for them, why aren’t they satisfied?”

Another look at the clock. The sound of a to-do ticked off the list. “I should get to proofreading,” he told himself while opening the latest document. 

“Leo!” A sigh escaped him. Why now? 

“Dinner’s ready!” Leo’s mother knocked on the door. “I made chicken adobo!” 

“Pababa na po!”  Leo tidied his papers in one of the desk drawers. Though he didn’t plan to spend the break, he’d at least have something to ponder upon over dinner.

Christine Nicole Montojo
Stories Writer | + posts

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Literary

The Revolution  

They carved out its limbs of corruption and abuse, broke its bones until it can no longer move 

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Artwork by Ana Victoria Ereno/TomasinoWeb

the skeletons that have witnessed it
lay on their beds, still, tasting rust.
the whimpers of ghosts who fought
still whisper wishes of protection 

those who know it
from textbooks and the stories of their kin,
know its value and the erased scenes
both in ink and pixel 

back then, oceans of beings pulsing from desire,
with a thirst for freedom
joined hands in unity 

and on the 25th of February,
the footsteps marching along the streets
became strong enough to crack Tyranny’s body,
They carved out its limbs of corruption and abuse,
broke its bones until it can no longer move
as the cries of the masses washed over blood-stained streets 

All for the country,
All for democracy 

Aliah Basbas
Stories Editor | + posts

Stories writer (2018-2019),Assistant Stories Editor (2019-2020), Stories Editor (2020-2021), Stories Editor (2021-2022)

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