Bahaghari

By Bryant Lee Niervo Morales
Fiction

“Tanggap ka ba ng Diyos, Ma?”

Waring nabingi ang tenga ng ina sa tanong ng anak. Sa kasagsagan ng paghuhugas ng pinggan ay nilingon niya ang bata na siya namang gumagawa ng gawaing bahay. Nagtaka siya kung bakit nito naitanong, at wala sa huwisyong tanong din ang kaniyang naisagot. “Bakit?”

“Hindi raw po kasi makakapunta sa langit ang mga bakla . . . eh bakla rin po ako.” Matapang na nilakbay ng bata ang makulay ngunit mapanganib na mundo sa kaniyang isipan. Ni walang takot na itinahi niya ang komplikadong palaisipan sa ulo ng ina.

Hindi nakasagot ang ina at ipinagpatuloy na lamang ang ginagawa. “Alam mo, Juan, magsulat ka na lang ng pangalan mo diyan. Baka makalimutan mo na may ‘Junior’ sa hulihan ng pangalan. Naku, di magiging kumpleto ’yang pangalan mo kapag walang ‘Junior’! May regalo ka sa ’kin pag tama!”

Gumuhit ang ngiti sa labi ng bata.

“Juan Dela Cruz Senior,” ang basa ng bata na ngayo’y dalaga na sa lapida ng ina. Waring gumuhit ang ngiting naglakbay sa kaniya tungo sa nakaraan. “Noon, Ma, tinatanong ko pa kung saan galing ang pangalan ko at kung bakit may ‘Junior’ sa hulihan,” bulong niya habang pinupunasan ang lapida ng ina. “Ikaw talaga, Ma, napakamalihim mo.”

Mapait na ngiti ang namutawi sa kaniyang mga labi nang matuklasan ang katotohanan. At habang umaagos ang luha’y napatanong siya sa kaniyang inang nakatago sa lilim ng bahaghari, “Kumusta ka na sa langit?”

 

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Editors and Contributors

GUEST EDITOR

Estrella Taño Golingay, of Surallah, South Cotabato, has a PhD in language education and is a retired professor of Notre Dame of Marbel University. In 1994, her poem “Si Nene at Ako sa Pagitan ng Gabi” won the first prize in the poetry contest of Home Life magazine.

REGULAR EDITORS

Eric Gerard H. Nebran is an educator and illustrator from General Santos City. He is currently a PhD Comparative Literature student at the University of the Philippines–Diliman. His research interests include orality, history, and literary productions of his hometown.

Jude Ortega is the author of the short story collection Seekers of Spirits (University of the Philippines Press, 2018) and has been a fellow for fiction at two regional and four national writers workshops. In 2015, his stories received honorable mention at the inaugural F. Sionil José Young Writers Awards and at the Nick Joaquin Literary Awards. He divides his time between Senator Ninoy Aquino and Isulan, both in Sultan Kudarat.

CONTRIBUTORS

Xaña Angel Eve M. Apolinar, 17, is a senior high school student (Humanities and Social Sciences strand) at Malalag National High School in Maitum, Sarangani Province. She was the champion of the spoken word poetry competition at the 2017 Munato Festival of Sarangani. She is also the president of the Supreme Student Government of her school and the junior governor of her province.

Adrian Arendon, 17, is from Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat, and a senior high school student (Accountancy, Business, and Management strand) at Notre Dame of Marbel University in Koronadal City, South Cotabato. He has competed in five regional and one national schools press conferences.

Marianne Hazzale J. Bullos, 18, is from General Santos City and a senior high school student (Science and Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics strand) at the SOCCSKSARGEN Region campus of Philippine Science High School.

John Gied Calpotura, 17, finished junior high school at Sultan Kudarat State University in Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat, and is now in senior high school (Humanities and Social Sciences strand) at Malayan Colleges Mindanao in Davao City. At the 2017 Sultan Kudarat Fiction Contest, the three stories that were declared as finalists were all his. He won for “Shoebox,” a story about war.

Gerard Distor, 17, is from Isulan, Sultan Kudarat, and finished high school at Sultan Kudarat State University. He is now a first year BS in Agriculture and Biosystem Engineering student at Mindanao State University in General Santos City.

Jo-ed E. Evangelista, 17, is a senior high school student (Humanities and Social Sciences strand) at Lagao National High School in General Santos City.

Mary Antonette P. Fuentes, 18, is from Koronadal City, South Cotabato, and a senior high school student (Science and Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics strand) at Sultan Kudarat State University.

Erron Marc A. Hallarsis, 18, is a senior high school student (Science and Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics strand) at Notre Dame of Marbel University in Koronadal City, South Cotabato.

Yumi Ilagan, 18, is from Isulan, Sultan Kudarat, and finished high school at Isulan National High School, where she served as editor in chief of the student publication for three years. She is now a first year Bachelor of Arts in Psychology student at the University of the Philippines–Visayas, in Iloilo Province.

Mark Vincent M. Lao, 18, is a first year BS Accountancy student at Notre Dame of Tacurong College in Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat. His piece for this issue was a finalist at the 2017 Sultan Kudarat Essay Contest.

Adrian Pete Medina, 16, is a senior high school student (Humanities and Social Sciences strand) at Banga National High School in Banga, South Cotabato. His mentors include visual poet Epitacio Tongohan and speech choir poet Pat Villafuerte.

Bryant Lee N. Morales, 15, is a grade 9 student at Isulan National High School in Isulan, Sultan Kudarat. In 2016, he won the second prize at Hugot Isulan, a municipality-wide spoken word contest

Edzelyn Oñate, 16, is a senior high school student (Humanities and Social Sciences strand) at Systems Technology Institute (STI) in Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat.

Reylan Gyll J. Padernilla, 18, is a senior high school student (Humanities and Social Sciences strand) at Lagao National High School in General Santos City.

Irish L. Petipit, 17, is a senior high school student (Humanities and Social Sciences strand) at Notre Dame of Marbel University.

Angelo Serrano, 16, is a senior high school student (Science and Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics strand) at Saint Lorenzo School of Polomolok in Polomolok, South Cotabato.