Life UPdates:
Connecting through Writing

The university experience isn’t the same. We’ve found ways to cope with the new learning mode, but we know that it’s still a mixed bag of joy and hardship. In this time, we want to hear what the students think and feel. We want to know about your narratives. Hence, the Likhaan: UP Institute of Creative Writing, with support from the UP System, is holding the monthly literary contest, Life UPdates. 

Life UPdates is a UP system-wide literary contest that will be held over six months. All students from all UP campuses are qualified. Through this project, we want to give UP students an avenue to pour their creative energies into, and to connect the student bodies through the sharing of narratives. Financial assistance will also be granted to winners in the form of a cash prize. 


Read on for the latest life updates from our students across the UP campuses.
Click on the headers to view all works in the category.

ni Terence Talagon Ang aga pa lang, pero napakainit na. ‘Yung parang ansarap pumasyal sa dagat, kaya  gano’n na nga ang ginawa namin.  Naglakad kami sa dalampasigan. Kasama ko si Marya, isang kaibigan na mas  matanda nang kaunti. Matalino si Marya. Nag-aaral siya sa isang kolehiyo […]
ni Jillian Lei Belaro Babangon mula sa pagkakahiga at yayakapin ang hangin na nasa harapan ko. Hihintayin na  tuluyang mumulat ang mga mata at sa pagsaksi ko sa liwanag, bubuksan ang pinto patungo sa lugar kung  saan ang katawan ko ay tinatawag. Maririnig ang mga boses […]
ni Alec Joshua Paradeza Malakas na hampas sa hita ni Jang ang gumising sa kanya. Tanghali na, sabi ng Nanay, may diin sa salita. Matagal na niyang natutunan na dito sa kanila, ang tanghali ay hindi katirikan ng araw kundi sapat na liwanag sa dagat para […]
ni Leo Baltar Kay ingay ng paligid gayong halos patay na ang bahaging ito ng bayan. Niyayakap ng hamog ang lahat. Hirap makakilos ang bawat isa dahil, bukod sa tambak ng putik ang bawat daan, nagkalat ang nagsitumbahang mga puno at nagkandapulupot na mga kable ng […]
ni Angelina Patricia Bondad Marahan ang pagdaplis ng hangin sa aking balat. Marahan, ngunit nanunuot. Nakatayo ako ngayon  sa isang tulay ilang kilometro lamang mula sa aming bahay. Kasabay ng mga dahon at sanga ng mga  punong nasa paligid ko ay ang pagsayaw ng mga hibla […]
ni Arnold Tristan Buenaflor Walang sibuyas.  Kung mayroong sibuyas sa sari-sari store nila Tatang Totel, hindi na sana nagkaproblema sa online grocery ang magkapatid na Istan at Andeng.  “Mayroon naman sa palengke sa labas.” banggit ni Andeng sa kaniyang kuya.  “Bawal lumabas.” simpleng paalala ni Istan, […]
by Ivan Jon Gentolizo It’s been a few days since my used-to-be estranged father became the laughingstock of social media, specifically on that bird application that most people around my age are using. Well, nothing’s new, except that the most recent embarrassment was, by far, the […]
by Larissa Maia Reyes The old coffee shop is an afterthought. The only reason I had been allowed to go out at all was to retrieve paperwork from my old school, and my mother made it specifically clear that I was to head home immediately afterward. […]
by Alfonso Divinagracia In his letters to the sorceress Antavara, Micah made it clear that he only wanted to learn herbology for the sake of the family apothecary. He’d expected to apprentice under a gray-haired intellectual – one who he could respect and maybe even befriend, […]
by LJ Famatigan It was a cold winter night in the dilapidated wooden house on the outskirts of Barrio  Sagada. I could still recall how my mother, who had recently gone home from her work abroad,  welcomed the house with a rather ominous atmosphere. She used […]
by Jessa Samson I am not what most people would call a religious person. In fact, by age 12 I started questioning the merit  of praying when it felt more like a chore than an act of devotion, something that I only did whenever I had  […]
by Marion Carlet Pascasio “Get up, Doy.”  I heard people screaming outside. I stood up, the bamboo eaves creaking like small  frogs behind me. Needle and colored rope still in hand, I peered outside the door. People were  scampering around, staring at the waveless sea.  “We […]
ni Nique Jade Tarubal Nasipngeten (Madilim Na) Nu nasipngeten, lukatam ta silawen Madalas itong sabihin sa’kin ng aking lola noon Sa Ilocano, ibig sabihin, kapag madilim na’y dapat nang buksan ang ilaw Na tila ba hindi dapat natin hinahayaan ang katiting na segundo Na maging puwang […]
ni Jhio Jan Navarro Ang Alayan ng Elehiya Asul at pula, walang tigil sa pag-ikot ang bombilya, di alintanang mga anino’y lagi’t laging itim mag-iba man ang kulay ng ilaw, Sirena’y umaalingawngaw, ngumangawa, nagluluksa habang ginadawat ang mga lawas – mga bisig na minsan din nanghila […]
ni Kane L. Blancaflor Asul na Ilaw Nakadawdaw ang paningin ko sa liwanag ng teleponong kanina ko pa kaniig. Umaahon na ang araw habang lumalangoy pa rin sa hinagap ang mga salitang aanurin sa umaga. Sa paglalayag ng bukas, sana’y maiahon ang sarili sa daluyong ng […]
ni Karla Lorena Kaya ka madaling iwan kasi maiintindihan mo. Kasi alam nilang ngingiti ka sa gitna ng paalam. Alam nilang hihintayin mo muna ang kanilang paglayo bago ang iyong pagluha. Hindi nila maririnig ang iyong hikbi’t hagulhol kaya akala nila mahimbing ang iyong pagtulog. Alam […]
by Vincen Gregory Yu The Angry Christ by Alfonso Ossorio [Image from Ayala Museum Twitter page @ayalamuseum, 22 May 2018]
by Jhio Jan Navarro With windows shut Branches turn to gallows As nylon threads tangle to a noose While I stare out towards the blur of kites Caught in our ancestral acacia. For a time, I saw them shook as if Asphyxiated, struggling for air then […]
by Elaissa Bautista 1 I was asked to describe the smell of love without using words of smell. I did not know how to start because all my love had been craved and made in the comforting stench of my bedroom in my small, honest hometown […]
by Lawrence Diasnes El Niño If you ask me how goes the summer, picture everything bleached under the sun’s discriminating eye, no birds to ruffle the glaring stillness they have evacuated in praise of shadows, or imagine my body dripping warm honey instead, though I refuse […]
ni Rochel Ellen Bernido “Nauubos na ata mga black kong damit, a,” biro ko sa isang malapit na kaibigan habang mugto ang mata, tuloy-tuloy pa rin ang paghahalungkat ng maisusuot sa aparador.  Naisuot ko na ang isang black na pantaas noong sumama kami sa isang pagkilos; […]
ni Rey Mart Lapiña Hindi ako takot sa pandemya.   Halos tatlong taon na akong nasa loob ng aming bahay. Nananatili sa aking kuwarto  at tila ba hindi na alam kung paano gumagalaw ang mundo sa labas. Gusto kong  lumabas, pero takot ako. Takot ako sa mundo […]
ni Mark Anthony Pedere LALAMUNIN NG TUBIG ang ilang mga bayan sa Metro Manila, Bulacan, Roxas, Cebu, Iloilo, at Zamboanga sa pagsapit ng taong 2050 dahil sa patuloy na pag-angat ng lebel ng tubig sa dagat sa buong mundo. Ito ang sumisingasing na kongkretong impormasyon mula […]
ni Larry Boy Sabangan “Calsi”, pinaikling “Calcifer”. Ito ang itinawag ko sa kaniya. Iyan ang pangalang ibinigay ko para tunog sosyal. Nakatatalino pakinggan. Yayamanin. Ito kasi ang ipinangalan din ni Nadine Lustre sa fur baby nila ni James Red. ‘Nga lang, si Nadine na lang ngayon […]
ni Khristian Ross Pimentel Gabi pa lang, napagkasunduan na naming mag-asawa na gigising kami nang maaga para mura ang bayaran namin sa Grab pauwi ng Antipolo mula sa tinutuluyan namin sa Marikina. Kinabukasan, tanghali kami nagising. At nag-aya pang magpunta sa parke ang lintek. Dahil mabait […]
ni Karylle Oval Sa kagitnaan ng malamig na gabi, dumadampi ang init ng pighati sa mga mukhang hindi maipinta ng anumang lapis at pintura. Naglalakbay sa dalampasigan habang binibigyan ng liwanag ng bilog na buwan. Hinahanap ang isang babaeng mayroong kakaibang kinang sa mukha dahil sa […]
by Joelo Balan At thirty-two degrees temperature, an adolescent boy strips and plunges the Sarangani Bay sans diving equipment as his partner reels in the day’s tuna catch—the fish’s yellow fins and iridescent scales glistening off of his eyes. At eighteen degrees ambient air temperature, office […]
by Vincen Gregory Yu My father’s eyes, wide open, glistened like black buttons. Doll’s eyes, my mother called them: a pair of pearls glued to alien sockets. A week ago, we’d rushed him to the emergency room. He had vomited fresh blood again, barely a day […]
by Lakan Uhay Alegre In Cinco Apartment, Burayan, Tacloban City—third house—is the son. The son is half-awake;  he forces himself to climb the attic where his father writes a last manuscript. The father carries  his son downstairs even if he has gout. Downstairs, the mother cooks […]
by Leo Baltar I never set foot in our home for six months. It was my own choice. I moved out last year and decided to live with a close friend I had known since high school. In a time of a pandemic, it might strike […]
by Earl Carlo Guevarra I wake up to my old Android smartphone’s harsh alarm. The time showed 3:40 a.m. The room was dark, yet I knew I had to wake up my wife for sahur, or she would have headaches throughout the day due to thirst. […]
by Hanz Daniel Cortez I wonder what it’s like to meet two versions of myself: one from the past, and one from the  future.   I imagine we’d sit in the middle of an empty park, sitting around in a circle. In between us is a  wooden […]