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.

Ivan Jon Gentolizo Alam ko namang mali. Kung makakakuha lang ako ng isang libo sa bawat taong nagsasabing itigil ko na, malamang sa malamang mayaman na ko. Kung ganun lang sana ang sitwasyon, siguro hindi ko na gagawin kung ano ang pinagkakaabalahan ko nitong mga nakalipas […]
ni Darren Josef Sarmiento “Sigurado po ba kayong nariyan sila ngayon?” pabulong na tanong ng isa naming kasama habang kami’y nakalinya’t gumagapang.  “Oo, hijo, lalo na’t noche buena,” pabulong na isinagot ng aming kapitan. Sa katunayan, hindi ako nakasisigurong ang kapitan nga ang nagsalita. Sa kapal […]
ni Khristian Ross Pimentel Hindi pa nangangalahati ang synchronous class ni Edward ay pinindot na nito ang leave meeting button. Isang desisyon na hindi na niya nagawang pag-isipan. Isinilid sa bag ang kakaunting damit, laptop, at mga toiletries para sa kaniyang pag-uwi sa Tacurong. Noong nakaraang […]
ni Lean Borlongan Allysa, Alam kong ayaw mo ng surpesang padala. Sasabihin ko sana pero baka magka-ansayeti ka pa. Kakatapos lang ng ulan ngayong tanghali. Naririnig ko pa ang ilang kulog. Naiimagine kong nahihimbing ka sa pagtulog. Sumusulat ako dahil seryosong bagay ito sa akin. Kahit […]
ni Marren Adan 1. Mula sa likod, may dalawang kamay na dumapo sa aking baywang. Hindi pa man mariin na nakalalapag, umusad ang mga kamay papunta sa aking harapan. Ano pa’t parang lagnat na dumapo ang pagnanasa na imbes na tignan ang mga kamay, kilalanin kung […]
ni Marvin Joseph Ang Nakahubad na siya nang dumating ako. Mag-aalas sais na rin kasi ako naka-out sa trabaho dahil nag-meeting pa ang team namin after ng shift. Mabuti na lang at hindi required ang mag-OT bukas, kaya kahit buong gabi kami rito, walang problema. Malaki […]
by Gabino Joaquin Barcelona My eyes darken whenever I see Him. And I want to scream, but my mouth remains shut.   He comes around three in the morning, every few nights or so, right in the middle of my shift.  I work the counter at a […]
by Angelina Beatrice Baleña I love my father. I really, really do.  I love him deeply, even when the people are against him. Against us. Even when they called him the vilest  of words, devils themselves condemning my father to what they claim is his rightful […]
by Jade Christiane Raymundo I paint colors in the lives of others. I am the ink to their all-too-vivid sentience, and the light in their restless worlds. My name is Twist, and I am an artist.  I didn’t know I had it before, not until my […]
by Patrick Isaiah Abarra I sat down on my desk early morning and put my coffee on the table. Upon sitting I saw a newspaper beside  my keyboard which seemed to be an old one judging from how it looks. But before I could inspect it, […]
by Margaux Marie Quilingan I open my eyes to see my room drowning in a light blue glow. I reach out for my phone to check the time.  5:38 A.M.  I put my phone down beside me and stare at the ceiling. I relish the silence […]
by Michaella Rose Soria At different intervals of the day, the image of my dying grandmother flashes in my mind.  It happens for a fraction of a second, in the most unrelated times. I’d be doing my modules or watching the news and some innocuous phrase […]
by Leo Baltar Oratio Imperata Walang habag naming ama, maagnas ka nawa. Sa ngalan ng koronang dahas na ipinutong mo sa amin. Nagsusumamo kami sa iyong natutulog na kaluluwa. Sa ngalan ng mga pigil naming pandama. Iadiya mo kami sa makasalanan mong mga kamay. Sa ngalan […]
ni Khristian Ross Pimentel Mensahe mula sa Lumang Sapatos Sa unang tingin pa lang, alam mong ako’y gusto mo na. Mata mo’y kuminang nang sinabi mong ako’y mahalaga. Ako’y iyong sinukat at sinubok ilakad— Pinakamatibay sa lahat, kulay ay di masyadong matingkad. Matapos bilhin, akoy’ iyong […]
ni Jillian Gaiety Siervo hawak ang bolo sa isang kamay tinatantiya ang pwesto gumegewang pa sa saliw ng hindi paglaki sa sakahan  pinanood kitang magtabas ng gabaywang na damo sa gitna ng maingay na lungsod dito sa makuliglig na bukid  nakadungaw ang nagtataasang mga condo sa malayo habang nililinis […]
ni Orland Solis (Photo credit: Painting by Edbon Sevilleno ©2017)
ni Rodmar Arduo Sa Lamat, May Lamay  martes  hindi maibubulas ng kampana ang malalamig na panalangin  nang itinanghal mismo  ni kamatayan ang sarili  sa mukha ng kaibigan.  tangan ang salamin  sa hambalos ng titig  na nakaamba sa iyong kaluluwa, nanapabuntong-hininga ang mga agiw: sa lamat, may […]
ni Petronilo Figueroa III
by Rochel Ellen Bernido
by Rommuel Jayson Veduya Hemophobia The thought of life dripping in crimson, Drying out its vessel of pale and barren; Leaving blood-stained bamboo slats and red-splashed linoleum floors Is slowly killing me with invisible shards Of panic and trepidation. Stomach starts to turn Into chaos, my […]
by Marielle Iarathelle Trinidad Photo by Kaylee Stepkoski on Unsplash The skies were filled with blue, pink, and violet streaks, a blast of colors that splashed through a potentially excellent day to finally come around my life. After years of days with clouds hung with the […]
by Angelo Allito Inside the cheap can lies a tomato sea, home to you- headless corpses squeezed together, perpetually floating.  I open your twenty-three peso prison and  out you come, finally seeing sunshine after an eternity of staring  at the cruel, shut-tight lid. Uncanned, you now […]
by Jamil Figuracion Lalo na sa Utang.  Matapos ang nakaraang eleksyon, ilang beses kong pinagmasdan ang mga larawang may pamilyar na mga mukha na naka-upload sa Facebook page ni VP Leni Robredo. Kitang-kita ang mga tagos-pusong mga ngiti ng mga taga-isla. Walang pagkukunwari. Tunay at walang […]
ni YiaMarie Abejuro Pininta ko na sa isipan ang mga gagawin ko kapag nanalo ang tanging karapat-dapat na maging pangulo ng Pilipinas. Kung sakali siyang maihalal, magpo-post ako sa Facebook—hindi para magmayabang at sabihin sa mga sumasalungat na “talo kayo” kundi sabihing ito ang simula ng […]
ni Leo Baltar “Paumanhin sa mga pagkukulang namin,” mensahe ng dati kong propesor na ngayo’y isa ring peryodista sa Messenger group chat namin, isang araw matapos lumabas ang resulta ng eleksyon kung saan nagbabadya na namang bumalik sa kapangyarihan ang isang Marcos.  Mahaba ang mensahe at […]
ni Ezjae Yao Zemana Natutulog na ako sa puwesto ni Papa. Nakahiga sa unan niya, gamit ang kumot niya, tangan ang gula-gulanit niyang t-shirt. Amoy fab con itong damit, pero nakaukit sa ilong ko ang totoong amoy ng aking lolo: magkahalong bakal, uling, langis, pawis. Gabi […]
ni Angela Mae Pamaos First reading break ko ito sa UP. Looking forward daw rito ang mga students, kaya na-excite rin ako na dumating ito. Walang klase. Walang Google Meet o Zoom. Walang pagmamadali na basahin ang readings. Walang kailangang isulat. Walang nakakakabang araw.  Halos dalawang […]
ni Christian Ason Gaano kabigat ang buhay, para hindi mabuhat ng mga kamay.      March 13, 2020. Friday. 3pm. Isang ring sa telepono ang gumising sa akin mula sa himbing ng pagkakatulog. Nang sagutin ko ang tawag, narinig ko sa kabilang linya si Mama. Ang sabi niya, […]
by Angelo Allito Sometime last month, I learned that a river can change its length. It can feel a whole lot longer, the riverside an endless road. Or it can be so much shorter, a few couple moments at most. And for the Pulangi, my dear […]
by Harriet Elaine Limpot To be an Iskolar ng Bayan is a privilege. That’s the first thing they tell you when you become one,  and rightly so; because it’s something that should never be forgotten. It is in the heart of UP to  serve the nation. […]
by Phillippe Angelo Hiñosa At the outskirts of UP stood a house bleak, bruised, and battered. Its walls had fallen prey to years of moss. Its roof had surrendered completely to brutal corrosion. To earth its pavement had returned. At birds-eye view, the house weathered like […]
by Monica Felizardo I cram my hand inside the back pocket of my tattered backpack, feeling for that sharp plastic edge past the crumpled notes, make-up, candy wrappers, and half-filled tumbler. I fish a familiar lace and as it slinks past, I freeze halfway as red […]
by Rex Menard Cervales Breathing deeply or counting backward from 200 by 3s or 2s to calm yourself through the storms are at best futile. I remember when Yolanda hit Capiz in 2013, roaring winds were ripping our roofs apart as if they were paper. Fear […]
by Michaella Rose Soria I came out to my mother the year I turned eighteen.  Surprise! I would have said, but I had a feeling she’d already known. Coming out was only just a formality, really—my girlfriend and I were half a year into our relationship, […]