As part of the month-long blog tour for the #buqoYA, I'd like to introduce you to the stories behind each bundle (thanks to Dianne of Oops! I Read A Book Again for organizing the blog tour). As mentioned, #buqoYA was a product of a writing class with Mina V. Esguerra and sponsored by Buqo. I'm pretty sure there's something in the bundle that would pique your interest, so read on:
#buqoYA 1: Taking Chances
Whether looking for closure, proving their worth, or wondering what happens after a moonlit night, the characters from these stories will invite you to take a chance for love. Will they find what they’re looking for? Or will their hearts get broken? Step into their shoes and find out.
A Portrait of Jade
by Justine Camacho-Tajonera
Jade Alverio is dying to get to summer art camp in Baguio, far away from her demanding parents and her ultra-perfect sister, Ruby. She thinks it will be a haven of like-minded spirits until she gets her first critique from Alexander Santamaria III, who seems to have converted all female camp members into his groupies.
Things get worse when she's paired up with him on a major project. Will she survive dream-turned-nightmare art camp, or will she go running back home, the very place she wanted to escape in the first place?
“I’m the semiprecious stone in the family,” Jade thought as he climbed up into the bus. She was still affected by the car ride conversation she’d had with her dad, who had interrogated her on the courses she planned to take when she went to college.
“Dad, I don’t know, okay?” She looked straight ahead.
“Jade, why didn’t you start thinking about this earlier? Ruby was gunning for business management as early as her junior year of high school.”
“I’m not Ruby.”
“I know. We’ve been over that. But it wouldn’t hurt you to prepare for college early, right?”
By that point, Jade had already zoned out. Any mention of Ruby tended to make her hear white noise.
She adjusted her black-rimmed glasses as she looked for a good seat. It looked like she was the first one on the bus. That was because her dad liked to over prepare. It was a good thing, really. She decided to move to the back of the bus. That way, she could observe everyone coming in without being conspicuous. Or she could just ignore them. She was good at that. She chose a spot by the window. She was looking forward to enjoying the view. She settled into her seat and took out her headphones and portable neck pillow. She had a whole playlist picked out. She was ready to chill out and get some snooze time, especially because she’d woken up so early.
About Justine Camacho-Tajonera
Justine Camacho-Tajonera was born and grew up in Cebu City, Philippines. Despite starting a corporate career in telecommunications, she pursued an M.A. in Literary and Cultural Studies to keep her close to her first loves: reading and writing.
Her poetry has been published in several anthologies and local publications and she has published two books: Artemis Lets Go, a novella, and Gift, her first collection of poetry. She maintains a poetry blog, Claiming Alexandria.
She works full time at a corporate job promoting e-reading in the Philippines, is married, and has two children.
Second Sight to Forever
by Racquel Sarah A. Castro
Sasha Salazar, a passionate A-Girls dancer, met her ‘crush-at-first-sight’ in the stairway of Escuela de Rojo. She ignored him because she was still into Norman Gil. The second sight at the EDR’s rooftop began the daily rooftop moments (RTMs) of Sasha with the famous basketball varsity player, Joshua Bonifacio. Take a glimpse on how their relationship bloomed as they both found out the spy.
At the first week of January, the Salazar family went back from Hong Kong. While unpacking, Daniel took a deep breath before uttering a word to Martha. He admitted who the spy was.
“What?” Martha displayed dismay on her husband. “What are you thinking? Is that why you are so generous to Sasha? You have done something so bad, honey. She will feel betrayed.”
“I know, I know . . .” Daniel sighed while Martha walked out on him.
RTM – First Day of School after the Christmas vacation
“I heard that mom already know who Dad’s spy is.” Sasha talked to Joshua.
“I have something to tell you . . .” Joshua got so neurotic that she assumed he was the spy.
“You are the spy!” She slapped him and walked away.
Joshua whispered, “I just want to say I love you.” He wept and thought he wouldn't have a chance to say what he felt for her.
From that day, he spent RTM alone. Being without the other half of the SJ Duo was the hardest thing for him. He tried to focus on his studies so that he could have a chance to be the class valedictorian.
Joshua tried to reach out to Sasha but she ignored his text messages. Week 2, Ryan invited Joshua to join them for the quarterly study group session but he refused.
Sasha talked to him to return the toy ring and the bracelet. She focused her time studying at the rooftop away from Joshua. Joshua was on the other side and just loved in a distance.
About Racquel Sarah A. Castro
Racquel Sarah A. Castro is living with Cerebral Palsy. She graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Information Technology in AMA Computer College-Binan Campus. She always wanted to inspire people in all ways. She also desires to prove the goodness of God through her life.
Racquel is living with her parents in Binan City, Laguna, Philippines. She is a geek, a math tutor, a food addict, a web designer, and a freelance programmer.
Her family is currently a ground volunteer of Basics Global, a non-profit organization based in Dubai, UAE. She also leads a music ministry branch in Jesus Christ Rules Bible Christian Church. She aspires to be an emissary of People with Disabilities. She started the campaign on Novel Cerebral Palsy Awareness Drive by featuring her disability on her works.
After the Moment
by Six de los Reyes
Under the most normal of circumstances, Aria de Luna could never imagine herself kissing the boy she has always considered to be miles and miles out of her league. She’s known as their year’s resident emo-girl and she plays the part flawlessly with her violet hair, scuffed boots, and her alleged angst from living under the shadow of her over-achieving, perfect, older sister. Meanwhile, Kristoffer Li is living the perfect life. He’s popular, next year’s captain of the basketball team, attractive, if maybe a little too frowny for people’s liking, but he looks very pretty on a chocolate-milk drink carton.
So it is only under the most unusual circumstance that Kris shows up at the Arts and Culture Festival Aria has been looking forward to all year. But does a morning of awkward conversations, an afternoon of provoking discussions, and a moment under the moonlight really change three years of oblivious coexistence? Or will everything go back to the way it was after the moment?
This just in: the world is about to end, and aliens have colonized human hosts.
Or maybe not, but it seems like a plausible explanation for the recent turn of events. Otherwise, how else am I supposed to justify kissing Kristoffer Li under the moonlight?
To fully appreciate the insanity of this, you must first understand that Kris Li is miles and miles totally out of my league. He’s the school’s basketball star and I’m the local class freak. Everyone knows his name from fame, and my name is thrown around in infamy. He’s shiny white jerseys and I’m black hoodies. You get the picture. For three years we've peacefully coexisted without ever once having to interact, and yet, here we are.
Maybe there are some moments in life that simply defy logic and explanation, and no matter how you try to put things into perspective, they refuse to fit like the way pieces of a jigsaw puzzle should. That moment, that entire day, is one of them. A moment that simply does not exist unless in some alternate universe beyond our realm of logic and understanding. A moment that could only ever exist in books, and in songs, something very nearly alive and with a sentience of its own.
I still can’t believe it now, hence the matter of the world falling apart and aliens invading the Earth. But it happened anyway, despite my attempts to rationalize the situation and find something to blame for it. Everything happened the way it shouldn't, and no, I’m not okay thank you very much.
Sometimes, I just really don’t understand the way the universe works.
About Six de los Reyes
Six de los Reyes has been reading and making up stories for as far as she can remember. In fifth grade, she learned to wield dragons and phoenixes through written word. Her day job has absolutely nothing to do with creative writing, and she wishes it did.
When a KISS Falls
by Kaye Dee
Do you know someone tagged as a KISS?
Nastasha and Stefano are both aware of the uncanny relationship they have as best friends. Nash has always been the KISS or knight-in-shining skirt - always so protective of Stef. In her, Stef found a personal on-call heroine. Stef, on the other hand, is often seen as vain, weak and feminine, making him the perfect bully target. Until one day, Stef realizes it should be the other way around. It is time to switch their roles and be his best friend’s protector and defender. But being the strong-willed girl that she is, Nash just cannot deal away with her tough nature.
Will Stef prove his worth and fulfill the new role in their friendship? Will this be the bridge that can take their friendship into something more?
I looked at myself in front of the mirror, trying to fix my plaid skirt that sat just below my knees. My white blouse was neatly ironed. I had my long unruly hair pulled up in a ponytail like I always do every morning. After I double checked if I have everything I needed in my backpack, I went on my way to kick off my last year in high school.
I almost hopped my way, looking a little too ecstatic. Maybe it was the amount of caffeine I had this morning or it could be the eternal vibe of today.
The Athenaeum Integrated School, known as AIS to many, had to be the best school in our small town of Cordova. Maybe even one of the most prestigious schools in the island province of Mactan. There was no denying that for suburban teenagers like me, AIS is more than what we can possibly hope for in an educational institution.
AIS had always been a pride of Cordova because of its top notched facilities and faculties. We always rank high on both regional and national achievement tests. Not only does our school cater to producing intelligent students, we also have a great curriculum that brings into being talented artists and athletes.
Though my years in AIS have been nothing short of amazing, God knows how much I wanted to leave its four walls; wear a toga, march up to the stage, get that diploma, and begin my college journey. I even started to do a countdown for our high school graduation, and would eagerly cross out every passing day off my calendar.
About Kaye Dee
Some people say actions speak louder than words. But actions are temporary. Words are forever.
Loving You All My Life
by Rafael P. Pascual
Isang ulirang estudyante, kaibigan at anak si Danielle Natasha Lastimosa. Ang kanyang pagsisikap, talino at kabutihan ang nagdala sa kanya sa Philippine Institute of Arts, Entertainment & Culture (PHINAREC), ang pinaka-una at natatanging paaralan para sa mga nagnanais makapasok sa larangan ng sining, kultura at libangan. Maayos na sana ang kanyang buhay-estudyante nang isang Jairus Roman Vera-Perez ang biglang nagpagulo rito. Ang lalaking iyon ang anak ng may-ari ng PHINAREC, pero ito rin ang pinakalider pagdating sa katamaran, kayabangan at kakulangan ng disiplina. Pagtatagpuin sila ng isang kakaibang proyekto para sa kursong kanilang pinag-aaralan. Maging mitsa kaya ito ng lalong paglala ng kanilang bangayan, o ito na kaya ang magsilbing daan para sila ay maging magkaibigan – at magkatuluyan? Masabi kaya nila sa isa’t isa ang katagang “I’LL KEEP ON LOVING YOU ALL MY LIFE”?
DANA’S POVPhilippine Institute of the Arts, Entertainment & CultureFebruary 16, 2000
Hay, salamat! Natapos din ang isang linggon pagsusunog ng kilay. Kakatapos lang ng examination week at kaming lahat ay nabunutan ng tinik sa dibdib.
Pa’no ba naman: ang hirap na nga ng pagre-review, masyado pang mahigpit ang mga propesor – na pati ang pakikinig ng radio sa cellphone ay ipinagbawal din nila! Para naming walang tiwala ang mga propesor sa aming mga estudyante sa PHINAREC. Sabagay, prestihiyosong paaralan iyan para sa mga nagnanais pumasok sa media at showbiz, kaya gayan sila kahigpit.
Anyway, my name is Dana – Danielle Natasha Lastimosa. Anak ako ng isang retiradong inhinyero at ng isang dating government employee na napunta sa pagtitinda ng sigarilyo at kendi sa NAIA. At kung ang iniisip n’yo ay mahirap ang pamilya naming, tama po kayo.
Mahirap ang pamilya naming, kaya dumating ang panahong kailangan ko nang magtrabaho para matulungan ang aking mga magulang.
Kaya lang naman ako nakapag-aral sa PHINAREC ay dahil may nakapansin sa talent ko. Siya lang naman si Mr. Art Paglinawan, ang pinakasikat na newscaster sa kasalukuyang panahon. Simula kasi nang Manalo ako sa News Reading Competition ng FBN, at nang Makita niya ang sitwasyon ng pamilya naming, tinulungan niya ako sa pag-aaral ko dito – sponsored niya ang mass communication scholarship program ng PHINAREC.
About Rafael P. Pascual
Rafael P. Pascual is a 20-year old Mass Communication student at Universidad de Manila. He is a reader of romance, teen fiction, fantasy, horror, mystery and history. He is currently writing under the username raffythequizzard on Wattpad.com.
He also loves to read Wattpad books, particularly those published by Summit Media's Pop Fiction imprint. He has attended the Wattpad seminar at the 35th Manila International Book Fair, the Pop Fiction Academy at the 1st Philippine Literary Festival, and the 3rd Pop Fiction Festival.
He currently lives in Navotas City with his mother and six other siblings.
Never Too Late
by Jen Suguitan
When Cass goes to a trip to Corregidor, she thinks that it’s the key to finding closure over her sister's death. But things change when she gets mixed up with the wrong tour group where she meets Noah, a budding filmmaker and photographer who wants to relive his grandfather’s war stories through the tour.
As they explore the historic island together, will Cass and Noah find what they are looking for? Or will they find something more, like a chance to fall in love, too?
8:03 AM, Manila to Corregidor
[4:30 AM:] Wake up!!! 7am sharp @Soleil Tours terminal! DON’T BE LATE THIS TIME!!![6:45 AM:] I am almost there. Where are you? Why aren’t you answering my calls?!?![7:01 AM:] YOU ARE LATE!! Where are you, Cass?[7:15 AM:] Called Daisy, she isn’t picking up. Where are you, Cass?![7:16 AM:] I’m calling mom. You are soooo screwed.[7:18 AM:] Ferry’s leaving at 8. Where the hell ARE YOUUUU?![7:21 AM:] This isn’t funny. You can’t make the ferry WAIT for YOU.[7:36 AM:] Okay, talked to the tour staff, we’re leaving EXACTLY at 8. Where are you?[7:48 AM:] Acknowledging that you got my messages would be NICE, Cass.[7:53 AM:] This is why mom and dad never should’ve trusted you.[7:57 AM:] Three minutes. Corregidor will still be fun without you. #sorrynotsorry
I scrolled past my sister’s other pesky messages as I handed my ticket stub to the woman behind the check-in counter. I only replied to Anj, my sister, once and that was to tell her that I was five minutes away from the terminal. Knowing Anj, I’d probably get a lecture for not checking my phone’s battery level before leaving. But it was Anj’s constant nagging that distracted me before from my preparations for the trip. Besides, my phone wouldn’t die on me if she hadn’t called me twelve times in a span of twenty minutes.About Jen Suguitan
Jen C. Suguitan is a PR practitioner by day and a storyteller by night. Her love affair with words and letters led to a Journalism degree and stories cramped in her hard drive that the world has yet to see. She started writing professionally for a local broadsheet when she was seventeen, and she doesn't plan on stopping anytime soon. When she's not writing, she's probably thinking of what to write about next.
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