Alab ng Puso: an Inter-School Publication

Written by: Mayako

Edited by: Ms. Hartley

Visual by: The British School Manila

This summer, together with the students of the British School of Manila (BSM), Xavier, and Beacon Academy, 13 high school students from ISM contributed their stories and artwork to create an inter-school, student-run publication entitled Alab ng Puso, meaning ‘fire of the heart’ in Tagalog. 

“Alab ng Puso initially began as a 5 article mini-magazine aiming to be a small commemoration of this tumultuous period of our lives,” reported Kim (Grade 12), the Editor in Chief of BSM’s publication, Winston, and the head of the project. “Alab ng Puso finally became a book after we realized how important it was for us to ‘represent’ student voices in the Philippines.” 

The book, which was published online this weekend, compiles “thirty-five articles from the four contributing schools covering COVID-19 stories of people who came face-to-face with the virus, fiercely honest perspectives, and also pieces in Tagalog.”

Amelie (Grade 12), an editor and writer of Bamboo Telegraph, reflected,  “my favorite part was writing about COVID-19 related issues as it was extremely relevant.” Her article “COVID-19 Reveals the Ugly Truth” touches on socio-political issues that have been exacerbated by the pandemic. “I wanted an outlet to discuss all the conflict occurring as a result of the virus,” she said. 

Julia (Grade 9), a writer from Bamboo Telegraph, wrote about her struggle with her Chinese-Filipino mixed identity in her article titled “Pinoy Pride! Chinoy…Pride?” Julia said her favorite part of the process was “getting to better know myself during the writing process and really being able to reflect on my identity and the various cultural and racial conflicts that are a huge part of my life.”

The publication was as much of an artistic project as it was a journalistic one. All of the visuals are digitally drawn by the school’s graphic designers. Yana (Grade 12), the Art Director for Bamboo Telegraph, said “it was definitely interesting seeing the inner-workings of newspapers at other schools. As the Art Director, my favorite part of it all was seeing the final product that Winston sent out a few days ago” because “it really showcased all the hard work put into in a cohesive manner without compromising the individual aesthetics of each school.”

While collaborating purely through Zoom calls and Facebook messenger chats was difficult at times, Kim said the second Zoom call where each school pitched their article ideas was her favorite part. “As each school went through each article idea, summarizing its premise and describing its genre, I became increasingly overwhelmed by the sheer amount of dedication, talent, and creativity of the editors and writers we were working with. We only required each school to have 3 articles to join us, but the fact that all schools doubled–or even quadrupled–that minimum requirement made me really excited to help produce this publication.” 

Support your local journalists and read the final publication here! Best read on a larger screen like a laptop rather than a phone.