Barbie Forteza



This is a very traumatic phase for the entire globe. People are experiencing every angle of fear there is — physical, mental, economic, and so on. Our economies, our priorities, our plans, and our perceptions will not be what they were compared to the outset of this year. We’re living our dream one minute, and then comes a nightmare. Our place of refuge was transformed into pandemonium as COVID-19 hit us one by one. For most people, it has been a time of fear — in its purest form. We have reached the crossroads. Crucial decisions are being made.

For the month of May, STAIL.PH wants you to know that there is HOPE. There’s something to look forward to in our post-pandemic world. Let’s choose to believe that things will work out and then let’s act accordingly. The future may seem uncertain. It will likely get harder before it gets easier, but we are with you.

Whatever happens, let’s choose hope.


We are yet to see the light at the end of this tunnel. There is uncertainty in the near future as we wait for the quarantine to be lifted. Despite all the harsh realities of life right now, not everything is dark. Take “Soleil” wearing rays of hope on her head. Justine Mercado, the talented artist who crafted her beauty, describes her as follows:

“The girl is holding a painting of the sky with three stars and a sun. This art represents clear skies ahead. Even with all the problems happening to our country lately, everyone is still hoping for better days to come.”

For the fortunate among us, we are given the chance to grow ourselves. And for those who can take it further, you can help support others do the same. Take “Daisy” as Justine describes her:

“I hope your flowers bloom, it’s actually a line from a song by a blACk party called bloom, I got inspired by that. It became a comfort song for me when I’m hopeless and down.”

For those who are struggling no matter what background you’re from. The privileged or the marginalized, we are all struggling with our own demons both internally and externally. But remember to stay strong and take care of yourself as much as possible. Take “Je M’aime” as Justine describes her:

“Je M’aime” means “I love myself”. It’s been months through the darkness. Sometimes when you can’t find the light through those dark days, you have to be your own sunshine.”

 “I hope that the Filipino people will learn and keep in mind that the one they put on those position has no capability or maybe no concern for our own wellbeing. I’m looking forward to a change that we all want. Filipinos deserve more.”

 “We have yet to see the true “bayanihan” of all Filipinos, but right now instead of fighting for our right, we became competitive against who is more righteous and who is more intelligent.”

Difficult times give us great lessons. We are all being disrupted during these extraordinary situations. Medical professionals are always in the battleground fighting this pandemic virus. The landscape below gives honor to our heroes who tirelessly fight what seems to be the biggest battle that humanity has right now.

 “The artists are struggling to stay afloat because of the pandemic. Most especially those who were working in freelance or project-based and creatives who work in the events. Local and international museums and other arts institutions are also struggling because of this crisis.”


Kaufman once said that hope is more than just a feel-good emotion, It’s a motivational system that gives you determination in achieving goals which are conducive to growth and improvement. The artwork on the left is a revisited version of Chau’s old work called “Imperil”.  Hope and growth don’t always equate with colorful rainbows, soaring birds, perfectly tilled land, and so on. There are many times when it is connected to recognizing damages, accountability, mistakes, and natural conflicts. It’s all about being able to look upon the root of our mistakes, learning from it, hoping for the better, and growing simultaneously.


Despite our fears, doubts, and frustrations in these trying times, take comfort and seek to recognize hope. Koi fishes represent contrasting forces just as a Yin Yang does — where black represents adversity and white is for success. With so much opposition in our current national and social statuses, there’s always a hope that things will get better. The work shows how this fate is in the hands of every individual.

 “There’s the hard implementation of social distancing, hygiene, and alternatives to the reduced capacity of public transportation for the Filipino workforce. I hope that people become more aware and sensitive to social situations and not be afraid to form and raise the right questions. Also, I’m hoping for this “new normal” to work out well for each and every one.”


Special Thanks To

Artists: Justine Mercado (IG: @in.trbl) | Chau Galliguez (IG: @chau.psd) | Web Developer: Andrea Dominique Dawal.