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Magazine Issue #2



Dear Marías at Sampaguitas Reader:

Kumusta ka? We hope you’re reading this in safety and gentleness.

The creation of this issue, MAHAL, was no easy task.

When Marías first called out for submissions for this issue in October 2020, during Filipino/a/x American History Month, the United States was already about eight months into pandemic mode. We were deep into devastation of once-in-a-century magnitude. Yet we never could have predicted that in the days, weeks, and months to follow, we would be faced with still more horrors that would shake us to our core. 

Our kababayan in the Philippines were hit by Typhoon Ulysses, on top of the other typhoons that had devastated the country. Here in the United States, the very existence of the government was threatened when white supremacists stormed the Capitol just days into the New Year. New strains of COVID-19 emerged and threw country after country into fresh chaos. Hate towards the Asian community erupted across the world. In Atlanta, a white gunman murdered Asian American women. And we continued to lose Black and Brown lives to police brutality. At the time of writing this letter, we are feeling sickened and helpless as we follow the barrage of news stories covering Israel’s bloody attacks on Palestine, in an unrelenting, multi-day bombing of Gaza. Our hearts go out to the lives lost.

Almost a year passed since that October call for submissions, and our hearts have been so weary. How could we hope to release our little issue in the face of these world-stopping challenges? Is there still a space for what this issue has to say?


Time and again, we needed to sit by ourselves and hold these questions heavy in our hands. We listened, in the quiet. And we saw, despite everything:


Love persisted.

We learned how to use the internet to mobilize grassroots efforts and give mutual aid to grief- and disaster-stricken communities. We saw the Black vote triumph against odds, against history, and turn Georgia blue to clinch the election and end 45’s tyranny. We saw the start of COVID vaccination (and we continue to call for distributing the vaccine equitably all over the world). George Floyd’s murderer was duly convicted. Asian communities gathered closer to one another; we held each other in our grief; and we insisted on resisting hate and celebrating ourselves in our art, our poetry, our music, our films, our talents, our cultures. 

Love persists, we persist. 

Reader, we continue to live in a harrowing time. We continue to shoulder burdens, the very real consequences of death from incompetencies and transgressions of government structures around the world. There continues to be loss.

It isn’t easy to create in perpetuating duress, so we owe a great amount of thanks to the creatives who submitted and chose to keep their pieces in this issue. We also owe a deep thanks to the staff and contracted artists of Marías at Sampaguitas for your friendship, your presence, and your devotion to our work. 

This issue is called MAHAL because this is our collective offering of love to our readers and our community. And after so many challenges behind the scenes for our staff, this issue is also our reminder to ourselves that we must insist upon love.

Thank you for trusting us with your work. Thank you for sharing beauty when we need it most.

Be safe. Take care of yourself and each other.



With gratitude, solidarity, and endless pagmamahal,

Keana, Maria, Dina, Kathy, Morgan, Hal, and Kelly
The Editors

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