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Wet and North – Day 1 August 18, 2007

Posted by Janjan in All, I, Lawyer, Seriously now….

I’m at the rather noisy and crowded domestic terminal of Cebu Pacific Airlines, looking out at a muggy rainy morning in Manila. The solitary ham and cheese croissant paired off with a tetra-pack of iced coffee fails to quell the rumbling of my rather famished stomach.I am sleepy because I had insomnia last night. I left my wristwatch and cellphone charger over at my friend Blake’s house (where I was staying during my trip there). My trip back to Cebu has been delayed for an hour and the overall surroundings are as somber as my mood.

But all things considered, it has been a good and productive trip up North at our fair nation’s National Capital Region. I was assigned here to follow up on a client’s *long inhale of breath* Petition for Correction of Clerical Errors on Petitioner’s Birth Certificate Through Republic Act No. 9048, and so far, I’ve accomplished that task. Never mind if my trip there could have easily been averted through a simple phone call to the Civil Registrar of XX City, I will just disregard the fact that some government offices haven’t caught up with the wonders of facsimile machines.

Still, interesting things always happen to me whenever I am in Manila. My trips this year alone have been ones for the records. Last May, I was in the legal staff of a Senatorial candidate and was billeted at the hotel which in one case, “has bore mute witness to the triumphs and failures, loves and frustrations of the Filipinos; its existence is impressed with public interest; its own historicity associated with our struggle for sovereignty, independence and nationhood.” (Incidentally… the food at that hotel was just yecchhh.) Then last July, a couple of friends paid for my fare and lodgings and had me fly over to Manila just so that I could run a weekend campaign of Game of Thrones.

This August found me, among other things, on an LRT adventure, a wedding misadventure, a long talk with my kids, and finally, a long talk with my host family.

The LRT adventure, courtesy of the fact that I was on a tight budget, refers to my hasty jump aboard the bonny LRT 1, as as I hopped from the Taft station up towards the Central station. Now I don’t mind mass commute, mind you, but not when I don’t know where I’m headed and I’m crammed into an overstuffed coach full of strangers with no convenient handle to latch on to. Now I know what a can of Señorita sardines feel like… or a New York subway commuter! But that’s what I did, with many a long consultation with the LRT map and with even longer interrogations of the subway police. Fortunately, I got to Central station without fanfare, making my way down to Earth and figuring out where the heck the City Hall (or more precisely, the Civil Registry) was.

Thus, I walked down the bonny streets of Manila City with a scenic view of the KKK mural on my right (and no, my American readers, not THAT KKK. I mean the organization that had such magnificent Philippine heroes now contained in our local currency and nearly defunct postage stamps: Aguinaldo, Bonifacio, Rizal, and some militant carabaos.) To my left lay the scenic walls of Intramuros, where my friend’s organization’s head office is located, the one rumored to be inhabited by dead Spanish friars that float above you whilst you lay sleeping in bed and have weird dreams about sacristans. I wanted to go there, knock on the door and say, “Who you gonna call??” then run off giggling like a crazy lawyer who has been cooped up too long in the LRT.

Eventually, I got to the City Hall and was greeted with a flurry of people and activity. By sheer luck, the first door I entered into immediately led me to the Office of the Civil Registrar. Apparently, so many people were having problems with their birth certificates, marriage licenses, marriage contracts, death certificates and what have you. Everybody looked like ants scurrying about looking for the right hole to crawl into as harried government employees did their best to transact official government business.

I eventually found the correct person to annoy, badger, intimidate, and eventually kneel down in front of and beg with matching tears and incoherent shrieks about the starving children of Africa until my case was attended to and solved. The problem? The Civil Registrar was requiring additional documents which I did not carry on my person. Apparently, the appropriate communication was supposed to be sent to Cebu City’s Civil Registrar (although never received by the latter), informing my client of what was lacking. Hooray. Government efficiency at its finest. Yet another problem that could have been immediately solved by a fax machine but wasn’t. Joy.

Fortunately, the transaction was finished. There was no more that I could do. I immediately made my way down the streets again and waited for a taxicab to show up along the road. Numerous unoccupied ones passed me by but didn’t attend to my apparent need for comfortable mass transport. Apparently, they too have heard of the dead Spanish friars that lay entombed inside Intramuros. I didn’t know that THAT many taxi drivers used to be sacristans.

I sighed wearily and made my way towards the LRT again. With another long talk with your friendly neighborhood LRT police, I got into yet another jam-packed trip to bliss and prayed that Spider-man will not come barreling down on our coach having a bitter fight with Doctor Octopus. I did not want to rely on the strength of his webbing to save my life.

Getting down the next stop (which sounded something like Someone Jose…. Doroteo Jose? Fernando Jose? Marimar?), I surveyed the area around me and tried to figure out where the other train was that was supposed to take me to Quezon City. Spotting a cab, I thought “To hell with that!”, flagged the bugger and rode in relative comfort and bliss all the way to a church, where some people that I’ve never met where getting married.

My friend Blake, who was my host for my trip there, asked me to accompany him and his mom (who was a principal sponsor of the said wedding), and help alleviate his boredom attending the wedding of perfect strangers. I arrived there in time just as the bridal procession was about to start and sat with Blake observing a fat ring-bearer waddling down the aisle and people going “Ohhhh… he’s so cute!!!” I was more entertained with the other ring-bearer… the skinny kid patiently waiting for the other ring-bearer to finish waddling down the aisle so that he could do his own walk and be done with his obligations to this wedding. What amused me was this kid’s barong… a see-through affair that did little to cover the poor guy’s upper torso. Only a poor innocent ring-bearer could get away with wearing a barong made from the same fabric as Wonder Woman’s Invisible Jet. Wear that thing in court and the other lawyers would laugh at you. (“Haha. Look at the Magnificent Atty. Perez. The only thing you can see of his barong is his collar! Oh look, his sando has a big hole at the back. Haha!”) I pray that someone will spare the kid of the horrors of a photograph.

The mass was soon over, and after the obligatory pictures with the married couple’s principal sponsors, their family, their relatives, their friends, their orthodontists, their lawyers and their pets, we soon made our way towards the reception. More uncomfortable silence as Blake and I were seated right next to yet another set of perfect strangers, who were apparently close relatives of the bride wondering who the hell we were. I cheekily took a nearby appetizer and grinned shamelessly at them. “Oh, the bride looks so cute… I remember when she was only 10 years old and looked so lovely running around naked in the playground screaming ‘I AM THE LIZARD QUEEN!'”

(And no, I did not actually say that but part of me wishes that I did.)

To compound to our embarrassment, Blake and I were heavily engaged in a conversation involving biomechanic Filipino spaceships manned by an alien race patterned after thuggish kapres and controlled by engkantos, that we didn’t hear the wedding coordinator’s instructions that each table was to stand up when called, take their picture with the bride and groom and make their way down to the buffet table. All I saw was that people were lining up for food and then nudged Blake for him and I to follow suit. I might have missed the uncomfortable and shocked glare given by the people in Table No. 12 (where we were seated), as Blake and I boldly went where no man has gone before and joined the line prematurely to the buffet table. By the time that the first porkchop was on my plate, I horrifically realized my mistake as I heard the emcee shriek out “Hookehy, Teybol Number Payb… Come on Down!!! It’s your turn to get fed and pektyured!!!”

Explaining our predicament to Blake, we pondered what to do. It was too late to go back to our table since we already had porkchops, lasagna, soup and other comforting wedding reception food planted like damning evidence on our plate. Meanwhile, the residents of Table No. 12 (who apparently, all knew each other except us), looked like they were busy gossiping about us. (“Who are these people?? How rude!”)

And that was Day One.

I will blog about Day Two some other day, because I have to start dressing up for a formal dinner, and because the topic of Day Two requires some thoughtful and ponderous blogging.



1. *jaNice=) - August 18, 2007

see… now you know how my daily struggle with my morning subway commute feels like… :p

2. Companion to the Dressy Formal Dinner - August 18, 2007

Naa pa diay Day 2? Sa kadaghan sa imong gipasamwak na, abi nako mao na ni tanan imong gibuhat didto sa kaulohan kay daw murag masulod na man ni sa tulo ka adlaw na agi!

Ug wa ka kakita na ang mga militanteng kabaw na kauban nila Bonifacio naa sad to’y mga hinagiban nga gihiktan sa ilang kiliran? Andam to sila makiggubat sa mga Kastila oi.. Gani, ang ilang mga napatay, mao to ang ubang multo nga maglutaw-lutaw og magpakita sa opisina sa imong amigo diha sa Intramuros.

Mao ra to akong ikasulit, ‘torni.

Ang imong higala,

Your Companion to the Dressy Formal Dinner

3. northwolf - August 18, 2007

Nips: Pauli na lang kung mao nang storyaa. Hehehe. Mas dili pa ka maglisud sa atong mga jeep.

Higala: Ang mga hinagiban nga gihiktan sa kiliran ni Bonifacio maoy kauna-unahang Gostbasters!

4. Companion to the Dressy Formal Dinner - August 19, 2007

Ug ‘torni, bilib ko aning WordPress kay naa pa gyapon ang details sa ako Name, email ug url, naka-cache pa gyapon bah. Kulba man ni diay.


Your Companion to the Dressy Formal Dinner

5. tinuod nga botbot - August 22, 2007

atty., hehehehe.. lingaw lang ko nagbasa bah..
unsaon, mura’g naka-agi naman gud ko anang sitwasyona nga nag-bitbit na sa kutsara, tinidor og plato nga puno na sa pagka-on dayon niingon ang emcee nga picture-picture…. hehehehee

ako nalang gibitbit while ngpapicture.. uwaw biya…. waaaaaahahhahaa
maayo gani ka kay wala ka mag-inusara nga nagbitbit og kutsara’g tinidor, naa si blake.. ako kay nag-inusara ra gyud..

6. northwolf - August 22, 2007

Hay salamat, naay naka relate! 🙂

7. tinuod nga botbot - August 22, 2007

samot pa sa relate bai kay kung mahinumduman nako tong panghitabo-a, mopiyong nalang ko sa akong mata kay hangtod karon gibawn gihapon nako ang kauwaw… hahahahahaha

8. northwolf - August 22, 2007

Hahahaha… I know how you feel. It harts! It harts!

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