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Magnificent in Moalboal September 30, 2007

Posted by Janjan in All, cebuano, I, Lawyer, Idiocy.
Tags: , , ,
14 comments

Compared to Manila lawyers, Cebuano lawyers make a fraction of the amount that lawyers based in our nation’s capital earn.

However.

You can’t beat the perks of practicing in Cebu, such as being thrown off to hearings in far-flung rural areas, especially if it’s a seaside one. Yes folks, I’m talking about the opportunity of getting to sleep with bit–, errr, I mean, getting to sleep at beaches.

Today is September 28, 2007, and yours truly, the Magnificent Atty. Perez, is having a quiet Friday morning by the poolside of Marcosas Cottage, owned by the gracious Spouses Herzenstiel, Michael and Marcosa, who are both clients of the firm that I represent. Normally, I try to avoid talking about my clients to respect their privacy, but considering that I am *cough cough* a minor Internet celebrity and in the interests of promoting the tourism industry of my beloved Cebu, I am humbly lending the gravity of my esteemed munificence (somewhere in the world, one of my bestfriends is gagging) in order to bring to fore the beauty of Moalboal and the warmth of Marcosas Cottages. Of course, this is written with the blessings and permission of Herr Michael.

For the record, I am not a Boracay type of tourist. The weight of my Magnificence is such that it must be used responsibly and not flaunted so openly in public, as the very sight of my very superstardom is known to cause sudden heart palpitations, the inexplicable urge to worship the ground that I walk on, and the acute need to burst into the dancing and singing of musical scores of love and adoration. (If I only had a dollar every time someone serenaded me with “In my life, he has burst like the music of angels, the light of the sun….”, I would probably already have… hmm… ten centavos.) Hence being the selfless and humble soul that I am, (I hear the Pope is still mulling over my application for living sainthood), I have instead made it a point to have my vacations over at out-of-the-way areas that nobody has ever heard about, much less frequent. I guess I just prefer having my peace and quiet.

At any rate, I have already spent 2 paragraphs on self-aggrandizement and senseless exposition, so I better go ahead to promoting my clients’ resort while my bispren DK has not yet thrown a rock at my direction.


Marcosas Cottages is a charming little out-of-the-way resort villa located in the town of Moalboal, located at the southern part of Cebu. It’s a true mom-and-pop operation run and operated by the smiling and friendly staff employed by Michael and Marcosas Herzenstiel. I guess this is what my friend Tina would call a “boutique resort”, or a “bed-and-breakfast,” or simply, something that’s too small to compete with the likes of top-notch beach resorts, without the modern and up-scale amenities offered by the latter.

But then again, not everybody can afford going to top-notch beach resorts. Or for that matter, even if they could afford to go to a top-notch beach resort, not everybody would want to go one. It could be filled with so many strangers, or it’s too loud, or there are too many events scheduled which detracts from the sense of “getting away from it all.”

 

The charm of Marcosas Cottages is that it is the anti-commercialized beach resort. The operation is being actively run by the owners themselves, and in fact, if you drop by over at the bar for a nightcap, you will find Michael himself mixing your drinks and engaging you in conversation over a cool bottle of San Miguel Pale Pilsen. (My favorite question to ask him has always been, “How does Filipino beer compare to German lagers?” The answer: It’s so light and refreshing, it’s like drinking mineral water.)

Forget about the plastic smiles and forced friendliness of big resorts, the staff here is made up of local and winsome barrio lasses who give you genuine mirth and warmth behind their smiles. The food here is delicious and has all the comforts of home cooking, but with a twist. Since the owner is German, the resort features meals that a Deutsch hausfrau would be serving back in the motherland. Just last night, a decade of juvenile green jokes were shattered as I ordered a weiner schnitzel and discovered to my disillusion that the dish is actually just a plain old breaded porkchop. Oh well. Damn good porkchop though.

(And to my good friend Muerte from high school, let me just say that our friend who roleplays the Cavalier Aurelius Stark could not therefore suck your schnitzel no matter how many times you goad him, on account of the medical impossibility of the act. The breadcrumbs would stick to his teeth. Ich gut, ya? Ya?)

Owing to the fact that the resort is small, you can expect more attention and a more personalized service. But if you are expecting some kind of Disneyland or Boracay level of fun, this is not the place to go. The only attractions that the resort has are its swimming pool and massage sauna. Other than that, this is just somewhere to go if you want to get away from it all, without sacrificing personal amenities like cable TV (the rooms also have their own DVD players), good airconditioning (you can choose between the powerful airconditioner and/or the ceiling fan, or both), clean and beautiful-looking rooms (check out my pictures), hot and cold showers.

If you really feel like going on an adventure, the resort is only a 3-minute walk away from a diving shop (Blue Abyss), a 5-minute walk from a public beach. If fresh water and waterfalls are more of your thing, for a small fee, you could charter the resort’s van and have it transport you to the nearby Kawasan Falls for a cool dip.

Moalboal is more known as a diving spot though, as it is found near one of the reefs outlying Cebu. There are numerous diving shops nearby where you could charter boat trips or rent diving equipment. The one I mentioned, Blue Abyss, is run by a German national who has decided to settle down here in the Philippines.

Curiously, I am the only Filipino guest in Marcosas. All the other guests are German. I just learned last night that Michael is affiliated with a diving club in Germany whose members make periodic trips to the Philippines. That’s not a big deal for me since Germans are okay by my book. They keep to themselves and don’t put on any airs unlike some other tourists who think their culture and gene pool is God’s gift to the rest of the heathen and uncivilized world. And judging from the reception given by the staff of Marcosas, the Germans are good and friendly guests as well.

Although I wouldn’t outright say that the rates are cheap, I could honestly say that the price of both the lodging and the food is reasonable and worth its price in value-added service and attention to detail. Room rates range from P1,450 to P2,000 a night, with in-house provisions like tea, coffee, snacks and the like charged surprisingly at retail prices. Food prices ranges somewhere from around P100 to P300, depending on the item ordered, which is not bad, if you think about it.

Well, I guess if you’re up for the adventure, I’ll be seeing you at Marcosas Cottage every now and then. Till next time, guten tag!


A Lawyer Joke A Day Keeps the Subpoena Away September 18, 2007

Posted by Janjan in All, Idiocy.
7 comments

Homeygas!!! I can’t bilib it!! I’VE NEVER POSTED A LAWYER JOKE IN MY BLAWG!!!!

I must rectify that situation at once!

 

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Lawyer Joke #1: The Idealistic New Lawyer

 

There was once this idealistic, young, good-looking and magnificent new lawyer that recently passed the Bar and he was offered to join this large law firm, because he had so much magnificent potential.

So the law firm made him all the fancy offers… a new car, a million peso acceptance bonus, a condominium in Makati… yadda yadda yadda.

But the lawyer was so idealistic that he told the firm: “Thank you for your offers but I must know… what is your firm’s policy on pro bono cases?”

The firm partners looked very serious and asked the new lawyer for some time to discuss the matter.

The partners got together in a huddle and debated and argued and discussed the matter. After an hour of this, one of the partners finally could take it no longer and approached the young lawyer.

He said: “Uhm… what’s pro bono?”

 

 

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Lawyer Joke #2: Say Cheese!

 

When taking a lawyer’s picture, what is the one word that a photographer can say to make the lawyer smile?

“Okay Attorney, say “FEES!”

 

 

—————————————–

Lawyer Joke #3: How to Save a Lawyer

 

QUESTION: What is the best way to save a drowning lawyer?

ANSWER: Take your foot off his head.

 

 

 

 

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Lawyer Joke #4: The Devil’s Advocate

 

The Devil once visited the Magnificent Atty. Perez’s office to make him an offer.

 

Our brilliant young lawyer, very much shocked, could only stand up and scream, “HOMEYGAS!! Speaker of the House De Venecia!!! What are you doing in my office??? I swear, my internet connection is legal!!! I did not pirate my broadband connection from my Chinese client!!”

 

To which the Devil laughed and said, “Oh shush, I am not Speaker De Venecia… I am only the Devil. Now listen up. I can arrange some things for you.”

 

The Magnificent Atty. Perez sat down and pressed his stopwatch, so that he could bill the Devil.

 

The Devil continued, “I’ll make you the richest and most handsome lawyer in the Philippines. Your partners will all be Erap, Marcos and Arroyo cronies. People everywhere will fear your power and your prowess in court. You’ll have four months of vacation each year and live to be a hundred. You will be so sexy and popular that sex-film starlets will pay you money just to have you visit their bed. You will no longer be a minor internet celebrity but instead, your blawg will be so popular that you will need your own lease line and dedicated server to handle all the traffic” And then the Devil paused.

 

The Magnificent Atty. Perez was interested and listened more. He glanced at the Devil’s shoes and was surprised to find that the Devil did indeed wear Prada.

 

The Devil finally concluded, “In exchange for all this, Atty. Perez, I will…” then the Devil leaned forward and whispered to the handsome young lawyer’s ears.

 

The Magnificent Atty. Perez was shocked, amazed and stood up, yelling.

 

“IN RETURN FOR WEALTH, FAME, POWER AND PRESTIGE YOU WANT ME TO SELL THE ETERNAL SOULS OF MY WIFE, MY CHILDREN, MY CHILDREN’S CHILDREN, THEIR YAYAS AND THAT OF THE FAMILY DOG????? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?????”

 

Then the Magnificent Atty. Perez leaned forward and asked the Devil,

 

“What’s the catch?”

 

 

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Lawyer Joke #5: Criminal Law Tips

 

When I was in Manila last week, I helped my fellow graduates from Harvard University by giving them our Pink Tips, which all the other law schools and universities are fighting for. Since it was criminal law, I predicted one question and put it in the Harvard Notes. Sure enough, the question was asked by the Criminal Law examiner in Item No. 11 of last Sunday’s exam.

The situation was, “R was married to Y, who was a Turkish citizen. Y had a fight with R, who had to fly over to the Philippines to be comforted by her mother A, who was a Cebuana, and her father E, who was not. Y flew over to the Philippines to say that he was sorry to R, who blew off his invitation to bring their family on a beach abroad. R said that she would rather go to Boracay or to Hadsan. Y got insulted and took the family cat hostage with him to Turkey.”

Item No. 1 then asks, “What is a criminal lawyer. Please define.”

The Harvard Notes suggested answer: “A criminal lawyer? That’s redundant.”

 

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Lawyer Joke #6: Prized Possession

 

The Magnificent Atty. Perez was driving his big Ferrari Testarossa down the highway, singing to himself, “Lalalala… I love my Testarossa. Lalalalala…. I love my Testarossa.”

 

Focusing on his car, not his driving, the Magnificent Atty. Perez smashed into a balete tree. He walked out, with bloody bruises on his face, his body hurting all over, and with his nose broken and mangled beyond repair. Then he stopped to assess the damage.

 

“My Ferarri Testarossa!!!!!!!!!!!!! NOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!” he screamed in sorrow.

 

Surprisingly one of the loyal fans of his blawg drove by and cried out, “Oh no!!! Magnificent Atty. Perez!!! You’re bleeding! We have to take you to the hospital and… HOMAYGAS!!!! WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR LEFT ARM??? IT’S GONE!!!!”

 

The Magnificent Atty. Perez, horrified, looked at the stump of his left arm and screamed. “MY ROLEX!!!! NOOOOOO!!!!!!”

 

 

 

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Lawyer Joke #8: Victory!

One day, a magnificent young lawyer was in Dipolog defending a criminal case in favor of the accused. He fought with such verve, passion and expertise that the judge found the case to his favor and acquitted the lawyer’s client.

The magnificent young lawyer’s boss subsequently sent him a text message asking, “So, how was the case?”

Feeling pleased with himself and his great victory, the magnificent young lawyer txt’ed back and replied, “Justice triumphed.”

His boss called him up and said, “APPEAL IMMEDIATELY!!!”

Super Superstitions to Becoming a Liar September 18, 2007

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

During the Bar Examinations (and in any other major exam, for that matter), superstitions run high among the examinees. I myself partook and observed those superstitions when I took the Bar. Let me enumerate some of them:

1) Don’t get into a romantic relationship during the Bar – for examinees of USC, we observed that guys (and girls, in particular!) who acquire girlfriends and boyfriends while reviewing for the Exam are likely to fail. The rationale is of course, that you will most likely spend time and emotional resources being in the throes of passion and love, and will not be reviewing properly.

2) Pregnancy – Surprisingly enough, we observed a trend among our USC barristers. Guys who get someone pregnant, and girls who get pregnant during the review will always pass the Bar. Always! There’s an eerie 99% ratio that backs this theory up, based on actual people I know. For instance, one of our classmates, a girl, was at the height of her pregnancy when she took the Bar. I don’t know how she managed to fit into the little armchairs of La Salle considering her belly was so big and round! A week after the last Sunday, she immediately gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. And yes, she became a lawyer, along with five other guy classmates who got girls pregnant during the review.

3) White Rabbit candies This is a personal superstition for me. People I give White Rabbit candies to during the Bar Review end up passing the Bar. This is a very tricky superstition. First of all, you have to give the White Rabbit candies out of your own volition, meaning that the reviewee must not ask it from you. Second, you have to give the original White Rabbit candies… the white chewy kind with the edible inner wrapper, and not the hard toffee candy being sold locally. Unfortunately however, this candy is among those recently banned for import by the Philippines because of allegations of formalin content. However, the barristers need all the formalin that they can consume since it helps preserve whatever stuck-up knowledge that’s there in their heads (formalin is a chemical used for preserving and embalming corpses). So, since I wasn’t able to buy White Rabbit for this batch, I improvised by buying them Haw Haw Flakes (the “Body of Christ” red flakes of my youth). Being from China, I surmised that it had equal doses of memory-preserving formalin. The barristers loved it!

4) Red articles of clothing – I’ve never seen so many people having more birthdays than on the First Sunday of the Bar. Everybody is wearing a red t-shirt! It’s a bigger red t-shirt day than Valentines, Christmas and New Year all combined. Red is supposedly a lucky color for the Chinese. To get in on the fun (and because I’m 1/8 Chinese), I wore my lucky red t-shirt to the First and Second Sunday of the Bar. To offset, since green is also a lucky color for the Irish (I don’t have Irish blood but green is my favorite color), I wore my lucky green t-shirt during the Third and Fourth Sundays. I still wore a red article of clothing though, but it’s something that you couldn’t see in public. *blink blink*

5) Coin in your sock – This is a Perez family tradition observed every time someone takes a licensure exam, whether for Law, Accounting or Medicine. We slip a coin inside our left sock, with the coin touching the sole of your foot. It’s supposed to reduce tension in the examinee. I suppose it works because everyone I’ve told it to has passed the exam they observed this tradition on. One even went so far as to frame the lucky coin. I just hope he washed it thoroughly with soap and water.

6) Manila Zoo – This is a fun tradition started by my best friend and his barkada. Supposedly, people who go to the Manila Zoo a week before taking the exam will pass the Bar. I suppose there is some truth to it because I brought my friends Ed and Carmelle to the Manila Zoo on the last Sunday of August, and all three of us are now lawyers. I guess the rationale behind that is that it’s always good to ask the blessings of all your family members before taking the Bar. By the way, your lolo says hi.

7) Blessed pens – In USC, we have the sign pens that we used during the Bar blessed by a priest the night before the exam. I gave mine away to people taking the Bar on 2006. The ones who got one of my pens all passed.

8) Lawyer Snoopy – McDonald’s once gave out limited editions of Snoopy toys in various professions. On the Christmas of 2005, I knew that I was going to pass when during one mystery bunot-bunot gift at the office, I got the gift that contained Lawyer Snoopy. It was an omen. After I passed, I gave Lawyer Snoopy away to my close friend Gremz after she took the Bar Exam of 2006. She also passed. If you get Lawyer Snoopy as a gift or present, I tell you, it’s a sign!

9) Pilgrimages – Oddly enough, I wasn’t into pilgrimages that much. Oh sure, I did go to Church and did ask people to pray for me. I observed my novena to the Sto. Nino and the Mother of Perpetual Help. I went to the shrines close to my home and my school and lit candles for my petition. But I didn’t go to out of the way pilgrimages. I never went to St. Jude’s Chapel, or to the Miraculous Lady of Binan, or to any of the other holy shrines. My reason was that the same God is in every altar and shrine that you go to. He will hear you clearly whether or not you pray before Him in the pews of the school chapel or at the Church in Quiapo.

10) Prayers – Ask someone to pray for you. Ask someone to give eggs to the Carmelites in Mabolo or to the Pink Sisters in Talamban. Ask your lola to pray the rosary in your behalf. Pray to all the saints in heaven for help. Remind St. Arnold Janssen and St. Joseph Freinademetz that you’re a product of SVD education since Kinder 2 and that you need their prayers. Locate former lawyers, judges, barristers and Bar topnotchers in your line of ancestors and ask them to stand by you during the exam and whisper the answer in your ear. (Fortunately for me, I do have a lawyer, a judge, a barrister, and a Bar topnotcher in my ancestry to run to). I don’t care whether or not you are an atheist, when the time comes, prayers do indeed help.

These are the traditions I observed for the Bar. Some of them, I did with a belief that they will indeed give me spiritual intercession and good luck, and some of them I did just for kicks and fun. But all of them I observed for the sense of tradition… that many barristers before me had gone through what I did, and that by observing their tradition, I was keeping their memory and honor alive.

Super Support September 18, 2007

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

September 15, 2007 – It’s a slow Sunday in my hotel in Manila, and I’m still grappling from the profundity of my trip here. This is the fifth Bar Operations that I’ve done in my life. The first two were done when I was still a law student and an active of the USC Bar Operations. For both those two times, I went there as a Team Leader, directing and managing the operations of the Bar Ops for the third Sunday of the Bar. This was for the Bar Exams of 2002 and 2003 respectively.

The next three Bar Operations that I’ve attended to were already when I was a lawyer. I was in Manila twice for the Bar Exam of 2006, and finally now, it’s my fifth Bar Ops for the Bar Exam of 2007.

It is admittedly tiring and expensive work. Back when I was active in my school’s Bar Operations, third Sunday was a dreaded time slot because this was the Sunday when the barristers are at their surliest, having just faced the rigors of the past two exams, and still having to go through the fourth (which is the last).

So what exactly is Bar Operations? Simply stated, Bar Operations, or Bar Ops, is just showing up in Manila to attend to the needs of your friends, family and classmates who are taking the Bar. It can take the form of a simple flying over to Manila to cheer, wait and anticipate the taking of the barrister of the exam over at De La Salle University in Taft Avenue, Manila. Or, it can be an elaborate and well-planned affair, just like the Bar Ops of my school, the University of San Carlos.

In USC, Bar Ops is a very big and well-coordinated activity that requires funding in the hundreds of thousands to pay for expenses such as the ticket fare of a 10- to 15-man crew flying to Manila and back to Cebu, four times for the month of September; hotel rental for the said team; photocopier rental, and its related sundries, etc. etc. We house all our barristers in one hotel near La Salle every Saturday night, where they are then given last minute lectures by our professors, and given dinner for Saturday night. The barristers are treated like special guests… during my time, I was witness to many caprices. For instance, there was this barkada of lady barristers who requested 5 sheets of Manila paper during Saturday night. We were wondering about what they would do with these 5 sheets and later on found out that they used it to cover all the mirrors in their room because they didn’t like looking at their faces when they were taking the Bar. Back when I was taking the Bar, one of my friends asked a pretty Bar Ops member to give him a back and neck massage. We laughed when the girl actually complied and did give him a pretty decent rub.

I would like to elaborate more and more about the actual Bar Ops but confidentiality prevents me from doing so. USC runs one of the best Bar Ops in the Philippines, and we jealously guard our trade secrets and processes. It is one of the reasons why USC is one of the top five law schools in the Philippines, and the number one law school in the Visayas and Mindanao. How good is our Bar Ops? The training in USC Bar Ops is so good that any of its Chairmen and their executive officers could effectively run an NGO after the experience.

I guess, the mens rea of this article is to discuss the necessity of having a Bar Operations and the reasons why parents, siblings, friends, and classmates of a barrister should be in one.

I was a barrister once. I know what taking the Bar is like. The emotional strain of taking what could be the biggest exam of your life. The cumulative weight of four years and six months of hard studying, expensive costs, and heavy emotional and time investment. The six months of separation from family and friends living in an urban jungle where you don’t know anyone. Believe me, the stakes are high for each and every barrister, and you are gambling it all away in one exam… one exam where only two out of ten examinees will become lawyers. Nobody is spared in this exam, nobody. I have a friend who got a weighted average of 87 in one of the Bar Exams and should have rightfully been in the Top 5, what with grades like 98 in Remedial, and 85 in Labor. But instead, she failed the Bar Exam. Why? Because she got a grade of 49 in Political Law. Just one more point… just one more point… all she needed to get was a 50 in Political Law and she would have fronted the headlines of our country. But instead, she did not pass. She got disqualified (DQ’d)

That’s how cruel the Bar Examinations can get. One point spelled the difference between failure and glory. This my friends is the gun in the Russian roulette that all barristers are made to go through each and every time they take the Bar exams.

It is during these four Sundays of September that barristers are at the lowest ebb of their professional lives. We have just went through six months of review where we did nothing but read, read and read, trying to remember the everything that we learned during four years in law school, compressed in six months. Sometimes, even the best among us crack. The Bar is rife with tales of people who had nervous breakdowns. Last year, someone started singing and throwing tantrums in McDonald’s near La Salle, and when asked where he was from, he said he was from San Carlos. Someone brought one of our Bar Ops over thinking the man meant that he was from our school. It turns out that he is actually from San Carlos, a town in Negros Oriental.

In USC alone, there are tales of the USC barrister who went berserk a week before the Bar and wielded a knife against her fellow dorm-mates, babbling nonsense about imaginary enemies. One of my best friends in fact, almost quit the Bar Exams halfway through September, utterly convinced that he was going to fail it and that the Bar was hopeless. When he informed me of this decision, I quickly flew to Manila, bringing with me his plane ticket back home to Cebu. Fortunately, I was able to talk him out of quitting the Bar and finishing it, results and hurt feelings come what may. It turns out that contrary to what he believed in, my best friend did in fact pass and became a lawyer. Had I not flown over to Manila and given him a good bitch-slap in the head, he would not be a lawyer now.

I am trying to highlight the fact of each and every barristers’ vulnerability during the Bar. Now, more than ever, the barrister needs the support of his family, friends and school to give him the needed moral and emotional support to push him through the four Sundays of September. Believe me, moral support is NOT overrated. Contrary to what most people believe, Bar Ops is NOT about the tips of the exams, nor the last-minute lectures by teachers, or the free meals. Those are just the auxiliary concerns of the barrister. What the barrister really needs and wants is someone to show up for him or her. Someone to cry on when they feel like giving up. Someone to remind them of home and that somebody is waiting for them after the Bar is over. Someone to pamper them and cheer them

I know what it’s like because I used to be one of those barristers, and friends showed up for me to cheer me on. When I took the Bar, my friends among the third-year Law students of the then future Batch 2007 joined the school’s Bar Ops and did their best to make my Bar Exam a comfortable experience. But in particular, I would like to cite my best friend Raymond who showed up and rented a car for his other best friend’s personal use and mine. He bought us a whole bag of groceries for consumption while studying during Saturday. After the exam, he took us to Max Fried Chicken for a very comforting hot meal. And when my name was announced as one of the successful examinees, Raymond ran an ad on a local newspaper congratulating me for my success. He stood in as my representative when I took the Lawyer’s Oath.

To reiterate, a barrister needs emotional support during the Bar. More than anything, now is the time to break one’s piggy bank and fly over to Manila to give him or her your unconditional love and pampering. Now is the time that you show them how important they are in your lives.

I’ve been on a personal Bar Operations after I became a lawyer, fully intending to keep my promise to those who are close to my heart that I WILL be there for them when they take the Bar Exams. In gratitude to Raymond, when he took the Bar after me, I took frequent trips to Manila both to coach him during the review AND to see him through second and fourth Sunday of the Bar.

Now, I’m showing up for all my friends among the USC Law Barristers of Batch 2007. These are the people that I took under my wing during law school, whom I tried to be a surrogate big brother to. I promised them that I would be there for them when they take the Bar, and here I am now in Manila to fulfill that promise, with good luck candies and bookmarks in tow. In gratitude, one of the girls gave me a long and tight hug and thanked me for showing up all alone to support them during the Bar.

Yes, in all these instances, I flew in at my own personal expense. Yes, the price and cost of flying over is staggering, not to mention the time forgone that should be spent working on pleadings and contracts that are due next week. I will have to work much longer hours next week to make up for lost time.

But you could not put a price tag on friendship. I may have lost a lot of time and money coming to Manila this week, but in doing so, I have cemented my friendship with people who are worth the time and money. And that, for me, is more valuable. *Cue orchestra music playing the strains of “That’s What Friends Are For”, as cherry blossoms fall over my head while I gaze dolorously at the setting sun*

So, if you know someone who is taking the Bar or is about to take the Bar, and you value this person dearly, please… go on a personal Bar Ops. You could join your school’s own Bar Ops program, or you could do it on your own, but in any case, please be there. The barristers need you, now more than ever. They need you to pacify them when they’re feeling cranky, they need you to reassure them that they can and will indeed pass the Bar. There’s one more Sunday left before the Bar Exams of 2007 is formally over. It’s called Fourth Sunday, the best and most fun Sunday to attend to. You will see people partying on the street, some of them running through naked (I schitt thee not!), splashing the barristers with beer and champagne, playing loud music and drums. It’s a lot like the crowd waiting for marathon runners at the finish line. Would finishing the race be just as fulfilling knowing that nobody waits for you at the end? Please, if you can spare the time and the money, go and join your dearly beloved barrister.

In closing, Bar Ops is not about the tips and the notes, the last minute lectures or the spoiling of the barristers. It’s about being there when someone needs you the most. It’s about showing that you care and value someone enough that you would take the time and money to go to Manila. It’s about giving that little emotional push to catapult your barrister over the finish line. Believe me, just being there makes all the difference in the world.

And with that, I join my prayers for all the family and friends of the barristers of the Bar Exam of 2007. May they have the strength, peace and spiritual guidance to see all of these through. Good luck and God bless!

Radiohead’s Latest Album is called “HAIL TO THE THIEF!” September 12, 2007

Posted by Janjan in All, Armchair Politics.
2 comments

I have absolutely nothing to say about what transpired today, September 12, 2007. No comment, no objection, no affirmation. Nada. None whatsoever.

*blink*

*blink*

BUT —

I do have a song to sing! 😀

*grabs my guitar Carolina and walks over to the stage*

Let’s see now… Key of E…. how does that go again? Oh yeah….

*strummmmmmm*

*strummmmmmm*

Mi-mi-mi-mi-mi!!

*strummmmmmm*

*strummmmmmm*

Are we ready, Mr. DJ? Yeah? Can you hear me in the booth? Okay?

*thumbs up*

Ehem ehem ehem!

I lovingly dedicate this song to my parents, especially to my mother and my father. This is the actual lyrics of Radiohead’s hit single, Karma Police. Pramis!

 

Karma police, arrest this man
He talks in maths
He buzzes like a fridge
He’s like a detuned radio

Karma police, arrest this girl
Her Hitler hairdo is
Making me feel ill
And we have crashed her party

This is what you get
This is what you get
This is what you get when you mess with us

Karma Police
I’ve given all I can
It’s not enough
I’ve given all I can
But we’re still on the payroll

This is what you get
This is what you get
This is what you get when you mess with us

And for a minute there, I lost myself, I lost myself
Phew, for a minute there, I lost myself, I lost myself

For for a minute there, I lost myself, I lost myself
Phew, for a minute there, I lost myself, I lost myself

“Gusto kong buma-et pero di ko magawa, nasa Dios ang awa, nasa tao ang gawa!”

– Tito, Vic and Joey –

The Road Not Taken September 10, 2007

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

As I write this entry, I am sharing a lonesome cup of warm Americano at my favorite coffeeshop near Redemptorist Church. It just rained previously, but now the sky is a shade of overcast gray. Outside, the road is moist with the damp of the recent rain, but inside the coffeeshop, I am dry, secure and bouyed by the strains of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy,” while my nose is teased by the smell of waffles cooking on the skillet.

I am the only lawyer in the sea of Med Reps buzzing about inside the shop, all of them busy drafting reports on their laptop, and making entries on their notebooks, documents and charts, the silence broken by idle chit-chat and discussions. The scent of maple syrup being poured on a nearby plate of waffles is making me hungry.

Looking at these Med Reps, I wonder about the professions I have forgone by choosing to practice as a lawyer. Would I be a different person now had I chosen the road not taken? Maybe I would have been married already and more financially secure. Maybe people would be calling me “Doctor” instead of “Attorney”. Maybe my WordPress blog would be titled “The Unholy Fr. Perez” instead of “The Magnificent Atty. Perez”

These are the professions I have forgone by choosing to take up Law:

1) Auditor – I am a duly licensed CPA with no appreciable experience in auditing. A year after I became a CPA, I immediately took up Law. Realizing the pressures and demands of my course, I decided to be contrary to my peers in the field and NOT apply at a prestigious accounting firm such as SGV or Punongbayan & Araullo, knowing that the life of a junior associate in an accounting firm is filled with deadlines, sleepless nights, and endless field work. Had I worked for an accounting firm and stayed, I would have been a manager by now. Or, had I chosen to be pirated, I could have been a financial officer in a company or maybe even its Comptroller.

2) Banker – I was already working with the Equitable PCI Banking Corp. prior to taking up Law, and again, I quit my job right before I enrolled for my law studies. Had I stayed, I would sure to be an officer of the Bank, given my CPA License. I actually do miss working for a Bank sometimes because the job was so easy and routinary. And to think that I used to hate that job because I found it so boring. But now that I am in the highly-pressured and oftentimes antagonistic practice of law, I miss that sense of routine, and the fact that after my day is done, I could leave my concerns over the job back at the Bank. I don’t have to think about prescriptive periods or how to deal with antagonistic personalities.

3) Doctor – In my years prior to college, I grew up believing that I would follow in my father’s footsteps and take up Medicine. For certain, everyone was surprised that I didn’t. Sometimes, I wonder where I would be in life had I chosen that course. I would have been classmates with my bestfriend Johndi and joined him in the adventures and misadventures that he and his barkada went through during their college years. Instead of arguing with people, I would be healing them and tending to their illnesses. Instead of claiming damages from companies, I would be saving lives just like my dad. But I think about this knowing the rigors and pressures of the medical field, knowing that I would face even more physical and mental exertion than I am now as a lawyer.

4) Teacher – I used to teach in the College of Commerce while I was studying Law and I actually loved what I did. I enjoy being in a classroom and imparting information and knowledge to eager (and oftentimes not-so-eager) young minds. The best part of my job was to see a student’s face light up as a lightbulb powers up in his head and he understands esoteric concepts of taxation or the double-entry system of bookkeeping. The only thing I hated about the job was checking papers and making grades. But otherwise, it was a very fulfilling career, one that I hope to come back to as a professor of law.

5) Priest – I think it is inevitable in any Catholic schoolboy’s life that at one point or another, he asks himself whether he is being called to become a priest. More so when the said schoolboy was a long time member of the school’s Knights of the Altar and a delegate to the World Youth Day ’95, where he greeted the Pope when he arrived in Manila. I grew up with pious women in the family and a religious father. When I was much younger, we prayed the rosary regularly every 6pm. I also grew up reading about the lives of saints such as St. Francis, St. Benedict, and St. John Bosco. At one point of my life, I considered serving the poor in missions to Africa and teaching children about the Gospel. Sometimes, I ask myself if I was being called but I just didn’t have the guts to say “Yes” to God. Back then it was because I was telling myself that the life of the pious is not what I want for myself.

Well… those are my roads not taken. I guess everybody has those, at one point in their lives. We just cannot be everything that we want to be.

Sometimes, we have to choose and pray that we chose well.

There are ups and downs to being a lawyer, but I guess, if I had chosen the other road, I would be lying back and wondering what would have happened had I chosen to become a lawyer. I would be wondering about what it’s like to stare down opposing counsels in court, or to meet with various important people to aid and give them legal counsel in making important decisions for their companies and their community. I would be certainly be less assertive than I am now, and would lose out on meeting some of the greatest people that I only met during law school and in the course of my practice.

What was the road YOU did not take?

Wake Me Up When September Ends September 4, 2007

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

Summer has come and passed

the innocent can never last

Wake me up when September ends…

-Green Day-

Two years ago, American pop-punk rock group Green Day came out with a sentimental departure from their punk rock songs, a song about stepping up to become who we were meant to be, amidst all trials, sorrow and pain. The song was titled “Wake Me Up When September Ends”

Fittingly, the song became a hit here in the Philippines on August, which was the month before September, when I was about to take the 2005 Bar Exams.

Here comes the rain again, falling from the stars

Drenched in my pain again,

becoming who we are…

As you can surmise, “Wake Me Up When September Ends” became the anthem song for the University of San Carlos barristers of Batch 2005, the one sentence that summarized how we looked and felt as we took the one crucial exam that we were preparing for the last 4 years and 5 months of our lives: like zonked out sheep lining up for slaughter before the meat processor.

If you wonder why lawyers charge high professional fees, I tell you, go through what what did when we were law students and barristers and you will feel for yourself that what a lawyer charges does not even come close to making up for all the mental strain, aggravation, emotional turmoil and spiritual crises that he went through all those years that prepared for the Bar.

But I suppose, my Bar experience was a wee bit more different from the Bar experience of most. True to my non-conformist nature, I deviated from all the other Carolinian barristers, who mostly ended up reviewing in San Beda, and instead studied at the Ateneo de Manila Law Review Center, one of only two Carolinian barristers stationed at Rockwell. (I was the only Carolinian who was there by choice… the other barrister only reviewed there because it was too late for her to enroll in San Beda)

Attend any of my law school reunions and you will find Atty. J.C., (otherwise known by his law school monicker of “Jacabelts”, the batch hunk, as opposed to yours truly who was ignominiously crowned by our Labor Law teacher as the batch gigolo), telling one and all that the future Magnificent Atty. Perez partied his way to becoming a lawyer during his review in Manila.

And he would be right.

Somewhat.

As a review-mate in Ateneo would say, “The best way to prepare in taking the Bar is to practice by going to a bar!” Wow! Such wisdom! Such practicality! I took the advice to heart!

(Incidentally, that guy still hasn’t become a lawyer. Cheers mate)

So began one of the longest hedonistic periods of my life. Whether it was having some cold beers with friends from Xavier University – Cagayan de Oro, on top of their rooftop while watching the house down the street burn down in 10 minutes flat; to hanging out with VJ’s KC Montero, John Joe Joseph, and Cindy Kurleto over at Temple Bar for MTV’s Popcorn Party (thanks for buying me the beer KC); to watching more movies in 6 months than I ever watched during my four years of law school; to visiting family and friends over at Manila Zoo (I schitt thee not… all the previously mentioned stories are true!!!) —- I was having adventurous escapades that could only be rivalled by my first semester in law school (and I nearly flunked law school because of that!)

My friends reviewing in San Beda and UP could only shake their head in incredulity at the risks I was taking, and really, I was taking a lot.

First of all, unlike the other barristers, I made it a point not to study after I have had dinner. While most barristers pushed themselves to study till breaking point, I maintained a strict study period of 9am to 6pm. This study period, by the way, owing to my restless nature and lack of mental discipline, includes my tendency to hop from one table to another in the library, then off to have my favorite P10 cappuccino from the Nescafe vendo machine near the conference hall, talk to a bit to my new-found network of barristers from Manila, Iloilo, Cagayan de Oro, Davao and God knows where else in this country, then run off to Rockwell for P12 doughnuts and stolen glances at showbiz celebrities that I don’t know the names of. (I can attest that Eric Quizon has glowing skin, Noli de Castro is smaller than he appears on TV, Jamby Madrigal looks good wearing green, and that Phoemela Barranda, when having curly hair, looks and sounds eerily like Cher)

Sometimes when I get sick and tired at reviewing at Ateneo, I bring my books to Glorietta. Yes friends… I have studied at the McDonald’s in the heart of Glorietta, at the height of a noisy lunch hour, with my nose buried deep in my Jurado Civil Law Reviewer, munching on Chicken McNuggets and sipping on a Coke Float, and reading about the rights of the dominant estate-owner (Lot A) upon the sale of the subservient estate (Lot B). In my head, I can hear my teacher, Ernie Mayol, smacking his lips and saying lecherously, “Hala oy… ka lami sa iyang Lot B!” I dare you to say that out loud.

The other risk I took was by deciding, from the months of June and July, to study for only 5 days a week, as opposed to almost all barristers who studied 6 days in a week. Saturdays and Sundays were both free days. Saturday was reserved for playing table-top roleplaying games over at the mezzanine atop Filbars in Glorietta 2 with my newfound Manila gaming group, while Sundays were for sweltering in the heat of my Makati dorm while finally running away to the cold comforts of Greenbelt 4’s benches staring at the privileged few who can afford to purchase ludicrously overpriced luxury merchandise. Apparently, the privileged few breed good looking daughters with nice straight teeth and finely-shaped ankles.

Or, sometimes, I hang out at the walkway of Greenbelt, near the fountain, and guess how many of the beautiful women passing by were actually women. (Tip: if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.)

Oh by the way, if you think “What the hell was he doing going to Manila and not studying??? He’s just wasting his parents’ hard earned cash drinking overpriced coffee and staring at Makati drag queens,” let me assure you, there was a method to my madness.

I’m a big believer of quality, not quantity studying. One good read is all you need. But to have one good read, your mind must be fresh and clear from stress and clutter.

I guess my gambit paid off because I only took the Bar once and passed. 🙂

And the Bar…. ah yes, what can I tell you about the Bar? Shall I mention how it is the only public affair in Manila that comes closest to feel and frenzy as Cebu’s Sinulog? Shall I tell you about my seatmate during the Remedial Law exam who kept on sobbing and whimpering while writing her answers? (I felt bad… I didn’t know whether to comfort her in her time of weakness or to slap her silly for distracting all the other examinees while we were taking the exam. I did what any sane examinee would do and ignored her completely) Shall I tell you about the Ethics exam which I answered in the grand tradition of USC Law students schooled by the great Lolo Jomo Perez… with opening statements quoting lines from the Lawyer’s Oath? Shall I tell you about the red things I wore during all four Sundays of the Bar? (I’m sure a classmate would say, “But Janprats, didn’t you wear a green t-shirt and blue jeans during Third Sunday…. Ohhhhhh.”) Shall I tell you how, during my Civil Law exam, I ran out of time and left the middle part of my exam booklet blank, and wrote “I was going to answer this but I ran out of time”?

Ah yes… everyone has a Bar story to tell. I have a thousand and ten.

Nevertheless… for all my misadventures and caprices, I am now a lawyer with my own share of further misadventures and caprices. Looking back, I can’t help but grin and wish those who come after me good luck in the coming exam.

So, I dedicate this entry to all my little brothers and sisters in USC Law Batch 2007 with good luck and God’s graces in the upcoming exam. Ana, Annecy, Toni, Laina, Honey, Fatso, Vince, Ezem, Manuel, Sharon, and all the rest… make us proud!

Kids, I’m coming over on Third Sunday!

Ring out the bells again, like we did when spring began,

Wake me up when September ends!! Wake me up when September ends!!