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Wake Me Up When September Ends September 4, 2007

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

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.


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!!


1. Lot B Connoisseur - September 4, 2007

Lami gyud nang Lot B, ‘torni.
Let’s have that as main course next time we dine at Cafe Laguna.

2. bisdakinnaconcretejungle - September 5, 2007

Torney, makahatag kaha ka’g diskwento kung ikaw akong kuhaong attorney kung pananglitan makapatay ko’g tawo? ingnon lang nato gud nga insane ko atong higayona hehehehe.. speaking of B Lot, este Lot B, daghan ra ba kaayo diri sa Rockwell atty, mga sosyal lang.. mahalon..

3. northwolf - September 5, 2007

Hahaha… diskwento? Unsa ko, Happy Mart? Hehehe.. Buy one murder case, get a free rape case… 😀 Pwede pud

Lami nang Lot B sa Rockwell… humot pa gyud…

4. islander - September 14, 2007

Ha ha! Most of your adventures sounded familiar, but my account of last year’s hazing was more melodramatic.

5. Angel Alo - November 13, 2011

can’t wait to be a lawyer, too then 🙂

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