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A Love Letter to Beer May 20, 2014

Posted by Janjan in I, Lawyer, Idiocy, Representation Expense.
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Dear Beer,

I am writing to ask you for a time to cool off. Our relationship is too intense. It seems like these past few weeks, we’ve seen each other quite often. Nearly every day. Perhaps it’s getting too intense? I know I love you and you love me, but it’s starting to become unhealthy. Because of the time I spend with you, I’m neglecting time spent with my dear friends, Exercise, Writing and Art. Also, I’m having a hard time catching up with the latest episode of Game of Thrones. While I enjoy being an alcoholic, I think deep inside, the real me is a geek.

best friendBut don’t get me wrong. I still love you. I love that you have many moods and personalities: ale, pilsen, lager, and even the fruity dessert beers, like kriek. I love that you pair well with a lot of the food I like to eat… sisig, fish, steak, potatoes, lechon, pizza, to name a few. I like that you encourage me to do things I normally would not do.. like dance half-naked on a tabletop, or sing “My Way” with feelings. I like that you help me forget about my heartaches and pain… about my frustrations of being the only point guard with zero ball-handling skills, or the fact that Maria Ozawa does not know that I exist and that she continues to ignore all the letters I’ve sent her, pleading my undying love and admiration.

I still remember the first day we became intimate. How I hated your taste… to me you were like the flavor of dog urine, the lamentations of angry old men, and the fart of flatulent politicians, all combined into one tepid excuse for battery water. It was not love at first sight. But thankfully, due to peer pressure and the need to fit in with my smarty-pants law school classmates, we slowly developed into true love. Now to me you taste like golden rainbows refracted from the droplets of water tossed in the air by squealing Greek virgin nymphs splashing each other with champagne from Bacchus’ grove. The very thought of you leaving my life causes anxiety and depression. Without you, there is no point in living.

beer afternoon

Over the years, I have gotten to know you better, as a lover should. I learned about your history… about how you were developed by Egyptians for their Israeli slaves, as a form of liquid bread to make their peons more compliant to dangerous manual labor. I learned how to drink you, about how mixing you with ice cubes is a capital sin. Real beer should always be drunk in a chilled glass. I’ve had you when you were at your cheapest (Manila beer and Gold Eagle), and I’ve had you at your most expensive (Roquefort 10). I’ve drunk all versions of San Miguel: Pilsen, San Mig Light, Cerveza Negra, Premium, Super-dry and all other variations.

It’s been a series of ups and downs. You’ve had me retching at the side of the road for hours on end. That’s the last time you and I have a threesome with Johnny Walker Black Label Whisky. You’ve brought me so much laughter, like when you made my handsome classmate so drunk that he didn’t know he was kissing a lady-boy. You’ve brought out the interesting quirks in everyone who loves you: like the drunk friend who got karate-kicked by a “di-ningon-ato” when he mistakenly whizzed on an ancient acacia tree, or the friend who cleans up the table everytime he’s drunk, or the friend who was discovered by his mother, retching at the public bathroom in Baseline, hugging the not-so-clean toilet.


It’s a fact that beer and lawyers go together, like guilty politicians and wheelchairs. It’s been an adventure, Beer. But all good things have an end. Or at the very least, a slow-down.

The fact is that my tummy is getting bigger, and I do not like shopping for new pants while I still have perfectly good ones hanging on my closet. And as much as I love you, Beer, my vanity and stinginess are stronger than my alcoholism.

There has to come a point where I have to learn to love myself. It cannot be about you all the time Beer. It cannot be all about you!!

I think this will be good for us both. Time apart can make us grow better as individuals and appreciate each other even more.

Know that my love for you is true and I thirst for you like a camel lost wandering on the endless Bedouin deserts under the relentless heat of a parched sun.

I’m not saying goodbye my darling. I’m just saying if you love me, you will let me grow (and by that, I mean metaphorically, and not physiologically).


I’m just saying that we should take it slow.

So farewell for now, my Beer. You will always be in my thoughts.

Yours always,

The Magnificent


Spider-man Too May 15, 2014

Posted by Janjan in Geekery & Nerdoms.
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I finally got to see the movie Spider-man 2 last night and got my heart broken all over again, like it did when I read about the death of Gwen Stacy back when I was a teenager. I liked the movie. It was good enough but there were parts that dragged. Andrew Garfield and Emma Thompson are really good actors, and listening to them banter was like watching a Woody Allen movie where everyone had really smart lines to say. It makes me wonder sometimes. Nobody talks like that in real life, do they?

In a way, the Andrew Garfield version of Peter Parker is a social commentary of how far nerds and geeks have come. Acting non-withstanding, I think the Toby Maguire version of Peter Parker was more true to the comics in the sense that Peter Parker was a social outcast. The jocks bullied him and the popular girls mocked him. The comic book Peter was as pariah as it gets.

toby vs andrew

The Andrew Garfield version of Peter, however… he’s the hipster nerd of the Millenial generation. He was picked on by bullies in the movie more because he was a miscreant. He was too cool to fit in, and the popular kids secretly wanted to be him, with his rebel-without-a-cause attitude and his neat skateboard tricks. The comic book Peter Parker was true to my experience. He could never be considered cool. He was the nerd’s nerd, complete with pocket protectors and Poindexter scientific mumbo-jumbo.

I guess this is a statement as to how far nerds have risen above the social strata of this generation, far higher than we nerds from Generation X. And honestly, I think the Millenial nerds should be thankful to us, and to all the nerds of generations past, for winning the fight for social acceptance and respect. Along the way, we somehow figured out the formula to make nerdery cool. Somehow, along the way, nerds became part of the hipster movement and at this point, I realize, I was a nerd *sunglasses* before it was cool.

For that, my people profoundly apologizes to the rest of the world. *smile*

The Magnificent King May 7, 2014

Posted by Janjan in Idiocy, Lawyer Jokes Make the World Go Round.
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“When I am king, you will be fetched against the wall…  and your opinion which is of no consequence at all… Watch this!”

– Radiohead, Paranoid Android


Dear People of the Philippines,

I, the Magnificent Atty. Perez, a native-born Filipino, of legal age, single and a resident of Cebu City, Philippines, do hereby move that you abdicate democracy and nominate me as your Supreme Emperor. Let us wake up to the reality that as a society, we are still too immature for democracy. We allow our votes to be bought which leads to all sorts of corruption and inefficiencies in government.

The truth is my dear people, you need a benevolent dictator, and I feel that it is incumbent upon myself, the Magnificent Atty. Perez, to offer my benign tyranny as the answer to your social ills. I already refer to myself in the third person, practicing in front of the mirror, reciting my daily affirmations day after day. “Our Magnificence is brilliant. Our Magnificence is supreme. Our Magnificence needs a new roll of toilet paper. Our Magnificence feels less hemorroidal today. Our Magnificence needs to trim his nose hair.”  Royalty is the next logical step.

I once aspired to be your Vice-president, and throw my support upon someone wiser and more experienced than I, our current Davao City Mayor and potential President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte. But Roddy is not taking my phone calls or accepting my flowers and tokens of love and affection. Just today, I received a temporary restraining order requiring me to keep a 50 meter distance away from Mayor Duterte. I am beginning to suspect that he does not want to be my running mate, which makes me question his wisdom and experience.

It is inevitable, therefore, that you must make me your King. My country needs a Savior and Gat Jose Rizal once said that the youth is the hope of the Fatherland. I am young once and I could still pass for 23 years old. And I still know how to do the interpretative dance for “Children of Yesterday’s Dream”. Hence, logically, I am the most fit to rule you.

I make this offer out of self-sacrifice and humility. I am not thinking about the showbiz deals that ABS-CBN will offer for my life’s story, nor the celebrity endorsements that companies such as Century Tuna, Jollibee and Bench Underwear will surely make my way. Nor am I thinking of the young, nubile and impressionable political interns who will wish to pop out of my birthday cakes to sing me Happy Birthday. No. I wish only to serve and to rule you. I’m just that kind of guy.

I can be tyrannical. I am a litigator, after all. I have made people cry. Usually with laughter, but sometimes, with bitterness and regret. But I can also be compassionate. Why, just today, the waiter extended his hand and asked me for a tip. I told him to try the chicken at Isidra. I’m sure he was basking with gratefulness. As early as now, the Pope is preparing for my beatification. We’re still trying to find a loophole around that two miracle thing. If not, I also have a standing invitation to become a Moslem.

Nevertheless, I must inform you of my sound plans to make you the great nation that Imelda Marcos once declared you will become. Never fear, we shall do this without me purchasing any single shoe.


1) We need roads. Good roads. Lots of roads. Roads going to all the remote barrios of the country. Roads made of solar panels that could harvest sunlight as well as provide ingress and egress to the ends of the country. Roads so well maintained, we could make a killing holding F-1 races in the Philippines, sponsored by Ferrari, Mclaren and Pasajero Jeepney.

2) We need renewable and clean energy. Lots of it. Think wind turbines, and rotors powered by the waves of the sea. Think using solar panels on our roofs. Think putting a suction tube on Kris Aquino’s mouth to harvest her endless supply of hot air.

3) We need a strong and affordable information super expressway. Let us cut down on bloated profit-sharing bonuses for executives in government-owned and controlled corporations. Let’s use that money to buy fiber-optic cables as thick as my face. Let it crawl into each and every nook and cranny of our country until we are practically emitting wi-fi signals from our banana trees. We will need this to automate our repetitive manual systems and cut government processing times from 48 years to 30 minutes.

4) Schools. Lots of schools. Good schools that cannot be shattered by earthquakes or typhoons or by budget allocations favoring ghost projects. And give the public school teachers absurdly high salaries so that everyone will want to serve the education of all our bright young Filipinos, more than they will want to become caregivers for the senior citizens of all the foreign nations of the world. I want to see more people take the Education Board Exams than the Philippine Bar. God knows we need less shameless lawyers with delusions of grandeur.

5) Hospitals. We need lots of great hospitals. Let no Filipino ever die again because he did not have enough money for the downpayment of his medical bills. And better salaries for our nurses. Let us also find ways to lower the price of our overly-expensive medicines.


1) First and foremost, I want to bring arts, music and culture back into our curriculum, not as a backseat subject but as something each child has to do. I believe that a productive and spiritually-sound nation is one whose childhood was spent learning how to play a musical instrument or painting pictures of banana trees using his fingers. A good Filipino is one who can speak a multitude of languages, from his native tongue, to English, to 3 other Filipino languages, some foreign language and a fictional language such as Tengwar, Dothraki and Klingon. If he can ululate and expectorate in Wookie, even better.

2) I will abolish that silly notion of a “Filipino” national language. Let’s call a spade a spade. “Filipino” is nothing more than Tagalog with a smattering of other Filipino languages. Each and every language whether Ilonggo, Tausug, Chavacano or Beckinese IS Filipino. I will bring back dignity in our other tongues.

3) Every Filipino child will learn how to defend himself or herself in hand-to-hand, melee and armed combat. It will be mandatory to train in the military, just like in Israel and Turkey. We know our precarious situation in the world. Everyone has to be ready to fight back. And everyone has to learn how to defend themselves from kung fu, because you know…

4) It will be MANDATORY for every Filipino child to learn how to start their own business. We will no longer promote a servant mindset and encourage each other to become better employees. We will liberate everyone to feel empowered and responsible for their own success.

5) We will promote a culture of cleanliness and clean living. No more throwing litter on the streets and in our ocean. No more farting indescriminately in public elevators.


1) It will be MANDATORY for every Filipino child to learn how to maintain a garden, care for their environment, create fish pens, or raise animals. When the ape apocalypse comes, all Filipinos will learn how to survive and adapt to serve our gorilla overlords.

2) We will modernize our agricultural systems. No more use of carabaos to till the land. No more drying of rice hulls at the sides of the highway. Every Filipino will use modern techniques such as aquaponics and hydroponics to grow crops in their own backyards, and not just online through Farmville.

3) We will instill PRIDE in becoming farmers, soil scientists, agriculturalists, fishermen, and animal husbandrists. Our country will throw State Fairs to promote agricultural and forestry achievements. Students will be made to take psychological exams before deciding to take up Law or when they tell their friends and relatives that they want to become politicians.

If you make me your king, my people, you will all be very happy. We will make this country GREAT again!

Ako po ang Magnificent Atty. Perez, at ako po’y humaharap sa inyo ngayon bilang nagsasariling kandidato para Hari ng Pilipinas. Salamat at mabuhay ka Pilipinas!


Last Supper May 6, 2014

Posted by Janjan in I, Lawyer, Seriously now….
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It was the second night of my invitation. Together with my friend, Ali from Pakistan, we headed to the secluded mosque hidden behind a short path of alleyways located in a neighborhood downtown, at a very short walking distance from Elizabeth Mall. I normally see Ali dressed in a very cosmopolitan fashion but tonight he looked regal in the blue longshirt that is commonly worn in Pakistan.

Finally, the brightly-painted yellow walls of the mosque appeared, lit by the melon-orange sodium lamps nearby, stark against the dark starless sky. It was a three-story building, and looking from outside, you can see that the interiors of the wall was plainted entirely in white. There were no furnitures or any other ornaments inside, except for rugs which were used for prayer.

As we entered the gate, we saw that the Pakistani men had already set a carpet by the perimeter beside the mosque’s edifice. They were seated on the carpet and happily feasting. Ali and I went to a nearby faucet to wash our hands and then made way to the dining area. I took my shoes and socks off before sitting down cross-legged on the carpeted floor, taking my place beside the other Pakistani men. There was one Indian with us, who was also a Muslim. I was the only non-Muslim as well as the only Filipino dining among them. The other Muslim Filipinos were seated nearby but were not taking part of our supper.

There were no women. I believe that this mosque was, at present, reserved only for men.

In the middle of the carpet were metal bowls of food. On the largest bowl was a stew made of red beans and curry. On another bowl was a grilled flatbread, commonly used in Pakistani meals. On another bowl were quartered slices of red apples. And in the smallest bowl was nothing but water.

On one side of the carpet were seated the older men, a group of about 5 or 6 gentlemen with full, flowing beards, which was bare only above the lip area. They were dressed in traditional Pakistani garb, with the oversized shirts, the loose trousers and the white caps and turbans. Guessing from their appearance and the way they carried themselves, I understood them to be imams… leaders of the faith. On my side of the carpet were the younger Pakistanis, including my friends Ali and Azmat, who dressed in a more modern fashion.

There were no plates. While the flatbreads were as big as dishes, we did not put food on them. Rather, using the right hand, we tore the flatbread into pieces and used it to dip into and scoop the stewed beans. We took direct from the bowl in the middle, not using any serving spoons or forks, and ate with our hands. Sometimes, the men would talk to me, asking me, “How are you?” and smiling at my answers. All of them treated me with such warmth and welcoming, with no reservations whatsoever.  It was unusual for me, considering that I was someone that they’ve only recently met. All of the imams called me Brother.

On one hand, it felt a little surreal. Here I was, having an authentic Pakistani experience, supping from the floor and sharing a common bowl with my hands, with some men who seemed to walk off the pages of National Geographic. I didn’t mind keeping silent most of the time. I enjoyed listening to them talk in Urdu, their speech peppered with praises to Allah and admissions that Allah’s Will be done.

The food was certainly delicious, in a simple but soul-filling manner that only home-cooked meals can be. The beans were mildly seasoned and not overpowering in flavor. The flatbread was my favorite. It was soft, chewy but full, with none of the fluffy texture that I normally have with leavened bread. Someday, I hope to learn how to make that bread by myself.


After we ate the dinner, I took the apples and a banana for dessert. The men kept saying my name Jan with a warm smile. I found out that my name is common in Pakistan, and that variants of the word Jan in their language could either be a term for endearment, friendship or respect. I think they took it as a sign of good fortune to have met someone with my name.

One of the imams took the time to sit beside me and talk. He started by instructing me on how to dine, the Islam way. First, I was to sit, and not to stand because only animals stood while they ate. Second, I was to look at the glass of water before me and take it with my right hand, which was clean, and not with my left hand, which was dirty. (In their culture, they used the left hand to clean themselves after defecation). Then I was to say a word which gave praise to Allah. Then, finally, I was to drink the water.

From their the conversation instructed more about the cleanliness practices of Islam, and then proceeded to an invitation for me to become Muslim, which was the one true religion as Yssa (their name for Jesus) was not God but merely a prophet.

I listened intently and smiled when he preached about the rightness of Islam and my redemption. I was not offended, actually, but saw it as an old man’s good intentions and wish that I be saved, as he, a Muslim, understood deliverance. It meant that he respected me and wished nothing but the best for me. I bowed in graciousness to his good words and thanked him sincerely for sharing me wisdom and enlightenment.

He seemed to be a man in his mid-60’s, face kissed by the sun and full of character, his eyes twinkling with the look of a man who has found peace and enlightenment. His full and bushy beard was white, and he had a strong masculine nose. His white hair (graying at the temples) was cut short and was very neat. For a man of his age, he had the stature and carriage of one full of vitality and strength. I felt like a child being patronized by his grandfather, a grandfather who admonished me for being 35-years old and unmarried. When he found out that I had a girlfriend, he said that the relationship was haram in Islam and that I should marry her right away.

I merely smiled. Under the darkness of the dimly-lit mosque grounds, the imam easily looked like my paternal grandfather, the one who died before I was born. It was easy to pretend that I was being scolded (in a fond manner) by my own lolo. For one moment, I wished he really were my grandfather. He seemed to be a very caring man.

He finished by inviting me again to convert to Islam and said that he was giving me a Muslim name, Jan Mohammad.

But soon, it was time to go.

I put on my shoes, washed my hands and gathered my things. The imams made their farewells. Some of them merely gave me a firm handshake. Most of them took me in a warm and tight hug and bid me to go with the blessings of Allah.

As we walked outside, Ali asked me what the old man and I talked about. I told Ali that they wanted me to convert to Islam. He smiled and said, “You know.. the guy you were talking to… he has grown fond of Filipinos. He said that you are a warm, friendly and loving people. You are almost Pakistani but only, you are not Muslims.” We both laughed at that. I told Ali that I will blog about this and conclude that the Pakistani that I’ve met are warm, friendly and loving people but only, they were not Catholic.  Ali smiled as we got into the car.

As we drove of, he said something which sums up my whole experience, “You and I… let’s form a new religion. One where every man treats each other with respect, kindness and friendship, and we shall call it ‘Humanity'”

I could only nod and put my faith in a better future. Inshallah.

Luke Skywalking May 4, 2014

Posted by Janjan in Uncategorized.
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Today, May 4, is international Star Wars Day.  (Simply because this is the only day of the year that Star Wars geeks can greet “May the Fourth be with you!”.  Witty, yes?)



I am not a die-hard Star Wars geek.  I say that out of relativity because one of my cousins is a Sithlord / Stormtrooper cosplayer who got married wearing a Jedi robe.  (To date, the only Jedi-themed Catholic wedding ever allowed in existence).  I do own the West End Games version of the Star Wars RPG and I did see Star Wars Episode 1 three times at the theater.  And yes, I can tell the difference between a Gunggan and an Ewok, an X-Wing from an A-Wing, an AT-AT Walker from an Imperial Interdictor, and I know that traditionally, there can only be two Sith Lords in existence:  One to wield the Dark Side of the Force and the other to crave it.


Unlike most Star Wars fans, I don’t think highly of George Lucas.  Oh wait, let me correct that.  The George Lucas of the 1970’s and the 1980’s who created American Graffiti and the Star Wars Trilogy was a genius.  The George Lucas who came after, who tweaked, re-tweaked the digital editions of Star Wars and did a horribly-written “turning” of Anakin Skywalker… that guy is a piece of work.  But to be fair, he does have his moments.  The reason why I watched Episode 1 over and over and over was because I couldn’t get enough of the brilliant fight choreography between Qui-gon Jinn, Obi Wan Kenobi and Darth Maul.

I do have a sentimental attachment to the Star Wars franchise, however.  I remember being three years old, wearing a white sando and tightey whitey briefs, and having my older cousins, the Gonzales brothers glued to the TV set watching on our Betamax, the intergalactic spaceship battle scenes.  I remember turning my mother’s bench to her vanity table over, facing the TV, and pretending it was me hurtling my X-wing across space and firing plasma cannons at the enemy Imperial fightercraft.  I remember seeing Luke hugging an overhanging part of a spaceship, his face badly bruised, with Darth Vader looming over him, saying “Luke, I am your father.”  Luke screamed “Noooooooooo!” then leaped off the ship.

I was too young to understand the script then (but I did get a gist of the overall story) and I never got to see the whole Trilogy again except when I was already in college.

I did get to see the adventures of R2D2 and C3PO in all its animated glory back in the 80’s.  And who could ever forget the spin-off Ewoks movies with Wickett and that ogre, and all the little furry Ewoks swinging through vines, Tarzan style, screaming “DANGGAR EWOKS!! DANGGAR!!”

(A little bit of trivia:  There was a creature there that ran fast and spoke even faster.  If you slow his speech track down, you’ll discover that he’s speaking in my native tongue, Cebuano.  One of Industrial Light & Magic lead animatronic engineers is a guy from Don Bosco Technical School here in Cebu.)

Let’s not even talk about my high school years, where I read Star Wars novels and discovered a villain that I wish the movies would include (Admiral Thrawn).

I’m not a big fan of George Lucas, but to his credit, he did leave behind a legacy which so many people have tied up fond memories of.  For that, I am grateful.

So from this geek from the islands, I wish you one and all a Happy Star Wars Day, and May the Fourth be with you!



8 Years of Magnificence May 2, 2014

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

One of my contemporaries in the blogging community, Atty. Marvin Aceron, resumed writing on his blog a few days ago.  Naturally, it reminded me of this long dormant (but still living) WordPress blog.  It’s not my first blog, truth be told.  I’ve had older blogs that are gathering dust somewhere in the forgotten annals of the World Wide Web.  It is however, the first blog I maintained as a practicing lawyer.

I thought I’d go back writing on it, just for kicks.  I don’t know if this is going to be a regular thing, but I will try.

I first wrote this blog when I was only 1 or 2 years in the practice of law.  To be honest, I don’t know why I chose to call it “The Magnificent Atty. Perez” because it admittedly sounds grandiose and arrogant, which I don’t think I am.  (My friends, however, are encouraged to disagree).  The name just had a nice ring to it, and delusions of grandeur notwithstanding, I stuck to the moniker.  Perhaps the fact that I was a neophyte lawyer still earning my chops had a lot to do with the name.  Admittedly, I was still very insecure about where I stood in the legal community and I had yet to make a name for myself in the world.  After all, the practice of law (especially those engaged in litigation) requires a touch of gravitas and a flair for showmanship, of which I had none.  People who know me in my pre-law days remember me to be very soft-spoken, shy and reserved.  (But people who see me grab microphones on stage, know otherwise.)

“The Magnificent Atty. Perez” was a persona that I needed to become.  After all, when one has no confidence in himself, pop psychology encourages that one pretends to have confidence.  Often times, other people cannot tell the difference.  (“Fake it till you make it”, that’s what they say. )

I stopped writing in this blog at some point.  Part of it was because I felt that I had become too open to famous strangers (believe it or not, I was getting comments from people like Manolo Quezon III and Chiz Escudero.  And I double-checked… yes, they were the real McCoy). Part of it was because I simply got too busy to write.

But perhaps, thinking about it now, part of the reason that I stopped writing on this blog was because I felt that I had no more reason to pretend.

I look back at my entries here and I smile.  I see where my naivete and idealism shone like a beacon… or perhaps more accurately like a bunch of crazy neon disco lights.  I read in between the lines and remember my fears at jumping head first into something I was never prepared for.  I remember the paranoia, the insecurity and the floundering and pretending that I knew what I was doing.

I smile because it did get better.

I am 8 years in the practice this coming May 10.  I’m no longer the shy, insecure lawyer who’s pretending to be braver than he really is.  I’ve learned to stop expecting it to get easier.  It never does.  The challenges get bigger, year after year.  It’s just that you stop trying to fight your fears and you embrace the fact that you just don’t know where the road will take you.  You learn to live with the uncertainty.

I’ve seen, said and done a lot in these 8 years of practicing law.  I’ve gone from being an associate lawyer, to being a partner in a law office located beside the dusty roads where tricycles and pedicabs park while waiting for passengers, to running a 2-office show in both Cebu and Manila, and finally, back to a humble little practice in a humble little office in Ramos St.  I’ve made a living doing the strange corporate projects that nobody ever thinks of taking on.

In a sense, I’m no longer faking it.  I’m making it.  Making it up as I go along, that is.

I call myself the Magnificent Atty. Perez, more of a wish, and not a boast.  It’s the wish that at the end of the day, I become a better lawyer than when I first started.

It’s the wish that at the end of the day, I leave the world a much better place than when I first came in.