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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.

Funny-Drunks-13

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).

challenge

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

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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

 sheldon

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.

INFRASTRUCTURE PLANS

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.

EDUCATION PLANS

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.

AGRICULTURE

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!

 

You’re Passionate! July 13, 2011

Posted by Janjan in Idiocy, Lawyer Jokes Make the World Go Round.
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‎”Lust is no respecter of time and place.” – People vs Umali, 242 SCRA 17

One day, the Villainous Atty. Abella was partying with all his friends from showbiz when Anne Curtis, the girlfriend of his friend, the Magnificent Atty. Perez, got drunk.  Concerned, Judy Anne Santos asked Atty. Abella to drive Anne home.  Although he was villainous, Atty. Abella was still a gentleman.  So he got Anne Curtis to lean on his shoulder and drag-walked her slowly to his Porsche 911 Carrera.

Anne smelled so nice and the Villainous Atty. Abella was tempted to do something with her, but out of respect (and fear) for the Magnificent Atty. Perez, Atty. Abella desisted and tamed his libido with thoughts about his upcoming case.  Their drive home was relatively uneventful and silent.

However, Anne stirred from the passenger seat and said, “Harve, you’re passionate.”

Reaching the limits of his gentlemanly ways, Atty. Abella placed his hand on Anne Curtis’ bare thigh, but she drunkenly pushed away his sweaty palms.  Atty. Abella kept on driving.

Five minutes later, Anne stirred and again and spoke up more loudly, “Harve, you’re PASSIONATE!”

The Villainous Atty. Abella could not take it any longer so he stopped the car and kept the hand brakes up.  Then he leaned over and attempted to give Anne Curtis a wet and sloppy kiss.

 Anne Curtis shrieked and gave him a very hearty slap.

 Hot, bothered, and frustrated, the Villainous Atty. Abella could not take it any longer and shouted angrily.  “WHAT IS UP WITH YOU WOMAN???  You tell me I’m passionate twice but you stop me from doing anything about it!!  Are we getting it on or not???”

 To which Anne Curtis angrily screamed, “YOU SHTUPID MORON!!!  I KEEP TELLING YOU!!!  MY HOUSHE!!”, she said, pointing to the right.  “YOU’RE PASSHIN’ IT!!!”

————–

Morale of the story:  Never trust the Villainous Atty. Abella.  Or Anne Curtis.

Can a Gay Marriage in NY be recognized in the Philippines? July 10, 2011

Posted by Janjan in Idiocy, Legally Opinionated and Jurisprudent.
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Dear Magnificent Atty. Perez,

Greetings from the city that never sleeps!  I was googling for help about my problem when I came across your site and the problem about the lovely “Maricar”.  After reading your advice to Fazouk, I knew you would give the right advice for me.  You see, my problem is like this:  a few months ago, I accepted a contractual job as a wrangler for longhorn cattle over at the lovely mountains of Wyoming.  I was assigned to guard them together with a macho guy from the Philippines named Sonny.  It was a tough job full of problems with wolves and tough weather, and in the course of a few weeks, Sonny and I bonded and became very close with each other.  One thing led to another, and soon Sonny and I were sharing the same sleeping bag, if you know what I mean.

Over time, Sonny and I realized that we were in love.  So when New York approved its gay marriage act on June 24, 2011, Sonny and I quit our jobs and flew to New York where we both tied the knot.  We had a short honeymoon period at the Big Apple until Sonny finally told me his big secret.

I still remember that day like it was only yesterday.  I was cooking breakfast in our small apartment in Soho, and both Sonny and I had bad hangovers from partying the night before.  Sonny brewed me a cup of strong black coffee and asked me to sit at the breakfast corner.  “Mike,” he told me.  “Mike… I can’t live a lie anymore.”

I put down the skillet, turned the grill off and sat down.  I hurriedly gulped the coffee despite its scalding heat because I knew I needed to be sober for his news.

“Mike.. you’re a good man, a great man,” Sonny said, not being able to look me in the eye.  He kept fidgeting, his fingers tearing away bits and pieces from the paper napkin.  “Sometimes, I think you’re too good for me, and in a lot of ways, you are.”

Sonny put the paper napkin down and looked at me, face to face.

“Mike.  I’m coming out of the closet.  I’m…. I’m….”

For some reason, I couldn’t keep the tears out of my eyes when Sonny plunged the knife deep into my heart.

Mike, I’m STRAIGHT!

And just like that Sonny destroyed all the happiness I have ever known.   As if on cue, a bitter country song started playing on the radio, about a cowboy riding alone on a strange horse at midnight, headed to Omaha.

“Forgive me Mike… I was confused… I was horny… I didn’t know what to do.  No, no, no… Mike, I’m sorry.  I was just using you to get a green card.  You see, I’m married in the Philippines.  I have a wife named Christine and three sons named Mark, Fruto and Michal.  I needed to give them a good life, a better life than what we have back in our country and you were my ticket out of poverty…”

At that point, I stormed out of the room, overturning all our meager possessions.  I don’t know how I was able to cross the street in the middle of traffic, with my tears obscuring my vision, but I walked out of Sonny and his lying, cheating ways and went to have fun and stay at the YMCA where I got myself clean.  Where I had a good meal.  Where I could do whatever I feel.

Someone advised me that in the Philippines, contracting a second marriage while your first marriage was existing is considered a crime of BIGAMY.

I want to get back at Sonny, your Magnificence.  I want to make him hurt like I hurt.  I want to make him know all there is to know about the crying game.  I want to put him into prison where unwashed fat men with badly-drawn tattoos will ass-rape the straightness out of him until Sonny comes back howling on his knees, asking me for forgiveness, promising to forget about his family back in the Philippines.

I’ve been told that you are evil and would not hesitate to make other lives miserable for an insane amount of money.  Well how does One Million Pesos for a criminal case sound?  Call me.

Truly yours,

Mike

I don't know how to quit you

I don't know how to quit you

Dear Mike,

First of all, allow me to extend my sympathies for the pain that your former lover inflicted on you.  And secondly, let me correct a common misconception about me.  I’m not the kind of lawyer who inflicts pain, misery and suffering to other people for money.

I’m the kind of lawyer who would do it happily for free.

But that being said, I gladly accept your One Million Pesos.  It will go a long way for my Pajero sinking fund.  Unfortunately, I am only a lawyer and not a bishop.  Nobody will give me an SUV for free.

Let’s focus on the problem at hand.

You certainly gave me a very interesting problem to work on, and I would like to accept it, if only to have a landmark Supreme Court ruling with my name on it.  You see, like you’ve read in the Maricar problem, the Philippines does not recognize gay marriages celebrated in our country, since it is contrary to our Family Code, which defines marriage as:

A special contract of permanent union between a man and a woman entered into in accordance with the law for the establishment of conjugal and family life.

And that the necessary requirements for a valid marriage is:

1) Legal capacity of the contracting parties who must be a male and a female, and;

2) Consent freely given in the presence of the solemnizing officer.

However, the difference between your situation and that of the Maricar one is that your marriage was celebrated OUTSIDE the Philippines while Fazouk and Maricar intended to get married in the country.  In this case, Article 26 of the Family Code, which provides that:

All marriages solemnized outside the Philippines in accordance with the laws in force in the country where they were solemnized, and valid there as such, shall also be valid in this country, except those prohibited under Articles 35(1), (4), (5) and (6), 36, 37 and 38. X x x

Those articles mentioned in Art. 26 consider the following marriages as null and void:

(1)    Those contracted by any party below eighteen years of age even with the consent of parents or guardians;

(2)    Bigamous or polygamous marriages;

(3)    Those contracted through mistake of one contracting party as to the identity of the other;

(4)    A marriage contracted by any party who, at the time of the celebration, was psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations of marriage

(5)    Incestuous marriages;

What this means, Mike, is that the Philippines is obliged to recognize the validity of a gay marriage celebrated in New York, where such marriage is considered valid and binding.  Unfortunately, your marriage with Sonny is considered null and void, not because it’s a gay marriage, but because it’s a bigamous marriage, since Sonny was previously married here in the Philippines.

However, nonwithstanding the fact that Sonny’s second marriage is void in the Philippines, he did however contract a second marriage, which makes him liable for the crime of bigamy.  The Revised Penal Code defines bigamy as:

The penalty of prision mayor shall be imposed upon any person who shall contract a second or subsequent marriage before the former marriage has been legally dissolved, or before the absent spouse has been declared presumptively dead by means of a judgment rendered in the proper proceedings.

The fact that gay marriages celebrated in the Philippines are considered void, I believe, has no bearing on the prosecution of the second case.  This is supported by the Supreme Court, in the case of Jarillo vs. People of the Philippines (G.R. No. 164435, September 29, 2009), where it was ruled that:

For the very same reasons elucidated in the above-quoted cases, petitioner’s conviction of the crime of bigamy must be affirmed.   The subsequent judicial declaration of nullity of petitioner’s two marriages to Alocillo cannot be considered a valid defense in the crime of bigamy.  The moment petitioner contracted a second marriage without the previous one having been judicially declared null and void, the crime of bigamy was already consummated because at the time of the celebration of the second marriage, petitioner’s marriage to Alocillo, which had not yet been declared null and void by a court of competent jurisdiction, was deemed valid and subsisting.  Neither would a judicial declaration of the nullity of petitioner’s marriage to Uy make any difference. As held in Tenebro, “[s]ince a marriage contracted during the subsistence of a valid marriage is automatically void, the nullity of this second marriage is not per se an argument for the avoidance of criminal liability for bigamy.    x   x   x   A plain reading of [Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code], therefore, would indicate that the provision penalizes the mere act of contracting a second or subsequent marriage during the subsistence of a valid marriage.”  (Emboldened and underscored for emphasis)

So, if your question is whether your marriage to Sonny is valid in the Philippines, unfortunately, the answer is no, not because it’s a gay marriage, but because it’s a bigamous one.  But if you’re asking if you could put Sonny to jail for bigamy, yes, definitely, I think you could, and for a million pesos and my name in the SCRA, I will help you on that issue.  Besides, if you put Sonny to jail, that would mean his wife would be lonely and would need some moral support.  And I also happen to own a sleeping bag.

I hope that answers your question.  Thank you for your query, Mike, and I hope you will still find love, even when you look in all the wrong places.  Until then, I remain:

                                  The Magnificent Atty. Perez

-oO0Oo-

P.S.

This post-script is written in addendum to very good arguments raised by my classmate in law school, Atty. Jeffrey Ravelo, who presently teaches public international law.

Atty. Ravelo asked whether or not jurisdiction over the second marriage can be obtained by Phlippine courts, considering that it was celebrated abroad.  He also raised Articles 15 and 17 of the Civil Code which provide:

Art. 15.  Laws relating to family rights and duties, or to the status, condition and legal capacity of persons are binding upon citizens of the Philippines, even though living abroad.

Art. 17.  The forms and solemnities of contracts, wills, and other public instruments shall be governed by the laws of the country in which they are executed.

When the acts referred to are executed before the diplomatic or consular officials of the Republic of the Philippines in a foreign country, the solemnities established by Philippine laws shall be observed in their execution.

Prohibitive laws concerning persons, their acts or property, and those which have, for their object, public order, public policy and good customs shall not be rendered ineffective by laws or judgments promulgated, or by determinations or conventions agreed upon in a foreign country.

Basically, what Atty. Ravelo is saying is that theoretically, because the second marriage was celebrated abroad, therefore, the criminal act was outside of Philippine territory, which is one of the components for the courts’ power to put the case into trial.  Hence, there was no criminal act of bigamy committed because the second marriage was done outside the scope of Philippine criminal law to enforce.  This is supported by Article 2 of the Revised Penal Code which provides:

Except as provided in the treaties and laws of preferential application, the provisions of this Code shall be enforced not only within the Philippine Archipelago, including its atmosphere, its interior waters and maritime zone, but also outside of its jurisdiction, against those who:

1. Should commit an offense while on a Philippine ship or airship

2. Should forge or counterfeit any coin or currency note of the Philippine Islands or obligations and securities issued by the Government of the Philippine Islands;chan robles virtual law library

3. Should be liable for acts connected with the introduction into these islands of the obligations and securities mentioned in the presiding number;

4. While being public officers or employees, should commit an offense in the exercise of their functions; or

5. Should commit any of the crimes against national security and the law of nations, defined in Title One of Book Two of this Code.

Note that the second marriage does not fall within any of the situations allowing for extra-territorial jurisdiction of Philippine criminal laws.

Hence no crime of Bigamy has been committed by Sonny.

There are sometimes when yes, I reach the limits of my magnificence, and I have to defer to the wisdom and sound reasoning of a brilliant legal mind.  So to my companyero and (I’m proud to add), classmate in law school, Atty. Ravelo, thank you very much for your input on this matter.  I hope this discussion will someday be resolved in an actual Supreme Court case.


 

 

 

 

Iron Man: The Aftermath May 6, 2008

Posted by Janjan in All, Idiocy.
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Despite the darkness set by the burlap sack placed over his head, the man could hear the muttered and guttural voices of what sounded like a Middle Eastern language. The dry arid heat of the surroundings suggested that they have taken him to a desert. Nearby, he could smell the stench of goat and camel droppings, damp molds, and unbathed Arabian men.

It was a strange time to be craving an All-American Cheeseburger.

“Welcome, Mr. Robert Downey Junior,” said his captor in deliberately intoned English, as the burlap sack was finally raised and the captive could finally make sense of his surroundings. The light came rushing into his eyes harshly, causing temporary blindness. Robert struggled against the rope tied on his wrists and legs but it was futile. He can’t get out of the chair.

“Wha– what are you going to do with me? Do you need money? My wife has money, just let me go free…”, the man who used to portray Charlie Chaplin impleaded to the voice who spoke to him, as his eyes finally adjusted to the surroundings. There were five Middle Eastern men with guns, not counting the swarthy leader who spoke to him in deliberate syllabication.

*SLAP!*

“You keep quiet you fatherless son of a motherless goat!,” the leader yelled, as the pain of his bony hand connected with Robert Downey, Jr’s rather bruised jaw. “We do not want your money, we are rich from our stocks in shawarma! We want you to build us the iron soldiers…”

Robert Downey Jr. was incredulous. “Wait… iron soldiers? Do you mean like from Iron Man?? There must be a mistake, that was only a movie–“

*SLAP!*

“Do not think you can trick us, Mister Junior. We saw you build the iron soldiers that could fly, shoot missiles and streams of fire. And do not think we would make the same mistake! We will be watching over you, like the hawks of the endless desert. You will not be left alone in the room. We will not give you free reign over missile warheads. We will not even give you lighter fluid! And you WILL build us our iron soldiers, Mr. Robert Downey Junior.”

The actor slumped to his chair, dejected. His agent was right.

He should have taken the role for Mr. Fantastic instead.

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!”

 

 

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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!!!”

I Know All There Is To Know About the Crying Game August 15, 2007

Posted by Janjan in All, Idiocy, Legally Opinionated and Jurisprudent.
19 comments

Dear Magnificent Atty. Perez,May a thousand winds fan you with cool breezes despite the heat of an unforgiving sun!

Good day! My name is Fazouk, I am a camel trader from Middle Eastern country. Around 8 months ago, I met this divine vision of loveliness from your country, a creature whom the angels have gifted with the name “Maricar.” She and I met through the wonders of cybersex on the Internet.

I pursued and courted Maricar for 4 months, communicating with each other through e-mail, chatting, webcam and phone calls, until eventually, I made the grand decision to fly all over to your beautiful country to finally meet my love. Do you believe in love at first sight, Attorney? That was how I felt when I first saw Maricar at the airport. She was literally the most beautiful girl that I’ve ever seen. I couldn’t wait to alone with her and ravish her with the burning passions of the Mideastern dessert.

Fortunately, during the third day of my stay in the Philippines, I finally got my chance. The walls of Jericho caved in for Fazouk and my Maricar found her sweet body on my soft hotel bed.

But that was where I learned the bitter truth, your Magnificence. May a thousand and one of Sulaiman’s djinns strike me blind, deaf, mute but not impotent!!! May a sandworm rise from the desert and eat all my camels, leaving behind nothing but precious spice!!! What is the truth, you may ask??? What is the bitter truth???

Maricar’s real name is MARIO CARUNGOY!!

Yes Attorney!!! Under the cruel fluorescent light of harsh reality, my lover could no longer hide her secrets, with her body laid bare and open to all scrutiny and so I had to ask, “What is THAT????!!!!!”

Oh the shame!! The shame!! My father is turning in his grave, grief stricken by the fallow turns of fate dealt upon his foolish son. However, Attorney, destiny has left me a greater sorrow when I realized that I cannot help it… I AM IN LOVE WITH MARICAR!!! Yes!!! Whoever he, she or it may be, I LOVE YOU MARICAR!! YOU COMPLETE ME! I’ve realized the truth… I cannot live without you! Oh the shame!!! May my father strike me dead!!!

These are my plans Attorney: First, I cannot accept the fact that Maricar’s sheesha pipe is bigger than that of my camel’s, so I am going to pay for her sex-change operation so that he, she, or it will finally become a REAL woman.

Second, I want to make Maricar happy by getting married in the Philippines, attended by all of his, her or it’s close family and friends. But will the Philippines legally recognize Maricar as my wife? Will it be alright to get married in a Catholic church when I am not even a Christian?

If this is not possible, can we go somewhere else that will legally recognize our uhm… unusual marriage arrangements, like for example Amsterdam in the Netherlands? Will that be legally recognized?

Please help me Attorney… I have no one else to turn to!

Love hurts,

Fazouk the Camel Salesman

Dear Fazouk,

I sympathize with your predicament and may I just say that truly, there is a truism to Shakespeare when he wrote that “Love has its reason which reason does not know.” This fact was even recognized by the Supreme Court in the poignant case of Chua-Qua vs Hon. Jacobo Clave (G.R. No. L-4959, August 1990).

Unfortunately for you and your Mario Carungoy (erstwhile known as the lovely Maricar), the Philippines is quite adamant and strict in the interpretation of the law where no less than our Family Code has defined marriage as:

“A special contract of permanent union between a man and a woman entered into in accordance with the law for the establishment of conjugal and family life.”

Article 2 of the same law further requires the following essential requisites:

1) Legal capacity of the contracting parties who must be a male and a female, and;

2) Consent freely given in the presence of the solemnizing officer.

So, needless to say my friend, if you do get married to your precious Maricar whether here or in another country, your union will not be recognized by the Philippines because under the eyes of our law, Maricar will always be a MAN, regardless of whether or not you will cut off his, her or its manhood and feed it to your camels. And in our country, a man could NOT marry another man. (And besides… you did not mention which country you come from, but isn’t it possible that in certain Middle Eastern countries, you and Maricar would get stoned to death for having that kind of marriage?)

So, whether or not Maricar will undergo a sex-change operation, in the eyes of Philippine law, Maricar will always be Mario Carungoy. Why? For your marriage to be valid, the law requires that Maricar should have been born as a woman, and not become a “woman” subsequently thereafter. This fact is explained by Article 1 of the Family Code when it provides that the purpose of marriage is for the establishment of conjugal and family life, or in other words… the biological procreation of children must have a shade of possibility from the onset of your marriage.

Finally, although it is already moot and academic at this point, I would like to state that had Maricar truly been a natural woman and not merely a “you make me feel like a natural woman”, it would have been alright for the two of you to get married in a Catholic church, even if you are not Catholic. Paragraph 2 of Article 7 of the Family Code provides that:

Marriage may be solemnized by:

xxx

2) Any priest, rabbi, imam, or minister of any church or religious sect and registered with the civil registrar general, acting within the limits of the written authority granted him by his church or religious sect and provided that at least one of the contracting parties belongs to the solemnizing officer’s church or religious sect;

I feel your pain and torment, Fazouk. I hope you and your Maricar will find happiness despite all the obstacles that the world will pin on your union. Whether or not such happiness will lie in each other’s arms, is a matter I don’t wish to judge. Everybody deserves to be happy, that is all I want to say. 8)

My friend Matet has a saying and I’m sure you’ll agree with me on this: “When the world hands you lemons…. grab some tequila and salt and call me over right away.”

Good luck Fazouk and may you find shade in an oasis far away from the sun.

Sincerely,

the Magnificent Atty. Perez

A Bajillionaire’s Guide to Simple Estate Planning August 7, 2007

Posted by Janjan in All, Idiocy, Legally Opinionated and Jurisprudent.
13 comments

Dear Magnificent Atty. Perez,

My name is Scrooge McDuck, a bonnie Scot mallard of the clan McDucks from Glasgow, Scotland. It pleases me to note that you are a quite learned and enthusiastic human lawyer for one your age (not to mention the fact that you give FREE legal advice), and though you have taken a penchant for educating the poor and underprivileged of society, may I inquire as to whether you would render your expert legal opinion on one such as myself…. eccentric bajillionaires that are absurdly wealthy beyond all measure. (And dear sir, I ask that you render me the same FREE legal advice as you would the likes of Maritess and Ging-ging.)

Now sir, I have acquired an estate over at Sagay in the Province of Negros Occidental. It is a wonderful hacienda, as you Filipinos would say, one overlooking a vast sugarfield with a thousand and five slaves, errr, I mean laborers, toiling in my sugar fields. The estate includes a horse farm, a banana plantation, a free lot where I shall be growing Jatropha (known in your native parlance as tuba-tuba) for bio-diesel, as well as a 5-hectare beach front that I intend to develop into a beach resort.In the interests of providing my three grand-nephews Huey, Dewey and Louie with employment, I also intend to acquire two franchises: Sunburst Fried Chicken and Jo’s Chicken Inato, two very well-respected establishments in your native Cebu.

Lately, I have considered acquiring a salt-mine in Bukidnon, which will not only provide my grand-nephews with free salt for their restaurant business, but shall likewise provide me with the pleasure of cracking my whip and ordering, “Work my peons!! Work!!! MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!”

However, I am getting quite advanced in my years. Having first appeared in Disney’s “Christmas in Bear Mountain” on the year 1947, I am now more or less in the respectable age of 60 years old. (Which makes my nephew Donald, who first appeared on June 9, 1934, thirteen years older than I. Absurd, is it not?)

Nevertheless, such being the case, I am asking for your esteemed legal advise on this matter: I plan to bequeath my properties in favor of my nephew Donald, and my grandnephews Huey, Dewey and Louie. I have already made arrangements for all my properties around the world but none for my properties in the Philippines. I may or may not engage your services as my lawyer in the matter, depending on the advise given.

So, my dear Magnificent Atty. Perez, how can you help me with this endeavor?

Ad quack dei memoriam,

Scrooge McDuck

Dear Uncle Scrooge (Please please please… Can I call you Uncle Scrooge????):

I write in reply to your query dated August 8, 2007 on the matter of how to dispose your Philippine assets with the view of the same being transmitted in favor of your nephew Donald Duck and your grandnephews Huey Duck, Dewey Duck and Louie Duck.

But before I do, I just want to say that I AM SUCH A BIG FAN OF YOUR CARTOON SERIES, DUCKTALES!!! I think I may have skipped a few classes just to see your adventures on GMA-7, and my childhood consists of singing our your theme song, “Duck Tales!! Woohoo!!!” I wish YOU were my real uncle.

That being said, let me now go to the matter on hand. What you ask for, dear Uncle Scrooge, is a matter called Estate Planning, which is a legal program of planning the disposition of one’s existing and future assets in a way that minimizes one’s taxes, as well as reduces the headaches of litigation on inheritance matters.

Considering the glut of your assets here in the Philippines, my recommendation is that you form a corporation and transfer all your assets under the name of this corporation. Considering likewise that you will need a corporation to manage and run your businesses in the Philippines, I wholly recommend the formation of one such corporation. We can call the business “McDuck Enterprises, Inc.” We can reserve the name now, if you want. If the name has been taken, may I suggest we call the corporation “Itlog Maalat Corporation” instead? In Filipino, that loosely means, “Good Fortune, Good Venture, Good TASTE!”

Now, there are three ways that we can transfer the assets to your corporation. The first way is through a “sale” of assets by you to your corporation. The advantage of this option is that it is the fastest and easiest method to transfer the assets to your corporation, involving only the execution of a Deed of Absolute Sale and the registration of the same with the Registry of Deeds and voila! Your assets are transferred to your corporation! The drawback? This method also involves the payment of a greater rate of taxes (a Capital Gains Tax of 10% of either the fair market value of the property or its selling price, whichever is higher), hence, not recommended if we are dealing with vast tracks of land and numerous properties. Imagine transferring property worth P800 million… we’re talking about taxes at the rate of P80 million!

The second option is to “donate” the properties to your corporation. This option has the same expediency as the first method, which may or may not have a higher tax rate than the first, depending on the value of the property donated. However, I do not favor this method since in terms of succession planning, this is the least secure method of transfer, in the sense that properties validly donated may still be collated by the other heirs under the estate of the decedent. As you know, families have been destroyed all because of squabbles over inheritance. Thus, if your purpose in transferring the properties is for the sake of buying peace within the family, then I recommend that you don’t resort to a donation.

The third option is to have an equity swap, meaning that you will “invest” these properties under the name of your corporation in exchange for shares of stock of the same. Of all the three methods, this option involves the most bureaucracy and red-tape, but nonetheless, it is also the one that involves the least amount of taxes. Technically, no taxes are involved other than documentary stamp taxes (1% of the book value of the original issuance of shares of stock), but you will be paying for certain fees.

The third option essentially involves the Bureau of Internal Revenue which will issue a tax ruling declaring the transfer in exchange for capital stock as a tax-free transfer. The tax ruling is to be issued by the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, who is based in Manila, hence, you will need to have your lawyer periodically follow up the matter over at BIR head office in Manila.

As to transferring these properties under the name of your nephew and grandnephews, it merely involves the issuance of stock certificates under their name, or the execution of a Deed of Assignment, as the case may be.

There are many more ways I can help you legally minimize taxes and form your corporation in a manner that best serves your needs, but that advice is no longer free, I’m sorry to say. Might I entice you to visit me here in Cebu and employ the services of both my law firm and my bookkeeping corporation? Let’s have lunch, my treat. There’s this delightful Chinese restaurant called Grand Majestic that serves the best Peking Duck in Cebu!

Errrrrrr….. on second thought, how would you like some Sunburst Fried Chicken? 8)

Truly yours,

the Magnificent Atty. Perez

Magnificent in Dipolog, Zamboanga del Norte July 29, 2007

Posted by Janjan in All, I, Lawyer, Idiocy.
10 comments

“I’ve been standing here
waiting for the bus on a Saturday
laundry on my back, ultraviolet rays
like I’m posing for a shot in a magazine
what the hell does it mean?”

Dipolog behind a habal-habal
The lyrics of Eraserhead’s “Waiting for a Bus” always comes back to me everytime I arrive in Dapitan, Zamboanga del Norte, as I haggle with a motorcycle driver to take me to my regular hotel in Dipolog City. The ride sets me back around P130 to P150. That’s a short 10 minute motorcycle ride with me holding on to some random stranger with, strangely enough, Ely Buendia’s voice squealing in the back of my head. Yep, it’s habal-habal for me all the way from Dapitan Wharf to Dipolog City. My other option is actually to take the really slow bus going there but I would much rather take the dangerous and more expensive route going to Dipolog, and really, who wants to live forever?

This coming from a man whose motto in life is to “Live fast, die young, leave a good looking corpse.” The other variant is to “Live fast, die young, leave a trail of broken hearts.” And the other still less popular variant is “Live fast, die young, leave dirty underwear”

(And to think my motto in life used to be “Study hard, beautiful wife ahead.” Blah to that.)

I’m going to be doing a lot of travelling in the next few weeks. Tomorrow, I take the Fastcraft passing by Tagbilaran and Dumaguete until I reach the port of Dapitan, in the newly-created province of Zamboanga del Norte where the aforesaid motorcycle ride will take me all the way to Dipolog City to my hotel.

The week after, I will fly off to bonny Manila where I will scour the streets looking for Tondo’s Civil Registrar in order to correct some hapless civil servant’s incompetence when he/she mispelled the name of a client’s daughter in her Certificate of Live Birth. (I mean really, why do we need these things? To prove that we were successfully born? Like duh. I can just imagine some poor schmuck showing up at school and being refused enrollment all for the reason that, “Oh I’m sorry sir, you don’t have a birth certificate. How do we know that you were really born? For all I know, you could be just a hologram from the future transmitted through satellite rays by the Transformers.”)

Then the week after that, I will hie off to nearby Bohol where I will both (a) pay my client’s real estate taxes and (b) get some Bohol beach lovin’. Hooray for me!

But tomorrow, it’s to Dipolog that I go.

This will probably be my 5th or 6th trip to Dipolog City, courtesy of an ongoing case involving the contract of carriage between a family that missed passage on a certain boat trip, against the company that owns the boat, i.e., my client. I have very mixed feelings towards this trip. In the first place, the boat trip going to Dapitan can be a pain in the posterior, literally. We’re talking about a 6-hour boat ride from Cebu to Dapitan, with agonizingly slow stopovers in Tagbilaran and Dumaguete. My boat trip misfortunes include (a) sitting with a man who had the worst case of B.O. in the country and (b) choppy waters from Dumaguete to Dapitan. (Emptied my stomach, I did. At one point after a good strong puking, I had to ask myself, “Wait a minute! I don’t remember eating THAT!!”)

Compound that with the crappy in-house movies. Sometimes I get lucky and they show Jackie Chan films that I have never seen. And then sometimes, I get that really sordid B-movie about people getting locked out of a boat in the middle of the ocean and slowly drowning to their miserable deaths while swimming around a yacht that they don’t know how to get back on. Ah yes, it takes a sick genius to show that kind of movie while you’re riding a boat in choppy waters seated to a man with a bad case of stinkyarmpititis. Brilliant. Needless to say, the only thing entertaing in that 6-hour boat ride is counting how many old white farts are travelling with their mail-order Filipina brides and spending their hard earned dollars in the woman’s hometown province. Thank God for desperate old white men. Without them, we would be relying solely on Koreans for foreign currency.

Dipolog is beginning to be a nice place though. I used to hate it because the hotel I was staying at has crappy amenities and even crappier service, but ever since that same hotel opened up a second branch, I’ve been enjoying my trips there. I enjoy the solitude of being a stranger in a strange land. I enjoy walking about and enjoying the semi-rural ambiance of Dipolog City, reminding me of my hometown in Bantayan Island, and the old department stores in downtown Cebu.

In my last trip, I amused myself by looking for unusual purchases and came up with (1) A cheap-ass notebook that has some teen celebrity that I don’t recognize, looking so gosh-darn cute in an ambiguous sexual orientation kind of way; (2) a chinese tetra-pak milk thing that tasted quite yummy. I just don’t recognize the writings on the box, so I hope it doesn’t contain formalin…. or cat meat!; (3) the ugliest pair of shorts ever made on God’s earth, all for the price of P40!!! I swear, the store should have paid ME to get it out of their hands, it was THAT ugly! It was colored green with bright orange tiger stripes that wrapped around your butt and turned into flourescent pink flames towards the rear end. I felt so selfish for buying that pair of shorts, because it was made of so much synthetic fiber that I swear, if you melt it down to its component material, we would solve the Earth’s energy crisis for the next 30 years. And just as I was about to wear it at our hotel’s pool, I noticed the tag attached to the crotch portion of the shorts: “Government Warning: Wearing this pair of shorts has been known to cause random bouts of incurable blindness in the vicinity. Wearer is advised to proceed with caution and with due regard for the sanity of his fellow Filipinos.” I looked out the pool and all I saw nearby were Koreans and dirty old white men, so I went ahead swimming. I’m sorry, Philippine tourism economy! The Dipolog police is still investigating what happened that fateful April night.

One thing you can be sure of though, Dipolog City is on its way up, as within its very own ranks I discovered two indicators of progress. One is the numerous Kimberly-Clarke table napkin/toothpick dispensers on top of the table, looking so spiffy in in their Kimberly-Clarke goodness. The other is the fact of not one, but TWO!!! Yes, folks, you heard me right… Dipolog City has TWO Sunburst Fried Chicken restaurants, and both of them are found at the hotel where I reside. As every bona fide native of the Visayas and Mindanao knows, Sunburst Fried Chicken is the mark of progress. When one town has its very own Sunburst Fried Chicken, prosperity in the local economy could not be far behind. (Cebu City should know… it has, as of last count, not one, not two, but FIVE! FIVE Sunburst Fried Chicken branches, serving crispy fried chicken goodness to the entrepreneurial populace!)

But the truth of the matter is, I’m getting a bit sick of Sunburst Fried Chicken in Dipolog because it’s the only place I eat in when I’m there. I’d like to try out their other restaurants but all I see nearby are carinderias and the ocassional Jollibee and Greenwich Pizza, which I detest even more than Sunburst Fried Chicken. Since I only know 2 people in Dipolog, namely Popoy Mah and Paul Legorio, who are, unfortunately, both living in Cebu, I guess I’m limited to eating at Sunburst until I can find a better place to dine.  And although I really do eat in carinderias, I only do so when I am in Cebu, where my dad, who is a doctor, is easily accessible in case I get stomach cramps or worse.  Would rather not risk getting hospitalized in a strange town where I don’t know anyone, wouldn’t you think?

Well, this blog is getting quite long so let me close it by saying that Dipolog will always be noteworthy to me for its glut of motorcycles and tricycles. P6 for trips within the city, and a haggle-stress price of P130 to P150 for trips to Dapitan Wharf. But the habal-habal charm has grown on me. Where else can I truly feel like a travelling cowboy lawyer than when having the wind blast through my face, whipping my hair and barong about as I ride behind the back of a speeding motorcycle driver through the empty streets of Dapitan with nothing but beautiful rural foliage and smiling children waving past by as I return back home to Cebu….


“I’m a travelling man, straight from the can
I’m a thousand miles away from my number one fan
my folks are getting tight
won’t let me out at night
you can’t avoid the complications when there’s no reason at all…

When lightning strikes we cry!
I’ll drink my beer, I’ll wash my tears,
southbound in the SKY!!!…”