Friday, November 08, 2013

Quo Vadis?

So this is how it feels to be at the finish line. A quiet sense of relief within you drowns the cheers of family, friends, and acquaintances. You take part in the celebration, but deep inside is a soft hum of fulfillment. You look back at the track you've hurdled and sigh, “You made it.” You know that while the world’s applause encourages you, it could only take you so far because the battle you fight is against yourself. 

When a professor makes you feel like you don’t have the aptitude for law and bullies you until you almost break into tears, it’s not the consoling words from classmates that you listen to, but your ego. You know yourself better. And so you stiffen up your neck, swallow the tears and try to grasp as much as you can from a haphazard reading of next day’s assignment. When a dreaded professor compliments you during recitation, it is not the approving glances of your classmates that you perceive, but the throb of pride and pleasure in your heart.

It could be a lonely struggle, but nothing can be more satisfying than knowing that you conquered your worst critic, your greatest foe, your Self, and challenging that person to embark on another crusade.

Where are you going, where do you go?
Are you looking for answers, to questions under the stars?
If along the way you are growing weary,
you can rest with me until a brighter day
It’s okay, where are you going, where do you go?

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Life Is A Donut

“Between the optimist and the pessimist, the difference is droll. The optimist sees the doughnut; the pessimist the hole!” – Oscar Wilde

The past week has been a donut for me. The stress of finals season was a hole, but there were little things that made up the sugar-coated doughnut. 

1. This cool postcard from Rhea

I don't think I can do anything about # 2 haha. But hey, 2 out of 3 is fine, right?
Thanks, Rhea! :-)
2. Studying in Krispy Kreme and seeing the donut assembly line (or whatever that donut-making thing is called)

3. Passing Nego and Labor Law Rev in spite of…me (I’m not gonna make excuses this time)

4. Soul Surfing with Mary

Without the hole, a donut will just be an ordinary bun. No fun. Same goes with life. It's hard to appreciate the awesome things without experiencing the challenges. Sabi nga ng favorite saying ko, "Ang buhay ay parang kape. Ang sarap ay wala sa tamis, kundi nasa pait." Yum. Coffee goes well with donuts. I should totally go to Krispy Kreme. :-)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Final Finals

Isang gabi, sa cramming capital ng Teachers Village…
Gir1 1: Iba kaya ang brain function ng mga Amerikano sa mga Pinoy?
Girl 2: Physiologically pareho lang. Culturally siguro iba. The way we attach meaning to things…
G2: Angtagal ko nang wala sa art studies circle. Mga seven years na.
G1: May book ako on art history, sobrang basic lang. Pahiram ko sayo. Picasso, Monet, Magritte...
G2: Magritte? Hindi ko pa siya naencounter.
G1: Yung “This Is Not A Pipe”?
G2: Yun ba yung may toilet?
Me: (pabulong) Duchamp yun.
G1: …detect changes in cerebral blood flow while viewing works of Mondrian…
Conclusions formed while listening to their conversation:
1. Girl 1 is working on her thesis on art education
2. I have a knack for eavesdropping. The girlfriend finds it creepy gets a bit annoyed because it distracts me from her, but I say it’s a journalistic skill.
3. I should have transferred to another table.

And because I did not, I had an awful time during my back-to-back final exams the following day -- Political Law Review and Labor Law Review. It’s not a stressful day per se, because poli and labor are two of the more brain-friendly subjects, but the sheer volume of materials I had to deal with made it so arduous. Poli is composed of well, all subjects political: Constitutional Law, Administrative Law, Law of Public Officers, Election Law, Local Government, and Public International Law. Labor, on the other hand consists of Labor Standards and Labor Relations. Several semesters crammed in two subjects, and crammed further into one day. Haha. But I have no business complaining because these are review classes, so I’m presumed to have learned the subjects before, and bar exams work pretty much in this manner. Sabi ko nga, first bar Sunday ang peg ng finals ko. c”,)

The exams were reasonable and I know I could have done better if I didn’t spend time eavesdropping unavoidably hearing the conversation of others. The only issue I have on Poli is it’s mostly taken from Consti. And there was a question on the most boring part of the Constitution -- Art. IX-D (The Commission on Audit). Anyhow, ranting is moot now because the prof texted my final grade and I passed. Yay! For Labor, the prof has been my teacher in another subject before so I thought he would draft his exams the way he used to, i.e., situational. Lo and behold, he had a lot of questions asking for definitions and matters of procedure in labor cases. Hindi lang basta definition, but “How does the Labor Code define…” I still dunno how I fared, but I’m pretty sure I amended a substantial part of the law. LOL.

There's still one final exam to hurdle, Negotiable Instruments Law (NIL), and my knowledge of the subject is precisely that -- nil. Hehe. It’s a week from now so I am not bothered (yet), being a holder of a Masters degree in this area of law called Parkinson’s.* For now I shall continue paying attention to the more interesting lives of fellow crammers.

*Parkinson’s Law states that “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” Some define it in regard to time as “The amount of time which one has to perform a task is the amount of time it will take to complete the task.” (Source:'s_law)

Thursday, October 03, 2013

The Evolution of Pinoy Politicians

“The superstition, the gullibility, the ignorance of the common people in these Islands are such that it will be a century before they are capable of self-government. There is a small percent of people who have had money enough to acquire a good education, and they it is who, for motives or personal ambition, have thrown this country into a deplorable state of war. These leaders, educated as they are, with a few notable exceptions, are the most magnificent liars that it has been my luck to come across. They change from side to side to the other with the ease of the statesmen of the days of Marlborough. Few, if any of them have the slightest conception of justice as we understand it in an Anglo Saxon country. They have learned from the Spaniard that the best way of increasing a small salary is to get a “rake off” and to “squeeze” the people over whom they exercise authority. This moral condition, or immoral condition, is what makes our future task after pacification such a difficult one. We must give the Filipinos a part in the government, and yet it is very unsafe to entrust them with any authority which they can use for the purpose of squeezing money out of the people…” ~ William Taft’s letter to Howard Hollister, 1900*

Fifty years later, the first post-war Congress passes a law authorizing the Philippine Treasury to pay back salaries and wages to members of Congress and their staff to cover the three years of Japanese occupation. In effect, the Backpay Law compensated the legislators for service that they never rendered during the war years.** I thought this was just tsismis, coming from my Kasaysayan prof who admitted that he likes talking to old (pre-war) people and integrates what he hears from them in his lectures, and “verified” by Wikipedia. But then, there's an actual case decided by the Supreme Court regarding the matter, Custodio vs. Senate President.*** It's not available online so I went to the library to take a look at the brittle and dusty pages of the Official Gazette at the Reserve section. 

Fast facts: Simplicio Custodio, a former guerrillero (I suppose a HUKBALAHAP member?), filed a petition for prohibition against the Senate President, the Speaker of the House, the Insular Treasurer and the Insular Auditor to prohibit them from authorizing and approving the disbursement of P3,000,000.00 appropriated for the back salaries of the Congressmen. He likewise prayed that the act be declared invalid and unconstitutional. Sadly, the Supreme Court dismissed the petition on the following grounds: 
1) Custodio does not have the requisite personality to attack the constitutionality of the act. The elementary doctrine of constitutional law is that the constitutionality of a legislative act is open to attack only by a person whose rights are affected thereby, that one who invokes the power of the court to declare an Act of Congress to be unconstitutional must be able to show not only that the statute is invalid but that he has sustained, or is in immediate danger of sustaining, some direct injury as the result of its enforcement, and not merely that he suffers in some indefinite way in common with people generally. 
2) Appropriation is a political question. Tribunals are not called upon to decide questions of political character. It must be decided by the people at the polls. 
My point is, kupal na talaga ang mga Congressman dati pa. Imagine demanding for back salaries at a time when the country is ravaged by war? Grabe lang. Anyhoo, it is interesting to note that had this case been filed today, Custodio would have won considering that the SC is very liberal as to locus standi these days and that the doctrine of political question has been irrefragably diminished by Art. VIII, Section 1 of the 1987 Constitution.

After almost seven decades, we are bombarded with the shocking news of the P10 billion pork barrel scam. “Paano kaya sila nakakatulog sa gabi?” I asked manong cab driver while stuck in EDSA one rainy evening. He was tuned in to an AM radio station and the anchor was on an extended outburst about the issue. “Sa pera sila nakahiga kaya mahimbing ang tulog nila. Hindi naman barya yan e,” he jokingly replied.


*___vs. ___, citing Alfonso, O. (1970). Theodore Roosevelt and the Philippines. University of the Philippines Press, p.45.
** Wikipedia entry on the 1st Congress of the Commonwealth of the Philippines at
*** 42 Official Gazette 1243, November 7, 1945.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Get Paid or Die Trying

After three months, I finally got my first government paycheck! The documents supporting its issuance got lost in bureaucratic mess and so my wages for July to September arrived before that of June. I had to storm the Personnel and Accounting Divisions (because apparently Pinoys still prefer personal interaction before actually doing something) and berate some people before the check was released. Hindi naman kalakihan ang halaga pero dugo’t pawis din yun no. Kalurkey.

I've been waiting for this tiny piece of paper for what feels like eons, so I had a chance to ruminate on its significance. Hehe.

From a legal perspective:
  • Under the Negotiable Instruments Law, a check is a bill of exchange, one of the two forms of negotiable instruments. An instrument to be negotiable must contain an unconditional promise or order to pay a sum certain in money.
  • An order or promise to pay out of a particular fund is not unconditional.
  • This check is to be paid specifically out of Department of ______’s account.
  • Therefore, not all checks are negotiable instruments.
From a practical perspective: Yahoo! May pangsurf na ako!

From other’s perspective: Congrats! and/or Get a life.

Sunday, September 22, 2013


Dear You,

I know we agreed to not celebrate because “monthsaries were invented because less and less couples are getting to anniversaries” but yeah, I got mushy. Hehe.

Etta James - At Last

Van Morrison – Someone Like You

Sarah Vaughan – You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To

John Lennon – Oh My Love

The Paper Kites - Bloom

Happy 2nd. ^^


Wednesday, September 18, 2013



Yeahboi. Thanks to everyone who joined the trip. Here's to another awesome round! Cheers!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Hold On

I have been in school for a looong time. Patty sums it up in a few words: More than enough to form a family. This she expressed in one of those post-exam rantages/pep talks, when we reassess our years in Malcolm. Our lives seem to have been suspended while the rest of the world carried on and we wonder if it's all worth it. It's okay, I assure her, we've come this far. Did I say last sem break ever?

And then this song plays in my head. Somehow it always does during moments of school-induced self-doubt. Every freaking time. Hahaha.

Some day somebody's gonna make you want to 
Turn around and say goodbye 
Until then baby are you going to let them 
Hold you down and make you cry 
Don't you know? 
Don't you know things can change 
Things'll go your way 
If you hold on for one more day 
Can you hold on for one more day 
Things'll go your way 
Hold on for one more day...

ATTN: Tin! Ikaw talaga ang naalala ko rito e. Hehe. Two weeks na lang before The Big Fight! Aja!

S & S

Last month I picked up a new activity (as well as lots of lesions and contusions hehe) -- I’m learning to skate! While it is painful at first, it feels awesome once you get the hang of it. 

I won’t pretend to be an expert since my knowledge only came from how-to videos on YouTube and my own attempts to move. :-) But I am now able to traverse a few meters without falling off.

The inevitable. Butt land!


Kaya ko rin yan!

Here we go!

This is how we roll.
(Taken 30 minutes before an exam, hence the reviewer in hand.)