Monday, October 6, 2008

Hatin' on Sarah Palin

I love being a woman. I equally love having a brain. And I love to use both to my advantage when the need arises. I have no problem being cutesy too, should the situation call for me to do so, but I refuse to play dumb or silly at any time, not the least during those crucial moments in my life--e.g., applying for graduate studies, or for a job, or moot court, or real court room drama...

...which is why Sarah Palin's facetiousness disgusts me. "In her world", apparently, winking, beaming into the camera, giving a semi-pout and looking pretty, constitute the basic ingredients of competence. Nevermind that she cannot, for the life of her, seem capable of stringing coherent sentences together, especially when being interviewed by another woman of obviously superior intelligence like Katie Couric.

I mean, anyone who has ever watched those Couric interviews, especially of my gender, must have cringed and squirmed in their chairs while listening to Palin's long-winded, but empty, attempts at answering questions like -- which other Supreme Court decision apart from Roe v. Wade does she disagree with; or what periodicals or newspapers she reads. But, like some bad movies, we just can't get enough of Palin. It's as if we want to torture ourselves, and wait for another gaffe, another stupid remark, another blunder, that our dear Sarah will commit. When just yesterday, Palin said that Couric "annoyed" her because the latter asked irrelevant questions, I wanted to throw a hissy fit! Some people just cannot accept that they're out of their league! Which is why I loved it when Madeline Albright put her in her place :)

Having been brought up to believe that men and women are equal, for a time I tried to make sense of Hillary's tactic during the primaries -- basically, to act like a man and ignore her womanhood because it was perceived as a distraction. I didn't appreciate Hillary for it. I thought, if she's fighting for equality, then why did she readily morph into a man and seem ashamed of her gender? But looking back now, I could see why Hillary had to do that. Because ultimately, she knew that she first needed to be taken seriously. Because the reality is that women have to try much harder to break the glass ceiling. In stark contrast to Hillary, Sarah Palin is turning on the womanly charm--she's bursting to the seams with it in fact, flaunting her being a woman to her full advantage--but woefully lacking is the intelligence and common sense that are the most important prerequisites for public office (apart from integrity of course, but that's another story). I hate that Palin has the audacity to even think that people will swallow her moronic antics hook, line and sinker, but what I hate even more is that there are a few out there who actually fall for her stratagems and accept her mostly undecipherable rhetoric as gospel truth.

I wish that there will come a day that someone like Hillary, with her competence, experience and intelligence, can be taken seriously by the electorate solely through the quality of her arguments, and the inherent value of her vision, so that she will be free to express herself in the only way she ought, as a woman. But Sarah Palin?, Vacuous Barbie? She sickens me. I am deeply offended by her presence as a woman, but more so as a person. But I thank Palin for one thing... for bringing Tina Fey back to SNL. Now that Tina Fey--she is amazing.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

The Man Who Can't Be Moved

It doesn't take much for me to love a song. For as long as the lyrics are nice and sensible, and the tune is pleasant, I would make time to download the song into my ipod. But this song, from a three-man Irish band -- The Script, is markedly different from the songs I have recently downloaded & sing along to when I'm alone in the office. The lyrics play on a range of emotions, from plaintive and positively melancholic, to hopeful and optimistic. The singer's wonderful voice tugged at my heartstrings... it's just a very beautiful song. It's so good that I am not ashamed to admit that it's way better than my fave -- David Archuleta's latest single -- Crush.

The link to this amazing song -- The Man Who Can't Be Moved -- can be found here. ENJOY :)

Monday, September 1, 2008

Lives Intertwined -- E-heads

Almost everyone I know (or at least those who were either in high school or college during the pinnacle of E-heads' fame) has their own Eraserheads' story. For me, the cheesiest one, but easily the most memorable, was my and my bestest friends' drunken rendition of With A Smile after high school graduation. We were all understandably distraught then, none of us were going to the same college -- I was going to Ateneo, my best friend was going to La Salle, one was going to UST, another to UAP. With A Smile was THE song that we sang to remind us that we were going to be alright. And what do you know, we are still the best of friends after 11 years.

When I went to the E-heads reunion concert last Saturday at the Fort, I was immediately struck by the obvious -- the sea of people trying to get inside the venue also had their peculiar E-heads story, or stories... I saw high school friends, college friends, older now, maybe wiser, wearing their most comfortable outfits, with bright smiles and twinkling eyes, eager to go down memory lane and reminisce the good ol years, the romanticized past. From the moment the band hit the first chords, I was transported to a time when everything was simpler, when I was more idealistic and carefree, when I was at the height of my YOUTH. I, along with the strangers beside me, were one with the music, shouting SEMBREAK with such fervor, knowing that, as members of the workforce, we no longer have sembreaks. No matter that the concert was cut short due to Ely's heart condition, I had my 'bottle of memories' when I left the Fort that night. There was an undeniable thread uniting all concertgoers that night -- the music of E-heads somehow made possible the existence of intertwined lives -- lives which, without E-heads, would not have intersected or found common ground. Kaming lahat -- parang naging isa.

Ely, Raimund, Marcus and Buddy, thank you for making me an uber-happy girl last Saturday. Sana ay maulit pa. Gusto ko talagang marining uli ng live ang Magasin.

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Amazing Human Body and The Olympics

Yesterday, I spent most of my time glued to the TV, hoping for whatever I can get by way of Olympics coverage from our cheap cable TV operator. I have been a fan of the Olympics for as long as I can remember, and the event that I enjoy watching the most is artistic gymnastics. There is just something almost unreal about watching these mostly diminutive individuals make maximum use of their muscles, their core, and flexibility to come up with the most masterful, but still, graceful, moves. Through these extremely talented gymnasts, I am reminded of the human body's amazing potential.

I used to be fairly athletic myself, and even dabbled in volleyball and badminton during high school. But when I was diagnosed with scoliosis, and was ordered to wear a back brace, I knew that my previously fit body would no longer be able to benefit from real, hard-core training. To compound my misery, my doctor told me that my scoliosis was getting worse, and that I needed operation. So I went under the knife at age 17, and until now, I carry a harrington rod the length of my spine inside me. My spine is now straight, but alas, my movements and activities are now restricted. I can't do extreme sports (not that I really want to), but even the more normal stuff like bending, or reaching my toes, I can't really do anymore. Sadly, I can't even show my back in a two-piece, because my scar runs the length of my back.

I have learned, through the years, not to whine about my situation, and embrace my imperfections. I refuse to think I am handicapped, and eventhough my body is no longer as fit as I would want it to be, I am happy that my spine problem has been corrected and my lungs can expand without interference.

...which makes the Olympics an even more cherished every-four-years event. I may not be able to do what these Olympians can do with their body, but I find comfort that THEY can. I watched US v. China basketball last night, and was blown-away by the athleticism of the US athletes. How fast they ran; how high they leaped; how nimble they were with the ball. I also watched men's gymnastics, and my sister, who is a med student, definitely benefited from seeing all those bulging muscles up close, without the aid of books.

Now that I'm determined to live healthy, I have come to appreciate my body more. My mom always says, "your body is a temple", and now, I know exactly what she means. :)

Monday, July 28, 2008

My New Online Family

I'm far from being a techie, and before, much of the time I spent on the internet was used up by (1) checking my mail; (2) checking my facebook; and (3) checking Jae's, Golda's, Sir Te's and Arnold's blogs. And then I stumbled upon a blawg that has been getting well-deserved raves from law students and bar reviewees. Reason: the blog appears to have been put up entirely because of the blogger-lawyer's admirable sense of civic duty, and its posts are dedicated to helping reviewees and students of law keep abreast of the latest legal and bar-related developments. Now, this blog has a link to an online forum, whose members are mostly law students or lawyers.

So... the curious cat that I am, I joined the forum and hid behind a cutesy username... And before I knew it, I was hooked to the forum and was making a habit of checking new posts everyday that I could. I found it exhilirating to be in constant contact with nameless, faceless people from all over the Philippines, and even in various parts of the world. Nice people, kind people, people who have something meaningful to say. I felt that I was among people with similar ideals, people who also genuinely want to help make the Philippine legal system a fairer and more just one. And then I did the scary part... I bravely decided to forgo my anonymity in order to reach out to bar reviewees who might need some tips on how to hurdle the bar. Truth be told, at first I was hesitant to do so, having been told many horror stories of meeting up with virtual strangers face-to-face. But, having been raised to believe, unconditionally, in the innate goodness of people, I decided to take the leap and reveal who I am.

And... I'm happy to report that I made, 100%, a great decision! Some members of the community met for the first time on July 5, 2008, and then again on July 26, 2008, and, thanks to the forum's amiable big boss and the blogger-lawyer who introduced me to the forum, Atty. Fred Pamaos--who is not only generous with his time but also with his hard-earned money--the gatherings were a resounding success! The kindness that the members exhibited in the forum happily matched the kindness that they showed me in person :)

I have been chided countless times for always acting on impulse, but joining the phbar community was really an exercise of good judgment on my part. Oh, I'm still cautious when it comes to cyberspace, but I'm so happy that the only time I took a risk, it was all worth it! :)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Sa Wakas... Bagong Buhay! :)

I used to dislike smoking, even back in my college days when some of my debater friends huffed and puffed their smokes like they were going out of fashion. But then I entered law school and just two months after, I was hooked to smoking. My trusted brand -- West Ice. I was a certified addict, and nothing my mom said about how my dad is now suffering the consequences of years of smoking could deter me from indulging my addiction. A good friend of mine, who was determined to make me stop, even bought me those nicotine-replacement gums to help me quit (thanks, Mark!) to no avail. Somehow, I was able to convince myself that smoking is cool and is the best way to pass the time, and even though I still don't like the smell of cigs on my hands, there's Green Cross to take away the nasty smell.

And so fast-forward to seven years later. I was still well into my nicotine addiction until (1) I have had to endure coughing and heaving for almost a month, with medical bills amounting to thousands of pesos already; and (2) I was feeling nauseous and queasy all the time, due to hyperacidity. Of course the doctors were one in pointing the blame at my smoking addiction. At first I simply shut my brain down and refused to process this information that would mean the death of my nicotine habit. But my cough got worse, and I had to spend thousands more on meds, and I couldn't even go up a flight of steps without stopping to catch my breath. And so... I did the unthinkable...

I QUIT!!! I QUIT!!! Last Saturday, I finally quit. I have with me all the time my trusted Nicorette, and so far, not a single stick. Clap clap clap. A feat, indeed, for someone so addicted to smokes. I know i could easily slip back to my old ways, so I'm not taking out the champagne just yet, especially since my withdrawal symptoms have been baaaad -- shaking hands, lack of concentration, grumpiness, headaches... But in just these four days, I have already seen a lot of good things happen -- easier breathing, no more morning cough, yummier tasting food :)

And, what's even more crazy is I finally got my lazy butt out of the couch and into the... GYM!!! Hahahaha, me, in the gym? None of my friends could believe the whirlwind changes I've introduced in my life, but hey, so far so good :) So instead of coffee and smokes in the morning, I switched to yogurt drink and bananas. Who knew I had that in me? :) I don't know if I have the willpower to stay the course, but for the first time, I really want to. So that could only mean I have a much better chance of succeeding :)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Forgotten Love Note

One uneventful evening, I was preparing to go to bed when I saw an old wallet just waiting to be opened. Curious as to its contents, I opened it and was glad to see that it contained some precious mementos from my trips abroad (a pass from the Louvre, tickets to the London U and Glasgow bus, ticket to Eiffel, etc.) and pictures from my high school, college and law school days (wallet size pics taken in cheesy studios :)), some from friends with matching dedication, tipong Joan, thanks for always being there, lalo na pag recess or you are a ray of sunshine in my usually cloudy life, from a friend who was then full of angst.

But a small note, folded in three parts, obviously taken from a notebook, got my attention. The first line there was in my handwriting. It reads: Ano na babe? To which my ex-boyfriend replied: Just. Look. At. Me. I'M RIGHT HERE. The note struck me on different levels, not the least because it reminded me that even if I had since moved on with my life, there was that period where my failed relationship was real, palpable, honest... and well, it really happened. I may no longer remember how it felt like to have loved and be loved by the writer of this note, but it reminded me that, while things between us eventually soured, the time the note was written, I was blissfully in love.

But in a more 'big picture' way, I was struck by how poignantly sweet those words "I'm right here" are, then and now. At this crazy stage in my life where I am sometimes tempted to go on a frantic search for THE ONE because all my friends are getting married and I am always reminded that my biological clock is ticking, it would be extremely comforting if someone told me, "I'm right here." No, I'm not asking to be married ahora mismo, but wouldn't it be nice if someone I truly care for would tell me that he's not going anywhere, but here with me?

My life right now is, for the most part, a happy place to be in. But there are moments, like that evening when I stumbled upon a love note that I clearly cherished enough to keep in my wallet, that I couldn't help but wish that I receive another love note, just like that, soon enough. :)

Monday, July 7, 2008

Crazy Day

So many things were going on yesterday that I had a hard time making sense of it all. Thing is, for all my crazy rollercoaster of emotions, none of the events that transpired had anything to do with me personally. Everything was all 'vicarious living', as it were, but the overly-passionate person that I am, I really felt like all the highs and lows were happening to me.

First: HIGH. Ateneo creamed DLSU in the UAAP opener. Hooray for my school!!!!!! I was so happy, that I decided on the fly to do grocery shopping so I could cook yummy pork chops for my entire fam. Once-in-a-blue-moon occurrence, so you bet my family savored every single morsel. Another high -- they liked my cooking. Hooray for my non-existent cooking skills!!!

Second: LOW. My beloved F1 team, Ferrari, lost to Lewis Hamilton in the British Santander Grand Prix. I knew that the rains threatening the London sky could only mean bad luck, as evidenced by....

Three: LOWEST LOW. My ultimate idol, Roger Federer, was defeated by Rafa Nadal at Wimbledon last night, and lost the chance to win Wimby 6 times in a row. This year has been an unlucky one for Roger, because he started it feeling weak and unprepared, due to an illness. My heart constricted when he lost the Australian Open to that A%$@!&E Djokovic, and then again at the French Open when he lost to Nadal, but I never thought he could lose in his favorite surface -- grass. So after several rain delays last night, I went to bed, thinking that since Roger evened the score at two sets apiece, he would go on to win the entire match. I was wrong though. And now I just feel shitty. worse, I couldn't hate Nadal. He's such a cutie.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Makulay... Ang Buhay...

For the past two days, I've been eager to get home, even if it meant getting stuck in horrendous traffic in EDSA during rush hour (though seems to me that lately, every hour in EDSA is a rush hour, grrr...) The reason? Coz I now get to watch my darling Roger Federer effortlessly blaze his way through Wimbledon through my brand-spanking-new LCD TV!!!!!!!! Yahoo!

Oh, the greenest green grass, those lovely yellow balls, Roger's Mister Clean white shirt!!! Suddenly, everything is much more colorful, vibrant and beautiful! You see, our old TV was already feeling its age, and the picture tube was going haywire.

You guys have to know that my family is probably one of the most backward when it comes to technology, so much so that we bought our first VHS two years after the betamax was canned. We still do most our laundry by hand (thank God though it's not me doing that), and we got our first microwave only last year (which mom only got coz it's free, thanks to her credit card points).

So, I decided to finally be technologically at par with the rest of the free world and I made a split-second decision while I was waiting for my friends in Trinoma last Sunday to buy a new TV. LCD TVs are so cheap now, very affordable. :) It's been only two days but I feel like it is the best purchase I've made in years. This is the first appliance I bought with my hard-earned money, so I feel like skipping and dancing. :) (My sisters, nephew and niece are skipping and dancing with me, by the way :))

Hehehe, yun lang, gusto ko lang i-share :)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Ode to Kung Fu (Panda)

Before, when I am asked about my favorite animated movie, I would automatically say Shrek. I love Shrek so much. He makes me happy. But now, I would like to announce that I have a new love. He's also big, but much more cuddly. He's a panda. PO.

I was able to watch Kung Fu Panda last weekend, and the movie was no doubt the best animated movie I have ever seen. The story line was refreshing, and the script (and their delivery) was beautifully written -- so funny and crackling with wit. The adorable Jack Black starts the movie off with a bit of story-telling in a dream sequence:

Po: Legend tells of a legendary warrior whose kung fu skills were the stuff of legend.It is said that his enemies would go blind from over-exposure to pure awesomeness!

Hahaha, 'awesomeness' made me laugh (so Jack Black, think Pick of Destiny), and it was a propitious omen that only more good stuff can come out of this movie.

But even the body movements, the sequence and timing of events, were so funny that several times I had tears in my eyes from laughing too hard. At the top of my head, the funniest scene I could recall is the acupuncture scene, where Tigress (played by Angelina Jolie) was talking to Po --

Tigress: This is just a big joke to you. [Po makes weird face -- tongue hanging out and eyes through the roof -- and Tigress goes to slap him with claws]
Mantis: Wait, wait, my fault! I tweaked his facial nerves! And may have also stopped his heart.

And there is so much more!!! Got this from imdb --

Po: There is no charge for awesomeness... or attractiveness.


Tai Lung: The Wuxi finger hold!

Po: Oh, you know this hold?

Tai Lung: You're bluffing. You're bluffing! Shifu didn't teach you that. Po: Nope. I figured it out.Skadoosh!


Mr. Ping: We are noodle folk. Broth runs through our veins.


Tigress: It is said that the Dragon Warrior can go for months without eating, surviving on the dew of a single ginko leaf and the energy of the universe.

Po: Then I guess my body doesn't know I'm the Dragon Warrior yet. It's gonna take a lot more than dew, and, uh, universe juice.


as Po bounces down the palace steps] Tigress: If he's smart, he won't come back up those steps.

Monkey: But he will.

Viper: He's not gonna quit is he?

Mantis: He's not gonna quit bouncing, I'll tell you that.


Tigress: You would think that Master Oogway would choose someone who knows kung fu.

Crane: Or be able to touch his toes.

Monkey:Or see his toes.



Oogway: [walking towards Po] Ah! It seems that you have found the peach tree of wisdom! Po: [Po turns around with a lot of peaches stuffed in his mouth] Oh! Is that what this is? I'm so sorry! I just thought it was a regular peach tree!


Po: I just ate... so my kung fu may not be as good as later on.

DEAR PO: I wanna hug you, and squeeze you, and call you mine.... :)

Monday, June 16, 2008

Gordon Ramsay Rocks!

Yesterday, I was able to catch 4 episodes of The US version of Kitchen Nightmares, starring (as himself) renowned and award-winning Chef and Restaurateur Gordon Ramsay. I know, I know, the first season came out last year, and I am, as they say, huli sa balita, but hey, better late than never.
I cannot cook to save my life (though my experiments in the kitchen were thankfully not total disasters [read: the people I cooked for are still alive and well]), but I do have strong opinions about what I eat, the restaurants I go to--from the menu options, to the decor of the place, down to the general atmosphere of a restaurant. I love watching cooking shows, and so far, my hands down favorite is iron chef Mario Batali. This is why, last year, I just closed my eyes to prevent myself from looking at the bill, and got out my credit card to pay for a really expensive dinner in one of Mario's restaurants in Vegas. It was such a wonderful experience that I literally had tears in my eyes after (I also tried Wolfgang Puck but my dining experience in Mario's resto was just more memorable overall).
Anyway, I never really got to watching Hell's Kitchen and so my impression of Chef Ramsay was based largely on word-of-mouth. One thing I was sure of, he's a much meaner and more brutal version of Simon Cowell, and I would not willingly subject myself to one of his honest appraisals.
So I watched Kitchen Nightmares (which I understand has an earlier UK version which is much tamer and deletes most of the scenes with profanities) and was hooked from the get-go. The concept is relatively simple: Chef Ramsay searches for struggling restaurants all over the US and tries to rescue them in one week. What follows is a melodramatic display of emotions, alternating between hapless resignation and hysterics, as owners and chefs bristle at criticisms, and resist much-needed change. Like ANTM, there are makeovers -- the decor of the resto is changed, the menus are modified, some chefs are fired -- and in the end, the resto is saved.
The show is an eye-opener for those who are in the food business. Chef Ramsay's passion for restaurants and his adherence to strict safety and hygiene measures, is admirable, and his love for food and commitment to giving customers a great dining experience resonates with simple viewers like me. Customers should always be treated right, and should always be served yummy food that comply with stringent safety and health standards. It is but our right, and the owner's concomitant duty, to get our money's worth, whether we choose to eat in a hole-in-the-wall family diner or a fine dining resto.
Chef Ramsay, you are, as Kimora (eeew) says -- fabulosity personified.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Still Team Archuleta!

So, the sad news is in, David Cook won over my boy Archie in AI. By 12 Million friggin' votes.
I actually find it amusing that I am so invested in Baby Elmo Archuleta. For the first time in years, I am a certified FAN. Not just, I like Jason Castro coz he's goofy, but I love Archie to pieces. He has always been for me the better performer, the better singer, the kid I so want to be my baby brother.

And I really, really hate David Cook. He just really rubbed me the wrong way from the get-go. Hated him even early on, with his too-tight shirts and arrogant swagger. I couldn't really see his originality, truth be told, and while he could make non-rock songs into rock (think "Billie Jean" -- which, I have to add, was not even an original arrangement of his), he just couldn't give amazing covers of the truly rock songs he had to sing on the show. Also, it just strikes me as weird that someone who professes to belong to rock genre could gamely dance and wiggle on stage like a cast member of High School Musical.
So my Archie lost. And I'm still shocked that I care this much. But my theory is, while most DC fans are at least in their 20s and already have work and therefore have loads of money to vote, and a lot of energy to call a million times, Archie fans still depend on mom and dad for allowance, and only have a few dollars to spare for voting. The older set who love Archie? Well, unfortunately, their dialing prowess is not as it used to be, and maybe could only manage 100 calls tops in 4 hours. Oh well. Hahaha. Am I bitter? Yes. But is my assessment objective? I think so.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Thank You, Alan Shore

Boston Legal has got to be my favorite law-related TV series since The Practice. I have a sneaking suspicion that I share many of David E. Kelley's political and social beliefs, which invariably makes me sympathetic to the causes defended by one of his lead fictional characters - the lawyer Alan Shore. Every episode presents an issue of particular relevance to America, but I find myself naturally interested in it just the same, due to David E. Kelley's rare ability to infuse humanity (which knows no culture or country) into each contentious topic. It also helps immensely that I have a crush on Alan Shore (though I sometimes squirm when I see him saying 'I love you' to his best friend Denny Crane, played by William Shatner, whose career was brilliantly-resurrected thanks to the show). Being myself a litigation lawyer, I thoroughly enjoy the courtroom drama, chiefly because the only drama I get to see in the courtroom is a postponement after being made to wait for two hours. Here in the Philippines, we have no opening or closing statement at the trial court level. Counsels only exchange pleadings, ad nauseam, which no doubt accounts for the ever worsening clog in the court dockets.

Anyway, I write about Alan Shore today because I just watched this episode where Alan got to argue before the US Supreme Court in defense of a client with a 70 IQ, who was scheduled to be executed through lethal injection for the non-homicidal rape of an 8 year old girl. Apparently, in Louisiana, the death penalty is permissible for child rape cases, and Alan was hired to challenge the constitutionality of the death penalty law. His speech before the US Supreme Court had me biting my nails and shaking my head in parts. But by the end of it, he had me convinced. Convinced that the man he was representing did not deserve to die. And more convinced that there is no other profession, no other job, I'd rather have, than that of a lawyer.

So thank you, Alan Shore.

I managed to download the episode through in two parts. You can watch it here, and here.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Battle of Law Schools

When I find myself with nothing to do, I surf the net aimlessly. It was through this that I came across several fora, including this one that appears to be a UP thread, which discuss the apparently burning issue - which is the best law school.

Now the word 'best' is an inherently subjective term. I can scream at the top of my lungs that Conti's has the best cake - Mango Bravo (I really love it), but someone else can just as easily scream - Sugarhouse is the best!!!! I cannot begrudge this someone for loving Sugarhouse, as in fact my mouth is already watering just thinking of a Sugarhouse cake, and, if that someone is fair, he/she should also not take it against me that I'm willing to fight for my right to love Mango Bravo. I guess this is where I want to start -- when someone from UP says that UP Law is the best law school, whether with cogent basis or not, no sane and reasonable person should take issue with the UP person's right to think that way. So too, when someone from Ateneo, San Beda, UST etc. says that their law school is the best, there should be no ad hominem attacks against the person, who was merely expressing an intensely personal opinion.

Having graduated from UP Law, I take great pride in my alma mater. I will never tire of saying, UP Law is the best, because for me, it is. It is best for me because the system suits my study habits perfectly. I love the law and everything it represents, and I love and fiercely defend my independence equally. I do not like strict rules very much -- be it on attire, schedules, exams. When exam week is nearing and the exam schedules are so close to each other, I automatically want to have one exam moved to a later day. I also have an aversion to being required to memorize. I love talking, so I enjoy the Socratic method. I love no-class days because a professor has to do something more important. I like being called to recite and being able to have the freedom to say: 'I did not read that case, ma'am.' This is why UP Law is best for me. I have a lot of friends in Ateneo Law, and I'm the first one to say, I will not be able to survive the rigors of class life there. I like my own internal rhythm and I instinctively rebel against impositions. I would not have been able to recite verbatim codal provisions, which my friends tell me is all but mandatory in Ateneo classes. I would not have been able to adjust to strict exam schedules, which again, my friends tell me, is the way it is in Ateneo. I would have probably spent the better part of my day stressing, then whining, then stressing, until I fall asleep. Because of this, I am almost sure, if I went to Ateneo, I would probably be on probation just on my first sem, first year. I guess, if I went to San Beda, the same would be true, because both schools are really really strict on academics. This is also the most plausible reason why both schools consistently produce a bigger number of bar passers in the recent years.

Having said that, I am also the first one to lament the declining rate of bar passers from UP Law. I said earlier that the UP Law system works for me. What can I say, I really wanted to become a lawyer so much that I studied hard without being asked to do so. Now, if my professor told me to memorize all codal provisions of the 1987 Constitution, my brain would have automatically shut down and the rebel in me would have said 'shove it.' But since I was not ordered to do so, I happily read the Constitution, twice, maybe ten times, and after the nth time, I could paraphrase most of the provisions. I finally got what they meant, not just what they said. That way, when I was reading jurisprudence already, I was able to understand, not only the literal meaning of the provisions as applied to the case, but also their nuances.

I have had countless discussions with my batchmates over the declining bar passing rate of UP several times over the years, especially during the time when we were about to take the Bar. We were the first ones to admit that we were not as mentally prepared for the Bar as our Ateneo/San Beda counterparts. There were gaping holes in our knowledge of the Bar subjects. I, for one, had to understand most special commercial laws on my own, because I did not take the bar review course for them. We were scared witless because, as one of my friends told me: kulang kasi tayong mga taga-UP sa pukpok, sa disiplina. If the professor is absent for the day, we do not read the assigned work, instead, we go to SM. That was the reality that we had to face: because in UP there was more freedom, more leeway to pass, some whose study habits require constant strict supervision understandably suffered. In UP, kung hindi ka talaga likas na palaaral, mahirap talagang suungin ang Bar. It is hard not to graduate from UP Law, once you're in. In stark contrast, you have to be constantly studying for your subjects in Ateneo or San Beda, because if you don't make the cut, you're out. As all law students know, you cannot rely on just natural intelligence to pass the Bar. It's not something you can 'wing' and say: bahala na si Batman. You really have to put in the hours, crack those books and highlighters open, and read read read. If you don't, you bet passing the Bar is out of your reach.

Now that I am a lawyer, and have the privilege of working with lawyers who graduated from Ateneo, San Beda and UST, I can honestly say, the law school does not define the person. Everyday, I am amazed at the intelligence and streetsmarts of my colleagues from other law schools. Mahuhusay talaga. I guess this goes to show, there can really be no objective barometer for measuring the best law school. And so we are back to our own opinions, based on our own experiences, and our personal biases. Whatever they may be, cheers to your right to have an opinion. And kudos to those who just passed the Bar. :-)

King BF

My sister, her boyfriend and I just came back from a frustratingly-short trip to Bangkok. We had a grand time searching for the cheapest clothes, bags and shoes, and wasted no time sampling the best pad thai we can find. I absolutely love Thai food, and I was happy that I could vacation in a country where the food is as cheap as here in Manila. Last time I went to Bangkok was in 2000, and I was amazed at how far and fast Thailand has progressed since then. I recall that the baht was roughly the same as the peso the last time I went, and the Bangkok roads were about the same as in Manila. So imagine how floored I was when I saw the majestic Thai airport (having just left NAIA three hours ago, where all I saw was trash everywhere) which could definitely rival other major airports in terms of size and beauty. [Sidebar: I love exploring airports, down to riding those moving flat Jamiroquai-esque escalators and being politely told to 'please watch [my] step... following a Chinese translation', onto going inside smoking rooms] Then, I was more shocked as we passed through the huge, flawless roads going to the city center. World-class talaga. I couldn't help but feel sad somehow, just thinking of my beloved PI.

Teka, my blog is about King BF, so back to that first.

Everywhere you go in Bangkok, be it to a mall, a restaurant, inside a cab, literally EVERYWHERE, you are guaranteed to see a picture, billboard, poster, of their most-revered King - Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Thais appear to love and respect their king so much, and his myriad photos all over the city attest to that. I understand that it is not mandatory for Thais to have his picture placed everywhere, but they voluntarily do it just the same [Please correct if I'm wrong].

So, my sister and I came from our vacation and passed Edsa on the way home. There, we saw huge posters of MMDA chair Bayani Fernando peppering Edsa MRT islands, as in literally, every kilometer or so. [I searched google for the exact same picture posted along EDSA but I couldn't find it] Government money was obviously used for those hundreds of posters, because they bore the pink MMDA color and an MMDA message.

Tired and sleepy from the trip, I let out a huge laugh when my sister remarked: "Eh si BF ata ang King natin eh." Then I realized her comment wasn't funny at all, but actually pretty disturbing. So I went back to sleep.

BF, please take down those posters. I want you to take them down not only because I do not see the point AT ALL in those posters, and because I have a major issue with the huge cost those must have entailed to the government. I traverse Edsa everyday, and this past week, traffic going to Makati has been especially horrible. So when I see your poster, I can't help but get mad at you. You don't want that, do you?

Boob Tube favorites

Work takes up much of my time that I can only squeeze in a precious few hours before I hit the sack for my beloved tv. Of course, I still have my weekend dose of dvd marathons, mainly of Boston Legal and House, but there are three reality shows that I just cannot miss watching, and if I do, you bet I am going to get oh-so grumpy:

1. American Idol, season 7: AI people are given to exaggeration, but I absolutely concur in the assessment that this has got to be the best season ever in terms of talent (I did not watch seasons 1 and 2 though so consider my concurrence as limited only to season 3 onwards). My favorite: David Archuleta and Jason Castro. David A. is just a real sweetheart who can, oh by the way, hit those powerful high notes and manage to look so cute and soulful in an I-want-a-little-brother-like-him kind of way. On the other hand, Jason Castro just strikes me as a genuine, honest-to-goodness artist. He may not have David A.'s or David Cook's range, but he knows what he's got and he sure knows how to make the most of it. AI always makes my Wednesday and Thursday nights. :-) [Sad that Kristy left, guess it was long overdue but I really didn't care much for Brooke's rendition of Hero last night. Guess some things are really just too little too late]

2. Project Runway: oh man oh man oh man, the latest season of PR [Christian Siriano, Rami Kashou and Jillian Lewis] is the best one yet. For most of the season, I really wanted to throttle Christian with all his insensitive comments and 'i'm-so-fabulous-and-you're-all-pathetic' mentality. Plus, I couldn't really understand all the hating against Rami, who I thought was magnificent. Sure, he drapes a lot, but he's done so many other challenges where he went out of his Grecian comfort zone and surprised the judges with his versatility [the Hershey's challenge immediately comes to mind]. Oh, Rami, please make all my gowns... but I'm afraid I can't afford you. Jillian... was alright. But the one person I loved most in the season was Chris March. Love him love him love him. No matter that he used human hair for the final runway challenge prior to Bryant Park and that Rami's collection was stronger in my opinion, I just so badly want good guys to win. Christian won and well, okay, at least he became humble in the last episode. :)

3. ANTM: I do not have the height or the body to become a model, and I guess I've always been so interested in what I cannot have. I've had this preconceived notion that models are not really smart, but I'm glad I was proven wrong by ANTM. Of course there are still the duh models, and I cannot believe all the drama in the house, the nasty are just too many to mention, but I've been very happy with the winners so far, especially Naima, Danielle and Caridee (Caridee being my hands-down favorite). They say people love to live vicariously through others, and when I'm watching ANTM, I think I know exactly what they mean. I want Tyra mail! I want stretch limo! I want makeover!!! But please, I don't want any of the banshee-like screeching, the name-calling, the granola-bar stealing (Bree vs. Nicole), or any of the other crazy stuff. My absolute favorite, Tyra blowing her top coz a contestant just pooh-poohed her elimination. Classic. I like Tyra (for the most part, and I feel bad that I take it against her that she's gained weight), but i think Heidi Klum is just divine.

So... everytime I feel bad that I have so much work, I just think to myself, it won't be long before AI. :-)


Since blogging became a world-wide phenomenon, I have been greatly interested in it. The lawyer in me balked at the thought that virtually anyone, from any place in the world, can write about anything under the sun -- harmless or damaging, socially-relevant or just plain inane -- and hide behind their anonymity. I cringed at the lack of responsibility, of moderation, of checks and balances, in blogging, that embolden otherwise cowardly people to peddle false rumors to discredit people they hate, or to just wage an all-out campaign to destroy people's reputations. Having been one of the victims of such vicious blogging, I became averse to it for a while.

Then I started reading really interesting, meaningful blogs. And I was convinced that there is still a place in the blogosphere for people who only want to memorialize their thoughts, who just want to vent after a hard day, or who merely desire a creative outlet for their burning advocacies and ideals. So here I am. A certified newbie to the world of blogging, far far away from the security of my friendster posts which only my friends can read. Hello, world! :-)