Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Ten Commandments in Answering Bar Exam Questions (By Atty. R.A. Sarmiento)

The Ten Commandments
in Answering Bar Exam Questions
by Atty. Ralph A. Sarmiento (10th placer, 1997 Bar Exams)

Thou shall not abandon your common sense.
Thou shall leave your personal biases at home.
Thou shall answer only what is being asked.
Thou shall not invent facts.
Thou shall write legibly and clearly.
Thou shall not write unduly long answers.
Thou shall not brag about your legal knowledge.
Thou shall not criticize the problem.
Thou shall always state the legal basis of your answer.
Thou shall not make an unjustified conclusion.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Cordillera Day Tree Planting at Mt. Cabuyao

We were expecting a typhoon (and I'm supposed to stand-by for disaster-rescue as part of the LGU, if ever) but still,  I reminded Dan, Aby and some friends early in the morning about what we will be doing this Cordillera Day- We will be planting trees!  

From La Trinidad, we made it to the Green Valley Junction and rode a Sto. Tomas-bound Jeepney  up to the turning point, had some coffee at a nearby store, and went walking up to the police station. After which, we rented a taxi to Kabuyao Elementary School. We're not yet late (to our surprise) so we decided to look around. This majestic view near their bathroom is truly unexpected:
There were many participants which include the organizers (Cordillera Conservation Trust), the PNP-Cordillera, the CENRO staff, a group of Mountain-trekkers, a Muslim Organization, Media People, CS/NGOs, and concerned citizens like us :) 
 After some few reminders from the organizer's Director, Mr. JP Alipio, we proceeded to the destroyed area in an attempt to restore/reforest it. ( Picture below are the famous electric fans of Sto. Tomas which are responsible for Baguio City's cool climate :) hehe )
When we got there, everyone realized that the damage is not really exaggerated. Its true; there were kilometers and kilometers of excavations where trees (more than thousands of trees, not just 761) were felled, and which caused boulders of rock to rage on the streams below. One does not need to be an environmentalist to be alarmed and be enraged. We are now witnesses to the atrocities of a Lawyer-Lawmaker-Lawbreaker who's greed must have eaten his soul.

We planted trees in the middle of the road in hopes of reforesting it.We realized that this would give us more stake or ownership of the forest or the reservation, and ultimately teach us to protect it. 
(Pic Below shows a gentleman from Sudan who is helping 'us' save 
the forest which gives us water)
(Hoping for resurrection!)
Dan (photograper), Aby, and I (all struggling bloggers except for Dan), decided to explore the reservation after the activity. We decided to go down and follow the river!

We got lost! (but that's another story). What's important is that we emerged from a 6 hour walk/climb/trek and found the main road. This day was well spent! (Baguio view from Mt. Cabuyao)
"Green is the prime color of the world, and that from which its loveliness arises." - Pedro Calderon de la Barca

(All pictures used courtesy of blogger/writer, Dan Feliciano..:)

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Year 2014

Year 2014

I’m a 2-1-4 guy (Feb.14 or 2/14). When I bet on the lottery, I always bet on these numbers. 214 or “Am I real?” (2-am, 1-I, 4-real) is one of my favorite songs. Most ID nos. that were issued to me revolved around or contained these numbers. That is why it is no surprise that I view 2014 as “my” year.

Last year, I imagined everything in my favor for the upcoming year; finish Law and take the 2014 Bar examinations, complete my masters, and take my Phd, take a good appointive position, invest on something, and perhaps, live the life I earned. The year 2014, without a question ‘should’ be ‘my’ year.

Fate, or some divine hands must have had a different opinion. To my shock, I found out that I will be a father to a sweet little boy. Although I won’t ever regret such happening, the incident complicated a lot of things –relationships, work, connections…name it. Even though I won some small battles, a string of unforeseen events made me think that I will, imminently, lose the war; a judge failed me two times in a subject which is likened to a P.E. subject of the undergrad, my masters adviser had a research at Tacloban and no adviser was available, I turned down an appointive position because I expected to take the 2014 Bar, I lost time, money, and even property in the most inconceivable and most funny way possible to my deep regret and distress. It seems that the coming 2014, or its anticipation, is a curse to me.

Maybe it’s that clutter that made me stop for awhile in my teaching job, and to plea for a ‘roving’ schedule in my community service position. Although I have remedied most of my troubles, the 2014 timeline I spoke of and expected was delayed. For weeks I stayed at home and have gotten myself consistently drunk to forget the stress and depression of it all. I was a mess. A failure.

Then one morning, Vash, my little boy, crawled to me and looked at me with pleading eyes. In that moment, I understood what he meant; In all the years I had, I maintained the moonlight bandit that I am, the selfish prick who disregarded emotions after emotions, and the egoistic gunslinger who’d put his fun first before obvious priorities. I realized that 2014 is not really for me, but for others…most especially my boy.

Maybe that is the plan, the purpose of this surprising chaos: so I can spend my 2014 days baby-sitting. A year to be spent playing with him, feeding him, changing his diapers, and rushing to bath him on lazy mornings. Maybe all those things happened because this year is supposed to be a time for me to watch him do his own battles - his first crawl, first words, first steps...

Maybe I really owe this year to him, because maybe, it is  ‘his’ year and not mine.