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in a mile you'll be feeling fine








In celebration of my iPod Classic's 10th birthday, I share with you a song I first heard in 2006. Ten years later and it still gets me going. Like an anthem that pushes me to work even in the middle of the night, like a comrade that pulls me out of bed in the morning.


man, she saves me
'til this day I don't know why
she picked me up
when I was down on the road
with the wind when it blowed



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Everyday is a Sunday Evening


Tomorrow, school officially starts again. And for obvious reasons, I've been feeling sentimental these last couple of days. I spent the better part of last week holed up in my grandparents' house in Batangas, poring over old photo albums and yearbooks, reading old books, and binge-watching former favorite TV shows. That, of course, includes a marathon of One Tree Hill.

I always kid myself that One Tree Hill is my "the one that got away." The show I wish I didn't have to let go of. It was such a monumental part of my adolescent life (I mean, have you seen this blog's archives?! And wait 'til you see my iPod playlists!) and I'd like to think a good portion of who I am now is pretty much an effect of a lot that I took away from that show. Before it became all-out soap-y and campy in its latter seasons (which I no longer watched), OTH was a laid-back show that had quite a bit of petty drama, but always with high stakes. And for a 15-year-old with raging hormones, it didn't matter that they were just fighting about boys and basketball; the drama meant something to me. (The music too.) It all meant a lot, even though in the grander scheme of things, it actually meant so little.




I guess a part of me wanted to binge-watch OTH again because I wanted to remember what it felt like to watch that show as a young teenager with nary a sense of what the world was like. Sure, at the height of the show's popularity (and my addiction to it), I thought I could relate to the characters' drama - graduation and senioritis, worrying about what college to go to, dreading the thought of missing your friends. Falling in love.

But watching parts of Season 3 and 4 again over the last few days made me realize how — despite my repeated viewings of each episode back in high school — I never really got it. Or rather, I got it much differently than I should have. It's only now that I'm seeing so much more of what each character was going through. And it's only at this time in my life, when I'm almost eight years removed from high school, that I'm realizing how much wisdom there is to be found in that show.

I'm particularly fond of one episode in Season 3, "Everyday is a Sunday Evening." I remember having a copy of it burned on a DVD and playing it every chance I get on whatever player there is in our house or in my grandparent's house. I was super obsessed with it because it was an episode that had Nathan as the central character (as opposed to the lead, Lucas), evidenced by his voice-over from the beginning and the end. Obviously, anything #NathanScott and #Naley will always top my book, but this one was just really special. Its central conflict was about his determination to bring the Tree Hill Ravens to the State Championship. But there were so many other elements of that episode that I feel pretty much encapsulated why it held so true — and even more so, actually, at present. I watched it again and felt the same kind of affection for it, but also a new-found sense of awe that it still had layers I could only have understood now, at 24, when I'm about to leave law school and start my life for real.


THIS. Basically sums up my feelings right now.


I'm still not in the same position as the characters in the show. I still don't know much about basketball; I'm not about to carry my entire team on my shoulders for a championship; I'm not a married high school senior; I don't have effed up parents who are rarely at home nor do I have psycho stalkers.

But I have been through something incredibly life-changing in the last few months and years. I've experienced heartbreak, I've dealt with grief. I've lost something I never thought I'd ever have; I've re-gained something I never thought I can be without.

What I do share with the characters right now is that feeling of overwhelming exhilaration to the point of dread. I am suddenly so keenly aware of how much I am at the tip of the roller coaster, the edge of the precipice. I'm so close to the top, but also so near to the big drop.

There's this line in this particular episode, where Peyton says:

"You know that feeling you get on a Sunday where you just have the whole day to yourself, and it's been great, and then you remember you have to go to school the next day, so it ruins the rest of the night? I have to go home tomorrow, and so I've got that feeling. It's like Sunday night."

It's exactly how I'm feeling right now. Literally, because it's a Sunday, and figuratively, because this entire semester is like the metaphorical Sunday of the rest of my life. Law school is the easy part, actually. Monday means the future, everything that lies ahead. Do I feel afraid? Do I feel excited? How do I label both?

OTH doesn't give me the answers — as does life, no matter how much I ask myself this — but there is comfort in knowing that there probably isn't one at the moment, and that I am not alone in feeling confused. It's okay to feel both thrilled and worried at the same time. It's normal to be anxious at what lies ahead but still look forward to it, even though you have no control of your future. Just the thought of what lies ahead is scary, but also thrilling. Oddly enough, it's precisely this ambivalence that I find relief in. That there are others who probably feel the same way, it makes me feel more normal, less lonely.

Less adrift, less lost.

And sometimes that's all we need. Even if it's comfort from a TV show. As long as it keeps you going, right?



God, I love this show.


(Man, all these years, and this show can still give me feels!)



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Lightning strikes every time she moves


The OCJ JARIP Interns with Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes P.A. Sereno


Didn't think I'd ever actually appropriate a Calvin Harris/Rhianna song to my feelings about my two-month stint at the Office of the Chief Justice. But, well, there you go. When you work for her, you can't help but feel that this person is so influential and so certain in her resolve that there's no way you can look away. You just have to watch her move, because she's amazing. And when you do, she looks right back: calling you out, guiding you, making you feel like you're really doing something for the country.

It was such an honor to have worked under the guidance of this brilliant, inspiring, and dedicated public servant. Thank you for opening our eyes to the importance of judicial reform and service, Chief. In a country full of uncertainties, you remain a guiding light, a driving force. :)


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A glimpse of the SC Justice Zone Project




The Angeles City Hall of Justice, one of the pilot eCourts for the Justice Zone Project of the Supreme Court. This HOJ is fully automated, from filing, raffle, docketing, hearing, to issuance of orders. It also has complete facilities for all judges, clerks of court, prosecutors, PAO, PPA, and other offices involved in the administration of justice. Aside from that it houses the back-up data center of all existing eCourt data in the region so far. Right now, each branch here only has around 200-300 cases (down from an estimate of 1,300 before the automation) and has improved significantly in terms of efficiency in the adjudication of cases.

Hopefully, by 2019, the other courts in the project will be fully renovated and automated as well, including NCR, Region IV-A and Region VII.

Yay, progress! :) #JudicialReform #JusticeZone


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#DalagaNa: My First Beauty Post, because why not?


Hello to everyone who missed me! My blog was down for about three weeks because my domain expired and I completely forgot about it. I was so lost because I just didn't have the time to figure things out due to my internship, but thanks to the help of my good friend, Adrian, I have it back up again! So yep, this blog is still alive. And I'm still alive. Busy, but having quite a grand time!

This week, I missed work to spend a long-awaited vacation with my family to Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. I wanted my first post back from the unintended hiatus to be about the trip, but we just got home today and I'm still in the middle of sorting out all the photos - they're quite a lot! Not to mention, I also have some deliverables from work that I still have to accomplish, so that SG/KL post might take a while. But in the interest of updating this thing again, and writing while I do have the time, here's a little something different.

My ask box has been quite ~dead~ lately, but there are a few questions that keep getting asked time and time again. Just last week, when I opened my account after ages, I saw several make-up related queries, one of which I already answered. But a few hours later, I received other questions on it again. So due to insistent - err, can one person be considered "public"? - demand, I've decided to write about something I've never done before in this blog: beauty!






That's right. Finally, at 24, I've reached a point where I kinda know stuff! :)) Some time in the last four years of law school, my small group of girl friends took great interest in watching make-up tutorials and reviews on YouTube during our break time. For me, it started out as just listening to them in the background to keep myself awake while studying. But then it turned into genuine curiosity. I ended up following IG accounts, discovering and finding blogger make-up friends, and always checking out make-up counters. Suddenly, I was discovering the joys of playing with my face. My ordinary wash-tone-moisturize-step-out-the-door routine just didn't cut it anymore.

I slowly started building my collection - not big, but just decent enough to get me through different days and different moods. And you know what? I'm actually quite pleased! I've now gone through enough BB creams, eyeshadows, lipsticks, etc to finally say that I have my "staples" and "holy grails." #NAKS. Not that I'm an expert in any way, or anything. But I do get a few compliments on my make-up every now and then, and it's so thrilling, especially because it's something I NEVER imagined myself dabbling into. Random comments from Titas are the best! Haha! (Also compliments from the Boyfriend, but that's always a given :P )


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So how do I start this? I actually have no idea, but I'm diving into it the same way I dove into the world of cosmetics: Bahala na! Please just indulge me as I write this. #DalagaNa!

Here's the question that got me thinking about writing a beauty entry:

"What is your daily skincare and makeup routine?"

And after I answered that here, it came with a follow-up:

"So does the BB cream already serve as your moisturizer? Or do you still tone and moisturize before? I'm so overwhemled by all the products I read online and I just want a simple, hassle-free routine for everyday where I don't have to put on too much and feel cakey all throughout haha. I just saw that you post some makeup related stuff every now and then and thought it wouldn't hurt to ask hahaha sorry for bothering you with these MU questions!"

First off: whoever you are, Anon, whether or not my answers help you out, I owe you a great amount of thanks for finally convincing me to write about this stuff! It's always been at the back of my mind, something to try for trying's sake. But I never had the reason (or excuse!) to do so. Until now! If this becomes a thing I enjoy, it's all your fault! Hahaha ;) Anyway, I'll be expanding on the answer I first gave on my Ask.fm, and then incorporate the answer to the newer question.


SKINCARE




From pre-adolescence to my teenage years, and even through my 20s, I've had a very simple, no-fuss habit when it comes to my face: cleanse-tone-moisturize. And it's still pretty much the same up to this day, except that I finally changed brands just a few years ago. Yep, since I hit puberty until I was about 22, I was still using Clean and Clear! Bagets! But I made the switch when I realized I needed something more appropriate for my age. So now, I'm using Neutrogena across the board - facial wash, toner, and moisturizer or cream. I'm currently using two ranges, alternating between them depending on whether I'm in Paranaque or in QC. Right now, at home, I'm using the Neutrogena Daily Pore Cleanser line. In my dorm, however, I have their Fine Fairness toner and night cream.

Just recently, I've added something new to my ritual: serum. My dad went to Korea a few months ago for work, and as pasalubong, I asked for a ton of skincare stuff (!!!) - one of them being this Innisfree White C Double Serum. It's super lightweight and smells amazing! I put it on before I apply my moisturizer. Ever since I incorporated it into my routine, I've noticed my face appears brighter and a bit more glowing. Lol, or baka ako lang yun kasi placebo effect! HAHA.

Another important step I've recently added to my nightly habit is removing my make-up. I used to not wear make-up to school, with the exception of eyeliner and lipstick. (Ah those were the days! I miss being able to get away with not wearing concealer! #FYouEyebags) But now that I do put a number of products on my face, it's incredibly essential to make sure that the slate is wiped clean every night. I use Bifesta Micellar Cleansing Water (not in photo), which is gentle on the skin and feels like water. It works wonders because it can easily remove even the most waterproof of all my eyeliners and mascaras, and the mattest-of-matte among all my lipsticks. One pump of product is enough, so a bottle lasts long - although I often use two pumps just to make sure that nothing gets left behind.


MAKE-UP



As for my make-up, it really is nothing impressive :)) I can't contour (yet - LOL, sadly. Not for lack of trying!) and I don't use blush, but I experiment with a number of eyeshadow palettes, eyeliners, and lipsticks.  In the last year or so, I've managed to put together a solid "team" of go-to products for day-to-day use. Some products I've had to let go because I was left unsatisfied, and others, I still use as an alternative to these.

These are the products I brought with me to SG & KL, and with the exception of a few, this kit basically makes up my default everyday look. 

BASE. I never thought I'd ever get to use the term "Holy Grail" for anything other than the cupeth from which the Lord sipeth but look how the tides turn! I've found it in Biore UV Aqua Rich BB 3D Effect with SPF 50++  which I use as my primer, BB cream, sunblock, and base. For the longest time, I've been trying to find a sunblock that is both high in SPF and lightweight, which seemed mutually exclusive - until I found this at Watson's. It doesn't feel sticky and does not leave me oily at all; it also doesn't leave a white cast on my skin as it appears very natural after just a few minutes of applying. It also helps my make-up last longer and the color of my eyeshadows pop. Not to mention, it's quite affordable too. Does what I need it to do, and more? Check. Doesn't break the bank? Check. HO. LY. GRAIL. And holy guacamole! :)

CONCEALER. I brought with me the Innisfree Mineral Stick Concealer in Light Beige, which is part of Papa's Korea loot. It used to cake on me even after putting foundation / pressed powder on top of it but I discovered the key to making it work: not using moisturizer. I just apply the sunblock right after washing my face, without using toner and cream after. The "dry" effect keeps this concealer in place - and it lasts all day! Even under the sweltering heat or humidity. But for other times, when I feel like wearing moisturizer before heading out, I use a different concealer: Wet 'N Wild concealer wand in 12A. It lasts a whole day at work or in school too, and before I figured out the Innisfree concealer, this pretty much did the job for me.

FOUNDATION. Pwede bang dalawa yung Holy Grail?!? I don't know how I ever lived without this product! I thought foundations are just something I didn't "get" and couldn't figure out, because they always left me looking oily. Sabi nila, "dewy" naman daw yung uso but nope, it really just looks greasy on me! :)) I never liked using foundations before - yun pala, I've just been using the wrong ones. (Looking at you, liquid and cream foundations.) So thank heavens for the Mary Kay Sheer Mineral Powder, which is not only perfect for the matte look that I very much prefer, it also helped even out my skin tone. I generally have good skin (I never had acne) but sometimes when I try out a new foundation, I'd be left with a slight breakout. I did not have a problem with this one at all. And the best thing about it? It survives a whole day of anything - from Manila commute, Kuala Lumpur cave trek, to an entire night of dancing! I swear, I never look hulas when I have this on my face! If you want to be forever #Fresh, this is the foundation for you. :))

EYEBROWS. Drugstore brands are da bomb. For my eyebrows, I use Nichido Tinted Brow Gel in Brunette. I have naturally full, bushy brows, so I super embrace the thick-eyebrow trend. But I also can't stand having mine look unnaturally dark. I don't like them bordering on black and looking super square, fake, and Frida Kahlo-ish. So I use a slightly lighter color for mine, and the brunette shade of Nichido is just the right amount I need to keep the look a bit polished but still natural. On some days, when I don't want to look too made up, I use The FaceShop Design My Eyebrow in 02 (Dark Brown). Corollary: I get my eyebrows threaded at LayBare every three weeks or so. 

EYELINER. Eyeliner is the first make-up product that I started using for my day-to-day life. I've been lining my waterline ever since high school, and I haven't looked back since. I cannot leave home without eyeliner, ever. I can walk out the door with no lipstick, no eyebrow mascara, no foundation, kahit pa moisturizer! But you can't make me step out without eyeliner under my eyes :)) Because of this, I have a ton of them at my disposal. Anything that works well and lasts all day is fine by me, and I actually have no preferred product. As long as it comes in black or dark brown, and it covers my waterline well, I'm good. For this trip, I used MiniSo Silverproof Permanent Waterproof Eyeliner in Black

EYESHADOW. This is my newest "addiction." It was only recently that I started learning how to put on eye make-up. Thanks to dozens of YouTube videos and my favorite make-up vloggers (Chloe Morello, Lisa Edridge, and Sarah Butler, just to name a few), I've finally unlocked this achievement. I prefer using palettes for their versatility, although I've only experimented thus far on neutral ones. Right now, I have several palettes at my disposal: L'Oreal Color Riche La Palette in Nude Rose (which consists of mostly pinks and browns), and Maybelline The Nudes Palette (browns and grays). And right before our flight back home to Manila, I was able to buy (on sale!) the Maybelline Blushed Nudes Palette, which is the rosier version (kinda like the Naked 3 to The Nudes' Naked 1). I've loved playing with all my palettes so far, but I've yet to mix them with each other! Maybe I should, the next time I go out. 

LIPSTICK. The one on the photo is Maybelline Color Sensational Creamy Matte in Touch of Spice, which is just about the perfect shade of nude, brown, and burgundy. I love that it stays on for hours on end, even after heavy meals and drinks. It's the best matte I have right now. But I also bought with me other lipsticks for the trip not pictured above: MAC Brick-O-La and MAC Craving, both of which were my first tubes of MAC :)


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WHEW! Well that was quite an entry! Quite a lengthy post for someone who claims she doesn't know a lot about cosmetics, eh :)) Dear Anon, just like you I still feel overwhelmed with all the products I come across on the Internet and on beauty counters. But I just keep trying, reading, watching vids, and finding out what I think works for me. Learning never stops, apparently, even for make-up! :))

Okay, I should wrap this up. That's too much beauty talk for the day. Will I be writing regular make-up reviews soon? Is this going to be a beauty blog now? Safe to say, no, at this point! So you can all heave a sigh of relief because this blog is going to remain pretty much the same! Hahaha! 

But now that this is out there, I can't say I won't be doing this ever again though. Let's seeeee! Masaya pala kasi mag-dalaga ;) 

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The Adventures of Supreme Court Girl



A few months ago, I was accepted as one of the interns for the Judicial Administration and Reform Internship Program under the Office of the Chief Justice in the Supreme Court. There are seven of us in the program, with six of us coming from UP and one from San Beda. We work directly under the Chief Justice, and are tasked primarily with judicial & legal reform through policy-making and general management on court administration.

We started just last Monday, but already we feel like we've been working here for a month, considering the amount of tasks we've accomplished and the deliverables we have to submit. We have so much on our plate! But that's not necessarily a bad thing: it just means that there is work being done. There are a lot of programs, policies, and other plans currently in motion - meaning there are definitely improvements being made in the Supreme Court, and effectively, in the Judiciary.

For instance, just last Thursday, June 9, we went to the Justice Sector Coordinating Council's Principals' Meeting, held at the Manila Pavilion Hotel. It was attended by various government agencies in the justice sector, headed by the three principals, the Supreme Court, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG). All the offices under these three principals were present and represented too, including delegates from the Judiciary (such as judges from trial courts), the police force (PNP), the BJMP and BuCor, and the prosecutors. The JSCC was organized to serve as a joint forum for dialogue on issues and initiatives among justice sector institutions.


The OCJ JARIP Interns (minus Ger) with Atty. Jo Ann at the JSCC Meeting


Our primary task for that day was to work as the secretariat, preparing the presentations and the resolutions that will be reported by key figures before the JSCC principals and members. We had to keep track of a lot of events, update ourselves with the status of ongoing projects, and familiarize ourselves with different people, to keep the program afloat. You could say we were like baby animals thrown into the wild and had to fend for ourselves right away. But it was a great experience. For one, the entire thing made the Supreme Court and the Judiciary three-dimensional for me. Whereas in school, it was merely a body that writes decisions and decides on jurisprudence, now, it has become this living, breathing organism that functions thanks to the continuous work of many smaller parts. The SC is not just a branch of government - it is an office. It has responsibilities, both administrative and judicial in nature. It is the foundation on which the framework of the entire justice system works.


Taking a break from doing secretariat work (We wolfed down our lunch!)


Our calendars are packed until the end of July. Some of us are going to Baguio for a small claims seminar; others have already attended ASEAN and DFA meetings or jail decongestion projects. I myself am tasked to go to Palawan this week in preparation for an ASEAN Chief Justice meeting. We are also set to attend an MBA lecture, and to organize a compendium of justice zones. It's a lot to have on one's plate, but it's exciting. Much of our job is not just doing research on jurisprudence but also conducting studies and collating data on the field. What I like so far about the program is that we are thrust right into the middle of all the action. There is no room for spoon-feeding, no time for baby steps. We have to learn the ropes right away, because these projects and reforms are not going to slow down for us. There are so many things happening; it can be pretty overwhelming, considering we've only been working officially for six days (as of this writing). But it's also satisfying when you finally realize how much you can contribute to the improvement of the sector.


Last Friday's lunch with other UP interns in the SC


I think my biggest takeaway from all this, so far, is that I'm happy to have found something I would love to do as a lawyer one day. I've always had this nagging feeling inside me that I cannot envision a lifetime of litigation - I don't see myself being satisfied by going down the traditional path of lawyering. That may be the case for almost all of my peers, but I think it is not for me. I also cannot see myself ever running for public office and becoming a politician, which is also something some of my batchmates are sure to pursue. For the most part of law school, my difficulties have stemmed from the fact that I am a very non-adversarial person. I don't like disputes; I want solutions rather than conflict. I'm a team player; I don't like arguing and winning for the sake of arguing and winning. Which isn't exactly the most ideal of traits when one wants to pursue litigation (or public office). I've had these feelings affirmed after our internship in OLA as well. Much as I enjoyed helping out our clients, I felt like it was too limiting and too constrained for me. It was also too stifling, having the lives of a particular few in my hands. The intention to help was there, but my heart was not in it.

Hence, my inclination to now work for the government. Last semester, my internship at the OGCC proved to be a good experience. And now this. I realized I can function more knowing that I am getting something done to help fix the system. There are always things being done, and problems slowly being solved. I want to be part of that solution.

Don't get me wrong, I am not closing my doors on any opportunities that may come my way in the days and months and years to come. Lawyering, after all, is a profession that seeps in almost all industries and all sectors. Who knows, I may still change my mind before or after graduation (or the Bar). But as it is, I am liking what I see, and I am enjoying this kind of work. There is so much to do, but also so much to learn, and so much to contribute.

Para sa bayan. :))


Happy 115th Anniversary, Supreme Court!
OCJ Interns at the Anniversary Festivities last June 10

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Atty. Jennifer Walters, She-Hulk




Taking a break from reviewing for SPIT (Special Problems in Taxation); currently reading an issue of She-Hulk from the 2014-2015 run.

Because I need to remind myself that I want to be a lawyer.

Jennifer Walters is most definitely my favorite Marvel comic character, in large part because of her profession, but also because I feel like I identify most with her personality. She just does her job, and she does it well. She's a bit kooky, and different, but she gets things done. That's the kinda girl I wanna be.

The Civil War issue, while different in the comics from the movies, is ripe with legal implications and consequences. She was an active #TeamIronMan member in the comics; in fact there was a significant part where she and Tony were discussing the ramifications of the divide. For that reason alone, I kinda wished She-Hulk was in the movies, just so I can see how her knowledge of the law will apply (and if it will be the same as my arguments haha). But I'm really interested in the cases she handles in the Marvel comics, just because it has the right amount of realism, despite the presence of superheroes and super villains. The dialogue is not so alienating for people who do not study the law, but for those who do, the small easter eggs are priceless.

Man, if only may superhero law lang na field talaga! I would definitely sign up as an apprentice for She-Hulk's firm!

(Okay, back to studying.)


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A Secret Garden: Portia Ball 2016




This year marks my 3rd and final Portia Ball as a resident sister. While I'm still not incredibly nostalgic as I still have one semester to go before finally leaving UP, I also cannot help feeling bittersweet. After all, this semester is pivotal for us seniors. Most of my batchmates and friends are graduating already, and are bound to prepare for the Bar. While I'll still be seeing some of them in the library or in the Portia room as they review, it won't be the same. It's kind of like a preface to the end of an era.


With my lovely Block D2016 Portians:
Therese, Kat, Chrissa, and Des


Some of my greatest memories in law school are because of Portia, and I've found the greatest friends in my fellow Portians. It's true what they say that you don't need a sorority (or a fraternity) to survive law school. And I can still attest to that. But there are so many opportunities I would have missed, so many people I would not have gotten the chance to know if I never joined. Becoming a sis has enriched my life in many ways - and made the amount of suffering weigh far less than the joys and triumphs.

(Okay, end drama!!!)

We had LP Divine as our guest speaker; she is currently a partner at CMT Law and is one of our closest alumnae, thanks to our constant interactions with her on Facebook. Aside from her though, we were also graced with the presence of other distinguished alumnae: LP Susan Villanueva, also a partner of CMT Law (and my Intellectual Property professor last semester! One of the most brilliant profs I've had!), LP Jannet Regalado of Pilipinas Shell (who is coincidentally, the mom of one of our new baby sisses to be inducted that night, Anna), and Sis Jude Botor-Jaranilla, officer of the UP Portia Alumnae Association. I discovered early in my residence that one of the best things about our sorority is the alumnae's strong relations with all the sisses - they never made us feel like we're *just* students, or that they're very much our seniors. We truly feel like we're talking to family every time we encounter them. I can honestly say that a real, genuine friendship is there, and it's not out of obligation. Every time I come across a sis, whether on Facebook or in person, in corporate settings or in courts, in the private sector or in the government, I always feel at ease. In a field full of competitive, aggressive, often unkind people, it is so comforting to know that there are people who have your back no matter what.


The resident Portians and alumnae sisters


Fun moment of the night: when I introduced Louie to our LPs - separately - they had the exact same reaction! "Ohhh, I've read about you!" - referring to the Inquirer article I wrote about him for his birthday a year ago. Then they proceeded to tell us how much they liked it, how kilig they were, how they shared it to other people, etc, etc. Nakakatawa na nakakakilig! A part of me wanted the floor to swallow me up for putting my affections out there for all the world to see - and refer to, every chance they get! But then again, what is love if it's not worth writing about? Ha ha hahaha. Haba na naman ng hair ni Louie that night, in fairness :)))

We held our 83rd ball at the Hanging Gardens Events Place in Fairview. The place was breath-taking, especially thanks to the beautiful plants and flowers that adorned its walls! Very much in line with this year's theme for Portia Week, "Bloom." There's always something particularly resplendent about being surrounded with nature. I suppose, it's because nature, much like art, provides just as much healing as it does enjoyment (as I've written in our Lit Folio's foreword, btw!) - so much so that it makes anyone and anything it is surrounded with feel so alive.




And now for the photo dump! I brought with me my Re but the decent shots were taken from either my phone or Louie's. Some others were grabbed from pictures tagged in Facebook. (I'll be updating this ones the official pictures arrive!):



Caption this: 
(a) Feeling like a Disney Princess, 
(b) Feeling like a Star Magic Artista, 
(c) Feeling like a #kakaibabe, 
(d) All of the above.


With my future bar buddy, Desiree! Love u gurl


With our dates! Me and Louie, Therese and Jio, and Des and Paulo


Our new Lady President, LP Joah! Aka my fellow JaDine / OTWOL fangirl!
LP siya ng Portia, ako LP ng JaDine Portia Chapter :P



D2016 represent!
Therese, Des, Chrissa, Enrico (who came as Kat's date), Kat, Miss Congeniality Celine, and me


Fellow Philippine Law Register editors: Apo and Marin!
Co-incidentally, fellow DECL loves who lost a lot of memories in the FC fire huhuhu
(Technically, Apo is from Journ, but she took a lot of CW and CL electives)


Best EVP and LP! Apo and LP Joydee


The greatest people you will ever meet -- and the worst
:))


Shout-out again to this guy who has been my date for three Portia Balls already! This month, we celebrate 3 years since our first date :) :3 I'm inclined to write something sentimental here but I think that Inquirer article is enough cheese to last a lifetime! Anyway, he knows how much I appreciate him. So grateful I get to bring this super gwapo guy to nights like this!





And as a parting shot, just like last year, the Portia Seniors of 2016. Not complete in this photo though! You can see we're still attempting to call everyone in! Hahaha!


This is us at our most normal: some always ready, some ngarag, but always, always happy.



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By the way, I forgot to share with you guys my "baby" this year for Portia Week. I was tasked to head the Portia Literary Folio, which is a yearly compendium of art, fiction, and poetry from students in and out of the College of Law. It was launched last Thursday, April 29, at the Poetic Sojourn, our version of open-mic and spoken-poetry night.

My main driving force in producing this year's Lit Folio was the idea of reconsructing and rebuilding - in line with what we've lost in the Faculty Center fire last month. We wanted to encourage people that in art, there is healing, and in healing, there is creation. Such is life, and such is art.

I extend my deepest gratitude to all our contributors who contributed and shared their art with us, for us to feature both in print and online. And most of all, I thank my great team, composed of Lesly, Isa, Therese, CJ, Mer, and Justine, without whom the folio would not have been a success. My love to all of you! ♥

Feel free to share the link to the online version of our Folio! (But please give credit where it is due! So that you don't end up violating IP laws :P )


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We also launched our official website, UPPortiaSorority.com, last weekend! FINALLY! I wrote a significant amount of articles there, some of which were also used in the exhibits we've featured in our college. I'm so proud of our Pub Team! Finally!

Know more about us at www.upportiasorority.com :)



Happy 83rd anniversary, sisses! I love Portia! #PortianAndProud ♥



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UP Law tops 2015 bar




For 2015, UP Law once again dominates the bar examinations! Not only did we top the bar, we also clinched the 3rd, 6th, and 9th spots!

More importantly, UP was the best performing law school in the bar exams this year, with an 89.9% overall passing rate (and an astounding 90% passing rate for first time takers). Truly a remarkable showing! I am so, so proud of all our bar passers, especially considering the reduced amount of time for their review thanks to the academic calendar shift. Through the seemingly insurmountable odds! How inspiring! Indeed, performing the only way we know how - in the grand manner.

#UPFight

Our sis, Giselle Hernandez, placed 6th and we couldn't be any prouder! We are actually not surprised - she has consistently performed well in her studies, and has been such a force to be reckoned with in our sorority's acad committee. No doubt, she was our bar bet! Super, super happy for her, especially because she's one of the nicest, funniest, and most deserving persons I know. 

We also have 23 sisses who passed this year! Doing the BarOps is always the most challenging part of the first semester, but seeing our sisters triumph is in itself the biggest, most satisfying reward. There is no greater feeling than knowing a sis you helped out is now reaping the rewards of her hard work and dedication. This year was particularly a daunting task since we had more sisses taking the bar compared to last year. But we did it, and all our efforts paid off! What a way to cap off our Portia Week. #PortianAndProud!

Congratulations to all the new lawyers! Your achievement is just as much yours as it is the country's. I hope you all use your new titles for the service of the people and of those most in need. You all inspire the rest of us. Kudos! 

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Cry, Heart, But Never Break




I've been avoiding it for the longest time, but alas, this time of the year has come. It's a few days away from the 23rd. And that means it has been a year without you, Tita Gina.

Is it fitting that I woke up today with news of another person's loss? Today I found out that a writer I admired so much, Luis Katigbak, had passed. And this week, another legend in the English department died too, my Shakespeare professor, Dr. Wilhelmina Ramas. Oh, and to make April even more somber than it already is, the Faculty Center was reduced to ashes the first day of this month.

Slowly and surely, the universe has found a way to claim so many things I hold dear. Isn't April the time for spring?

Last night, as if on cue, Twitter reminded me of an article on BrainPickings about a children's storybook on death. It was "Cry, Heart, But Never Break" by Danish author Glenn Ringtved and illustrator Charlotte Pardi. It's a contemplative tale about four children whose grandmother is terribly ill - and Death has come to claim her. And so they devise a way to keep Death busy all through the night until dawn breaks, that way when morning comes, he'd have to leave without her.
What makes the book particularly touching though is how broken Death himself was the entire time. Despite being all clothed in black, he embodied neither fright nor anger - just dispiritedness - as if he too is overcome with sorrow and resignation with his mission.

Is Death a friend? This is a concept so hard to grasp, especially for the grieving. Death is not kind, I thought, especially when it happens at the most opportune time to the most undeserving fellows. I remember thinking to myself while holding your hand, as the chemo was being administered to you, how can dying be so painful? How can it be so cruel, so terribly upsetting?

There is so much life left to be lived. This has always been my regret. That there is still so much out there to be said, felt, touched; there is much love to be shared. Songs to be sung. Rides to be ridden. Buildings to be designed. By you. All by you.

I could have been any one of the children in the story, tirelessly pouring coffee for Death just to delay the inevitable. Anythling to keep him up, anything to skirt my way around what he was supposed to do. I kept sending you positive messages on Viber. I was searching for survival stories of cancer on Google. I was watching videos of The Stylistics on YouTube and thinking we'd be able to sing those again. That was when I met an acquaintance, someone that lingered when Death was around.
Denial, that's his name. He sat with me at the bench in your hospital room. He helped me review for Corpo midterms the entire time I was on "duty,” making me un-hear the unspoken between the lines of what the doctors and nurses said. It was him who made me hold on to the idea of life winning over death.

But it was also him that made me unable to let things go. Denial made certain body parts ache in the middle of the night, thinking that you'd still be a Viber phone call away. Denial smoked cigarettes somewhere and made me take a whiff of it, reminding me of your nicotine breakfasts. Denial made me not want to think about going back to Singapore. He stopped making me wear the last few MAC lipsticks you bought me. He even made me stop listening to The Stylistics and Dionne Warwick.

I didn't see you die in person. I didn't have to, though, to feel the weight on all my senses. You know how sometimes, when your laptop's battery is almost empty, the screen grows dimmer to conserve battery? That's how everything seemed. Still the same, but a tinge darker. Grayer. Of course I could go back to normal, of course to the outside world I was working just fine. But there are things only the night and I would know; just like the stories only you and I shared at midnight.

Maybe Denial is a worse friend than Death. Death was kind enough, at least, to let you go in tranquility. Denial, at some point, made me want to choose you being in pain than you at peace but gone. But it wasn't Death that was causing you all those aches then, was it? It was life. And the many loves lost and gained along the way.
Sigh, Tita Gina, how to make sense of your loss? Is it a disservice to your memory to try? Or to just let it go? I don't know what is the better way to honor you: to weep quietly even in well-lit rooms on sunny afternoons, or to swallow tears as I go shopping for new shoes. A year later and still no answers.

But this I know: perhaps in the gaps between each sentence strung, or in the spaces filled in new shoes worn, there I'll find you. In blueprints, in song verses, in every slice of Conti's bananalicious pie, I'll hear your faint hellos. And when things are most difficult, I'll remember the look on Death's face - the Death on the children's book story I've been reading - and find small comfort in knowing that he was a friend to you. A better friend to you than I, or us, or life will ever be. Because Death has taken you away; but it has taken all your pains away too.

A year is not enough to grieve. But it's enough time to experience an infinite number of resurrections from within. Each sad moment forces me to bring life to a sense of hope, a new spring. A sense of wonder. That maybe tomorrow will be better, that maybe flowers can still bloom even, and especially after, the longest, coldest nights. And if they don’t? Then it's okay too. Death doesn't come for the grieving; he comes for those whose lives he already deems well-lived. And what a life you've lived indeed.






The curtains were blowing in the gentle morning breeze. Looking at the children, Death said quietly, “Cry, Heart, but never break. Let your tears of grief and sadness help begin new life.”

Then he was gone.



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