Barred on Taft Avenue

It is four in the morning and I just got home from a rare night out with friends. On my way home, I passed by Taft Avenue in front of De La Salle University Manila and was amazed at the level of preparations underway for the last leg of the bar exams. I know that the so-called bar ops has become one of the hallowed traditions of the bar exams but I never realized until now just how seriously these people take that tradition.

When I passed by Taft Avenue, they were already setting up the tents along the sidewalks and some tents were already abuzz with activity. In fact, as a fitting portent of things to come, some were already drinking beer - at 4 am; perhaps they just came from a long night out and decided to cap the night with more beer at the site of the bar ops.

Anyway, those of you who are going somewhere near Manila today, skip Taft Avenue between Quirino and Vito Cruz unless you have lotsa time on your hands to spend getting stuck in traffic.

Well, one of the very earliest posts I made in this blog was about last year's bar exams and I thought it was opportune to rehash the post given the possibility that the same thing will actually happen today.

This post was dated September 25, 2005

The Bar Exams On Taft Avenue

I got down from the LRT Station on Vito Cruz Avenue last Sunday to witness an orgy right smack on Taft Avenue. No, it wasnt the sexual type, although it very well could have been, or should have been. There were wet bodies all right. There were gyrating people on makeshift stages. There were drums and ati-atihan. And there were people, lots and lots of people all jostling for space on that tiny strip of road half of which were already crammed with cars.

The right side of Taft Avenue, from Vito Cruz to Quirino Avenue was transformed into a parking area while the other side was site of the circus (pardon the mixed metaphors - I really could not find one word to describe all that hoopla).Every once in a while, some groups would launch into cheers and slogans complete with fists on air and chest beating, somehow reminiscent of gorillas staking their territories. And maybe they really were, I mean stalking their territories on that narrow road.

The bar examinees were walking out of La Salle, site of the bar exams, and were being "greeted" by their frats, schoolmates, parents, lovers, etc, with bouquets of roses, balloons, champagne, drizzles of water, beer, dancing, chanting, etc. There was food on the sidewalk. There were streamers professing support to their BAR examinees (there were streamers for specific individual BAR examinees too!), streamers bragging about BAR records (100% passing rate again! Ten topnotchers in x years!). There was hugging and jumping up and down.

What the heck was that all about???As I snaked my way out of the orgy to get home to my place on Leon Guinto, I had to restrain myself many times from shouting "what the fuck are you doing?!!"

To begin with, what is so special about the bar exams- say, from the medical board exams or the CPA board exams that merits that kind of attention? What is so special about being a lawyer in this country where justice is hard to come by and most of the problems are caused by lawyers anyway?

Okay, okay, I am not exactly a fan of lawyers, but do't get me wrong - I don't hate lawyers; they may be up there on the food chain as predators, but to my mind, it is just another profession.That whole Sunday bash got me really thinking about the sad state of society.

If you wonder how lawmaking in this country has reached an all-time low, you just had to be there on Taft Avenue to find some of the answers.On the last day of the bar examinations, with results a good five months away, the examinees were already being welcomed into the fold with hoopla, booze, and lots and lots of self-serving posturing. It was one big fraternity of bullies out there claiming a major thoroughfare for themselves, spilling beer on the sidewalk and shouting themselves hoarse with silly slogans about loyalty and solidarity.

In the meantime, right on Leon Guinto, traffic was hopelessly snarled with sielined commuters trying to inch their way across a street meant, appropriately, as a side road. I reached home to find some relatives trying to find solace in our house from the bedlam a few blocks away. And there was a townmate from Leyte. She just took the bar exams. There were no bar ops for her, no bouquets, no confetti, no hugs and rejoicing offered. She was from an unheard of law school in the province.


siu said…
I couldnt resist nodding my head in agreement. The bar exams is overhyped. I am a lawyer and a CPA. I guess the CPA board exams deserves a noisier publicity if we judge it by the level of difficulty the examination has.

Bong, I realize you hailed from Leyte. I am a Leyteno who took the bar exam seven years ago. I could very well understand the plight of a promdi examinee who had to endure the haughty bar ops intended mainly to benefit examinees from Manily schools.

I wrote and posted an article about it a week before the bar exams in my blog.

I am a newbie to this blogging thing, but I made it point to visit your blog when I have the time. I enjoyed reading it.
BongA said…
thanks siu, and so great of you to leave a comment; it is always nice to know that a fellow Leyteno, or an old friend, was here.

will visit your blog too!

salamat! balik nganhi ha?

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