memory's sacred domain

moments mundane and magical

Archive for the ‘college life’ Category


leave a comment »

For T. M.


Now that you are gone, you suddenly loom large in our memory, its vast spaces emptying themselves of our puny, if laughable, concerns to give way to you. Ah, pain comes in varying degrees, but it is there, when we pause from our present worries and remember. Do we say, like Rilke, that we have our own dead, of whom we have let go, and they are so at home at being dead, so contended, and so cheerful? (But you didn’t even give us the chance to properly let go of you because you simply chose to go away unnoticed!)

And how could we speak of you as if you now belonged only to the past? Here, in the memory of the heart, you are so much promise still happening, untouchable to nature’s unpredictable claims. If we can only transform things from the real to the unreal, and speak only of mere reflections upon the dark surfaces of our gloomiest days, and not of the irrevocability of your absence, its somber shadows now lengthening, now engulfing us…


Written by Romel

January 29, 2015 at 5:28 am

Posted in college life, poetry, tula

Tagged with , , ,

ComRes Day Career Talk

leave a comment »

IMG_2970Was it last year when, on the invitation of my alma mater, specifically, the Department of Communication Research of the UP College of Mass Communication, I gave a career talk to prospective students?

I’ve kinda forgotten about it, and then this morning, as I was going over some files, I came across a one-page manuscript of that particular talk. As it happened, I was asked to say  how my degree in communication research helped me in the career path I eventually took, the path of the law.

So it did sound like a good, three-point Baptist sermon,  as I covered three main points, and save for the first main point, everything else carried three sub-points.

So here it went:

Why Communication Research?

A. Of course, Communication Research is first and foremost, about communication.

* Society cannot survive without communication. Our democracy is founded on the idea that when citizens have access to information they need to decide on matters that matters to them, and are able to debate and dissect these matters, government is in good shape.

* A lawyer must know how to communicate to his audience. Legal advocacy is about being  able to convince your specific publics that yours is the correct position. Human rights work depends so much on understanding this dynamic between desired change in governmental behavior towards human rights and effectively communicating the need for such change.

B. Communication Research is about systemic rigor.

* Whether you’re a “numbers” (quantitative) person or a “words” (qualitative) one, you can’t afford to be loose in your research method. A researcher understands that his research rises or falls on his faithfulness to the prescribed method.

* This means you have to have that discipline of systematic consistency in what you do.

* The same goes for law; it is systematic argumentation. It is covering all points in your opponent’s arguments. It is being able to conduct solid research to back up your main legal points. It is about being ale to weave a convincing narrative of your legal position.

C. Communication Research is also about an integrative perspective.

* This point is closely linked to our first point about the discipline of communication. Different communication theories offer differing perspectives on the best societal arrangements.

* As a lawyer concerned with the public sphere and the public interest, I appreciate very much the early grounding on critical perspectives on the social and the public that communication theory afforded me. Research is never natural, even if located in the world of the academy. It is always connected to a particular societal order.

* Communication research challenges one to look at issues from a multi-disciplinary perspective. As a hybrid discipline, it has learned the humility of appropriating insights from other disciplines for its own purposes. Legal advocacy is so much like that. More often than not, legal advocacy  is won by meta-legal approaches rather than by purely legal techniques.


Written by Romel

November 15, 2014 at 5:38 pm

with 3 comments

Ang Huling El Bimbo

I first heard their music in a humanities class at UP. One or two of them ( I don’t remember anymore) happened to be in the same class as I was. The professor was the wife of their very first manager. The man played for the sole pleasure of the class a demonstration tape (CDs were largely unknown in those analog days) of what would soon be their first big hit –“Pare Ko”. Back then, I was a promdi who didn’t know a thing about urban popular culture and who couldn’t care any less about a band of virtual unknowns called the Eraserheads.

“Ugh,” I muttered to myself, “how vulgar could a song get!”

I now hazard to say members of that humanities class were most probably among the very first ones to hear the song just before it was released in the market. But it went on to conquer the Philippine music world by storm, heralding a new gilded age for Filipino youth bands and earning for the Eraserheads the monicker the Philippines’ Fab Four.

And it didn’t even matter to me that one of them also stayed (or squatted) in the same dormitory as I did, the venerable Narra Residence Hall. Some mornings, I’d run into him in the hallway as I headed for my wing’s common showerstalls. Often, he’d have a girlfriend’s tight embrace as he made his way to the canteen.

The Eraserheads was just one of the many bands that made Narra a venue for their jamming sessions. It was the height of Narra‘s infamous free-wheeling decadence (a contemporary act that also made a name in the local music scene was Yano, whose members also proudly called Narra their home sweet home).

At Narra, the Eraserheads existed happily with a professor named Bading Carlos, pre-final examination week X-rated expositions, open house celebrations that featured a raffle where the top prize was a night in the company of a prostitute, fraternity rumbles, pot sessions, drinking binges, among many other adolescent excesses.

Looking back, I couldn’t believe I survived the Eraserheads and all that!

Written by Romel

March 10, 2009 at 3:33 pm

%d bloggers like this: