Outside collegiate sports, I cannot think of any event that makes a show out of academic pride and spirit other than the Philippine Bar Exams. (those who disagree with this are welcome to voice their opinions though)
Held on four successive Sundays of September every year, hundreds of law graduates take (or retake) the bar exams, hoping to make the cut and become a full-fledged practitioner of law here in the country.
Traditionally, the exams were held at the De La Salle University campus in Taft Avenue, Manila since the school is one of the few universities before that did not have a law school. But with the news that DLSU plans to have its own law college, the holding of future bar exams there seem uncertain at this point. For now, this year’s bar exams are still held at the DLSU campus.
Traditionally also, bar exams make such a display of school pride and spirit that they show it off as loud as they can, thanks to their respective bar operations teams. I remember back then both lanes of Taft Avenue were closed as the “bar ops” of some schools and fraternities/sororities managed to bring their drummers, bugle corps, even an Ati-Atihan dance troupe somehow making a point in rallying their troops and keep their morale up in those tense times.
The “colorful” traditions ended last year when the Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim decided to “ban” bar ops from causing distractions and traffic in and around the DLSU campus.
So from both lanes before, this year’s bar exams only has the southbound lane of Taft Avenue from Qurino Avenue to P. Ocampo St. (the former Vito Cruz St.) has been closed to vehicular traffic.
As for the bar ops, they managed to set camp elsewhere around the area and are no longer on the streets, figuratively and literally.
Some decided to use space provided by other establishments there, such as these teams below:
Some bar ops still opt to set up their own tents, albeit no longer in the middle of Taft Avenue, unlike before:
As has been the case for every occasion imaginable, an event here would not be considered that important if we won’t see any streamers. In this case, streamers expressing wishes of good luck. Thankfully, I did not see any politician put any streamer for that, despite the fact that the election season at this early stage is on high gear.
Some have been creative in expressing their good luck wishes though:
Loved ones, friends, and colleagues also went there to wish the examinees well that partly sunny day. Good thing it was a Sunday or else traffic would be hell at the northbound lane of Taft Avenue with some vehicles the people gathering up at that portion.
And even if you are not an examinee, or don’t know of anyone who will take the bar exams, you can at least put some business sense into good use, like this vendor here:
For the examinees, there are still two Sundays to go before a more torturous waiting period begins as to whether they would pass or fail. But for now, the Urban Roamer is wishing all the bar examinees a good luck and Godspeed!