Makati Av to Mcmicking Av? Ayungin and Big Fish


Reading about Ayala Corporation’s 180th anniversary reminds me of when I first met Joe McMicking in San Francisco in Summer’68. He was a client of the law firm

I trained in there. Told about me, he said he’d like to meet me. I went to his office. I greeted him. His first sentence was like Yolanda ang “arrive” or dating.

“I don’t like your voice,” he boomed. Huh? “You have to speak like I do.” My dander was up. “That’s better. You be like me. When I speak my voice carries across the room.” Chit-chat. Congenial. Then he ended with, “if there’s anything I can do for you at all, I am just a phone call away.” Man, got me right here.

The urban legend in our firm was that Joe would have a million crazy ideas but would have one that would work. Asked how he had raised the $10M (1968 values) for a project in Spain, he said, “when you have it you don’t raise it.” Mahangin, as in Ayungin. But, as Reggie Jackson would say, it ain’t braggin’ if you can back it up.

He sent the late Mario Camacho to recruit me. No way, I said, in our relaxed day-long interview. Persnickety Mario (with whom I later worked in the College Board of Trustees of San Beda, which he headed), pled, “Try.”

My Dulce and I came home on December 30, 1970. I was jobless and homeless

(she had a job at the DSWD to return to and I became her star boarder). I went to Ayala and signed a contract, in January, 1971, with Enrique Zobel and Bobby de la Fuente, my teacher whose 95.95% bar grade is the second highest ever, just behind the 96.7% of Flor Regalado (still bitching when we last met that his answer to an estafa question was miscorrected). Their records still stand.

Going down I saw Joe/Danny Ong, Flor’s and Bobby’s classmate, and hitched a ride. He was on his way to the BIR (which he was to head under Prez Cory). In front of the Supreme Court, a rally, led by Atenean Roger Rayala, with whom I used to party (I’d be a wallflower; ballroom dancing became an acquired taste in the mid-90’s). I told Danny I’d get off “to join my kind of people,” and never looked back. I founded the San Beda Free Legal Aid Clinic. One concern led me to write to Malacañang. On the line a few days later was Ronnie Zamora.

Anyway, it is past time we honored Joe McMicking. My proposal, rename Makati Avenue as Joe McMicking Avenue. If there’s a Ponciano Binay in Bangkal, why not recognize a man whose genius helped us escape the plight of Pasay, which had no visionary-doer like Joe (but the other day, I dealt with a Pasay office with no noon break under Sec. 8[e]of R.A. No. 9485).

Makati was not much when I attended Makati Elementary. It needed a wizard like Joe. Hambog, maybe, but may kakayahan.

Culi-Culi was what Bangkal was then known. There’s a Ponciano Binay callejon there. Ex-Red Light District – Culi-Culi. Now the peddlers of panandaliang aliw are all over Makati after Mayor Fred Lim drove them out of Manila (Nautilus was where men were said to be naughty while the girls were loose). There’s supposed to be one within walking district here in Palanan, frequented, it is said, by Japanese-looking men for cheap thrills. Japan now supports us in our tiff with China. I have a home now in Palanan, having co-inherited with our kids, Dulce’s share in co-inherited property, near Estero Tripa de Gallina.

Again, Ayungin. There, we sent a few days ago a rinky-dink vessel with soldiers carrying rations to a vessel from which all semblance of life seemed to have long departed. Mukhang natakot ang mga Intsik ma-tetano in mano-sa-mano combat. Back-up pa yata natin mga Tora-Tora planes. Jurrasic equipment. Bote garapa sa Payatas at dating Smokey Mountain – the Ultimate Weapon.

The Int’l New York Times reported last Tuesday that China accused us “on Monday of illegally occupying Chinese territory after a Filipino vessel outmaneuvered the Chinese Coast Guard and resupplied a ship that has been stranded for 15 years on the Second Thomas Shoal, a tiny reef in the South China Sea.

“Chinese ships prevented the Philippines from resupplying the boat and its eight-man military crew in early March, but on Saturday a Filipino vessel manned by troops managed to keep the Chinese at bay by going into shallow waters and lifting food onto the stranded ship. The cat-and-mouse maneuvers between the Philippines, an American ally with little naval capacity, and China, which has a fast-expanding navy, have captured attention for what they might foretell about future rivalries in the South China Sea.”

Our aggressive posture here surprises. Yes, willy-nilly, we belong to the laid-back Malayan race of Juan Tamad. I am not surprised Malaysia cannot locate its missing plane. Japan may not be able to do it either but its efforts should be impressive. In the 40’s and 50’s we competed with Japan in besoboru. It just sent Masaharu Tanaka to the New York Yankees for $155M.

Do not ask where we are in baseball for we could only weep, Chito Loyzaga notwithstanding. Meantime, soccer players all over are weeping for lack of datong. In the Beautiful Game, not insulated from the global financial crisis.

Datong JPE, Jinggoy and Bong are said to have lots of. Humongous. Ill gotten? It is a human and constitutional right to be presumed innocent. And accorded due process. Even Big Fish.


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  1. Senator I always thought you should in government since our country needs someone like you. I really believe you will be at home as Secretary of Justice, member of Supreme Court, Solicitor General, a Senator.

    There are only few good men in government service now you being there would be a big difference. President Ninoy needs help.

  2. delfin cuevas on

    I like your style Senator, that is why I always read your column. Thanks for oppening our eyes to some points seldom seen by non Metro-Manila readers.

  3. Andres R. Samson on

    Only RV Saguisag could write like Rene and still drive home the point. I would like to enroll in his law classes where ever these maybe when I return home for good. My only problem is I cannot get any endorsement or letter of recommendation as they are nearly all dead. Thanks for sharing the fervor of your wisdom, Your Honor.

  4. I love your sense of humor amidst our country’s helplessness with the giant China. That ability of yours makes us Filipinos outstanding without trying. I thought I was the only one seeing the tetano, our ship can inflict to those sea grabbers. You always make my day, mabuhay ka!