Sunday, April 13, 2008
THE FILIPINO CHAMPION
Musician Pochoy Labog talks about his new journey as an attorney
By Angelique P. Manalad
WE first saw him as the front man and main composer of the band Dicta License churning out songs laced with nationalistic lyrics. Now that the group disbanded, 26-year-old musician Pochoy Labog gears up to embark into a new career as a lawyer after passing the grueling Bar examination. With this new conquest, Labog is off to prove that “he can rock” not only as a singer but as a lawyer as well.
Labog, who had his eyes set on going to law school in high school, took up Philosophy at the Ateneo de Manila University to prepare himself for the goal.
“I was really argumentative even when I was younger and I look up to my grandfather, Eligio Labog, who is probably one of the best lawyers Isabela had ever produced,” he narrates with nostalgia. The whole family fully approves of his plans of studying law.
While attending law school, Labog has proven his mettle as a musician when his band Dicta License managed to release its first album Paghilom in 2006. It was also during this time that he enthusiastically participated in the activities of Gawad Kalinga and RockEd, two organizations known for their effort in uplifting the condition and consciousness of the Filipino youth. It’s a tough act then balancing his busy studies with his band’s gigs, he admits. The set up was further complicated by the fact that two of his band mates, Boogie Romero and Kelly Mangahas were also having problems dividing their time performing in Dicta License and Kjwan, another band. When the situation became unbearable, the group finally disbanded, leaving Labog all focused on his studies.
For Labog, passing the Bar exam means he will be able to work as a lawyer in the field he’s been eyeing for so long—the patenting of intellectual properties that encompasses music, art and inventions. Though exited for his new line of work, Labog refuses to say that music has taken the backseat in his life. “Music is my main passion, it will always be there,” he stresses. Labog explains that besides music, he enjoys practicing law and is happy being paid doing what he loves. “It’s where I want to be,” he intones.
Labog relates that he once thought of entering politics but decided against it after pondering that the idea of “selling yourself” is simply out of his character. “Maybe if I suddenly get appointed, why not?” He cajoles.
Despite the discouraging situation in the country, Labog believes that there is hope. “There should always be hope for if there’s none then everything’s just dead. There’s no need to point finger to anyone. Like what I’ve written in one of my songs, ‘Mas matalas and dila pag may bisig.’ We just have to be responsible as citizens and try to get across the barriers of social class. It must be a conscious effort for each Filipino, every little act counts,” he admonishes, adding, “What’s wrong with people, not just Filipinos is that we tend to force things to happen even if we sense that divine will is against it. We forget that it’s always God who’s in control.” With such a comment, Labog makes a clarification, “I am not a religious man though I am spiritual. I have a good relationship with God and that’s what matters.”
Labog expresses his desire to come back to the music industry but emphasizes that the timing has to be right. He strongly believes that music is a very powerful tool to espouse hope and peace in our nation. Labog is also proud of the fact that the Filipino artist is at par with his foreign counterparts.
For now, the musician turned lawyer is confident that he would be able to straddle himself between the two careers in due time. As a parting shot, he encourages everyone to just pursue his or her passion, “I’ve read these lines somewhere and I believe in them: ‘Don’t ask yourself what the world needs, instead ask yourself what makes you come alive and do that. Because what the world needs are people who come alive.’ [- A quote from the late theologian and civil rights leader Howard Thurman, who was also a contemporary of the late US President Kennedy who famously said, ‘Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.’-Editor]”
Before, Labog tries to instill positive change with his songs but now; the arena where he moves is a little different. “I’m not perfect but will do my best to do my part. It has to start with your own self. One thing is for sure though, I wouldn’t be a traditional lawyer,” he concludes.