Thank you to all our guests who made our grand reunion an equally grand success. See you all again soon!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Open Letter to the FEU Advocate Alumni

It has been a storied journey for our FEU ADVOCATE. Since its establishment in 1934, its name bore the responsibility of securing student welfare through its intelligent and intrepid reporting and commentary. The FEU community was witness when it took flight and commanded utmost respect from college papers and academic communities alike, much until Martial Law brought upon its forceful closure in 1972.

The wait of 27 years was long and dreary. In 1998, we saw it find ground and emerge like a phoenix from oblivion. Resilient, it has remained faithful to its creed of serving the Tamaraw community, trudging despite obstacles, and surviving amid trials. Now 12 years later, it is high on its flight and stands stronger than ever.

And we made it all happen.

It was us behind every fearless Advocate issue. A band of student journalists, staffers, who remained unfazed by the steep commitment the publication required. You were there. Whether as a writer, photographer, layout artist, illustrator, or editor, the Advocate became a product of our collective struggles and efforts. In turn it has nurtured us back and gave us the best and most unforgettable experiences of our college years, enduring friendships, and a home we could forever return to.

Now, it is long overdue that we return the favor. Show your support for the publication by attending our Grand Alumni Homecoming on March 20 at the FEU University Conference Center. Invite your former editors, staffers and Advo buddies, and have a mighty good time reminiscing deadlines, long sleepless nights and everything that made our publication days the best time of our lives. Come home. The Advocate counts on you.

FEU Advocate Reunion Team 2010

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Reunion Registration

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

UNIVERSITY MASCOT: Tam the Tamaraw on, weight loss, weed, homosexuality, and porno

By K.C. Buenafe

Most of us have imaginary horns that signify our mischief. This guy actually has two horns sticking out of his disproportionate head and a nose that could probably do great as irrigation system for Malabon. Wanna figure out how mischievous he is? Mickey Mouse, Sakuragi, and Voltez V, have nothing to boast off in FEU’s green and golden screen, here, only one cartoon/ anime rules, and that’s Tam the Tamaraw, the official mascot of the Advocate. For the past two years he’s been popping up all over the place in our publication, but who is he is really.

The sketch is the brainchild of Erich Rafer, the Advocate’s Arts and Graphics director. The look of Tam evolved from Erich’s looks as much as Tam’s obese friend is the cartoon evolution of the looks of the former Editor-in-Chief, Christian Evasco.

Who is Tam the tamaraw?

My real name is not really Tam, it’s actually Tamolito Bigaybuhay, but my screen name is Tam the Tamaraw, mas catching di ba? I am the ‘Edit-to’ ng Chief in the Advocate. I’m the real boss.

Do people ever mistake you for a carabao?

Yeah, a lot of people don’t know the difference between a tamaraw and a carabao. I tell them that carabaos push carts and that tamaraw study at FEU. Tamaraws are also less fat than carabaos.

How come your weight changes a lot? When we first saw you you were fatter.

I do a lot of work as the mascot and being a fat mascot is out of style. Even Jollibee had to change his look. But I love to eat, yan ang real talent ko.

So your mom cooks well? What’s your favorite dish?

My mom cooks very well, basta mga Bicolano, malakas kumain at masarap magluto but my favorite dish is Adobong Damo. Especially with chili, some eggs and bawang.

Is that what made you fat?

Mahilig ako sa damo. I’m a freaking tamaraw, what do you expect me to eat? Nakakataba daw ang damo, kasi sobrang sarap. But eating grass is not allowed allowed here at FEU so palaging patago.

FEU is now being strict of its implementation of its policies like that of wearing the ID, why don’t you wear your ID on your pictures?

Hindi kasi talaga bagay. Being a mascot, especially the official mascot of the Advocate has its perks. Meron nga akong mga fans. Mabuhay kayo mga idol.

There’s a strong gay population in FEU, do you have any homosexual admirers?

Sus napakarami. The Rexona boys and I are always fighting over who has more gay fans. Actually, I have also idolizing me, cute daw ang mga sungay ko. I’m very horny daw. But the fans are nice, it’s great to see them laughing and enjoying the Advocate.

Is there a special someone in your life?
Actually there were several someones in my life but now I’m just sticking to one. I love her a lot.

Do you have any plans to go into the music or movie business?

Tamaraws are not really good at singing, our nose is too big and it makes us sound funny. I would like to get into movies, maybe some with Andrew E and Salbakuta. I’m more into comedy and action and not romance.

What kind of music do you like?

I like reggae, punk, ska, and rock. I hate boy bands and bands that try to copy them. But when I’m just by myself I enjoy Oasis, U2, Rivermaya and the likes. Enjoy din ako sa OPM especially yung mga tunog kalye.

Would you do a romance movie with the likes of Maui Taylor and other bold stars?

Kahit ‘di nila ako bayaran okay na okay lang. I like those romance movies because they are a great example of Philippine cinema and they bring joy and happiness to my life. The kind of romance movie I wouldn’t do is the kind with people like Jolina or Juday.

So you would do a porno but not a romance movie?

I don’t think that Maui Taylor and other bold stars have porno movies, they just have romance movies with much better romance.

So you’d consider yourself malambing?

I wouldn’t say I’m malambing, more like malibog. After all I’m an Advocate what else would you expect.

Two Tams Up: Tam’s riotous stead as the Advocate’s official mascot

His antics have lent comedic flavor to every Advocate issue. Whether it may be from his zany quips on basketball games or incisive puns on University issues, this self-proclaimed Advocate ‘Edit-to ng Chief’ (Ed Chief) is no doubt one of the publication’s most popular and well loved characters. Brainchild of former Art Director Erich ‘Eboy’ Rafer, Tamolito Bigaybuhay, or more commonly known as ‘Tam’, has not only become the Advocate’s staple front page feature but also the studentry’s audacious and gallant mouthpiece.

Conceived in 2001, Tam now celebrates nine years of wreaking humorous mayhem within the newspaper. Creator Erich Rafer shares that during his first year in FEU as a Fine Arts student, he chanced upon an ad asking for character sketches, from which the Advocate official mascot was to be selected. Thinking there was nothing to be lost, he submitted his first sketch of Tam, and shortly thereafter he was called in to join the publication.

Eboy had long been inclined towards the arts, using the walls of their house as canvas at age three. In High School, he was a member of their school paper, doing editorial cartoons and winning top prize at press conferences. These experiences inevitably proved useful when he crafted Advocate’s first comic character.

Tam’s creator was influenced by the characters he grew up watching as a kid, from GI Joe to The Transformers, but it was Jim Davis’s Garfield that provided the prime inspiration for the Advocate’s mascot. “Napansin ko medyo may resemblance si Tam kasi medyo malaki yung mata, tapos parang medyo laidback yung itsura niya, naka half-open, half- closed yung mata niya parang relaxed na relaxed, cool na cool, tapos sarcastic” (I noticed that he had a resemblance with Tam, with his big bulging eyes which was slightly half-shut, he appears very cool and relaxed, quite sarcastic). He adds that Pol Medina’s Pugad Baboy, a popular Filipino comic book at that time, influenced Tam’s stocky built.

The Advocate’s official mascot first came out in the front page of March 2001’s issue (Validity of TFI questioned), under Editor-in-Chief Lester Lupisan. He was drawn wearing a flowered shirt, enjoying himself on recliner while sipping buko juice, ready to take on the summer vacation. His first comic strip, titled Fat-Talk, also appeared in the same issue.

Like most artistic creations, Tam’s features have evolved throughout the years, going from the creative hands of one Advocate illustrator to the other. Eboy initially conceived Tam to be a plump, laidback Tamaraw, slightly unsure of himself and feeling his way through college, not knowing what was to be expected—much like how he felt as freshman. “Yung early Tam maliit pa siya noon, tweetums tweetums pa, parang obvious na first year. Tapos later nag evolve na siya. Mahaba na yung sungay niya.” (Tam was small back then, he tried to look cute, obviously a freshman. Then later he evolved. He grew his horns).

Far from the safe representation Eboy originally had in mind, the character’s eventual transformation reflected his personal journey through college. “Naexpose ako sa rock and roll nung college, nung naka mingle mingle nang mga mahihilig sa music, naexpose ako sa punk, kaya medyo naging rock din yung itsura niya. Tapos hindi na naka uniform, mas may attitude na siya, mas rocking na siya. Yung mga posing niya di na limited sa laid back na stance. Mejo mas wild na yung itsura. Minsan may hawak na siyang baril, or nagyoyosi siya sa harap ng classroom. Nakikipag rumble na siya.” (I was exposed to rock and roll in college and got to mingle with people who like music. I was also exposed to punk, that’s why his appearance (Tam) also got wilder. He had more attitude and stopped wearing his uniform. He wasn’t limited to his laid back stance anymore. Sometimes he totes a gun, he smokes outside his classroom, he gets into trouble.)

Conceptualized to represent the studentry, Tam also got embroiled in the same issues within FEU-- from fraternity wars, prevalent during Rafer’s time, to pill box explosions. “Siyempre ang school paper naman hindi naman puro magaganda yung sinusulat niya sa school. Kailangan mo rin I acknowledge yung mga pangit para maging patas ka naman. So yun pati yung mga ganoong istorya, involved si Tam doon, pinapakita niya kung ano yung nangyayari. So hindi na siya pa tweetums tweetums na Tam, medyo involved na siya, mas masaya, mas exciting yung mga nangyayri. Although medyo nakakatakot, ok lang.” (Of course the school paper doesn’t only report good stories, it also acknowledges the bad ones, so that it could be fair and balanced. Tam also got involved in those kinds of stories, he exposes what really happens and wasn’t coy about it. It was more fun and exciting. Although it was a little frightening, it’s okay.)

True enough Tam transcended his chubby cute frame to speak on student issues, often being utilized in editorial cartoons to represent the cause of students, and popping all over the newspaper to brandish wittingly searing remarks. He spoke on tuition increase, stifling school policies, game fixing, student politics, and possibly every other significant news within the University. Soon, Tam not only was identified with the Advocate but as an icon for the general FEU community.

The name Tamolito Bigaybuhay came later in mock interview written by writer K.C. Buenafe appearing in the Advocate’s September 2002 issue. Rafer relates that he had no other name in mind except Tam, joking that it would have been weird if he named it George, or perhaps Peter.

“My real name is not really Tam, it’s actually Tamolito Bigaybuhay, but my screen name is Tam the Tamaraw, mas catching ‘di ba? I am the Edit-to’ ng Chief, in the Advocate. I’m the real boss,” the funny man, er, animal relates in an interview.

He adds that a lot of people mistake him for a carabao, retorting that people don’t know the difference between carabaos and his species, the former being a beast of burden and his kind the ones studying in FEU. In the interview, he also mentions that he has lost weight since he first appeared in the newspaper, reasoning that he does a lot of work as the mascot and it was out of style to be fat. His favorite activity was to gorge on Adobong Damo, “But eating grass is not allowed here in FEU, so palaging patago,” Tamolito wittily injects. (Click here for a reprint of Tam’s interview)

Indeed Tam has become leaner and taller throughout the years. When Rafer left the Advocate in 2006, artists began infusing their wild spins on the character, keeping its original disproportionately large head and horns, but morphing it into countless other, sometimes hilariously inane, interpretations. Eboy confesses that he initially didn’t see Tam evolving, but later realized it was only natural for an artist to improve his style, and undergo changes as a person. “Parang mas naging appealing yung tingin ko sa kanya nung pumayat siya eh. Naging sigurado na siya sa ginagawa niya kasi parang nag mature yung itsura niya, unlinke nung parang maliit pa lang na cutie cutie.” (I thought he became more appealing when he got leaner, to me he became more sure of himself since he looked more mature. Unlike before when he was younger, he was too cute.)

Rafer also created a dorky human sidekick to Tam, which he unfortunately was not able to name. He describes the character as an underdog. Fat and with dark glasses, it is often the unlucky recipient of Tam’s antics, and the artist’s wild machinations. “Parang siya yung nag rerepresent ng mga kawawa sa FEU. May strip akong ginawa noon, yung inabutan siya ng baha, sumabit siya sa jeep tapos pagdating siya sa Piyu, biglang walang pasok.” (He represented the bullied in FEU. I did a strip before, where he got stranded in a flood, and had to hang on to jeep, only to see that classes have been cancelled.) He jests, “Pag may mga poster, si Tam siyempre yung player, tapos siya yung pep squad na may pom poms na nakapang cheering attire.” (In posters, Tam would usually be the athlete, and the dork would be cheering in the background, clad in pep squad attire, complete with pom poms.)

Tam’s female counterpart, Tamya, created by Art Director and later Managing Editor Robald Castillion, would later join the official mascot on paper, along with other artists’ trademark characters. Rafer thought that his brainchild would simply fade into oblivion with the birth of other comic creations, but was happy to find out that Tam remained within the Advocate pages, continually being adapted and improved upon by succeeding illustrators.

Asked if he would have drawn Tam in any other way, he responds that he would have probably tweaked some its features, but it would essentially remain the same since as that was how he conceptualized it during his time, adding “Hindi lang naman ako yung Tam, Advocate siya nung time ko eh, siya yung FEU nun eh.” (I did not have the monopoly of Tam, he was the Advocate during my time, he represented FEU.)

Rafer wanted nothing but to preserve Tam as a tableau of the times, having no qualms with the character’s constant transformation. “Kasi si Tam lumabas siya nung era ko, representation siya nung time, yung nangyayari sa FEU, sa Advocate nung time ko, hindi na naman yun yung nangyayari ngayon. Mape preserve siguro yung sa time ko. Pero hindi na naman kailangan ganon ang gawin nung mga artist eh. Kailangan din nilang irepresent yung time nila.” (Tam came out during my era; he was a representation of that time, of what happened during FEU. He would probably preserve my time, but artists need not confine themselves with that. They need to represent their time.”)

Tam definitely is far from retiring as the paper’s main funny man. In the hands of talented and fearless Advocate artists, Eboy’s creation is probably cooking up another riotous antic, preparing his next smart ass remark on a pressing University issue or simply orchestrating a hilariously insane joke. As one of the publication’s vanguards, and he will continue to unwaveringly represent the studentry in its cause, all while looking all cool and down-right comic on it.

**Credits to Former Advocate Art Director Armani Garcia for the Freedom of the Press Rocks poster

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Event Schedule and Activities

The reunion programme will be available two weeks prior to the event. For the mean time, the Advocate needs your help in making this event a success. Rally your former editors, writers, and Advo buddies to the reunion for a rad good time of reminiscing and reliving the best days of our college lives with the publication. Any assistance you may offer will also be highly appreciated. E-mail us at so we can have you on board for the preparations. Thank you for your unrelenting support for the FEU Advocate. All for the Advocate glory!

Friday, September 11, 2009

The FEU Advocate calls on its alumni

The pioneer weekly student publication in the Philippines, the FEU Advocate, is slating a celebration of its 75th anniversary on February, 2010. After so many years, the event will beckon its former staffers to reminisce the good ol’ days working for one of the country’s best campus publications.

Established in 1934, the FEU Advocate became one of the most esteemed newspapers in the country, recognized for its intrepid reporting and intelligent commentary on issues both within and outside the University. It rivaled not only other student publications, but also national dailies. As the first university publication to release a weekly issue, it would set the standard for other college newspapers, with many following suit thereafter.

Many of its alumni are now established prime movers in the field of journalism, business, law, literature, and the arts. Former Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban, National Artist Severino ‘Nonoy’ Marcelo, Palanca awardees Azucena Grajo Uranza, Salvador Bigay, Jose M. Buhain and Buenaventura S. Medina are only a few of its prominent alumni.

After being shutdown during the martial law of 1972, the FEU Advocate would wait 26 years before once again beholding the gleaming light of print. Its revival in 1998 proved to be a welcome spark of campus journalism in FEU, and a continuous endeavor for its staffers to re establish its former glory.

Now 10 years after its successful resurgence, the publication looks back at its beginnings to relive the struggles and triumphs that shaped the organization as it is today.

The planned event on February will consist of a reunion and an exhibit presenting the organization’s history. Concurrently, a planned history book will also be launched during the event.

As of this writing, the Advocate is looking for old issues, artifacts and stories that former members of the publication, as well as students or other parties may lend, or contribute to the exhibit and the evolving history project. The success of this endeavor will largely rely upon the grateful student journalists who have once been, and will continue to be part of the FEU Advocate legacy.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

FEU Advocate writes its history

Reuniting the Advocate alumni to reminisce and relive the publication’s glory

The FEU Advocate is calling for its alumni to come back. Regretfully, the 26-years-gap between the renowned Advocate that joined the battle for democracy and the Revival Advocate, strained a vital alumni connection. For 12 years since its rebirth, it has published current events, stories needed to be known and understood by its readers. And much weight is borne by the publication's function, thrusting all efforts to attain its purpose year-in and year-out downplayed an equally meaningful undertaking—recognizing the past.

Time is far more than ripe, yet it is never too late to sound the horn that will rally the Tamaraw Advocates again. This time, not a call to arms for press freedom, but a call to reminisce, to relive and to finally write the Advocate that was, for the Advocate that is, and for the Advocate that will be.

We call for your aid. Aid us in exacting and solidifying a volatile history of the publication. A grand Advocate alumni reunion is set to occur on January in celebration of the FEU Advocate’s 75th year of existence, more details regarding this event will be disseminated.

This is a rare occasion that will give you, Advocate alumni, a chance to share what you know and experienced, and to see and witness where the FEU Advocate is now. That the publication that means more to you than anyone else, is still here—existing and calling for your return.

We also call for help from FEU alumni who witnessed the publication’s releases before its shut down in 1972. You can assist us by providing or lending us old copies, photos or other relics related to the FEU Advocate. Contact us and share your stories.

For those who just came upon this call, you can also help by publicizing this project, ultimately expanding our reach to Advocate alumni.

Any assistance is much appreciated. Our contact information could be found in the upper right part of this page.