Making his mark

Mikel Rama reveals why he’s more than just the mayor’s son

By Fiona Patricia S. Escandor

Mikel-Rama“THAT’S the mayor’s son,” gossipy folks would say, in a failed attempt at being hush-hush, the moment he walks into the room. It can prove advantageous at times, but in a society fascinated by titles and prominence, the recognition often ends there, and whatever character traits beyond what they know of the man are deemed trite.

And character is something that Mikel F. Rama happens to have plenty of. As a lawyer, a writer, a citizen, and at some point in his life, a skater, without much pretense or fanfare, he shuffles from one to the other perfectly.

Insightful and sharp when the situation calls for it, yet good-humored and youthful at his downtime, that’s Mikel for you.

Viral writing

Long before Mikel became a lawyer, he was a writer. He has been writing for as long as he can remember, he said. When he was younger, he used to doodle comics and create stories, and was drawn to fictionists such as J.K. Rowling and Neil Gaiman.

SERIOUSLY NOW. He made a name as one who blogs witty, amusing essays, but now that he’s a lawyer, Mikel Rama welcomes a shift in perspective as he immerses himself in the legal profession. Mikel, though, still hops on his skateboard in his spare time.
SERIOUSLY NOW. He made a name as one who blogs witty, amusing essays, but now that he’s a lawyer, Mikel Rama welcomes a shift in perspective as he immerses himself in the legal profession. Mikel, though, still hops on his skateboard in his spare time.

His writings, which he kept on a blog, were what allowed him to make his mark. His name often appeared on news feeds, as his works would go viral, and some even published in Sun.Star’s youth section, Zup!

Entertaining and witty, Mikel’s works are reminiscent of contemporary essays one usually finds on sites like Thought Catalog, but with a twist, as he puts in local humor and peculiarities, those which the Cebuano reader can relate to. Some of his most notable pieces include “Don’t Date A Girl Who’s Into Harry Potter If You’re A Guy Who’s Into Twilight” and “The 10 Girls You Will Meet in Cebu City.”

Lawyer, reader

When Mikel passed the Bar and ultimately entered practice, he had to cut the time he spent for writing as he focused on another of his life’s passions. Nevertheless, he remains to this day a voracious reader. “I read anything,” he said, from the works of Malcolm Gladwell to Haruki Murakami.

Mikel finished his law studies at the University of San Carlos. He passed the Bar in 2010 and then later joined Angara Abello Concepcion Regala & Cruz Law Offices, of which he is part up to now.

His parents, Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama and Araceli Francisco, are both lawyers, and he said he owes it to them why he felt encouraged to enter the profession in the first place.

“As a child, my idea of an adult was a lawyer,” he shared. “It was what I saw growing up.” But over the years, he has grown to be interested genuinely in the profession.

CALL HIM ATTORNEY. Mikel Rama follows in the footsteps of his parents, Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama and Araceli Francisco, both lawyers. Is he going to enter government service like his dad? It’s a calling, not something one plans, he says, without dismissing the possibility of doing so one of these days.
CALL HIM ATTORNEY. Mikel Rama follows in the footsteps of his parents, Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama and Araceli Francisco, both lawyers. Is he going to enter government service like his dad? It’s a calling, not something one plans, he says, without dismissing the possibility of doing so one of these days.

“It’s stimulating,” Mikel said. “I encounter different types of people, I see different types of interests—the client’s and the opposing party’s — and it’s a challenge reconciling the two together.”

Meet Mikel Rama: lawyer, writer, erstwhile skater and mayor’s son raring to carve a name for himself
Meet Mikel Rama: lawyer, writer, erstwhile skater and mayor’s son raring to carve a name for himself

A calling

With the “attorney” title now attached to his name, many have wondered if following his dad’s footsteps to government service is next on his list.

“It’s a calling, and not something you plan,” the young lawyer said. “If the time comes I’ll be called upon to serve the city, I would be honored.”

One of the most prominent clans in Cebu, Mikel’s forefathers were known for their involvement in local governance. His uncles, his grandfather had served the city in various positions, and his great-grandfather, Don Vicente Rama, who was also a journalist and novelist, is regarded as the Father of the Cebu City Charter.

Should the opportunity arise for the new generation Rama, he said that one of the advocacies he would like to immediately look into is youth empowerment, particularly those who are out-of-school and those in the inner barangays.

“They have ambition, they’re very creative, and there are a lot of them,” Mikel said. “We should create programs that empower them, uplift their spirits and raise their self-esteem. The wealth of our city is human capital, and we should invest in that. Start them young.”

WHAT THEY FIND ODD. Mikel prefers staycations over traveling.
WHAT THEY FIND ODD. Mikel prefers staycations over traveling.

Looking forward to the holidays

On a personal note, Mikel said that as 2013 comes to an end, he is definitely looking forward to the Christmas season. His older sister, Micheline, will be coming home from Australia and he gets to spend more time with his family.

And perhaps squeeze in his busy schedule a bit of writing for his blog, or bring out the skateboard that he always keeps in his car, hit the gym, or maybe just go on a “staycation,” which he said he’d choose over an actual vacation any day.

“Not wanting to travel — that’s the one weird thing about me,” Mikel admitted. Weird as he may think it is, those are just one of the many reasons that make Mikel Rama more than just a head-turner, and a character to watch out for.

Photography: Hafid Caballes
Locale: Scrapyard Bar & Lounge

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