The Utopia Shootfest 2015

Jose Palaganas

Lawyering can be a dangerous profession. More often than not, litigants blame lawyers for their misery. As if lawyers commit the crimes they are being prosecuted for.  Thus, it is no surprise that most lawyers carry firearms and try to learn the basics of self-defense. Most people do not realize, however, that guns are not just tools of destruction. Firearms can also be used for fun and recreation. This fact was proven many times over by the Fraternal Order of Utopia.

On May 9-10, 2015, the Fraternal Order of Utopia, in cooperation with the Land Registration Authority, held its annual shootfest at Camp Karingal in Quezon City. I, along with the other members of Team Utopia Shooters, participated in this competition. All I can say is that, it was a blast — literally and figuratively.


Utopia is a fraternity based in the Ateneo School of Law. It has been in existence for exactly fifty-one years already. And, unlike other fraternities who are fixated on proving their might and supposed physical superiority, the Fraternal Order of Utopia is focused on academic excellence. Indeed, this brotherhood has produced several prime movers not only in the field of law but likewise in the fields of business and politics. Some notable Utopians are, of course, Evelio Javier and Eugene Tan, two legendary Filipino lawyers. Other Utopian brothers who are currently in government today are Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Jr.; Supreme Court Justice Arturo Brion; and Land Registration Administrator Eulalio “Galland” Diaz III.  There are likewise numerous Utopians who served as cabinet members, congressmen, justices, and judges. In a future article, I will write an in-depth feature about the fraternity.

And, of course, among all the members of this glorious fraternity, none is as hip and trendy as yours truly. I joined Utopia in 1997 during my first year of law school. Back then, I just wanted to be part of a group. I did not realize until I passed the bar that being a member of this fraternity would greatly help me in my legal career. Up to this day, I consider joining the Fraternal Order of Utopia as one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life.


Carlo YbanezAbout two years ago, we realized that there were a lot of Utopian brothers that were into practical shooting. Thus, through the initiative of Attys. Norby Caparas, Jr. and Jon Fernando, we formed a group called Team Utopia Shooters. Our goal was simply to get together and have fun while shooting our guns at inanimate targets that cannot shoot back.


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Atty. Paul Laguatan

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Atty. Maurice Dantes

Carlo Ybanez

Atty. Don Carlo Ybanez

The 2015 Utopia Shootfest happened on May 9-10 at Camp Karingal in Quezon City. This was held in cooperation with the Land Registration Authority, which likewise held its LRA Cup at that same date and time. This was a PPSA (Philippine Practical Shooting Association) sanctioned, level 1 competition.

As early as 8:00 a.m., several Utopian brothers arrived, excited to spend the day in friendly competition. But the event was not just for members of the fraternity. Anybody who is anybody, who would want to participate in this shootfest was welcome. To my estimate, there were around a hundred participants during the first day of competition alone.

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Atty. Jon Fernando

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Atty. Norby Caparas

Of course, the members of Team Utopia Shooters were there early. By lunch time, most of the members had already finished all five stages of the competition. At exactly 12:00 noon, lunch was served. The main course was sponsored by Attys. Ric Blancaflor, Jon Fernando, Paul Laguatan and, yours truly. However, while we  were enjoying our sisig and barbecue, we found out that the Land Registration Authority (LRA), had reserved one whole lechon for us, courtesy of LRA Administrator Attys. Eulalio “Galland” Diaz III and Deputy Administrator Roberto “Bobby” Leyetana. Hence, what was supposedly a simple lunch turned into a feast.

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Atty. Resty Mendoza

After lunch, the shooting resumed. Those of us who have not yet finished all five stages continued our earlier endeavors. And, some of us who had already done so, went back to re-register. This means, that they were so addicted to the sport that they did the entire five-bay course all over again.

At the end of the day, we were tired, sweating and smelling of gunpowder. Yet, we had a lot of fun.  But the fun was not yet over. The next day, some of us returned and to fire anew. Indeed, on May 10, 2015, the second day of the competition was held. At the end of the day, there was an awarding ceremony headed by LRA Administrator Atty. Eulalio “Galland” Diaz III.


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On May 10, 2015, the winners were announced and the trophies awarded to the following:

Standard Division:

  • Maurice Dantes (Champion)
  • Jason Suarez (1st Runner Up)
  • Jon Fernando (2nd Runner Up)

Production Division:

  • Jon Fernando (Champion)
  • Norby Caparas (1st Runner Up)
  • Jason Suarez (2nd Runner Up)

Classic Division:

  • Eulalio “Galland” Diaz (Champion)
  • Jason Suarez (1st Runner Up)
  • Jon Fernando (2nd Runner Up)

Senior Brod Division:

  • Maurice Dantes (Champion)
  • Eulaio “Galland” Diaz (1st Runner Up)
  • Alex Verzosa (2nd Runner Up)


Special thanks to the following:

LRA Administrator Atty. Eulalio “Galland” Diaz III and Deputy Administrator Roberto “Bobby” Leyetana for sponsiring the event

Atty. Jon Fernando, for acting as our point-man and hanging up the tarpaulin early in the day

Atty. Ric Blancaflor, for the trophies and the tarpaulin food

Atty. Paul Laguatan, for the food

The residents brods from Ateneo School of Law, for their assistance

Mr. Manny Garcia for coordinating the trophies

Master Jean De La Cruz for supplying the ammo

Rhona and Dianne for assisting us in all areas of the competition

* Photos by Atty. Don Carlo R. Ybanez

* Shooter featured at the cover photo is Atty. Jon Palaganas

* For more information about the Fraternal Order of Utopia, please visit their website at

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Team Utopia Shooters

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Special thanks to the resident brods of Ateneo Law

Don Carlo Ybanez

Don Carlo Ybanez

A lawyer, musician, photographer and entrepreneur (among other things). He passionately writes about the law, music, travel, fashion and life in general.

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