Atty. Levy S. Estolloso
Among the law professors of the University stands one whose life affirms the late English poet and priest George Herbert when he said “one father is more than a hundred schoolmasters.”
Atty. Levy Solis Estolloso recognizes the significance of his paternal duties, both in the home and the classroom. Born to parents who were both teachers in the university, he grew up learning the value of simplicity, honesty, and humility taught through their example. As a kid in the 60’s, he roamed the open fields of the unfenced Silliman campus with playmates who were also sons and daughters of faculty and staff members. Levy grew to love nature and the outdoors this way, and with it, developed a sense of independence.
When he’s not out playing, he enjoyed a game of scrabble, a word game in which two to four players score points by placing tiles onto a gameboard in a crossword fashion. He loved reading biographies of great men. This, along with conscious avoidance of math and chemistry subjects, led him to pursue a degree in Bachelor of Arts Major in History when he entered college in 1971.
During his sophomore year, Martial Law was declared and student organizations were banned, making college life uneventful outside academics. He then spent most of his free time reading books and magazines of his choosing at the Silliman Library. This leisure developed in him a skill for better reading which proved to be significantly helpful in his studies.
He consistently landed a spot in the Dean’s list and eventually earned the highest academic distinction of University Honors. In 1975, he graduated among the top of his class, cum laude. He then packed his bags and traveled to Manila that same year to spend the summer with relatives.
There, he met a cousin who was on his senior year at the University of the Philippines College of Law. He suggested that Levy take the Law Aptitude Examination and give law school a shot. He did just that and passed both the exam and interview. Lured by the intellectual challenge that comes with studying law, Levy stayed four more years in Manila to work on getting his second degree.
In 1979, he graduated from the University of the Philippines with a degree in Bachelor of Laws. That same year he proceeded to review for the Bar and passed at first take.
After taking his oath as a new lawyer, he applied and was accepted for work at the Philippine National Bank (PNB) head office in Manila. He had hoped to be assigned at the Dumaguete Branch but there were no vacancies at that time. From the roster of branches needing personnel, he chose to be assigned in Kidapawan City since he had relatives there. But in just a few months, Levy left Cotabato and resigned from his job as PNB Special Counsel. He wanted to make better use of his knowledge of law — and collecting debts simply didn’t suit his quiet personality.
It was around the same time when one of his classmates from law school informed him of a vacancy in the Court of Appeals. He submitted an application, took the exam, and was taken in as a Research Attorney. In a year’s time, he transferred to the Supreme Court where he occupied a higher position.
Four years later, the Supreme Court Justice whom he worked for was concurrently appointed as the Chairman of the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal. Upon her appointment, she also recommended that Levy serve as Chief of their Legal Division.
Before this transition though, he had met Amy Reyes Makalinao, a graduate of the Ateneo de Manila University Law School and who was a newly hired lawyer in the same office. As a true gentleman, he took it upon himself to mentor Amy since she was new to the job. After office hours, they would also share the same transportation going home as they resided in areas connected by the same route. And there were times when before going home, they would have a snack or watch a movie.
About a year into this routine, and with friendship growing stronger, Levy finally had the courage to steal a kiss from her. And that sealed their relationship. Two years later, they were married at the Malate Catholic Church in Manila on Labor Day of 1990.
In 1993, with the consent of his wife who had spent all her life in Manila, they both decided to abandon their blossoming careers and move to Dumaguete. For in those three years of marriage, they wanted desperately to have a baby but were not blessed with one. They thought that moving to Dumaguete would give them the needed time to be together more and to live a life away from stress and traffic.
Levy then applied for a teaching position at the College of Law and was accepted in 1994. A year later, Amy was finally pregnant. That development in their life convinced them that Dumaguete would be the best place to raise a family.
They are blessed with two lovely daughters: Amyrrha, a junior Education student and Millie Anne, who is in eighth grade. Both grew up with their parents reading them bedtime stories at night.
Levy wants to be remembered as one who encouraged his children to reach their full potential and to always pursue their dreams the best they can. This rings true not just in his home but even in the classroom where he has also served both as father and mentor to 20 generations of aspiring young lawyers.
In 2008, the student paper, the Weekly Sillimanian, conducted a survey among law students. Levy earned the most number of votes for being the teacher who has made the greatest impact in the lives of law students.
Levy shares: “looking back at life, there may be some roads I should have taken but did not, but I do not regret those roads not taken because the road I choose to take has inevitably led me to happiness.”
At this point in his life, he simply desires to grow old gracefully.
Describe yourself in three words.
Low maintenance guy.
What is your motto in life?
My motto in life is make friends, not enemies.
What makes you laugh?
I laugh when I watch the movies of Steve Martin
What makes you cry?
I feel like crying when I watch young children dying or their mothers dying in Gaza.
What’s your favorite time of the day and why?
My favorite time of the day is one o’clock in the morning because it is so dark and quiet.
What do you love doing when not working?
When I am not working I love to travel with my family to different places.
What is your favorite hangout place in the University?
My favorite hangout place in Silliman is my home which fortunately is inside the campus.
What makes you blush?
What makes me blush is when I say an original funny joke that makes people laugh uncontrollably.
If you were an actor, who would you be?
If I were an actor I would choose to be Jack Black.
Tell us a fact about yourself.
A fact that I want to tell is that I am not a dancer or a singer.
What’s your favorite game growing up?
My favorite game growing up was scrabble and table tennis.
What is your idea of a relaxing day?
My idea of a relaxing day is eating home cooked lunch at home with my family.
What one thing would people be interested to know about you?
One thing that is interesting about me is that I love to walk so I can reduce my carbon footprint.
What song best describes the YOU and the life you have now?
The song that best describes my life right now is “Happy” by Pharrel Williams.
What is the first thing you do right after waking up in the morning?
The first thing I do upon walking up in the morning is try to get back to sleep a few minutes more.
What’s your idea of a family?
My idea of a family is focused on the support that parents should provide their children to realize their full potentials.