Thursday, December 13, 2007

Singing Improves Health

Hear this: Singing is good for your health
The Philippine Star 

It's no secret that music and singing relate to man's health and well-being. Historically and internationally, music forms a part of the healing systems and rituals of many cultures. It has been observed that singers tend to live longer lives. Could it be because they have stronger breathing mechanisms strengthened by habitually holding longer breaths? Or that they express their emotions more and thus release much internal angst and tension?

We are a lucky people because almost every Filipino can sing. Lately, there has been a surge in singing mainly because of the karaoke craze and the natural, irrepressible human desire to get up on stage and be a star. Many baby boomers find much satisfaction joining friends, setting up bands, and having soirees. singing songs from the '50s onwards. I believe that a song a day keeps the doctor away. And indeed, a singing nation is a healthy nation. Here are what some top singing devotees have to say:

Bayani Fernando

Chairman, Metro Manila Development Authority

Whenever I sing, I feel good. It is an emotional drain through which one can flush the stresses of the day. By nature, we have different emotions we want to express, and we can do this by singing. You can release negative emotions like anger, you can communicate your innermost feelings to others, and most of all, singing brings you in communion with yourself. I look forward to our singing sessions, which we hold at least twice a week. If I were not that busy, I would be a member of a band or musical group. Music keeps me young —   it is the elixir of youth!

Angelo Reyes

Secretary, Department of Energy

Before, to ask me to sing was really difficult. You had to physically carry me to the stage. However, when I reached the rank of general in the Armed Forces and I had a captive audience who seemed to applaud my singing for whatever reason, I started to enjoy singing. I learned that almost anybody can sing. What is important is that you can carry a tune, have a sense of timing, and that you can feel the song with the proper emotion. You must not only sing the melody; it is important to convey the message of the song. I do a lot of public speaking and appearances, and singing in public has helped me reinforce my confidence on stage. You can't sing well if at the time you are singing, you are unable to cast off your worries and emotional baggage. For people in high-pressure jobs almost nonstop, singing is extreme relief and supreme joy.

Joey Lina

President, Manila Hotel

Of all stress-relieving activities, I enjoy singing the most because through songs, I am able to express myself. Singing is expressing. Furthermore, it is thoroughly relaxing and makes me forget the worries that plague my day. There are times when singing brings me a real high, transporting me to another level of consciousness.

Marides Fernando

Mayor, Marikina City (and wife of MMDA Chairman Bayani Fernando)

Ever since I have known BF, he loved to sing. He had a weekly night out with his singing buddies, which was his stress reliever for the week. If he didn't get a chance to sing enough that night, he would sing in my ear in bed. Now, we continue to sing as a family one night a week and we have a good time. There is something about singing that makes you focus on your performance, tone, words, and expression; makes you forget your many problems; and takes you, if only for a brief moment, to a place that's carefree, beautiful, and all that we were meant to be — happy.

Lenny de Jesus

Professorial lecturer at UP (and best remembered as the iron lady of MalacaƱang during the Estrada regime)

My basic stress relief practice is to meditate twice a day for at least 20 minutes each time. I have resumed my yoga practice and started playing the piano again. I have also taken up the flute and the guitar and, of course, sing for fun. Music has definitely not only de-stressed me; it has enabled me to discover much more joy in life. While playing music, I get lost in the wonder of the sounds that uplift my spirits.

Boy Camara


To manage stress, I keep a personal attitude that life is not a problem to be solved but a mystery to be lived. I meditate regularly and practice tai chi, which I now teach. I believe that everything can be meditation if you are totally into what you are doing right here, now. I always try to be total, not necessarily perfect. As much as I can, I live totally from moment to moment. And I try not to take myself too seriously! Singing is a great stress reliever for me. It is like opening and emptying oneself, then, a silent state happens.

Willie Nepomuceno


One evening, I had one of the greatest stress-relieving moments of my life singing one Beatle song after another with a live band. It brought back my youthful days, carefree and singing my heart out. I felt like some imaginary steam was being flushed out of my body system, like a cleansing process. Even simply listening to old music I grew up with gives me the kind of mental state one gets from yoga — relaxing and peaceful. Laughter, of course, is the universal medicine for stress. The real cure, I surmise, is the subject matter that we laugh about. Music and laughter, indeed, are the best stress relievers. And you don't pay any doctor!

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Filipino-Chinese Firm Bags P3.95 Billion Transco Deal

By Donnabelle Gatdula 
Philippine Star 

A consortium of Filipino and Chinese firms led by local infrastructure holding firm Monte Oro Grid Resources Corp. bagged yesterday the concession contract for power grid operator National Transmission Corp. (TransCo) with a bid of $3.95 billion.

Monte Oro had teamed up with Calaca High Power Corp. and State Grid of China for the bidding, the country's biggest privatization effort.

Controversy has shrouded Monte Oro in the wake of allegations by Sen. Jamby Madrigal of the group's discreet ties to President Arroyo's brother, Diosdado "Buboy" Macapagal Jr. and the Aboitiz group.

She also said it is Enrique Razon Jr., chair of International Container Services Inc. (ICTSI) and treasurer of the administration Team Unity in the May senatorial elections, who leads the Monte Oro group.

The consortium narrowly beat the $3.905-billion bid of the group of San Miguel Energy Corp. and partners Dutch firm TPG Aurora BV and Malaysia's TNB Prai Sdn Bhd.

The Monte Oro group must still get a franchise to operate the grid from Congress, where opponents of Mrs. Arroyo in the Senate are likely to give them a rough ride amid allegations the winning consortium has close links to her.

"They (Monte Oro) have enough political clout to get it through the lower house but will likely run into a long-running tele-novella in the Senate," said Alex Magno, director of the Development Bank of the Philippines.

The consortium has a year to get the franchise or ownership will revert to the government, which will continue to run the grid for the time being.

But Monte Oro's president expressed confidence, saying their offer would be funded through a combination of equity and borrowing.

"We have agreements with underwriters and we will begin to implement them," Walter Brown, who is also chairman of mining group Philex, said.

The government will get 25 percent of the purchase price once the franchise is awarded, with the remaining funds to be paid over 20 years.

"This is a move in the right direction," said Jose Ibazeta, head of the agency tasked with selling state-run energy assets.

The winning price tag is more than double the previous privatization record of $1.6 billion paid for Fort Bonifacio in 1995 and crowns a turnaround in what had previously been a notoriously stop-start energy privatization program.

The government has been trying since 2003 to privatize the management of TransCo to boost state finances and modernize its creaking power sector. Yesterday's auction was the fifth attempt and the second this year.

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Sunday, December 2, 2007

Mutiny by Senator Trillanes

Armed Forces chief Gen. Hermogenes Esperon Jr. disclosed on Saturday that two participants in the short-lived 2003 Oakwood mutiny have warned the military leadership about the new efforts at destabilization by the Magdalo group.

He said the military received the tip only hours before Senator Antonio F.Trillanes IV, Brig. Gen. Danilo Lim and former Vice President Teofisto Guingona attempted to grab power last Thursday. At that time, the AFP was still trying to verify the information.

However, Esperon said that the information provided by the two Oakwood mutineers enabled the military to make some preparations, explaining the timely response by the military when Lim, Trillanes, Guingona and their supporters went to the Manila Peninsula Hotel in Makati City.

The two, along with a handful of Oakwood mutiny officers facing trial for coup d etat, walked out of the Makati City regional trial court, marched to the hotel where they subsequently called for the unseating of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

"In the early morning of (Nov.) 29, there were two soldiers who participated in the Oakwood mutiny were again invited to join them. This report reached us, the two soldiers reported this to us and based on that report, we made some declarations of alert or preparations," he said.

"That explains why in a very short notice, in a very short period of time, the Marines were already in Ayala surrounding the Manila Peninsula," said Esperon, referring to the group of Brig. Gen. Jonathan Martir who was the ground commander of the Marines.

When asked why the military was not able to pre-empt the plan when they were already tipped off by the two Oakwood mutineers, Esperon said: "We do not know that it would be (the walk-out for the Makati) RTC. We just got the information that there would be some activities that would be staged."

Esperon said the two soldiers are now supportive of the military. He said the two did not rejoin the group of Lim, a former commander of the elite First Scout Ranger Regiment, and Trillanes because they know that they would be abandoned in the end.

"They are with us, they side with us and I must commend them for coming forward and report the matter to us...They know that they will be abandoned by this (self-styled) so-called messianic leaders," said Esperon, referring to Lim and Trillanes.

The PNP has filed rebellion charges against Lim, Trillanes and at least 46 other military officers and civilians. A four-man panel headed by State Prosecutor Emmanuel Velasco are determining if there is prima facie case to elevate the case before the courts.

Esperon said the situation in Metro Manila has stabilized but said the military would be prepared for another power grab attempt by the group of Lim, who was involved in the failed coups in the 1980s against the Aquino government.

In Feb. 25 last year, Lim, former Marine commandant Maj. Gen. Renato Miranda and 26 other Army and Marine officers planned to withdraw support from President Arroyo. They are detained and facing trial by a general court martial.

"Everything is back to normal in the Philippines after the incident. I think we are very much in control of the situation...Im talking about the physical security situation, we could go about our daily lives here in Manila," the AFP chief added. (PNA)

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