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VIDEO: US men’s choir sing Ryan Cayabyab’s “Da Coconut Nut” during Emirates flight

During their flight bound for US from Kenya, Baylor University Men’s Choir suddenly gave an impromptu rendition of “Da Coconut Nut”, a song composed by famous Filipino composer and musician Ryan Cayabyab.

US men’s choir sing Ryan Cayabyab’s “Da Coconut Nut”

The group which consists of 75 men suddenly broke into song complete with choreography while other plane passengers were disembarking the Emirates Airline flight. Other passengers and members of the flight crew couldn’t help but go nuts during the surprise performance.

“It was a spontaneous performance for the crew,” said a representative for Emirates Airline.

According to reports, the Texas-based choir was traveling from Nairobi, Kenya back to Waco, Texas after participating in a mission trip. The awesome onboard performance was apparently a “thank you” gesture by the choir to the flight crew.

Emirates Airline even shared a video of the performance which quickly became viral amassing over 5.6 million views as of this writing.

“When you go coconuts on an Emirates flight. Thank you Baylor University Men's Choir for a great onboard performance," reads in the caption of the said post.

Founded in 1895 to “promote the musical enjoyment of men on the campus”, the Baylor University Men’s Choir “makes great music, serves the local Waco community and touches the world with the love of Christ!”

Cayabyab’s “Da Coconut Song” became a hit in the early 90’s and was popularized by Pinoy pop group Smokey Mountain. It’s catchy choral arrangement has become famous worldwide and was performed by choirs from various parts of the world.

Check out the awesome onboard performance of Baylor University Men’s Choir.

-- Mini, The Summit Express

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Mica Becerro, Jona Marie Soquite advance to The Voice Teens Grand Finals

MANILA, Philippines - Mica Becerro and Jona Marie Soquite advanced to the highly anticipated grand finals of "The Voice Teens Philippines" as revealed during the live semi-finals round on Saturday, July 22.

Mica Becerro, Jona Marie Soquite advance to The Voice Teens Grand Finals

Mica Becerro represents the team of Lea Salonga while Jona Marie Soquite for Team Sarah Geronimo. Both artists received the highest combined average votes from the public and the coaches, 97.50% and 98.50% of votes, respectively.

Salonga gave Becerro a 5-point lead over her fellow contender Chan Millanes, 95% vs. 90%. Meanwhile, Geronimo voted in favor of Soquite, 97% and has given 95% to Nisha Bedaña.

Becerro sang "Loving You" by Minnie Riperton while Soquite belted out "The Greatest Love of All" by George Benson.

The vocal showdown for remaining two slots in the finals will happen Sunday between Team Bamboo’s Emarjhun de Guzman and Isabela Vinzon, and Team Sharon’s Jeremy Glinoga and Christy Lagapa.

Whose performances will capture the hearts of the coaches and viewers?

Don’t miss the exciting battle of teen artists in “The Voice Teens” finals on July 29 and 30.

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VIRAL VIDEO: Clean-up drive team throws trash in Manila Bay for “photo ops”

MANILA, Philippines - Netizens are appalled after seeing the video of a woman throwing trash in Manila Bay for a photo opportunity during a clean-up drive held on Friday, July 21.

Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada headed the said event which was spearheaded by Rizal Park Hotel in cooperation with some government agencies such as the City of Manila.

Clean-up drive team throws trash in Manila Bay for “photo ops”
Estrada along with several members of the media was onboard a boat to carry out the extensive clean-up drive of Manila Bay. But instead of going to the dirty parts of Manila bay, two men were seen jumping into the waters to scatter trash near their boat.

Appalled with what they witnessed, members of the media asked the former president if he was aware that the team would throw thrash in the waters.

“For publicity, pero we are serious in cleaning Manila Bay,” Estrada explained.

Despite the fact that the Supreme Court had issued a writ of continuing mandamus ordering government agencies to clean, rehabilitate and maintain Manila Bay in 2008, it remains stinky and dirty.

According to Manila Tourism director Atty. Sol Arboladura, the extensive clean-up drive will be carried out in a monthly basis.

Meanwhile, officials at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) were shocked to discover what the men did during the clean-up drive.

According to DENR Undersecretary Maria Paz Luna, the throwing of garbage in Manila Bay was unnecessary and is punishable under our laws.

“Kapag nagtapon ka ng basura sa Manila Bay, mayroon naman talagang parusa ‘yan sa batas. Ang depensa siguro nila diyan ay kinuha rin naman nila. Sana lang nalahat nila. Hindi sana natin kailangan gawin ‘yun kasi marami namang puwedeng kunin sa Manila Bay. Kalkalin mo lang ‘yung kaunti sa shore,” Luna said.

When asked if Estrada could be held liable, Luna explained that the former head of the nation was not seen throwing the trash nor instructing the woman to do so.

Watch the viral video:

-- Mini, The Summit Express

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Will the tax on sweetened beverages be effective in reducing obesity, diabetes in PH?

MANILA, Philippines - As a way to lessen the rising cases of obesity and diabetes in the country, a proposal pending for approval of President Rodrigo Duterte aims to impose higher taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs).

tax on sweetened beverages be effective in reducing obesity, diabetes in PH?

The tax reform measure known as House Bill 5636 or the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act includes a provision imposing a P10 tax on SSBs like coffee, soft drinks, energy drinks, powdered juice, bottled iced tea and other sugary drinks. With the imposition of such tax, consumers will be discouraged from buying these drinks.

At the same time, the government will have an additional revenue ranging from P40 billion to P47 billion, according to the Department of Finance.

READ: Is the SSB tax anti-poor

The Department of Health (DOH) warns consumers that consumption of SSBs elevates our risk of developing health problems like obesity, diabetes, blood sugar problems, heart problems as well as other related disease like tooth decay, hyperacidity and bone fractures.

meme beverage tax

That being said, is there enough evidence to prove that SSB tax will be effective in reducing cases of such diseases in the Philippines? Is it really that simple to address these health problems in the country? Will imposing this tax create a positive impact on our health?

Filipinos are not over consuming SSBs, sugar

Compared with other countries, Filipinos are actually not overconsuming SSBs. A study by the World Health Organization (WHO) together with AC Nielsen showed that Filipinos’ per capita consumption of non-alcoholic ready-to-drink beverages (NARTD) is insignificant as compared to other countries.

Aside from less frequent consumption, NARTD come in smaller package size in the Philippines.

The study revealed that the Philippines has 160 servings/year per capita, which is far less compared to Mexico which has 600 servings/year per capita.

In addition, another study by the WHO and the Food and Nutrition Research Institute showed that sugar and syrup are an insignificant portion of the Filipino diet. In fact, sugar and syrup only comprise 1.9% of diet compared to cereals and products, which account for 41.9% of our diet.

filipino diet composition

Interestingly, consumption of white rice, which is our staple food in the Philippines, has been linked to obesity and type 2 diabetes.

No local studies have been carried out to prove that consumption of SSBs is directly correlated to obesity and diabetes. While SSBs can contribute to the development of such diseases, other foods like white rice can also play a big role in its development. Thus, more research must be carried out to discover the root causes of these health conditions in the Philippine setting.

Angara pushing for “fairer, more reasonable” SSB tax

With the approval of the tax reform measure at the House of Representatives, Senator Sonny Angara is pushing for a “fairer, more reasonable” SSB tax.

Angara, chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, believes that excise tax should be imposed depending on the sugar content of the beverage as opposed to taxing P10 every liter.

Angara explained: “According to experts, if we’re talking about health and want to reduce the sugar consumption of Filipinos, the tax must be based on the sugar content of the beverage.”

According to Angara, the P10 excise tax would jack up the prices of some SSBs by 50%. The lawmaker said that since majority of SSBs consumers are ordinary Filipinos, the SSB tax may be unfairly targeting the poor.

Not in favor of the imposition of SSB tax? You may support by convincing President Rodrigo Duterte that the SSB tax is anti-poor by signing this online petition.

-- Mini, The Summit Express

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How to vote for The Voice Teens Philippines Live Shows

MANILA, Philippines - (Updated July 22) The remaining artists of The Voice Teens are seeking for public votes in the live shows (July 15-16 and 22-23) with their hopes to earn a spot in the grand finals. Check out the mechanics on how you can show support through text and online (Google) voting.

Team Sarah is ready for the Live Shows on Sunday
Team Sarah is ready for the Live Shows on Sunday! Photo Credit: Facebook/The Voice Teens ABS-CBN
Coaches Lea Salonga, Sarah Geronimo, Bamboo, and Sharon Cuneta are looking up for their finalists from the top 12 artists - the potential “The Voice Teens” grand champion.

UPDATE: Mica Becerro, Jona Marie Soquite advance to The Voice Teens Grand Finals

Team Artist Result: First Live Shows Keyword (July 22-23)
Sarah Geronimo Nisha Bedaña Safe NISHA
Jona Marie Soquite Safe JONA
Ivan Navares Eliminated
Bamboo Mañalac Emarjhun de Guzman Safe EMARJHUN
Isabela Vinzon Safe ISABELA
Kyryll Queen Ugdiman Eliminated
Sharon Cuneta Jeremy Glinoga Safe JEREMY
Christy Lagapa Safe CHRISTY
Alessandra Galvez Eliminated
Lea Salonga Mica Becerro Safe MICA
Chan Millanes Safe CHAN
Patricia Luna Eliminated

Here's how to vote:

Text votes: Type VOICE space NAME OF ARTIST and send to 2366. This is FREE for ABS-CBN Mobile subscribers and P1 for other networks. Note: 1 vote per team per day.

Online or Google vote

1. Log on to your Google account
3. Find the link and click the image of the Teen Artist you want to vote for.

In the live shows, viewers can only vote for their favorite artists during a commercial break after three of the artists (semi-finalists) from each team have already performed.

For July 15-16, the artist from each team who gets the highest percentage of votes will be the first to move on in the competition. The coach will then have to choose who between his or her two remaining artists gets to stay and gets eliminated.

For July 22-23 episodes, the remaining two artists per team will battle for the final spots. The show will combine votes from the public and judges to determine the top-scoring artist from each team.

WATCH: The Voice Teens Philippines on Live Shows


On July 15-16 Live Shows, Team Lea’s Chan and Mica, Team Sarah’s Jona and Nisha, Team Bamboo’s Emarjhun and Isabela, and Team Sharon’s Christy and Jeremy advanced to the next round of the competition.

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Is the Proposed Beverage Tax Really Anti-Poor?

MANILA, Philippines - A proposal to impose higher taxes on sugary beverages including carbonated drinks, energy drinks, powdered juice, bottled iced tea, coffee, fruit drinks and other similar fruit products has been included in the tax reform package proposed by the Duterte government.

Once passed into law, House Bill 5636 or the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act, sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) will come with a P10-per-liter tax. This will apparently dissuade consumers from purchasing SSBs.

proposed tax on sugary drinks will affect the poor, economy

According to the Philippine Association of Store and Carinderia Owners (PASCO), the imposition of SSB tax will result to 3% to 200% rise in prices.

Powdered Juice or Iced Tea, which are currently priced at P9 per 1L sachet will be sold P30 per 1L sachet after beverage tax. Bottled iced tea’s price will rise to P30 per L from P20 per L.

The 3-in-1 coffee sachet, previously priced at P5, will be sold for P8 per sachet. Carbonated drinks will be sold at P50 per liter from P28 per liter. Meanwhile, ready-to-drink juice will be pegged at P36 per L from P20 per L.

Coffee drinks produced in popular coffee shops like Starbucks and Coffee Bean and Tea leaf will not be taxed since the companies are paying for a 12% VAT. Interestingly, 3-in-1 coffee is also subject to VAT.

new consumer prices ssb tax

A bittersweet move hitting the poor?

In order to offset the revenue loss of the government from lower income tax, the SSB tax was among the set of excise taxes being proposed. A revenue of P47 billion from the collection of SSB tax was estimated by the Department of Finance.

But will putting excise tax on SSB result to a sweet ending?

Will the tax on sweetened beverages be effective in reducing obesity, diabetes in PH?

Many critics believe the imposition of tax on SSB will particularly hurt low income earners, sari-sari store and carinderia owners, as well as sugar farmers in the Philippines.

Based on a study carried out by AC Nielsen Retail Survey, 80% of SSB consumers actually come from class CDE, which is the poorest segment. Low income earners don’t really benefit from lowering of income tax rates because they are exempted from paying income taxes.

Aside from negatively affecting common Filipino consumers, the substantial price increases on SSB are expected to hit about 1.3 million sari-sari store owners who get 40% of their sales from beverages.

Sugar farmers, who get 50% of their local sugar production sales from the Beverage Industry Association of the Philippines (BIAP), will also likely suffer the blow of SSB tax.

A big blow to the economy?

Carried out by the University of Asia and the Pacific, a 2016 economic impact study on the proposed P10 SSB tax revealed that it will cause reduced government revenues, job losses and economic contraction.

economic impact SSB tax

According to the study, excise on SSB tax will result to P20 billion decline in sales of SSBs and P51 billion decrease in revenue of related industries.

The study also claimed that it will result to loss of 133,750 direct and indirect jobs and 1.5% increase in unemployment rate. It also concluded that it will cause P30 billion revenue loss from VAT and Corporate Income tax and P63 billion total economy loss.

Considering all of these possible effects, the SSB tax will not support the objectives of the first package of TRAIN.

If you think the SSB tax will not support the goals of the Philippine government, voice out and sign this online petition.

-- Mini, The Summit Express

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'Bagyong Fabian' PAGASA weather update July 22, 2017

MANILA, Philippines - State weather bureau PAGASA in its 8:00 bulletin on Saturday, July 22, 2017, said tropical depression "Fabian" has slightly intensified and is now in the vicinity of Basco, Batanes.

'Bagyong Fabian' PAGASA weather update July 22, 2017

"Bagyong Fabian," the sixth cyclone to enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) this year, was developed at the east of extreme Northern Luzon early Saturday and is expected also to exit PAR late afternoon or early evening today.

At 7:00 a.m. today, the center of Tropical Depression "FABIAN" was estimated based on all available data at 45 km West Southwest of Basco, Batanes (20.3°N, 121.6°E).

"Fabian" has maximum winds of up to 55 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 65 kph.

It is forecast to move West Northwest at 18 kph.

Tropical cyclone warning signal (TCWS) Signal No. 1 (30-60 kph expected in 36 hours) was raised in several areas of Luzon: Batanes and Northern Cagayan including Babuyan Group of Islands.

Forecast Positions:

24 Hour (Tomorrow morning): 445 km West Northwest of Basco, Batanes (OUTSIDE PAR) (21.3°N, 117.8°E)

48 Hour (Monday morning): 915 km West Northwest of Basco, Batanes (OUTSIDE PAR) (22.8°N, 113.5°E)

'Bagyong Fabian' PAGASA weather update July 22, 2017

PAGASA said the estimated rainfall amount is from moderate to heavy within the 300 km diameter of the Tropical Depression.

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Janitor-turned lawyer now an election officer at Comelec

MANILA, Philippines - Shortly after the results of the 2016 Bar exams were released, the inspiring story of Atty. Ramil Comendador, a former janitor who worked his way to become a lawyer, has touched the hearts of many.

Janitor-turned lawyer now an election officer at Comelec
Comendador, who worked as a janitor for four years at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to finance his studies, has climbed his way to the top and is now an Election officer of the said office.

On Monday, July 17, Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista approved the recommendation of the bureau’s Regional Selection Promotions Board.

Bautista said in a “We recognize his diligence and determination to reach his goals and we are pleased to see him accept the challenge. We look forward to working with him even more now as he takes on his new role as an Election Officer,” Bautista said in a statement.

“Ramil is certainly and inspiration to everyone, especially to his colleagues in the Commission and to the youth. His story shows that if you work hard enough, you will be rewarded in the end,” Bautista added.

According to Commendador, he was a high school graduate when he began working at the private sector. He then got married to an engineer, whom he had two children, now aged eight and four.

He aspired to continue his studies to at least be on the same level as his wife. In order to do this, he worked as a janitor at the Comelec from 2007 to 2010. Eventually, he passed an eligibility examination and became a legal researcher.

Using his earnings from Comelec, he enrolled himself in a law school and 2011. Meanwhile, his wife helped with the household expenses.

Luckily, the 35-year-old law graduate was among the 3,747 who successfully passed the 2016 Bar examinations, which is considered the toughest professional exam in the country.

“Baon-baon mo yung pangarap mo na makaalis na sa kahirapan. Baon-baon mo yun, siyempre. Malaking bahagi nun talaga yung tiwala mo sa Panginoon, at maitatawid mo yung mga pangarap mo,” Comendador said in one his interviews.

-- Mini, The Summit Express

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